Vancouver, Field, Golden and Banff.
04.06.2017 - 17.06.2017 20 °C
So we arrived early in Vancouver and after going through the Canadian Boarder control, we went to pick up our hire car from the airport campus.
As our check in time for our Airbnb room was not until 13.00pm, we decided to stop off and have a Starbucks. We were both shattered and were hoping that this would wake us up.
Still not satisfied, we headed for a Subway store for something to eat. After killing some time, we drove to where we were staying. It was only a few minutes down the road and we pulled up outside but we were still too early to check in, so we decided to have a catnap in the car for an hour or so.
Once we checked in to the apartment, we decided to go to the local supermarket to buy a few bits for over the next four days that we would be staying there. The first evening we were there we decided to have our hair cut as Melissa wanted to have a fringe cut in and I also needed a trim as the weather was pretty warmer in Canada. So Melissa got on google and located a hairdressers and then we headed there straight away as it was around 18.00pm and the hairdressers shut at 19.00pm. Once we arrived they said that they would only be able to see one of us, as they had an appointment. As a true gentleman, I let Melissa have hers done but luckily the appointment for the hairdresser did not turn up, so I ended up getting my number 1 all over. :-) We then went back to our apartment and watched a couple of 'The Blacklist' before we decided to have an early night so we could explore the following day.
The next morning, I woke up bright and early to the birds chirping away around 05:00am!!!! I think we were both a bit disorientated at how light it was outside and so early. We attempted to get back to sleep but it didn't really happen, so we had breakfast and once showered and ready we set off for Stanley park. After following Google Maps and driving straight through the centre of this incredibly scenic city we eventually arrived. We paid for parking for a couple of hours and headed off to explore the park. This was actually my second visit to Vancouver and to Stanley Park. The first time was with my Grandpa some years ago, so I knew that the scenery and views were pretty beautiful and it was very special to return with Melissa. We headed to the totem poles and both took many pictures around the park, as you can see :-)
Since visiting this amazing place over 10 years ago, my Grandpa has sadly passed away and as you can probably imagine, the visit brought memories flooding back. After taking lots of pictures, Mel got herself a coffee and I got a drink (Canadian Dry Ginger of coarse) and fries. We then decided to sit down on the park grass and we took in the incredible view of the city whilst watching the water planes taking off and landing one after another.
After returning to the car we both decided to take a trip to Granville Island. This place is an Island which is home to a bundle of indoor market stalls with lots of variety. The market was fascinating. It had very colorful food and produce stores, with lots of handcrafted products and many unique gifts. In which I did buy Melissa an eternity charm for her necklace which she was very pleased with. We spent a good few hours at the market and even watched some street entertainment from an acrobat from Hong Kong. We also found a hat shop which Melissa went crazy about. lol. I always say how I love that she gets so fascinated by the smallest things. One example would be the stationary shop. She could look around for hours if I let her. She got really interested in stamps in this one shop, yes stamps!!!
Anyway, after a full day of exploring we headed back to the apartment and decided to chill out. We decided to watch a couple of movies (Inside Out & Tangled) both were really good .
The following day we had a lie-in and woke up around 10:00am. After having breakfast and getting showered and ready, we decided to visit Vancouver City Centre. We spent a while walking around the streets and decided to stop off for some Arabian food at a place called Aladdin's, lol. We then decided to go to the local library to do some bits on the blog and local research. Later that evening after a full day in the city, I made dinner (sweet and sour chicken) for the both of us and again, we decided to have another chilled out evening. We watched some TV and had a pretty early night. After all, we had lots of plans for later on during our time in Canada. We also washed some of our clothes whilst we were staying here which is always nice when you're on the road.
The next day we woke up late and chilled out, watching a few episodes of 'The Blacklist'. At around midday we decided to go to the VanDusen Botanical Gardens and we just walked in for free, not realizing that we should have paid, whoops. We were very impressed with the garden as there were literally thousands of different trees and plants. It was very colorful and beautiful. There was also a maze which was pretty difficult to complete. After having a nice long stroll around the gardens we went to the park cafe and sat down for a drink as it was a pretty warm day.
We were that impressed with the VanDusen Botanical Gardens that afterwards, we decided to visit Elizabeth park. However, we were not the slightest bit impressed with these gardens as they were not any where near as impressive as what we had just seen, so we didn't stay long. On our way back to the apartment we decided to go back to the supermarket to get bits for the road road trip to Golden the following day. It's a 7 hour long road trip, so we picked up some bits and headed back to the apartment where Melissa made some sandwiches ready for the following day whilst I did some more laundry. We were all ready for our trip through the Rocky Mountains. XD
The next day we got up super early, put everything in the car and went on our way. The drive wasn't too bad. Melissa had a snooze for about 1 hour and we were in Golden before we knew it. The drive was pretty scenic and some parts I even remembered from so many years ago.
We had booked to stay at a place called 'Dreamcatcher Hostal' in Golden. Once we were all settled in Golden, Melissa made a beautiful jacket potato and chilli as a filler. After we ate our food we stayed in the common area where there were big sofas and played the board game 'Backpacker'. Melissa won :s.
We went for a drive around the surrounding area and pulled up outside a 'Tim Horton's' and Melissa saw three chipmunks, Alvin Simon and Theodore lol, we found it pretty funny anyway. After our drive around the small town we headed back and had a shower and chilled in our 6 bed dorm which was only occupied by one other person.
The next day, we woke up to the weather being cloudy with sunny intervals. I had planned a full day out, as I had wished to go back to the famous Lake Louise and onto Lake Morraine, two of the most picturesque places in Canada, also, a few days earlier a Canadian guy who we got talking to at Granville Island advised us to check out Emerald Lake and Emerald Natural Bridge as he mentioned that he used to live in the Rockies and said how beautiful they were. So we thought we would check them out too. Our first stop was actually to the Emerald Natural Bridge which took around an hour to drive too. After driving through amazing snow capped mountains, we pulled up to the Natural bridge. For our first stop of the day the scenery was beyond incredible and we both loved the feeling of being in the mountains. The Natural Bridge is a unique rock which has been gradually carved out over time by the powerful Kicking Horse River to resemble a bridge, It is a magnificent work of nature and an impressive natural wonder. We must have arrived at a good time early morning, as there weren’t too many tourist at all. It was amazing to see how powerful water is and how it can transform landscapes completely. The river was so loud as it powered through the area in massive volumes and the colour of the water was beautiful.
We then headed over to Emerald Lake. This was a 15 minute drive from the Natural Bridge. Well we didn't really know what we would actually find after driving down a long and windy road but once we arrive, we were both wowed with how intense the colour of the lake actually was. The lake setting itself was quite secluded with huge mountains as it's backdrop and it definitely lived up to its name. We both just stood there silently taking in the picturesque view. It was very humbling being in such a beautiful setting. We did see other tourists filling up there water bottles from the lake, as the water was freshly melted ice from the mountains, however, Melissa and I passed. I though it best that we don't take the chance of being ill over the next few days .
From here we drove to the world famous Lake Louise, a place I hold very close to my heart as my Grand Parents had visited this beautiful lake on a few occasions and boasted about its pure beauty. It was their favourite. My Grandma had always told me that I must go and I had visited with my Grandpa after she had passed away. It was the most beautiful thing I had ever seen and it is my favourite place in the world. Myself and Melissa had talked about this place so many times and I was so excited to share this experience with Melissa. We arrived to a car park full of cars and tourist, all heading towards the lake. We must have parked a 5 minute walk from the lake, so we took a slow stroll towards the lake and Melissa was really buzzing to see the world famous lake which means so much to me. So we walked through the car park, down a long path, surrounded by trees. Then, all of a sudden out comes this amazing panoramic view with the most amazing turquoise watered lake with a soaring mountain backdrop. It was exactly how I had remembered it all them years ago. Absolutely unforgettable! Melissa walked up to the edge of the lake and starred into the distance, it was as though she was dazzled by the view. It didn't even look real.
I had built her up to visit Lake Louise for years now and she was not disappointed. So, this was it. I chose the perfect place to propose to Melissa. After the build up, I didn't want her to expect it, so I had made a few comments along the way about how I wouldn't be able to carry an engagement ring with me on this trip, which I have since found out worked.
As you can imagine, at this point, I am getting pretty nervous. I suggested that we walk over to the Canoe cabin. My plan of action was to hire a canoe and propose in the center of the lake. Well, 'Closed - Due to bad weather' was the sign on the door of the cabin entrance. The weather was not even that bad, about 16 degrees and not raining nor windy! So there I was stood at the entrance, having to think quickly on my feet. The proposal had to happen today. I had this planned forever! I had also booked a 5* place to stay for the evening, so it had to be this day! It then dawned on me that I would be proposing at the side of the lake with hundreds of people being around us both. Holy Moses!!! My heart was pounding and my nerves were going through the roof! We were walking around the side of the lake and I was looking for the quietest part to get down on one knee. Mel had no idea. She was taking selfies, getting pictures of Neil and reading the information boards. She was completely chilled out. Just then, a family asked if I could take their picture. At the same time, Melissa got asked to take a picture of another family who were a little distance away. After taking a quick snap, I said to the family, 'Could you return the favour?, however I am going to propose so please go snap happy'. No pressure, lol. Well without even scanning the area, I had crazily chosen the most busy part of the lake to ask her, Melissa came across and I made out we were having a picture and as she turned around I went down on one knee and in panic said, 'We've both been together now for over 3 years, will you do the honour of marring me?' Nothing like I had planned and rehearsed in my head, but luckily she said yes! I then pulled out a well prepared clean tissue for her tears of joy. For the next 20 minutes she was an emotional wreck. But it was all worth it. :-)
After we both sat down for a good 20 minutes and let things settle in, I told Melissa that I had booked a luxury place for the next three nights for us in the mountains, however, before we headed over to Hunters Hideaway - Kicking Horse Mountain Resort we would visit one last lake, this being Morraine Lake. After a 30 minute drive we arrived at Morraine Lake, it was around half the size of Lake Louise, but perhaps even more scenic, Moraine Lake is one of the most photographed points in Canada which used to be on the old twenty dollar bill. Moraine Lake is a glacially fed lake and it is a breath taking blue-green colour, which makes this place another place we will both treasure for ever. With Melissa still in a daze from the proposal, we took a load of pictures but since deleted loads because we planned to go back in a couple of days. We then headed to Kicking Horse Resort.
Prior to arriving at our accommodation we stopped off at a local super market and picked a few bits for the next 3 days. Once we arrived at the accommodation Melissa's face lit up once again, as it was perfect. We had our own hot tub, large BBQ, huge kitchen and bathroom and a lovely comfortable bed. We both literally got straight into the hot tub and relaxed and took in the mountain views. After we both got out I decided to put the BBQ on and cook the steaks I had just bought. The steaks went down an absolute treat.
Melissa was really excited to tell our close friends and family, however due to the 8 hour difference, it meant that it was the middle of the night in the UK. So she couldn't really tell anybody at that time. :-(
The following day Melissa woke up super early so that she could call her family and let them know the good news, after speaking with them all she then got the bug and it has not gone away since...wedding planning. haha!! Whilst we were at Hunters Hideaway, all we did for the full time we were there was relax and enjoy living in luxury. If we were not in the hot tube we were cooking food on the BBQ or chilling on the sofa watching cable television.
The day we left Hunters Hideaway the weather was beautiful so we decided to do the same trip and head back to Lake Louise, Lake Moraine but then onto Banff. We set off pretty early and luckily there was no where near as many tourists as there were the previous time we visited. We took hundreds of pictures and here are a few for you to enjoy of Lake Louise and Lake Moraine.
We then headed onto Banff. Once we arrived, we stopped for a quick Starbucks and went for a bit of a walk.
We both went into the visitors centre and asked of things to do locally, they mentioned that due to Canada celebrating its 150th birthday, we would be able to visit the local museum for free and Lake Minnewanka for free also. So we decided to take the advise and visit them both. First we headed to the local museum of Banff. We both didn't really have an idea what would be in the museum, but when we arrived we were in the presence of huge stuffed animals such as moose, grizzly bears, cougars and eagles and so on. We had a quick walk around and were especially took back at how big the Moose was, as we had never seen one before.
Next, we left the museum and drove to Lake Minnewanka. Not only did we see a HUGE moose, Melissa spotted a baby black bear! she was on cloud 9 as she had been bear spotting the whole time we had been in the Rockies.
We arrived at Lake Minnewanka to a beautiful blue lake, much bigger than any that we had seen so far and we decided to take a little walk around the edge of the lake where we took lots of pictures of the beautiful scenery.
We then decided to head back to Golden where we did a quick shop and decided we would spend the next two nights in the Dreamcatcher Hostel again. Once we arrived at the hostel we both ate and relaxed for the night.
The next morning when we both woke we decided that we would go to Golden's local library to update the blog and look at the pictures properly on the GoPro. We were still not sure if the proposal had been caught on video at this point as we were using an old Gopro which you cant view the contents until it is plugged in to a computer. Unfortunately the library did not have an SD card reader so viewing the pictures and video was out of the question. So we both worked on the blog for an hour, before heading back to the hostel.
The following day we had another long trip in the car back to Vancouver. The drive time was around 7 hours and 20 minutes. We completed the journey pretty quickly. We made one short stop for toilets, a bite to eat and a quick visit to Bridal falls.
Once we arrived back in Vancouver, we were both pretty shattered and hungry but our Airbnb host was not yet back from work, so we found a Nandos restaurant and ate ourselves senseless. Once the host had arrived back from work we literally crashed for the night after such a long day.
The following day we had planned to meet some friends of my grandparents who I had previously stayed with some years before with my Grandpa. We arrived at Pete and Violets house around 17.00 and were there until around 21.00. We had a lovely dinner prepared by Violet and we all had a great catch up.
The next day was our last day in Canada, so we decided to just relax and pack our things ready for our flight in the early hours of the morning.
We both really enjoyed Canada and we will certainly be returning to this overwhelming beautiful country in years to come. We can show our children where their dad proposed to their mum, as well as a truly magical place. We have made some amazing memories here which will never be forgotten.