Snow and tequila - what a Holiday!
Thanks to Air New Zealand, we now have direct flights from Auckland to Vancouver. (And thanks Air NZ for upgrading me on my North bound journey – loved the LIE FLAT BEDS!!)
The excitement started to build as soon as I flew into Vancouver and saw the beautiful snow-capped mountains back lit with sunshine and a bright blue sky! Vancouver is such a safe and easy city to explore by foot (Kitsilano beach to the city and back) for the start of my adventure.
Only 1.5 hrs from Vancouver, driving up into Whistler was like being on the set of Narnia – a complete winter wonderland. Snowflakes literally the size of my fist were gracefully falling all around & settled on the ground was about a metre of fresh powder. Still about 10 minutes from Whistler Village - oh, yes I'm excited!
The next 5 nights were at the Fairmont on Blackcomb. Love it - all too easy with the “ski in ski out”. They even keep your boots in a warm room overnight to start the day with fresh toasty feet! The next 5 days were spent hitting the slopes and learning the runs all over both mountains. The terrain is just so vast and there's some awesome long runs. The ease of skiing both Blackcomb and Whistler is nicely assisted by the 'Peak to Peak' gondola – amazing!
During the day we refuelled with Gluvine or mulled red wine – just perfect to warm the soul! And even at lunch time, expect all the local mountain eateries to be heaving with exhilarated skiers and great music.
Of course the Après skiing is also worth a mention here too - dining out with friends included 'Teppan Village'; a very entertaining night of a full service Japanese Steakhouse, and 'The Brewhouse' - where the servings were extremely generous and tasty - and just what we needed after a day on the slopes.
Most evenings prior to bed we headed back to the Fairmont to dip into the outside hot tubs (yes, as in the snow) – perfect!! I was sad to leave Whistler and could have easily had another week there.
For my last dinner back in Vancouver, it was saying goodbye to some family and friends. We managed to get a booth at the 'Cactus Club' on Robson – amazing service and amazing food.
Next Stop - Puerto Vallarta, Mexico – where my cousin had booked us into the Sheraton Puerto Vallarta on an all-inclusive deal – YES, ALL INCLUSIVE! Gold bands on, it was yes to drinks by the pool from 10 am – 10 pm – a choice of 3 restaurants to eat at, plus casual dining around the pool.
Did we need to go anywhere.... well not really! But the thought of how large we'd get in our 7 days at the resort soon set in and we did eventually opt for a wander along our own private beach, only with the occasional hawker trying to sell his wares, followed by horse ride up the beach.
The walk into the malecon was over cobblestones (so sensible shoes over stilettos recommended ladies!) then up into the old town and romantic part of the village through bustling local markets. All very friendly and very safe and with offers to taste tequila about every 10 metres. Of course, we had to indulge in that and what fabulous tequila there is in Mexico! Locally we became known as Charlie and his Angels – too funny - definitely knowing this was not the first group of x1 man and x3 ladies to be called “Charlie and his Angels “– GO MEXICO!
We did manage to venture a little further than our loungers by the pool, margaritas and our dear waiter, Edgar. We went on a day trip to the gorgeous little fishing village of Yelapa, cruising by boat past old movie star homes on the cliff faces to this very remote and quaint village to spend the day walking about, eating FISH TACOS – the local delicacy, and generally enjoying the beach surrounds and stunning water. A very eventful bus ride also took us on another day trip to the stunning village called Sayulita. This place was an absolute fab find!
Not the most obvious of combinations - but if you get a chance - don't say no to this snow and beach combo.