Vancouver and Whistler Trip {Part I}

Here I am, blogging about our Christmas trip, when we just celebrated Valentine’s Day. This morning, I received an email from Pottery Barn Kids about getting ready for Easter. Geez…since when are we expected to think and plan for holidays months in advance?

For Christmas, our little family of 3 took a trip to Vancouver and Whistler. I had been pondering for months on where we’d go while my sister and Brianne flew back to Hong Kong to visit family and friends. It needed to be family-oriented, yet be exciting enough for my adrenaline junkie husband. I finally decided on Whistler because it was a destination that Alan and I had longed to ski/snowboard in for years, and after more research, it appeared to be a very kids-friendly location as well. Since we had a good week, I decided to tag on a quick stay in Vancouver, because Alan and I had traveled there in previous years and absolutely loved the HK style food there. 🙂

Christmas and New Years is probably one of the most expensive times to travel during the year. To offset the ridiculously pricey hotel rates, we chose to fly on Christmas and New Years day, which is significantly cheaper and much less crowded. Including our layover in Seattle, it took about 5 hours to get from from SFO to YVR.

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Reindeer ears in tact, we're ready for our trip!
Reindeer ears in tact, we’re ready for our trip!

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Pilot gave her a little gift for her "great X'mas spirit" when she popped in to wish him a merry christmas :)
Pilot gave her a little gift for her “great X’mas spirit” when she popped in to wish him a merry christmas 🙂

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One minute they were snacking and engaged with their iPads. Next minute, they were OUT!
One minute they were snacking and engaged with their iPads. Next minute, they were OUT!
A great activity set for road trips to keep Bridgette entertained
A great activity set for road trips to keep Bridgette entertained
Our little helper. She's a savvy traveler by now and knows just what to do to help mommy and daddy!
Our little helper. She’s a savvy traveler by now and knows just what to do to help mommy and daddy!

We rented a car in Vancouver and our first night was spent in their Richmond area, which is where all the Hong Kong style restaurants and malls were centralized at. We stayed at the River Rock Hotel and delightfully scored an unexpected upgrade to one of their spacious suites. That night, I had made reservations for us to indulge in our favorite Alaskan King Crab at Sun Shui Wah restaurant. A fulfilling Christmas dinner it was! 🙂

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Spacious suite at the River Rock hotel
Spacious suite at the River Rock hotel

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The next morning, we hit the food courts in Richmond for more yummy food and just took it easy there for most of the day. In the late afternoon, we drove to VanDusen Botanical Garden to walk through their renown Festival of Lights. (Hint: Purchasing tickets online beforehand allowed us to skip the lines when we arrived!)

The garden was transformed into a magical wonderland, with colorful twinkle lights everywhere! We were mesmerized with the beauty, despite the bone-chilling weather. Bridgette loved walking through the garden, but her favorite parts were the hot chocolate, and a magician show that we stumbled upon on our way out.

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We stayed in North Vancouver the second and third nights, at the Pinnacle Hotel right by the Pier. It was a really pretty urban hotel, with nice views of the harbor.

Gingerbread cookies for grab while checking into the hotel
Gingerbread cookies for grab while checking into the hotel

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Enjoying the harbor view from our balcony
Enjoying the harbor view from our balcony

We slept in on our third day there and were famished when we woke up. We walked to the nearby Lonsdale Quay Market (their version of our Ferry Building here in San Francisco) and enjoyed a nice lunch of pot pies and nachos. After lunch, we wanted to hang out by the water, but ended up strolling inside the market looking for souvenirs and ice wine because it was just too cold to be outside.

DSC_3165yvr4yvr5DSC_3158yvr6In the afternoon, we braved the rain and cold and took Bridgette to one of my favorite Vancouver landmarks–the Capilano Suspension Bridge.

DSC_3168yvr7DSC_3180yvr8Bridgette was in awe after learning that the suspension bridge could hold 96 elephants, amongst other interesting facts. Part of the greatness of being around children is their never ending curiosity. It also makes us, as parents, realize how much we don’t know, and I’m grateful for Wikipedia and the Internet every time I get stumped on a question like “Well mommy, how much do you think 96 elephants together would weigh?”

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Measuring herself against an eagle’s wings

yvr9The sun was setting as we crossed the bridge, so the sky had darkened by the time we made it to the other side. It looked even more magnificent in the twilight though, with lots of twinkle lights on the bridge and all around us.

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More to come in Part II…

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