pacific coastal cruise // vancouver

5.11.2015

this may marks our ten year anniversary -- a whole decade!! in celebration we took a trip -- just the two of us. part anniversary gift from our family & part anniversary gift from ourselves, we sailed out of LA to vancouver via san francisco & victoria. it was so restful to be at sea, where miles upon miles of blue ocean meet sky. how could staring at the same scene for hours never get old? we read & relaxed (even napped) on the ship while we made our way to san francisco. we only had the day so we decided to do something new this time around. we headed to an area called bernal heights for lunch at a great place then hiked up its high hill / dog park (what used to be a quarry) for amazing city views pictured below. 
after another day at sea we made it to british columbia. we were in victoria which is on the southern end of vancouver island. off we went to breathtaking butchart gardens to gaze in awe at tulips galore. oh tulip season! who knew there is such a variety of just ONE kind of flower!?

we arrived in vancouver the next morning and parted ways with our ship and our beautiful balcony (whom i had developed quite the bond with), rented our car and decided to check out granville island which we highly recommend. the granville island public market is teeming with activity and excitement not to mention delicious eats. i got a lox bagel of course and we sat outside on the marinas edge watching the hustle & bustle of the city. i knew at that point that vancouver was going to be one of my all-time favorite cities. it reminded us of home; so many similarities to san diego only even better weather -- in our opinion as rain lovers that is ;)
from there we drove to north vancouver to our home away from home for the next three nights. it was in the most picturesque spot we had ever seen. the area is called deep cove and being there is like being in a novel. i felt as if i had been there hundreds of times before but only in my imagination.
our airbnb could not have been more perfect. it was bright and clean with large windows boasting a view of the water just across the road. it included kayaks that we used to go paddling on the indian arm early one morning. other adventures included driving the sea & sky highway to whistler for the day. we took the gondola up to the top of the mountain for views unlike anything we have experienced. never have i felt so small! the day was sunny and clear. on the mountain there was just enough briskness in the air for a scarf and much snow -- which lent itself to spring skiing and boarding, but at the base of the mountain people were cycling, hiking and shedding their layers for shorts and t-shirts. wide open spaces and stunning landscapes put whistler blackcomb on our "must return" list.
more explorations in north vancouver were lynn canyon's suspension bridge & thirty foot pool and hiking to quarry rock for views of deep cove and downtown vancouver cityscape.

we left vancouver with heavy hearts so for a pick-me-up / send off we went here for the best ice cream EVER. farewell for now vancouver, many thanks to you for making our celebration of ten years together a memorable one.

europe adventure // paris

2.22.2015

these parisian rooftops blend with the heavy gray skies to frame the most iconic landmark of all time -- and made me fall in love with paris all over again. 

when i was seventeen i came to paris for one day. from the observation deck of the eiffel tower to impressionist art as far as the eye can see at the musee de orsay, we fit in as much as we could. 
this time though, in celebration of our anniversary, I was determined to slow down the pace and enjoy -- maybe even sit on a sidewalk with a cappuccino or glass of champagne and watch the world go by. people watching in paris is by far the best. from the fashion forward to those laden with eccentricity, there is much to soak in. so we strolled and ambled our way through the city, admiring every detail. 

on our first night we made it to our airbnb apartment and after a bit of a fiasco -- our luggage got stuck in the worlds teeniest-tiniest lift -- we settled in. we were in the latin quarter on the sixth floor. the apartment was a small studio -- but oh the view! plus it utilized its space quite well. our hosts were very helpful and gave us all kinds of tips. first off we were very ready to eat dinner so we went to a recommended bistro across the street. we had baguettes, wine and four courses including pumpkin soup, foie gras (which daniel ate -- miraculous! paris is magic), beef and vegetable dish followed by sea scallops. lastly we had a trilogy of desserts including creme brulet. life: complete. now, although our lives were complete our wallets were empty, so -- with the exception of a glass of champagne and the most expensive yet decadent macaroons at laduree -- we ate crepes from street vendors for the rest of the trip. fine by me. ;)

on our first day we went to the louvre. we spent six hours there but we needed six days. and even then we would not have done it justice. this museum! its a work of art housing works of art. there are no words to explain how massive it is. HUGE. we bought those headset thingys which i never do but it was definitely worthwhile as all the plaques were in french. we started in the history of the louvre section which led us into the medieval louvre. the louvre started out in the 1100s as a fortress then it became a palace and then a museum. some of the original fortress has been unearthed and preserved. 
from there we went to the moabite stone, which is the artifact that we both wanted to see the most and the highlight of the day. then onto paintings, including the mona lisa of course.

the following days included much walking, climbing the spiral staircase to the top of the arc de triomphe, pushing through the crowds on the champs-elysées, riding to the observation deck of the tour eiffel, wandering the beautiful jardin du luxembourgmontmartre for the views, and meandering around the seine. that river is my favorite of all time. i love that it splits the city in two, that its lined with stalls selling old used books and postcards, that sometimes its blue/green and sometimes its gray,  and that it seems to have given a patinaed finish to its bridges and lampposts. 

so goes the story of my love affair with paris and so ends our europe trip. we flew home from paris to san diego via london & los angeles. its always bittersweet, isnt it?
heres to planning the next adventure...


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