up, up and away

This morning we have a lazy few hours with Max and Abby watching television cartoons. I am folding the clean laundry (I have a rule about travelling with dirty laundry) and when I need their assistance and call their name, they respond with a karate stance and a sharp “ma’am! Yes ma’am!!) They lighten my slightly sad mood as I realize this is the last morning of Nana Vacation time, and now I will have to share them again.

Abby asked for two small pancakes for breakfast. So, I made her some!

Packed up our beautiful little condo for 5 days and then out and about to say good-bye to Victoria before we have to head to the airport.

It’s a good thing that we are leaving the dangerous downtown of Victoria. The kids were almost eaten by a Canadian bear!! Poor little things were terrified.

To celebrate their survival, we hop on our final Victoria Taxi and made our way to the Victoria airport to meet up with Jeffry and Kerri in Calgary.

Almost everyone of these taxi’s we used (and we used them at least twice a day!) were all Prius cars as Victoria prides herself on keeping green. The Unites States could take some lessons from Canada. Going green is just one of them. The other major one is how British Columbia tries to save historical buildings – or at least their facades and architecture – even if they will be renovated for use other than what was originally intended. I understand how a sleek modern building may be the desirous effect of the moment, the beauty and history of the old is far more interesting to me. And I think by discarding them, we do our younger generations a disservice and rob them of the importance of our past. That is just this Gdovin Girl’s perspective.

This old Catholic church in BC was restored and has been used as an art gallery.

The Empress Hotel in 1908 and then today.

Late lunch at the White Spot in the Victoria Airport before winging our way to Calgary. Jeffry and Kerri met us with a rental car and the GPS loaded for our drive to Red Deer, Alberta – Kerri’s hometown, and then to our Airbnb for a week. Of course the little ones were very excited to get hugs from mommy and daddy and jabbered about their adventures and the plans for upcoming family get-togethers as we navigated our way to Red Deer.

On our way …

to beautiful Victoria BC. Jeffry and Kerri are driving Max and Abby and I to Sky Harbor Airport in Phoenix. This evening, the grand kids and I will board Alaska Airlines (upgraded seats) to make our way to Seattle and eventually to Victoria – the cutest gem of a city that I have ever laid eyes on. After kisses and hugs and “see you in 5 days”, we checked our luggage and ventured into the general boarding screening area. The kids do not have known traveler numbers, so in the general line we went. Everything was smooth until the man said “all food items must be out of the bags and into one of the bins”. I thought, ‘no problem’ since I packed the snacks in a little lunch box and just placed it in the bin. All of the sudden, Maxwell was in a panic – going through his backpack pulling out 3 Starburst and a couple other small items. Crisis averted!

The kids were treated to a kid’s snack box with a turkey sausage stick, applesauce, cheese crackers, popcorn and a mini chocolate bar and of course apple juice and sprite. Happy Campers!! Thanks, Alaska Airlines! On the descent into Seattle, we watched fireworks shows all over the city from above. Believe it or not, the displays are not nearly as amazing from above as they are looking up at them. A new experience.

The transfer in Seattle was rushed, to say the least. After getting off the first plane, we had 20 minutes before we boarded the second one. Normally, not so much to worry about. However, we landed at one terminal and our next gate was C10D. Excuse me? Okay then – we find the train to take passengers to GATES B C D. That is what it said right there on the little red letters above the train. So there we await the little train to take us to our gate. We board the train. The doors close. And then a voice comes over the loudspeaker … “this train will not stop at gate C. To get to gate C, disembark at gate D and walk to gate C”. Well, now that was fun with all 3 of us – me with back issues and two children sleepy at 11 pm – scurrying in and out of crowds of people to get to our gate just as they called our group. We made it. Got settled in our upgraded-but-you-couldn’t-tell-it-was-an-upgrade seats and settled in for a quick flight to land in Victoria. Had no time to pick up a cute night shirt in the Seattle Airport that said “Sleepless in Seattle” and that is one of my favorite movies of all time!! (“hello, Howard!”)

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Got to the Airbnb around 1:45 am.. The kids were both now alert and ready to explore the little condo…”look how these light switches work… the toilet lid closes by itself like ours … hey, I have dibs on the pull out sofa …”

By the time we got settled in and faces washed and teeth brushed, it was close to 2:30 a.m. and all three of us were exhausted and sleep came ever so easy. (shhhhh. more tomorrow)

Swim Meets

I really do enjoy the swim meets  There’s something about the smell of sunscreen and pizza and hot dogs.  Brightly colored canopies and sun shelters dot the area, housing swimmers playing card games and snacking on strawberries and cucumber slices.  Giggles are abundant and amidst all of the chaos, relays and medleys kick off the evening activities.  Jeffry and Kerri always put in more than their required volunteer time – Jeffry manning the concession stand at home meets as a fundraiser for the Indian Ridge Swim Team.  Kerri is on her feet for three and four hours at a time, donning an old favorite hat of her late father in law, and rounding up six to ten year old kids of every size and shape and color, all in navy blue swim attire,  and lining them up for their events.

The afternoons are hot.  The atmosphere is hectic.  The announcements and the kids are loud.  And it is 100% fulfilling.  It lifts my soul, no matter how tired and sweaty I feel.

remembering July(s) from the past

an all grown up granddaughter comes to Leesburg to say good-bye before we move back to Tucson

weekend visit with a granddaughter

Old Glory

Wedding day for Lori & Jim

Tristan gets a little surprise from Uno Blast

Kerri’s Birthday

Maxwell visits Leesburg

Family get-together

Walking the town center in Leesburg Village

I have no idea what he is doing, but it must have been important!

Look at those little kiddos.

Parade in downtown Leesburg

Parade in downtown Leesburg

Parade in downtown Leesburg

He loved the Inner Harbour in Victoria

Bicycling thru Tucson

Family BBQ in Canada

Happy Fourth of July, everyone.

 

last day of fun and sun in Canada

 

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It’s About Family Fun

32 Family-friendly rides! High-energy entertainment! Tempting treats! Calaway Park has something for everyone!  As Western Canada’s Largest Outdoor Family Amusement Park, Calaway Park has been offering affordable, family- friendly fun and entertainment for over three decades.  Ever since the award-winning theme park first opened its doors in 1982, Calaway Park has built on our well-deserved reputation for excellence by offering the best attractions, no less than 32 rides designed for thrill-seekers of all ages and beautifully choreographed, high-energy entertainment.  I enjoyed the outdoor shows and watching little ones on rides.

After a full day of rides and water and snacks and entertainment, it was time to head out to our hotel, which is attached to the Calgary Int’l Airport.   Wonderful concept.  Not only beautiful, but how convenient!  We had a great dinner at Image result for montana's steakhouse in Calgary airport

and we were so ready for real food instead of fast food, and Montana’s delivered.  While Kerri and I relaxed after dinner, Jeffry and the kids made their way out to the escalators to discover just how and why the escalators would speed up and then slow down.  Thank goodness they figured it out so that burning question would not be mulling in our minds!

The hotel was as expected for a Marriott – always beautiful and scrumptiously soft and yummy bedding.  Also, very relaxing and quiet, given the fact that our hotel room windows looked out over the runways,  landing strips and docks.  Thumbs up!

on the road

We all pitched in and cleaned our little rental house, packed up the van and headed off for a day trip of sightseeing on our way to Calgary.  First up – Image result in Red Deer.  Tim Hortons Inc. is a Canadian multinational fast food restaurant known for its coffee and donuts.  Breakfast sandwiches for the ladies and donuts for the kids and their daddy.  

We weren’t too far into the trip when Jeffry confiscated my phone with my 136 songs because he determined that I was singing too loud.  Jeffry doesn’t have much of a poker face, so it wasn’t all that difficult to figure out who took the phone!

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He did make up for the theft by tuning the radio to the Beatles channel.  Sightseeing beautiful Canada AND the Beatles – nothing better!  First stop …

LAKE LOUISE and Mount Michener, with a 2,545 m (8,350 ft) peak, is a mountain on the eastern border of the Canadian Rockies in Alberta, Canada. It forms the northerly part of the Ram Range. The mountain sits on the shore of Abraham Lake.  The waters are a light Tiffany green-blue.  I have never seen that color water before.  Pretty amazing.  Photos do not do it justice.  As the melt water from a glacier that feeds a lake starts to flow in the spring time it carries with it glacier silt or rock flour. The silt is created when rocks underneath the surface of the ice are grinding from the movement of the glacier. The rock flour is very light and stays suspended in the lake water for a long time. The sunlight that reflects off this rock flour is what gives the lakes their spectacular turquoise blue or green colour.

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 Note:  Kerri is the only one who doesn’t look like a crazy tourist.  She’s a Canadian.

Look at the view from The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise, Fairmont hotel on the eastern shore of Lake Louise, near Banff, Alberta. The original hotel was gradually developed at the turn of the 20th century by the Canadian Pacific Railway and was thus “kin” to its predecessors, the Banff Springs Hotel and the Château Frontenac. The hotel’s wooden Rattenbury Wing was destroyed by fire on 3 July 1924, and was replaced by the current Barrot Wing one year later. The Painter Wing, built in 1913, is the oldest existing portion of the hotel. The Mount Temple Wing, opened in 2004, is the most recent wing and features modern function facilities; these include the Mount Temple Ballroom.  The hotel was first conceived by the railway at the end of the 19th century, as a vacation destination to lure moneyed travelers into taking trains and heading West. By the time airplanes and automobiles had displaced the trains, it had gained sufficient renown to have a life of its own. In 1999, Canadian Pacific Hotels (a division of the Canadian Pacific Railway) acquired Fairmont Hotels and Resorts, and adopted the Fairmont name for all of its hotels, resulting in the Chateau Lake Louise being operated as a Fairmont hotel.  Rate is from $1199.00 CAD per room, per night based on double occupancy.  Offer is available for one or two bedroom suite bookings.

Oh yeah!  We will definitely stay there next trip.

Of course, we found our way to a cute shopping area near Lake Louise for a few souvenirs and some lunch.  Max and Abby were very happy to spend their Canadian dollars.

 

 

 

 

 

And we are off for more exploration!

        

ma·jes·tic
məˈjestik/
adjective
  1. having or showing impressive beauty or dignity.
    synonyms: Statelydignifieddistinguishedsolemnmagnificentgrandsplendidresplendentglorioussumptuousimpressiveaugustnoble,

     awe-inspiringmonumentalpalatial

yes.  all of the above.

Off we go to Canmore and Best Western!  Beautiful hotel and amazing rooms.  Fireplace.  Walk in shower as big as my house…well, almost.  Reading and work nook.  Very nice.  “Okay, ma’am.  we have upgrades you to an executive room today and the charge is $289.  A little steep, but it is only one night, so go ahead and splurge.”  The little song from Moana is playing in my head “you’re welcome!”

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Jeffry’s turn and since he booked way in advance, this should go fast.  “Thanks for waiting sir.  Okay, your standard room with 2 Queen beds will be $499.  Will that be check or charge?”  I watch the color drain from Jeffry’s face and I am wondering if he will pass out right here in the lobby.  A few seconds pass and he calmly says “that cannot possibly be right”.  Um, unfortunately it was.  After an hour on the phone with the booking company it was finally reduced to the same price as mine.  Whew.  For that price per room, they had better bathe me in bubbles, do my hair, mani-pedi and give me a new outfit with shoes and purse to match!

Tomorrow we hit Calgary – with some fun in between.