Into the Rockies
When I found myself in Vancouver for the second time, it was late November. Certainly not the best time of the year to see Vancouver. We just missed the fall foliage and we’d been told it hardly ever snows in winter. Although the temperature had not dipped into the minus, (as the province of British Columbia is the warmest amongst all of Canada.) the non-stop drizzle kept us indoors for days running. Since we had done enough sightseeing in the mall, we decided we might as well actually do something other than shopping and eating.
Banff is the place we all wanted to see but never got around to it, so the decision was easy. We also wanted to go up to Jasper while we’re at it. Due to our shoestring budget and our uncompromising insistence on spending one night at Banff Springs, we had to cut down the costs by scratching Rockies Mountaineers off the list. Hence, the three of us ended up hiring a car and drove out to Banff, which is a gazillion miles away from downtown Vancouver.
Looking back, I did not regret it one bit. (Though I still dream about exploring the Rockies in the ultra luxurious Rockies Mountaineers. ) We saw a whole lot more than we initially planned. The drive out to Banff was long but by no means tedious. The highway is impressively well- planned so the drive was pretty smooth and we didn’t get lost, not even once. There were quite a few attractions along the way, and occasionally, a moose or two crossed our path. At some point, I woke up looking at the world around me blanketed with snow. That surely was a moment never to be forgotten. We made a few stops, including a quaint little town called Hope. The last spike, which is the remnant of the first cross-country rail road. Bank head, the deserted mining town. Kaloomps, Canmore and finally we arrived at Banff. From afar, we could see Banff Springs perching gloriously in the midst of the immense wilderness. It was like a torch of civilization summoning us with its grand façade and flying flags. We spend the night there and paid for the bed and breakfast package. We had our dinner in the city center (paradise for shopaholics.) and we spent the rest of the night walking around the labyrinth -like hotel. I must say I was a bit uneasy with the taxidermy on the wall, but other than that, the hotel was tastefully- designed and very comfortable. Next morning, we had our breakfast in front of
the expansive bay windows overlooking the snow-capped hills and the frozen-over lakes.Needless to say, the buffet was great and the service was prompt. After breakfast, we rented three pairs of ice skaters and headed outdoors for some fun in the snow. The weather was sensational. There was a bit of sun and the view was postcard-like. When the time came to check out, we had to say goodbye and hit the road. But, we were rejuvenated after a good night’s sleep and couldn’t wait to head north to Jasper. [more ]