Todays mission was to sort Hazel’s British Columbia driving licence. This meant a trip to Kamloops in the hire car. While there Hazel was also going to do some shopping at Walmart.
To gain her BC licence Hazel has to hand her UK licence in which does seem strange. Anyway the whole process only took about 30 mins.
Call me strange but I do like looking round “forign” supermarkets. What people buy gives some inside to the country. In this case the first thing I saw was “George” labelled clothing ! Suppose I shouldn’t have been surprised as Walmart own Asda.
After shopping we returned to Sun Peaks for a chill. Later we headed out to a quiz night at the pub over the road. We were in a team of 6 with Hazel’s mates. Our team won the quiz – a high to end the holiday on 🙂
The only downer on the day was the impromptu quiz meant we forgot about a fine fruit crumble that Hazel had made for us.
Long drive from Brentwood Bay to Vancouver. We broke the journey at Cowichan Bay on route to the Naniamo ferry terminal.
Tonight we’re in a family room in hostel. This turned out to be a shit hostel. The room was only just bigger than the bed which was a metal framed double with a single as a bunk above it. No air-conditioning & way too hot. Ended up wedging the door open to get some air flow.
It’s not ideal wedging your door open in a dodgy hostel so we piled stuff behind the door so it couldn’t be opened without making a noise ! Anyway we’re all still alive.
Early start to the day. Hazel had arranged for one of her mates to give us a lift to Kamloops to pick up our Turo hire car at 7:45. Turo is like AirB&B for cars. You’re renting of individuals not a company.
Hazels mate arrived early & we got to Kamloops an hour early for the car. We killed time in Starbucks having some breakfast. In the UK breakfast at Starbucks would normally mean selling a kidney or re-mortgaging the house. Not in Canada 😁
The car pickup was at the guys house – he wasn’t there. The car was so we started our journey to Vancouver Island. Turo worked well.
The drive was long but scenic. We broke the journey with a stop in Whistler.
Sadly when we returned to the car we found we’d got a parking ticket. Turns out we’d been ticketed while Sarah was at the machine buying a ticket. Bastards… Our first bad experience in Canada 🤬
We then had an hours ferry ride to Vancouver Island.
We arrived late to our AirB&B which was in Brentwood Bay, just north of Victoria.
Well it seems the assistant in the BK Whopper bar in Calgary Airport read last nights post on customer service – she was, or came across as really quite rude !
Anyway they sell beer so ordered Molson and two vege burgers. All good until my order is ready. Apparently you can’t drink in public in Canada so I couldn’t take my bottle of beer out of the burger bar to where Sarah was sitting 😕
Mellowing to my charms she offered a solution 😁
The flight to Kamloops was on a tiny plane.
We met Hazel at the airport and after some food shopping headed off to Sun Peaks.
After a short chill in Hazel’s flat we went out for Taco Tuesday at Hazel’s local.
Then it started to go wrong…
To cut a long story short we had a great evening with Hazel & her mates. Sarah was a little squiffy & needed a sit down on the way home….
It seems Lake Louise is popular. You can’t drive there but have to book a park & ride place. This booking has to be done on-line. That process was a nightmare ! Luckly once booked the park & ride bit was really well done & quite stress free.
What wasn’t stress free was the numbers of people visiting this small area. Luckly it was a bit like the lakes in that people don’t go far from their transport. We walked down to the head of the lake & got away from the crouds.
It was beautiful…
Back at the park & Ride we had Poutine a Canadian delicacy of chips, cheese curds and gravy.
Awesome, super excited to serve you, Funday Sunday, Taco Tuesday, great choice,
Fuelled by Poutine we went for a walk down Johnston Canyon.
On returning up the Canyon we heard rocks falling and the cracking of timber above our heads. We looked up to see a tree falling into the Canyon above us. We ran… Luckly the tree roots held & the tree didn’t fall onto the walkway else it would have been close !
After this close shave we ate out at a Taco bar to celebrate still living 😁
The food was good but the service ethos is starting to become a little annoying. Every menu choice you make is “awesome” and every waitress says they’re “super excited to serve you“ Hmmm 🤨
A few beers then bed. Flying to Kamloops to see Hazel tomorrow…
Slept well in the Canmore Hostel – didn’t hear the live band in the hotel next door. We’re up by 8am to put a new ticket on the car. A ticket was needed but was free – work that one out ???
After making tuna mayo sarnies we headed out to Banff for a day’s eMountain biking. We were both looking forward to exploring Banff.
When we arrived the bikes were hybrids rather than mountain bikes. We ask for routes & three were provided. It transpired there were no mountain bike trails locally so the routes provided were on road.
The thre routes were ” Golf course”, “Tunnel mountain” and “Lake Minniewanka” loop. Being quite childish the name Minniewanka made me snigger…
Anyway some photos…
After riding we had an hour or so before a wildlife tour. The tour started from the same spot we hired the bikes from – simples…
The tour was on a small minibus. Our tour guide was Ray, a young girl with multicoloured hair and a loud voice.
We all got on the bus (12 people) and Ray told us the route for tonight’s wildlife hunt.
Sarah & I looked at each other as Ray said the exact route we’d eBiked earlier ! We laughed…
Anyway the tour was good and Sarah got to see a Wolf. No photo – it ran off.
I woke at 3am and ventured out to the loo. Half way there I suddenly became aware I’m in bear country & not at the top of the food chain – I woke up quickly ! Luckily for me no bears were hiding in the kharzi
Breakfast was coffee and boiled eggs on toast while chatting with the snory French guy.
First activity of the day was a trip on the Jasper sky tram. This is a cable car that takes you half way up Whistler mountain. The plan was to walk to the summit which is just over 8000ft high.
We were lucky it was a clear sunny day which allowed good views.
After Whistler mountain we went into Jasper for a cool beer and a look round. It reminded us of a very spread out Keswick – outdoor shops surrounded by mountains.
We went into a bar for a cool beer. Nice beer but expensive – just like keswick ! Now I don’t normally take photos in public toilets but I had to take this one of the gents urinal.
After the pub we drove to Medicine lake & Maligne Lake.
After Medicine Lake we drove to Maligne Lake to see a friend of Hazel’s. Sadly the 60 mile round trip was in vain as she’s in Jasper on her one day off a week ! Meline was too busy so we moved on quickly.
The drive home was interesting as we saw this fella wandering buy…
After our encounter with Yogi we did a walk down Maligne canyon. For this walk we were lent some bear spray by the hostel warden.
I was excited about a wilderness walk where bear spray may be needed. Dont get me wrong I didn’t want to go around pepper spraying bears. I’m well aware of what the outcome would be and I don’t want to harm them anyway. (I’m a vegetarian don’t you know) It was the thought of being in such a wild and untouched place we don’t really get in the UK.
The sad truth was it was a really popular walk. Hundreds of screaming kids… No self respecting animal would be withing 5 miles of this place.
So I felt a bit of a nob being armed like Rambo on a “family” walk. It was a beautiful place so here are some photos.
The Internet a little slow today so only two pics….
We were woken at 4:30am by a phone call from the uk – I’d not turned my phone on silent. Doh…
Todays plan was to get the bus back to the airport & pickup a hire car. Then drive, via a Walmart for food to Jasper. Simples.
We said goodbye to the hostel at about 9:30 after another hearty breakfast. We caught the 300 bus to the airport.
We’d picked the cheapest car we could with a company called VIP. What could go wrong…
…well nothing really. After some admin mixup VIP had booked us with Hertz for the same price. Hertz were nice and allowed us to take the car early so we were on the road by 11:30.
The roads out of Calgary Airport were busy but we managed find Walmart. I was looking forward to this because of the Facebbok group “People of Walnart”. If that’s to be believed the place will be filled with very “Special” people. Check it out. Just search FB for #peopleofwalmart you’ll love it.
The drive to Jasper was a long one – 440km and 4.5 hours according to Google.
After a couple of boring hours the scenery started to improve with big mountains on the horizon. When we got on the Icefields Parkway the scenery was just stunning.
Now the speed limits on this road are low and between 50 and 110kph at random sections of the road. The locals just ignored any limits which lead to some sketchy overtaking.
We came round one right corner to see a groupe of cars on the opposite carriage way all stopped in a group by a turning. I had my eyes on them looking for any stupid overtakes that would put us in danger.
What I didn’t see was they were looking a a bear on my side of the road by bushes on the hard shoulder. So we passed within 12″ of the bear at 50mph !
On passing the group of cars we could see they’d stopped to look at the bear. Given Paddingtons size I think our Hyundi would have come of worst.
We laughed at the thought of these people admiring this beautiful animal only to see us run it over !
As we drove on, I said to Sarah she should get her good camera ready. She laughed and said they’d be no chance of seeing another. Five minutes later we passed another smaller bear coming out of the tree line at the side of the road ! Again no photos ☹️
The hostel we’d booked is basic but in a beautiful location.
Mixed dormitories, no showers and compost toilets.
Tired, we cooked pasta & went to bed after chatting with some of the other guests and Scott the hostel warden.
Luckly we were only sharing with a nice Spanish cycle tourist.
The day started well. Sarah got an email saying our bags had been delivered & I got an email from NS&I 😁
Last night we arrived in rain so I opened the blinds to see what sort of day it was and saw this fella…
On the way to the hostel I saw squirrels as well. Amazing wildlife for a city centre.
We retrieved our bags, showered and went for breakfast. The hotel breakfast was a help yourself buffet of coffee, juices, bread, waffles, boiled eggs, yoghurt & fruit. This was served in the communal kitchen which had chairs & tables. We ate with youths – we’re definitely the oldest swingers in town here !
Today we wanted to see Calgary. Given the size of it we were only ever going to see a small part so we picked on the Downtown area which seemed to have interesting stuff. I’m trying a wordpress gallery below – tell me if it works !
We then went for some lunch at the River Cafe on Princes Island Park. We just wanted a drink & a quick snack so we ordered a coffee, a beer and a mixed meats and cheeses board to share between us.
We got a shock when the bill arrived 😭😭😭 Seems the River Cafe is 28th out of over 3000 Calgary restaurants on TripAdvisor !
We walked further down the river & saw some eScooters. Sazz downloaded an app & 5 minutes later we were off…
I was sceptical, but I have to say these are a great laugh & a brilliant way to get around. They’re especially good on smooth dedicated cycle paths. I think we did about 5 miles & cost us £10 each.
Decided to go back to our room & have a cheeky snooze before the evenings festivities. On the way back we nearly got pepper sprayed by druggies who were fighting in the street. Never a dull moment in Calgary !
So drug addicts, and by drugs I mean opiate based not just blow. There’s loads in Calgary & they’re everywhere. They’re totally fucked – it’s so sad but makes good people watching.
Anyway we rested. I watched the Tour highlights and we were out again by 7:30. We were both hungry as we’d only eaten a starter between us for lunch !
We ate cowboy style tapas & drank beer at a local bar. Calgary is lit up well at night…
Stayed at my old uni friend Kal’s place in Brum on the 3rd. He’s looking after the car – thanks Kal 👍
Woke at 2am to get an Uber to the airport. Uber arrived on time, but roadworks meant the driver took us to Coventry & back to get to the airport. Not good but still arrived in plenty of time.
Tipped our friendly driver and walked into the terminal when my banking app pinged. I looked expecting to see the £30 somthing bill from Uber. The Uber bill was £96 ! Apparently because the ride was longer than expected (road works) they can charge more. Not happy – has anyone had this happen ?
We checked our bags no problem & still had time for a pint in Spoons
We arrived about 30 minutes late into Frankfurt but still made our connection OK. The next flight was the biggy – 7 hours to Montreal. An OK flight & got a few hours kip.
In Montreal we were delayed by nearly 2 hours for thunder storms. That wait in a cramped holding area was joyous – NOT. If we don’t get covid after that I’ll be amazed.
The final leg from Montreal to Calgary was 4 hours. We arrived OK but our bags didn’t appear on the carousel !
We talked to a very nice man on the Air Canada desk who tracked them down – they were still in Montreal. Joy…
The nice man promised to have them delivered to us tonight and gave us an emergency travel pack each. All we could do was leave our details and set off for our accommodation, which was a hostel in Downtown Calgary.
The hostel’s better than expected & even includes breakfast. I’m just writing this while waiting for our bags – I’ll let you know tomorrow if they arrive…