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Visiting Vancouver? Check out the post I wrote for Round the World Experts, a specialist travel service by Flight Centre UK.
“With a picturesque oceanside location, fringed by emerald forests and mountain peaks, cosmopolitan Vancouver is high up on many travellers’ bucket lists. But with so many sights to see and activities to participate in, it’s sometimes hard to know where to start.
Here, Vancouverite Claus Gurumeta shares his insights on how to explore Vancouver as a local.”
This article was commissioned by Round the World Experts, a specialist travel service by Flight Centre UK.
All words and credited photos by Claus Gurumeta.
A few months ago, my good friend Erik Carlson, a real estate agent in Vancouver, interviewed me about my experience living in London England, vs my life in Vancouver Canada as part of his quarterly newsletter.
It’s a pretty nifty interview if I do say so myself, so I figured I’d share it with you!
Name: Claus Gurumeta
Where I Live Now: London, England, UK
My ‘Must-Do’ List:
- London has an impressive array of museums to satisfy everyone’s interests: from art (classic, modern, contemporary), to natural history, to historical jewels, weaponry, and fashion, you’ll find a museum in London. Most impressively, most museums are free of charge!
- Explore one of London’s many markets, whether it is the weekend markets in Brick Lane, or the daily markets of Brixton or Camden, they are a must-do!
- London’s pub-culture is impressive, with a multitude of different pubs anywhere you look. Definitely try out a few, and taste the local room-temperature ales for a change!
Insider Tips: If you plan to catch a musical in the West End, pre-buy your tickets to get the seats you want! Yes, you can sometimes buy discounted tickets on the day of the show, but you’ll end up with the worst seats in the house, and still pay for it. Also, don’t be afraid to walk off the main tourist areas and try a local pub for lunch (or for beers); there are so many great options around the city that there is no reason to stick to the tourist traps. If you see a recommendation in your Lonely Planet guidebook, do yourself a favour and skip it!
My Biggest Struggle Here: Shopping for specialty groceries. It is impressive, despite being such similar cultures, how hard it is to find certain ingredients which are easily found at home!
In Vancouver I Lived In:North Vancouver
What I Miss Most About Vancouver: Sushi! Other than Japan, every other destination I’ve ever lived in / visited disappoints when it comes to matching Vancouver’s amazing sushi.
Favorite Place(s) To Wine, And To Dine, In Vancouver: I really like Italian Kitchen on Alberni St for a nice dinner, but mostly you’d find me chowing down on cheap eats and some beers at The Fountainhead Pub on Davie St. On a summer day, nothing beats the patio at the Cactus Club on English Bay.
Where would YOU live if you had the opportunity to move abroad?
Last week my friend Samantha and I went on our first helicopter tour. The ride took us around Burrard Inlet, all the way along the coast of the North shore, before turning around and going all the way to UBC, and Jericho Beach, before flying over False Creek, circling the downtown core.
The experience was unbelievable, and the views of the city and the mountains on a clear summer day were outstanding! Here are some photos I took during the helicopter ride!
Helijet tours start at CDN$99 per person for the 10-minute tour, based on how many people are in your group. Standard for a couple is CDN$300 for both.
The Pacific National Exhibition fair is back in Vancouver at its usual home, in the grounds of Playland in East Vancouver.
The fair experienced some cut backs this year (the one I was most sad about wad the Pyrotechnic Spectacular nightly show, which was worth the entry price alone!). With these cutbacks, the fair is able to provide goers a 20% discount over last year’s prices, so you can now visit the fair for only CDN$16 (CDN$14 if you pre-buy online!).
The usual attractions are still intact, including the popular Superdogs, the hilarious pig races, as well as the breath-taking Peking Acrobats. The summer night concerts have a number of popular singers gracing the stage at night, and tribute bands also play at night.
You can also walk around the agricultural stages and take a look at the horses, cows, pigs and sheep (yes, that sort of stuff is interesting to city folk like myself!).
New this year is the Sportacular musical / sports show, which was very cool (especially the motorcycle tricks!), and the short but sweet 80’s Forever dance show. These shows combined don’t add up to the canceled Pyrotechnic Spectacular, but they are a great time.
The rotating exhibit this year is about Mongolia’s historic leader Genghis Khan; admission to the exhibit is CDN$3 per person. I found the exhibit to be quite interesting, showcasing a collection of artifacts and weapons that are centuries old.
If you want to go on the rides be prepared to spend extra as the rides are not included in this ticket (you can either pay for a few rides or get an all-in pass). Also, be prepared to spend quite a bit on food, as the usual suspects (wiggle chips, mini donuts, sno-cones, kettle corn, and cotton candy) can get a little pricey. Tip: Make sure to bring a water bottle to refill along the day, as even water costs CDN$4 at the park!
Check out the official website of the PNE to see what shows are playing when, so you can plan your trip to the PNE. Also, note that the park will be closed using both Mondays of the run of the PNE, to aid in the cost cutting.
The Sea to Sky Highway, which connects Vancouver to the resort town of Whistler, is one of the most scenic highways I’ve ever traveled.
The ride takes just over one hour since it was renovated for the Vancouver 2010 Winter Olympics, but there are plenty of view points that will allow drivers to stop and really take in all the scenery in.
A couple of the stops look out into the ocean and the gulf Islands, but my favourite stops include Shannon Falls, near the town of Squamish, and Brandywine Falls, which my friend Ryan and I only just discovered on our latest drive up!
Vancouver’s iconic urban Stanley Park turns 125 years. An oasis of calm bordering the downtown of the city, Stanley Park is bigger in area than New York City’s famous Central Park, and is one of Vancouver’s most popular attractions, with over eight million visitors per year!
Stanley Park is surrounded by a large portion of Vancouver’s famous Seawall. The park is also home to other popular attractions in Vancouver, including the Vancouver Aquarium; the summer outdoor theatre series Theatre Under the Stars; horse-drawn carriage tours, the Stanley Park Train (which hosts the Christmas Bright Nights and the Halloween Ghost Train), and the summer outdoor movie series Fresh Air Cinema.
The park also boasts three beaches and a public swimming pool, as well as plenty of gardens, open spaces, picnic spots, and trails.
Last weekend, Vancouver dressed up in rainbows to celebrate LGBT Pride once again. Vancouver’s Pride celebrated their 35th anniversary in the city, and this was by far the most incredible Pride I’ve ever been to. From the events leading up to the parade (my favourite being Picnic in the Park, the weekend prior), to the amazing 2013 parade, Vancouver Pride did not disappoint.
Here are some photos of the Pride parade itself, the Pride Marketplace and beer garden party at the end of the parade, as well as random displays of pride around Vancouver’s West End.
The 5th of August 2013 is British Columbia Day, a celebration of the province I live in. It really is simply an excuse to have a holiday (there are no special celebrations for the day). However, how about I share some photographs I’ve taken of the beautiful scenery from around my province?!
We’ve had beautiful sunsets all week long in Vancouver. One of my favourite sunset-watching spots is at English Bay, in downtown’s West End.
Yesterday I couldn’t resist the beauty of it, and ended up jumping in the water with my friend Steve. First time I swim in English Bay in YEARS… and it was amazing!
Spring is one of my favourite parts of the year, whether I am home or away. This year, Vancouver treated us to a dry, sunny and warm Spring that was very unseasonal (it has now started raining and gotten chillier, after two weeks of blissful weather).
During my breaks at work, I sometimes like going around for a walk around downtown Vancouver’s West End, and was able to get some beautiful shots of the area with cherry blossoms in full bloom!
Kitsilano, a neighbourhood located across False Creek south of Vancouver’s downtown core, is home to Vanier Park.
I only discovered Vanier Park in 2012, after returning from Australia (despite having lived in Vancouver for 14 years now!). I always saw the park across the harbour from Sunset Beach in downtown, but never actually made the track over.
As I took biking as a hobby last summer, I visited Vanier a few times over the summer, and got to really fall in love with it. While there isn’t a beach in Vainer Park, the park has a huge grass area perfect for playing sports, having picnics, or simply hanging out. The park also has amazing views of downtown Vancouver, and is home to some pretty cool museums, such as the Vancouver Space Centre, the Maritime Museum, and the Museum of Vancouver.
The park can easily be reached from downtown via a ferry from Yaletown right into the park, or by walking / biking along the False Creek seawall!
Below are some pictures I took during some of my adventures over to Vanier, so you can see why this park kind of stole my heart.
One of Vancouver’s top outdoor attractions is its famous Seawall. The best part of this attraction is that it is free and highly entertaining!
What started as a 7km walking / biking path around the perimeter of Stanley Park, has now extended to surround most of Downtown Vancouver, and extends from Canada Place, around the world-famous Stanley park, and all the way to the Southern neighbourhood of Kitsilano.
The 22km Seawall offers beautiful views of the waterfront and many different parts of the city, from the Central Business Area to fancy neighbourhoods, Vancouver’s chilled-out West End, parks and beaches. The scenery is so varied and beautiful, and can be enjoyed on walks, jogs, roller blades or bikes.