You know the kind of vacation where you get home and realize, ‘wow, I really needed that’? Okay, that’s kind of every vacation. But the kind of vacation you didn’t understand you needed before you left? That was last week, for me. Even though my sister has lived in Alberta for 20-something years, the farthest west I’d ever been was Regina, and – no offence, Regina – I sure didn’t send any postcards home.
The mountain air, mild temperatures, change of landscape, and time spent reconnecting with family created perfect conditions to shake off cabin fever and clear my head. We flew into Calgary, but the airport was the most we saw of the city. It seemed like we toured all over the province, but when we got home and I looked at a map, we hardly covered any ground at all. But that’s our sprawling nation for you.
Reconnecting with my brother’s spirit // Follow the leaders
A few things I learned about travelling with an infant, and maybe young children in general: make plans, not a schedule. Just go about your business, and stop when they or you need to stop. Even if that means you pull over on the highway to Drumheller. Or pull out your boob in a fahncy historic hotel dining lounge. If baby’s not happy, nobody’s happy. Also, I can not stress enough how much having willing eight- and ten-year-old helpers in the backseat to be on pacifier duty, sing Itsy Bitsy spider, or play peek-a-boo can help in achieving your sight-seeing goals.
And another thing about travelling with kids? Driving around listening to them talk and sing and ramble on in the backseat is perhaps the best way to meet or get reacquainted with them. It had been more than three years since I’d seen my nieces – plenty of time for their personalities to develop – and I learned more about them after ten minutes in the car than in all our shared mealtimes combined.
If you’re going to risk a broken ankle by attempting to cross-country ski for the first time in 20 years,
the scenery better be pretty damn great.
Bundled // Severely under-dressed for the Banff Springs Hotel
Late nights discovering farmhouse recipes and family resemblances
Dino-ed out. (Also: quite possibly the best souvenir ever.)
No exit. No joke.
Hoodoo you do?
The most delicate vegetation.
Losing at Snakes & Ladders (twice). Drinking hot chocolate with chocolate whipped cream. Avoiding the 24-hour flu. Breaking in my Sorels. The ridiculous blueberry sponge layer cake with meringue icing my sister made for my birthday. Ice cream for dinner at a combination ice cream parlour/Vietnamese restaurant (Drumheller has it all). Only falling once while cross-country skiing. Nursing anywhere and everywhere (hey, Banff Springs hotel lounge). Singing along to Maggie Mae on the radio.
Alberta, we’ll be back soon.