Ask anyone from Vancouver, there’s no denying the character of Gastown. And part of it’s charming allure are the businesses that call in home. In particular, a little restaurant in the heart of it, L’Abattoir. Translated to english, L’abattoir means slaughterhouse. Not the most inviting name for somewhere you want to eat, but what most people don’t know at first glance is that the exotic name pays hommage to the area’s colourful history. The restaurant is located right next to Gastown’s famous Blood Alley, the street got it’s name from when butchers used to gather and sell their fresh cuts there, at the end of the day they would wash their hands off in the streets
which would result in a stream of blood tainted water running down the gullies. Although the menu at L’Abattoir does contain a hefty amount of meat dishes, there’s something there for everyone. May I be so bold as to recommend the BBQ Squash, dear god is that tasty and worth every penny!
Another lure to this hidden restaurant is the dual atmosphere it provides. Down below, where you first walk in is their bar seating. On any given night you can find a lively bunch of strangers all drinking together, enjoying happy hour drinks and appies. But if you want a more formal setting there is a dining room that overlooks the bar, far enough away to be peaceful and enjoy your meal over conversation but close enough to have the decorative lights glow around you. And for those who want a much more private dining experience away from all the commotion, there is further seating down a hallway, past the kitchen towards the back of the restaurant. Something for everyone!
Raise your hand if you are tired for paying for $8 lattes. Well since this is the Internet and you’re reading this off a screen, I’ll narrate, I am raising my hand. Enter Platform 7 Cafe. Located in Kitsilano, you really wouldn’t expect there drinks to be so affordable, $4 for a latte, can I get a Hell Yeah!? But not only are their lattes wonderfully affordable, they also serve what they call a nitro cold brew, yes that is correct, they use liquid nitrogen for their iced coffees, even if they weren’t delicious, I’d order one just to watch the cool process of them making it!
And if you aren’t a coffee lover, you’ll go there for their kombucha and incredible food selection. They aren’t gluten free and they aren’t vegan but my god are their paninis delicious. Straight out of the panini maker on a fluffy baguette, this sandwich changed my life. No joke.
And if the food, drinks and cool atmosphere aren’t reason enough to get you to go check them out, let me add one more little incentive, free parking. That’s right folks, you heard it here first, there is free parking down in busy Vancouver at Platform 7 Cafe.
Health is a lifestyle. This coming from the girl who ate half a chocolate covered granola bar for breakfast. But let’s be honest, healthy alternatives aren’t always the easiest to find! And vegan alternatives are equally difficult, but not for long! Little cafes are popping up all over Vancouver and here is definitely one of the best ones I have come across, Olive + Ruby. Located on West Broadway, this is a little hidden gem in the rough. Their smoothies are to die for, all made with healthy natural ingredients and ALL of them have vegan options! The majority of their food menu is also comprised of vegan friendly meals and oh my may I recommend the acai bowl, if that bad boy doesn’t leave you feeling healthy and happy then I don’t know what will. The only downside to their menu is that almost everything contains some kind of nut, including all their smoothies, so if you have any allergies there unfortunately this is not the place for you! And with the amount of nut containing items on their menu I wouldn’t recommend this cafe to those with sensitive allergies just due to uncontrollable contamination.
But back to those who can enjoy Olive + Ruby, if you do find yourself there, eating in is absolutely a better alternative than taking you food to go. The owners have gone to great efforts to make their cafe a safe location, welcoming and inclusive of all. In fact, their website clearly states “come as you are” and enjoy the peaceful break in the whirlwind that is life.
Another reason to fall in love with this quaint little cafe is their commitment to the community. They have a tab at the top of their page titled “collaboration” where they recognize the diversity and talent held within the city. They encourage anyone with an idea about how a collaboration with them could work to contact them. A nice warm invitation which isn’t always the case in this rainy city. And to add to this kindness, if you continue to scroll down their home page you will find blurbs and pictures promoting the people they have collaborated with in the past.
Everyone supporting each other, that’s what I like to see.
Well the weather’s getting a bit chillier but that doesn’t mean we should hole up in our fuzzy blankets at home just yet! Before this winter kicks everyone’s ill-snow prepared asses let’s get outside. Specifically, to Lynn Canyon in the north shore. Here you will find the best, not to mention cheapest, alternative to the Capilano Suspension Bridge. Given a ticket to the latter can run up to $30/person the free price tag of Lynn Canyon can’t be beat.
There are several different hiking trails for Lynn Canyon, I’ll be looking at the Twin Falls hike in particular. It starts off right away with a walk across the daunting suspension bridge. But fret not, it’s really not that scary, if you’re afraid of heights it’s still entirely doable, I just don’t recommend looking down!
The bridge itself is a rather narrow wooden plank bridge, it was built in 1912 and is situated 50 meters above the crisp waters of Lynn Creek, connecting you to 616 acres of beautiful rainforest. AFter the bridge, hang a right and follow the boardwalk over a much more stable bridge and you will be led to a breathtaking view of the falls. As it is one of the more, for lack of a better word, difficult trails (but it’s really not that hard) you will most likely have a quiet place to sit by the river and take in the views for a little rest. If you’re ambitious enough, climb down the steep riverbank for a nice spot and bask in the sun that’s hopefully shining that day.
This trail is open year round so even as we enter the darkness that is a west coast winter, you have no excuses not to go!
Lynn Canyon Park, first opened in 1912 is a popular destination among tourists and local residents. The 617 acres, located in North Vancouver, contain trees approximately 80 to 100 years old. The most popular attraction is the suspension bridge sitting 50 meters above the canyon.
For some reason, I always enjoy watching Rugby games.
In Hong Kong, the Hong Kong Sevens is a big thing. Hong Kong Sevens is considered the premier tournament on the World Rugby Sevens Series competition. It is held annually in Hong Kong around late March and early April. There will be livestream on TV every year. This is how I was introduced to Rugby.
I like the fast pace of the games, and how the players’ use of strategies can be seen vividly throughout the games. (I could see them even though I didn’t know how to watch rugby games at the beginning. Of course, the commentaries helped a lot.)
Since then, I fell in love with watching rugby. This made me always wanted to experience a live rugby game, especially the Hong Kong Sevens.
This time, I am lucky that I saw an ad advertising the Americas Rugby Championship, Canada vs. America. I immediately clicked into the ad to see the details. Later on, I found out that the price for the tickets were unexpectedly cheap. Therefore, I quickly asked my friends if they wanted to watch too, then buy the tickets together.
These are some of the snapshots of the game.
There were more spectators than I expected. The stadium was packed with people. There were souvenir booths, and there were snack booths selling beer, hot dogs, fires and hamburgers. All these added some made the stadium bustling with noise and excitement.
Even though that night was showering a little bit, the rain did not stop the spectators from coming out to support their teams. (Canada team got most of the supporters, of course)
This makes me realize the power of sports. They bring people together and can put the happiness, excitement and spirit of into cohesion.
Overall, it was a good game. Even though Canada lost in a huge range, I am already very glad that I could see most of the tricks and strategies the teams used. It feels different when seeing the teams competing each other right in front of you than watching on TV. There would be spectators cheering beside you, and they are watching the match with you. There would also be music played, with majority of the crown singing along. The experience as a whole is fuller and more satisfied compared to watching live through TV.
At the same time, there will not be close-up shots for the athletes and commentary for the game. This is the downside of watching live.
Do you like watching sports games? Have you watched your favourite sport live?
You guys can’t imagine how much do I miss my trip to Seattle during reading break. It was a really satisfying day.
I had never been to the States before this trip. One of my very good friend, Julia, knew that. She thought it would be a good idea to go on a short trip to Seattle with me. I was really down for it. We also asked one of our friends to come along with us.
The pictures above are taken when we were on our way to the border. We started out trip pretty early, at 6:30am. As we were going on a day trip, we wanted to spend as much time as we could in Seattle before we had to come back to Vancouver.
One of the interesting fact is that, both of my friends grew up in Vancouver. They have been to Seattle before. But, the have not sight-see before. Every time they went to Seattle, they were intended to go to the outlet malls for shopping. So overall, three of us were the first time exploring the city, which is great! Because I was a little bit worried about that they would feel like they were accompanying me throughout the whole trip.
Anyway, it took us around 2 and a half hours to get to Seattle downtown. First, we went to Pike Place Market.
This is the Pike Place Market. Fortunately, the weather that day was awesome, it was warm and the sky was beautiful.
Inside the Pike Place Market, it has some pop up stores selling a wide range of products. They include fruits, honey, seafood, souvenirs, accessories, bags and many other items.
In the market, there is a viewpoint. The view was amazing!
This is how it looks like. I really appreciate the weather that day. The blue sky, cute white clouds and the deep blue sea are amazing!
After that, we went to the first Starbucks coffee store. Not surprisingly, there was a big line outside of the store. I really doubt that the taste of the coffee from that store would taste better than the others. What is ironic is that, there was another Starbucks Coffee just right around the corner of the same street. However, there was no line there, and with only a countable amount of customers.
Here’s a photo of the outside of the first Starbucks Coffee.
As there was a long queue, we did not spend the time getting a coffee from there.
One of the location that I was looking forward to the most was the Gum Wall. I have seen some nice pictures of there before. It seemed like it is very pretty and special there. The colour of the gums on the wall made a very good coordination. It makes the small alley (where the Gum Wall is) very lively. Also, there are not many places where you can stick a gum onto the wall without being judged or charged. hhaha.
For some reason, I really think that the wall is very beautiful and somehow artistic. But everytime when I tell my friends that I like this wall, they always said it is gross and disgusting. Well, I just like the look and the idea of it.
Do you like it too?
One of the other famous landmark of Seattle is the Space Needle. It is an observation deck and restaurant.
We went to a place called Kerry Park to have a look at the overview of the city.
This park is amazing. We took a lot of good pictures there. The park itself is a bit small. There were some benches and open space for visitors to hang around. Other than that, along the park, you can get a good view from the location.
With the nice weather, and the excitement of visiting Seattle for the first time, I took quite a lot of photos. Here are some of the photos of the Space Needle I took from different angles. I personally think they are really great haha.
To be honest, I think that there are not much landmark in Seattle. We did not have the interest of try new food or shopping, so after we went to the places above, we realized that there was not much to do anymore.
Therefore, my friends decided to bring me to the outlet to let me have a look, or maybe shop for a little bit. However, I think that the outlet mall there does not have a big difference between the outlet malls in Vancouver. The price and the item varieties might be different though.
This is the very last picture that I took throughout the trip. It was taken close to the border of the States. The sunset at around 5:30pm was breathtaking.
All in all, I enjoy the trip very much. I think that a one day trip to Seattle is already enough. Unless, you would like to do some shopping and try some famous restaurants. But, a one day trip for sightseeing is totally enough.
Here are some addresses of the places that me and my friends went throughout the day:
Pike Place Market: Between Pike and Pine streets. at First Ave., Seattle, WA
Starbucks Coffee: Pike Place Market, 1912 Pike Pl, Seattle, WA 98101
Gum Wall: 1428 Post Alley, Seattle, WA 98101
Hard Rock Cafe: 116 Pike St, Seattle, WA 98101
Kerry Park: 211 W Highland Dr, Seattle, WA 98119
Seattle Premium Outlet: 10600 Quil Ceda Blvd, Tulalip, WA 98271
40 days is all I have from the moment I leave Vancouver to the moment I board the plane headed back to Australia. Right now, all 40 of those days remain completely unplanned. What would you do if you had 40 days free to do whatever you wanted, restricted only by the continent of North America? Would you go to Hawaii and soak up the sun? Would you experience the hustle and bustle of New York City? Would you hire a car and road trip down the west coast? Well that’s what I have to figure out… and I have 54 days to plan it.
I have a rough plan. By rough, I mean I have a plan – it just changes daily. Today, the plan is this:
Week 1: Jasper + Banff + Calgary
Week 2: Boston
Week 3: New York City
Week 4: Orlando + Miami
Week 5: New Orleans
Week 6: Los Angeles
But I don’t know how many days it will be until I change my mind and decide that I need a new plan. So I’m asking for your help. Leave a comment and tell me what you would do if you had 40 days.