Side travel – where I’ve been, what I’ve seen and done

Hello and welcome to my life in Canada! Not very everyone can say that they lived in the country that dominated the men’s and women’s ice hockey and curling at the Sochi Olympics, but I sure can! I was also in Canada when Niagara Fall froze over and they had their coldest winter in 20 years. What a crazy experience to be a part of.

I am going to give you a quick rundown of some fun travels that I have done in my two months here in Canada. Firstly I spent a wonderful New Years in Toronto where I met up with some other Australian’s in town. We partied all night and explore the beautiful city by day. We went up the CN tower which has an amazing view and went shopping as girls love to do. The city reminds me of Melbourne, other than the fact it was freezing cold.

The international office at Laurier in Waterloo organised a trip to Chicopee which is a small ski mountain nearby. We sat in big blow up tubes and got flung down the runs. It was like I was 5 again. We all linked up and 20 of us went down in one go. Though you had snow all over you, the thrill was amazing.

For spring break/reading week a few Australian exchange students and I went to Banff in Alberta. Firstly we explored a town nearby us in Waterloo called Hamilton and stayed with a friend who lives on lake Ontario. It was beautiful to look out the window and see the lights of Toronto on the other side of the lake. We then flew into Calgary where we explored that town with a driving tour stopping at the Canadian Olympic park which has bobsled runs, ski slopes, half pipes, parks and everything. We were even lucky enough to stumble across the Jamaican bobsled that was used in the movie Cool Running’s as the movie was filmed there! Now that was pretty sweet. On the drive into Banff we stopped and walked on a frozen lake. The concept was super hard to grasp and we were all a little scared of falling through but it was a great experience, and no one slipped over.

Once in Banff we got our boards, skis and lift passes and were keen to venture down some mountains. We had a three mountain pass including Sunshine Village, Lake Louise and Norquay. Alternating between them I found my favourite to be Lake Louise because of their wide long runs and fun back bowls. Also a bonus was it wasn’t very over crowded. We met many other Australians there, as Banff is basically run by us, so it was nice to have a sense of home. We did have one day to explore around the area. I took myself on a walk where I ended up walking down a closed trail and I did discover why it was closed. I had to slide down some stairs on my bottom as the snow was covering them. Fun, but not very ideal however, in this adventure I did manage to stumble across the 7th most haunted hotel in Canada. The Fairmount Banff Springs, looks like a beautiful brown castle in all the trees. And inside it was amazing, I felt very out of place walking through it. Also, you know those adds you see in the newspaper travel section advertising Canada? The one with the pretty blue lake and the big hotel? Well the girl that won the ACU photo competition won with a photo from there. I also got to go there! Though the lake was frozen, I got to ice skate on it and enjoy the beautiful view.

And that is basically all I done for side travel up until now, other than a few ice hockey trips and a Justin Timberlake concert but I am sure there will be more travel to come!!