• Calgary / Banff Canada

27th July 2008

Calgary / Banff Canada

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peeking outCalgary is a small town that’s become a big city of just over one million people; it is a clean city of curiously empty streets and a great deal of construction projects. We arrived in the evening and this was our first couchsurfing destination (for more info on the couchsurfing project please visit their website www.couchsurfing.org). We stayed in a house in a nice residential area just outside of downtown, with hosts Jenni and Greg. We were able to walk all over the downtown area, Calgary Olympic Park, the Prince Island Park, the rather small but still nice Chinatown and other sites. Being a relatively modern and young citysummer in Calgary Calgary doesn’t offer much in historical sites but it’s bike and walking trails by the river and its many parks scattered around make it a pleasant city for exploring. The thing that left the largest impression on Amy was the extensive outdoor sculpture collection and the giant dandelions.
There was a Folk Festival on at the time in Prince Island Park and had we had more time we would have done as our host Greg does every year and volunteered (thus gaining free entrance in exchange for a few hours of work) because the ticket price was far out of our budget range. We did discover however that you could hear and watch the concert on the big screens from across the river so we got to watch the Carolina Chocolate Drops. artistic visionWe spent two days exploring the city and after two and a half months in mostly small towns across Central America we indulged in the modern city life, new release movies (Batman Dark Night), microbrews and endless selections of toiletries. Our last night we had beers with Jenni and another couchsurfing host at a local Cowboy/Rock bar, the couchsurfing community is very strong in Calgary with a lot of organized events and meetings. Jenni was kind enough to get up early and drop us at the airport on her way to work so we could catch the airport shuttle to Banff, where we were going to hook up with Amy’s family for a Heli-Hiking trip in the Canadian Rockies.
Banff is a tourist town in the most literal sense of the word, it was go slowdeveloped in the late 19th century after the railroad arrived and then further developed with the opening of the road in 1912. It is without question the most popular tourist destination in Canada. It is in one word spectacular. Set in Banff national park it is surrounded by soaring mountains, emerald forests and bubbling hot springs. We only spent a day and a night in Banff but it is somewhere we would definitely return to in the future. It is here that we met up with Amy’s family her mother Merrilee, Aunt Cynthia (Tante), brother Josh, Sister Hillary, Brother in law Victor, Merit Sister Katie, Cousin Mark, Mark’s better half Patty, nieces Abigail and Juliet and last but not least Nephew Aiden. After a raucous dinner in the local pizzeria and an early night we all set out together early in the morning to start our Heli Hiking adventure.

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