Trip to Alberta – March 2017 (late entry)

‘Better late then never’ is a phrase that fits for me especially when I don’t update my blog in a while.

A couple of weeks after my return from the homeland at the beginning of March, I went back to Alberta for the third time. I flew into Edmonton Airport to visit my friend, Isabel who is studying for her PhD at The University of Alberta (UoA). Isabel was at arrivals with the upgrade of a big ass truck from the rental company (great because she had her skis and I had my snowboard with me so plenty more room).

As we left the airport, I was amazed at how flat everything was and how much snow was still around. It took around 3 hours to drive from Edmonton airport to the outskirts of Calgary (with a couple of road stops along the way).

For the first night, we would be staying with Isabel’s cousin, Jess and her family in an area by Nose Hill Park (northern suburb of Calgary). Jess and her family (4 children) made me feel really welcome and we had a lot of fun making a ‘green’ dinner as it was St. Patrick’s Day’. I also got to see Nose Hill Park when we took the dog out for a walk.

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Nose Hill Park – largest park in Calgary

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St Patrick’s Day green dinner – brussel sprouts, asparagus, green scrambled egg, spinach soup and apple cider

After a fun-filled night with Isabel, Jess and the children, it was time to get an early night as we would be off to Banff in the morning. The kids really didn’t want to go to bed that night lol.

It took around an hour and 30 minutes to get into Banff National Park – this would be my third time visiting Banff and Isabel’s first time. My friend Nick, who lives in Banff had got me discounted tickets for Sunshine Village Ski Resort again so we were off to there. Isabel had a tricky time with the truck and trying to park it due to all the ice but after about 20 minutes we made it and made our way to guest services and the gondola to get to the chair lifts.

The day was a bit of a white out and very cold plus I was rusty with the snowboard. I also struggled with the bright light and ended up with a very bloodshot eye during the day (probably snow blindness). Isabel and myself did around 10 runs at different areas of the mountain. My favourite chairlift was the one that heats up your bum as you travel up lol.

At around 3pm, we decided to call in a day and head into Banff village and to our hotel – Banff Aspen Lodge. I will be the first to admit that for the entire time we were on the mountain I just kept shouting ‘hot tub party’ because that was what we was waiting for. The hotel had two hot tubs and we decided to go into the smaller of the two – with a couple of cheeky beverages ;).

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This is the life – hot tub and an electric log fire

Dinner was reserved for us at 8pm but I had a hard time getting out of the hot tub and getting ready – we just about made it. Dinner was at Balkan, a Greek restaurant along the main strip in the village. We had some fried feta balls to start with and these were amazing!!!!! Because it has been over two months since I went to Banff, I cant remember what I had for the main course but I still remember the feta balls lol.

My friend, Nick was in Banff with his girlfriend so me and Isabel met up with them after dinner for a few drinks. Unfortunately they had been partying throughout the day and had to head home a bit earlier before they passed out lol.

The next day after we had breakfast and checked out of the hotel, Isabel wanted to see a bit more of the village. We looked in a few of the stores and tourist trap shops before heading back to Edmonton.

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The drive back took about 5 hours and it was long long flat road. Arriving in the city, Isabel gave back the truck to the hire company and was met by her boyfriend Jon, who I had not met before. Isabel knew that I wanted to check out a good area to take a photo of Edmonton skyline and Jon knew just the place.

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View of Edmonton

The area was by a downhill ski slope and was perfect for what I wanted as you can see above.

Jon drove us to Isabel’s place – university accommodation at UofA, I also saw some frat houses nearby and this something I have never seen before.

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The evening was spent at a New Orleans restaurant downtown with Isabel, Jon and Isabel’s friend from Ottawa, Ethan and then to a place called ‘O2’s Taphouse’. Needless to say there were a lot of jager bombs involved along with videos and snapchats that the next day I regretted. Even Ozzy took part in the shenanigans.

The hangover that Isabel experienced the next day was much worse then mine, in fact she asked me several times why I was feeling ok and she wasn’t lol. The sunny but cold morning was spent walking along Whyte Avenue – one of the main streets in a district called ‘Old Strathcona’ in the city.

It was then time for me to get the shuttle back to the airport. UofA actually has a couple of metro stops within the campus, unlike Univerity of British Columbia (UBC). I said goodbye to Isabel and knew I would be seeing her again at the end of the month when she returned to BC during the holidays. The journey took 30 minutes to get to the end of the line to a bus terminal and from there the airport shuttle to YEG (another 45 minutes).

My thoughts on Edmonton was that it was very quiet and not a place I would like to visit during winter however, I would go back again in the summer when the many festivals are on.

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