Canada

Hello, hello! Happy summer to everyone! It’s been a few weeks since I’ve posted, but I’ve been busy updating and editing photos and videos of our last trip to Canada. We recently went up north to hit the Rockies for some hiking adventures in Canada. Banff National Park has always been on my bucket list to hike and see so I finally decided to jump the gun and booked a flight as a anniversary celebration. Although I understood that I’d miss out on the green colored lakes since our Canadian brethren has much longer winters than we do. Their winters lasts easily into late June and spring doesn’t hit until July (where all the glacier ice melts) and summer comes around late July-early August and you finally get to see the beautiful lakes in all their blue green glory. But the Rockies in their winter coat was just as gorgeous.

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It was just unfortunate that we only had three days to trek around Banff. My other bucket list of Canadian national parks I wanted to hit includes Yoho and Jasper (much farther north), but definitely would need minimum a week long vacation. Calgary is one the main cities in the province of Alberta and Banff is roughly an hour and half away. I wanted to stay somewhere a little closer to Banff (if y’all wondering why not Banff it’s because Banff is a very touristy city and the places to stay there is VERY expensive). I enjoy budget traveling (of course not the super cheap type, but if I can save money on hotels and flights, that’d be great). I did some research and found Canmore, it’s a beautiful little city in between Calgary and Banff surrounded by the Rockies. A little bit on the steep side still of $117 a night, but the resort we stayed at (Copperstone Resort) was well worth it. It was quiet and came with a shared hot tub, bbq grills with patios and underground parking space. The rooms were exceptionally clean and well kept, the kitchen was gorgeous with dark reddish granite, black and steel for the appliances. Canmore was only an hour away from Moraine and Lake Louise and 30 minutes away from Johnston Canyon and Lake Minnewanka (other hiking spots that I wanted to check out). Another great thing about Canmore was that it also had their own downtown segment roughly three miles away where there were a plethora of wonderful dinning and shopping options (even small local markets you can grab snacks at). Downtown Canmore is also very pretty with the rustic design of wood cabin for its outer structural design. Definitely worth checking out. 🙂

A fascinating thing about Canada is that with spring and summer approaching the sun stays out much longer (very similar to Alaska). While we were there in May they were already getting roughly 16 hours of daylight (sunset was at 9:35PM; sunrise at 5:30AM). From what I hear now they’re getting only 4 hours of true darkness (nighttime). That just means that you can do so much more at night and some stores actually stay open later because of that (one of the restaurants we went to stayed open until 2AM)!

We ended up paying through this trip using our credit cards. One of the most important things: Don’t forget to check on your credit cards to see if they charge foreign transaction fees! I’ve always read that it’s always safe to pull some money out of Canadian ATMs with your debit card (least amount in terms of fees is what I read) for backup, always have $50 USD worth of CAD. But I took a chance and opted out of that since we were only there for three days and that we were also going to be in pretty busy areas so I felt safe that most places will have a credit card option (I was correct). David and I both were lucky that our Costco Citi and Amazon Chase credit card did not have foreign transaction fees in Mexico and Canada. Chase even sends you an email every time you use it with the conversion of how much you spent from CAD to USD. So if you have either cards, you can definitely use it in Canada!

Few other things in Canada, yes, they do tip here. The percentage is the same as back home, 15-18% (20% if exceptional) for good customer service. They take off shoes in homes (at least the place that we stayed at) to ensure homes stayed clean. For every $1.00 USD it’s $1.32 CAD (basically add $0.32 for every dollar), 1 kph is 0.62 mph or you can just divide the speed value by 1.61 to get approximate mph result (out of sorts to see signs stating 110 on the fwy but really only 68 mph lol). 1 liter of gas is 0.264 gallons (for an approximate result, divide the volume value by 3.785). That latter was for getting self-serve gas. Now that we’re on that, we found out some gas stations have this peculiar process of asking you to choose a money limit amount before you can continue to get gas ranging from $150 to $250 CAD. Apparently it’s a pending charge of how much you’re letting yourself spend (kind of like a cap amount) and once you’re done getting gas, be charged the final amount. We definitely found that strange. LOL. They also go by 24 hour time structure (i.e. 21:00, 22:00).

Overall it was a breathtaking trip (might elaborate on the places we went in other blog posts), I really wish we had more time. Three days is definitely not enough, minimum 4-5 days I’d say to truly appreciate and take in the views.

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