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Canada - Banff - Day 5


Today we had a relaxing start to the day.

It was also by pure coincidence that it was also the start of the Football season which meant Norwich's first match started as we were getting up. It seemed a shame to not take advantage and listen to the commentary as we were getting sorted. However as soon as we went one down in the second half we left to walk to find some breakfast.

We ended up at a breakfast cafe and I had the best meal so far of the trip. Eggs and proper sausages cooked to perfection. They tasted even better as I followed the Norwich game on Twitter which saw us fight back to a 2-2 draw.

After this we walked back to the Hotel and drove the short distance to Lake WillyWonka for our cruise. Well that was how I thought I heard the guides pronounce Lake Minnewanka. Their pronunciation was much certainly more family friendly than Karens pronunciation of the name.

We collected our tickets and had a short walk to the Lake's edge before our 12.00 departure time. The trip itself was very enjoyable and Ollie the Guide told us some interesting facts. However I think we have been spoilt by our trip on Milford Sound earlier this year and frankly there was no comparison.

Karen thought that I was being slightly xenophobic in one of my earlier blogs talking about other holiday makers we are encountering. I am genuinely not trying to me and indeed I do much of the time feel as let down by my fellow countrymen abroad although not so much this trip. I think Canada must attract a different type of traveller from the UK. However there were some people on our boat trip that made me despair.

At one point the guide was interrupted by some loud screaming that was coming from one of the passengers phone, whose owner was engrossed in watching some Horror film oblivious to the fact they were disturbing everyone else rather than enjoying the views or listening to the guide. It seemed to us that many people just want to say they have been either on a trip or visited somewhere rather than actually wanting to go or taking any pleasure from it. I think we all know people like this, but the fact that this adult was from Asia was irrelevant, it rudeness of the highest order and very annoying.

We then drove back to our Hotel and has some snacks for lunch. Suitably refreshed we donned our walking boots and set out for the Cave & Basin Historic Site. As our route took us passed Starbucks, as hard as I tried to go straight past Karen firmly directed me inside for a caffeine refuel.

Eventually we set off again and crossed the Bow River and headed along the signposted trail. It was only about a mile to the destination, but as soon as we left any buildings behind Karen started to worry about bears. So the bear bell had to be deployed. I am still not convinced these work, but as we did not encounter any then it could have done. In my mind I think they will just attract bears who hear it and think - 'Lunch'!

The Cave & Basin site proved to be much better than we anticipated and hoped. This had nothing to do with the fact we got in free with the National Parks Annual Pass we had bought before we left the UK, but it did make it even sweeter. This site was what caused the Canadian National Parks to be originally formed to preserve it. Essentially the Cave is an indoor stinky thermal pool and the Basin the outside version. Boy - did they stink, good and proper of Sulphur. The buildings around them were well presented and all the guides were very helpful.

The pools had been used by the indigenous people for hundreds of years as a meeting place. When 'rediscovered' in the 18th century I am not convinced my first thought would have been 'Lets get in the stinky water and chill' no matter how warm the water was. I would have thought bad smell - keep out.

We were walking back through the forest when I remembered we had forgotten to reattach the bear bell to the Rucksack.. Whilst sorting this out, Karen sang a loud version of 'The Teddy Bears picnic' in an attempt to alert and avert any roaming bears nearby.

After a 90 minute chill in our room, we walked the short distance to the Banff Inn to the Carlitos Pizzeria that it hosted. We had been told they served the best Pizzas in town which is what Karen fancied tonight. It was a nice bar/restaurant and the Pizzas lived up to expectations. It was very busy and the 2 waitresses were rushed off their feet, running the full restaurant, managing the bar and dealing with take aways all on their own.

We were back in our room reasonably early ready for Glacier adventure the next day and our first travels in Big Foot country.


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