sea, sky, and vancouver, redux

sky, originally uploaded by mintyfresh.

Today we hop on a plane and head back home to Ontario from the beautiful, mostly sunny shores of British Columbia.

We've spent the last five days here taking stock, relaxing, and trying to get a feel for the city, and the results have been good! We've spent our time with the cute little Moda Hotel as our home base, and barring some crazy loud bus traffic, it's super cute (and super-affordable, too!).

Our first night here we hooked up with friends Andrea, Mel, and Kevin for dinner at Plan B, and had a great time (and some delish eats). Friday we spent loads of time over at Granville Island, home of Emily Carr University, and I gushed over the beautiful stuff at Maiwa Supply, the delicious food at Granville Market, and the adorable and convenient aquabus that ferried us from Yaletown to Granville and back. We also checked out the west end of the city - sort of a Centretown meets Rue St. Catherine a la Robson/Denman/Davie St..

Saturday we were out and about - we hopped into our snazzy red mini from Zipcar, and drove on up into the mountains - Grouse Mountain, Capilano Forest, and up to Squamish on the sea-to-sky highway. I had no idea how pretty the mountains would be, or how easily I'd fall back in love with being by the water all the time. Vancouver is just so ... pretty. All the time! Even when it's raining and grey and makes your teeth chatter.

We've walked through South Granville, SoMa, driven halfway into Kitsilano until our zipcar got a flat, we've sat on Sunset Beach to watch the sunset, hung out on English Bay after dark, tried BC Spot Prawns (yum!), eaten the best Caribbean food (jerk tofu!) at The Reef, and ran out of fingers to count the local coffeeshops on. We've seen cruiseships in port, watched captive grizzly bears chase each other around pens, stood in summer shoes and sleeveless shirts in ten feet of snow, and generally had a fantastic time.

My favourite souvenier is a hand-carved printing block from Maiwa that I'm bringing home. Handcarved by printmakers in India, this block is going to have a prized spot amid my screens and paint and bolts of fabric. I can't wait to try it out!

There has, of course, been a ton of other stuff, but this covers the basics. In a lot of ways, Vancouver reminds me of home - salty air, boats, bridges - but in lots of others it's totally foreign. I can't wait to get back and explore again!