597. Rockies Roadtrip | Day 12 - Banff - Lake Louise & Moraine

Lake Moraine
The next morning, we left Kelowna to head to our next destination, Banff - where we were to stay for 3 nights. As literally all of the hotels inside Banff National Park were fully booked up on the nights we were going, we had to stay in Canmore which was about a half hour drive away. We stayed at the Copperstone Resort which was pretty nice and spacious (we had 2 floors, 2 bedrooms, 2 bathrooms, a living room, kitchen, dining area, balcony, etc) but the downsides were that it had horrible WiFi and felt a bit haunted.
The drive over from Kelowna to Banff was incredibly scenic and mountainous. Luckily I did not get carsick that time so I was able to enjoy the views and take lots of pics:

Rocky Mountains
This reminds me a bit of China..

Rocky Mountains
Rocky Mountains
Lake Louise leftbanked
Along the way, we stopped at Lake Louise. The last time I was at the Rocky Mountains was back in 1998, when I was 8 years old. I have vague memories from that trip. The only lakes I remembered were Peyto Lake (my favourite) and Lake Louise. I remember being told back then that Lake Louise was the most famous and iconic lakes of the Rocky Mountains. It was extremely sunny that day which was good but because of that, all my photos came out overexposed:

Lake Louise canoes
Lake Louise
Lake Moraine
After Lake Louise, we went to Moraine Lake. For some reason, the line up of cars was super long here (while at Lake Louise there wasn't a line at all). We probably waited for about half an hour or so before we got into the parking lot.

Lake Moraine
Lake Moraine
Lake Moraine lodge
Canmore elk
Afterwards, we settled into our hotel/resort then headed out on a grocery trip. Along the way, we saw a family of 4 elk beside the road. I love seeing wildlife..as this isn't something we have in Toronto (especially as I live downtown). Of all the animals in the Rocky Mountains, elk are my favourite. Also the fact that we didn't end up seeing any other animals for the rest of our trip made this more special. We made a turn on the road when I saw a car up ahead, stopped on the side of the road. I then saw the silhouettes of the 4 elk and their antlers from the car's headlights. I have to say that was probably the most magical moment of the whole trip for me.



596. Rockies Roadtrip | Day 11 - Journey to Kelowna

BC Roadtrip lake

Photo above: Although this isn't a desert, this is what I imagine an oasis to be like.

After a short stay in Whistler, we left bright and early (7am to be precise, since we had no choice thanks to the Ironman competition) the next morning on the way to Kelowna. At first we were not happy about the early departure but I think eventually we all agreed that we did the right thing by leaving early. Due to a few situations that arose, our entire journey to Kelowna probably took twice as long as it should've. I got extremely carsick along the way thanks to the lack of sleep, no breakfast and twisty roads. So because of that I had to keep asking for them to stop the car so I could get out for a break.

Then at one point we accidentally took a detour and ended up on the wrong highway for an hour or two before we realized it was the wrong way. But on the bright side..it may have been the more scenic route because we saw this beautiful lake in the photo above and got to see some forest fires:

BC Wildfires
I love roadtrips and the feeling of being the only ones on the road in the middle of nowhere..

Lillooet: where I first started feeling really carsick and had to get out of the car. I don't know why I felt the need to take a pic and commemorate that moment hahah.

Rockies Roadtrip
I think there was some construction around here so we had to stop and wait for awhile. If you look closely, you can see a helicopter in the air. I took the opportunity to get out of the car again and walk around...still felt extremely nauseous but couldn't miss a good photo opportunity:

roadtrip pitstop
roadtrip breakfast
After what seemed like many hours, we finally arrived at a town to get some food. As soon as we turned into it...I had to ask my friend to stop the car right away so I can go into the first place I saw and use the washroom since I had a huge stomachache as well at that point. So I got out and walked into a random pub/restaurant where it was all locals in there. I normally never go into a restaurant just to use their washroom but I had no choice at that time..I felt bad but they were very nice about it. Afterwards I went out to look for my friends again..they had already driven around a bit and found a small place for breakfast (photo above). I felt like I would just throw up whatever I was to eat..so I didn't eat anything and just had a drink while my friends had their huge breakfasts.

After that, we set off again. & I think nearing Kelowna..we stopped again at this place. I still wasn't able to eat at that point though.

roadtrip espresso

Needless to say, that was the toughest leg of the trip...luckily from then on, we had no other issues for the remainder of our drives. Finally in the early evening, we arrived in Kelowna. We didn't really do much there since we didn't have much time and it was already starting to get dark. So we walked around for a bit and went for dinner at Earls, once again.

Earls Kelowna
This was a few hours after we arrived so I thought I was ok to finally eat my first meal of the day. I ordered my favourite salmon dish again but a few bites in I felt sick again so unfortunately I wasn't able to finish all of it..

I liked the rooftop patio at this Earls. Nice atmosphere and we had a nice server from the Netherlands. This was the view:

After that, we went to a 24hr Shoppers Drug Mart for a shopping trip with some really funny moments but I won't get into the details of that hahah ;)



595. Rockies Roadtrip | Day 10 - Whistler

Leftbanked Whistler
After a wonderful week and a half in Vancouver (10 days total for me, 4 days for my friends) our roadtrip officially started with our first destination..Whistler! We rented a Jeep for the remainder of our trip and set off on the very scenic Sea to Sky Highway to Whistler. It was a fairly short 1.5hr drive from Vancouver.

Westin Whistler
Here was our hotel, The Westin Resort and Spa. When we made the booking, all the hotels were fully booked except for this one and the Four Seasons. When we arrived we found out shortly after that we had arrived the weekend of the Ironman competition..which was likely the reason for the high occupancy rates. Also because of Ironman, we were informed that if we were leaving the next morning (which we were), we'd have to be on the road by 7am since they were closing the highway right afterwards for the competition..only to reopen in the evening.

Here was the view from our room. Our hotel was very nice. Very rustic and cozy. I wish we could have stayed at least another night. I really love Whistler..maybe will go back in the winter someday!

Whistler Peak to Peak
After checking in and settling into our hotel, we went for lunch then did the Peak 2 Peak gondola. This was such a fun and amazing experience. The gondola goes back and forth from the peak of Whistler to Blackcomb. The views were beautiful along the way and on top of the peaks.

Peak to Peak Gondola Whistler
Top of Whistler view
Here is part of the view from the top of Whistler Mountain. I can't believe how blue the water is in that lake! It's completely natural..no editing/filter used on this pic.

Top of Whistler Mountain
Whistler Olympic rings
Whistler view
Rocky Mountains Whistler
Whistler Peak to Peak
Earls Salmon
For dinner we went to Earls. Besides Cactus Club, Earls was one of the restaurants we went the most on our trip. Their salmon dish is my favourite. I always got it with mashed potatoes and caesar salad. Here in Toronto we don't really having restaurants serving wild salmon (not that I know of anyway)...so on the west coast I took the opportunity to eat it as much as I possibly could!

Now that I am back home and thinking back on the trip...I think our day in Whistler was one of my favourites.



Rockies Roadtrip | Quick Update

view from the plane
Arriving back in Toronto last night. As much as I love travelling and getting away from the city, I always love coming back home to Toronto. I love this city and it is home after all!

As you may have noticed, there was an abrupt end to my daily travel posts from the trip. I knew that if I let myself skip a day, I probably would've kept skipping days. Well I didn't know I would end up not posting at all for the final 11 days of the trip lol. There were a few reasons for this. Mostly because I had no time at all, slow internet, a lot of work, food poisoning, etc.

In the last update, I posted about Victoria. Getting back to our hotel in Vancouver that night was a looong stressful journey, and we ended up getting back super late. So I didn't have time to update. The next morning we left for Whistler where we were to stay for a night. As soon as we checked into our hotel in Whistler, we found out the next morning we had to be on the road already (to Kelowna) at 7am!! Thanks to the Ironman competition which conveniently and coincidentally was happening in Whistler that day. They were going to close a lot of roads and if we didn't leave at 7am we would've had to wait until 5pm that day to be able to drive on the highway again. So I didn't have time that night either.

The next morning, we left at 7am for Kelowna and had no luck getting any food or breakfast until 3-4 hours into the drive I think? Due to the lack of food and lack of sleep, I got extremely carsick and had to keep stopping the car along the way.

After Kelowna, we headed to Banff. I was fine in the car from then on - just had to make sure to sleep enough and eat before the drive lol. That night we arrived pretty late as well and ended up just getting some food at a grocery store for dinner. I am pretty sure I got food poisoning from something I ate. The next day I was bedridden for most of the day because I felt extremely nauseous (luckily that was the first day we decided to just stay in and relax anyway since the previous days had been so stressful and hectic)...I had to catch up on work as well so that's what I did the entire day in bed. It did take me the full day since the internet there was also suuuuper slow..so I didn't even attempt to upload photos and update the blog.

After about 2 days, I had recovered from my food poisoning. The last days of the trip (Calgary and Jasper) went fairly smoothly but consisted of a LOT of driving.

Anyway now I am back in Toronto. Just came back last night. I will definitely be posting the rest of the posts in the upcoming weeks (along with the Asia ones from last year still in progress hahah) but for now I just wanted to make a quick update. The trip was so much fun. So many funny moments and adventures every single day (at one time we literally ran out of gas and almost had to hitch hike to the nearest station or get towed..more on that in a future post). It was my first time travelling with friends and I really enjoyed it. I think we have a pretty similar travel style and personalities so it was great. Next time we reunite will be in Luxembourg! ;)



594. Rockies Roadtrip | Day 9 - Victoria Seaplane & Whale Watching

Harbour Air Victoria
I missed yesterday's post since we got back extremely late (much later than expected) from Victoria, so I was too exhausted and had no time to blog. So for the time being..I am a day behind with the posts. Currently in Whistler as I type this.
Yesterday we went to Victoria. We had booked a Harbour Air seaplane to fly there (~30min flight)..I really enjoyed it. The first few min of takeoff were so exhilarating. The views were amazing..& it was an experience I've never had before. I couldn't stop taking pictures and videos.

Harbour Air Pilot
Seaplane to Victoria
Victoria BC
Victoria Old Town
Then we went straight for lunch then a quick walk around the old town. It's so beautiful there. The weather was amazing (as it is every day here - thankfully) and there were a lot of beautiful flowers everywhere, and everything was so colourful.

Victoria port
Victoria Old Town
Victoria Old Town
Victoria Old Town
Prince of Whales whale watching
Afterwards, we went whale watching!! I was super excited for this even before we came on the trip..I love whales. I had never gone whale watching before. I wasn't too impressed with the experience though. It was nice but I wasn't amazed..unfortunately we didn't see any orcas but we did see one humpback whale as it came up and down a few times for air. I tried to take as many photos as possible but didn't get any good or clear ones really. These were the best I shot. The boat ride was pretty uncomfortable as it was EXTREMELY windy. & freezing. We were all wrapped up in blankets, and some with wool hats and gloves too. At one point, the waves were big and as the boat rocked, I got splashed and soaked with water. Took awhile to dry and warm back up lol.

Prince of Whales humpback whale
Prince of Whales whale watching
Prince of Whales whale watching
Then to see the sea lions, sunbathing on rocks.

BC lighthouse
Vancouver Island sunset

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