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Canada - Day 2 - Calgary

I slept surprisingly well but was very awake by 6am. I started with the Holiday 'admin' until Karen awoke at 7am.

We went down for breakfast to have the usual Holiday Inn fare which was very acceptable.

The weather was also very acceptable. It was bright, sunny and a warm 23C at 9am. The air felt fresh and clean.

Our first stop today was the Olympic Park where many events from the 1988 Winter Games were held. This was especially appropriate as our Hotel was directly opposite the stadium where the Opening and Closing ceremonies were held. Over breakfast we had also watched an update regarded Calgary's push to apply to host for 2026 games.

The traffic was light and in a few minutes we could see the large Ski Jump in the distance. The games held here have since been the subject of two feature films. The ski jump is where Eddie the Eagle jumped and the Bobsleigh track is where the Jamaican 'Cool Runnings' team competed.

Indeed the first thing we saw outside the visitor building was the 'Cool Runnings' Bobsleigh. I had the obligatory photo sitting inside it.

We had a wander round and then made our way to the Luge. I had managed to persuade Karen to give it a try. The motto for the ride is "once is never enough'. Karen decided it would be for her though. So we bought just one ride for her but 4 rides for myself. We chose and fitted our helmets and walked to start the adventure.

Karen was far more nervous about the ski lift to the top. She is just about happy going on chair lifts/gondolas where they are fully enclosed, but hates the ones where you have to stand and jump on them. Nevertheless we got on them and she quite enjoyed the ride.

It was actually a beautiful ride. Quiet, smooth and lovely in the early morning weather.

Part way up I took my phone out of my pocket to take a photo. In doing so my ticket must have flown out of pocket to the ground below. What a muppet! This caused some confusion at the top and meant I had to queue to get the ticket reprinted.

As it was our first Luge ride we had to be instructed how to ride them. It turned out to be very easy. Within a couple of minutes we were given the approval to go down.

Wow, what great fun. The ride down was very long, fast, curvy with sweeping bends, some chicanes and near the end a sudden dip. There was over taking of other people. It was terrific. I couldn't wait to do it again and again and again.

It is the longest Luge track in the world over 1.5km and you can reach speeds of around 60kmph.

On the subsequent runs I started to learn the course and definitely got faster each time. It really did take your breathe away and so it was nice to have the relaxing chair lift back up each time. Karen had a coffee whilst waiting and watching me have the extra rides. Although she enjoyed her ride down and the conquering of her fear of getting to the top, doing it once was actually enough for her.

This is something that both our boys would have loved, although I cannot imagine how competitive it would have become.

Following this we decided to drive to Drumheller which is billed as the Dinosaur Capital of the World, although we wanted to see the Hoo-Doos. It was about 75 miles east of Calgary.

On route we were surprised to see a Walmart. So we diverted into there to buy some lunch and some snacks for the next few days. Karen told me that I was not allowed to have a proper look round. I was very good and did exactly as agreed. However Karen wandered off to the complete opposite end of the store looking for some face wipes. It took me 25 minutes to find her again. I did not mention that at all.

The roads to Drumheller were big and very very straight. I think the final one was almost 30 miles without even a slight bend. After eating her lunch on the journey Karen started to mention that her stomach was hurting.

By the time we arrived at the Hoo-Doos, it was 34c but by now Karen was feeling quite rough. We managed to walk round the strange geological features and agreed it had been worth the long drive. They were all very climbable and again it was something our boys would have loved especially when younger. Here we noticed again that all of the overseas visitors were British. Interestingly many of them were young couples. We had not really thought of the Rockies as a destination of choice for this demographic group. We felt very at home...

On the way to a suspension bridge I had to pull over quickly to allow Karen to be sick. Not pleasant at all, but almost immediately she started to feel better. She perked up enough to have a wander over the bridge.

We then drove into Drumheller itself and parked outside the Napier Theatre which amused us. We had a wander around DownTown and it was all very Dinosaur centric. The roads were named after them and there were small Dinosaurs on every corner and every seat bench. We walked to the Visitor Centre where we climbed up inside the worlds largest Dinosaur. It was a life sized T Rex and we took photos from inside its mouth. It was flipping enormous. It was a simple idea and we wondered why Disney had not done something similar.

After this we set off back to the Hotel back along the very straight roads again. Karen was now feeling much better but still a bit delicate. We didn't hit any traffic until we were about 2 minutes from our base.

We decided to walk to a highly rated local Steak House called Nick's. Karen thought she would give her stomach a rest and just had a beer (and some cheesecake to go to eat the next day). I had a very nice Steak and a large glass of Red. On the 5 minute walk back, a storm started and we had to run the last 50 metres.

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