Thursday, April 26, 2012

Banff, Lake Louise and exploring the Rockies and too many photos!


Friday evening and I actually found the bars and cafes that were so apparently absent the night before. I didn’t fancy a drink though as I was tired from my efforts during the day at the Olympic Park, so I had a bite to eat and headed home.

Saturday was a glorious day but the first thing I did was to go up the Calgary tower. It’s only 191 metres tall, but gives great views over the city and out to The Rockies beyond. Today there was also a charity event for people to run up and down the stairs in the tower to make some money for Canadian charities. It’s all good, but with a lot of sweaty hot bodies in the tower, it did smell a bit – I decided to take advantage of the gorgeous weather and just take a stroll along the river and through the park opposite the city itself. There were people and families everywhere enjoying the sunny spring weather and I even saw a big muscly black dude filming a fitness video in the park. It was just such a nice day that I made my way down to the Bow River, across the new and quite spectacular Peace Bridge and eventually found myself a nice rock. I sat on the rock, took off my shoes and socks and spent the next half hour with my feet dipped into the icy cold and refreshing water. Lovely. A wonderful way to spend a relaxing afternoon.

This is what it looks like from the bottom

and from the top

and from inside

I’m now back in the hostel and updating the blog, before going out for an evening stroll, but opposite me is a geeky lad, who all the time I have been here has been wearing a scarf around his neck – why!? It’s blooming boiling! He is however feeling the heat a little as he is currently doing a nodding dog impression!! Haha.

Push it out!!!

The new bridge

Is the pathway on a leash!? Is it really!!? Huh! Be visible - rather than what!? INVISIBLE OBVIOUSLY!!

AAAAAH

Jumped

But I want non-ethical fat boy sugar full chocolate cake not  that shite!

Sleepyhead

I had an evening stroll, which was weird as the places I had found earlier to eat, had all closed – even though it’s a Saturday evening. There is a cinema, with a food court downstairs, where nothing is open. This country is just fookin weird.

I left Calgary on Sunday morning after an early start to watch the football and the grand prix simultaneously on the internet and on the TV in the TV room. Both were disappointing in their results. I didn’t get any more sleep due to a fat drunk snorey bastard in one of the lower bunks. Although I did enjoy slamming the door continuously just to make myself feel better when he woke up.

The bus trip to Banff was quiet, but had lovely views as we reached the Rockies. I walked into town from the bus station, enjoying the fresh air, the cool breeze and the bright sunny day shining off the snow capped peaks that lay all around. What a glorious day.

The hostel is a little walk out of town, but is stunning, with a massive open social area and great rooms. I managed to bag myself a double bed, under a bunk bed and then went exploring.
I ended up doing a short trail walk down to Bow Falls, just a mile along the river from town. The river still has massive ice fields clinging to its edges that are slowly melting and this made the views even better. There were plenty of people about including a lot of Mr Johns, and an Asian couple having their pre-wedding pictures taken (They get everywhere!) I took my time, had a great afternoon out and when I was knackered went back into town and found a bar that sold Australian style pies and had the Hockey on TV. I spent a couple of hours there, enjoying a couple of cokes before finally heading back to the hostel to bed.

Just like the caravan we had when I was a kid - only better

Rockies jumped

Nice

Nice

Monday, the start of the 4th week away and it was an absolute scorcher. I took the Gondola today up to the top of Sulphur Mountain. I had wanted to walk up or at least walk down after taking the Gondola, but there is still too much snow on the ground and we were told that the paths were still closed. Anyway, no matter, as the views up the top were awesome.

There was bright sunshine most of the day and I think I now have a little sunburn on my face, but it was worth it. The top has an old hut, used by one of the first people to live in Banff years ago, when he used to climb the mountain every few days to check on the weather, using a whole host of equipment that was left up the mountain. The hut has been restored and apart from the graffiti that stupid people like to ruin it with, it is now just as it was in the old days. I stayed up there for ages, trying to stop a bunch of school kids from writing their names on the stones of the hut. One of them claimed that they had ‘climbed; a mountain now and she had also left her mark on the world by scrawling her initials in nail varnish. I felt like throwing the stupid girl down the mountain but refrained.

At the top



Wide view

More views

and even more

Once I had took far too many photos, I headed down the gondola and spent an really nice hour relaxing in the cool sunshine, whilst bathing in the hot springs pool – lovely.

The hot springs pool
 Then on the bus back into town I heard what will be my quote of the day.....

Two women talking about food:-

Crazy Woman 1:- Have you ever had Beer chicken?
Crazy Woman 2:- No what’s that!?
Crazy Woman 1:- Well, you get a can of beer, open it, then you just put the chicken on top and you have beer chicken.
(I hope she got mixed up, otherwise I have two questions of my own.
1. How long does the chicken have to be ON the can to become Beer Chicken.
2. Is it possible to actually balance a full chicken, ON a beer can!?)

So I got off the bus before shooting them both and had a spot of Japanese for dinner. It’s been a long hard day – hahaha, so an easy night tonight I think.
Update – Update – I just saw my first ever real live Gopher!! Cool!!

Wednesday was a long day too – I got the Greyhound bus up to Lake Louise – a small village named after the lake that lies about 3 miles away up a hill. I of course, decided to hike up the hill in order to see the lake. It started out as a lovely day and I quite happily wandered along the road until I reached the path that takes a straighter direction than the road. About 4 feet after trying out the snow covered path I had to turn around though, as I was up to my waist in deep cold snow!!
So I walked the road and after about an hour I reached Lake Louise and the beautiful hotel that sits beside it. The lake is a stunning blue colour in summer, but today was white – as it was still covered in deep snow and ice. Nonetheless, it is still a stunning sight, surrounded by almost picture perfect snow capped mountains and bathed in sunlight.

The sunlight didn’t last though as shortly after I arrived it started to rain – heavily. I ended up wandering around the posh hotel, and found my way up to the top floor – and even the secret top floor above it, that houses the penthouse suite – that I couldn’t get into.
The weather cleared after a couple of hours though and I wandered back down the road, enjoying the fresh clean air on a lovely spring afternoon. It was a really nice pleasant day, but when I arrived back in Banff, it had started to pelt down again and so I had a spot of dinner and went back to the hostel, to relax and dry off before I head back to Calgary tomorrow.

Keep to the roads rick

At Lake Louise - Ive got a bit if sunburn

Far

too

many

awesome photos

inside the hotel, while it was raining

I enjoyed an evening in a room without any other people – its lovely having a room to myself once in a while, so I slept well and made it to the bus well in time for the greyhound back to Calgary. There was hardly anyone on the bus, but as usual there was a strange person – an Asian lady, who cut her nails for 45 minutes, slowly and every two minutes brushed off her cut tips, onto the floor. When she wasn’t doing her nails she was coughing up phlegm into her handbag - I kid you not – then she got her mirror out of her bag (No doubt covered in green snot) and spent the rest of the trip doing her hair in the mirror. She was a state anyway and it made no difference. But at least it kept me amused for a while. So that is it for now. I’m back in Calgary for the night and then fly back ‘home’ to Winnipeg tomorrow and will work hard to keep myself amused there for a couple of weeks – I have already booked my train leaving for Toronto in May.
inside the hostel

and another view inside

the outside

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