I don't have much homestay experience but the ones I have had since being in Canada have been great. They are so much better than hotels which I find really impersonal. You get to know families of different nationalities, sometimes they invite to share in their dinner which allows you the opportunity to find out about different cultures, languages, accents and places people have travelled. It is interesting and knowledgeable. Hosts can guide you, help you with important information which you may otherwise miss and you can get help too with your travel, region or locality. It also connects you more with the local community. I've already learned a lot from my hosts about the do and don'ts of travel here which was really more informative than other websites. It's a good, tolerable experience to have and i recommend it for sure to young and older people.
I loved taking the seabus and visiting all the different areas and finding how different and multicultural they were. I visisted galleries and museums. I am not a shopper or really like cities much but in Vancouver the mountains are just there in the distance. There is also a lot of homelessness and rough sleeping downtown which can be shocking if you have not seen much of that and especially in Chinatown but most areas are full of shops, businesses and eateries. The food is multiethnic and you can probably find food here from most places in the world.
Vancouver art galleries are definitely worth a visit. The city and downtown is an intense and bustling place. North Vancouver was more open, less intense and built and closer to the mountains. Where I stayed at my 2nd homestay was with a clear view of the mountains, close up. Grouse mountain is worth a visit and check out the bay areas and islands, they are great for spending the day with friends and family.
I liked all my homestays. They were all different. I found the hosts were respectful and always willing to help and you get to know them well. Sometimes they offered lifts to places like the station when you were in a hurry or they would cook food some evenings and on one or two occasions they would offer dinner as a suprise. In my first homestay I had breakfast which was inclusive and everyday was different and the host would make something new and creative.
Having dinner with hosts and guests. The hosts are Phil (centre far back) and his wife Mershid on the left. We were discussing life in Canada, what everyone was getting up to and doing and sharing our stories about all kinds of things and life experiences. This is a lively family and the hosts are engaging. It was a really homely atmosphere, simple and honest, something I am sure you will not com by easily staying in a hotel.
Sharing healthy cooked food and trying something new. The hosts celebrated one of the guests birthday and cooked all this fantastic food for everyone. It was really tasty and healthy and I tried lots of food that I had not eaten before. This is Persian cooking. Everything comes with fresh herbs and a platter of cooked kebabs and freshly made smoothies. Mershid is really health conscious and has a wealth of knowledge about looking after yourself which if you have the time, she is willing to share with you. It was a good evening!
Horseshoe Bay about 20 km from the Hosts house, with mountain views. I took a short drive here to explore areas around North Vancouver. This is where ferries go to Vancouver island and other small islands. You can take boatrides and safaris and explore the water and see wildlife like seals, sea and shore birds and maybe even an orca on a really lucky day. There are lots of places to eat and spend the day here. It can be a little touristy but well worth the visit. You can carry on up the coast to other small bay areas for sightseeing, hiking, trails and back country camping. I spent the day here just driving up the coast and getting a hang of driving on the highway and also visiting some small cafes on the way.
This is a picture of me at the Vancouver museum of the Arts next to a cedar bark canoe. This museum had a short history of Canadian life and it was nice to see the inclusion of 1st Nations people here in the strytelling unlike many other places I have visited which only really tell the European side of the story and nothing more. It is good to see that 1st Nations peoples have a large presence here and their culture is respected more. I enjoyed walking along Vancouver streets and seeing all the different galleries that were around, especially ones celebrating and containing work and knowledge of indigenous cultures across Canada. Also more contemporary work like photography of the war in Ukraine and immgrant stories. There are so many places to eat and the food is really good.
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