Tuesday, July 27, 2010

Holiday in Whistler

     After having lived in London for the past few years, a visit back to Vancouver is always interesting. I guess you don't really miss what you have until you leave it for a while! I know Vancouver is beautiful, but it didn't really hit home until my boyfriend came to join me for a few weeks ... then I started to look at Vancouver through a tourist's eyes again and have now regained a new found inspiration from the landscape (great beaches help too!)

     We spent our first few week exploring Whistler. The last time I was there, it was a one-night party trip with a few friends and we barely explored the Village. This time, with five full days, we were able to try a few new restaurants, hit a lake, go up to the top of the mountain, and more importantly, work on our tans!

Capturing the 2010 Olympic spirit!

Gorgeous and patriotic moment :)
     Dinner on our first night was at Bearfoot Bistro at 4121 Village Green. We chose this restaurant as our 'splurge' over Araxi because of its fantastic 3 course dinner menu for $45. I just noticed the price went up to $55 though ... You may also recall the winner of Gordon Ramsay's Hell's Kitchen (US) Season 6 recruited it's winner to be the Executive Chef. Sadly he left Araxi shortly after the Olympics so that bit of novelty factor also swayed me towards Bearfoot.

     We had fresh Effingham oysters and a seared scallop to start (+$8), followed by an angus beef tenderloin and a lamb shank (+$5) for me. In between courses, we went to the sub-arctic vodka tasting room (why not!). For $16 a pop, not cheap, although we are always game to try something fun! To top it off, I finished off with a Coconut Snowball (swirled with a coriander dressing! my fav!) while Darren had a box of handmade chocolates. Pastry Chef Dominic Fortin really outdid himself with a basil infused strawberry chocolate amongst other flavours!

Atlantic lobster mini-starter
Lamb shank with bone marrow (served in a bone!); Beef Tenderloin in the background
     The following day, we took a Ziptrek Ecotours Tour (Bear Tour). I would recommending the extra splurge to take the Eagle Tour since it has a line that is twice as long as the longest line in the Bear Tour. We had to watch our budget though, but had an equally thrilling time on the Bear Tour I'm sure!

Me, upside down!
Totally gorgeous right?
     Next up was a day at Lost Lake. No photos though, it was just the most relaxing day, jumping in and out of the water and working on our tans while getting on with our books. Take-home message: when you can't reach somewhere, get someone else to put on your suncream for you :) My bf burned his back, just in the parts he couldn't reach. I didn't do my wifely duties (ie nag) because I saw he took the initiative to slather himself in SPF. Little did I know he had missed a (massive) spot!

     We got an amazing offer on the Peak to Peak Gondola (2 days/$39.95 each) and took full advantage of it. It's the longest unsupported Gondola in the world! Once we took the gondola up to the Lodge, we went even further up with the Peak Express chairlift. I have to tell you, it is one of the most exhilarating experiences when you feel the sun shining down on your while a light arctic breeze keeps you the right amount of tingly cool!

Enjoying the view at the top!
View at the top
Looking down in the Peak to Peak Gondola

     I had been on bear-watch all day and we had spotted one in the gondola on the way up. I clearly recall shouting "BEAR! BEAR!" like a little kid ... Can't help it! We spotted one from our chairlift on the way back down the Blackcomb side:

So cute!
    Next day, we went up the mountain again, and in the same spot as the previous day, we saw a mama bear and her cubs!:

     We rounded out our Whistler trip with one last gulp of the breathtaking views ... I obviously skipped on a lot because in my true Chinese style, I took a picture of virtually everything. This edit took restraint ... I kid you not! I will end with these last few pics ... everyone must experience Whistler in the winter AND in the summer :)

So beautiful with thick feathers for the cold
So cute but not sure what he is ..
Another bear! Dragging his hind legs :)

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