Kelowna

The main motivation for our trip to Canada was to attend Randall and Sam’s Canadian Alice in Wonderland themed wedding extravaganza, so after almost a week adventuring in Vancouver it was time to head to Kelowna for the main event!

Blake and I chauffeured the (gorgeous) wedding dress to Kelowna, so drove in a separate hire car to the rest of the gang. He did very well driving on the wrong (well.. I guess it was the right!) side of the road the whole time, and putting up with 5 hours of my gasps of terror at regular intervals every time oncoming traffic passed us… Oops. But driving on the Coquihalla highway, the most dangerous highway in the world, was surprisingly not that dangerous.  There was one moment coming through the beautiful 30 degree weather through picturesque Canadian trees and mountains where we saw a bunch of white stuff on the road, some cars in a ditch between the two lanes and felt a breeze hitting us – we realised that section of the road had suddenly become icy and snowy (?!) and we were driving through something potentially very dangerous… but made it to Kelowna in one piece.

Paramount Cinema in Kelowna

Paramount Cinema in Kelowna

Kelowna is an amazing place – described aptly by Blake as Miami in the 80s, except… now! It’s sunny, everyone is friendly, the houses are beautiful, there’s a giant lake spanning over 100km right in the middle of it, and things were only sliiiightly more expensive than in Vancouver. We managed some classic holiday activities such as parasailing (which was a LOT of fun)…

Parasailing!

Parasailing!

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Visiting a suspension bridge park which is halfway through construction and getting very sunburnt…

Kelowna Suspension Bridge Park

Kelowna Suspension Bridge Park

And having a nap in the park one day… which was pretty great.

As well as eating lots of delicious food, hanging out with family-friends of our friends, going for multiple swims (that includes Blake!!! I know!!!), and enjoying the sun and heat. On the hottest day the boys all went out and had a male bonding sesh on a fishing boat on the river, whilst the girls stayed at home making giant flower wedding decorations. Stereotype and a half,  I know, but our flowers were awesome and we didn’t end up with heatstroke at the end of the day unlike our male counterparts… so a day well spent I say!

The wedding was beautiful, touching, very well designed and everyone had a lot of fun. Highlights included nobody tripping over the lanterns guiding the pathway to the gazebo, dancing to a variety of great songs and ending the night sitting on the kitchen floor with the groom’s father and a selection of the best men. Sam looked gorgeous, Randall looked very handsome and dapper, the whole thing was a giant success and it was an honour and a pleasure to be involved.

Blake & I at the wedding

Blake & I at the wedding

Congratulations Mr and Mrs Smith!

Seattle

After meeting up with two new members of the gang from Aus, we somehow squeezed an express trip to Seattle into the trip, driving in a fancy silver mini van ‘soccer mom’ style through the US border and onto Seattle. It took us an inconvenient 2 hours to get through the border, thanks mainly to me for being a travel rookie who had never been to the US, and they wanted to be extra sure that I wasn’t going to terrorise anyone or anything in my two days there and had to take my fingerprints. Sorry guys.

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After marvelling at how insanely cheap the insanely unhealthy food is there, we arrived in Seattle just in time to trek to Pike Markets and discover they were closed. BUT it was still beautiful walking around at dusk, taking photos worthy of instagram hashtag nofilter, and visiting the world’s first Starbucks which Blake was pretty pleased by. We picked ourselves up a bag of the Pike Place roast which we’re yet to start drinking but I’m looking forward to it.

Pike Place Markets - instagram-worthy at the best of times

Pike Place Markets – instagram-worthy at the best of times

Seattle

 

Blake being excited at the original Starbucks store!

Blake being excited at the original Starbucks store!

Dinner was spent at an Irish pub, and the girls had a compulsory wander over to Sephora to buy makeup. We spent the evening wandering around Seattle and exploring, buying things for no reason other than that they were cheap, and enjoying the time together.

Blake, Ed, Maggie and I hit up the EMP museum the following morning (after trying a ‘McGriddle’ – a sausage and egg roll but the bun is made out of pancakes with maple syrup?! Surprisingly not as gross as it sounds!), checked out an impressive Nirvana exhibition, then split up as Blake and I conquered the Seattle Space Needle.

At the top of the needle...

At the top of the needle…

We all jumped in our minivan and drove off to the highlight of the trip – the Boeing Factory! If it’s not Boeing, I’m not going! 😉 It was amazing seeing a place so big that they build planes in there… the tour  is something I’d highly recommend, even if you’re like me and you don’t really know anything about aircrafts. It was fascinating and definitely a highlight. And had an excellent gift shop.

Blake's new cap purchase (that I stole for a few hours) at the Boeing factory

Blake’s new cap purchase (that I stole for a few hours) at the Boeing factory

boys and planes...

boys and planes…

After several games of ‘politically incorrect 20 questions’ won most of the time by  Ed, we arrived back to Van, and prepared ourselves for heading to Kelowna the next day…

Whistler

Earlier last week we drove 3 (?!) hours or so to Whistler, where our friends’ parents have a holiday home. It was definitely a highlight of the trip – the mountains are huge and like nothing I have seen before in Australia. We were there primarily for a bit of a stag night to celebrate the upcoming wedding of our friends but managed to get our fair share of outdoor fun in either side of the festivities:

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We discovered ‘taquitos’ on the drive – quickly becoming our favourite unhealthy on-the-road snack. They’re basically fried soft tacos filled with all sorts of delicious sauces and other things, and can be purchased from any 7/11… We stopped at possibly too many of these along the way!

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Classic ‘Olympic Rings’ shot in Whistler village. The village was very cute, very busy and compared to Vancouver, very expensive. Weirdly, we went one morning for a fix of Canadian pancakes with bacon and maple syrup, and it was nowhere to be found!

We decided to head up to the top of the mountain and oh my goodness, mindblowing stuff. It was stunning. Bright sunlight but still lots of snow. From the halfway point we took the peak to peak gondola across to another mountain, and discovered it holds the record for the longest unsupported lift span in the world! After returning to the halfway point we braved some terrifying chairlifts to get to the top of whistler. I may or may not have been certain we were going to fall to our deaths – it was a long drop and not much holding us into our chairs! We spent the next few hours exploring the peak and hiking back down to halfway as we were too scared to use the chairlifts again! Whistler is definitely a must do in Canada, I’m so glad we made it.

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Oh Canada!

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J: We are in Vancouver! After a very long flight and stop-off in Auckland (in which we spent the time trying to get our money exchanged into Canadian dollars and enjoying a beer or two courtesy of AD! Thank you!!) we finally arrived… The flight was fairly painless although an irate lady sitting behind me had issues with me reclining my seat when lights were dimmed for passengers to sleep as it made her TV screen “too close to her eyes” (?)… She spent the entire flight awake and grumbling about how I had basically ruined her life by wanting to get some sleep on my 12.5 hour overnight flight!

All was well departing at Vancouver airport. Not too long in customs queues, beautiful and warm weather and lovely friends to meet us at the airport and take us straight to Whole Foods Supermarket where we bought some lunch and chilled out for the rest of the day.

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Vancouver is a beautiful city. It is clean and tidy and there are amazing views at all times. It’s a mix of cityscape and mountains in the background.

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We headed to Granville Markets on our second day in Vancouver – I loved it. There was SO much delicious, fresh food and it was fun to see what Canadian people shop for in terms of fresh food markets! I’ve never seen Australian raspberries/blueberries/blackberries/gooseberries so big, nor any tasting so delicious. Blake and I had incredible salmon and cream cheese bagels, Dr Pepper, ‘hot bits’ (pieces of spicy caramelised salmon which sounds gross but isn’t!), Blake went back for another bagel with slow-roasted meat and I tried maple lollies, yummy cheeses and a rice Krispy treat (kind of like a home-made LCM bar). After what felt like a week of airplane meals it was very nice to eat so much fresh and delicious food.
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So far we love Vancouver!