In my life, I can count on one hand, the number of times I’ve been on a domestic flight. My trips to several Canadian cities in the past (Ottawa, London, and Halifax) have involved primarily driving and train. Any Canadians know the cost of travelling within Canada can reach astronomical heights – a round-trip ticket to Vancouver can cost as much as a trip to London, UK. $19 one-way fares like the ones that JetBlue, Southwest or Sprint Airlines offer in the US is somewhat of a dream to most Canadians. Heck, we consider a $350 fare from Toronto to Vancouver a MASSIVE bargain!
I was asked to go to Calgary for work in June, and I didn’t hesitate at the opportunity. If I had to work over the weekend, I might as well make it worthwhile, so I stayed an extra day (until Sunday) before flying home. This was my first time in Alberta (the site of the Fort McMurray wildfire) and the once booming oil province of Canada.
I stayed in a hotel downtown (Marriott Calgary Downtown Hotel) right across from the Calgary Tower (a CN Tower lookalike…!) and walked everywhere with my colleague. Downtown Calgary is incredibly walkable, with plenty of open green space, and wide sidewalks. It felt strangely like Europe… for some reason Berlin came to mind! For a downtown area, I could not believe how quiet and peaceful it is! there were barely anyone around on the streets, and most stores close at 5:30-6pm over the weekend, unlike Toronto which is incredibly hustly! The streets are designed in a grid similar to how the streets of Manhattan are laid out – makes it very easy to get from point A to point B!
After work was done, I asked my colleague if she was up for a road-trip… so we had a totally spontaneous road trip to Banff National Park which I’ve heard is something of a wondrous place and a not to be missed experience per recommendations of a few beauty blogger friends! Thank you to Tracy @ Beauty Reflections and Andreanne @ A Certain Romance for the inspirations!
So we booked a car, and made the 1.5 hour trip to Banff National Park despite having a flight at 4pm that day. Since we could really only go to once place and really explore it, we chose to go to Lake Louise, which was about a 45 minutes drive after you enter Banff National Park. Although when we arrived, the weather was less than ideal (it got drizzly and rainy for a bit), but it made all my pictures come out even more dramatic! The incredible drive to Banff was so scenic, and surreal – it felt like we were in a fairytale book with the snowcapped Rockies in the background! Lake Louise just looks like something like it was taken right out of a fairytale and the mountainous backdrop plus the weather made it look as if I was in Disney’s Frozen movie.
It’s worthwhile getting to Lake Louise early before the tourists descend there. We got there at 8am and had ample time to take pictures (plus tons of parking), before proceeding to hike the Plain of Six Glaciers.
If you haven’t been to Calgary, keep an eye out for fare sales from WestJet and Air Canada. I saw some inexpensive deals in the range of $300-400 from Toronto over the last couple of weeks!
Have you been to Calgary, Alberta?