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Canadian Rockies Adventure - Day Six
Thursday, June 29, 2000
Back aboard the bus, we saw a black bear runnning into the woods, and later on we watched a bear calmly munching dandelions by the side of the road. We stopped at Emerald Lake. It was pretty, but Lake Louise was much more impressive. Most important to those on the tour was the snack stand. The tour had begun at noon, and many hadn’t eaten lunch prior to the departure (we had looked ahead on our itinerary and had thoughtfully had a big breakfast, but we too were getting hungry). Being some of the youngest people on the tour, we were also the first ones to hoof it to the snack stand, and we munched on a couple of "smokies" (much like kielbasa).
We entered Banff National Park, and arrived in the town of Banff shortly after 5 and nearly all the others on the tour were dropped off at their respective hotels, giving us a chance to get a quick look at their accommodations from the outside. We arrived at our destination, the Banff Springs Hotel, around 5:45 p.m. In sharp contrast to Chateau Lake Louise, our group was met by someone who gave us a brief introduction to the hotel. The Banff Springs Hotel resembles a castle. It is 100 years old and there have been many additions over the years. There is lots of dark wood and small nooks and crannies. It is also very easy to get lost. We felt as if we had to walk a mile to our room, up and down lots of different stairs. We actually got lost and had to stop at a bar and ask for directions. The room was nice but a little bit of a disappointment as we were actually below ground and the window opened right out onto the grass. We were happy to see the room had air conditioning.
This time we had planned ahead and had selected a restaurant from the information we had picked up earlier in the day. While Keith checked in, Lori made a reservation at the Waldhaus restaurant with the concierge. After changing, we set out to find the restaurant (after a brief stop at the bar where we had gotten directions for some liquid refreshment). We got directions to the restaurant from the bartender as well. The restaurant was German, and was actually located in a separate building back behind the hotel, down many steps. The building appeared to have been a former ski lodge of sorts. We first stopped in the bar downstairs where Keith had a beer and Lori had some champagne.
We went upstairs to the restaurant for
dinner. We were given a nice table out in a cupola with a beautiful view of the valley. Since the day was a warm, beautiful
one, the windows were open to allow the refreshing mountain breezes to caress the lucky diners. Of course, the sun was still
up and it seemed more like a late afternoon dinner than a mid-evening one. We had views of the mountains, stream, and golf
course. Keith ordered the German meat sampler as an appetizer, a salad, and chicken stuffed with veal and ham, with a side
of buttermilk mashed potatoes. Lori had shrimp scampi as an appetizer, a salad, and had spaetzle as her entree. We split
raspberry parfait for dessert, complemented by ice wine, recommended by Corey our waiter, who was outstanding. We
stopped at the "directions" bar once more for an after-dinner drink, then headed off to bed.
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