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It was almost 5 pm when we checked into our hotel. Kev was completely worn out from the long drive. So was I (from being awake the whole time and keeping him company). All we wanted to do was to go for a feast and refill our stamina!!
Strolling along Banff Avenue, it was almost like walking into a fairy tale town. Everything seemed so cute and tiny~
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The rustic, wooden townhouses and the surrounding mountain ranges made such a beautiful picture!
A quick tour around the town quickly gave us a sense of the local’s love for wildlife. Unlike any other town, the streets are all named after animals like caribou, bear, wolf and buffalo. If you pay enough attention, you might discover those cute, bronze-colored street signs on the ground 🙂
Walking along the main thoroughfare, Banff Avenue, you could find all kinds of shops in this compact town. Souvenir stores, restaurants, tea shop, dessert stores, 100-year-old hotel, liquor store, supermarket…etc. How convenient!! You can also find the trailheads for several of Banff’s best hikes right in town, though you will have to head into the park if you want to check out Johnston Canyon with its beautiful waterfalls.
In terms of food, so many choices are available. From Italian, Greek, Thai, Indian, Chinese, Korean to steak, you name it. If you really couldn’t make up your mind, you could always settle for McDonald’s 😛
Kev and I eventually decided to have our dinner at a pizza restaurant called Bear Street Tavern. We shared a pulled pork nachos and a primo italiano pizza, which were more than enough for the two of us. Nom nom nom. Nothing was better than enjoying a delicious meal on a patio while savoring a beautiful sunset 🙂
On such a lovely summer day, you could not end the day without a dessert! Kev dragged me to BeaverTails and introduced this signature Canadian pastry to me.
These deliciously addictive Canadian pastries are deep-fried dough pastries, individually hand-stretched to resemble a beaver’s tail, served with your choice of toppings. You could pick from a numerous preset toppings or, even better, you could create your own, unique beaver tail!
Each order is freshly made and served piping hot. We didn’t wait too long before our beaver tail was ready to be served 😛
Our pastry was coated with butter and a mixture of cinnamon-sugar. Then topped with fresh apple slices. Oh… so delicious and crispy!! I enjoyed every bite of my share. Seriously, how could I not know about this yummy treat until now?!
The next morning, we drove up to Lake Minnewanka, which is only a 15 minutes drive from our hotel, for the lake cruise.
From afar, we could see the boat dock. That’s where the tour would depart!
We took a walk along the shore prior to departure. The view was gorgeous! I could seriously sitting by the lake all day <3
Look! The exquisitely blue water glistening in the sun…
And the rugged mountain scenery with towering peaks. What a spectacular view!
Okay, almost time for the tour! Let’s go~
The 1.5 hour cruise provides a unique sightseeing opportunity to explore the Lake Minnewanka valley and its surrounding. Not only can you snap beautiful photos, the interpretative guide will teach you about the history, geology, wildlife and vegetation that inhabit the nearby mountains. I enjoyed it very much. It was very entertaining and informative 🙂
Lake Minnewanka is by far the largest and deepest lake in Banff National Park. It is named by the Stoney people to reflect “Water of the Spirits”. We were surprising to learn that it is actually a man-made reservoir, created to generate hydro-electric power for the townsite. In the summer, it is a popular spot for fishers. You can easily catch a lake trout here! Just make sure you obtain a National Park fishing license to before you do that 😉
Could you believe that this area was once inhabited by aboriginal people? The dam at the south end provided an early supply of water for the locals and flooded the village in 1941. Today, it is a popular dive spot for scuba divers who want to see the ruins of an old resort village and the submerged dam. I would totally come back here to dive (yeah, once Kev get his scuba diving license…)
The lake is also one of the best areas for wildlife viewing. If you are lucky, you might see bears, bighorn sheep, elk, wolf and many other animals. On our visit, we spotted bald eagles! Too bad my camera is not good enough to take a close shot of it. Or else, I would have share it with y’all :'(
Happy moments always pass by so fast. Our tour quickly came to an end 🙁
We visited so many beautiful places on this trip, but we had hardly seen it all. There are soooo many things left for us to see in Banff National Park. I promise we will be back in no time!