Tuesday, 17 July 2007

calgary

The kids and I have just come back from Calgary, which is a lovely city located in southern Alberta, the next province over from British Columbia. We were visiting some good friends. It was great.

Poor ole Ashley had to work so he stayed home with the dogs, which didn't turn out to be a cake walk since Cobie (yes him again) decided to run away on the first night, while a glasier replaced our kitchen window after it fell prey to some shithead(s) who decided to sling shot an apple through it, early Sunday morning. The dog WAS found, albeit some 5 hours later.

My friend had many activities planned for us and we got to see a good deal of the city. We also had ample time to chat, which seems to be something that we can do awfully well together.


Calgary enjoys a dry summer heat. It was pretty warm when we were there; at one stage reaching 32 degrees. For us, who enjoy a milder, more humid summer, it was hot - although my attire (something that is frequently letting me down at the moment) was not helping matters; I roasted. I SERIOUSLY need to invest in some decent summer wear ahead of our arrival to Oz in late November - they are starting to get their Fall stock in over here already - Noooooooo!

On the outer rim of Calgary they have an amusement park called Calaway Park. It was pretty awesome, and fantastic for the kids. All you have to do is pay your entry fee and then you can go on all the rides you want. Missy Mopps loved the carousel the most. They also had a height chart at the gate, that let your child know, at a glance, which rides he/she qualified to go on, thus eliminating any possible rejected-at-the -front-of-the-queue tantrums.

This week and last were the weeks of the famous Calgary Stampede. The Stampede brings a great cowboy atmosphere to the city (apparently moreso than usual), and many people are seen walking around in cowboy hat and boots. We were taken to a Stampede breakfast one morning, which was held in the closed off car park of a local shopping centre. There was a petting zoo and pony rides, show horses, cow milking competitions, country music bands and other displays, not to mention a sumptuous pancake and sausage breakfast to be had, all on the city of Calgary's tab - Thank you very much. It was great to be a part of that busy festival vibe.

Since it was hot, we headed to Eau Claire, situated near Downtown Calgary. Eau Claire has a great kids water park, through a beautiful garden park, just over the Bow River bridge. All the rivers I have ever seen are murky brown and reasonably calm: the Murray, Torrens, Darling, Murrumbidgee and even BC's Fraser River, at least at our end. The Bow River had a strong current - a really strong current. People raft on the river, but it is too dangerous to swim, apparently many people have drowned in it, and even rafting is pretty dangerous due to the current, but it was the river's colour that blew me away the most; bluey green. I couldn't get over it. I have never seen such a fresh clean looking major river before.

We also took a trip to the mountains - Banff and Lake Louise, in the heart of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, in particular. Any who are even remotely familiar of these areas, will know that they define the word "beautiful"; snow capped mountains; fir trees as far as the eye can see; the bluest tranquil lakes one can possible imagine, filled with an abundance of frigid glacial waters, and clean crisp mountain air. These are the scenes that inspire artists of all mediums, mountaineers, environmentalists and John Denver (well sort of) We even saw a bear - yep its true, a wild black bear foraging for food on a hillside close to the road.

Some fool apparently rowed his canoe off Bow Falls at Banff when we were there, but we didn't see it, Thankfully. The reports said that an English tourist was taken to hospital with a great deal of bruising - hopefully mainly to his ego - idiot.

While the trip to the mountains was fab, the drive with the kids was nightmarish. Mister kept complaining about sore legs (?) Missy Mopps had to stop every 10 metres to go to the toilet and we had a 20 month old who was very tired - Mister and Missy Mopps' antics were not helping in that regard, but we survived.

Before we headed back home on Friday, we visited the Calgary Zoo, which is great. The Greater Vancouver Zoo is not so good, and I am saying that as politely as possibly, but the Calgary Zoo is wonderful, with large modern enclosures, environmental programs and kids summer education camps. It also has a Prehistoric Park, with life-size models of dinosaurs in amongst terrain similar to the environment it once lived. Prehistoric Park opened in the early 80's, and the models did look a little worst for wear, but the kids went nuts over it. Alex was so excited to see all there fake dinosaurs, even though he said he would prefer to see the real animals before we got there.

All said and done...we had a wonderful time in Calgary, but I think the best aspect of the whole trip was catching up with my lovely friend; enjoying her company and seeing our kids play so well together, just as they used to back in good ole Australia.

Next week - Whistler.

5 comments:

Tracey said...

Welcome back!

Wow! is all I can say! Overwhelming scenery.. that photo is just awesome!
Sounds like you had a great time too, particularly catching up with your friend, but also with everything you got to do.

Kathleen said...

Welcome back, indeed! Enjoyed all the photos. We look forward to seeing Calgary next year on our way to Moraine Lake. Glad you had such a great time, and a wonderful visit.

jeanie said...

Glad you had such a great holiday (and left Ashley to the dogs lol) but also glad you are back.

Brissiemum2 said...

Sounds lovely, looks beautiful....and I'd give anything for summer right now!

Elizabeth said...

Sounds like a lovely holiday. Glad you'll have some additional memories of Canada to take home with you.