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Calgary, Canada

Although leaving Banff was difficult, I was looking forward to seeing Canada's Cowboy capital - Calgary. Mum's friends from Portage, Linda & Barrie, picked me up & drove me to their daughter's (Bess') place in Calgary. Bess had kindly offered me accommodation for the week. It was a nice little flat on the outskirts of downtown central.

During the daytime in Calgary I walked the city (the usual routine) in order to get a real feel for the place. Calgary is another clean city, & like Edmonton, is very spread out. Unlike Edmonton, Calgary is not dreary - as they can boast the most hours of sunlight throughout the year across the whole of Canada. It does get very cold though, when the sun drops behind the mountains the temp drops dramatically, -20oC was the coldest it got during my stay. The downtown of Calgary hosts the usual malls & bars, whilst the river running through the city offers some attractive walks.

Midway through the week I went to check out the facilities & the museum at Canada Olympic Park. The site was used for the '88 winter Olympics, & is still used today - mostly for the downhill skiing & snowboarding slope. The most famous incident that occurred here involved four Jamaicans & a bobsled. I made sure that I had my Bobsled run booked in before I had to leave Calgary! If you haven't seen Cool Runnings, then shame on you! We tried to rent it at 3 different video stores - although no where had it. Shocking when you consider that a lot of the movie was shot in Calgary!

On the Wednesday evening we went to Calgary Zoo to check out the Christmas lights. It was the usual sort of stuff, although there was one tunnel of lights I took a shine to...

On the Friday night I went with Bess & her friends to an independent film premiere, as one of Bess' friends had a trailer screening for his upcoming film. The three short films on show were very good, if not a little strange. After the films we visited a couple of downtown bars, before we headed to "Ranchmans" - which is an authentic Cowboy bar. By which I mean that all the "cool" guys were fully kitted out in check shirts, large belt buckles, blue jeans, cowboy boots & hat. The works. There were plenty of hoe-down moves on the dancefloor too...all very surreal when you had a few beers! Incidentally, this is the bar from Cool Runnings - where the boys get into a brawl (I love that movie, in case you hadn't realised).

Saturday finally came...Bobsled day! $170 got me one run on the track, driven by the Canadian Olympic driver, a tshirt & a certificate (woooo!). The ride was incredible. Our top speed was 136kmph with a top G force of 5! Some of the corners were vicious, although we survived the Jamaicans corner I am pleased to say! Our time was 61secs...so John Candy would not have been pleased. I blame our failure to break the 60sec barrier on a seated push start, & the inexperience of the two novice passengers!

If any of you get a chance to Bobsled I would strongly recommend it. This was my second course (Latvia the last one) & the second time it was even more enjoyable than the first. There was time for a quick bite to eat, let the adrenaline pass, before I got on a plane to my next destination...Vancouver.

Btw - I now have a new Canadian cell no. +1-604-906-2361. Due to the size of Canada they have regional cell numbers. I am cynical & believe it's just an opportunity to make more money off of "long distance" calls, but thems the rules!

permalink written by  johnnoble on December 15, 2008 from Calgary, Canada
from the travel blog: John's year off...
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I have to say that tunnel of lights is the spitting image of a tunnel in a place very close to my heart - a small town club that goes by the name of J to to X..........


Although we do like to refer to it as the tunnel of love! Happy dayzzzzzzzzzzz

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year John James

Lots of Love from the small isle


permalink written by  Erin on December 16, 2008

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