Tag Archive: alberta

Short Staycation Day 3


It was another early morning.
I tried to get on the road before everyone else again and it worked out pretty well. Beaut of a view as I headed to Lake Louise.
In all the times I’ve been to the mountains, I’ve never been to Lake Louise and have you seen the photos of that place? How can you not go?

It’s a bit of a drive to get to – and once you’re there, there isn’t much too it. Well other than the amazing view.


Quite enjoyed the little creek you have to cross over

It was quite cold being so high up and off the lake, a dramatic difference from the 28 degree the day before in Banff! The lake was a bit slushy but not really icy.


Hello there little red canoes!




They say the best time to get out the Lake is before 9 or so because it gets quite busy after that. I was lucky to make it there before the crowds. But after walking around a bit I couldn’t feel my fingers so I went and had breakfast inside the Chateau Lake Louise.

After that I took a quick tour around the hotel.

A lot of people were starting to arrive outside so I went and took a few last photos before hitting the road once again.


I want to go back to Lake Louise in the summer at some point because I really want to canoe on the lake! And I want to go back in the winter one day to skate on the lake! Now if only the drive wasn’t so scary in the winter…

Between Lake Louise and Jasper there is A LOT to see. If you don’t do a bit of research, you’ll end up driving right past a lot of places going ‘oh what was that…?’
I only made a few stops because I wanted to keep a bit of a time schedule. Plus some of them I just didn’t know about until it was too late. So clearly I just need to go again. Anyway, I think I mentioned this was the first time I’d ever driven myself through the mountains. Once I hit the Jasper side of things, it got interesting. I drove through some snow, sleet, rain, fog, you name it, all within about a half hour. This part of the highway is also single lane. Half the time I was so interested in looking around, or looking for animals, I must have driven the few cars behind me crazy cause I’d look down and realize I was going 10km slower than the limit. Though – there were SO many speeders! Why are you going SO fast? What if you went around a curve and hit a moose or a bear? I beg you, please slow down.
Anyway, I’m not good with ‘edges’ – you know… being on the edge of the road looking down… and heights. Well, I guess it’s more the fear of falling. So I’m going down the highway and I can see these cars parked up on a bit of an outlook an thought wow, I wonder what’s up there, that looks crazy. Then I realized that was exactly the road I was on. My tummy was in my mouth for a bit, but I convinced myself to pull over on the lookout once I finally made it.


My next stop was the Columbia Icefield. I went as a kid, which was cool then, but I think you appreciate it more as an adult when you see what is happening to the area. You can do those big tire bus tours out onto the glacier. I didn’t, I just stopped in their very impressive (and very busy) interpretive centre.

It was then off to Jasper. I missed so much though on the drive. You could very easily spend two days just stopping at all the cool stuff to check out. Next time! I guess I can sort of forgive myself, after not being in the area for so long, at least I saw the highlights.

The plan was to get to Jasper and see how I felt. If was enjoying myself and wanted to stay, I’d stay. If not, I’d do the rest of the drive home. I can honestly say in the 19 years since I’ve been to Jasper, not much has changed. Except, I couldn’t find Jasper the Bear… is he still there? I always thought  near the train station but I never saw him 😦
Jasper is quaint. It’s not nearly as commercialized as Banff, which is nice, but there isn’t as much to do right in the town. I walked up the main street and looked around the shops. I decided that it was only just after noon, so I’d head home. Sorry, I only took one photo in Jasper!


The drive as you continue to head out of Jasper is so nice. I did end up seeing and Elk and a mountain goat (damn tourists trying to feed it). Was sad I never saw any bears though! Maybe next time. It was a very long drive – once you get out of the parks area, and the mountains disappear, it’s so dull. I kept looking back in my mirror to get a last look until they finally went out of view.
I was so happy to get out of my car finally! And to have someone to talk to other than myself! I really enjoyed my little getaway. Sometimes you forget about the amazing things that you have in your own backyard. And is there ever a time when the mountains aren’t pretty? I don’t care how often you see them, they’re always impressive. I will really have to consider going back as soon as I can. This time I’ll take a week or so and really explore.


Short Staycation Day 2

I got up bright an early on Saturday morning to head to Banff. I didn’t quite want to get out of that comfy bed and robe though…


I headed down to breakfast in the hotel at the Rimrock dining room. It’s such a fabulous looking room. There are photos and artifacts all over the place to look at and how about this fireplace? DSC01701

I opted for the buffet as I can never turn down a buffet but I have to say – this one was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t bad but it was great. The staff though were great and it was a nice easy start to the morning.
I took just a few snaps of the hotel lobby as I waited for the valet to bring the car around.  I again just have to say the staff there is really excellent and so nice. I really enjoyed my stay.

And it was off to Banff! I’m lucky that I’m an early riser on the weekends so I was on the road just after 7am.

I haven’t been to Banff in 12 years so I was quite excited to go. I had also never driven myself there, so an adventure though the mountains was also something interesting.
Anyway, the drive itself is great. It’s so much fun to see the mountains get bigger and bigger the closer you get. And before I knew it, I had arrived at the Park gates. It’s still a bit of a drive until you’re in Banff proper but just being in the Park is great. I got to town and did a couple loops, it was fairly quiet being so early still. It still looked mostly like a remembered it. It has mountain village charm with a bit of commercialisation. Anyway, I decided my first stop would be the famous Bow Falls.

It was perfect, it was early and quiet and still a little crisp in the air. Part of my wishes I had just sat there all day. It ended up being 29 degrees so – a towel and picnic would have made for a lovely day. But as I said, 12 whole years means you have a lot to check out!

I made a quick trip over to the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. I had been invited to an event at the hotel and I had never been before so I was looking forward to checking out ‘the castle’. Quick shoutout to Poppy Barely for inviting me to their special event at the hotel, I mean shoes and Veuve Clicquot – two of my favouite things in one of the most beautiful settings!

After that and a snoop through the hotel, which includes the loveliest ballroom I hope to have my wedding in one day… if I ever meet a man that will marry me… I was off on the next stop. A different view of the Banff Springs. DSC03233

Another ‘must do’ in Banff is a stop at Surprise Corner. The trail that starts from Bow Falls does go all the way up there but I hadn’t considered hiking – so I never actually packed proper shoes – so I drove up there. It’s a fantastic place to stop and take some photos.

Once I was done there, I was able to check in early to my hotel. I stayed at the Rundlestone Lodge – Pallisar hotel it’s not. It’s certainly a no frills kind of hotel but it was clean, there is a pool and a restaurant and free underground parking. I quickly changed and decided to do a walk down the main street in Banff. This is all we did the last time I was there. There are so many little shops to go in – most of the souvenir stores sell the same tack but there are also some fun pieces to find, like jewelry or art. If you go and want to check out some great art, I suggest the The Banff Gallery featuring the art of Jason Leo Bantle. It was so hard to not spend all my money on all the photos in there! I do plan to order a couple to hang on my wall at home. I wandered in and out of the shops and stopped for some lunch. It was so nice and warm and everyone seemed to be enjoying – the line up outside the ice cream shop was quite long.

After my walk I had sorta done everything I had planned on doing, which sucked in a way. I ended up getting my swim suit and heading up the mountain to the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Nothing like sitting in a 40 degree pool when it’s already 29 degrees outside.
It’s a bit smaller than some of the other hot springs but it was alright – though, like I said, not really a hot day activity. I only stayed for about a half hour or so.

There are no shortages of place to pick to eat in Banff but I couldn’t decide where to do. The biggest issue I had was my hotel was way at the end of the road and I didn’t feel like walking all that was, plus I was alone and while I believe Banff is quite safe, I don’t always feel comfortable walking alone in a place I’m unfamiliar with. I ended up at The Keg which was in a couple hotels down. The only thing that ruined my dinner was this – what I assume was mother and daughter – who were also sitting on the patio, talking as loudly as the could at each other. I can tell you pretty much everything about their lives, including the fact they had a whole jug of Sangria, which they pronounced sangree-AAAH. Two men joined them, who spoke at normal levels. The ladies ordered another jug and continued to tell all of us all about their lives.
That was pretty much the end of the night for me. I walked back to my hotel and sat on my great big king sized bed and watched TV. I mean, vacation is about catching up on rest and being a bit lazy sometimes too, right? I also wanted to go to bed early, knowing it would be a long drive to Jasper in the morning.

Short staycation

I booked myself a long weekend to head to Calgary, Banff and Jasper.

I was supposed to be in Calgary for an event but the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray, the event was cancelled.
I still had hotels booked and desperately needed a couple nights with a change of scenery.

I left for Calgary early Friday morning. I used to live there so, while I enjoy going back to the city and see things (and how things have changed) – it’s not overly exciting, like if you were going somewhere new.

While some might call it blasphemy for a born and raised Edmontonian to say ‘I like Calgary’, I’ll say it anyways. Their sport teams on the other hand, well…
Basically if you haven’t been there, go. It really is quite a lovely city. There is lots to do. The most famous event is obviously the Calgary Stampede but if you don’t care to visit in July or just want other things to do, some of the many things I’d check out include the Glenbow Museum, the Military Museums, Stephan AvenueCalgary Tower, and Canada Olympic Park (Calgary hosted the 1988 games). Or do as I did and take a road trip to the mountains…

It was a pretty quiet day in town for me. I headed to Chinook Mall for some shopping and a quick coffee with any old friend. But that meant I accidently found myself on Glenmore Trail at the start of rush hour. The one thing I never got use to – was driving in Calgary. Doing 100 km/h and then come to a sudden stop for no apparent reason. Anyway, I met a friend for dinner at the Blue Star Diner. I totally forgot to take a photo of what we had – I had the burger, Lacey had wings. They were really good. It’s a cute little spot, pretty unassuming but if you’re in town and want a quiet, small place for some food, put this on your list.

After dinner I finally had time to head downtown and check-in to my hotel.
I was fortunate enough to stay at the Fairmont Pallisar.
For those who may not know, there are a number of Fairmonts across Canada (and a around the world!). Many here have ties to the rail line. They’re all very swish. I’ve been to the Chateau Frontenac (great patio), and the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald is one of my favourite spots for cocktails, they also do a crackin’ high tea. I’ve been to the Pallisar twice before but never have stayed there. It met all my expectations, it was such a great stay.

The valet helped me unload my trunk before taking my car to their secure parking. Check-in was super quick and easy. I really did think as just some single person only staying one night I’d be stuck in some dumpy room in the far back corner. Turns out I was wrong.
On the 11th floor, with this as my view.

Not bad! Once I was in my room and my bags arrived, I wished I had checked-in sooner. Heck I wish I has just skipped shopping and dinner and came to the hotel. The bed was one of the top 3 comfiest beds I’ve ever slept in. The bedding was just awesome and I was oh so tired. Plus it didn’t have any cat hair on it, which is a hazard in my house. I am also disappointed I never made it down to the pool. I packed the bathing suit with every intention but I didn’t make it, looked lovely though.

I did head out for a bit, down over to National On 8th for a couple drinks with a friend. It’s a pretty cool place, with a fantastic rooftop patio. It’s quite trendy and loud so if that’s not your scene, there are plenty of other places to go in the area. But I think it was great! The drinks were decently priced as well… we didn’t eat anything but the food looked good going by.

After a couple drinks I went back to the hotel – very excited to sleep in that cozy bed!
Maybe I’m just so used to staying in hotel in other countries but I liked that there were big fluffy facecloths in the bathroom along with the towels. The bath products were nice too – I just used the soap but took the mini lotion with me because my hands were so dry.

I said goodnight to the tower and it was lights out. DSC01698

Summer time travels

Happy May Long weekend everyone – or just regular weekend depending on where you are. Here I’m happy to say I have an extra day off. For many May Long signifies that summer is just around the corner. So have you many any plans yet? Well I wanted to pass on these two articles that I came across this week posted by Global News.

The first one is a great guide to road tripping across Canada. Whether you’re from Canada and just plan on doing more of a staycation or you’re a first time visitor, this has some amazing ideas!

Canadian Road Trip

And if you remember a post I did a while ago about Edmonton – the city just made a National Geographic list of best summer trips. Just another reason to visit. Check it out!

Best Summer Trips 

Let me know what your summer travel plans are!

Still here! And I need your help!

My grovelling apologies for being away for so long. It was a busy last few weeks of the summer and start of to the fall! I did manage a short road trip out to the middle of nowhere. Literally. It was a farm on the corner of two dirt roads. All around us were nothing but golden rolling fields and trees. It was stunning. I found myself so busy looking at my beautiful surroundings as I was driving, I’d look down and realize I was going like 10 km below the speed limit! Thankfully there were very few other cars on the road. I think Autumn is the perfect time of year for a rural road trip. The sights, colours, smells… it was just what I needed. Did any of you manage to get away? Or do you have something fun coming up for a Autumn break?

Speaking of planning – I need YOUR help in planning my next big adventure. I’m hoping that around this time next year I’ll be headed to Switzerland. I’ve never been but have always wanted to go and I feel like ‘now’ is the perfect time. So now I need all of you who have been to the land of cheese, chocolate and clocks to help a girl out. What do I need to see? I’m thinking I’ll do a couple days in Geneva, a couple in Zurich and maybe a couple days in Gstaad. What about Lucerne, Bern, Lausanne (I am a fan of the Olympics) or Interlaken? What has been your experience and what do you like about Switzerland. Any tips or tricks?
Like I said, I do plan to go around this time next year. Actually probably toward the end of October as I plan to take in Remembrance Day ceremonies at Vimy Ridge in France – for those of you that don’t mark this particular day – it’s November 11th. Has anyone been there in the Autumn? Do you prefer Switzerland in the summer better? I would like to try and avoid the big crowds of summer tourists, that’s why I think October might work better.

I could also use your thoughts on AirBNB. Given that Switzerland is quite expensive, I was looking at this as an option while I’m there. I’m always a little leery of staying in a strangers home. All the more so when I’m a single female in a foreign country. Any experiences there?

Thanks in advance to anyone/everyone who sends me their advice!

Eeek! Sorry, this is a few days later than I was expecting … I ended up having a bit of a crazy weekend. BUT it’s here now. The first of  ‘Places You Should Go’ and we’re going to start off with Edmonton. It’s a city I know very well and am quite excited for the changes and growth the city is going through right now.

I once read a review of a hotel in Edmonton and the person wrote that the hotel itself was great but don’t ever go to Edmonton unless you absolutely have to. She obviously didn’t take the time to really get to know or see the city. Yes it sucks in the winter when it’s -35 and gets dark at 4 in the afternoon but it could be worse.

No matter what time of year you visit, there is always something to do. Edmonton is known the world over for its festivals including the Street Performers Festival, The Fringe, Heritage Days and the Folk Music Festival. That’s just to name a few. On any given weekend through out the summer and fall there is at least one major event going on and there is something for everyone. There are also several winter festivals that try and get Edmontonians to embrace our winter culture.  To check out some more of Edmonton’s festivals click here.

There are plenty of places to explore as well. Through the heart of the city is the River Valley with the North Saskatchewan River snaking its way through. There are hundreds of kilometres of trails to hike & bike through. Or you can launch your boat and float your way down the river. It really is stunning no matter what time of year and Edmontonians are very luck to have such a beautiful place. For more information on the River Valley they have their own site  Edmonton River Valley 

There are also countless parks and recreation facilities to get out and enjoy. If you still want to be out and about but not necessarily ‘doing’ something – Old Strathcona is a favourite amongst locals and tourists. You can walk down Whyte Avenue and take in the countless shops, cafés, restaurants and bars. It’s a busy place year ’round but especially so when the weather is nice. Another area to check out that’s easily walk-able is the the 124 Street district downtown. It is also lined with boutique shops and fun little restaurants. Another popular place to ‘hang’ is the Legislature Grounds. Alberta’s legislature building is a stunning place inside and out. The grounds are fun to walk around and maybe take a picnic. You’ll also find people dipping their feet in the fountains on hot days. In the winter, the main fountain turns into an outdoor skating rink and the surrounding trees are filling with hundreds of thousands of Christmas lights. It’s a beautiful site!

If you prefer to do your shopping inside – Edmonton is home to several fantastic malls, least of which is the famous West Edmonton Mall. There are always new stores coming in and is a fun place to explore at least once. There is also the indoor water park and the amusement park inside. Another fun attraction to check out is Fort Edmonton Park. There are fun activities for the entire family, I always enjoy visiting. You can even stay on site at the Hotel Selkirk.

Edmonton is also home to several professional sporting teams including the Edmonton Oilers (NHL), Edmonton Eskimos (CFL), Edmonton Rush (NLL) and FC Edmonton (NASL) and also hosts the Canadian Finals Rodeo every November. The Edmonton Oilers  and Rush currently play at Rexall Place but work is being down on a new downtown arena, just one of the many projects that is promising to revitalize the downtown core. When Rexall isn’t being used for one of the many sporting events, it’s a concert hub. Edmonton is quickly becoming one of the major concert destinations in North America. Recent shows include Paul McCartney, Justin Timberlake, Tayor Swift & Keith Urban. There is very rarely a show that doesn’t sell out. Actually that’s why I got so busy this weekend! One of my favourite singers had a show and Rexall and it was fantastic!

If you feel like getting away for a few days there are plenty of camp grounds and lakes only a few hours drive from the city limits. Or you can head to Jasper & Banff and visiting the beautiful Rocky Mountain parks.

I think that covers the basics, believe me I could go on… there is the museum and art gallery and the Telus World of Science …  If you’re looking for a short getaway this summer, I encourage you to check out Edmonton. Or if it’s someplace you’ve maybe considered in the past, I hope this gives you a little extra push.



Hi! Hope everyone is enjoying their summer, can’t believe it’s almost over!!  Just wanted to share a quick post from one of the fun activities I took in that is a staple here in Alberta.

Every August long weekend thousand of country music fans descend on Camrose, Alberta. Why? The Big Valley Jamboree of course! One of the premier country music festivals in North America. Every year it attracts people from all over for the fun festival atmosphere and the great tunes. Camrose is located about an hour south east of Edmonton. It’s cute little city – all that rural Alberta charm but with the proper amenities. I hadn’t been there for a couple years and I really couldn’t believe how much it had ‘grown up’. The festival site is located just outside the city centre.

Back to the Jamboree, it really is just one big party. You can camp down at the festival site, there are a variety of options of this as well including VIP camping and an area just for tents. There are also spots to park if you just go for the day like I did. There is so much to do on site – other than listen to music. There is a shopping area, activities for the kids, food vendors and of course beer gardens. We spent the day walking around and meeting up with other friends, spent a little time in the beer gardens listening to the earlier acts. There is music all afternoon so you really could sit in your lawn chair all day watching bands. If you want to sit close to the stage – be prepared to spend your moo-la and purchase early. For the rest of us – your favourite singer might look like a teenie, tiny ant on stage but there are plenty of big screens to watch from in the infield area. One of my favourite things? There is people of every age out there enjoying it. I saw everything from a baby sitting in a little tent to 80 year-old grandma’s getting their groove on. There is also a selection of music, one of the acts on stage we saw was Travis Tritt. Many of the ‘younger’ people in the audience didn’t know who he was but for us ‘older’ – by older I mean I’m in my late twenties which was old compared to a lot of people in the crowd at that point – we had a fun time singing along to his classics.


I swear the guy in the red shirt is Luke Bryan!

The main event for Saturday night was Luke Bryan. He put on a great show and we danced all evening long. The last performance of the night is always topped off with a great fireworks display and then the mad rush to the beer gardens! There is another stage in the main beer gardens that features live music all night long as well – you might just catch the next big thing before they hit the big time!

If you are a country music fan, I urge you to check out the Big Valley Jamboree – they’ve already announced some of the great acts who will be performing next year and tickets go on sale next week. They sell out fast so if you’re thinking about going, you better get ready!


Sun sets over a beautiful day at Big Valley


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