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Trip Report Banff and Jasper National Parks

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I have just returned from my first trip across the Atlantic. My beloved had a conference in Banff, Alberta and we took advantage of her paid for flight to take a 10 day vacation. My thanks to all those on the Canada board who were so helpful in my planning of the trip. I could (and probably will) write pages, but as this is a report back and thank you message, I will try a relatively short summary.

My wife was already in Banff, so I flew in solo. Heathrow to Calgary on Air Canada. I have seen Air Canada get a lot of flak on various boards, but I can honestly say that my outbound flight was the most pleasant long haul flight I have made. That the plane was half empty probably had a lot to do with it (two seats to myself !) but I found the crew to be exceptionally helpful and friendly . This was not friendly in the “check box – have I smiled yet” kind of way, but genuine interest and interaction. Obviously having an empty flight helped because they had more time to spend with passengers, but the Canadian tourist board should give these people medals, because as an introduction to the country they were a superb advert.

This was the first time I had encountered in numbers, the phenomenon that would colour this whole trip – The Nice Canadian. I enjoy travelling, and meeting people. I like most of the nationalities I meet, but I was overwhelmed by the kindness and helpfulness of the vast majority of Canadians.

I travelled from Calgary airport to Banff via Canmore with Banff airporter. It was a comfortable enough trip despite the hours delay in traffic in Calgary. I was absolutely stunned by the beauty of the mountains around Canmore. The fresh overnight snow had covered the peaks and they looked glorious in the late evening sun. Had I been forced to go home at that point, I would happily raved about the Rockies just from that glimpse.

I spent a week in Banff, in an apartment that I’d found on VRBO. It also operates as a B&B. http://www.bbcanada.com/3095.html . It was an excellent apartment, close to everything and well appointed.

I may get around to writing a more detailed report, but We spent the first few days walking around Banff. Hiked to top of the Tunnel Mountain for the views (stunning), spent the Sunday walking along the Bow River – up to the falls, Encountered a Large Elk and his harem, strolled around the area of the Fairmont hotel and generally loafed. Monday it was raining again, so although I picked up the hire car, I left it parked at the B&B and we hiked to Cave and Basin, and then out to Sundance Canyon (very scenic).

Monday night brought snow – and we woke up to about 3-4 inches where we were, but up to 7 inches above us on the Tunnel Mountain road. We did a circular walk, staying on roads, avoiding being squished by the snowplow, and playing in the snow and taking far too many photographs (we don’t see much snow at home, and when we do, it cripples the country) I did not think it prudent to drive a hire car, on the wrong side of the road, in snow – so for the second day it stood outside the B&B.

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