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Day 14 - Rocky Mountaineer Tour Day 2 - Lake Louise & Yoho National Park to Banff

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise (Part 2)

Fairmont Hotel

So much for the view from our window - we woke up to thick fog. Then, as I was sitting at the desk writing up yesterday's diary, I looked up - and it was snowing! Thick big snowflakes. We're actually on a separate tour to the rest of the group today, but they're supposed to be doing another helicopter ride. I don't think so!

Our tour to Yoho National Park didn't start until 2 pm, so we had a morning to do whatever we wanted. And we decided that as this was by far the most luxurious room we've ever stayed in, and the view out of the picture windows was similarly amazing (once the fog had cleared), we'd make the most of it. We started off with a lay-in, then after a luxurious hot shower in the mega-sized bathroom ended up with our feet up on the comfortable chairs in the room, looking out over the lake with a good book and newspaper. We eventually booked out 10 minutes before our final check-out time, and decided to have an energetic stroll along the lake edge followed by coffee in the cafe.

And we discovered that our room was one of just 8 that had picture windows that looked over the lake - all the other 'lake view' rooms had relatively normal windows. I wonder what we did to warrant such VIP treatment??

It was worth another mountain photo

Yoho National Park

Natural bridge at Yoho

Our tour to Yoho National Park wasn't that exciting, but was mildly entertaining - not least because the bus driver was a natural comedian. He kept the passengers rolling in the aisles! We visited the Spiral Tunnels, where the railway line runs parallel to itself three times with loops running through the hills at either end. This is to ensure the gradient of the line is never more than 2.2%, the maximum that is allowed. Unfortunately we didn't see it when one of the trains was going through it - apparently this is quite a sight. Because they are so long, you can see one end of the train going into the tunnel and the other end coming out more or less at right-angles to it at the same time.

The Natural Bridge was quite a sight - the water had washed away the rock underneath but left a bridge above. But you could see that it was only a matter of time before the bridge was worn away too.

And our final 'official stop' was the Emerald Lake. This is a green colour because of the sediments in it from the melting glaciers. It is also interesting at the moment because there was an avalanche earler this year (on 12th February 2011) which flattened a path through the trees before depositing a lot of debris on the frozen lake. The Emerald Lake Lodge was very lucky - it was in the path of the avalanche, but the snow stopped jut before it reached it.

The rest of the journey was the drive back to Banff. Apart from a couple of white-tailed deer and an elk (and some really bad jokes from the driver) there wasn't much to report.

Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel

The Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel looks like a Scottish castle - and the staff are dressed accordingly. It is a bit disconerting to see a black bell boy in a kilt though! We've been wrned that it is very easy to get lost in the hotel, and to look on it as an adventure. Our room has a lovely view over the Bow River and the golf course. I think we've been spolied though; the room, although luxurious, is much smaller than the room in the Chateau Lake Louise, the windows are 'normal' sized, and the bathroom is positively tiny! But there is a giant bed, and the 'Waldhaus Pub' is just down the valley. We're off there now….

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terris_travelogue/canada/o_lake_louise_to_banff.txt · Last modified: 2011/05/29 16:36 by tel
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