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Archive for March, 2008

DSC00575 Well we’ve been here in the home of the stampede for 3 weeks today and the time has just flown by.  Since finding a house we have been on numerous furniture missions and have a couple of fully kitted out guest rooms, that’s a BIG hint to all our friends – need I mention that the ski season runs to mid May?  Talking of which, we’ve made it up the mountains a couple of times so far. 

DSC00578Our first trip saw us visit Norquay, the smallest of the three Banff resorts.  A drive across the plains west of Calgary saw us in Norquay in about an hour and a half.  Emily immediately struck a catalogue pose and we headed up the mountain.  Norquay (I think it’s pronounced Nor-kway not Nor-key but I am usually wrong on these things), as I’ve said is a pretty small resort making it exactly 17 trillion times bigger than Milton Keynes snow dome and it has fully fitted sunshine and built in pine fresh smell to boot.  DSC00581

We foolishly headed up the "advanced terrain only" lift hoping to drop down the back of the mountain to find the way out closed.  This left us trapped at the top of an extremely steep mogul field (non snow people read bumpy, evil, shouldn’t be allowed, snowboard unfriendly terrain).  So after taking in some stunning vistas we headed down.  Emily utilising her bottom a fair amount whilst I headed down on my back, star shaped, head down the mountain, trying to get any kind of purchase to slow my decent.

DSC00601 Following our first mountain foray, it was back to the real world, and more furniture procurement and building.  IKEA is the same the world over it seems, oh how I wish I still had my electric screwdriver!  So after more house-elfing, the Friday night saw a welcome break.  We went to Jean-Paul and Emily’s house warming party which was fantastic.  Meeting J-P again, I couldn’t believe it was seven years since I last saw him, for those that know him he hasn’t changed a bit, it was great to meet Emily (his truly better half) and his fab big sister, Lara, too(Lara pictured right with JP).

DSC00637 The second of our mountain trips was to a place even closer, Nakiska at Kananaskis.  Built for the 88 winter olympics this place is about 45 minutes from our house door to lift.  We had another top notch day out, will the novelty go away? We will do our best trying to wear it out… Another beautiful sunny day, snow, trees, and big hills, need I say more?  A great resort for us to take Martin to when he’s out to visit in a couple of weeks, although I fear the lack of Gondolas will be an initial disappointment, it could of course be worse, there’s not a button or t-bar in sight.

DSC00615 Well almost time to wrap up, Calgary is great fun so far, the next few months will truly be an adventure.  I mistakenly said to my colleague I thought the winter was almost at an end only to wake up the next day to a white city, something I have since been told can and likely will happen every month of the year even though the summer will see temperatures soar well into the 30’s.  DSC00617 Besides a legal obligation to clear your path and "sidewalk" before you leave for work, the postman won’t deliver if you don’t and you can be sued should someone fall outside your house, it made for an eye opening journey to work.  Walking across this bridge into downtown was fantastic, it bounces up and down in the style of the pre-fixed millenium bridge, over here though they recognise that as a feature! 

DSC00618The bridge crosses the Bow River which divides north and south Calgary.  The river is still part frozen, in some places all the way across although I’m not going to try walking it, I’ll stick to the bouncy bridge. 

One last thing but very important thing; we’ve found an aikido club.  The people, the atmosphere and just as importantly the aikido are all top notch.  So thanks to all those at Bozankan for making us welcome and thoroughly exhausting us, we’re currently blaming the altitude for our fitness levels but I think that excuse won’t hold out much longer. 

Will write more soon but until then, kind regards and our thoughts go out to one and all. And no Emily has yet to get a pet bear, squirrel or critter but this is not for lack of trying…

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