An Alberta experience: the deep blue lakes, Calgary’s greatest library, and wandering around the Princess Castle
10 years ago I went to Calgary for the first time to visit my aunt and cousin. But as I was quite young, I was too distracted by skyscrapers and Disney stores to be able to discover what Alberta truly had to offer. This summer, as I was honoured to be my cousin’s baby’s godmother, I had the chance to spend two weeks in Alberta and tick so many amazing places off my Canada travel bucket list.
So how did I spend my 2 weeks in Alberta?
My family lives in Calgary, a cosmopolitan city in the Canadian province of Alberta which nicely combines modern architecture with amazing nature. However, I was lucky enough to explore other places around Calgary that I will later talk about such as Banff, Lake Louise and Lake Moraine.
To start with Calgary, I had my greatest shock when I saw the distances between point A and point B. Coming from a European country, I’ve always imagined cities to be condensed and I’ve always thought that I am clearly able to travel by foot to the nearest supermarket. In Calgary I soon learned that I need transport no matter what (this is just a small tip for European tourists who think that they will visit the city by foot).
Visiting “The Cowtown”
Calgary, also known as The Cowtown, is a realm of great nature such as Fish Creek where I had my first bike ride in the last 10 years and saw a deer casually passing by me, but also spectacular buildings like the newest Calgary Public Library in the city centre which has everything from books to the option of playing video games or taking part in various workshops and children activities.
A proper “Calgaryan” adventure cannot be completed if you don’t dine in the Calgary Tower and get confused by the fact that you have too many views while you eat your fancy dinner. So here’s me being brave enough to step on the glass from 190.8 meters with people yelling at me ‘you’re insane’!
The Calgary Stampede, AKA ‘The Greatest Outdoor Show on Earth’, is a must when visiting Calgary. I attended it 10 years ago where I had the greatest pancakes in the world, but this year I just did some bull riding, right before the Stampede kicked off. To be honest, this might be the activity I least enjoyed while being in Calgary because I found bull riding a total sufferance for the animals. The best part, however, was an improvised cowgirl outfit I finally had the chance to wear.
What did I visit outside Calgary?
Banff, Lake Louise, and Lake Moraine! Straight up these were my favourite places from my Canadian trip.
Banff is a resort town within Banff National Park in the province of Alberta. From my previous experience with Disney princesses, Banff is definitely a fairy tale place. With chateau style hotels, fancy spas and restaurants, clean mountain air, and an indescribable view, Banff is visited annually by more than 4 million people. Oh, yes, and BeaverTails, a Canadian pastry made of whole-wheat dough, shaped like a beaver’s tail and served hot with a variety of toppings like cinnamon and sugar, chocolate hazelnut and maple butter) are the star when it comes to indulging yourself!
But Banff’s magic doesn’t stop here – Lake Louise is the cherry on top! Famous for its turquoise colour, Lake Louise is a glacier-fed lake, surrounded by a chain of breath taking high peaks. In the summer, people can rent canoes and have a closer view of the mountains, or for winter lovers, the lake turns into an ice skating rink during freezing temperatures.
Not far away from Lake Louise, you can find its younger brother – Lake Moraine, another glacially fed lake which leaves you amazed, but which is only half of the size of Lake Louise. Despite its smaller measurements, I found it even more scenic than Lake Louise as I thought that the deep blue colours combined even better.
If you’re willing to travel to Calgary or other places in Alberta, my first tip would be to take advantage of the fantastic nature as much as you can and enjoy any type of outdoor activity, from bike riding, to hiking, to renting a canoe on the lake. And if you’re a European, don’t expect to be able to walk everywhere… hire a car!
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