Vancouverites love to travel, and the end of year holidays are as good a time for that as any. In December the province of B.C. offers a lot of options — stormwatching in Tofino, skiing in Whistler or the Kootenays, relaxation at Harrison Hot Springs, or one of the many rugged options in the wild country which makes up most of the territory.
Looking beyond, there are those with time shares in Mexico (although that number might decline in the near future) or second homes in Arizona and Texas. We have friends who pack up every December for Baja in Mexico and don’t return until February.
We opt for summer travel, and love to explore the province when it is warm and dry. But like everyone in the bioregion of Cascadia (Western Canada and coastal Washington and Oregon), we yearn for brighter days than we are offered by our geography this time of year. For the 2012 holidays, we took up a friend’s offer to stay a few weeks in her apartment in Nice, France.
There are no direct flights from Vancouver to Nice. There is a very expensive flight to Paris with a connection to Nice. It was less expensive for us to fly out of the US, as it is for virtually every flight out of Canada. What locals do is take the shuttle bus to the Seattle airport, a four hour trip that still ends up saving hundreds of dollars on air travel.
While in Nice, I thought about its similarities to Vancouver. No, there is NO similarity in weather. But both cities are on the water, surrounded by mountains, environmentally progressive, dog-friendly, and known for good dining. Fantasy: dividing my time between the two.