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Day 13 - Rocky Mountaineer Tour Day 1 - Calgary to Lake Louise (via Banff)

The weather when we left was appalling! Heavy drizzle, designed to soak through all but the toughest of waterproofs. It didn't look like we were going to see much scenery! Our fellow tour guests were congregating in the lobby, so we swopped backgrounds. There were a few Kiwis, a couple from Texas, an older Honeymoon couple from Atlanta, Georgia and a younger couple from Manchester. It also turned out that there were two slightly different tours - both groups did day 1, but then half the group got dropped off at the Banff, and caught the Rocky Mountaineer train the next day, while the rest of us were to be dropped off at Lake Louise, then would have an extra day in the Rockies before being taken to Banff.

Our tour driver, Oliver, tried to make up for the bad weather, by taking us on a couple of detours and telling us stories. We passed a buffalo farm, which also had a field of what had once been wild horses. I could only think how sad it was that these creatures that used to have the run of the grasslands in the area are now trapped into such a small area.

Cosy

Next was a helicopter trip, from Kananskis, and over the Rockies. Given the weather, we were wondering if these trips would be on, but the rain had stopped, and the cloud base had lifted - so they were running. After some organized chaos, we were sorted into groups, weighed (as a group, thank goodness), and led to the helicopter. Photos were taken, then we started to climb in. I was third out of the five of us who would be in the back - and I was instructed to the middle seat of the back three. Now this really was drawing the short straw - I was jammed in between two people I didn't know, I couldn't move, my arms and shouldes were scrunched together, I couldn't see - and certainly couldn't take any photographs. I was not happy (and have told the Rocky Mountaineer group so). They really should only have four people in the back, so everyone gets a window seat, and everyone is comfortable. Never mind - onwards & upwards.

Cute photo of the day, I'll call him Lee

Our first stop in Banff was at Tunnel Mountain, and the Hoodoos. We were back in the area where we had originally camped (in fact, just across the road) and felt quite at home! Then our driver took us to the Banff Gondola. Usually he would do this later in the day, but the clouds were looking good, and he wanted us to get there before they came down again. This was a good decision - the sun came (briefly) out, and there were not too many people up there. We were due back at our bus at 2:30 pm, so headed back in plenty of time. The queue to get on the gondola was much longer now! Everyone but two people were back on the bus by the time stated; the two that were late turned up 20 minutes later! What is it that makes some people think they have the right to keep a bus load of people waiting for them? You could feel the angry vibes (and I hope they could) as they eventually climbed onto the bus. They could offer no explanation except 'I was relying on my husband's timing'. Yeah right!

A bit more sightseeing to see the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel (we'll be there tomorrow night), the Bow Falls, and another couple of things around Banff - then on to Lake Minnewanka. This was our third trip to the lake, and it was interesting to see just how much more it had melted since the last visit five days before. Then back into Banff, where all the people heading for Lake Louise were dropped off for 45 minutes so the bus driver could take all the Banff guests to their hotels. This was excellent timing - I left Art on the coach (he was still recovering from his illness of the day before and wanted a snooze), and dashed off to Safeway supermarket. I had an order for 'real maple syrup' from my son's partner, who was born in Canada. I also bought some essentials for breakfast, and had time to pop into the liquor store for a bottle of wine. All the essentials in life!

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise

Hotel View

We arrived at the Fairmont Lake Louise at around 6:00 pm, and were bet by a load of guys in Bavarian dress. Apparently it's supposed to make you feel as if you're in the European Alps! Lake Louise still had ice on it, but again, you could see that it had melted a bit more since our previous visit. After booking in, we were instructed on how to find our room. This was quite a distance away, and on the top (sixth) floor of our block. Apparently there's only one elevator that would take us there (and of course we got in the wrong one) - but we eventually found our way.

Wow! What a room! It was huge - and the view was amazing! It looked directly across the lake. Then Art looked in a double wardrobe and found it was the entrance to the bathroom. You could have held a ballroom dance competition in it! And of course everything is beautifully decorated. We decided to leave the curtains open all night (where we were, no-one was going to be looking in) so we could see the view in the morning.

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terris_travelogue/canada/n_lake_louise.txt · Last modified: 2011/05/26 15:56 by tel
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