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Old 1 Jun 19, 01:17 PM  
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OB1LukeLucas
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Really enjoying the photos, the area looks beautiful. Food looks good too...so does the pitcher of Margaritas!
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Old 2 Jun 19, 05:11 PM  
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KarenG
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Those photos are stunning.
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Old 3 Jun 19, 08:29 PM  
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Wordsworth
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Location: Auld Reekie
Originally Posted by OB1LukeLucas View Post
Really enjoying the photos, the area looks beautiful. Food looks good too...so does the pitcher of Margaritas!
It is gorgeous - particularly with the snow still around!


Originally Posted by KarenG View Post
Those photos are stunning.
Mix of iPhone 8 and pixel 2XL, I don’t think the equipment matters when you’ve got the views!
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Old 3 Jun 19, 09:03 PM  
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Wordsworth
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Join Date: Sep 18
Location: Auld Reekie
Day 3: Around Banff

We were up relatively early again, which will basically be a theme of the holiday - I felt my sleep pattern never fully adjusted to the time difference!

Continental breakfast is included in our room rate - it’s not too exciting but there’s a selection of cereals, yogurt, fruit, pastries, and they have waffle machines too.





We decided to head to the Banff gondola first, up to the top of Sulphur Mountain. This ultimately was a good decision as we got the best two hours weather of the day while up there! It was beautiful to see the snow capped mountains all around us.













After walking to the highest point on the mountain (via a wooden walkway) and back, snapping pics and enjoying the relative quiet, we grabbed a gondola back down the mountain and decided to have a Starbucks while contemplating where to go next! I had a chai tea latte, which is something I’ve just started drinking thanks to Dishoom. DH had a black tea.



As the beautiful blue sky of earlier was starting to disappear, we decided to head over to the Historic Cave and Basin to see the hot springs. I would note here this attraction is correctly priced quite low, but it was good to see some tiny endangered snails that can only be found in 7 pools here and nowhere else in the world!









There is a loop trail around the marsh here that we walked when we visited c10 years ago, but we decided against that this time given the grey skies.

Instead - after a quick stop in the car park to snap pics of all of the deer wandering around - we got back in the car and headed to Surprise lookout, before driving down to see Bow Falls from the other side.







It was starting to get quite chilly now so we decided to park the car back at the hotel and explore the Main Street of Banff on foot. This didn't take too long but it was a nice walk. We made time for a Beavertail pastry each - mine was apple and cinnamon while DH went for the maple version.





I also popped into the local distillery to buy a bottle of their gin! I took this pic when we headed back to the hotel for a rest pre evening meal.



For dinner I’d booked Chucks Steakhouse after reading about it in a UK newspaper article shortly before our trip. It was a short walk away on the Main Street, and we had a brilliant time there. I would definitely recommend for a special meal.

For starters we shared the prime Alberta dumplings (beef and shrimp) and crispy ginger beef.





And for main we shared the following (copies from menu), both cooked medium rare:

BENCHMARK FARMS' 'NATURAL' ANGUS - RIBEYE - 16oz aged 28 days, and
PINE HAVEN GRASS FED - TENDERLOIN 8oz, aged 28 days.



The tenderloin was my favourite, so tender! We also had two sides - the roasted broccoli was fine but the corn creme brûlée was immediately declared by both of us to be possibly the greatest side dish ever (knocking 2014’s corn side from Bavette in Chicago off the top spot!). It was so moreish, we loved it.





We were too stuffed for dessert after all that so finished our wine - a very nice Canadian merlot - and walked slowly back to the hotel for bed!

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Old 4 Jun 19, 10:35 PM  
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Join Date: Sep 18
Location: Auld Reekie
Day 4: To Lake Louise via Johnston Canyon

We breakfasted in the hotel again, I had some very exciting cereal and we shared a waffle again!





Then we headed back to the room to pack up stuff (we were mostly living out of the suitcases given the short time in each hotel) before checking out and hitting the road.

First, we headed for a lookout point at Mount Norquay; it has a good view out and on the way we saw a group of these guys on the road.



There was one other group at the viewpoint but we quickly snapped some pictures - there was actually a brief sprinkling of snow while we were there.



Our server at dinner last night had suggested that on our way to Lake Louise we check out Johnston Canyon and the two waterfalls there, so we decided to head in that direction. We couldn’t take the route he suggested, because they close off part of the road in spring to allow wildlife space at what is a crucial time for them. There is another exit further up the highway though, and that allowed us a view of Castle Mountain.



It was quite busy at the car park at the trailhead but we found a spot without a problem and headed out to walk to the falls.

It’s an easy walk through the canyon to the lower falls, then you have to follow the path up to the viewpoints for the higher falls but although fewer people seemed to do that, again it’s not tricky at all. You can the carry on further to the ink pots but that would have taken another hour one way apparently, so we decided against it. It was good to see that some of the canyon walls were still icy, and at the lower falls you can go through a little cave to stand close and feel the spray on your face.







We decided to do the higher falls first, then the lower ones, and snapped a lot of pictures before heading back to the car park. It was a 5-6km round trip so we felt we’d earned a treat, and there was a little kiosk at the start of the trail selling maple walnut ice cream so...



Back in the car and at this point DH decided he wanted to see if he could get a better shot of Castle Mountain, so he pulled over into a random car park on the way back to the highway. The mountain was obscured by trees but we spotted a short trail sign to Silverton Falls and, as DH loves waterfalls, thought we’d check it out.

Again it’s an “easy” trail, but at one point there are some steep, narrow switchbacks on a gravel path. Did I mention I hate heights? And specifically fear falling off cliff edges? Knowing this, DH suggested we turn back, but we’d done 3/4s of the trail by then so I thought we should carry on. I could get up the trail without an issue because I couldn’t see how high I was; I knew I’d dislike coming back but couldn’t let fear stop me!

We soon made it to the cliff edge to see the falls:



And the view the other way was equally...high:



Vertigo kicked in for me after a minute of two so I retreated to a wider section of the path to wait for DH; he snapped a few more pics before we started to head back. On the way down, because I could see how far the drop was, I did have a 30 second panic at the narrowest switchback and froze, but then part of my brain kicked in to remind me it would be worse to stand there forever so better to get it over with! That got me moving again and we were soon safely back to the car.

The rest of the drive to Lake Louise was uneventful and we were soon parking at my bucket list hotel - the Fairmount Chateau Lake Louise. We’d stopped briefly at the lake ten years ago and I’d decided then I wanted to stay there one day - and this was the day! And we got a lovely surprise at check in when we were upgraded to a junior suite! I was so excited even though it didn’t come with any extra perks LOL.

We spent some time enjoying the room before heading out for a stroll around the lake. I was surprised to see the lake was still quite frozen, with only the edges thawed, but you could start to see the clear blue Of the glacier water.





We actually walked further than intended, allowing us to get this snap back to the hotel:



Once we hit the uphill section where the lakeshore turns into the 6 glacier trail it did start to turn quite icy; we walked a little further but knew that we didn’t want to do that full trail in those conditions, plus it was getting later, so after some final pics we decided to head back.







We hadn’t made any specific plans for dinner tonight, so checked out the hotel restaurants and decided on the casual-sounding Alpine Social. We called to reserve a table but it probably wasn’t necessary; that said the wait staff were kept busy and at times seemed to struggle to keep up. They were all polite and apologetic so it wasn’t an issue.

I decided I wanted a cocktail containing the local Wild Life gin, so ordered a “Touch of Gold”. I thought it was quite an unusual cocktail but I enjoyed it. I all ordered the sesame crushed tuna starter. DH had a glass of Canadian reisling and a bowl of chowder.



For mains, I ordered one of my favourites - nachos! These came with sour cream, guacamole, salsa and queso on the side. I could have added meat but decided not to. When I ordered them, I was warned they were large, but with a little help from DH (who ordered pasta) I cleared the plate!





While too full for dessert, I did manage to try the local gin again, this time with tonic!



We charged the check and tip to our room and then decided to go for a look around the shopping arcade before heading back upstairs. That led to the purchase of a grizzly claw (cashew nuts and caramel covered in chocolate) for DH, and a glacier/mountain (almonds, caramel and white chocolate) for me. These were consumed shortly before bed!

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Old 5 Jun 19, 07:46 AM  
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OB1LukeLucas
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Those claws look delicious!
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Old 5 Jun 19, 06:09 PM  
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Dutchdisneyfan
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wow, everything looks beautiful!
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Old 5 Jun 19, 08:25 PM  
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Wordsworth
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Originally Posted by OB1LukeLucas View Post
Those claws look delicious!
They may make another appearance!

Originally Posted by Dutchdisneyfan View Post
wow, everything looks beautiful!
Such a gorgeous part of the world, even the view from the highways is stunning.
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Old 5 Jun 19, 08:49 PM  
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disney332
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Probably one of the best food reports, with stunning vista pics as an extra bonus, i have ever read on the Dibb.

Two things..., one - I want the corn creme brûlée, two - you are making me hungry!

Looking forward to the next mouthful. Enjoy yourselves.

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Old 5 Jun 19, 09:10 PM  
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Wordsworth
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Join Date: Sep 18
Location: Auld Reekie
Day 5: Lake Louise

So when we arrived at Lake Louise yesterday we learned that the road to Lake Moraine had been opened that day for the season, which was great timing as it was on our list of sights to see. We decided not to bother with breakfast and head there, as we’d heard it gets busy - we were there by 8.30 (we weren’t quite keen enough to get up to see sunrise!).

Similar to Lake Louise, Lake Moraine was still frosty:



In fact it was still basically snow at some points and we couldn’t resist wandering out into it!



The trail around the “shore” has also not been cleared of snow, which made walking it a bit of an adventure.





We then decided to take the trail up the rockpile, which was mostly clear of snow as it was in the sun.



You could also see where the sun hit the lake based on the area that was starting to melt.





It was great to see such a well-known lake just emerging from the winter!

We then decided to head over to the Lake Louise gondola, which is basically the ski chairlift repurposed, although it does have some closed gondolas. We decided to take a regular chair though, having never done that before.



Unfortunately the trail and restaurant at the top were still closed (and being actively worked on), so there wasn’t much to do except walk to the viewpoint.



We’d also heard this was a good place to spot wildlife but I suspect the noise from the workers had put paid to that! So we headed back to the gondola and returned to ground level - in all honesty I don’t think the gondola was worth it.

We decided it was a good time for lunch so headed to Lake Louise village. We originally tried to get food at Laggans, the deli, but that was a disaster! Having waited in a huge queue to order poutine and chilli cheese fries, we paid and were told the food would be around ten minutes. So we waited...and waited...and eventually DH went to ask. At which point he was told they had no fries but would we like anything else? Erm, a refund?! The staff were not apologetic at all, it was ridiculous. I do not recommend!

Hangry, we headed instead to the Trailhead Cafe a few steps away and ordered sandwiches. These soon put a smile back on our faces - DH enjoyed his Rueben and I had “The Gobbler”, which was basically thanksgiving dinner of turkey and stuffing. (Apologies for the terrible pic.)





After an unsuccessful visit to the liquor store looking for last night’s gin, we made our way back to the hotel. We had considered walking the trail to the Lake Agnes teahouse, but has found out the teahouse didn’t open until June, and the start of the trail was actually closed off (we later found out this was because there was a grizzly bear and cubs in the area). We therefore decided against the trail, and as the weather was the sunniest it had been so far, just spent the afternoon walking and relaxing by the lake.









The hotel has wooden chairs out for guests, and an organic gelato shop, so this was inevitable:



The ice creams are maple walnut and “hedgehog”, which is apparently chocolate hazelnut with fudge bits - but to be honest we didn’t find any fudge bits or any walnut! It came with two free toppings so I went for almonds and, more exotically, bee pollen! I don’t think it really tasted of anything but I was told it was healthy so yay! We put our feet up and tucked in.



Dinner for that evening had been booked in Walliser Stube, because I wanted to try fondue! On arrival at the restaurant it was clear we were going to bring the average age of the clientele down by oooh several decades, but when you have such a gorgeous view from the windows, who cares?

We skipped starters to have room for dessert, so our first course was basically pretzel rolls.



Best enjoyed alongside cocktails, I find. Mine was the cherry rose, featuring gin, chambord and cherry rose tea! DH went for the non alcoholic berry splash.



Our entree was fondue for two, and there were 3 garnish options - we chose to have it garnished with black truffle. The big pot of bubbly cheese came with various items for dipping including bread, silverskin onions, banana peppers, duck, sausage and vegetables.



I love banana peppers and those and the onions were my favourite dippers, the acidity of the pickled items cut nicely through the richness of the cheese.



We ordered a bottle of Canadian reisling alongside this and it was also delicious.

For dessert I couldn’t resist the Black Forest, but while it looked incredible it sadly didn’t taste much like a Black Forest.





DH’s pecan tart was tastier.



To finish off the meal we ordered Grizzly Bears - hot chocolate, Kaluha and grand mariner. I was thrilled when DH couldn’t finish his and I got to drink it alongside mine.



We decided that we needed to walk off some of the food before heading to bed, so popped back out to the lake.





We ended up sitting by the fire pits until the staff came to extinguish them at 10pm (they offered to come back 10 minutes later but we didn’t think it was fair to delay them).



One last picture:



And then we made our way back to the room, where DH was inexplicably hungry and tucked into a snack he’d bought while in Banff!



I, on the other hand, was ready for bed.
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