Study Abroad-Calgary 2017 travel blog

 


So the bus was an hour late, stripping everyone of our much needed sleep. Good start. Sleep was hard to come by in Canada, I have found. The sun doesn't even fully go down till 10:30, give or take 10 minutes. It's easy to lose track of time. We are used to the sun dropping around 5 in the winter, and then around 7:30 in the spring/summer. To us, the sun seemed to never drop in Canada. It would be 10 o'clock and we thought it was four in the afternoon. Why am I rambling on about when the sun drops? It kills our sleeping pattern. So we all awoke at five in the morning, some even earlier, not bright eyed and bushy tailed, but tired and annoyed. We all thought we'd get a few extra hours of sleep on the bus, but then the driver put on some tape that detailed where we were going. A loud tape. Interesting? Yes. Informative? Yes. Annoying? Check, check, and check. But I think we all got over our annoyance with the driver quickly enough. At least I did. It is not often that I get the chance to wake up surrounded by mountains. The scenery was breathtaking, such a massive change from Mississippi's flat landscape. There was a new mountain, a new view, with every passing moment in the bus. With the tape drolling on in the background, telling us stories of where we were. I wish we could have just taken it all in without that, but I guess it can't be helped. Lake Louis was probably the prettiest thing I had scene since I hiked in Yellowstone. Everything was frozen, but it had a sort of magic to it. Of course, when coupled with an excellent breakfast of waffles and bacon, I guess anything can seem magical. I noticed, for the first time on this trip, the use of "eh." It is a very common stereotype about Canadians, that they always say "eh" to end sentences. I heard it in the kitchen for the very first time all week. It was incredibly fulfilling, funnily enough. I feel complete now, as if I was empty until that moment. Anyway, the lake was amazing to see, even better to walk around. Though I wish we could have stayed longer, an hour is not nearly enough to time to see the lake in its splendor. Another time perhaps, it was time to go to Banff.

Banff was a tourist town, through and through. Gift shops lined nearly every corner, different restaurants made to cater to everyone's needs were up next to them, and by God I have never seen so many bars in one place, except maybe in New Orleans, but that's a different story. I have never been to Gatlinburg, but everyone says that Banff was just like it. I'll take them at their word though. The gondola ride up the mountain and the mountain itself was the highlight of our time in Banff.

Banff was a tourist town, through and through. Gift shops lined nearly every corner, different restaurants made to cater to everyone's needs were up next to them, and by God I have never seen so many bars in one place, except maybe in New Orleans, but that's a different story. I have never been to Gatlinburg, but everyone says that Banff was just like it. I'll take them at their word though. The gondola ride up the mountain and the mountain itself was the highlight of our time in Banff. As soon as we stepped outside, thousands of feet in the air, it started snowing. I looked around, snowflakes a cold white powder against my dark jacket, to see the beauty that is the Rocky's. I couldn't have asked for a better view. So I had to commemorate it with a proposal. Yes, yes, I proposed on top of the mountain, to a girl I had known for not even a full week. When you know, you know. She accepted, gracefully and with laughter. I must say, I never imagined myself getting down on one knee to ask a girl to marry me, let alone someone I wasn't even dating. But though the mountain seemed like a dream, the proposal and "engagement" was the true farce, a joke. The people around us believed it readily enough, we got quite the applause from everyone. She was a good sport for playing along, I was mostly just doing it for the laughs and so I could take something off my bucket list. We had to get our head out of the clouds at some point though, so as we descended the mountain, my "engagement" ended as quick as the time we spent in the snow. Beautiful, but fleeting.

I spent the rest of the day in Banff enjoying the good food and the good drinks with the others in my group. Culturally, I noticed that almost all the pubs were located underground, English style. I can only imagine why, as I never really got an explanation. Perhaps its done to protect people, I have no real clue. The attempt at Mexican food was admirable, but what do Canadians know about Mexican cuisine? Not to say Americans are experts, but I feel like we triumph in that regard. The drive home was sad, not because it looked as if it was going to rain, but sad because we had left such a beautiful place behind. If I can, I want to see it again. To hike up the mountains, see the lake when it isn't frozen, spend a day in the hotel overlooking the little lake nestled in the mountains. Maybe the next time I come, I'll have a real proposal ready.



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