Saturday, May 06, 2006

Notes after a Nap

I am sitting in my motel room in Canmore, Alberta, CA. Just finished a fine afternoon nap, and thought I'd better let you know I'm still among the living (well, more than that cryptic note of this morning let on). Pictures probably not until Monday or so. I've taken them, but haven't downloaded them into the computer yet.

We flew into Canada Thursday. Left our house at 3:45 am, picked up friend Elaine and made it to the Oakland Airport with a little time to spare before 6 am flight. (but not a lot. We might have slept in another 15 minutes.. no more). Flew to Denver than up to Calgary, where we arrived about 3:30 pm. Sunny, warm and wonderful.

Calgary is building up a storm!! We drove through new home developments that must hold close to 10,000 new homes. I will find out this week where all those people are working. Then up the Canadian highway to Canmore. It's a nice little town about 25 km from Banff; and Canmore is building up a storm too.

We have a nice but quite small room. And a simple arrangement: Steve picks where we eat breakfast and drives; I pick where we eat lunch and navigate. Elaine picks where eat supper and provides conversational diversion. So far it's working well.

Except that Steve gets off easy. We found out that breakfast is included in our room... so no picking necessary from him. Still he's driving, so I won't complain.

Thursday night, Elaine chose a local Greek restaurant. None of us were terribly hungry, so we split a meze plate (mixed appetizers) and each ordered a small Greek salad. Ofcourse there was baklava for dessert.

Friday we drove up to Lake Louise. This is a glacial lake. It may be May, and it was gorgeous everywhere else, but there was still a little snow on the path as we walked next to the lake. Enough snow that I chose not to head to either of the teahouses; up hill paths with snow... not in my future.

We walked around a bit, then I suggested we stop at a deli "in town" and pick up a picnic lunch. The weather was beautiful. We plopped ourselves on the "alternate, pictureque route" back to Banff and searched for a spot. Finding nothing that seemed likely, we simply pulled off the road at a "scenic spot" (it was...) and ate either standing up or sitting on the parking stops.

It was delightful.

Dinner was fresh pasta place in town. Steve had chiriso and mussels in a spicy tomato sauce over fettucini; Elaine, penne with chicken, sun-dried tomatoes, and basil. Me? butternut squash filled ravioli with a sauce made of butter, raspberries, fresh herbs and almond slivers. They called it: Dream of Summer. It was.

Today we spent the morning exploring Banff. It is cooler today (and rain is supposed to be coming in), but we walked around the Fairmount "castle" in Banff, checked out a couple of the hot springs that started it all, and took a nice trail walk. Our original plans at Tea at the resort were cancelled when we learned that a) it's $25/person and b) you must make reservations in advance. Besides our permit to be inside the National Park (and Banff and Lake Louise are part of the park) runs out at 4 pm.

Instead, we had lunch in Banff (buffalo burgers), and an attempt at shopping. I collect national park pins for all the parks I go to; Banff and Lake Louise are in Canada's Rocky Mountain National Park. Alas, there is no pin. Or I couldn't find it. Any Canadian readers: your mission is to locate a park pin for me. In the US, there would have been about 4 gift shops runs by the park system at every stop. Here in Canada, there is none. I like this better, but...

We slept poorly last night (crazy people screaming and playing in the halls all night), so home about 2:30 for a nice nap.

Now that I've written this, I can go down to the gym for a small workout, and do some reading before discovering where Elaine is taking us tonight.

Tomorrow we head back to Calgary. Steve and Elaine put on thier work hats.. I think we even have a dinner scheduled with someone tomorrow night. And I play tourist alone in Calgary.

See ya Monday.

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