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Canada - Calgary and more - Day 3

Another bright and early start for breakfast. After this as we had arranged for a late check out we left our bags in our room before heading the short distance to downtown Calgary.

We were not too sure what to expect but were pleasantly surprised. Our first surprise was the abundance of parking, the second was the exorbitant cost of that parking second only to Miami. Nevertheless we found a spot and started exploring the +15. Still not sure why it is called that as it is essentially a covered walkway to protect people from the elements between the buildings lined with shops. It was like a long thin shopping mall. Pleasant but not inspiring. We decided eventually to walk outside along the paths instead.

The coffee bars outside were busy considering how early it was in the day. The hanging baskets of flowers were bursting with blooms. We headed towards the Calgary Tower and wandered around the ground floor and gift shop. Neither of us were inspired enough to go up to see the view. We were not convinced the view would be that great as the Tower itself is now surrounded by taller office blocks.

Instead we decided to walk onto the Olympic Plaza to see the statues of the Famous Five. I was disappointed not to see Timmy the Dog from Enid Blyton immortalised in bronze, as the Famous Five in this context were the Canadian women who had got the British Privy Council to agree that 'women have a purpose'. Many politically incorrect comments could now follow but I won't stoop so low.

The plaza was very nice and we fetched some hot drinks to sit and drink on the many benches available.

We then drove back to the Hotel, checked out and started the drive to Banff. Karen kept trying to pronounce it Ban-F for some reason. As we left Banff and approached the Mountains we went through a terrific storm that cleared up for beautiful blue skies as we left Calgary further and further behind.

We were going to drive straight to Banff, but for a off chance conversation that Karen had had with the Headteacher at Brisley on the last day of term. She had recommended to us to visit Canmore about 20km before Banff. Apparently her son lives there and she described it as a prettier and quieter version of Banff. This was a top tip and it was lovely. We stayed almost 3 hours wandering around in some interesting shops. Karen had a sampler of different beers at The Grizzly Paw Bar.

Everyone we spoke to in Canmore told us how different it was to Banff. They were not wrong. We should have chosen to base ourselves in Canmore and travel from there.

Our actual hotel was on the main drag in Banff and a short walk along to the Main Street. Our room was large and very clean with a lovely view from the balcony. The rest of the Hotel was not so. It needed a lot of money spent in the lobby and communal areas.

Banff itself was very busy. People everywhere. There were some nice shops alongside some quite tacky ones. The setting of Banff with mountains each side however was lovely.

I did however come to the conclusion that someone on the Asian sub continent is hacking my holiday plans. They obviously wait until I book and then everyone books for the same place at the same time. There were hundreds of Asian people walking along the street getting in my way. Don't any of them know who I am or is it all a conspiracy?

Tonight I purchase another Bear Bell as I couldn't find the one from last year and Karen was getting nervous about us walking anywhere after the many sighting and incidents with bears on the TV news in and around Banff over the past week alone.

Tonight we ate in The Old Spaghetti Factory which we found eventually. It was an average meal at a below average price. The waiter was from Port Talbot. We wandered back down the main drag to get Karen a coffee before retiring to our room. Karen was snoring loudly by 9.45am, the party animal that she is.

I spent some time revising my fantasy football team to include as many ex Norwich players as possible. One time this plan must work? I am looking forward to the new season at Carrow Road and find myself full of optimism as usual. Shame it will all have disappeared by 4.45pm Saturday UK time.

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