Travel Diary 4: West Canada
I've been doing my best to keep track of and record my travels, naturally, on the blog over the past six months. Right now I am on my way home, so it seemed about time to getting around to the last few instalments of Travel Diaries! After leaving Montreal in early December, I headed westward with Mum and Peta until the New Year. Here is a summary of the things we did, saw and ate, for those of you who are interested or who are planning a trip yourself.
We only spent two nights in Calgary, on either side of our time in Banff, so we didn't really get to see a whole lot of this small city. If you are into cowboys then this is a great place, as Alberta is known in Canada for being beef and cowboy country and there is no shortage of cowboy hats and boots, even in the city! The main attraction in downtown is the Calgary Tower, which we were fortunate enough to go up for a special winter solstice yoga class (which was an epic almost two-hour long quirky flow!). Other than that there is plenty of shopping, and a tram, along the main drag and a ski hill just out of the city centre.
Although we didn't ski in Banff, we did spend four nights there and enjoying the charms of the highest town in Canada. Our days were filled with snowy adventures which included hiring ice skates and attempting to skate on the frozen Bow River. We also took the bus up to the Fairmont Hotel (worth a look) and enjoyed a warm dip in the Banff Upper Hot Springs. We also did two small hikes around Banff, which despite the cold were enjoyable nonetheless.
In terms of food and drink, Peta and I loved the Banff Tea Company shop and even attended a tea tasting there at 6pm on Monday night. Nourish Bistro is the place to go for an amazing vegetarian feed and cocktails, whilst we visited Wildflour Bakery almost daily for their gluten free baked goods and yummy hot drinks.
Lake Louise, AB
We only visited Lake Louise, a picturesque lake about an hour's drive from Banff, for a few hours but it was stunning nonetheless. In summer this lake is an incredible crystal blue and reflects the mountains behind it, but in winter it freezes over and turns into a snowy expanse. We spent our time there by having another crack at ice skating (I was only mildly better) and also having perusing the Fairmont Hotel there, which is arguably one of the best of its kind.
We spent five days skiing at Whistler, which has (according to some people we met on the gondola) been voted the best ski resort in North America for the last several years. The resort comprises two peaks - Whistler and Blackcomb - which are conveniently connected by the record-breaking Peak2Peak gondola. I cannot recommend this place highly enough, we loved every single second of the skiing and the atmosphere on the mountain is vibrant and friendly. Whistler Village is also known for its great apres ski options including bars, restaurants and clubs. What more could you want in one place?!
Our trip across Canada was rounded out by a few days in Vancouver, the capital of BC. This city is surprisingly small population-wise, but nonetheless has plenty to entertain. On the sunniest day we hired bikes and rode along the Sea Wall and through part of the famous Stanley Park, before visiting the quaint and magical Granville Island Markets. We also took a trip to the breathtaking Capilano Suspension Bridge Park which is just over the bridge from Vancouver island, and visited the historic Gas Town part of the city. There is also an abundance of healthier food options here, as Vancouver is known for its healthy population, who in summer can be found jogging, riding and doing as much yoga as they can manage.
And so that rounds out the Canadian part of my travel diaries. Coming up soon are the European instalments of London, Rome and Paris!
Love, Erica x