On the first day of our winter holiday holiday we flew to Calgary. It’s always strange visiting the cold again. In a few more years I’ll have spent half my life in California, and I still think I’ve got some of that midwestern ice in my blood. Then I visit a place with ice and I turn into a shivering mess.
We broke through the clouds after dark in Alberta, approaching a landscape that looked built into another layer of white fluffy cloud. A blanket of white with a cluster of orange stars loomed, more snow falling. I wondered if this was the right idea. Could I relax driving around on ice? Maybe it wasn’t about relaxing, maybe this trip was about the kind of adventure you don’t find in Hawaii (and definitely don’t find at the office from 7 to 5).
After leaving the airport in a Chevy Trax we discovered that just finding a place to eat dinner was going to be an adventure. Almost everything was closed. Eventually, a flashing “open” light in a fast-pizza shop beckoned us.
We ordered a supreme (they called it something else) and fried shrimp at Pizza 73. Surprisingly good. Lucky Canadians.
With full bellies, we drove through the dark flat land east of the Canadian Rockies until vague outlines of mountains tried to reflect starlight in the distance.
A half hour later we’d drive up to the lip of Mount Norquay inside Banff National Park and check into the cozy Juniper Hotel overlooking the city.
To get even cozier we headed to the bar for drinks and desert, discovering how smooth vodka brewed from glacier water can be.