How many superlatives are there ? (5th July)
Today we travelled south on highway 93 between Jasper and Lake Louise on, apparently, one of the top 10 road trips in the world. Now, I don't have too many exceptional road trips to compare it with, perhaps the A303 / A30 down to the West Country or the roads around Pitlochry, but we ran out of superlatives today. Among the beautiful, spectacular, amazing, wonderful, superb, awesome, breathtaking sites we passed by or got out at were :
Sunwapta Falls - a spectacular waterfall going down into a deep canyon.
Edith Cavell Mountain - named after a British nurse working for the Red Cross in Belgium during WW1, who helped smuggle out allied prisoners but who was then shot by the Germans as a spy.
The Athabasca Falls - certainly the most spectacular waterfall I have ever seen in a small area.
Pyramid Mountain and Pyramid Lake - different layers of coloured rock overlooking a large lake.
Columbia Icefield - we took a ride on the glacier before walking on to it. An unbelievable experience.
The Big Hill - what can I say about this ? It was ........ BIG !
Peyto Lake - at 7,000 feet, this lake was truly emerald green and looked unreal.
Bow Lake - another lake with breathtaking colours in superb setting.
We eventually reached Lake Louise and I sadly have now completely run out of superlatives. Perhaps tomorrow I will think of a new one.
is rather a nice view out of our bedroom window ...... Is "nice"
Sue's blog : an energetic day at Lake Louise (6th July)
Today was a rare event - nothing planned so no need to set the alarm ! Needless to say we both woke up early enough to watch the second set of the Ladies Final at Wimbledon, and Simon woke even earlier to follow The Lions in the final Test against the Aussies ! After a croissant, fruit and coffee breakfast in the coffee shop, we went back to the room to Skype Sarah and Andrew, to catch up on their news and check that the house was still standing!!
We have spent most of the last week sitting on trains and coaches so decided that today was the day for proper exercise .... a two mile stroll to a small lake nearby with a Swiss style tea house seemed just the thing. It was a hot and sunny morning but we had been warned that the weather can change quickly, and a storm was forecast for the afternoon, so we took a jacket (me) and a fleece (Simon), plus hats. We soon realised that the two mile stroll was more like a two mile,1000 feet in elevation, climb ! The path was quite good but at no point did it flatten out. We spent most of the walk swapping places in the front with a large family group consisting of Grandpa, four other adults and half a dozen small children ! The kids were doing the best of all of us !
It was warm and sunny and we were regretting taking the coats. As we reached the first lake (Mirror Lake) it started to cloud over. We set off for the final bit of the climb, meeting a couple coming down who said "not far now to the waterfall. You are nearly there. The apple crumble is delicious!" We could hear the waterfall but soon realised that the path was going away from it. It was starting to spit with rain when we eventually got there, so we took a few photos and carried on. By the time we got to the tea house it was raining quite hard, there was thunder and it was getting colder. Everyone had had the same idea, so we crammed into the queue in the tiny tea house and waited to be served. As the rain turned to hail stones - mad idea but true - we decided that we didn't mind if it took a long time to get served as we were at least inside ! Eventually we got our hot chocolate, plus a peanut butter sandwich on home made bread for me and home made apple crumble for Simon. We found a seat and got chatting to a couple from Chicago and prepared to wait out the storm ! Eventually we saw a gap in the clouds, so decided to start on the two mile trek back down. This was easier than up though it was quite slippery in places. Arrived back feeling very pleased with ourselves but completely exhausted !
We later spent an interesting half an hour watching a wedding ceremony being conducted at the back of the hotel by the lake. A lovely spot but I'm not sure I would have wanted the ceremony in full public view of hotel guests, plus the large number of day trippers who were meandering behind the wedding gazebo .... quite strange!
Fred who ? (7th July)
Pretty much ever since I have been born, the name Fred Perry has been spoken as the greatest British tennis player who ever lived. He obviously played in a different era, played with different equipment and in long white trousers, and was an amateur doing it for the love of the game. Sadly, the War put a stop to his run of success at Wimbledon, but his name lived on ....... until today !
We watched in disbelief, always expecting his opponent, Novak Djokovic, to put a stop to our hopes, as Andy Murray did what all subsequent Brits failed to do - win Wimbledon. Twenty four hours later I still can't believe it has happened at long last. That last game will hopefully be on u-tube and we can watch it back in the years to come as we tell tales of the last Brit to win Wimbledon way back in 2013.
After spending the early morning watching the tennis, with the hot sun and the picturesque view outside our bedroom window, we eventually went to get breakfast fully expecting the bunting and the flags to be out in celebration of what had just happened. No ! Not a solitary recognition was to be seen or heard.
Having personally waited 58 years, I was
not going to miss the moment even if The Tardis landed outside and I was asked
to be the next Doctor.
A walk along the lake in quite hot sunshine under a blue sky was a lovely way to end the morning before we took the coach on a tour of the area and onward to our next stop in Banff. We stopped off at various places en route including the fierce Kicking Horse River and The Spiral Tunnels. We especially liked Emerald Lake and the scenery around there, which we would love to return to.
Arriving in Banff we found ourselves booked into one of the upper turrets on top of a castle like hotel, with views of the surrounding area. On a recommendation from a friend who had been here skiing, we found a steak house called "Saltlik" and had our second best meal of our trip - the fish restaurant in the hotel in Vancouver was nearly unbeatable.
No time to unpack our bags before we leave for Calgary. Looking forward to four nights there at The Stampede, Yee - Ha, before a more restful few days with our cousins in Saskatchewan.
Banff and on to Calgary (8th July)
Banff is a lovely little town and one we could easily have spent a few days in, rather than just overnight. We ate our first cooked breakfast since Vancouver Island including made to order omelettes. Before leaving we looked round the small museum with the history of the hotel and the many well known visitors they have had. One of these was Marilyn Monroe and there is a photo of her 'playing golf' with her ankle heavily strapped. She had been filming at nearby Bow Falls with Robert Mitcham and they stayed at the hotel.
It was pouring with rain as we left and made our first stop at Bow Falls. Thankfully this was the opportunity for me to put on my expensive raincoat which we had carried many thousands of miles without previously using. The Falls were probably very spectacular in the sunshine, but not in low cloud with heavy rain ! Another much awaited stop was Sulphur Mountain and the gondola ride. We went up the mountain on the gondola to the observation platform, had a coffee, and came down having seen a few trees but sadly no view. A chipmunk in the gift shop was the mornings photo highlight !
After lunch in Banff, we carried on our tour to Suprise Corner, so named as when the Queen Mother saw thie view of the Banff Springs Hotel, she exclaimed "oh, what a Suprise !", and to The Hoodoos, a strange rock formation.
Advertised as the highlight of our day was to be a helicopter ride over The Rocky Mountains. Sue was quite happy when we learned that, although they could fly, we wouldn't be able to see anything due to the inclement weather. Instead, we did a detour to somewhere called Rafter 6 Lodge which turned out to be equally exciting as a helicopter ride would have been. The owner was an Honorary Sioux Chief and ex RCMP and had numerous tales to tell as he showed us round his small museum of artefacts going back many years to Sitting Bull.
We left the mountains behind us and headed onto the plains before arriving in Eddie the Eagle Edwards town of Calgary. Yee Haw !!