Day 36: Banff

2008-08-13

Jasper (AB) – Banff (AB)
500km

Who said going back is usually long and boring. Here, it’s certainly not the case!

We take the road to Banff and must again go through the national park ($ 19.60 fee at the entrance), but we take our time and the prospects for new landscapes are impressive, and we are “forced” to make several tourist stops and take some memorable shots!

We stop for lunch in a small picnic area in front of the majestic Columbia Ice Field. I was here in 1984. Incredible to see the transformation of places and especially the withdrawal of the impressive glaciers. The melting is so fast that it fell back several hundred meters since my last visit. It’s much smoother now and there are fewer deep cracks as well.

It’s an impressive a unique spot.

We continue on towards Banff. Arrival at around 17.00. No problem, we had booked the day before! Although some hotels have rooms available, I strongly suggest making reservations in this type of tourist towns because usually a late arrival would mean higher prices for the last rooms.The city is very lively! But animated in a, let’s say, touristic way! It’s obvious that this place is a bubble of tourists hungry for entertainment. Asians, Germans, Spaniards, Italians, and yes, many Quebecers are crammed on the sidewalks and the few terraces available.

We decide to do a small outdoor dining picnic in a riverside park because we want to save a few dollars, but mostly because we want to enjoy the nice weather! First, we must find a park. Done in minutes, beautiful large park by the river. It was a little more complicated to find food. Slightly more complicated thant anticipated so we decide to go for Sushi… After 45 long minutes waiting at the bar, we get the so so food and a $45 bill! I guess we’ll save money tomorrow! We quickly want to start the feast because we are starving. But with a good regional bottle of  wine! We must find the Liquor Store. Not too complicated against.

After, we immediately go back to the park and find a nice picnic table overlooking the river with high hopes of relaxing and most importantly, with the firm intention to make the most of this near-last night!

Little oversight, after all this research, we had no idea that some creatures were also looking for a feast and most importantly, that this feast was going to be two poor Quebec tourists!

As we sit near the river, opening the bottle of wine, and appreciating our sushi, we are attacked by mosquitoes also in a search of a nice and easy meal! Despite my efforts, it’s simply impossible to stay in place and after 5 minutes, the two beaten tourists have to accept defeat and leave for a place with a little more hospitality!

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