Catch up below:
After several nights of great, cozy sleep and enjoying the natural attractions of Jasper National Park, it's time to move on from the mountains and come down to the big city. While we took all day to make a stop-filled, scenic trek up to Jasper, today we're just moving as fast as we can.
We make a quick, unscheduled stop to take pictures of the magnificent Weeping Wall falls along the Icefields Parkway and to stop for some expensive gasoline at Saskatchewan Crossing.
The lonely highway gets decidedly less so as we come back into the crowds of Lake Louise where a four-lane expressway will take us the rest of the way to Calgary.
For some reason, our car's GPS unit doesn't have our hotel loaded into it's files (other Homewood Suites in the city are) but I know it's just east of City Hall so that is our destination where I can easily find it once we're there.
This causes no end of consternation from the unit which keeps admonishing me to make a u-turn and go back when I get to the hotel.
I pull up into the valet but no one is coming out to get the car. Letty and Tim disembark. I put the luggage in the lobby and park in the public pay lot across the street which saves me from $13-31 a day, depending on which day of the week it is. Valet costs $35 per day, the lot $22 on weekdays and $4 on weekends.
I take note of the website on the back of the parking lot ticket which let's me keep up on paying for the parking online, saving me a ton of time and money (future travel tip in the making?).
Once inside, the desk agent is a bit off the game not giving me the perks of my Hilton membership but right now, I'm tired and want to get to the room. I make a note to come back later to discuss that.
A gentleman now comes up as I have the luggage trolley loaded up and heading to the elevator wanting to know if I want to valet park the car. I tell him I did but it's a little late for that now.
The room is good. We have a view of the Saddledome Arena where we'll be taking in a hockey game later this week. We all have our own queen size bed to sleep in, Tim's is the sofabed in the living room while Letty and I are in the bedroom (as he's gotten older, Tim really likes to have his own room when traveling).
Looking out and down from the window, I see a little shipping container park has been set up next door. We'll have to check that out.
Once we get settled in, we decide to look over the nearby area of downtown Calgary. The desk clerk tells us that the light rail system is free in the downtown area so we hop a train at the nearby station.
We travel about three stations down. The C-Train, as Calgary's light rail is called, goes along 7th Avenue.
Letty's getting depressed. The buildings here seem to be all boarded up and stray pieces of litter blow coldly along the street. Far from looking interesting, this piece of downtown looks like it withered up and went away.
We walk over to another block and, while the scenery changes for the better, it still looks abandoned (this is late on a Thursday afternoon).
Things are not looking up at the moment so we retire back to the hotel where a light dinner is being served. A salad with no dressing, bread with no butter, and some uninspired pasta to go along with lemonade and tea. Ugh.
This is not how you want to start off a stay at a destination.
"How about a drink to take the edge off?" I ask my wife and Tim.
We go over to the container park next door where a local craft brewery (National Brewing) has set up a little pop-up beer garden.
A couple of cold ones, a relaxing atmosphere...well, as relaxing as you can get with a loud hip-hop group freestyling onstage...and a little laugh at it all help to put a smile on our faces.
We'll go back to the hotel, rest up, and see if we can find a brighter side of Calgary starting tomorrow.
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved
Photos by Letty Musick
Copyright 2017 - All Rights Reserved