Being a city girl, I love endulging in the hidden parts of other busy urban cultures but sometimes you have to venture out and enjoy nature, fresh air and views of a lifetime. So I flew off to Calgary.
It’s a cosmopolitan Alberta city best known as “cowtown”, for its big rodeos and farming festivals stands strong within Canada.
Vancouver, Toronto, both big cities and popular for their views that surround them and I personally never thought Calgary would be in the running with them but it definitely showed up.
I wouldn’t say Calgary was on the top of my list on places to go but if you want to appreciate untouched surroundings, clean and peaceful streets with an extremely friendly population, then here is the place to go.
(Even the buses wish you a nice day here! London needs to learn a thing or two).
It’s a lot quieter than somewhere like Vancouver and I’m sure it gets compared a lot as it was the first thing I said myself but once you take a moment to see what it has to offer then you soon pinpoint it for it’s greatness.
RIDE ALONG BOW RIVER
If you have some time for a long day trip then a great option is to hire a car (which seems to be the best option for any trip to the US or Canada haha) and drive to Banff, which I’ll show you is well worth every moment with some of the views you’ll get to see. But if you’re here for a short stop over or mini break and staying downtown, then my advise would be to hire a bike and take a ride along side the Bow river. Light exercise, a free mind and beautiful views = perfect day!
We started on the right side of the river heading towards Inglewood and the nice thing about this ride is there’s always something to look at, a park to ride through, a piece of art and you if you’re not a big fan of riding then you can go for as long or as short as you like.
As we know Canada in general is known for its COLD winters and when I say cold I mean COOOLLLLDDDDD!! But they also have the most beautiful summers but around this time it’s still hit and miss with rain and a chill, so always pack a jumper or jacket or like me, go for the whole sportswear look so that you can convince yourself you’re an absolute pro! (I just did it for the comfort).
Riding along next to beautiful waters, logs floating past, (yes literal logs) and the sun gracing us with its presents, it was so easy to see why people love living in Canada, and how much of a better way of life it is. If you don’t live downtown you’re blessed with tranquility but even when you are downtown, you can enjoy the parks, lakes and you’re still only 20 minutes from hills and forests.
About 45 minutes into riding we stop off at the cutest cafe right on the side of the river called Angels.
We prop our bikes up and grab a drink and an icecream. If you ever ride this route you have to stop in and say hi, so friendly and welcoming and takes you back to when locals actually spoke to eachother.
Once we were ready to go, we crossed over the river to take in the views on the other side for our ride back.
May I say this wasn’t as smooth as the ride out, we were in the forest and a lot of it was a dirt track, a lot of flies ended up in the mouth and small branches hitting the face, we also managed to cross over a railway track (they’re very trusting in Canada haha) which was so much fun but also treacherous if you’re too busy looking at something else (that was me).
Nether the less, it really hit home that being outdoors in natural light, complete fresh air and surrounded by stunning wilderness is something we miss a lot of in built up cities. You completely forget about your troubles and worries and just take in the beauty of it all.
I remember spending a lot of my summers in the country side with my nan and that was our little get away from the busy city and we would swim in the sea and take long mile walks with the dogs deep into country fields.. an ongoing name I made for myself was “warrior princess” not because of the bravery I showed from seeing a moth or a cobweb hitting my face but from the screeching I would make instead.. (I was a girly girl from west London, can you blame me HAHA). But nan taking us on those walks taught me to really appreciate the moments when you are in that environment, to be free and explore and not to be afraid to get messy, (again me) so travelling to these destinations take me right back to special moments with family and that’s the best feeling.
As I mentioned earlier, if you have more time in Calgary then you can take a road trip up to Banff and visit the different lakes and hikes with the most beautiful scenery!
Within different times of the year, this area always looks so different but even when it’s warm and sunny, you can still catch a glimpse of the snow on top of the mountains.
It took us around an hour to drive to Lake Louise but the roads are a lot easier to drive on as it’s pretty much a straight road all the way there. With continuous views from your window. Again car hire companies such as Enterprise are quick and easy to get a car from but if you don’t like driving big SUV’s then be sure to request a smaller car.
Once we got to Lake Louise and saw it for ourselves, the moment that always hits me “this is worth every minute, every penny and every tired bone”, it was a thing of beauty! Untouched, just stunning!
Even with so many others trying to capture the same beautiful image, it was so peaceful there. When the sun hit the water and glistened it was as if there were shards of glass at the bottom. Just the colour of the water! Have you ever seen a backdrop like it ?
In the winter the lake is completely iced over and I’m sure looks just as beautiful so it’s up to you when you’d rather see.
If it’s too nippy for you outside, the Fairmont chateau hotel overlooks lake Louise so you can cosy up with hot coco infront of a fireplace with the view.
We then took a 10 minute drive to the town of Banff. Every busilding is made of oak, evergreen trees everywhere, locals strolling walking their huskies and the beautiful mountains in the background. It felt like Christmas everyday in this small country town. Something out of a movie!
If you haven’t had lunch, before you get to Banff then try the Grizzly House. If you’re a meat and cheese lover like I am then this place is for you… they serve FONDUE!!!
The perfect thing after walking through the icy fresh air.
I was lucky enough to see Calgary on sunny days which made it even more beautiful but no matter what the weather says if you go, every moment is worth it because their landscapes are breathtaking and something very unique to Canada, so if you do manage to stop over here try my little nature guides, the views really will put a smile on your face.