Celebrating 30 years in 15 days–Day 1: Vancouver

Steve and I are in the midst of a 15-day trip to Canada and Alaska in celebration of our 30th wedding anniversary.  So far Steve has taken 782 pictures.  I promise I won’t post them all, but I will share a few of my favorites. 

We began our trip last Thursday by flying to Vancouver, Canada, by way of Chicago.  I’ve heard horrors stories about O’Hare; however, our experience was wonderful.  We arrived 30 minutes ahead of schedule and more than our hour before boarding began for our flight to Vancouver.  We had plenty of time for the short walk to the gate and to get some breakfast.  We arrived in Vancouver shortly before noon local time.  We had a bit more than 24 hours to explore Vancouver before boarding the cruise ship that would take us to Alaska.

Vancouver skyline from our hotel room window

Vancouver is a beautiful city, with a mix of hundred-year old buildings and new, modern skyscrapers.  The city is very clean, and they take their recycling seriously.  Steve got fussed at for not properly deciphering the instructions on a series of recycling bins at the McDonald’s where we ate breakfast Friday.

After checking into the hotel, we ate lunch at an authentic Irish pub a block from our hotel, and then bought a pass for a “hop on, hop off” bus tour around the city.  Because we bought our ticket late in the afternoon, we were allowed to use it the following day.  We stayed on the bus for both of its routes Thursday, and on Friday we took the bus to Stanley Park.

River Walk at Stanley Park, Vancouver, Canada

We hopped off at the first stop in Stanley Park intending to spend 30 minutes exploring the area before hopping back on and riding to the next stop.  Things do not go as planned.  We walked about half a mile downhill to visit Beaver Lake, then we decided that we did not want to walk back up the hill to catch the bus. Rather we decided to walk to the next stop.  Thirty minutes later with the stop nowhere in sight, we realized that our reasoning had been faulty.  We  eventually made it to the stop, having walked about 3 miles through the park. 

3 nurse trees growing from one stump, Stanley Park

Stanley Park is beautiful, and I highly recommend spending time there if you have an opportunity to visit Vancouver.  We were particularly intrigued by the nurse trees which root themselves in dead tree stumps.

Our hotel was located next to Canada Place where the 2010 Winter Olympics medals were handed out and about 2 blocks from the Olympic cauldron.  We visited the site and made a quick trip to the Canadian Mountie store before boarding the ship.

 

Olympic cauldron
 
 

Canadian Mountie store

We were off for our Alaskan adventure! 

 

Daylight Savings Time, Spring, and My Top Ten Vacation Dreams

Daylight savings time arrived Sunday morning, bringing with it the promise of spring, longer days, and thoughts of vacation.  For many years I lived hundreds of miles from my family, and my greatest wish for a vacation was to come back to beautiful Virginia and visit my family.  I looked forward to spending time with my parents, my seven siblings, and my many nieces and nephews. 

Ten years ago we moved back to Virginia.  I get to see my parents every Sunday at church and often once or twice during the week.  Our children are grown and live nearby, and most of my siblings are within easy driving distance of us. I am so blessed to be able to see many of my siblings several times a year.  I love getting to watch their children grow up and participating in major events in their lives.

Another advantage of seeing family regularly is that vacation has now become an opportunity for Steve and I to go away by ourselves and experience new places.  We love the beach and warm weather.  Consequently, most of our vacations have been Caribbean cruises. This year, however, we will head in the opposite direction when we visit Alaska.  For many years, it has been my desire to see America’s wilderness frontier state, so this trip will be a dream come true.  We will definitely head for a warmer climate next year.

We are finding that our vacation appetite outweighs our vacation budget—monetarily and time wise.  We will never make it to all the great vacation places that we have read about.  So, I’ve decided to make a bucket list of the ten places I most want to visit.

1)      The Florida Keys—I can’t believe that we lived in Florida for twenty years and never visited the Keys.  It’s probably because Gainesville is 350 miles from Key West, and my heart was always longing for Virginia.

2)      The Grand Canyon—It would be a shame to live in America and never see one of God’s greatest creations.

3)      New England in the fall—We have close friends in Connecticut that we should visit.  I do believe we will get there in the not too distant future.

4)      Hawaii—Doesn’t everyone want to visit Hawaii?  When I was nine and my father was serving our nation in Vietnam, my parents considered having the rest of the family meet him in Hawaii when he took his R&R.  They decided against it, and Dad went to Sydney, Australia.  It would have been a great trip, but I probably wouldn’t have appreciated it like I would now.

5)      Sydney—I guess I’ve wanted to go Sydney ever since my father told us about his trip there.

6)      Jamaica—Jamaica was a port of call on our second cruise.  We had a wonderful time, and we’ve longed to go back and spend a week on this beautiful island.

7)      Seattle—I’ve had a warm spot in my heart for this city since I watched “Sleepless in Seattle.”  It’s still one of my favorite movies. 

8)      England—I think England is the ideal spot for one’s first visit to Europe. We speak their language, more or less, and many of Steve’s ancestors were British.  Until my father’s recent DNA test, I thought my ancestry was also British.  We haven’t discovered any British ancestors yet, but I still feel a bond to the nation that settled Virginia and most of the original colonies.

9)  St. Thomas—We have been there twice on cruises.  It is absolutely lovely. I would really enjoy spending a week on their many beautiful beaches.

10)  Alberta, Canada—I think my desire to visit Alberta stems from my I love of Neil Young’s version the song “Four Strong Winds.”  Alberta seems to embody the Canadian spirit, and I would love to see the Canadian Rockies.

So, that’s my top ten places I’d like to visit.  We may not get to all of them, but we’ll have a lot of fun trying.

 What are the places you would most like to visit?