We kicked off the trip by driving up to Banff from Missoula on Monday, May 14. It’s an 8 1/2 hour trek, but it’s so incredibly scenic (and costs much less than flying and renting a car!), so driving was worth it. We split up the driving, so I wasn’t snapping pictures the whole way, but here are just a few of the lovely things we saw on our journey up:
We arrived at around 8:00 PM and checked into our hotel, the Banff Caribou Lodge & Spa. We had some pretty nice digs, including an amazing Jacuzzi bathtub that was for some reason in our bedroom (?? But it was still awesome).
Then we walked downtown, stopping to dine at Earl’s. We both ordered cocktails (a mango/strawberry/raspberry margarita for me and a mojito for Ryan), and enjoyed steak (Ryan) and shrimp & crab linguine.
On Tuesday we strolled around downtown and checked out the shops, which were mostly tourist-y stores, fancy clothing boutiques, and a few art galleries. After shopping and eating sandwiches at Coyotes (yum!)…
We rode the gondola up to the top of Sulphur Mountain and saw the most beautiful views of Banff and the Bow Valley!
Here’s what the gondola itself looked like. (By the way, I didn’t know this when I started to take the picture in the upper left, but the people going by in this car were definitely making out. It appears that the guy realized I was taking a photo and broke away from his lady before it could be captured. Haha!)
Oh, by the way, I definitely got sunburned on Sulphur Mountain. Not an intense I-need-to-soak-in-a-tub-of-aloe-vera burn, but a noticeable one. Only I could get sunburned in Canada. Though we’d been warned that it would probably be chilly in Banff, we actually had pretty great weather all week—temperatures were in the 70s on most days, and we only had a tiny bit of rain! Most nights I was warm enough in a dress and cardigan.
Back to Tuesday…after I received my sunburn atop the mountain, we decided to sample some local beers and a Canadian classic, poutine! For those of you who don’t know, poutine is a pile of French fries topped with gravy and cheese. Before last week, I thought it sounded kinda repulsive, but was willing to shell out some bucks to have a Canadian experience.
Well, I can now report that it was DELICIOUS. I’m converted. We felt so authentic as we munched on poutine and watched a hockey game. (P.S. everyone at the bar was so into the game. Also there are commercials for hockey on TV that are very similar to our football commercials). In addition to the poutine, I had a bison burger & Ryan had meatloaf, and we split a delicious brownie sundae.
Speaking of Canadian things, we took a few pictures of food items that made us giggle. CheeCha puffs? Cinnamon Toast Crunch in French? Ketchup flavored potato chips?
And the bathrooms are all called washrooms!
Speaking of washrooms…remember how our bathtub was in our bedroom? Well, I had a few issues with it. When I took a bath on Tuesday night, I guess I added a few too many bubbles and left the jets on a little too long. So the bubbles threatened to overflow into the bedroom:
This photo was taken post-freak-out, when I called Ryan up to try and help me turn of the damn jets! The bubbles were covering the buttons up, so I had to blindly poke and prod until they finally shut off. It was hilarious after, but during we were both worried the bubbles were seriously going to overflow and ruin the carpet or something. Phew!
On our third day, Wednesday, we ate more sandwiches from Squish:
Stopped by the Cascade waterfall to snap a few pics:
And went on a cruise on Lake Minnewanka, Banff National Park’s largest body of water (although it is a man-made reservoir, it’s still cool):
At the very edge of the lake, you can actually see where the Canadian Rockies end. It’s called Devil’s Gap:
For dinner, we hit up the Grizzly House for (expensive but yummy) fondue. It was very low light in there, so it was hard to photograph the food—but we shared a cheese and bread fondue appetizer, fruit fondue dessert, and a meat-y main course featuring beef, elk, bison, venison, lobster, and five delicious dipping sauces. Instead of cooking the meat over an oil-heated fondue pot, we actually used a super hot stone tablet.
Okay, y’all—I still have three more days to cover and this post is already massive. So come back tomorrow for more on our honeymoon :)