We woke to sunny skies, cold temperatures and a lovely elk (also known as wapiti), grazing just outside our window. She knew we were watching her but continued to do her elk stuff before wandering off.
After breakfast, our first stop was to Bows Falls which were mostly frozen. Then. It was on to the stunning Banff Springs Hotel.
I never tire of this fairytale castle nestled in the mountains. We spent a few hours exploring its grand ballrooms, cozy restaurants and gorgeous views. A deer ran by when we were looking at it’s hot pool.
After browsing around it’s rather pricey shops, we headed back to the condo for a quick bite of lunch.
Our next explorations took us on the Lake Minnewanka loop drive with stops made at Two Jack Lake, a viewpoint of the Palliser range and numerous other vistas. The snow laden evergreens made it look like a Christmas card.
Heading back towards the hotel, we checked out the Banff thermal springs where despite the cold weather, many people bathed in its warm waters. We drove to the base of the Sulphur Mountain gondola.
Our last drive was along Vermilion Lake. People were already skating along its shallow edges. Further down, warm sulphuric water entered the lake from another thermal hot spring. A light scent of sulphur permeated the air.
After, Louise met some friends in town and Cheryl and I went back to the condo for a nap.
Banff holds a yearly food festival called“Taste for Adventure” where restaurants in the area offer specific meals at a special price. We had reserved a table at the Sleeping Buffalo restaurant which was located directly across the street from our condo.
We all had the smoked salmon on latkes appetizer and the Vanilla espresso creme brule dessert. Cheryl and I had the elk as a main course and Louise had the duck. Delicious.
I love the tasteful Canadiana decor in this restaurant, especially the large antler chandelier. After supper we sat in front of the gigantic fireplace adorned by a humongous bison head...I couldn’t resist sticking my finger up its nostrils.
We ended the night by playing board games at the condo in front of our own roaring fire.