the next town I lived in for longer than a couple months was Vancouver, British Columbia. This was the first time ever I was farther away from my family than just a couple of hours drive and my first flight ever.
Due to the special school I went too I had the change to take 5 months off during the summer and do something I really wanted to do. I wanted to improve myself and be more confident to speak better English and use more words than the regular ones. I decided to find a family who hosts me and show me around. I ended up finalizing my stay with a family in Vancouver.
Believe me the thought of taking a plane for the first time in my life and that alone and that far was the most horrifying moment in my life at that point. I left early morning in Vienna and arrived at the Airport in the afternoon. Flying for a total of 14 hours was crazy but I felt more comfortable than driving a car on my own.
Vancouver was a total new experience for me and it was a pleasant surprise because until then I only knew Vienna, Salzburg and Munich as bigger cities but always had the feeling they were too small and dirty. In Vancouver it was different, I felt free and I never felt disgusted by the dirt because it was cleaner. Being their was a big adventure for me and I saw so many new places and did meet many more people.
Daytrips in Vancouer:
During my 5 months with the family I took many day trips, one weekend trip, enjoyed Canadian holidays, traditional food and normal activities. The family had 3 kids and all of the summer time off. With them I spend some time at the local pool or at church on Sunday. I have never been a church goer but this particular one had a young pastor and he brought something new. We had a lot of fun together, I learned the kids how to swim and together we learned how to sing songs and many more things.
On some days I met some other girls, I did meet them online, and we did things together. In the city it was really easy to get around because the bus system is really well developed as well as the sky train schedule. It was easy to figure out how to use it and I never had a problem with a dirty seat.
My first trip brought me to Granville Island and its famous public market. The first time I did read about it I was fascinated because of how they filled up two sandbanks and created the island. During my time there the public market was the thing I wanted to see. But what I didn’t expect that it has much more to offer like shopping streets and galleries.
I also was a regular visitor of the Chinatown and Gastown neighborhood. Chinatown was my number one thing when I was looking for souvenirs and little presents for my family back home. I loved to go for a stroll in Dr. Sun Yat-Sen´s classical Chinese gardens, here the main park is free and open to the public, on the other hand the garden inside it is with costs. In Gastown I loved to walk up and down water street because here the old with the new is combined perfectly. You can find old lampposts, as well as the steam clock and cobblestones. Back then some of it got renovated and I wasn’t able to see everything but it is on my bucket list to visit it soon again. When we went out for lunch together we always ended up here to grab a bite or get something to drink. Before I returned home I went shopping in Gastown to get some traditional Canadian things for my family back home for example maple cookies, aboriginal art and teddy bears in Mountie gears.
My most favorite place to visit was the coal harbor, even it is right in Downtown it was never really busy and always calm and quiet. I love the ocean and the smell of the ocean in the wind. Besides running watching the waves makes me relax and calm down.
Sightseeing in and around!
More day trips did bring me to the Capilano Suspension Bridge, the Vancouver Aquarium or to the Fort Langley national historic side. All of them were amazing to see and to discover. It took me guts to take the first step onto the bridge but I did it and was proud of myself afterwards.
During my time in the cleanest city I did take 2 big trips with the family one time we went to a beach on the river, which I don’t know the name off for a couple of days and the second one was a trip to Vancouver Island with the families camper. Both I loved and enjoyed a lot.
During my time their I also had the change to see the international celebration of light festival. In 2007 they had three contributors Spain, China and Canada, and Canada one. The show always took place in the English bay and on 4 different days which on 3 days every country had a firework and on day 4 was the announcement of the winner and a special show. So far the country with the most wins is Spain.
Hiking is big in Vancouver!
With the family and some friends of them I went on many hikes and I discovered the joy of geocaching. One of the trips that will always be in my head was the trip to “the kettle valley railway” hiking trail. Why? Because the trail does use old railway tunnels and trails. I had a long time to discover all the sights but I´m sure if you only have a long weekend you can cover most of them.
Who had the chance to discover Vancouver? And see all what it has to offer?