Such a magical feeling when it starts snowing on Christmas Day! I can’t remember the last time we had snow on Christmas Day in The Netherlands, so to be able to sing: ‘I’m dreaming of a white Christmas’ and it actually happening is feeling like a kid in a candy store: incredibly happy.
If you ever decide to travel through a huge country I would definitely recommend picking a ‘small’ part of it and exploring it by car. As a kid we already did this in The United States and South Africa and to me this is such a great way of seeing the changes in environment and places of a country. My Canadian friends in Vancouver just moved there from Calgary and I was asked to come explore their home city and stay for Christmas. A ten-hour scenic drive through mountains, snow and from a little above zero degrees to negative 15 Celsius (and yes I still had my suitcase full of summer clothes). I had never been exposed to these temperatures and I must say it sounds way worse than it actually is. The inventor of ‘Long Johns’ a.k.a. long underwear is a lifesaver though.
Banff National Park
Banff is the oldest National Park in Canada and is about 6641 km2 big. I know some Europeans who love skiing/snowboarding share the same dream of going to the incredible Rocky Mountains to hit the slopes. And I can tell you it will not disappoint. Banff is the heart of the Canadian Rockies. Driving through Banff National Park is breathtaking and makes you want to go explore through the endless forests. The road shows you many places to stop from little winter towns for skiing or nature wonders like ‘The Three Sisters’. Is there a Three Brothers anywhere? because I crossed off two must see ‘Three Sisters’ from my list in Australia and Canada.
There is an endless list of things to do in Banff, besides that during the summer and winter it is a totally different experience. And yes I will definitely go back during summer and see the unreal turquoise coloured Lake Louise. For now, I enjoyed the white trees, hot chocolate and delicious beaver tail in a picture perfect village. There are a couple spots to hit the slopes. I had the opportunity to go to Sunshine Village. The sun came out while a drizzle of snow was still falling. The chair lifts are super old school with your skis dangling and no cover against the icy wind or snow, but skiing in the Canadian Rockies with negative 15 degrees Celsius was so worth it even though I felt like Olaf at the end of the day.
Canadian friendliness a true stereotype
After about a month in this incredible country I have to agree with the stereotypes of Canadian people. They are all friendly, you can talk to anyone and never feel judged or weird and yes they say ‘Sorry’ quite often. I think it is a gift if people in a particular country make you feel at home the second you arrive. People I had just met would give me a self-made wooden carved ‘talk cloud’ with LIFE IS RAD or a delicious scented candle from a start up business MILK JAR. Besides that I was spoiled for Christmas and felt like I had known the Cheyne family forever. Everyone I met in this short month made this trip one I won’t easily forget.