About 9 or 10 years ago we took a weekend trip together to Vancouver, B.C. Chance found a great internet deal on a boutique hotel in downtown so we drove up on the spur of the moment. We stayed at the Hotel LeSoleil Vancouver. The hotel was tiny and adorable and very elegant - like nothing we had ever experienced in our very financially challenged few months together. We strolled the downtown shops for hours, shopped, ate some amazing food, discovered some one-of-a-kind chocolates (Tiger Bombs!) and had a really wonderful weekend together.
A major highlight of the trip included a fabulous dinner. Our internet deal included a gift certificate to a local restaurant of our choice. The concierge highly recommended a place called Hy's, located a mere 5 minute walk from our hotel. It took us much longer to find it. There were no signs or address numbers or any markings that we could find for the place. There was simply a door in the middle of a brick wall where we felt the restaurant should be. We passed the door 4 or 5 times until Chance pointed to it and said "I think its in here." I was unconvinced. Who ever heard of a restaurant without signs to mark or advertise it? I shook my head and Chance pushed open the door. He had found it. We entered a dark, dimly lit restaurant filled with people. It was lovely and very romantic. We ordered the chateaubriand and experienced the most amazing meal of our lives that night. And we have both savoured the memory of that meal for the last 10 years.
This year we decided to return to Vancouver in an attempt to recreate that memorable weekend. This time we stayed at the Vancouver Hyatt instead of the LeSoleil. I think this was a mistake. Our room was fine, but nothing elegant or magical like before. We found that Vancouver in general has grown significantly more expensive over the last 10 years. At every turn we were alarmed at the prices we found. Our Tiger Bombs cost an astounding $5.00 each! We returned to Hy's and found that this time there were numbers above the door. For some reason, that small thing took away a lot of its charm. We were unable to order the chateaubriand as patrons now have to order that item 3 days in advance! The server did his best to recreate a meal similar to our desires, but it fell short of our expectations. History truly doesn't repeat itself. We still managed to have a nice anniversary. We stopped at a spa and found they had last minute appointments available for massages and pedicures. What a great way to relax and save the weekend.
As I think about our trips, I realize how much has changed these last several years. Leaving the kids behind was relaxing in some ways, and difficult in others. I continually complain about needing a break from them, but then my heart aches the moment we're apart. Our 1st trip to Vancouver was beautiful. There was just something about it that I can't explain. This year's trip was a just a nice break from our day to day work to celebrate an anniversary. And while I enjoyed it, I think next time we'll bring the kids along and show them some of our favorite places and have new experiences with them. Create new memories instead of trying to relive old ones. Chance and I will have to find magic in another part of the world. And I'm looking forward to that.
PAUL: "Is this what life's going to be like for the next 50 years?"
CORIE: "Is that all were going to be married? 50 years?"
~ Robert Redford & Jane Fonda, Barefoot in the Park