In November 2021, I was on my first flight in over a year! I was headed to Alberta to visit my brother. Super exciting because it my first time visiting Alberta. Another province off my list – Check!
Here is a map of some the many places mentioned in this blog post!
My flights to Calgary, Alberta were probably the worst flights I’d ever been on! Mostly because I didn’t get a window seat on either of them. What a way to get back to traveling! They were also night flights, which, with the exception of traveling to China, I’d never done. My first flight left PEI at 7pm and I arrived in Calgary at 1am, 4 am PEI time with less than an hour’s sleep. It’s hard to sleep in the middle seat on an airplane, if you know you know. If you’ve never done it, trust me when I say it isn’t fun.
Once getting to Calgary, pick up was easy, and my brother and I drove about ten minutes to the Holiday Inn Calgary airport location. I slept from about 2:30-8:30 Saturday morning.
Saturday was a busy day! The weather was cool and windy. We left the hotel after 9 and went to Ricky’s All Day Grill. Keith and I both looked at the menu, but didn’t talk about what we were getting. And we both ended up ordering the same thing! California Eggs Benny. It was eggs benedict with guacamole and sliced tomatoes on it, served with hash browns.
After, we went to a place called Seafood Market. It was an Asian food market with a few Asian “fast” food stalls in it. It was so cool to see all the food the market had, like whole fresh squid and fish, pig snout, chicken feet, and more. They had lots of spices, fresh produce and other cool things. It reminded me of visiting China. If you haven’t read about my adventures in China, start on my first day in China and getting to visit the Great Wall!
I got a bottled Thai tea to try. It was a bit strong and not my favourite but I’m glad I tried it!
Then we drove to Airdrie to see a friend. She took us out to Paul’s pizza where we got some delicious pizza! (It is known as Airdrie’s best pizza!)
From there, we kept driving to Springbank Airport where my brother has a share in a small plane. We were just going to look at it, but then he decided to take it for a spin. So trying hard to not be too afraid, I donned my headset and clutched the seat. Taking off was the scariest part, as it felt like we just kept going up and up and at one point it felt like the airplane was pointing straight up into the sky. (It wasn’t, I was just being dramatic!) Once in the air, it wasn’t too bad. There were a few times I had to clutch the seat, but I was able to relax and take a few photos. The mountains were cool when you’re up so high!
Then, Keith said he was going to land, only he ended up doing a touch and go. And taking off the second time wasn’t nearly as bad! And the second landing was a little easier on my nervous system. It was thrilling experience, definitely one for the books!
Hopping in the truck once again, we set off for Claresholm. It started to get dark and we drove through the Porcupine Hills on a gravel road. I thought for sure we were going over the edge! But we made it safely to Keith’s friends place where we were going to spend a few days.
Sunday was way warmer than Saturday from a Chinook wind that was blowing. We went to church in the morning and I took a two hour nap in the afternoon. Then I helped Keith clean out his truck while he cleaned his RV.
Keith made a big meal for supper. We had tandoori chicken and plain chicken on the BBQ, a salad, stir fried veggies, rice, naan and raita. There was even fruit cake for dessert!
Monday dawned foggy and damp. But Keith and I started bravely out for Waterton National Park. We stopped in Pincher Creek on the way and I was surprised to see so many deer just wandering through town and in people’s yards. As we drove, the mountains just kept getting closer and closer. It was so majestic it didn’t even feel real! In Waterton, everything was closed. But we parked the truck and walked to Prince of Wales hotel and walked around outside. The wind was so strong here!
Then we did the Bear’s Hump Trail. This was an insane hike as it just kept climbing higher and higher, following a switchback trail. We had to stop often to catch our breath but when we got to the top, that took our breath away also! The wind was very strong on the top of the mountain and I almost got blown away. Thankfully the wind was blowing away from the cliff or I may have blown away!!
On the way home, the wind was even stronger. It was blowing at 100km an hour and tumbleweeds were flying across the highway. That night, the power flickered so many times but it never went out. We ate chicken, buns, and salad for supper.
Tuesday, I packed up and relaxed. Keith’s friend at the house we were staying at does stone work. Sitest Creations is the facebook page if you want to check it out! So he helped me start a little project of my own and it was cool to see it come together. Around 3pm we headed for Medicine Hat, where my brother’s current work site was.
We stopped in Lethbridge for supper at the Taro Noodle House. I got a miso udon which had udon noodles, corn, green onions, and Narutomaki (fish cakes) as well as another kind of fish cake. I wasn’t a huge fan of this as I prefer real fish, but the noodles and broth were super good! At the hotel, we went for a swim and then walked to Walmart.
Wednesday, I had waffles with bacon, yogurt and bananas for breakfast at the hotel. And the next two days were uneventful as Keith was working all day. I went for walks, worked on some online courses and made dinner for him when he got home from work.
Friday night, we ate at Sushi and Thai. The sushi was really good, and the other stuff was hit or miss. After eating, we found $40 outside Keith’s truck outside! A little blessing from above. Then we headed to Saamis Tepee, the World’s Largest Tepee. It was massive and I loved all the paintings attached to it.
Saturday was clear and cold. We drove to Writing on Stone, a UNESCO world heritage site. and walked around. I really enjoyed the hoodoos and the history on the plaques.
We drove to Costco on our way to Claresholm and grabbed a few things for supper. We made ribs and potatoes in tinfoil on the BBQ and green beans and portobello mushrooms stuffed with cheese as sides.
Sunday we went to church and the grocery store. I also helped Keith with his trailer. We drove back to Medicine Hat that evening.
Second Week in Alberta
Monday I made quesadillas for supper.
Tuesday was a relaxing day and I napped a lot, watched Netflix, and went in the hotel hot tub. We ate at Papi’s country kitchen for dinner. I got salmon, fries and asparagus. The fries were good and the decor inside the restaurant was super cool.
Wednesday I walked to the mall and Value Village and got a few gifts to bring home. I tried a strawberry banana smoothie at Freshii. We went to Earls for supper where they have a steak special on Wednesdays and they also had half price wings! So we got steak and wings and afterwards drove around playing Pokemon Go.
Thursday I went to the mall again and tried pizza from Busters. Keith got done work early so we drove to Claresholm for the weekend, stopping at Costco for poutine.
Friday I slept in and went to Fort Macleod to a few antique shops. In the evening, we watched kids practice hockey. (They were students from our friend’s class that she taught.) Supper was locally made sausages.
Saturday morning Keith and I headed to Banff. I had never seen mountains in the winter time this close and they were different from the ones near Waterton. There were creeks running along the highway in some spots and everything was so picturesque. We didn’t stop in Banff then but kept driving to Lake Louise.
We parked near Fairmont Chateau and hiked the Lake Louise Lakeshore hike. The lake was magnificent covered in snow and ice and the mountains in the distance framed it like towers coated in white. It was so quiet up in the mountains and the snow seemed extra white. The air was clear and crisp and the trees were covered by a soft, snowy blanket. In spots when you looked up, you could see the side of the mountain, pretty stone covered in pine trees that were buried in snow.
After, we drove around Banff and decided to eat at an Indian restaurant called Masala. It was family owned it looked like and the owner seemed like a really nice man. He was so welcoming and he was literally running around the restaurant the entire time we were there, greeting and seating guests, bringing food and clearing tables. It always inspires me when “the boss” isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty and works as hard as his employees.
We ordered rice, naan, raita, and two meat dishes. Keith got lamb vindaloo and I got lamb bhuna gosht. We also got beef samosas for an appetizer and they were the best I’ve ever tasted! All the food was so delicious, huge portions and a great price. We ate for $60 before tip!! And there was enough leftover for another meal for each of us. I highly recommend this place if you’re in the area.
However, keep in mind it can be very busy. I think there was always someone waiting for a table the entire time we were eating there, the phone was ringing constantly and lots of takeout orders. A reservation is a good idea or be prepared for a wait! There are lots of shops next door to the restaurant that you could browse in while waiting, so that is cool.
After eating, we walked around a bit and bought some souvenirs and gifts. Then we drove to our hotel in Canmore. I slept well that night after all the fresh air and exercise.
Sunday we drove around Banff again and went to Bow Falls. Unfortunately it was raining and everything was very icy. But, we braved it and walked up the icy steps to take in the view. The water was the greenish blue, typical of water near the mountains.
Then we drove further up to a lookout spot overlooking Banff. There was fog above the city, and it was so cool to see the mist from up so high.
Third week in Alberta
My third week in Alberta I stayed with my new found friends in Claresholm while Keith went back to Medicine Hat to work for a few days.
Monday and Thursday I helped out in my friend’s classroom. (She is a teacher.)
Tuesday I went to check out the little shops in Claresholm and walked around downtown. There was lots of locally made stuff and there was some cool murals. For meals that week I made bacon and eggs, sausage, mushroom and pepper pasta with garlic bread and pork chops, pesto side kicks and fried mushrooms and peppers.
Thursday I got to visit Head-Smashed-in Buffalo Jump. It was definitely a highlight of my trip as I’ve always been interested in the history of the Indigenous people. I had never heard of the process of hunting buffalo in this way and the site had so many exhibits and programs about it. They also had a 15 minute video reenactment of what it would have been like to actually be there. It gave me goosebumps watching and made me feel like I was there! I am so glad I was able to experience it.
For supper, we had pizza and wings and watched Jumanji 2. Keith came back from Medicine Hat that night.
Friday was my birthday and I made waffles and bacon for breakfast. Then I helped my friend with a school project and watched cooking shows on Netflix. We all went to Antree for supper which was a Korean restaurant. I had a chicken katsu bento box and a lychee cocktail both of which were amazing. Then we drove around Claresholm and played Pokemon Go.
Week 4: British Columbia
Saturday morning Keith and I left for BC. It was snowy and foggy when we left, but the weather changed constantly as we drove. We drove through Kicking Horse Pass where we had to stop for a bit because they were doing construction and there was only one lane traffic through a winding mountain road. We also drove through Roger’s Pass which was incredible with the steep twisting roads.
We spent the night in Revelstoke at a boutique hotel called the Cube. It was a combination of a hostel and a hotel. The showers were in their own separate rooms, which I wasn’t a fan of. But the decor was cute and unique. Dinner was at Craft Bierhaus where we tried some local beers and delicious chicken and blue cheese mac and cheese. This place was also very busy!
Sunday we drove to Vernon to visit some old friends. They used to live in the province where I live currently and I would babysit their 2 kids. It had been about 2 years since I’d seen them and the oldest child remembered me which was pretty special. It was like no time had passed, which is a great feeling, and also a good sign of good friends.
Monday we went out to Coras for breakfast and then went back to our friends place. We drove to Kelowna where we went to Costco and then drove to the waterfront. The weather was cold but it was a pretty view. Then we checked out Candy Cane Lane which is a huge Christmas Event where people go all out to decorate their homes for Christmas. For dinner we had homemade fries and deep fried scallops and clams which were delicious!
Tuesday we went to Browns Social House for lunch where I had a beef szechuan noodle bowl that was incredible! Keith got the tuna poke bowl. We were able to watch the kids at their MMA practice which was fun.
Wednesday I baked with the kids and played games. We had chili for dinner and brownies and cookies for dessert before Keith and I headed to our next stop, Kamloops.
We had stayed in a hotel Sunday night-Tuesday night in Vernon. It was super cheap and clean which was all that mattered but it didn’t have that luxury feel. So when we were able to stay at a Best western with Keith’s points that night for free, it was the best feeling ever!
Thursday we drove through Merit, “The Country Music Capital of Canada”. I would love to go back and explore there. The drive that day was beautiful, filled with snow laden pines, rushing creeks, long freight trains, frozen lakes, and of course mountains! We spent the night in Osoyoos, which seemed like a super cool place. I would love to go back and visit there also, when there wasn’t snow on the ground.
Friday we drove through lots of small towns in British Columbia as we were driving near the US border. We drove through Greenwood, which used to be an old mining town. It is the smallest town in BC and still looks much like an old town. There was lots of changes that day as we drove through the mountains, sunny and clear and then all of a sudden snowy and foggy. We spent the night in Fernie and ate at Himalayian Cusine for dinner. I tried mango chicken which was delicious! The hotel we stayed at had a hot tub and a pool.
Saturday we drove through Sparwood which boasts the world’s biggest truck and we got to see it from the highway. We arrived back in Claresholm that afternoon.
Sunday was a chill day before I flew home Monday. My flights were quick and easy which was great! And that concludes what was an amazing trip!