Not bad. I’ve seen almost half of the country. I didn’t count the states I visited when I was really young (like California). Looks like I still have some traveling to do!
One of my favorite things about traveling is coming home, and that’s where I am now. Believe it or not, even the Houston weather feels great. It’s good to see the cats as well, and they’ve definitely missed the cuddling and petting.
The trip to Banff was spectacular. We both had a great time, and the Canadian landscape could not have been more beautiful. There were some minor hiccups. The caving expedition was much more physically demanding than advertised, and I don’t think we’ll be doing that again. It was still a once in a lifetime experience. Conversely, the snowmobiling tour was awesome. Flying down the mountainside at 50+ miles per hour while the crisp mountain air numbs your cheeks is a most exhilarating experience. Paying extra for the 550cc machines was a great idea. I fully anticipate I’ll be doing that again.
We definitely chose the right hotel as well. I don’t believe I can stay anywhere else when I return to Banff. The view was magnificent, the staff was consistently friendly and helpful, and the heated outdoor salt water pool was the perfect complement to a hard day of adventure (or shopping 😉 ) in the mountains. We didn’t try any of the spa stuff, but I hear that the spa is good as well.
Canada is a great travel destination, and it encourages tourism. The people speak English, and the exchange rate is favorable to Americans. The Canadian government reimburses all of your taxes for your hotel stay and any good you buy while visiting the country. That came out to around $360 between Christy and I. That was a pleasant surprise. My only gripe is that the $1 and $2 pieces are coins. It’s a pain in the ass to carry around coins. I emptied my pockets after our first couple of days, and I had over $20 in coins in my pocket. That was a nice surprise, but I hated having to carry such heavy coins around to pay for any dollar amount that wasn’t a factor of 5. Minor inconveniences aside, the trip was exactly what I hoped it would be, and I look forward to doing it again.
If you haven’t yet, check out my Flickr photoset for the trip.
So we made it. After waking up at 4:30 in the morning with only 2 hours of sleep, we finally arrived in Banff at about noon local time. We were both pretty tired, so we decided to bum around the hotel until our dinner reservation at the hotel’s sushi restaurant.
Banff really is as beautiful as they say. The Fairmont is nestled right in the middle of the Rockies. We’re surrounded on all sides by proud, snow covered peaks. The hotel is just far enough from downtown Banff to feel like we’re the only ones out here while keeping the town center within walking distance. The Fairmont is really more of a compound than a hotel. It looks like an old castle on the outside, and an opulent Vegas strip casino on the inside (without the gambling, of course). We could get away with never leaving the hotel our entire trip. That, of course, wouldn’t be as fun. We’re off to go cave exploring this morning. I’m sure I’ll have a bunch of new pictures to upload to flickr this afternoon. Time to enjoy some more of my vacation!