Monday, 12 November 2012

Remembrance Day Long Weekend in Whistler

Matthew had last Friday off, so when I finished work at 2pm we rendezvoused at our place and packed for a Romantic Weekend Getaway In The Snow. We hit the road at 4ish, just in time for some stunning sunset action over the Lions Gate Bridge.

Lions Gate Bridge going North, looking East up Burrard Inlet
Looking North West

We got to Whistler in the dark, and after checking in to our modest accomm, we quickly went in search of  a pub. It was chilly out! Writing this blog post, Matthew and I couldn't remember what was so hilarious about this sign, but we figured it must be that the whole street outside the pub was deserted, and it was -2 degrees C, and this sign was just hanging there in the freezing cold.

In the Brewhouse there is a little model train that runs the perimeter of the pub. It rattled past above Matthew's head once every 5-10 minutes.
Due to our shock at the low temps, Matthew and I were loathe to venture much further than the Whistler Brewhouse on Friday evening, but we learned that the new James Bond film was playing at just the right time, so we sauntered up the Stroll and bought tickets, and then raced back to the motel room to get my glasses and Matthew's hat. So glad we did because I was so tired from a week at work I could barely see straight, and also it was so cold Matthew's ears were threatening to snap off. Happily, we made it back to the cinema in time for the start of the film.

If you have been following this blog, you will know that Matthew and I have become James Bond connoisseurs in 2012, watching all of the films ever made (even making it half an hour into the dreadful Peter Sellers version!) and reading a couple of the Fleming novels which we found for mere dollars at the local second-hand bookstore. So we were pretty keen to see this one. We both enjoyed it, I think. Actually, any action movie in which I do not instantly fall asleep we call a triumph.

When we awoke on Saturday morning, this was the sight that greeted us from the motel balcony: 

Whistler Village playground on the Village Stroll
We wended our way to the Amsterdam Pub (not the most salubrious place for breakfast, but the only place which serves it after midday) and Matthew manfully ate 4 pancakes dripping in bacon and of course maple syrup. Props. Afterwards we walked in the bright crisp sunshine to the upper village.

Matthew in the Blackcomb Adventure Zone in the Upper Village
 We were delighted to discover a snow machine hard at work coating the footpaths. Matthew even threw a small snowball at me (and got a withering look in return). The blue of the sky is absolutely true to life. It was the perfect day for admiring the hills. Upper Village was sadly empty. November is still 'off season' (hence our last-minute planning) and there was not even a speck of snow on the slopes yet, but the trails are covered in ice and too slippery to really enjoy a hike.
Whistler Village Stroll
Later in the afternoon we 'strolled' back through the Village, and did a spot of window shopping. As the shadows lengthened (at 3:30pm! so early!!) we grabbed a starbucks gingerbread latte with whipped cream and cup of earl grey (guess who ordered which) and sat close together in a lone sunbeam, catching the last of the warmth.

(Also, Matthew encouraged me to purchase a second pair of gorgeous vintage leather made-in-Canada cowboy boots, in a hearty brown with white-stitched detail. I was in fact wearing my black made-in-Canada cowboy boots at the time. The shop was called 'The Beach'. It also sold $160-gumboots. So much ironic about the situation. ...Thank you, Matthew! You know me so well.)

By 4pm it was looking close to dark and feeling close to freezing, so we popped back into the Brewhouse, pulled our hats off our mussed hair, and had a warming shiraz.

On our way back to the motel, we decided to explore the amenities. We lucked upon the hot tub and discovered it agreeably empty of fellow patrons. I was in there like a shot, turning a bright lobster shade within 5 minutes, but Matthew discovered he'd packed regular cotton shorts instead of boardies so he sat on the edge with his legs in up to the knee. The hot tub was covered by a roof, but not protected by walls, so there was a pleasant chill which made the heat bearable for much longer than I usually manage when I go to the local community pool.

Later we ventured to the Village Square for dinner; we hadn't booked or really made any plans at all. There was the Cornucopia Food & Wine Festival on, but our lack of planning meant that we didn't really come in contact with it.The walk back from dinner to motel, despite our many layers of winter-appropriate clothing, was appallingly cold. We practically jogged.

On Sunday morning we checked out and headed to the Upper Village for breakfast at the Milestones there. We had learnt our lesson about battling the breakfast crowds in the Lower Village the day before, and as we anticipated, Upper Vill was pleasantly empty of fellow tourists. As we breakfasted and gazed out the window, we witnessed a small but persistent flurry of real snow, which never came down seriously enough to stay on the ground.

After breakfast we walked about one third of the way up the bare and icy Blackcomb mountain. The ground was dry and hard, and the ice had expanded and lifted the soil curiously above the rocks. The grass was crispy but not slippery. The snowflakes continued the whole time, but never landing.

A long dry frozen puddle, and me.

Looking back down the mountain towards the Upper Village.

On our way back down the hill, we discovered a mountain bike trail which wound around a creek with a several pretty waterfalls and was all covered by forest. Matthew found some dramatic icicles.

Our last views of Whistler were rather gloomy, but that just made the blue skies of the day before seem even more magical.

Farewell, Whistler!
The drive home was interesting because the weather alternated between snowing and raining depending on whether we were uphill or downhill. Either way, we were relieved to watch the temperature rise on the car thermometer by solid degrees all the way home.

When we got back to South Granville we decided to nip down to Broadway for a coffee, and lo and behold, we ran into Carolyn and Aunty Lorraine! We had an impromptu catch-up and plotted Christmas-related plans (because it nearly 'tis the season!!)

Funny story: last weekend was Carolyn's birthday, and she is the last of all us girls to leave her teens. So proud of her for making it out in one piece! I hadn't seen for probably months, and so I took her to lunch. ...Then I saw her the next day while I was waiting in a sunbeam for the 99 bus. ...And then Matthew and I ran into her again yesterday at the coffee shop! Clearly we are on each others' radar!

Lastly, my most heartfelt thank you to Matthew for a calm and picturesque weekend away.


  1. sounds like a great weekend. i may have giggled unnecessarily at "withering", i don't know why, perhaps work has finally gotten to me. :D

    as for $160 gumboots, i almost did that a week or so ago, but bottled it and chickened out. i'm still without gumboots and i need them in like, 3 weeks...

  2. Okay so glad we are on the same page re gumboots. Vancouver (much like Melbourne) is a VERY wet city. But gumboots are awful, so ugly. The only gumboots I could ever imagine wearing are those ridic hunter ones in a fire-engine red or a navy blue, with the little buckle detail. ...But *sigh* so expensive amiright? Looks like wet feet in my future.