Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Canadian Adventure Part 2- Whistler Village

Well we have arrived in Whistler now and are ready to start part 2 of our adventure. We will head to the hotel, the Crystal Lodge and check in and freshen up. Here is a close up look at Whistler Village from the tourism board. Whistler Village Tour.

A very spacious room and super comfy bed. Although it was a bit soft for Papa Bear!

 Now off to explore the village and find a bite to eat. All that hiking has really made me hungry!! Time for some refreshments and relaxation. Whistler Village is laid out so that the interior of the village is pedestrian only, it's called The Stroll and is a very nice cobblestone roadway to get around the village. They are also very dog-friendly, so Charlie was welcomed most everywhere and it was one of the reasons that we picked Whistler for our vacation.

A beautiful afternoon for sightseeing

Down the center of the Stroll

Ahhh, Lunch at BG Urban Grill

Map of Whistler Village
So we had a little lunch and headed back to the hotel for a nap so that we could enjoy the evening and be refreshed for further sightseeing. After a little resting up and getting changed for the cooler evening, we headed out for more exploring. Roger found a cigar shop that sold Cubans, so he got a cigar for later. Canada does not embargo Cuban products, so a lot of the shops carried Cigars and Rum from Cuba. We searched for a grocery store to pick up some dog food and snacks for the room. You can't transport dog food with meat by products into Canada. Charlie was pretty tuckered out and stilled drugged, so he stayed in the room for some much needed sleep. The hotel provided his own bedding, towel, etc. He was as snug as a bug. We wandered up through Olympic Celebration Plaza, the sight of the awards ceremonies during the 2010 Winter Olympics.

The Olympic Rings

Took in the sights .......

Then had dinner at The Mix by Rics   Cocktails and Tapas, yummy. Then an early night to get ready for day 2- my Birthday!!!

We got up early on Saturday and went to Blacks Pub for breakfast. Great traditional bacon and egg breakfast and a super start to the day.

Welcome to Blacks Restaurant & Pub In Whistler, BC

Then back to the hotel where Roger made plans to play golf at the Nicklaus North Golf Course.

An absolutely gorgeous course that looked challenging. While he played golf, I shopped around the village and went back to the room for a bubble bath and to relax. We had made dinner reservations for that evening at Araxi, the top restaurant in Whistler and planned on more sightseeing in the afternoon. The poor stupefied dog would need to go for a walk too. We still had alot of the village to explore. Next stop, the Whistler Bike Park. The Whistler mountain ski runs in the summer become great mountain bike trails. The riders go up in the chairlifts with their bikes and the barrel down the mountain on the steep trails. It looked positively frightening and there were hordes of cyclists doing it. Yow.

We watched the mountain bikes for awhile and gave Charlie a good walk and took him back for another nap. A dog on muscle relaxers needs a great deal of sleep. We then headed off to dinner at Araxi. Roger had the
                                                                Herb Crusted BC Halibut 
heirloom tomatoes, white bean and lemon with sugar snap and english peas
local baby gem tomatoes and shallot vinaigrette
And I had 
Yukon Arctic Char
Across the Creek potato puree, baby green beans and crispy local leeks
BC chantertelle mushroon and saffron beurre blanc
And of course a great bottle of wine. A superb dinner by one of Canadas top chefs, James Walt. We had just missed by one week the farm to dinner table set outdoors up the mountain which is legendary in Whistler.

A beautiful ambiance and fantastic meal. What a great birthday. We then went to a free concert in Olympic Plaza by Michael Franti.

Then back to the Mix at the hotel for a nightcap and we'll call it a day. Tomorrow brings big adventures!

We started Sunday with breakfast at the hotel and walked the dog while we made plans for the day. We decided to take the gondola up to the top of the mountain and take part in the Roundhouse Bar B Que at the very top. Those of you who know my fear of heights will chuckle that there is no way that I would ever do such a thing. But I did it and it was so worth the fear which passed very quickly into wonder at the view and sights along the way upward. I am the person that went zip-lining in Belize, and had to be lowered down on a rope. I can't ride Ferris wheels without having a panic attack. So I was a little more than concerned that I would freak out when we started the journey up the mountain.

Yes, this is a great big bear. One of the highlights of the trip.

Top of the world!

Alpine lake and wildflowers

The roundhouse, bar restaurant, store, etc

You can see the people in the red jackets climbing on the glacier

On the way back down

It is way down there to the bottom, around 6000 feet

Back to the village!

The scenery on the top of Whistler mountain was spectacular to say the least and I am so glad we went up there. Now to finish off the evening we went over to the Bearfoot Bistro to sample vodka in the Belvedere Ice Room. The Bearfoot Bistro's Belvedere Ice Room is Canada's first sub-zero vodka tasting room and the coldest one worldwide. It is a sleek space where guests can step up to the ice bar and sample a range of 50 vodkas from around the world. No need to worry about freezing in the cold-as-ice room since enthusiasts will be provided with warm Canada Goose down parkas and winter hats so you can enjoy the arctic ambiance in complete comfort (- 40 degree celcius).  What a great experience!

We tried vodka from Canada, Russia, Poland, France, and of all places...Minnesota!  To warm up, we picked our favorite vodka from the tasting for a Martini at the bar. Roger went for the Belvedere and my favorite was Imperia Russian Standard vodka. Crisp and clean pure taste. That pretty much did us in for the day and it was time to take Charlie out for a little potty break and get ready to end our holiday in Canada.

We had a wonderful time and enjoyed meeting alot of the Canadian people. My next blog will be about what   I liked about Canada and its differences from the states and its cultural differences. And don't forget Canadian TV. I heart George Strombolopolous!!

Back in the USA

Unfortunately the border wait to get back into the US was 2 hours long!

Canadian Adventures...Eh? Part 1- The Sea to Sky Highway

As we approached my birthday and had decided to take a little getaway, the destination we chose was Whistler, British Columbia. Roger and I love to travel to new places and see the world and it was a pretty short drive of about 4 hours from our home in B-Town. So I made the reservations at the Crystal Lodge in the center of Whistler Village and we planned our trip from there. Everything was packed to go, our passports and Charlies travel permit were secured and the plan was to leave at 5AM on Friday  so that we could leisurely drive up and see the sights along the way. We did not plan on the activities of the night before the trip however.  When Roger got home from work on Thursday, he found Charlie whimpering in pain and curled up in a corner. So off to the vet they went. The poor pup could hardly walk and definitely had something wrong with him.  After hours of tests and an examination, it was concluded that he had injured his neck. Being a not very graceful dog, we surmised that he was jumping up on the bed or sofa and missed, landing on his head. The X-rays didn't show anything broken and we were given the all clear for our trip the following morning. He was however on a strong painkiller that they gave him at the vets and muscle relaxers that we had to administer every 8 hours.

The next morning we loaded the car with our luggage and our stoned dog and headed for the great white north.

The Canadian Border at Blaine, Wa

The border traffic was surprisingly light and we zipped right through. We skirted around West Vancouver and headed north along the Sea to Sky Highway towards Whistler. What a beautiful and scenic route!

The beauty of British Columbia was amazing. Our first stop was at Shannon Falls which is a provincial park 36 miles north of Vancouver and the third highest falls in B.C. There was a lovely park and an easy hike to the falls through a verdant and lush forest.

The Park and Picnic Area

Hiking through the forest

One of the creeks running through the park

Roger and Charlie in front of the falls

Shannon Falls, dropping 338 meters

Shannon Falls was an absolutely gorgeous park and a really nice hike through the best that Mother Nature has to offer.  The next stop on our trip was Alice Lake a little further up the highway. A lake and campground that was almost entirely deserted. We had the whole side of the lake to ourselves that morning. So still and serene that it was refreshing to the soul.

Alice Lake


Waterfall on the trail

I have never seen such beauty of nature as we discovered on this journey. At every turn we encountered another spot that was more beautiful than the last. After the lake we ventured onward along the highway to Brandywine Falls. Not as big as Shannon Falls, but still spectacular! And there were more trees for Charlie. Even in his drugged stupor, he was becoming quite fond of the Canadian Wilderness and the trees and smells.

View from the highway

Uh Oh

Beginning of the trail

River downstream of the falls

Along the way

Brandywine Falls

We were off to a magnificent start of our short vacation and had only just begun.  There was a whole lot of fun and adventure still to come and we will get to that in Part 2- Whistler Village. Til then-Cheers