Many of our customers love travelling to Canada, so I felt very lucky to be able to experience the magic for a second time on a recent trip to Calgary and Vancouver.
We flew direct from Gatwick to Calgary on board Air Transat. I sat in an option-plus seat, which I highly recommend. These have priority check in, two bags at 23kgs, and a very nice comfort kit to enhance your flight experience.
We landed in sunny Calgary, home to the famous July stampede. The first night we stayed in the Delta Calgary downtown hotel, conveniently situated to explore the area. Following a restful night’s sleep, we were ready for our journey to Banff, next stop on our adventure.
Banff is nestled high in the Canadian Rockies, with so much to see and do. We arrived in brilliant sunshine and took an introductory walking tour of the Cascade Gardens, museums, and Banff Gondola (a cable car). We also learned about the outdoor pursuits around the park, and the Cave and Basin National Historic Site. There really is something for everyone!
The Fox hotel and suites, located on Banff Avenue, was to be our home for 3 nights. The rooms and suites are perfect for couples and families, and it even boasts a cave and basin themed hot-pool and sauna. Accommodation-wise, for ultimate opulence, the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel offers stunning views and world class cuisine in Scottish baronial style. We experienced the fine dining for ourselves in the Vermilion room restaurant that evening.
We awoke next day to the highest snowfall Banff has had for the beginning of October since 1914, and the scenery looked like a beautiful winter wonderland. Our full day mountain, lakes and waterfalls tour was truly breath-taking, but due to the weather, some of the roads were closed. This had even taken a lot of the locals by surprise, with many not having put on their winter tyres. Our BBQ lunch at Emerald Lake Lodge took on a whole new concept, as we had to take our BBQ inside!
The Gondola ride to the summit of Banff’s Sulphur Mountain normally has epic views, however, the snowstorm had taken over and all we could see was snow!
On the Rocky Mountaineer
Our journey from Banff to Vancouver was a truly unforgettable experience on board the iconic Rocky Mountaineer. We travelled in Silverleaf Service and were treated to excellent cuisine, complimentary snacks and both alcoholic and soft drinks throughout the journey. We followed the mighty Thompson river, stunning scenery, before arriving in Kamloops for our overnight stay.
The next day, our journey continued through Rainbow and Fraser Canyon before finally arriving in Vancouver early evening, where we left this magnificent train with “train legs”. Every time I stood still I felt like I was still on board!
Our final destination, Vancouver, didn’t disappoint. We’d left the snow behind and could soak up the atmosphere of everything on offer - from Granville island, where we a took a foodie tour, and Stanley Park, with its beautiful autumn tree colours and totem poles, to China town and Gastown. All well worth a visit.
Finally, we took a trip to the Capilano suspension bridge, suspended 70 metres above and 137 metres across the Capilano river. It’s one of Vancouver’s oldest attractions and I am proud to say I did both the bridge climb and the treetops walk across seven suspension bridges.
As I have a fear of heights this is something I’m very pleased about, and they even gave me a certificate to prove I’d done the walk! A perfect end to an amazing trip.