We were in Calgary about 1 week before the Calgary Stampede. Apparently, Stampede Week is a VERY big deal here. As we pulled up to the hotel, they were busy adding rustic fencing, steer skulls and barbed wire to every conceivable surface in the lobby. In addition to that, the University of Alberta (right across the street from the hotel) was hosting the International Police and Fire Games. This is a major competition among Olympic-quality athletes that are members of police and fire squads around the world. Our hotel was hosting many competitors from Ireland and Austria. The Games were expected to attract more than 10,000 competitors.
Driving around downtown Calgary, we saw several interesting sites. One was the Family of Man sculpture in front of the Calgary Board of Education Building. The figures are over 20 feet high, having no discernible race, and are reaching out to each other with open arms. Near the former railroad passenger station, we saw a Canadian Pacific steam locomotive on display. Finding a restored locomotive on display in the downtown of such a cosmopolitan city is quite unusual.
Leaving Calgary behind, we set off for Banff National Park. This is Canada's first national park, designated as such in about 1880 or so. It was an overcast and stormy-looking day, so we didn't get to see many of the more spectacular geological features. Alas, tourists are pretty much the same, no matter where they come from. People think nothing of just stopping in the middle of the road to get out and take pictures.
Along the way to Lake Louise, we saw a Land Rover Defender 110 camper from Germany. There was a map on the side of it that showed the start of their journey on the east coast of North America. Apparently, they are intending to drive to Inuvik, Yukon Territory and then south to Tierra del Fuego in South America - sure makes our trip look pretty puny in comparison.
We found a nice camp site in Banff. In campgrounds run by Parks Canada, the attendant comes
around to your campsite to collect your money. Usually, firewood is included at no additional cost.
We were amused by the camp robber birds and the bold squirrels. We turned our backs to pay the
attendant, and the next thing we knew, one of the birds was flying away with two of our crackers
in its beak! They we so bold that they would jump up onto the picnic table while we were standing
right next to it. Unfortunately, everything at the campsite was not perfect: at about 9:30 pm,
a motorhome the size of the Titanic pulled into the campsite next to us and then proceeded to run
its generator for an hour. Then it proceeded to rain all night long. Oh well...
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