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Wednesday, 9 August 2017

eating our way round canada

Granville Market - Cake stall

A holiday wouldn't be a holiday without some serious food indulgence, and in Canada, we made sure we did just that! And with portions that could easily have fed the two of us, it would have been easy to suggest sharing some courses, but with eyes bigger than our bellies on most occasions we went the whole hog.

Usually when we go on holiday, we get lazy and just wander to the local high street, assuming we'll stumble across a restaurant that'll be do the job and keep our rumbling stomachs quiet, but this time we did our research.  From checking out Tripadvisor to reading blog reviews to make sure we wouldn't be disappointed.  And we definitely weren't.  Unfortunately my photography skills plus bad restaurant lighting doesn't do half of these meals justice.

And in bad blogger form, I didn't even manage to take a quick iphone snap of some of the best meals we had.  A Banff vegan restaurant, Nourish, that we stumbled across by accident on our first day was incredible.  We wandered past and liked the look of the salads some other customers were eating so popped in, don't judge me but I doubt we'd have stopped at a vegan place had we read the menu first, but oh my. I had the beautiful burrito and it was amazing, a definite recommendation for anyone visiting that area.  It was so good, we almost went back for dinner that same day!
Cafe Medina Cassoulet

Cafe Medina Cassoulet

Cafe Medina waffles
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Tripadvisor led us to Medina Cafe in Vancouver where we headed for brunch, sampling their skillets full of tender meat and perfectly fried eggs.  Leaving just enough room for a single waffle for afters.  I had mine with salted caramel sauce (which I successfully dripped all down my white top) and the Mr gave their famous milk chocolate lavender sauce a go.  Don't be put off if you think you don't like floral flavoured things, I usually don't but that was delicious. 

My mum and I's favourite memories of the first visit to Canada, was Granville Island.  Sitting watching the locals wandering around, others dancing to the local buskers and us deciding what to eat from the endless stalls.  So of course, our trip to Vancouver wouldn't have been complete without a visit this time. I'm sure the food stalls have doubled, and everything looks even better than I'd remembered.  We must have walked round that market for a good hour before we finally settled on what to have for our lunch. Although I must admit, after much uhming and ahhing we gave in and had hotdogs..., still, they were damn good hotdogs.  And just look at the colours of all that fruit and veg, if that isn't going to inspire you to cook with fresh ingredients then what would? 

Granville Island - berries

Granville Island - fruit and veg

Granville Island - fruit

I could write endlessly about the food we ate, but instead I think I'll let the photos do the talking, and the mouths do the dribbling.  And if you're planning on heading over there anytime soon, let me know and I'm sure I'll be able to point you in the direction of the best cake, the biggest portion of calamari, and the place where you get a whole loaf of bread as a starter! If you like you're food, then I'd highly recommend a trip to Canada.

Wild Tale Coastal Grill

Wild Tale Coastal Grill

Famoso Pizza - Jasper

Burgoo Bistro - Nachos

Burgoos Bistro - Grilled Chees

Purebread Whistler

Purebread Whistler

Purebread Whistler


Wednesday, 19 July 2017

a canadian adventure

Clearwater Lake - Canada

Mout Falls Canada

Sasquatch Zipwire - Whistler

I went to Canada when I was 15 with my parents, as a moody teenager I was completely unimpressed with all the views we had to stop and look at every 5 minutes, and was resentful about being away for 3 weeks during the summer holidays.  So I never thought I would do pretty much exactly the same holiday 16 years later.  But after watching Victoria and Carly’s vlogs from their trips over there, it jumped to the top of my bucket list (can you call it a bucket list when you’ve done it before?).  For the last few years, all I’ve wanted from a holiday is sun, beautiful beaches and a week chilling out on a sun lounger, and as appealing as that still always is, and always will be, this year I wanted a bit more adventure.

It might sound cheesy, and I’m sure most people would roll their eyes at this, but since becoming fitter and more active, I actually want to spend holidays being more active too.  I’m not rushing to go to the gym every day, or set out on long runs, but just being out and about doing stuff rather than spending 8 hours a day topping up my tan and sipping on cocktails.  Obviously, I always still want to enjoy or drink or two, but it’s even more satisfying after a day’s exploring, and Canada gave us the perfect opportunity to do just that.

So I basically just recreated Victoria and Carly’sTrek America’ trip, only without the camping, because me and tents do not get along.  We copied their route (only the other way round) and booked various accommodation from swanky hotels (we nabbed a good deal) to a tiny little wooden cottage. We hired a car to get us through the rockies, and emptied our bank balances on all the activities.  While we spent a small fortune, it was definitely the holiday of a lifetime, and I would encourage anyone to do the same trip, it was incredible!!

And all that activity meant I could eat all of the great food over there, but more on that later, I’m thinking a whole post dedicated to the pretty epic food I ate, turns out Canadian’s portions are as big as Americans.

We started our trip in Banff, luggage free as Air France had kindly left our cases in Paris, so spent our first morning in GAP buying 'essentials' and discovering their GapBody knickers are the softest underwear I've ever owned.  Feeling much more refreshed after a shower and a set of clean clothes, we headed up the gondola and admired the views, our first real sights of the Canadian rockies.

Banff, Canada

Canoeing Lake Louise

Still fighting jet leg, we were up early day 2 and made it to Lake Louise before the rest of the tourists arrived.  This meant we had the place virtually to ourselves and got out on a canoe with no-one else to ruin our photos.  And a wrong turn on the way back to our hotel took us the 'scenic' route, where we saw two black bears cross the road in front of us, literally 2 feet away from the car, amazing!
 
From Banff we made our way to Jasper, stopping at the Athabasca Glacier.  One thing I did remember from my trip when I was 15 was that it was cold up there, I remember my dad's pasty white legs as he shivered in shorts, so we wrapped up and still barely managed the full half hour out on the ice.  

With a day of pouring rain, and not much else to do in Jasper other than hike, we hibernated in our log cabin and ate cake for the day before moving on to Clearwater.

Bear Lodge, Jasper
Athabasca Glacier

Clearwater Lake

Whitewater rafting - Clearwater

We stayed in Clearwater because it was close to Wells Gray National Park and a good stop off point between Jasper and Whistler.  While the town isn't worth writing home about, our B&B was.  It was set right on the lake, where you could wander down to the waterfront, go for a swim with the turtles (yes, really!) or take the boats out for a paddle it was truly idyllic.  I could quite happily have stayed here for a week, but we made the most of our time and squeezed in waterfalls, white water rafting and more canoeing. 

From Clearwater we drove to Whistler, oh Whistler! I loved it here, a quaint little town centre which is fully pedestrianised, surrounded by outdoorsy shops, restaurants and art galleries.  Everyone in Whistler looks healthy, all clad in lycra and trainers, ready to go for a run or hire a bike.  The town is set up for activity, there's so much to do.  In Summer mountain biking is hugely popular, and there's the incredible peak to peak gondola, and not forgetting the Sasquatch zipwire, the longest zipwire in Canada and all of the USA, at a mere 2km, where you travel up to 70mph.  Yes I did do it, yes I was shitting myself, and yes I'd do it all over again, it was amazing.  

Whistler

Peak 2 Peak Gondola Whister

Cake, Whistler

Sasquatch Zipwire - Whistler

From Whistler we then moved to our last stop of the holiday, Vancouver.  With 4 nights here we had plenty of time to explore, shop (at last!) and eat. We cycled round Stanley Park, ate tacos on the waterfront, and walked across the Capilano suspension bridge.  We drooled over all the food at Granville island, went shopping in Gastown and discovered Coffee Crisps, my new favourite chocolate bar.

Capilano Tree Top Trek

Vancouver waterside


Granville Island

Stanley Park, Vancouver

Granville Island

And that was it, our 2 week whirlwind tour was over.  Definitely, the best holiday I've had, I'm pleased to say I appreciated it much more than I did when I was 15, and I've even come home feeling even more inspired to lead a healthy life, the Canadian's know how to do it.

So, now I need to start planning the next holiday, any destination suggestions?

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