Thursday, 11th August – Day 33 (Banff)

Didn’t eat until late last night and it was a big meal. Consequently, not the best night’s sleep as the digestive system was working overtime.

We are due to be collected from this hotel on Saturday morning by Discover Banff Tours for a transfer direct to Calgary Airport so as to catch a flight to Toronto, so ending the Rockies part of this adventure 😭. I phoned to find out what time they were picking us up. Answer – 7.15 a.m. ! Yuk! Oh, well….

Had a small sample of the free breakfast included with Fairmont Gold, and very good it was too.

Next stage was to master the bus system once again to get us to the base station for the gondola trip booked yesterday. Done with aplomb, if I say so myself. An app called MonTransit was instrumental here.

Joined the enormous queue and soon found ourselves on the 8-minute ride up to the top of Sulphur Mountain, so-called because of the warm sulphurous springs emanating from it.

The four-level station at the top was rammed. We managed to get away from the madding (and maddening) crowds by taking the extensive and well-built walkway towards Mount Sanson. Some fantastic views again. However, it was a rather murky day, leading to the usual time immorial Walker family comment going back generations “would be better if it wasn’t so hazy”….. As a result, the pictures aren’t as clear as I would like.

Downtown Banff in the foreground
Our hotel
Bow River
Downtown Banff
Upper station and the boardwalk
Looking down from the old weather station
Start of the boardwalk
On it goes….
Pilot Peak

The need for a coffee began to assert itself, but the two restaurants onsite were complete rip-offs. So we bought a takeaway coffee and a sausage roll and carried it up to the very top observation deck, where we sat for a while in lovely hot sunshine. The sausage roll was dry and the coffee naff, but the view was superb.

Serendipitously, a hatch opened behind us, which turned out to serve alcohol. Being alert to such opportunities, I purchased two very welcome (and not bad) glasses of Pinot Gris.

And then we sat for a bit longer, just enjoying the smug feeling that we’d beaten most people to the punch as the queue steadily lengthened. Right place, right time…

All good things come to an end, so time came to descend on the gondola.

Cracked the bus system yet again! Back to the hotel in jig time, having had the best part of the day atop Sulphur Mountain.

On the way back on the bus, I received a text message from the hotel asking us to rate our visit so far. Now, I am one of those who likes to provide feedback, so I did precisely that, complaining about the tiny bathroom and the lack of hot water, although paying tribute to the service, which has been excellent.

On getting back to the room, we tested the hot water. No problem now. We settled on a 50 percent reduction in the upgrade fee, with which I was satisfied. The upgrade has been generally nice, but not worth what we originally paid for it.

I also finally managed to compose an email to Trailfinders claiming compensation and expenses that I’d incurred through no fault of mine earlier in the story. We await the outcome…

Part of the Fairmont Gold offering is free canapés from 4 to 6.30 p.m. We tucked into these as a substitute for dinner, as they were substantial and it’s nice to save a fair few quid on an evening meal.

And that, dear reader, is just about it for today. Tomorrow should be fairly quiet, as we’re both having our hair cut and there will be the usual struggle with getting the baggage weights right for the flight to Toronto the following day. I’ll try and find something vaguely interesting to write about. Who knows – I may even go to the gym!

4 responses to “Thursday, 11th August – Day 33 (Banff)”

  1. What a great day, looks absolutely amazing and not too hazy really, surely!

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    1. It was a great day, Lesley, for sure. The phone camera probably compensates a bit – it was certainly hazy – but didn’t detract from the experience. Lovely to hear from you.

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  2. Great views! We’ll try for the gondola as well.

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    1. You should be fine, Steve. We booked it the day before and there was plenty of availability. They’re also relaxed about the times you go up and down, despite your having to stipulate a time for both when booking. You should also have fewer people to contend with – it was packed when we went up. Enjoy your cruise.

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