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Journey's end

Calgary, Canada

We left our B&B and parked up in town to do our final bits and pieces there before heading off to see the cave where the hot sulphur springs emerge from the rocks into a bubbling pool . The complex there is being renovated so we couldn't actually see the baths that triggered tourism for the CPR railway and were the start of the National Parks at the turn of the last century. There are board walk paths for you to view the Bow River and a marshland area but we decided to give them a miss and go straight to Bow Falls, which are just below the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. The area was quite busy so we only stopped for a short while before heading up Mount Norquay, a short 10 minute drive to view the town from above.

Off on Highway 1 again towards Calgary. From the map there didn't appear to be any service or picnic areas so I suggested we turn off the motorway for a short while to a lake area just south of Cranmore, Lac des Arcs. Cranmore looked a lovely place with large Chalet type Condos at the base of the mountain. We guessed it wouldn't be as pricey as Banff but wouldn't be far, about 20 minutes drive, as a base to visit the town and the ski areas there.

Unfortunately Tom Tom (GPS) hadn't taken on board instructions to go via the Lakes and we found ourselves heading nearer to Calgary. We tried a couple of turn offs, which according to signs on the motorway, should have led us to a picnic area but either we misinterpreted the sign or the areas were some distance away as we couldn't find them. We eventually found a lay-by very near to the city and cobbled together a picnic from the boot. There was an interpretive sign telling about the birth of the cheese industry in the area. It was founded by an immigrant who had moved twice from one part of Canada further west to another. He had tried his hand at arable farming but, due to crop failure, had then decided on livestock. Calgary was already established in milk production, so he approached neighbours to form a co-operative for cheese production and his operation then grew from strength to strength.

Only a further 15 minutes and we were at Cozy Nest B&B. It was only 2 pm but we were lucky and Verna was at home and welcomed us in with a cup of tea. It was very hazy out and Verna confirmed that it was due to the smoke from the forest fires, so we decided not to go into Calgary for a view from the tower there. Instead we drove to a nearby shopping Mall to post a parcel, find a cash dispenser and locate a garage for refuelling and washing the car before returning it to Hertz before our flight tomorrow.

In the evening, on Verna's recommendation we headed for Mitillin's, run by a Lebanese, serving mainly Italian with middle eastern flavours. We reckon it was our best meal yet. Back at Verna's we invited her to join us in polishing off a bottle of red wine, which we had bought in Victoria and hadn't had a chance to drink. Just as we were sitting down, her other regular guest, Andrew from Quebec, arrived and the four of us spent a pleasant hour chatting about everything and anything – a lovely conclusion to our holiday.

permalink written by  rickandsuejohnson on August 20, 2010 from Calgary, Canada
from the travel blog: Go west, then go west some more.
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permalink written by  ella on September 1, 2010

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