After many months of preparation the adventure begins in Canada. Although I considered going through Vancouver, the time available and amount of things to see in the Rockies led me to opt out of Vancouver. Hence the title of the blog since our trip takes place in Alberta, where in the license plates of the cars we can see the famous Wild Rose Country phrase.
Day 1 - First Contact with Canadian Rockies
We got up early to catch the first flight of the day. I was able to take out the boarding passes the day before and choose the seats. As we do not have machines here we check in at the window. At Heathrow we had to change terminals but for the huge airport it really surprised me how well organized it is.
When we get off the plane we just have to follow the purple signs that are in flight connection. They take us to some buses that leave us in the terminal we go to in 10 minutes. Once there we pass the security check and wait for the next flight.
At about 5 o'clock in the afternoon it was finally time to get on the flight, a Boeing 767 with individual little screens. With respect to the other intercontinental flights that I have taken, it has the advantage of a 2-3-2 configuration, so it is much more comfortable than the 3-4-3 of the 777 or the 747.
We took the window seat and the seats seemed quite large although the entertainment on board seemed pretty shabby. The controls cannot be removed from the seat and have little games, something that at least helps me enough to pass the time. Almost all the films are in English but with that accent with which the greatest of the dramas seems like a comedy.
When entering the plane in the seats, they leave us a pillow, a blanket and a small packet with a brush and toothpaste. From London we left with almost an hour of delay due to minor technical problems. So we had a good time waiting, although with the excitement of the trip it was not very long either. Throughout the flight we recovered great part of the accumulated delay. In the end we arrived only 20 minutes late.
As soon as the flight took height they passed by offering drinks and soon after dinner arrived, typical of the plane and not very good. I don't know why inflight everything tastes so poor. On this occasion we had to choose between beef and chicken paella. I chose the second and that pasty rice was anything but paella.
For dessert we had a piece of pretty rich chocolate cake. They gave us a glass of water, butter and a bread roll with spices and a salad. They ended up offering coffee or tea. During the flight they would pass from time to time offering juices and water. When there was little more than an hour and a half before landing they gave us breakfast, a sandwich, fruit, a kitkat, juice and coffee or tea. In this case, it was pretty good.
The 9 hours of flight as always are very long although once on land we almost do not remember how the trip was over. At 8:20 we landed at the Calgary airport. It's not very big. While we were going to collect the suitcases, we took the opportunity to take some pictures of the welcome signs.
Before picking up the luggage, we pass the immigration. The security asked us the typical questions of how long we were going stay and the places we were planning to go. When arriving at the belt with the fear that our luggage would not leave, we see they had already begun to leave. I had never seen so much efficiency, as ours went out in the first round, so we could already breathe easy.
Finally we passed a small control where we delivered the customs card that we had filled on the plane, and voila, we were in Canadian lands. Once we leave we go to the car rental company in front of the door. It is only necessary to cross the street where the taxis stop. There we picked up our car that we would not leave until the last day of travel.
In the office I was offered a full tank and I passed it because it was not worth considering the price of fuel in Canada. I was also offered to upgrade or get additional insurance to avoid paying the franchise a higher price. I said no to everything.
The car had enough space for our bags and also had air conditioning. I could not ask much for what I paid considering the rental rates in Alberta. Once mounted in the car the first thing was to place the navigator with the maps of North America installed.
After a few meters the GPS began to give us instructions and in a few minutes we were at the hotel. The room was huge and had a couple of armchairs, tables, desk, flat screen tv and ipod dock. It also had a mini-kitchen, that is, a sink, microwave, refrigerator, coffee maker and everything needed to prepare tea and coffee. The bathroom in line with the rest of the room was good with shower and bath.
After getting some soft drinks in the machines of the hotel (very expensive of course) and some ice from the free machine, we dined something we had bought along the trip. We prepared to rest.
Day 2 - Road to Banff