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The Final Frontier

Howdy!! Wait, I am no longer in Alberta, I can’t say that anymore. I am currently sitting in my sister’s apartment in Ottawa having a lover’s reunion with my laptop. As much as I would like to sit here all day and reunite with it, I have a new city to explore – Ottawa!

But first, I must recap my last two days in Alberta. For those of you catching up, I spent a week in the wild rose province with my blogging soul-mate Holly, traveling through Calgary, Banff and the Rockies. Other recaps can be found here, here, here and here. I don’t even care if you read them all – but the pictures are definitely worth looking at! Canada is incredibly beautiful, I think something a lot of us may take for granted!

Also, for those of you who may not know the area – here’s  a handy dandy map of where we were:

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Circled are Calgary, Banff and Lake Louise. All within a couple hours drive. That green area are the Rocky Mountains which border Alberta and British Columbia and stretch far down into the US. It’s seriously one of the most beautiful places on this side of the earth!

Unfortunately, the skies clouded over again by the time we returned to Banff from camping on Monday. But it did make for some spooky mountain views ;)

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I’d gotten a recommendation for The Bison. We had no idea what to expect walking in, but who are we to turn down a stunning recommendation?

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It was a nifty little lunch-type place with a long list of sandwiches, wines and interesting cocktails.

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I actually don’t typically order sandwiches when dining out, but it seems like it’s all I got in Alberta! All the options looked amazing!

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I took a break from the red meat and went for the House Smoked Tuna + Aged Gouda: olive tapenade, fried capers, fresh tomatoes, romaine.

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Yumyumyum. The seedy baguette enclosing the inside goodness was definitely the highlight of this sandwich.

Highlight of the meal though, surprisingly, was the side salad!

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Greek salad, but more along the lines of a traditional Greek with no lettuce and cubes of all the usual suspects. I dug this. A lot.

This is where Holly and I spent the afternoon in an internet cafe… LOVE traveling with bloggers! ;)

Seeing as our trip was starting to wind down, our bank accounts were looking a little smaller. We opted for a cheap-o dinner in on Monday night. Thankfully, that also included well over a serving of vegetables. Perhaps my first the whole trip (well, that wasn’t bacon-wrapped).

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An egg scramble of sorts with broccoli slaw we found on sale. However, it was missing a little sumthin’ and at the last minute, we threw in smokehouse almonds. YUM. The almonds totally made this dish.

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Rounded out with a piece of buttered Silver Hills bread and dried apricots.

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There seems to be evidence of a saltwater rum taffee after this meal, however I see no reason to believe this ever happened ;)

Our oatmeal stores had run out come Tuesday morning, but we still managed to come up with a lovely breakfast.

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Or Holly did anyways, as my soft-fried egg was a little, err, scrambled ;)

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But the maple jelly and almond butter toast was to die for.

We made our last Evelyn’s stop…

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The “Again” part is quite appropriate, as there is an Evelyn’s on literally every block in Banff. Why walk two blocks for coffee when you can just walk one? ;)

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Extra extra large of Evelyn’s house blend. Ahhh… and all is right with the world again…

There was also this guy…

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Every time we walked past The Fudgery while in Banff, we were harassed by an array of deliciously sweet smells and a mouth-watering window display.

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I’d like to blame Holly for finally getting me in here… but let’s face it, I’m an easy sell.

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That my friends, is a vanilla coconut drop straight from the heavens.

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Similar to a macaroon, but smoother. Mostly because it had more butter and sugar than a macaroon, which as we all know makes everything better.

I may have eaten this for lunch while waiting for the Greyhound bus. Just sayin’.

Tuesday afternoon we went back to Calgary for our final night. I tried one more Banff goody once we got to the hostel (macaroons don’t make for filling lunches)

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Salmon jerky. I apologize to my fellow hostel-mates, because this definitely stank up the room.

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I have a soft spot for jerky though, and I love salmon, so this was right up my alley. A wonderful snack!

Holly and I needed to bring a little class back to the trip, so we visited the Glenbow Museum in Calgary for an Impressionist Print exhibit.

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I lovelovelove Impressionist art. Van Gogh (seen above) is probably my favourite. I blame my parents for taking me to the Van Gogh Gallery in Amsterdam when I was young and impressionable (no pun intended).

Unfortunately, Holly and I aren’t very good at this “class” thing. We soon found ourselves getting rosy-cheeked at a bar.

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A Big Rock Grasshopper at Lounge Burger to be exact. We were waiting for Allison of Eat Clean Live Green fame!! You would think we’d be sick of burgers after a week of non-stop red meat. But a classic Alberta beef burger was the perfect way to leave with a bang.

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Alberta’s Own: From Alberta’s own butter beef ranch, hormone free, ranch raised beef, served with blue cheese and caramelized pears on a kaiser bun.

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I seriously do not know how I was a vegetarian for 8 years and honestly thought veggie patties were a sufficient substitute for the real thing.

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Not even close.

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The three of us ended up chatting for hours (as these bloggie meet-ups usually tend to go) and we were so distracted we forgot to snap a photo!! Boo! I guess that just means Allison and Holly will have to come visit me in Toronto ;)

Well my friends, that wraps up my week-long adventure in the Rockies. I can’t remember how Holly and I cooked up the idea to gallivant through the mountains, but it was definitely one of the best decisions I’ve made in a while. In the past, fear probably would have held me back from doing something like this. But really, the only thing I need to fear is perhaps a little indigestion from too much red meat ;) And to think – the adventure is really only just beginning!

See ya tomorrow for a Banff trip exit interview with Holly, and a sneak peek at what I’ve been doing in Ottawa since arriving on Wednesday!!

Ohyes – and have a great start to your weekend!! xoxo

Lake Louise!!

Hello friends!! To be perfectly honest, I sit here typing up this post in a hostel in Calgary. However, I will likely be at my sister’s place in Ottawa when this post actually goes up.

I’m a tad sad that my mountain adventure has drawn to an end. I’ve had a fabulous time exploring new corners of the world with people I’ve never met, yet already know will be good friends with forever.

My recaps of the trip thus far can be found here, here and here. It’s been an experience I’ll never forget – and I feel the need to recap it not just for my readers, but so I have a record of it all for myself.

Let’s get to it – shall we? ;)

Today’s post is all about probably the most beautiful spot we visited here in Alberta – Lake Louise.

Holly, Karen and I started early Sunday morning after a rocky nights sleep in the tent. We didn’t buy many additional groceries for camping, so I threw together a mishmash of things to make a decent breakfast.

This would be an almond butter sandwich on the Silver Hills bread. with the lovely addition of straight up soy protein powder. Yes, I sprinkled it right onto the sandwich. I’m weird, because I really dug this.

Now please prepare yourself for a slew of earth shattering scenery.

Meet Lake Louise. A lake located about an hour from the town of Banff.

The area is just simply stunning. I love how the mountains on either side come down to frame the lake, and the white-capped glacier in the back. Of course, there’s also the signature turquoise water…

There’s a trail that leads to the back of the lake and you can hike up to the glacier. We ended up walking an hour along the lake, soaking up the sights.

Fuelling up with some Canadian made protein bars along the way ;)

This is the view from the back of the lake. That’s the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise off in the distance. Can you imagine staying there and waking up to this view every day??

The lake wasn’t the only eye candy. The shirtless rock climbers didn’t hurt ;)

By the time we made it back to the other side of the lake, we decided we were much to hungry to wait and find a cheap place to eat. I mean, when you’re at the Chateau Lake Louise, you might as well live it up.

We chose the tea room upstairs to eat, and were seated on the balcony with this stunning view:

Holly, Karen and I all talked ourselves into getting the Afternoon Tea… but appaaarently you need to book that sort of thing in advance. So we just settled on individual pots of tea.

I got the cinnamon apple spice. Usually, my favourite kind of tea, but there was a lot of sweetener already in the tea – honey probably.

Pip pip! (It’s what the English say Holly!!! :P )

We didn’t just drink tea though. Ohno. For we were also here to feast. Expensively.

I went for the Smoke Gouda Reuben: thinly sliced brisket, braised red cabbage, dijon mustard on light rye bread, caraway & ale mustard dip.

When in Lake Louise, right?

SO GOOD. I tried a brisket at the beginning of the trip and was still kinda “meh” about it. But this brisket was smoked. I love any and all smoked meats. Especially on this sandwich.

Soon after we said goodbye to Karen (sadface!) who had a job to return to (jobs?? what are those? :P ) Holly and I trekked along without her.

Starting from Lake Louise, we hiked up one of the side mountains to Lake Agnes. Mostly because there was a teahouse at the top. How cute is that!?

The hike wasn’t that bad. A little steep, but only about an hour long. Let me tell you, nothing like a trail on an incline to remind you just how in shape you really are.

But we made it!!

There was tons of snow at Lake Agnes which made it even more fun.

And a waterfall on the other side pouring down the mountain.

Every mountain should come with its own quaint teahouse at the top.

Holly and I were actually too hot to drink tea and were pretty bummed when we found out they were all out of lemonade. Boo!

We chose the trail less traveled on the way back down. Erm, it may be less traveled for a reason. But we found some new pretty views!

On our way down, Holly and I had a very serious discussion about what to do for dinner back at the Lake Louise campsite. All we had left on us were items we brought for snacks. With our imaginations combined, we came up with grilled pita pizzas.

Ohyes my friends.

On one side we have a pita with an almond butter sauce, topped with green apple and dried apricots.

On the other side we have a pita with an almond butter sauce and chocolate cherry trail mix topping.

Sweet melty action. Omg.

And because a dessert pizza requires a dessert…

Maple fudge!

We then fell back into a food and sugar coma and watched the clouds pass us by.

Another perfect end to another perfect day in the Canadian Rockies!

Thank you for indulging me in my vacay recaps!! I’ll be back with our final day in Banff and a fun blogger meet-up in Calgary. And of course – all the fun goings on here in Ottawa!! I’m in Ottawa until the end of the month before I move to Toronto, so let me know if you’re in the area and up for a meet-up! :)

Question of the Day: What’s your favourite kind of tea? Spiced apple is mine! Chai and peppermint aren’t far behind though.

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