Wednesday, December 16, 2020

Wintery Banff

November and December being on different calendar pages, it didn't occur to me I was booking two weekends in a row when I looked at the kids' day off from school on December 4 (they have a Friday off every month, and half day Fridays the rest of the month). So the week after we went to Jasper, we went to Banff.

Last year for the holidays, my father bought us a gift certificate for afternoon tea at the Fairmont hotel - we could choose Banff or Lake Louise. We hadn't made it before everything shut down in March and we finally took this opportunity to go. So it was a nice lazy morning, the a drive straight to the hotel. Everything was very beautiful and fancy, the treats were delicious and the kids were finally introduced to scones with clotted cream and jam (a housemade strawberry and rose variety). The kids were delighted by the tea timers - three connected hourglasses, one set to run out after 3 minutes, one at 4 minutes and one at 5, so we could determine how steeped we wanted the tea. The hotel was being extraordinarily careful about spacing - the room has a series of picture windows overlooking the mountains with a table set at the center of each. There was one dining unit at each table by the window, and that was it. 

Sated and warmed, we head to our hotel for an early check in. As most of our stays since the pandemic, we opted for a condo style, with kitchenette and entrance from outside. One treat was the woodburning fireplace, which we employed each evening. We had a starter pile (and matches!) stacked beside the grate, woodsheds throughout the grounds, and kindling available at the front desk whenever we needed more. The kids had their own queen sized beds in the loft, and they delighted in dangling things off the balcony into the living room area. They were oddly uninterested in the outdoor hot tubs or even the heated/hot pool. The hotel was situated by Tunnel Mountain and had trails that ran right from the grounds. It was also near a campsite we were considering for the summer.

After a quick change into hiking gear, we took a short walk/hike to a trail we'd been meaning to check out. We were losing the light so didn't go as far we wanted, but the good news is that trails have not yet been closed generally so we can easily go back.

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