Calgary has been great. A lot more interesting than Edmonton, lots of lovely snow and some extremely fun people!
As the coach approached the city it looked really misty and foggy...when I paid slightly closer attention I realised it was snowing. At first getting off the coach and out into the snow was fun...however the, once again poorly written, directions gave me no clues as to where the bus stop I needed was, leaving me wandering around for a long time. When I eventually found the stop I needed I discovered it was the only one with no shelter...after waiting for about 30-40 minutes with no sign of a bus at any stop and the snow settling on me at a pace I was losing my ability to keep up with I decided that this time I could have a cab. It was only about $10, so a good decision I think.
I got to the hostel, got my bed set up and headed out again to find something to eat. The snow was heavier now, but I can cope when I'm walking and am not carrying everything I own. It was a pretty beautiful walk, though I absolutely needed the hot chocolate at the end of it. It's warmed up slightly now, but at the beginning of the week it was bitterly cold, especially as I kept not realising and not dressing appropriately. I've learnt my lesson now, and put on all the layers I'm convinced are going to be too much and am hugely thankful for as soon as I get outside.
On Sunday I was determined to find rugby. When I was in Toronto I had somehow come across tickets for Canada vs All Blacks and I was hugely disappointed that it would be when I was nowhere near and would have to miss it. Other people I met where much luckier than me; Laura, Lisa and Elizabeth - I am hugely jealous of you.
One of my tasks on Saturday upon arrival in Calgary was to suss out the best place to go for the rugby and, after some inquiries to make sure where I'd found wasn't a no go, the next day I tramped off to the Tilted Kilt. I was not the only girl watching as the guy at the hostel had suggested I might be, but I was the only person watching alone. It was a peculiar feeling...I'm so used to rugby in a pub being as much a gathering as a birthday or similar, sitting alone felt like I was constantly waiting for someone to get back from the bar. I got myself a Guinness and onion rings (I KNOW! I'm growing!) and settled down for the game. I enjoyed myself, though some company would have been ideal.
Obviously, it is nearing Armistice Day and poppies are in most shops. Above is the third poppy I bought...and the third poppy I lost. The design is prettier and it's a lot hardier than our poppies, but it's just a pin. A combo of this poppy and our green stem is what's needed. Take note.
This is Jeff. I wanted to make a snowman, but it was too cold to attempt the real thing on my own, so I made a little baby one, Jeff Jeffty Jeff.
Here he is with his Christmas Tree.
These are three of the 'famous five', five women in Canada who fought to have women recognised as persons. You rock ladies!
As I think you must be expecting, I found myself a park! Prince's Island Park was exactly what I wanted...lots of snow to fluff through and some water to watch. The part of the water in the photo above is quite shallow, I found it hilarious to watch ducks do that kind of swimming where they actually walk on the bottom...like you do at a certain point in a swimming pool that's getting shallower.
There were swings. There were no children. There were no adults. I spent a long time on the swings.
Later in the week I took myself off to Calgary zoo. It was quite badly affected by the flood earlier this year, half of it is still closed and there are a few animals who have been relocated permanently. Despite this, I decided to go and have a look...it was only $10 and, coming from a place where the zoo costs about £30 per adult, I was not going to pass that opportunity up.
I really enjoyed myself! I remembered how much I love penguins first of all...
Then got utterly baffled by these goats. As I walked towards their enclosure, I just saw the back of one of them on a rocky cliff thing. I instantly thought it was a polar bear and my internal alarm systems went berserk. That fence is far too low to house a BEAR! It could easily jump from there to the path! Why is there nothing between it and some goats?! Closer inspection revealed them to be just some more goats. But there were enormous, and almost definitely are a cross between goats and polar bears.
I fell head over heels for this dude. He looks so grumpy...I decided his name would be Sir Curmudegon. Maybe Lord. He definitely has a title.
Bison are fun to watch too. Their faces have a very human quality to them, but like a ghostly apparition of a face. The more I looked at them, the more I was convinced that these were more like animals you'd see inhabiting some distant planet in some Sci-Fi movie.
Ducks walking across ice is surprisingly adorable.
Not sure this guy took to me too well...took my photo and back away. Yes, fence, but it's not nice to antagonise is it?
I got a bit bored yesterday and wandered round the shopping centre (I cannot call it a mall) and found myself a little corner to sit. It was nice...this sort of thing should happen more.
During the trip I have been lucky enough to meet up once again with Emilie, a girl I met in Montréal. First I spent an evening at hers chatting...then she made me dinner the next night...and then last night her friend Pippa invited me over for dinner. Being a fellow Brit, she managed to read my mind perfectly and made cottage pie. I had been thinking about cottage pie and shepherd's pie and Cumberland pie all week, and it was all I wanted. It made me a very happy girl. Then - pudding - scones! Yes! With clotted cream 'n' all.
I really enjoyed myself last night, thank you Emilie, Pippa and Tanya! Makes me sad to be leaving Calgary tomorrow.
Today I went over to the Crossroads Market. It was a long nd boring walk, and I was hugely disappointed when I got there. Maybe in a better mood with the full flea market I'd have loved it. Sigh.
My next destination is Banff. I'll be going there during the tour with Samantha, but as it is so close to Calgary I decided I would just double up. I'm sure the scenery will be beautiful enough to stomach twice!
If you have any ideas of where I should go between Banff and Vancouver, let me know. There are 4 weeks (roughly) between leaving Banff and Samantha arriving that I need to fill. I don't have a car...I don't want to rent one. Greyhound is basically my option because the trains have so few stops here...if I end up in Jasper that would work out great, I can get the train then! I'll be going to Lake Louise on the tour too...and I'm told that that will be enough, so I'm not going to do that twice. Answers on a postcard! Or comment. Whatever.