Two Longnecks: Travel to Canada, Eh?

For my birthday, I decided that since we had just visited our neighbors to the south of us for our anniversary, in Mexico, we should visit our neighbors to the north of us, in Canada!  The husband was fully on board.  I booked our flights and then he took over the reigns of planning.

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So he puts together this folder….complete with a maple leaf on the front.  And I’m told not to look at it.  Well, I can look at it, just not inside.
As we left for our trip, he actually forgot the folder and we had to double back around.

Vancouver, Canada, is spectacular!  Not a speck of trash or litter on the streets, very polite people and it doesn’t get dark until 10pm, in the summertime.

There were four main highlights to this trip that I’d love to gush over and thank my better half for organizing.

#1. The Opus Hotel, Vancouver:
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This little slice of heaven was so clean and friendly. On the last leg of our trip, they upgraded us to a corner suite, that was so nice and comfortable we literally felt we could live there.  We ordered room service on our last night just to spend more time enjoying our suite.

The Opus Hotel offers a free bike rental service to its guests, so that you may ride around enjoying the city.  The bike paths are large and created with the cyclist in mind.  We would love to bike around LA, but it’s so congested and not really bike-friendly in many areas.  This was a complete 180 from that and you could tell the city put a lot of thought into making the streets and pathways safer for the two-wheeled rider…..which leads to my 2nd favorite…

#2. Cycling Around Vancouver, Canada, on my birthday

On my actual birthday, we borrowed two bikes and helmets from The Opus and set off to cycle around False Creek and over to Granville Island.

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We spent a few hours at the Telus World of Science….

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Where we enjoyed a great dinosaur exhibit and a variety of brain games that Jesse didn’t want to stop playing.

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Driving on the bike paths to Granville Island, it’s inspiring to see how much the city embraces all types of art and has it displayed proudly.

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Granville Island, itself, is a hub of artist activity.  It boasts dozens of artist studios and shops as well as an art and design college.  Jesse was astounded that this artist community was not only so expansive, but thriving.  We secured our bikes and toured the local restaurants, shops and the Granville Island Public Market.

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#3. Touring Victoria, Canada, and Buchart Gardens

In the middle of our trip to Vancouver, Jesse decided to schedule a mini-trip to Victoria, Canada, located on Vancouver Island, a 1.5 hour ferry ride away.  He booked our land and water travel and even included a tour of Buchart Gardens.

As soon as we docked from the ferry, our tour bus took us over to the gardens, which we have declared the BEST botanical garden either of us has seen before.

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We spent two hours touring row after row of exotic flowers.

Once we left there, we had a short ride over to Victoria, Canada, where the British Columbia Parliament Buildings reside.

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We grabbed a water taxi and headed over to our hotel, The Delta.

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Victoria, Canada, has so much to offer and see.  It has the oldest Chinatown in Canadian history.

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It has Fan Tan Alley, the most narrow street in all of Canada.

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And Fisherman’s Wharf, which is an eclectic sea village, where the homes are as amusing as the owners.

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There is the Empress Hotel, which is one of the first magnificent structures you see upon arrival.

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“…the Empress is an exquisite throwback to the days when Great Britain ruled the waves. The hotel serves afternoon tea in the Lobby to over 800 visitors a day.”

Our last day in Victoria, Canada, we toured Craigdarroch Castle.

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Craigdarroch Castle is a definitively Victorian experience. It is a shining example of a “bonanza castle” — massive houses built for entrepreneurs who became wealthy during the industrial age. In this case, the industrialist was Robert Dunsmuir, a Scottish immigrant who made his fortune from Vancouver Island coal.  This legendary Victorian mansion, built between 1887 and 1890 on a hill overlooking the City of Victoria, announced to the world that Robert Dunsmuir was the richest and most important man in Western Canada.”

#4. Capilano Suspension Bridge, on our last day and the only “proper” Vancouver day…as it FINALLY rained.

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So due to the light drizzle, we all got to wear these swell yellow ponchos.  Also, the number of tourists, who would normally overtake the rainforest, barely made an impact on our visit.

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And if you get your Capilano Visitor’s Map stamped in 6 different areas of the park, you get an I Made It certificate.

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If there’s a certificate…I need it.

I must applaud my husband on a job well done and a birthday trip to remember!  There is so much to do in Canada, that we have already decided we need to go back.  Vancouver has such an assortment of parks and gardens and museums….you just cannot see it all in one trip.  Lucky for the LA peeps, the flight to Vancouver is only 2 hours and 50 minutes from LAX.

Pat Duncan, 1923 – 2015

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Thank you for coming into my grandmother’s life and making her world a happier, more fulfilling place.

WWII Veteran, Pearl Harbor Survivor, Hero.
RIP, Grandpa Pat.

This week in #beachwoodcanyonlife

MONDAY

07.06.2015A

TUESDAY

07.07.2015C

WEDNESDAY

07.08.2015B

THURSDAY

07.09.2015E

FRIDAY

07.10.2015C

To read how my #beachwoodcanyonlife project came about: click here

To look at last week’s highlights: click here

To see my daily post of #beachwoodcanyonlife, follow me on instagram @giant_ginger_giraffe

This week in #beachwoodcanyonlife

MONDAY

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TUESDAY

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WEDNESDAY

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THURSDAY

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FRIDAY

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To read how my #beachwoodcanyonlife project came about: click here

To look at last week’s highlights: click here

To see my daily post of #beachwoodcanyonlife, follow me on instagram @giant_ginger_giraffe

This week in #beachwoodcanyonlife

MONDAY

06.22.2015B

TUESDAY

06.23.2015E

WEDNESDAY

06.24.2015D

THURSDAY

06.25.2015D

FRIDAY

06.26.2015E

To read how my #beachwoodcanyonlife project came about: click here

To look at last week’s highlights: click here

To see my daily post of #beachwoodcanyonlife, follow me on instagram @giant_ginger_giraffe

This week in #beachwoodcanyonlife

I can’t believe I just hit the 10 month mark in this project!
Two months to go!

MONDAY

06.15.2015E

TUESDAY

06.16.2015C

WEDNESDAY

06.17.2015C

THURSDAY

06.18.2015B

FRIDAY

06.19.2015D

To read how my #beachwoodcanyonlife project came about: click here

To look at last week’s highlights: click here

To see my daily post of #beachwoodcanyonlife, follow me on instagram @giant_ginger_giraffe

Two Longnecks Travel to AFRICA: Day 9, Falling in Love with Rwanda

Rwanda is beautiful, breath taking and surprising in its lush expanse.
While we drove the 2.5 hours from from the airport to Virunga Lodge, we saw plant life to rival what we experienced back in Kauai, HI.

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It is known as The Land of 1000 Hills and it is a vast array of peaks, dips and volcanoes.  There are eight volcanoes within this country, six dormant and two active.

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From our lodge, we could gaze upon a volcano to one side…

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…and twin lakes, Burera and Ruhondo, on the other side.

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These two lakes are separated by a small strip of land.  And the lakes are at different levels, so one looks lower than the other.

We were placed in the Bulera Bungalow, with an awe inspiring view and charming accommodations.

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We were touring the grounds when we started to hear a drum beat at the far side of the lodge.

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Local tribal dancers perform for the guests at the lodge…to much applause!

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Once the last dance commenced, all of the dancers came and took the hands of the guests and lead them out to the field to dance with abandon to the beating drums and singing voices.

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I won’t say that I danced pretty because I didn’t.  I bounced and flailed and laughed along with the lovely girl who was dancing and laughing with me.  I felt truly lucky in that moment.  Lucky to travel to the top of my bucket list, Africa.  Lucky to appreciate the mystery and beauty that is Rwanda.  Lucky enough to smile and talk with these kids who do not have the means to visit and dance in my own country.

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Once the dancing was over, Jesse sketched one of the drummers, while I passed out bright rubber bracelets and tiny toy airplanes to the dancers and the village children who were watching the performance.  The gratitude for a simple trinket made the distribution of them anything but simple.  I wish I had more….

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That evening, we dined family style. We ate alongside several other travelers and heard about their recent journeys and met those that would be gorilla trekking with us in the morning.

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We headed back to our bungalow and went to bed early….the next day was New Year’s Eve and we would be trekking to observe the endangered mountain gorillas.

Rwanda was the country that called loudest to my heart and being there was indescribable.

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 In case you missed:
Day 8 Day 7 Day 6 Day 5 / Day 4 
Day 3 / Day 2 / Day 1

This week in #beachwoodcanyonlife

MONDAY

06.08.2015D

TUESDAY

06.09.2015D

WEDNESDAY

06.10.2015A

THURSDAY

06.11.2015D

FRIDAY

06.12.2015E

To read how my #beachwoodcanyonlife project came about: click here

To look at last week’s highlights: click here

To see my daily post of #beachwoodcanyonlife, follow me on instagram @giant_ginger_giraffe

This week in #beachwoodcanyonlife

MONDAY

06.01.2015A

TUESDAY

06.02.2015D

WEDNESDAY

06.03.2015C

THURSDAY

06.04.2015D

FRIDAY

06.05.2015D

To read how my #beachwoodcanyonlife project came about: click here

To look at last week’s highlights: click here

To see my daily post of #beachwoodcanyonlife, follow me on instagram @giant_ginger_giraffe

This week in #beachwoodcanyonlife

MONDAY – Memorial Day was spent in Fawnskin (Big Bear) enjoying the comforts of
the Inn at Fawnskin.

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TUESDAY

05.26.2015E

WEDNESDAY

05.27.2015E

THURSDAY

05.28.2015D

FRIDAY

05.29.2015C

To read how my #beachwoodcanyonlife project came about: click here

To look at last week’s highlights: click here

To see my daily post of #beachwoodcanyonlife, follow me on instagram @giant_ginger_giraffe