I think this has been the longest time we haven’t updated the blog! One reason for this is, well, we’ve just been a bit miserable since all our visitors from home left. I won’t bore you with the details, but we’ve been feeling a bit lost and a bit torn between the UK and Canada. We’re also about to hit the 7 month mark, which is crazy! It feels like decades since we were in the UK. We can’t really remember what it’s even like! The other reason is that GTA V is out, and we’ve been playing that pretty much constantly!!

A couple of days ago my brother Mark, and his Fiancee, Charlotte, came to visit us. They flew here straight from work on Friday, which I’m not sure I could do! What followed was possibly the most action packed weekend we’ve had here so far!

On Saturday morning we went down to Coal Harbour to De Dutch, a pancake house. Oh my god it was amazing!! I had the ‘Canadian’ which was a giant pancake with scrambled eggs, bacon, and of course maple syrup. We’ll definitely be going back. Beautiful views over Coal Harbour too. Then we walked to Stanley Park and went to the aquarium. Nick and I went there when we first moved here but we were really keen to go back. There’s a lot of new things there so it was well worth the return visit. Thankfully though, Mark and Charlotte share our short attention spans when it comes to museums, so we didn’t stay long!

Jellyfish!

Jellyfish!

The otter that was startled by Mark's camera shutter noise

The otter that was startled by Mark’s camera shutter noise

Mark and Charlotte eyeballing a fish

Mark and Charlotte eyeballing a fish

A flying penguin!

A flying penguin!

Then we went back to Coal Harbour to go on a Seaplane tour of Downtown Vancouver! It was so bloody exciting. We were on a plane which held about 5 people, so we had the plane to ourselves. Our Pilot, Louis, was a really friendly guy and was happy to chat to us about the job. Charlotte got to sit up front with him which looked awesome, and I got the whole back ‘row’ to myself so I could see out of both sides of the plane. It was a 20 minute flight, but it was long enough. He flew up right up over Lighthouse Park, over Howe Sound, then back round and circled the whole of Downtown Vancouver. It was absolutely amazing and we highly recommend it. It’s such a wonderful way to see the city and pretty cool to see where we live from above. We flew with Seair Seaplanes and went with their Vancouver City Skyline tour. Do it!

Before take-off

Before take-off

Co-Pilot Charlotte ready to step in

Co-Pilot Charlotte ready to step in

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On Saturday night we went our for dinner and drinks at our usual haunt, Yaletown Brewing Company, so we could watch the hockey on TV. The Canucks lost (boohoo), but we had a brilliant night and drank a hell of a lot.

Bro and Sis!

Bro and Sis!

The next day Mark and Charlotte were up bright and early to walk up to English Bay so they could see the rainbow painted crosswalk up at Davie Street. We then went up to Grouse Mountain as it was a really clear day. We didn’t realise that with our Grouse Mountain Local’s Pass we get 50% discount for anyone with us. Brilliant! As soon as we got up there we saw that there was a ranger talk at the Bear section in 15 minutes so we headed straight there. Nick and I have been to Grouse a few times now, and have never seen the two bears that live there. So, can you imagine our excitement when we got there to see the two bears a few feet from us! And not only that, but they were fighting!! It’s the first time any of us had seen a bear, so it was a pretty big moment! The bears were absolutely massive, too. I knew they were big but seeing them up close you realise just how impressive they are. One of the bears, Coola, is about 8ft tall. I could go on about these bears all day, but trust me, they are amazing! Seeing them was worth the trip alone!

Fighting bears!

Fighting bears!

Grinder having a stroll

Grinder having a stroll

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We then went up to the top and took loads of pictures, then made our way down, stopping off at the Lumberjack show, which was really good. We missed most of it unfortunately, but the bits we did see were awesome.

Natalie looking over Vancouver

Looking over Vancouver

After that we headed back to Vancouver and went straight to Gastown, as I was really keen to show them the area. Gastown is my favourite area of Vancouver. It’s one block from crack central, but I love the dark buildings, the cutesy street lights, the quirky shops and bars etc. We had a drink in Chill Winston and then went on the hunt for somewhere to eat.

Mark and Charlotte walking through Gastown

Mark and Charlotte walking through Gastown

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The Flatiron in Gastown

Nick and I have heard of the Pourhouse restaurant, but for some reason have never found it. We walked past and found out that they were doing a Thanksgiving dinner, had a free table for four, and a live blues band. Sold! The restaurant is decorated so well, we felt like we were in a Speakeasy in the 1920’s. Even the bar staff were dressed accordingly. And best of all there are no TV’s in sight!!!

Mark and Charlotte a.k.a He and She

Mark and Charlotte a.k.a He and She

Nick and I at the Pourhouse

Nick and I at the Pourhouse

Our server, Mark, was absolutely amazing, probably the best server I’ve ever had. He was so knowledgeable about the entire menu, helpful, and friendly without being too much, which I think is a pretty hard skill to master in the service industry.  We all had a turkey dinner and amazing wine, and the whole restaurant had such a brilliant atmosphere. The blues band were unbelievable as well, I’m not sure what they were called, but I’d love to see them again. The whole night was just perfect. Nick and I will be visiting again soon, and I can’t wait!

We then made our way back to Mark and Charlotte’s hotel for one final drink. They were up early the next day to go to Seattle so we made it a quick one. When we said our goodbyes I wasn’t quite prepared for how upset I’d be and a bawled my eyes out all the way home (sorry Nick). I’m getting a bit sick of saying goodbye to people and this one was pretty hard 🙁 I’m still feeling pretty down about it today and can’t stop thinking about home but then I look out of the window and see this amazing city. I’m pretty torn.

Anyway, today is Thanksgiving, which obviously we don’t celebrate in the UK but, when in Rome and all that! We’ve got a nice dinner lined up for tonight and a Breaking Bad marathon (we’ve just started watching it, don’t spoil it!) to look forward to. I’m thankful for having this amazing opportunity to live in such a beautiful country, and for having such wonderful family and friends. Life really could be a lot worse!

Happy Thanksgiving!