Part Five – The Final journey
Banff to Calgary
Well Banff was probably my favourite Town. Set against a stunning back drop of mountains it has a really friendly atmosphere. There is a good selection of shops selling everything from Christmas decorations to Flavoured popcorn. It is mainly one long straight road with retail shops interspersed by coffee shops and restaurants. You will certainly not go hungry in Banff.
You can grab your Starbucks fix or try out one of the local offerings, Evelyn’s Coffee World was my favourite.
Top Tip: If you want a snack, try out the local speciality Poutine. It is a Canadian dish made with French fries and cheese curds topped with a brown gravy. Let’s put it this way, it’s a Marmite thing. You will love it or hate it, but you must try it!
I was staying at the Moose Hotel and Suites. This is a recently refurbished hotel and is just at the top end of the Main street, so a great location for shopping and eating out. It’s modern and Quirky and I loved the original artwork in each room and the huge walk-in shower. Although I got a bit of a shock when an elk wandered past the window?
In the evening there are lots of place to eat out, so you will be spoiled for choice.
Top Tip: Wild Bill’s Legendary Saloon. It’s a great venue in the centre of town, with live music, dancing, bull riding and a great selection of reasonably priced food options. Needless to say, a great night was had by all.
Day two in Banff took me to the Rimrock Hotel. This is another option for you to stay at. It is a little bit out of Town but its only 10-15 minutes’ walk by the River so its not bad.
The Views from this Hotel are spectacular as it perches on the cliff edge.
We also visited the Fairmont Banff Springs if you want that more traditional hotel with a touch of Luxury.
Again the Views are stunning.
Near to the Pinnacle you can visit the Famous Banff Hot Springs and take the Gondola up the Mountain. The view once you get up there is amazing as you can see and although there was no snow at ground level there was at the top of the Mountain.
Top Tip: Don’t forget your camera and remember to wear layers as it is several degrees colder at the summit than down in the valley.
After Lunch back in Banff we set off towards are final destination – Calgary.
En-route we were scheduled to take a Helicopter Tour over the Rockies but unfortunately due to strong winds the helicopters were grounded for the day. Normally you would get to experience this as you fly up over the Rocky Mountains and then drop off the edge as the mountains give way to the open plains.
We arrived in Calgary early afternoon and checked into our Hotel. We were again hosts of the Fairmont group. The Fairmont hotel actually backs onto the Railway line with a door out directly onto the Station. It is situated in the centre of Calgary next to the Calgary tower which I could see from my hotel Room.
As you would expect from Fairmont it was a luxury room, with some of the most comfortable beds I have ever slept in.
A trip up the Calgary Tower is included in the Tour and gives you that all important Birds eye view of city. It is odd because once you are up at the top you realise the high-rise buildings are all in a small cluster then the Buildings drop down to low level and stretch as far as the eye can see. We did have a little drama as one of the lifts broke down and we had to be escorted back in the other lift by two ever so lovely firefighters. A little excitement for the day in more ways than one.
If I am being totally honest, Calgary itself did not really excite me as a city. The shops were similar to those found in any big city, with Shopping Malls and tacky tourist shops. We perhaps did not see it in its best light as it was thanksgiving and many of the eateries etc were closed and there were not that many people out and about. I imagine if you came in peak season or perhaps when the famous Calgary stampede is on it would be a whole other ballgame. So, don’t let me put you off.
So finally, I come to the end of my adventure.
This trip has definitely given me some of the best memories. A beautiful country, friendly people and an amazing experience.
I would like to say a Huge thank you to Rocky Mountaineer and to the Fairmont Hotel Group for their amazing hospitality.
I won’t bore you with the details of the flight home as it was much the same as the flight out. It was on the New Dreamliner but if I am totally honest I didn’t notice any real difference from the aircraft we flew out on and I know the Air in the cabin is supposed to make you feel more refreshed but I honestly did not see it myself. Or should I say feel it!
If anyone has any questions about any aspect of the trip please feel free to ask here In the comments, email me at email@example.com
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