This trip was my fourth time in Alberta (and the first time in the winter). I previously visited in:
- July 2012 for the Calgary Stampede
- September 2013 before starting my fourth year at university
- May 2015 to road trip to Ottawa for the summer
Two of my best friends live in Alberta. If you’ve ever had a long distance best friend, you’ll understand why I’ve gone to visit so many times. Alberta is a beautiful province of Canada so it’s not difficult to justify visiting. This time, February 2017, my excuse was skiing (my first time downhill skiing ever). This trip didn’t require any planning on my part – just booking a flight and hanging out with friends.
Day One: Travelling, the Core, 11th Avenue
Day Two: Prince’s Island Park, PZA, YYC Chocolate Festival, skiing at the Canadian Olympic Park, Grand Theatre Junction
Day Three: Bragg Creek, Calgary Farmer’s Market, Dinner Party
Day Four: Diner Deluxe, Chinook
I woke up at 4 AM and a friend picked me up to take me to the airport at 4:30 AM (shout out to the best of friends!) I grabbed breakfast at the airport once I got through security because 4 AM is wayyyy too early for this girl to be eating! I slept on the plane and woke up periodically to enjoy the sunrise. I arrived in Calgary 45 minutes earlier than expected. My friend had a few previous commitments so after she picked me up from the airport I went to Eau Clarie and had tea at Good Earth Coffee (great London Fog). Another friend met up with us for lunch where we ate at Dirtbelly in the Core (I definitely recommend it, it was amazing!). Then we went window shopping on 11th Avenue (it’s fun to look at housewares and since I don’t need anything for my apartment I wasn’t tempted to buy anything). After a few hours we went back to my friends house, had some dinner, took her dog for a walk and ended the night with some TV and a cup of tea.
My friend had one final previous commitment so she dropped me off downtown and I took her dog, Gus, for a walk in Prince’s Island Park. We had a great walk along the water, crossed the Peace Bridge and continued on the other side. The park is an on-leash park and Gus is a great walker so it went by so quickly.
After our walk, we went for lunch at PZA. We ordered the Otto and Nove gluten free pizzas with a side salad and everything was to die for! The ingredients are so fresh and the gluten free pizza was fantastic. At the end of our meal we were reminded about the YYC Hot Chocolate Fest so naturally we ordered one each. The hot chocolate normally comes with a donut but we passed on that because we were already feeling full. The hot chocolate came out with pop rocks around the rim. My inner child was having a blast! The hot chocolate was super sweet, just how I like it.
After lunch we rented ski gear at Rapid Rent where the staff were so helpful and friendly. I definitely recommend renting gear from here if it’s close! We went off to COP (Canadian Olympic Park) to test out my skills are downshill skiing for an hour. When we reached COP, I said “THAT’s the hill we’re skiing??” and I got the response “It’s a small hill!” I made it down the Magic Carpet hill four times, falling multiple times per run. I just could NOT get the hang of turning! My last attempt I wiped out HARD and hurt myself but it was timed perfectly for us to head out for our dinner plans. I’II definitely need to take some skiing lessons before I try coming back to Alberta to go skiing again. I’ll be attempting to ski once I’m back in Ontario for sure!
We met a few friends at Kabuku for sushi and a glass of wine. The sushi was amazing and the glass of wine was even better! After a quick dinner we went to Grand Theatre Junction where Transistor (from France) was playing. From the website, they’re described as:
“More than a band of gifted musicians, Cabaret Contemporain is a fusion of pop music experimental soundscapes, techno, minimalist rock, and improvised jazz.” – Le Parisien
Tickets were $30 and drinks (white wine, red wine or beer) were $6 each. Transistor is not my usual taste in music but I enjoyed the night out and appreciated how interesting their sound is! Their band members played the cello, piano, bass and drums with an electronic sound. For those interested, you could meet with the band members after the show in the bar upstairs to talk about their music, their band, etc. We decided not to stick around and went home for the evening.
Woke up and took gus for a quick walk before breakfast of bacon and eggs. After a relaxing breakfast we drove out to Bragg Creek for a hike through the trees and to play with Gus in the snow. Bragg Creek is located east of Calgary but not a far drive from the northeast. The views were great, the path was icy and the weather was perfect. Blue skies, minimal snow and a chilly day makes for perfect walking weather, in my opinion.
After our quick hike, we returned the ski equipment and stopped at the Calgary Farmers Market. We grabbed a tea and cookie at the Analog Cafe booth (I recommend the white chocolate cookie), picked up dessert for our dinner party at Jelly Modern Donuts (amazing), wandered through the rest of the farmers market and then drove back to get ready to have people over for dinner. We had salmon, quinoa salad (recipe from love & lemons), goat cheese salad and French 75’s. For those of you interested, the amazing glasses that the French 75’s were served in are from Anthropologie. I’m obsessed! We finished off with the Jelly Modern Donuts and white peach iced tea sorbet. A must try if you can make it to the grocery store!
Brunch at Diner Deluxe in Aspen Landing where I ordered the “Banana Foster’s” French Toast with an earl grey tea. So worth it, I polished off the whole plate!
After brunch we went across to Kala & Lime which had the cutest knick-knacks. This bow pen from Ted Baker is amazing and they had adorable ring holders! We had some time to hit up Chinook Mall for a few hours before heading to the airport. Arrived two hours early so I had plenty of time to grab something to eat before the flight. I have to hand it to WestJet, their customer service was impeccable. The flight was fully booked so they requested people check their bags to save space in the overhead compartments so I gave them both my bags. I spent the flight watching the Oscars and got back home super late but it’s great to sleep in my own bed!