Well, I just logged back onto the blog to discover I haven't posted in over two months. I would say that's a new record, but if you know me, then you're already aware that I'm the ultimate queen of procrastination.
With all the drama going on in the world (I'm looking at you COVID-19) I thought I'd throw it back a little to the last time we actually had a social life. Cue tiny violins as I scroll through our pictures from our weekend trip to Canmore in March and cry to myself about how much I miss the mountains. If this pandemic has taught me anything (actually it's taught me a lot of things but I'll save that for the next blog post) it's that leaving the mountains to go back to the UK is going to be harder than I ever imagined. We've been stuck in the city and in our apartment for 4 weeks and I'm already craving a drive down the Bow Valley Parkway with some excellent music and my camera in hand.
Okay, enough of the sentimentality. Back to business.
We had friends visit us from Florida in early March, and so we donned our tour guide hats and got ready to showcase the Rockies in all their glory. At least that was the plan. We woke up on Saturday morning to a thick blanket of snow across southern Alberta, and some seriously precarious driving conditions ahead of us. After a quick stop at Tim's for our morning coffee (obviously) we were on the road to Banff National Park. Our first stop was Lake Louise, where the snowfall wasn't quite so intense, and the mountains were still slightly visible behind the cloud. With people skating on the lake and exploring the ice sculptures, it was still a perfectly picturesque moment despite the weather.
After freezing our bones out in the cold, we headed inside for a sneak peek at the grandeur of the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise followed by a hot chocolate from the Chateau Deli, where the drinks are hot, the pastries droolworthy and the prices reasonable!
The rest of our day hit a snag when the snow really started to affect road and driving conditions, so we headed back down the highway to Canmore, a quaint town that sits on the border of Banff National Park. This is where we would be spending the night, so we headed to the Grizzly Paw pub for a bite to eat, where we indulged in the brisket poutine of our dreams. Grizzly Paw Brewing Company has fast become one of our favourite breweries in Canada (Grumpy Bear Honey Wheat ale is the beer of my dreams) and it was here that we spent the first half of the evening taking part in a brewery tour and beer tasting with our friends.
This isn't the first time we've taken part in the brewery tour, but after sampling their best (followed by a few more pints afterwards) we stumbled back into town (after Nikki showcased her snow angel making skills) for more food at the Where The Buffalo Roam Saloon, an establishment I'd been dying to try for months. Their food is upmarket but local, with creative cocktails to keep you going late into the evening. With cocktails starting at $13, it's a little on the pricey side, but completely worth it - their scotch egg is not to be missed.
We woke up the next morning at Canadian Rockies Chalets where we'd rented a budget two bedroom apartment for the night. The apartments are basic but on the cheap side, and extremely comfortable with all the amenities you need. Opening the curtains, we were welcomed by stunning blue skies and knew we'd be in for a great day of exploring. After grabbing breakfast from Rocky Mountain Bagel Company (another firm favourite of ours) it was time to hit the road.
Having attempted to drive down the Bow Valley Parkway the day before, and almost getting stuck in the snow, we gave it another go and were able to stop off at almost every must-see view point, including Morant's Curve, where we were just in time to see a freight train go past - a definite bucket list photo. We drove into Banff and let our friends explore the town for a few hours, ending with a delicious lunch at Park Distillery. If there's one restaurant to try in Banff, I recommend this one. Their working distillery serves as the background to their incredible eatery, with a shop attached selling their spirits and a range of distillery souvenirs - we always come away with a bottle of their Maple Rye, which is to die for. As we drove back towards Calgary, little did we know this would be the last mountain trip for a long time.
Our last bottle of Maple Rye is slowly getting us through this period of isolation, but we're counting down the days until we can get out of the city again and get back to the main reason we moved here. Dear mountains, we miss you!