Wednesday, December 14th 2016 – Dogsledding

So a week ago, myself and a fellow Aussie friend did one of the most iconic Canadian tourist things that you can do out here in The Rockies. We went dogsledding!!!

And dear holy jesus, it was the coldest I have ever been in my whole life. The temperature outside was about minus 16 degrees celsius, and we were still game enough to go dogsledding.

We had our tights and underclothes on, with a couple layers of sweaters, a Canadian winter jacket, snow pants, scarves, beanies and gloves!

After we decked ourselves out in the winter gear, we headed down to the Great Divide parking lot, just 2 or 3 kilometres down from the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, where we met up with our guides for the 90 minute Great Divide dogsledding adventure 🙂

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As sunny and beautiful as it looked, there was a distinct chill in the air. The kind that made your nose hairs freeze and made your eyelashes stick together when you blink. That really dry cold moutain air. You know the kind I’m talking about.

We were then introduced to our team of dogs as well as our guide Megan “Queen of Kimgmik”, from Kingmik Dog Sled Tours. She was really cool and told us all the names of the dogs and handed out packet hand warmers (we would definitely need these later on).

Bonnie and I snuggled into the sled and made ourselves as warm and comfortable as possible and I soon pulled out the GoPro to get as much footage as I possibly could without my hand frezzing and snapping off haha.

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While we waited in the sled, the dogs became very impatient and we could tell that they were ready for this adventure just as much as we were!

It wasn’t long and we were off sledding down along the already carved path in the sled behind the dogs, casually passing people on the cross country skiing trail.

The dogs were beautiful and canine athletes in their prime.

Bonnie and I just sat back and enjoyed the view while listening to our guide tell us stories about how long she had been dogsledding for and more about the dogs as well as the area around the Great Divide.

The snow capped trees surrounded us on the trail, with big white mountains directly infront of us, just so grande that it was overwhelming.

After about forty minutes, we reached the Great Divide arch and turned around and Megan parked the dogs so we could get our for a stretch and move our feet around. This is also when the hand warmers came in handy. I pulled them out of my pocket, gave them a shake and placed them on the inside of my gloves to warm up the hands.

We got some fun pics with the dogs and gave them another quick pat before heading back for the rest of the journey.

As cold as it was in the sled (your body isn’t really moving and your feet get cold from laying still) it was honestly one of the most amazing experiences I have had the pleasure of being a part of while out here in Canada.

Check out my amateur GoPro video and get in contact with this amazing team if your looking to do a tour while out here in The Rockies 🙂

 

 

Monday, November 28th 2016 – Fairview Lookout 

Today, I decided to go for a walk up to the Fairview Lookout to check out the view of the ski hill and all of the snow from up high.

But first, I had to get some amazing pictures of the hotel and the lake on the way.

The sign on the way up to Fairview Lookout

 

After walking for 1.5 kms, I reached the beautiful lookout that looks over the lake, the hotel and even over to the ski hill!

 

You can see that the lake is not fully frozen yet and it is quite dangerous to walk on still.

All of these photos were taken on my iPhone! Untouched and unfiltered 🙂

 

The snow up at the lookout was atleast 50 centimetres deep. The legs on the chair at the lookout were completely snowed in.

Oh Lake Louise, I will always have a special place for you in my heart ❤

 

Wednesday, November 23rd 2016 – Lake Louise comparison photos

I’ve wanted for a little while now do to a Lake Louise comparison photos post. This amazing little piece of the world transforms overnight from a summer sensation destination to a winter wonderland. And every little bit of it is just as picturesque as the day before.

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September 2015

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October 2015

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November 19th 2015

 

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November 23rd 2015

Yes, it does literally freeze overnight. I big difference is noticed if the lake forms a layer of ice then snows overnight. One day a blue beautiful lake, the next, an amazing snowfield!

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December 2015

The ice rink is in the process of being smoothed out here for the skaters, and you can see the chairs on the side there for the observers.

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January 2016

So believe it or not, the lake and the moutains are in the background of this picture. Of course, they can’t be seen, there was quite a downfall of snow that day. I still went on the horse and sleigh ride to the end of the lake and back anyway!

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February 2016

 

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March 2016

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April 2016

Annndd, the ice castle was there, then it was gone 😦  At least I still have my ice creams 🙂

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May 2016

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Also May 2016

Yeah, not kidding eh. That lake is just hours away from being completely melted. It was an amazing sight to see it all just slowly collapse back into the water over a couple of days.

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May 2016 Again

Told ya 😉

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June 2016

Wait, what. There’s snow and its summer! Yeah, that happens here in the rockies. Atleast once every summer, there will be a day when it snows haha.

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July 2016

Happy Canada Day! 

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July 2016 again

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August 2016

A beautiful sunny day paddle boarding on the lake!

 

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September 2016

 

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October 2016

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November 16th, 2016

 

Monday November 21st 2016 – Snow Day

Canada, you blow me away every day ❤

Monday November 21st 2016 – Snow Day

Today, myself and one of my spa girls decided to go have some fun at the lake 😉

Oh yeah, and get some pretty amazing pics! Hello SNOW!!

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The lake isn’t fully frozen yet and no where near even safe enough to wak on yet! However I have heard stories of people trying to be brave and being ‘the first one to walk on the lake’..  I’ll skip on that thanks.

Being an Aussie, and growing up never having any idea or concept of snow and having never even built a snow man (I know, I never got around to it last winter), today was the day i finally built my first snowman!

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Okay, so it’s more like a snow ‘pooh-bear’ than a snowman haha. The snow was very dry today so it made it difficult to make a normal big snowman.

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The cute snow ‘pooh-bear’ looking over the lake 🙂

 

Monday October 24th 2016 – First sign of snow

This morning I woke up to the very first sign of snow for the season!

While this is still nothing in comparison to what it is to come, I had to go on an adventure and get some good pictures 🙂

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Not only was today the first sign of snow, but also the day that the canoes at the boat house were packed away. A very sad day, it means that summer is now officially over. But now to another winter season in Lake Louise.

Monday October 10th 2016 – Canadian Thanksgiving 

So this year for the Canadian Thanksgiving, our Spa team decided to do a group dinner. Originally, I didn’t think I was able to join in, as a friend from Australia was visiting. Instead she came along for the dinner too!

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We transformed the lounge room into a tight but cute dining room 🙂 ❤

On the dining table sat salads, potatoes, beans, ham and of course, the one and only roast turkey!

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Photo and Cook Credit to Sara 🙂

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What an amazing team I am blessed with to be able to work with.

After we had finished stuffing our faces and eating as much food as possible, we then went around the group and spoke of what we were thankful for.

It was a touching moment, some had tears, of course of happiness and appreciation. I’ve never felt such a blessing in one room like that moment. Most of all, we were all thankful to be able to be together for a meal and to have each others company ❤

 

Grand Northern 2014 – Toronto & Niagara Falls

Thursday May 29th-

Today we left Montreal for Toronto.

Not far out of Montreal though, we stopped in at a little town, Gananoque where the contiki optional ‘1000 Island Boat Cruise’ is held.

I decided not to sign up for this as well as maybe 20 or so others. We sat on the grassy knoll by the water and wached the boat sail off. I played some music through my phone and sunbaked while a few of the guys threw a football around. It was nice to relax outdoors for a bit before getting back on the bus after the boat cruise had finished, and we continued onto Toronto.

By mid afternoon, we were checked into our hotel, The Bond Place Hotel. This place was so cute! I loved it ❤

We showered and changed for our contiki included dinner at The Pickel Barrel after a tour in the bus of the city! It reminded my of New York, but a Canadian version I guess.

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Oh my! The food at The Pickle Barrel was amazing! It was by far the best food that I had had on tour. The cocktails of course were reasonably priced, so we had one or two!

By now I am sure that it was suggested that we start attending A.A meetings haha.

After a mouthwatering dinner, we wandered over to a karaoke bar, Crocodile Rock.

I am certain that a few of us had gained a little bit of liquid courage from the cheap shots to grace our prescence on stage to belt out the classic ballads. So much contiki bonding! haha. I entertained our contiki group with rendition of “Man, I feel like a woman”, by Shania Twain. We danced and sang and played pool all night until we were kicked out at closing time.

The following morning was rusty for most of us to say the least. I opted for a rest day and went to find a spa to get a good massage. The time on the bus had started to take its toll and my back wasn’t in the best shape.

After lunch, I headed to down town Toronto on my own to check out the CN Tower and the aquarium. I didn’t end up going up to the top of the tower, but I wish I had.

Next time 😉

That night, we had a school bus pub crawl organised. A contiki optional was to go to the Second City Comedy Show, where the bus would pick us up. Myself and a new friend of mine, Elissa, hadn’t gone to the show.

So instead we had dinner from the hotel in our room before getting ready for the night. We hopped on the bus from the hotel and went to pick everyone else from the comedy show to begin the pub crawl.

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The first stop of the bus tour was McVeigh’s Irish Pub!

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Thank god that the next place, Cube bar wasn’t far from the hotel. Myself and aother girl ran back to the hotel to change out of our stinking heels and into party flats. I’m really not a fan of heels anyway!

Finally we ended the night at Gravity Soundbar where I received the most uncomfortable patdown by the female security guard. I get it, they dont want things snuck in, but Wow! This place is no longer open now and I probably wouldn’t rate it anyway. The music was good but the place was pretty rundown, especially the toilets downstairs and the drinks were extremely overpriced.

Still a good night had by all! Lots of contiki bonding and a bit of home sickness in there as well.

By 2am, the bus was ready to take back whoever was ready to leave. So back on we went and found a late night feed somewhere near the hotel.

The next day, Saturday May 31st, Niagara Falls was our next destination!

On the hour and a half drive from Toronto to Niagara, every single person slept to recover from the night before and we all stocked up on gatorade. Dehydration had begun to set in.

The power nap was just what I needed and when we got off the bus and walked down to the dock for the boat tour, I had began to feel as good as new!

The night before, I had worn shorts on the pub crawl and a few people had noticed my scars by then. Up until then, I hadn’t really showed them off. It’s not that I am emabarrased or ashamed of my scars, but typically with new people, I can be a little more hesitant about people seeing the scars. But the contiki bonding that had formed over the last few days, made me feel a lot more comfortable. I got a few questions along the way to the boat cruise, which I was more than happy to answer. I would much prefer it over the people that just stare.

When we reached the dock, we waited in line where rain ponchos were handed out to us. On the boat, it was such spectacular scenery. We got sprayed a few times from the mist of the falls but I really enjoyed it. Another one ticked off of the bucket list 🙂

 

During the afternoon after the boat cruise, we still had a few hours before the bus was coming back to pick us up so we got lunch up town and explored the quirky town of Niagara. The main street was full of ‘Ripley’s Believe It Or Not’s, wax museums, game arcades, bowling alleys and putt putt golf courses. It was huge for the tourists after the falls being the main attraction of course.

For dinner that evening, we headed back into Toronto for yet another contiki included dinner (YES! my back account thanks you haha) at Spring Rolls in down town Toronto. Still to this day was some of the best sushi I have ever had. Yum Yum!

#noregrets Contiki Grand Northern 2014

 

Grand Northern 2014 – Quebec City & Montreal

As we ended our time in Boston, us rowdy contikians once again managed to crawl back onto the bus to head into Canada eh!

We spent quite a few hours of the morning on the bus and having introductions and making our first stop at a Walmart to stock up on some goodies for the bus 🙂

Our first stop was Quebec City! We had a city tour on the bus where we had a chance to see ‘Old Quebec’, a beautiful historic part of the city with cobblestone lanes and little French boutiques.

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Our first night in Canada was spent in Quebec City where we dined at Cosmo’s Café in the heart of the city before hitting the town once more.

We partied at the night club, Dagobert. At first when we arrived, the place was a little empty so we started off with an all round contiki shot. By 10.30pm, the place really started to fill up with locals and it was a night full of vodka and dancing!

The next day was a free day which I spent exploring the shops and amazing old buildings in the area. I hadn’t really made any friends yet on contiki and I was happy doing my own thing on free days.

I managed to squeeze in a load of washing back at the hotel that afternoon and I played cards with a few of my new friends before we went out for a buffet dinner.

The following day, Tuesday May 27th, we said fairwell to our Quebec City hotel, the Hotel Le Voyageur and journeyed over to Montreal.

Sightseeing of the city was first on the list.

We drove up to the lookout at Mt Royal to get some shots of the city.

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Unfortunately, the day was cold and over cast. After the stop at the lookout, we had a Jet Boating tour booked on the St Lawrence river as a contiki optional ( I can’t remember the price I paid for this, but worth every cent!) I am sure that most of us were quite nervous and hesitant, given the gloomy weather conditions.

But we pushed and on arrival of Saute Jet-Boating , we were changed into layers and layers of jumpers and waterproof overalls as well as water shoes and a life jacket. They were well equiped for the fact that we were about to be soaked going through the rapids!

We were out in the rapids for close to an hour and it was the most fun I’d had in quite a long time! It really was an adrenaline rush and I would highly recommend these guys any day for something cool to do in Montreal!

That night our accomodation was in the Sandman Hotel, Montreal.

It was close to downtown which was great, because of course, we dressed up to the nines and headed out on the town again after a contiki included dinner.

The contiki tour manager had recommended a local bar named Winston Churchill Bar.

The local hockey team was playing in some pre season finals on the TV’s around the sports bar and of course after their win, all of the locals decided to make it quite a party!

There were celebrations all round (and of course all of us contikians were always up for a party).

There were $2.50 jeigerbomb shot specials and with all of the partying, it was much easier to buy a round each time and do a group shot! Haha oh dear contiki, what are you doing to me?

With far too many shots in our bellies, we left as a group and safely back to our hotel with a stop of takeaway pizza along the way 🙂

The next day was extremely uneventful as most of us nursed our sore heads and headed to the underground shopping centres to grab some souvenirs and appropriate hangover food.

Next stop, Toronto and Niagara Falls!

#noregrets Contiki Grand Northern 2014

Tuesday September 6th 2016 – Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and Lake Louise

Yesterday we left Whistler quite early for a very long day in the car to Jasper.

There was some spectacular scenery along the way, but we didn’t get out of the car much or for long. Only every now and then to stretch and for a quick Walmart stop at Kamloops for supplies for my place and some lunch.

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When we reached Jasper, we were luck enough to see a small pack of deer. Mum and Dad were pretty excited about this!

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We had dinner at small restaurant in town and checked in at The Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge and had an early night after our long car day.

This morning, I got to wake up to my Canadian birthday!!

We spent the morning looking around at  Jasper Park Lodge then around the town and picking up a few small cute souvenirs.

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When we left Jasper, we headed along the Icefields Parkway towards Lake Louise 🙂

The first stop on the drive was at Athabsca Falls.

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Very shortly after, we stopped in at Sunwapta Falls 🙂

 

 

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These pictures literally speak for themselves..

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Finally that afternoon we arrived to my home, Lake Louise 🙂

I showed Mum and Dad the lake for the first time, and they were pretty stoked! They get it now, what all the fuss is all about ❤

Tonight, we celebrated with my Lake Louise friends at Deer Lodge just down the road for dinner and drinks.

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Cheers! Heres to my friends, family and followers

Sunday September 4th 2016 – Whistler and The Fairmont Chateau Whistler

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Pictures can not justify that morning sunrise view

This morning we were up bright and early to check out. We were making our way to Whistler via the Sea to Sky Highway for a very exciting day!

I had booked for Mum, Dad and myself to go bobsleighing at the Whistler Sliding Centre. This was going to be an ultimate Canadian experience for sure!!

The summer seasons program is known as the ‘Rolling Thunder’, and while the bobsleighs that us as guests go in are modified and go considerably slower, the nerves were still starting to build up as we arrived and had to sign our lives away 😉

The morning started with a tour around the track and some history about the courses and Olympic events that have been held there.

After the walk around and tour we headed to the top where we had a safety briefing and helmets fitted then we watched the first group take off.

From corner 7 down to the end, most of the times avaraged between 50 and 53 seconds. It was seemed like they were going slow from where we were watching as spectators.

It was quite a different story when it was our turn! Haha.

We were strategically loaded into the sleigh with a professional driver to steer as well as break. We were all loaded in together and the driver came around to get some momentum going, knocking on our helmets for good luck before pushing us off for our 50 something second joy ride!

At first, it didn’t feel like we were going too fast, but after going around a couple of corners, the speed really started to pick up! We watched carefully the passenger infront of us to see which way to tilt our heads. Then before we knew it, it was all over!

It was such a great experience though! Woah, what an adrenaline rush! Mum and Dad loved it too 🙂

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Once we had regained our legs, we jumped back in the car and drive down to the Fairmont Chateau Whistler to check in, for Dad to go off and play golf (Happy Birthday Dad) and for Mum and I to go to the spa for the afternoon (Happy Birthday Mum)

The Fairmont Chateau Whistler is also another propety I can tick off the list 🙂

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Wednesday May 11th 2016 – The Canadian Fairmont Bucket List

When Mum and I finished at the spa after a few hours of pampering, we went back up to the room to find a little treat waiting for us ❤

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Fairmont, you guys are too sweet ❤

That night when Dad returned from golf, we went down to The Grill Room for dinner.

Oh my god, I am loving Whistler so much. Everywhere I have turned, I am falling even more inlove with this town. The food at The Grill Room was out of this world.

I started off again with a salad, the Young Greens Salad. For my main meal, I had the Pemberton Meadows Dry Aged Rib Eye. The chef even brought it out on a wheeled table to talk to us about the cut before cutting off the piece directly in front of me before wheeling it back into the kitchen to be cooked.