Vancouver

One of those places where you sit back, watch your heart rate drop, your shoulders de stress and your breath go into deep meditation phase.

The minute we landed we saw this…

Take a deep breath, when hit by this kind of beauty!
Take a deep breath, when hit by this kind of beauty!

This was a very short trip and the hub and me are a bit laid back. We don’t wake up, have a shower and breakfast and hit the city by 8 am. So the short trip made it even more tight and Vancouver will have to be done once more.

Places to go to.

Stanley Park. Near the park are cycle hire shops, with great variety to choose from. Before that, pick up some food and water. Head to the park. Its massive, Huge. We cycled around for a good two hours, but I think one can spend the day there.

English Bay Beach. We went there for a view of the Sunset. But what we saw was the mist take over the city. A cloud of mist, over a deeply rich setting sun, with sea gulls and eagles flying all over the place. I think my hub wanted to propose once more. I know I wanted him to.

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The mist taking over the city
The mist taking over the city
gathering mist, then scattering all over the city
gathering mist, then scattering all over the city

We did not end up going but Granville Park is also well recommended.

There are many other places in and around Vancouver. Victoria, is across the bridge. Banff is close by. As is Jasper.

Shopping

We stayed in Grenville area, so mostly shopped around there.

Yale town has great reviews, but I was not much awed by it.

Vancouver is full of local designers. Mac (the make up thingy) and some other products are local. So expect great prices on them.

Food

Vancouver has surprisingly a big foodie population. Again, a place of high sustainability and locally grown produce.

Some fabulous places we ate in :-

The Whiskey Kitchen. Sure it’s about whiskey. Every dish has a dash of it (or more!). And its tasty and different and perfectly amazing.

Lupo. Forage and The Grill and Casa Nova were some of the restaurants we ate in. I recommend them all very fervently!

http://blogs.vancouversun.com/2011/08/15/top-20-vancouver-restaurants/

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Carmel By the Sea and Big Sur

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The most charming, pretty coast you can cast your eyes on.

It starts in San Francisco and goes all the way to Los Angeles – this coast. Carmel is south of San Jose.

Blue Sea
Blue Sea

 

Things to do

Drive around the 19 mile drive.

This is a residential area, but set in a huge huge biological eco conserving forest and coast area. One has to pay a 10$ per car.

Just drive around, stopping at various points. You will get a brochure of the points of interest.

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Bonfire – If you catch good weather – and for this experience you must try and go when it’s a wee bit chilly.

Go to the super market. Pick up glasses, and poison of your choice.

Pick up a fire making kit – which includes a huge box of wood, 2 pieces of fire starter and matches and some old paper to start the fire.

Good food from the many, many fabulous delis and restaurants in Carmel, and head to SCENIC and 13th. (Please tell the Taxi driver to take you there – you cannot drive – u will be drinking!)

Do not head to any other beach. This is dedicated for bonfires.

Dive in make a bonfire and enjoy your evening.

Try and make it a little before sunset. I can guarantee you an evening very well spent.

sunset in carmel
sunset in carmel

If in Carmel / San Francisco / San Jose do not miss this one.

Stay

We stayed in Carmel at the Quail Lodge and Golf Course. It was fabulous. But it’s not on the coast. It’s in Carmel Valley.

Some of other places, which I was looking up, to stay, was the Tickle Pink Inn. It’s set high on a cliff. Comes highly recommended.

Restaurants in Carmel – are a plenty and fantastic.

BIG SUR

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That’s off Carmel, towards touching Highway No 1, going to LA. The view from Big Sur – is well for a lack of better word – BIG.

It’s all crashing waves, frothy blue sea, rocks, waves, and mesmerizing beauty.

We went for a meal at the bakery – Big Sur Bakery and Restaurant.  Quite a place. Bang in the middle of a highway, and good hearty food.

Another meal we had with stunning views was – Sierra Mar at the Post Ranch Inn, in Big Sur. It’s also a place worth staying. Just unbelievable amazing views from each room.

View from Sierra Mar
View from Sierra Mar

Do book way in advance.

 

Restaurants

There are many restaurants all over Carmel and Big Sur. Each, better than the other. This area is big on locally foraged food. And even bigger, on sustainability.

Just ask around, look around or look up the internet. You cannot go wrong with food here.