Wednesday, July 22, 2015

The Life of a Nomad: The Methow Valley and Leavenworth

We ended our trip in the Northwest with a wedding in the Methow Valley in central Washington and a few days in Seattle. I had no clue what to expect from the little towns in the Valley, and despite the 100+ degree heat, I was pleasantly surprised! The small little towns like Winthrop and Twisp had some really cool coffee shops, art galleries, restaurants and clothing stores. I loved walking around Winthrop. I felt like I was transported back into an Old West town!
Main Street in Winthrop

One of my favorite spots was The Rocking Horse Bakery, which is a super cute coffee shop. I had some delicious homemade granola with almond milk for breakfast, along with a much-needed iced coffee (it was already in the 90's by 10 a.m-ugh).  They also had amazing looking cinnamon buns, which I now totally regret not ordering. I think I was in a heat coma....

Rocking Horse Bakery - Winthrop, WA, United States. Look at these beautiful morsels.
Since it was soooo hot in the Valley, we decided to check out the local lakes to cool off. I'm definitely more of a beach person, but a dip in the lake was totally what I needed! 

On our drive back towards Seattle after the wedding, we stopped in Leavenworth, Washington. If you have not heard of this place, it is essentially a Bavarian village in the middle of Washington State.

One of my favorite things about this little village was that even the American chains had a Bavarian architectural style:

No, we did not eat lunch at the Bavarian McDonald's! We actually ate at Leavenworth Sausage Garten for traditional bratwurst. If anyone knows me well, I hate hot dogs. These brats were tasty! I loaded mine up with sauerkraut and tried a few varieties of mustard on the side:

This place also has killer soft pretzels. Having recently moved from Philly, I can attest that these pretzels were just as good as any Philly pretzel! And, these pretzels came with this ridiculous garlic-cheese dipping sauce. Oh man! 

It was a riot being in this little village. I felt like I was in EPCOT at Disney! After we ate lunch, we walked around the town for a bit and then hit the road for our last leg: SEATTLE, BABY!  

Thursday, July 16, 2015

The Life of a Nomad: Victoria Island

After a few days in Vancouver, my parents and I took the ferry over to Victoria Island, where we meet up with our family friends from back home.

Victoria Island is beautiful! It definitely has a European, London-y feeling about it. I loved walking around and seeing all of the Victorian homes!

We were told that a "must do" in Victoria was high tea at The Empress Hotel . It was delicious! I loved all the tiny finger sandwiches (curried chicken salad was amazing!) and pastries (mmmm...scones!)

Here is my brother-from-another-mother, Ned, enjoying his tea. Don't forget, PINKIES UP!

We took a tour of Parliament, which is beautiful and is all lit up at night. Unfortunately, the shot I have of Parliament at night came out all fuzzy, but here is a picture of Ned and me in front the building (which is still gorgeous in daylight!)

One of the highlights of the trip to Victoria Island was visiting the Butchart Gardens. The gardens are about 40 minutes outside of the city. There are buses that run directly from the center of the city to the gardens, so getting there is pretty easy! 

Of course I loved walking through each garden and enjoying the scenery, but one of the best surprises was the gelato stand next to the Italian gardens! I ordered the lavender-honey gelato, and it did not disappoint!  And I have a sneaking suspicion that the lavender might have come from the lavender in some of the gardens....

After a lovely couple of days in Victoria, we boarded the ferry back to the mainland--to Washington state! Check back in soon to hear all about that leg of the trip! 

Monday, July 13, 2015

The Life of a Nomad: Vancouver

I am beginning to feel slightly less nomadic as the days go on. Our move to California was definitely a bit unexpected and quick. I had already planned a trip with my parents for the last two weeks of June to Vancouver, Victoria Island, and Seattle/Central Washington. I made an executive decision to go forward with the trip, even though I knew we were expected to be in California the second week of July for my husband's job. I was definitely a bit stressed during the trip, coordinating with B over the phone about flights, rental cars, moving companies, and corporate apartments! Still, I am so glad I went on the trip, because it was to a part of the country where I hadn't been before and I wanted one "big" trip with my parents before I moved across the country!

I actually flew from California to Seattle (hubs and I had been there already doing some apartment hunting) and met my parents at the airport in Seattle. We then drove from Seattle to Vancouver. It was really cool crossing the border into our "neighbor to the north".

Vancouver is an incredibly beautiful city. My parents and I actually stayed on Granville Island, which is a sort-of artist's colony across the water from downtown Vancouver. My family and I loved popping in to the many galleries on the island, but our favorite thing was the Public Market, which we walked to in the morning for breakfast.  We got coffee and pastries at Blue Parrot, and then set out with rental bikes on the Aquabus (which is the cutest, tiniest water taxi) to Stanley Park.

Biking around Stanley Park was gorgeous. It was nice stopping along the way to snap photos and enjoy the scenery!

Vancouver is certainly a city with cool neighborhoods and vibrant restaurants! We ate at some fantastic places, including Kirin for authentic Chinese food and Vij's for honestly the best Indian food I have ever had! One of the best things we did in Vancouver was a lunchtime food truck tour. Oh man! So many amazing options! My favorites were Eat Chicken Wraps and Tacofino, but we also hit up Mom's Grilled Cheese and Japadog. By the end of the day, we were stuffed!

Left: Peking-style chicken wrapped in a scallion pancake from Eat Chicken Wraps. Right: Fish taco from Tacofino

My mom and I spent a day walking around the city on Father's Day while my dad watched the U.S. Open. We visited Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, which was so tranquil and beautiful.

We did an awesome free walking tour of the city on our last day, where we got to see the Olympic torch, podium, and some of the medals!

 Vancouver was my first exposure to Canadian life, and it was awesome! I couldn't wait to check out more of this part of the country! Stay tuned for part two of my nomadic adventures-- Victoria Island! 

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