We’re off today on a well-deserved trip to Vancouver B.C. It’s an international adventure! I forget sometimes that Canada is a mere 5 hour drive from Portland: a bit far for a day trip, but a perfect long weekend. I’m particularly looking forward to the drive on the coast north of Seattle.

We’re staying with some friends outside of Vancouver itself, which gives us the perfect time to catch up along with the perfect base for city trips. And, of course, we’re bringing our folding bikes!

I’ve been in the throes of planning and dreaming for awhile now, thought I’ve tried not to nail everything down. My travel philosophy includes two points somewhat at odds with each other:

1) Know everything and make a thorough plan. Schedules are fun. Maps are awesome.

2) Go with the flow, get lost, and do whatever hits you. The best experiences are ones you stumble upon and discover.

I really can’t explain how I manage to combine both of these ideas into a workable vacation. But somewhere in the middle of them is the magic that I love. I’ve printed out my maps, checked out a guide book from the library, and read up on the highlights, but once we arrive I could be just as happy to toss all that aside and wander.

A few goals I have, amid the wandering:

  • Japadog. Anthony Bourdain ate here–is that enough of a reason? It might be a crazy idea to Asian-ify a hot dog, but these are hugely popular so they must be good! Kobe beef, seaweed flakes, miso paste and edamame are among the ingredients for these intriguing dogs. I promise to report back, with pictures!

  • Stanley Park. Every top ten or best of book lists this as an attraction. And since it’s free, outdoors, and we can ride our bikes around it, I’m in! Here’s hoping the skies don’t open up too much.
  • Cherry Blossoms. Now’s the season for blooming, and with over 37,000 cherry trees in the city, it should be beautiful! I hope it’s not too early in the season to see spring lanes and pinkified boulevards.
  • Mr. Lee’s General Store and Haberdashery. This is Jesse’s pick. He’s in the market for a new dapper cap, so browse we must.

Other than that, we’re up there for fun walks, good views, great food and some away-from-it-all time. See you on Monday!