Vancouvering All Over the Place

I was flabbergasted by the saran wrapped toilet seats at O’Hare. I wish EVERYWHERE had them!

So I already shared with you my wicked awesome packing skills and my dorky photo shoot of what I wore while I was in Vancouver. Now it’s time to talk about what I actually DID while I was there. Well, besides my work conference because that’s not very interesting to people outside of my industry.

Since the flights were so long (about 8 hours total) I arrived in Vancouver on Tuesday before the conference actually started. I stayed at the Sheraton Vancouver Wall Centre (1088 Burrard Street) right in downtown Vancouver. The hotel was gorgeous and I was pretty excited about having a room ALL TO MYSELF. Oh, and also a teeny bit apprehensive because I had never been away from Jack for four whole days before.

Living LARGE people.

I was exhausted by time I finally made my way to my hotel late Tuesday afternoon, so I just went out for sushi (Kamei Royale) and returned to my room for some much needed ‘me’ time. I squished myself into my big bed with FOUR fluffy pillows, caught up on my online life and finished reading the book that I started on the plane. The time difference was 3 hours, so I had to struggle to keep myself awake so I wouldn’t be up at the crack of dawn in the morning.

I had Wednesday free to explore until I had to check in for the conference at 3:00, so I started my day with a trip to Tim Hortons. I wasn’t really sure what I was supposed to order while I was there, so I went with the Canadian Maple doughnut and a regular coffee. I mean, I was in CANADA so a Canadian Maple doughnut makes sense, right?*

tim hortonsAfter scarfing my doughnut and coffee, I continued down Granville Street in search of the shopping. I passed lots of ‘cool kids shops’ and record stores and generally just felt very old. There were a couple stores I stopped in, but nothing exciting. I walked and walked and walked some more and eventually ended up in an area called Gastown.

I LOVED Gastown. There were all sorts of adorable little shops and restaurants. I picked up a Vancouver t-shirt for my husband (it’s a tradition that I always buy him a souvenir t-shirt when I travel) and a cute little stuffed moose wearing a Vancouver hoodie for Jack.

You can see one of the snazzy Gastown lights behind me in this picture.
fun IS awful
Apparently, in Gastown, fun is awful. Or maybe the band “fun.” is awful? I’m not quite sure…

bird pinEveryone was ridiculously nice and I ended up chatting with a bunch of shop workers/owners. One of my favorites was Casey, the co-owner of Meadow. Not only did I want to pack up EVERYTHING in that store to bring it home with me, I want her to be one of my new besties (and her 2 ½ year old twin sons can be Jack’s posse)!

I couldn’t leave without buying a necklace (made by either Casey or her sister) and a fantastic bird pin created by a Canadian artist named Genevieve Jodouin. After shopping up an appetite, I ate probably the best pulled pork sandwich I’ve ever had at a pub called Steamworks. And believe me; I’ve had A LOT of pulled pork sandwiches. So. Good.

I made my way back to the hotel just in time to change into my nice clothes for my conference activities. Once the last event was over, I ran back to my room to throw on some jeans and run back out to try my very first taste of poutine. According to Yelp, Fritz was the best poutine place around so I grabbed a small order and hoofed it back to my hotel.

Here’s my first bite.

first taste photo strip

I liked it, but I can’t say I LOVED it.*

After my lackluster poutine experience, I spent another night reveling in having the bed to myself and woke up bright and early Thursday morning. I was in the conference from 7am – 5pm, but as soon as it was over I did a quick change and went back out for a last chance shopping trip. I had heard that Robson Street was the place to go, so I walked a few blocks and picked up some treats for myself at a few Canada-only stores. I ended up with another t-shirt for my main man, 2 tops for myself, a pretty scarf and a cute heart necklace that broke before I could even wear it (it’s fixable though, I just need to get to a craft store).

I wasn’t super hungry, so I decided to give poutine another try. I stopped by Yelp’s #2 place, called Mean Poutine. The lady who worked in the tiny little shop was a total sweetheart (I didn’t get her name) and we chatted for a good 15 minutes while she cooked me up my batch. Once again, I retreated to my room so I could throw on some fat-pants (aka pajamas) and stuff my face.

And stuff my face I did.

Excuse me kind stranger, would you mind taking a picture of me kissing this horse?

Holy WOW. Now THIS is what I was expecting! Hot fries, peppery gravy and gooey cheese curds!*** I ate the ENTIRE thing, washed down with a root beer and then spent the next few hours feeling like I might explode. Totally worth it though. Even though I still have no idea how the heck a cheese curd is supposed to squeak…

It’s a good thing I carbo loaded, because Friday was the day from hell. I had my last conference sessions in the morning and then packed up to leave my hotel at 11:30. Between the taxi ride, security/customs, waiting for my flight, my layover, a plane delay, my last flight, the shuttle to my car and my drive home… it took me until 2:30 am to get home. Thank goodness Jack decided to let me sleep until 9:30 (Travis had to work), so I wasn’t too much of a zombie over the weekend.vancouver checklist

I really enjoyed the trip and love that I had the opportunity to do a little exploring around my work conference.

It is especially nice to have the fun of visiting someplace new without putting out much money (since work paid for my transportation, hotel and most food).

fountainSo how about you – are you a fan of poutine? Have you done any fun sightseeing while on a work trip to someplace new? Don’t you think the saran wrapped toilets at O’Hare are the best things ever?

* Fun Fact: even though you are IN Canada, they don’t know what you mean if you order a “maple” donut. You must call it by its full name of “Canadian Maple.” I don’t know why I found this hilarious, but I totally did and made an idiot of myself by laughing for WAY too long.

** Dear poutine lovers: don’t freak out on me yet, I’m going to try it again in another couple paragraphs.

*** I still don’t really know the difference between cheese and a cheese curd. I kinda don’t want to google it in case it’s something gross…

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