I <3 Banff.
It’s true. In fact, I am thinking of saving up money, moving to the Town of Banff, persuading the adorable yoga teacher at Rocky Mountain Yoga to become my yogi, work part-time at Lululemon (for the discount, obvs), work part-time at the Wild Flour Bakery, eat maple fudge all day and try to score myself one of the million cute Australian boys who live here.
But I am getting ahead of myself.
Why do I really love Banff? Oh let me count thy ways…
(1) Tag-team oatmeal concoctions from Susan + yours truly.
maple nut oatmeal
1 smashed naner
soy protein powder
Justin’s Maple Almond Butter
maple jelly (!!!)
We are seriously contemplating writing a book entitled, “The Beginner’s Guide to Crafting the Perfect Bowl of Oatmeal While Traveling.”
This bowl was a heavenly, maple-y concoction of loveliness.
It was this maple jelly – made in Susan’s hometown of Riverview in New Brunswick – that really stole the morning oatmeal show…
The best part? I get to take the rest of the jar home for myself.
(2) Amazing views everywhere you look. Even when you are just staring outside your bus window, there are majestic mountains to behold everywhere.
Comfy buses that provide you with said views AND safely get you from Point A to Point B (ahem, Calgary to Banff) are wonderful as well.
(3) Lock boxes in hostels. Don’t underestimate this perk people. Not all hostels/lodges/cheap housing provide this much-needed service. So when they do, you immediately lock up all the things that are most precious to you in the world…
A.k.a. your food.
Passports, wallets and cameras aside, this is clearly your most treasured possession.
(4) Fabulous travel companions. Specifically, travel companions who also understand that the most important thing one must do in a new city (after checking in, unpacking and locking up food, of course) is to go out and savor the local culinary specialties.
Me + Susan = creepy E.S.P. moments all trip.
First stop, a recommendation per Susan’s mom – Rose and Crown!
Since I OD’d on meat the previous day in Calgary (see my Day 1 trip recap here), I went with a DELICIOUS Veggie Portabella Burger to get some veg in my system. Just a foreshadowing of things to come, I definitely have NOT eaten my daily # of veggie servings while on vacay.
Also a foreshadow of things to come, expect to see more sweet potatoes fries in this blog’s future.
Bloggers hard at work…
That would be Susan taking a lovely pic of her amazing Rangeland Elk Stew. You can take the food away from the blogger, but you can’t take the blogger away from food. I take that back. That statement makes no sense.
(5) Maple Nut Fudge. Nuff’ said.
There are no words to describe how rich, fudgy and amazingly tasty this stuff is.
I will be picking up more before I leave.
In reference to point #4, I am going to have to add having local beers – like this Big Rock Traditional Ale (made in Calgary) – with aforementioned traveling companions…
…and picking up new traveling companions along the way!
Karen, who lives in Western Canada, joined Susan + I this weekend and arrived in town just in time for dinner + beer Thursday night.
She’s outgoing, fun and an experienced hiker – in other words, she fit right in.
Also, in reference to point #1, I shall point out this glorious bowl of oatmeal we concocted bright n’ early Friday morning…
apple cinnamon oatmeal
1 smashed banana
soy protein powder
Justin’s Cinnamon Peanut Butter
maple fudge crumbles
AllBran Honey Nut Bar crumbles
(6) Local coffee shops that offer an “extra extra large” size. When is this option going to come Stateside? I need this in my life everyday.
Back in reference to point #2…more amazing views. This view literally greets us every morning upon walking outside YWCA Banff…does it get any more gorgeous than this?
I think not.
(7) A fabulous local yoga studio. Rocky Mountain Yoga is perhaps one of the most adorable studios I’ve practiced in. Our teacher, Mindy, was great and lead us through a 50-minute Flow Class targeted at intermediate yogis.
This was the view we performed our sun salutations to…
(8) Organic cafes situated right underneath a local yoga studio. Wild Flour Bakery is adorable. I know I am completely overusing this word this post, but Banff is full of character, charm and just plain cuteness.
Don’t believe me? Check out this bowl of Parsnip, Butternut Squash + Curried Coconut Soup alongside a piece of generously seedy bread…
Not enough for you? How about I add in a piece of toasted Rosemary, Salami and Roasted Red Pepper Foccacia?
I’m going to assume I safely convinced you on this one.
(9) Hiking. I could probably go on and on about the wonder of traversing trails, enjoying mother nature, breathing in the fresh mountain air, soaking in every spectacular view and appreciating the beauty of Banff National Park, but I think I am going to let the pictures do the talking on this one…
In reference to point #4, I am going to reiterate how much fun it is to go out to eat with fellow food bloggers to local places oozing with local flavor…starting with beer: my favorite brew of the trip, Rickard’s White Ale.
A $7 CAD plate of fish n’ chips? Yes, please!
By far the cheapest meal I paid for all trip.
A side note: Americans should be grateful for how cheap groceries + going out to eat at restaurants is. In Canada, it is EXPENSIVE – the beer alone was $7.50.
(11) An absolutely ridiculous cone of ice cream from Cows. I take that back…an absolutely ridiculous cone of 16% mikfat ice cream (the normal is 10%) from Cows. I went with the Wowie Cowie (toffee, Skor Bar, chocolate + caramel) in a chocolate peanut waffle cone, and it did NOT disappoint. At all.
(12) Going to bed and sleeping the night away after filling your days with non-stop delicious food, friends, hiking, shopping, eating, walking, activity and views. Absolutely the best.
Stay tuned tomorrow for Day 4 of our grand Canadian adventure!