So after a few days of exploring Vancouver and Victoria via train, bus, ferry and bicycle we decided to hire a car for the next part of our journey. I have been driving for the past 7 years, where as Neil on the other hand passed his test 2 years ago and hasn't driven since, so naturally you'd think I'd be the one to drive, oh no not this time! We signed the car in Neil's name and he jumped in behind the steering wheel of 'The Grasshopper'. I must admit I did feel really sick when we were actually getting in the car. Yes, Neil is legally allowed to drive, but he hadn't driven for 2 years, we were in a different country where they drive on the opposite side of the road, the steering wheel is also on the opposite side and they have different road signs and rules. What were we thinking! Nevertheless after a couple of nervous glances and thinking 'Oh we are actually doing this, this is happening' Neil pulled off the car park and onto the busy city center streets. Well I survived to tell the tale... in fact Neil was really good and probably did a better job than I would have!
One of the main reasons for hiring the car was to make to most of the famous drive from Vancouver to Whistler, aptly named the Sea to Sky Highway. This is one of the most picturesque routes you could imagine, from sea views, to expansive lakes, waterfalls, mountains, and miles and miles of forest; it has it all.
Lions Gate Bridge
|Hard to keep your eyes on the road with scenery like that!|
Being a typical tourist and hoarder I pick up literally every map, guide and promotional leaflet when visiting places, and the one above came in handy for our journey up to Whistler. There are various points along the Sea to Sky Highway which you can stop off at and we chose to stretch our legs roughly half way into the journey at Shannon Falls, the third highest waterfall in British Columbia.
We reached Whistler and were served up a welcome meal by Neil's two Australian housemates, and enjoyed a relaxing evening with some beers after all that travelling.
Waking up in Whistler to glorious sunshine we headed out early as Neil wanted to show me Lost Lake, and you can see why...
Our first walk in Whistler, I hadn't even got down the road and I was already in love with the place. Afterwards Neil took me into Whistler Village, and I got the classic tourist photo with the Olympic Rings.
After a wander around the village, stopping for a coffee & a cake at Purebread where Neil worked part-time, we finished the day off relaxing by the pool.
The joys of renting the car meant we could venture a bit further than Neil normally would day to day and during a drive out we came across what turned out to be my favourite spot of the whole trip, Rainbow Park at Atla Lake.
We didn't stay for too long but agreed we would pop back at some point during my stay.
Neil went over to Canada to experience the skiing, so had spent most of his winter up Whistler Mountain and had always wanted to share the view up there with me and also take me on the Peak to Peak Gondola. So on one of the hottest days during my stay we headed up there to explore and we even managed to get a glimpse of some bears too, which was something I wanted to tick off my list!
|Experiencing 'Poutine' with one of the best views you could wish for!|
We stopped for lunch up the mountain and Neil had been banging on about 'Poutine', a simple Canadian dish which comprises on French Fries, Cheese Curds and Gravy, to be honest I didn't like the sound of it, but we had ours topped with Pulled Pork, and it was amazing! For me I definitely think the view added to the experience of Poutine, its probably one of the best views you could have whilst eating lunch.
After refueling we set off on a Black Trail Hike through 30 foot ice walls to the top of the mountain!
Now I'm not going to lie this hike was really tough, and there was various points during it where I didn't think it was worth it; every corner you turned there was another steep path and it seemed to go on forever; Neil pretty much had to drag me to the top, and I was so glad he did!
|This is one of my all time favourite photos on us!|
After recovering from our walk with an evening in the hot tub, the next day I was ready for another adventure.
**We headed to Cheakamus Lake stopping of at Brandy Wine Falls on the way capturing more glorious photos...
|King of the Woods|
We spent our final night together in Vancouver, staying at a hotel in Gastown which was a fantastic part of the city to explore. Wandering around the independent bars and shops there is a really young feel to that area of town and we found an amazing seafood restaurant for our last meal together. Rodney's Oyster House had a great atmosphere as soon as we walked in, and we were not disappointed by the food. Neil treated me to oysters to start, which he has done previously from a restaurant in Sheffield and too be honest I wasn't that fond of them then, but the oysters from Rodney's were something else. The taste and texture was incredible, so fresh, I could have eaten a whole tray of them! We both then went for the New England Chowder and the Scallop & Prawn Pasta. Completely over facing ourselves, we headed/rolled back to the hotel!
Well after two blissful weeks it was time to say another heartbreaking goodbye to my Geordie man and head back to reality.
Things I loved...
-Location: Rainbow Park, Alta Lake
-Activity: Wild Swimming
-Food: Oyster's || Rodney's Oyster House
-Photo: Peak of Whistler Mountain
-Moment: Scandinavian Spa