The time with Mum was busy!
No sooner that we got back from the US, I had 4 days at work and we were off again. This time to the Rockies. We flew into Calgary on the Thursday night and picked up the hire car. However, what was supposed to be a 10 minute drive to the hotel turned into 30 minutes! Although we were given directions we could not find the hotel. We drove round and round in circles until I remembered that Google maps on my phone could tell us how to get there. Oops! It was the best hotel of the 3 we stayed in too! Highly recommend the Radisson if you need an over night in Calgary. But Calgary airport is seriously in the middle of nowhere...or the "boondocks" as Mum called it!
The following morning we set of to Banff. It's a pretty ordinary drive except for the fact that as you drive towards the Rockies the mountains get bigger and bigger! In no time we were in Banff and had a delicious lunch. We thought we would lash out and stay at the Fairmont Banff Springs. It's an impressive hotel but honestly very disappointing and way overpriced for what you get. The room was small, the beds were single size and the bathroom was the size of a closet and there were dirty marks on the wall...probably from the suitcases? Not sure. But definitely not worth the price we paid. I don't think I'd stay in another one.
We wandered around Banff, did a little shopping and chilled out in the bar at the hotel. The following day we checked out the Bow River and falls right next to the hotel then also the Hoodoos.
We then set off for Lake Louise. Instead of driving straight up the highway we took the scenic route the Bow Valley Parkway. Much prettier! We stayed for 2 nights at the Deer Lodge, which is a 5 minute walk to Lake Louise. It was an old lodge, and had no tv (shock horror!) but we liked it much better than the Fairmont! We learned that it was the last weekend the Lake Louise ski resort was open so we went to check it out. What a party atmosphere! So many people dressed up in Hawaiian shirts, shorts, bikinis etc and they were all skiing/snowboarding!
Part of our package deal with the hotel was that breakfast and dinner were included. The 2 nights we were there we had the most filling 3 course meals. Absolutely delicious!
On Sunday we went to check out the Icefield Parkway...however I took a wrong turn and ended up on the road back to BC! So we thought we better check out Field (of which it was a small town made up of 3 streets), Emerald Lake and the Natural Bridge. We then headed back to Alberta and took the right road to the Icefield Parkway.
It really is very beautiful, many of the lakes were still frozen. We checked out Bow Lake and I went to Peyto. Last time I went to Peyto it was a short walk from the car park to the lookout. But as there was still so much snow, it was a good 15 minute trudge through the snow! Mum didn't go as she didn't have the correct shoes. It was very beautiful. Stupid me, decided to take the less travelled path even though it was an obvious path not as many people had taken it. As I learned that day, just because the snow looks smooth and stable doesn't mean it is! I ended up in snow almost up to my hip! Not fun when there's literally no one else around and you go into panic mode.
The highlights of the day were seeing 3 bears (!!), a mountain goat and a big horned sheep. We also stopped and looked at the Athabasca Glacier. Unfortunately we didn't get to Jasper as it was another 100km from the Glacier. It was a beaut day!
We unfortunately couldn't go to Lake Moraine (my fave) as the roads were closed due to avalanche risks. We had such a fantastic time and I would highly recommend it! It's a really unique time of year to go.
Back to Vancouver and back to work but it was my friend Jess' last week in Vancouver. :( She lived here for almost 3 years and it was time for her to go back to Brisbane. We didn't know each other in Brisbane but have a mutual friend who suggested we meet up when I first moved over. We did and we clicked! We mostly went to movies together seeing some really good and some really crap ones, but we also had some awesome and random roadtrips. Including going to Portland for the weekend where Jess drove in the torrential downpour for hours to get there, going to the outlets near Seattle so for a visa run and more recently a weekend that ended up finding lots X Files locations! Mum and I had a lovely dinner with her and it was a lovely way to say "see you soon".
Jess, I'm going to miss you a lot. Living in Vancouver, knowing that you're not here to call upon to see a random movie just won't be the same. Looking forward to seeing you back in Brissie and I'm so glad to call you a friend. xxx
Anyway, 4 days of work flew by and it was the weekend again. So we went to Whistler! We didn't do a whole lot. Only Blackcomb Mountain was open so we couldn't do the Peak to Peak Gondola but we had a nice time wandering around the village. We had awesome Mexican though and I highly recommend Mexican Corner if you're ever up there. Sunday was Mother's Day so it was great to have Mum here. We drove up to Pemberton and then past the random farms in the area and finally headed back to Vancouver. We had a lovely dinner at Pronto which is a great Italian restaurant right near where I used to live! UH-MAZING!
Finally Monday come and it was time for Mum to pack up and get ready to leave. After work we had a nice dinner and as we didn't want to prolong the goodbyes at the airport Mum left in a taxi.
It was so nice having you here Mum and I look forward to seeing you again really soon! xxx