FLIGHTS TO CALGARY
Rather than flying from Newcastle to Heathrow then to Calgary, BA decided to send us to Dublin, Dublin to Heathrow, Heathrow to Calgary. Our first leg was run by Aer Lingus using an ATR-72. I used to fly this in flightsim so was quite excited at the prospect.
However, while checking in at Newcastle, I realised I'd left the Canadian and American currency in the drawer at home! Luckily there was a Currency Exchange at the airport and I bought a reduced number of Canadian and American dollars for use when hard cash was needed.
The cafés at Heathrow Terminal 5 and Calgary featured animal models.
Fun at the Calgary Fairmont Hotel
At breakfast the next morning they had Porridge, or Oatmeal as they call it. They mainly use 'Steel Cut Oats'?! There was a good selection of topping available.
Also in the breakfast restaurant there was a selection of old machinery and this money counting or change giving machine caught my attention.
Rivers and Lakes
We visited a fast flowing river which went over some rapids. There was an Indian chief in full regalia. The river carries on to a waterfall.
Then we went down to Lake Minnewanka with various water sports and boating activities with a wonderful mountainous backdrop
Walking down to the lake, we heard a loud rustling sound coming from these unusual trees!
We were dropped off in Jasper to catch the VIA train to Vancouver, sleeping overnight on the train (quite an experience)
At the station, they told us the train was late (freight takes precedence in Canada) and they gave us vouchers for one of the meals we would have had on the train.
They were for a local pub / restaurant and the food was great, so was the company.
We had breakfast in the Dining Car and I had Reindeer Sausage. Christine was not impressed!!
When we passed through Chilliwack Station, we rang Sue on the mobile and she waved from the hillside overlooking the railway. Obviously we couldn't actually see each other!
Then we pulled into Vancouver over this impressive road/rail bridge, on the background photo.
From Vancouver Station, we visited Vancouver Lookout Tower and had a 360 degree view round the city.
We could even see the Cruise Terminal from there. Next we went to Granville Island for Lunch.
Here there was a humungous fresh food market where we selected our lunch and some street entertainers. After lunch it was back to the coach.
Dinner in Vancouver
When we got back to the hotel, we decided to eat out. We walked up and down the street opposite the hotel where the concierge said there were some good restaurants and picked an Italian quite close to the hotel.
Surprise in the Hotel Room
In the morning after arriving, we had been short of coffee and tea bags and I'd mentioned the reason for our cruise to the receptionist. When we returned from our Italian meal, we were greeted by this cake!
Butchart Gardens and the Ferry Back to Vancouver
To have a longer chat we decided to go for a coffee and Sue and Angie both agreed the best place would be 'Timmies'. Christine and I had no idea what one of those was until we saw up the street 'Tim Hortons'. Kind of like Costa on steroids.
My Earl Grey came in a proper Tim Horton mug, Sue had some amazing kind of cold coffee, Christine had Cappuccinos, I think Angie's was a Latte.
Taxi Ride and Cruise Ship Wave Off
An added bonus to their visit was that they came in our taxi to the cruise terminal and waved to us before we set off!