I dare you to try and fit in as much adventure into 3 days as we did! What a whirlwind of a Memorial Day weekend. Good to the very last drop folks! Now it's time to write it all down and share a few (or more) pictures to tell the story.
FRIDAY: I left work at lunchtime to catch a flight to Seattle and meet up with 4 complete strangers. Wait, what? You see, Karen who lives in nearby Vancouver was planning on driving down to "The States" after work to meet up with me and a bunch of friends. However, she knew she wouldn't cross the border in time to pick me up from the airport, so that's where the 4 strangers come into play.
And wouldn't you know, they pulled up to the curb and low and behold, one of the passengers was my good friend Kaitlin from back home. Small world (when you're Mormon!) So I hopped in the car and met my new BFFs and headed out to a cute little town called Burien for an Italian feast with a bunch of Young Single Adults in the area. The party was hosted by Joanna at her hilarious Grandma Nonie's house on the point, overlooking the entire bay. It was AMAZING! Loved every minute of it. And Karen even made it down from Canada in time for dessert!
SATURDAY: It was an early morning for me. I hopped out of bed and into my running shoes for a little jaunt around the lake house. After my run I cleaned up, joined the other ladies for breakfast, and then hit the streets of Seattle for a day of fun!
We started things out at the World Famous Pike Place Market and watched the fisherman throw fish over people's heads. Such a classic Seattle experience. Then we strolled down the aisles looking at all the fresh flowers, sampling delicious nuts, breads, fruits, and checked out a few of the other vendors.
We worked up quite an appetite so we all decided to get ourselves some sweet and savory Piroshki's to nibble on as we walked down to the Seattle Gum Wall. Sticking a piece of bubble gum on the wall was extremely high on my priority list for this trip. So gross yet so cool.
Other noteworthy stops on our Seattle trip included a visit to the world's 1st Starbucks, 1st Nordstrom, and Anthropologie (not the 1st but still a very important stop!)
After maxing our cards (not really Mom) we drove across town to see the giant troll living under the Freemont Bridge and to Gasworks Park where several scenes from the awesome movie 10 Things I Hate About You was filmed. The park's got a beautiful view of the city skyline and you can even see the Sleepless in Seattle house just across the way.
Unfortunately this is where Karen and I said our goodbyes to the other four ladies as we headed up to Canada and they traveled down to Portland. It was a sad parting, but we cheered ourselves up with a little outlet shopping....J. Crew of course!
SUNDAY: The morning found us in beautiful British Columbia, Canada. Karen lives on the top floor of a highrise in downtown Vancouver with 180 degree views of the city, ocean, and mountains. It's absolutely unbelievable! It was fun waking up to such an incredible sight. I can only imagine what it would look like on a clear day!
We got ready in a hurry so we could get good seat to her Stake Conference that morning. Turns out, President Uchtdorf and Elder Ballard of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles were going to be speaking in her Stake for a broadcast that would be streamed to the 47 stakes and 5 branches throughout the country. Lucky me!
The conference was amazing and reminded me of the wonderful people I served with during my mission to Winnipeg back in 2004. Did you know President Monson was the mission president of my mission way back in the day? And that he was my mission president's mission president? Just a little fun fact for you. Anyway, here's the BEST PART of the whole experience. After the conference was over, President Uchtdorf and his wife came walking down the aisle and I was able to shake their hands. I know, I know. Lucky me!
After a morning of spiritual uplifting I wanted to meet up with my friends Amber & Bryan who were also in B.C. for the weekend, so I asked Karen if she would be kind enough to take me out to meet up with them at the new Vancouver LDS Temple, just dedicated three weeks prior. It was absolutely beautiful and well worth the drive.
After the temple, the four of us headed back into the city for a delicious brunch at a trendy restaurant called Glowbal. This was by far my favorite eating experience of the trip (with our Sushi dinner a close second). I had the Salmon Benedict and it literally melted in my mouth. So good. I actually loved ALL the food I ate in Vancouver!
After brunch we said goodbye to Amber and Bryan and headed out in the city to see some sights and maybe jump in a few puddles. First stop, Stanley Park. Can I just say WOW! Stanley park is kind of like NYC's Central Park, although it's not centrally located in Vancouver. It's actually situated at the tip of the city. And it's more of a forrest than a park. If you want to drive to North Vancouver and onto Whistler, you have to drive right through it!
Some of the sights to see at Stanley park are: the totem poles, Lion's Gate Bridge, the aquarium, and even some wildlife.
After Stanley Park, Karen was kind enough to find a garden for me to visit since we weren't able to fit Vancouver Island and Butchard Gardens into our trip. Instead we went to Queen's Park and enjoyed some gorgeous wildlife and made friends with the birds in the observatory. That was $5 well spent.
All that sight seeing got us good and hungry again so we decided to be adventurous and check out the downtown market for dinner. I know it has a name, but I can't quite remember it right now. Anyway, there were lots of little stands with tons and tons of Chinese and Japanese seafood. Karen and I were brave and tried a few exciting new things like these deep fried scallop thingys, yam fries with spicy mayo and seaweed shavings, Chrysanthemum tea, and other flavorful concoctions. My favorite were the desserts with Nutella. Yum!
Absolutely exhausted we decided to find a sappy chick flick and relax for the rest of the night. Mission accomplished! If you're looking for the dumbest chick flick out right now, rush to the theater and buy a ticket for Letters To Juliet. Karen and I laughed (inappropriately) the whole way through. I'm sorry if you saw it and liked it, but honestly, I couldn't handle the acting, or plot for that matter. Thanks for sharing that horrifying experience with me Karen.
MONDAY: My last day in Canada. Tear, tear. We decided to make the most of our last and final day together and go to Whistler! But first, we had to make a stop at the Granville Island Market for some non-traditional road-trip food. We picked up some BBQ smoked salmon, fresh Gouda cheese, some salamis, fresh raspberries and blackberries, and a couple dessert sconces to completely blow my diet!
The drive up to Whistler is almost more amazing than the actually destination itself. You take what is called the Sea To Sky highway. And it's literally just that. It's a highway that winds up the side of a mountain while you look out at the beautiful pacific ocean, dotted with little islands and sailboats. I hope you all get a chance to drive this magnificent stretch of highway at least once in your life. I didn't take pictures on the way up because it was so dense with clouds and fog, but luckily the drive home was a different story. You'll see pictures of it in just a minute.
But first, let's get to the best part of the entire vacation...zip lining on Whister mountain! Ever since Jillian zipped down through those trees with Michael on the last season of The Bachelorette, I've wanted a chance to do the same. And zip we did! What an INCREDIBLE experience. Words simply cannot describe, but it might be fun to try...
We drove 10 minutes up the mountain alongside the 2010 Olympic bobsled track to the top of our zip course. That was kinda cool to see! When we got out of the van we were in what you would call a "temperate rainforest" setting. There are only 3 found in all the world: British Columbia, Alaska, and the Chilean coast. I thought that was super cool!
With our gear on we were ready to start zipping. Can you guess who volunteered first? You guessed it, ME!!! The last time I went zip lining was in the tropical rainforests of Belize so I knew what the sensation would be like and was anxious to do it again.
However, the difference between this course and the one in Belize is that Whistler boasts one of the world's longest zips, measuring in at over 2,200+ feet. Inredible! It just went on and on forever! Inside the trees, over a river, and through the woods! Amazing! For the last zip they even taught us to go upside down. Arguably one of the coolest experiences of my life to be flying through a rainforest, upside down, going nearly 50 mph. Unbelievable!
Unfortunately our adventure came to an end and we had to make our way back down the mountain. But we weren't done experiencing B.C. just yet. We made a few unplanned stops along the highway. First stop was to check out Shannon falls, a glacial waterfall that was roaring from the side of the mountain. Well worth the detour. And somehow the clouds decided to part to give way to the most beautiful suset over the the northwest Pacific ocean. I was in Canadian heaven!
And that was my awesome, incredible, fantastic, unbelievably awesome Memorial Day weekend in Seattle, Vancouver, and Whistler. And I owe it all to the "World's Best Tour Guide," Miss Karen Campbell. Where would I be without you!!! Thank you so much for taking time out of your busy life to be my chauffer, tour guide, and friend. I hope you'll come to California soon so I can repay the favor.