This was my first time in western Canada and it's fun to see how much our country differs from one coast to the other. Here on the east coast we're fishermen and woodsmen (historically speaking and somewhat still) and the west is all about black gold. And obviously black gold is a lot more lucrative than fish or trees. I was surprised by how much I noticed this! Even subdivisions (which in the maritimes consist mostly of small bungalows) were incredibly different, with Alberta subdivisions having much larger and nicer homes. I didn't expect those kinds of things. And as a city, I liked Calgary. I'm a country mouse so big stores, restaurants, the ballet...these are a few of my favourite things. F showed me a good time - and since the purpose of this trip was completely just to visit her, my expectations were far exceeded! :)
The Calgary city landscape. Last year with the flooding, this low lying area was underwater!
The mountains were hidden behind the clouds and fog for most of my visit. F's family apparently has a mountain view, but I didn't experience it! My last day there we drove to Banff and Lake Louise and as the day warmed up some of the fog and clouds burned off and I finally got a peek of these Rockies I've heard so much about.
This was my first glimpse of the Rockies on my last day! You can see the clouds and fog are obscuring part of the view, but I think they make the photos quite pretty.
Once in the National Park, we took a side road towards Lake Minnewanka. (Photo above.)
When F asked if I wanted to go to Lake Louise I said yes! You see tourist photos of Lake Louise everywhere and I was expecting that beautiful, green water - of course forgetting that this was March in Canada. Water freezes, dummy. It was still a lovely spot with the ice cleared for skating, an ice sculpture and the Rockies. In the above photo, the Lake Louise Hotel is behind me, overlooking the lake. And there's a tea house on top of the mountains to my right where F says Will and Kate stayed on their Canada tour post Royal Wedding. (She loves them too.)
We spent the rest of our day in Banff at the hotel and hot springs having a massage (I was veeery spoiled on this trip, I'll freely admit). It was a wonderful last day to spend with a good friend! On our way out of Banff F quickly pulled off the road and told me to go get a photo of this guy (above). He and a friend were just hanging out in someone's yard. Elk, apparently. We don't have them on the east coast, and I'll tell you, he was as big as a moose!
All in all a fabulous trip and I will definitely be returning to Alberta (with hubby) some day! I wish traveling in Canada was more convenient and affordable. Sadly, my ticket to Calgary and my ticket to Switzerland for June were basically the same price. It makes it hard when you have fellow X Men who you love spread out across the country!
Thank you for such a wonderful time, F and family!
Will you hate me if I leave you with this cheesy video that hubby has been singing since I got home? Canada is the Rocky Mountains... ;)