Friday, 28 May 2010

Calgary's ace!

MP3 track of the day : When you're gone - Avril Lavigne (thought I'd better have a Canadian artist at some point)

Weather: Cold (4oc), overcast but dry ... (damn weather reports!)

My first stop of the day was the Devonian Gardens situated downtown; however, on the way, I decided to take a few shots of everything (and anything) that I saw that took my fancy. It was freezing cold and I was glad to have remembered my fleece today. After wondering around the streets for a while, not having any luck finding the gardens, I found 4 strange people dressed up as a 'clown policemen' act (which was pretty cool as it seemed the car drivers of Calgary were playing a long, beeping their horns ... in the UK we would have just beaten them up for looking stupid) and the start of a 'cross country' rally. I had a quick look at the cars and saw a British team (2 Brits Racing) which were brother and sister, who were born in the UK and have lived in Canada for around 2 years. I asked them what all this was about and wished them the very best of luck (show these colonials which nation can drive). I quite fancy partaking in a rally at some point; there's this banger rally that someone at work took part in (Home to Rome). You have around £100.00 to purchase a car but you can do it up; you then race it from the UK to Rome ... well when I say race it's not taken literally and everyone helps everyone else out if they have a problem, oh and most teams take a day out to visit Venice. As you can see, wining is second to having a good time.

Anyway so I still hadn't found the Devonian Gardens and so I got out my guidebook ... oh the gardens are inside a shopping mall (centre) ... and so I went into the nearest one just to find out that the gardens weren't open due to maintenance. Therefore I headed north to my second port of call, Prince Island. However before I went there I went into a local market and purchased a hot dog ... yum!

Prince Island was okay, just a normal park however there were loads and loads of gaggles of Canadian geese. It was fantastic, lines of geese with mummy goose at the front and daddy goose at the back. I did take hundreds of photos but they aren't brilliant as I wanted to keep my distance.

After this it was getting very cold and so I headed inside to find the +15 walkway. Now I'm sure why it's called +15 (maybe it's the temperature) but there are bridges that connect all the tower blocks, within Calgary, together to form an inside walkway around the city (in Calgary it gets very cold in the winter therefore this inside city pathway is very necessary). It's brilliant; between each walkway I went through hotels, offices but mostly retail areas. I just walked and walked and walked, picking a route at random until the +15 system stopped (which wasn't often). Now I love getting lost in cities, but usually I don't really get lost as I've got a pretty good sense of direction when I'm out on the streets (except in Brussels) however when I'm inside I loose my sense of direction and therefore I had no idea where I was; I found this food court, which I decided I would come back to for lunch, but I never found it again (lost for ever in the either). There were some walkways that I approached from different directions ... twice. It was great, just walking around, seeing the city and getting totally lost ... I loved it.

Whilst on my walk I went pass a rather expensive looking chocolate shop and decided to purchase 100g (as I don't drink, and I'm not too bothered about expensive meals, I have decided that luxury chocolate will be my 'thing' to indulge in) for around $5.00. The lady was great and she said that she would give me a selection of the most popular chocolates Canadians choose (but I drew the line at the peanut butter chocolate ... yuk!); three, out of the six were lovely (a mint one, a white chocolate one and a maple chocolate one) however the other three were minging (one tasted like a pretzel in a chocolate ... why?). I decided that Canadian chocolates weren't as good as the British or Belgium ones.

After my +15 walk I was totally knackered so I retired for lunch (a burger!) and decided on my final move within Calgary. I had done everything I wanted to do; there was fort Calgary (which wasn't used in a war so I wasn't that bothered) and the Glenbow museum which my guidebook stated was a must (but I had been to loads of museums already on my tour of Canada). However I decided to give the museum ago as it was 3:30pm and it was open (according to the guidebook) until 8pm. Well it closed at 5:00pm and so, for an hour and a half, I didn't think $14.00 was worth it, however the lady behind the counter gave me a discounted rate of $4.00 ... bargain.

The museum had collections of oriental Asian art, a war exhibition and a European art gallery all of which I had either seen before or could see at other times. The exhibitions I concentrated on was the 'minerals of Alberta' which had loads and loads of minerals, and precious stones, from around the Calgary area (reminded me that I had a collection of minerals and stones at home, somewhere in the roof ... I'd have to dig those out again). The other exhibition I wanted to see was the 'Black Foot' exhibition which focused on the original settlers of this area. Both exhibits were good and I also had time to do a brisk tour of the rest of the museum and art gallery (the oriental Asian area was actually pretty good).

Well I'm back now and contemplating what to have to eat tonight ... Chinese is still at the top of my list and my guidebook has pointed out a good one (if it's still there that is). Tomorrow I leave for Edmonton.

Toodle Pip!

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