When I think of Canada, I think tall fir trees, beautiful lakes, mountains and obviously lots of snow in winter. Saskatoon shattered that picture perfect image of Canada that was floating around in my little head. Maybe I am as naive as those stoopid tourists that come to Australia and expect Skippy to be jumping down the main street. Therefore, over Easter, my friend and I decide to escape the prairies, determined to find the ‘real’ Canada. First stop, Banff in the Canadian Rockies.
Our mini adventure started with a ridiculous early start, I had to drag my arse out of bed at 4am to catch the 6am flight to Calgary. I don’t do mornings at the best of time; however my grumpiness evaporated as we were rewarded with a stunning sunrise above the snow clouds.
When you only have a short time and soooo much to see, hanging around for public transport doesn’t really work. Therefore we hired a car for the long weekend. It is hard enough driving on the wrong side of the road, try adding snow to the equation. Luckily the roads were clear, but it was almost a white out with huge snowflakes bombarding the windscreen.
Our lodging for the next two days was the HI-Banff Alpine Centre, a great hostel on the outskirts of Banff. I wanted to enjoy the tranquil of the mountains and not the partying with the snow lovers; hmmmm maybe I am getting old. Prior to the trip I was a little concerned that I was too old for hostelling, however one of our dorm mates must have been well into her 70s.
Proving you are never too old!!!!
The next day we decided to have breakfast on top of Sulphur Mountain, so we could enjoy the views of the Canadian Rockies. We decided to take the lazy route up via the Banff Gondola. To save a few dollars, I purchased a ticket at the hostel and drove straight to the gondolas. However, my brain must have been suffering from the early morning or the cold or something, because somehow in that short time my ticket had evaporated into thin air. Even though I had a receipt and knew my ticket number the Banff Gondola staff were pretty rude and refused to help. I ended up forking out the price of another ticket. Every time I try and save money lately it seems to backfire, first seaplanes and now gondolas. Grrrr!!!
Due to the heavy snow, whilst driving to Banff I didn’t get to see the Rockies. However, the next day we were blessed with beautiful clear skies and I could finally appreciate them in all their beauty. From the top of Sulphur Mountain, we got panoramic views of the stunning snow covered mountains. This is the Canada I had imagined. It was certainly worth getting out of bed for, the same could not be said for the breakfast – but ay you can’t have everything.
Info: Head to Mountain Avenue to catch the Banff Gondola. It costs $35.95 for adults. If you are planning on participating in a few activities in Banff, you maybe able to purchase a multi attraction ticket to save a few dollars. Get up early to miss the crowds, by the time we were leaving there were huge ticket queues.