Our stop in the Johnston Canyon in Banff National Park was our last one in the Rocky Mountains. So by noon on our last day, it was with a heavy heart that we said goodbye to the beautiful glaciers and snow-tipped mountains.
Before we would board or flight back home the next morning, we still had a couple of hours to kill and we planned to spend those in the city of Calgary.
Fortunately the flight prices to arrive in Vancouver and depart from Calgary weren’t that much more expensive than a retour to and from Vancouver. So to save ourselves the drive back from Calgary to Vancouver, we opted to depart from Calgary. It’s not that we didn’t want to drive back, especially considering that there are also many beautiful sights along the way, but we simply didn’t have enough time to add that to our itinerary.
The drive from Banff to Calgary was hence the last stage of our roadtrip. It was surreal how quickly we went from a mountain scenery to a flat scenery on that drive. It was as if the Rocky Mountains were vanishing right before our eyes. But soon the skyline of Calgary – with the noticeable Lookout Tower – appeared in view.
We arrived in downtown Calgary around 2 pm and were planning to spend most of our afternoon and evening around Stephen Boulevard. We parked our car in an underground parking garage close to that boulevard. And thank god we did because the moment we got out of the parking garage, we were attacked by the cold wind. Brr, didn’t see that one coming.
Stephen Boulevard consists mostly of souvenir shops, restaurants and cafes, so enough places to go inside and warm up a bit. Pretty early in the afternoon we walked inside of Phil & Sebastian Coffee Roasters. Perfect place for an afternoon – hot – coffee before bracing the cold again. But despite the cold, the views were pretty great. We even got a bit of blue sky for a short while!
It didn’t take us very long to walk the entire distance of the avenue so considering we still had some time left, we decided to walk to the Bow River and enjoyed a walk along the river.
But soon enough the icy wind was becoming too much and we found ourselves just wanting to relax instead of walking around the city. It didn’t feel like we would be missing out on a lot if we left the rest of Calgary undiscovered.
One last stop at Tim Horton’s for some dessert – I felt like I couldn’t leave Canada without having tried Timbits – and we were back in our car and on the road to our hotel; Applause Hotel. Considering we had an early flight the next morning, we had opted for a hotel close to the airport and Applause Hotel seemed like a perfect choice.
Thanks to my Genius advantages on Booking.com, we were offered a cocktail on the house at the Restaurant/Bar inside the hotel; Tonic Kitchen and Bar. So we quickly dumped our luggage in our room and went to the bar to raise our glasses to the amazing trip we had had.
Since there weren’t that many options in the neighborhood, we decided to stay at the Tonic Kitchen and Bar for dinner and that definitely wasn’t a bad idea. The food was really great.
After dinner, it was time to say goodbye to our lovely Chevy. Time to return the car to the rental company! Thanks to the airport pick-up service from our hotel we got back to our hotel very easily and also the next morning the hotel staff brought us to the airport. Such luxury!
And then it was time to say goodbye to Canada. Fortunately Calgary Airport has special dogs hanging around the departure hall which you can pet and cuddle as much as you want. That sure helped to ease the pain of leaving.
One more layover in Montreal Airport – where I enjoyed my last Canadian Poutine – and then we were officially on our way back home. Two weeks fly by so fast, especially when you are surrounded by so much beauty. My expectations of Canada had been high and I definitely wasn’t disappointed. Sure the weather hadn’t always been co-operating, but still the views and hikes were breathtaking nonetheless. Another very successful roadtrip which I will forever cherish!