The worst part of living in Vancouver is the distance from my family. My parents live in Winnipeg, and I only get to see them once or twice a year. They’ve only been to Vancouver a few times, so it was a rare treat to have them come for a visit last weekend.
Whenever you have family or friends visiting, it is a tough balance between showing off where you live (touristy stuff) and spending quality time together. I know when my parents visited me in London, I overwhelmed them with walking and sightseeing. This time, I think I struck the right balance, but it is easier when you know they’ll be visiting again.
On Saturday, we met up with Kelsey and Matt (my sister and her boyfriend) in Hope and did some light hiking. We walked through the Othello Tunnels, which has interesting history and one of the few hikes with a roof (handy in the rain). Then we hiked up to Flood Falls, a light hike (less than 30 minutes) through a serene forest up to the waterfall (which was only a trickle).
Back in Vancouver, the touristy highlights included the Vancouver Aquarium and VanDusen Botanical Gardens. The aquarium is the best paid tourist attraction in town (and the best place to spend a drizzly afternoon). Yes it is expensive, and yes it was crowded, but the belugas, otters, dolphins, and jelly fish were too cute for anyone to care.
The VanDusen Gardens were better than I expected. We went because the sun finally came out on Monday and we wanted an outdoor attraction to visit, and my mother loves gardens. I enjoyed the maze and walking around in the peaceful setting. There were a surprising number of flowers still in bloom, even in mid-September.
The best part of my parents visit was just hanging out in the evenings. We cooked meals together; we went to some of my favourite restaurants – Nuba, Bandidas, and Saravanaa Bhavan; and we played board games in the evening. I hope they visit again soon.