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Saturday, July 19, 2008
Summer Fun in Canada
We have just returned from a fabulous road trip through the Canadian Rockies - well after exploring we realize this is an endless venture and we barely scratched the surface. We spent three days and two nights in the Okanagan specifically Kelowna and three days and two nights in Lake Louise in Banff National Park in Alberta, Canada.
Our itinerary was graciously set up by my good friend and Canadian, Patrick Murphy. While in Kelowna we stayed at the Manteo Resort. Great place - extremely family oriented with nice suites, kitchenettes, friendly, sandy beach, two pools one with a great water slide/tube which the kids loved, and a playground. Babysitting services are provided, so Mom and Dad can escape right next door at the Eldorado Hotel for a wonderful dinner on the boardwalk.
Kelowna and Okanagan Valley is the orchard and winery of Canada. It is unbelievably beautiful and fertile. Cherries, peaches, apricots and wine!!!! We sampled several while in Canada and instantly became hooked. Our favorite was the 2005 Private Reserve Gewürztraminer. It was light and not overly syrupy like some Gewürztraminers - very crisp and refreshing. We came to find virtually every nice hotel and restaurant we came across featured it. The best Okanagan red we tried was the Blasted Church Cabernet Sauvignon Revered Series 2006. I had this with a delicious venison tenderloin while at the Fairmont Hotel at Lake Louise.
After our stay in the Okanagan we headed up through the Canadian Rockies and over Kicking Horse Pass to Lake Louise. This is one of the most stunning places I have ever been! Absolutely breathtaking and indescribable. Glacier fed, turquoise streams and lakes, surrounded by cathedral peaks covered with thick forests and then this 5 star hotel set right in the middle of it all. The Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Hotel ranks right up there in terms of one of the best hotels in the world. Originally built in 1893 the hotel has undergone many renovations, reconstructions, fires, well you get the picture. It's most recent renovation took place last year and it is exceptionally well done. Our room had a perfect view of the lake, mountains, and glacier.
While at Lake Louise we enjoyed a hike around the lake, the gondola ride whereon we saw three grizzly bears in the meadow below us, and a fantastic fondue dinner - and of course some more wines - at the Walliser Stube restaurant. After cheese fondue and then the venison tenderloin and of course some German speatzle, it was time for Tobblerone chocolate fondue. Ok - we indulged - we had a sitter and it was just Heather and I. Fantastic food, wine, service, accommodations, and scenery that is beyond belief.
My mom visited the resort in the late 50s and was stunned by my photos and the reduction in the size of the glacier - so for all you folks who don't think global warming is not real.....well the pics tell the tale. Today, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is recognized globally for progressive environmental stewardship and responsible tourism.
Please check the various websites listed on this blog for more information on the hotels and wines. I highly recommend a visit here to escape the Arizona summers. Fly into Calgary and its about a 2 hours incredibly scenic drive. Enjoy!