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Live, Terry/Ohio, Silver Muse: Alaska, Canada/Rockies, Pix’s

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46 minutes ago, bennybear said:

Glad you enjoyed Canada so Much!  Although I think the mountainnear Vancouver is Mount Baker from Washington state.   Another volcanic mountain.  I wanted to mention re your camera discussion, my DH has the big Nikon with all the lenses that he usually doesn’t want to carry. So we use the cell phone a lot.   He just purchased a Nikon Coolpix 900 that is lightweight and has an amazing built in zoom.   So we will try this.   

 

YES!!  Super enjoyed Canada.  Not just the wonderful sights and sites, but we loved the nice people, clean/tidy cities and countrysides, great food, etc. etc.  

 

My recollection was that the one picture was of Mount Baker.  But, when I checked more, it showed that being in the State of Washington.  You must be correct for that mountain's name.  Great added details. 

 

On cameras for this type of trip, an iPhone can obtain good to decent visuals in many cases.  BUT, when doing wildlife at a distance and for certain other photographic challenges, a "real camera" can help improve significantly your quality and results.  Good luck with the Nikon Coolpix 900.  Happy to share more photo tips and ideas if needed. 

 

Per Wikipedia, here are some additional background items about this rail service: Rocky Mountaineer is a Canadian rail-tour company in Western Canada that operates trains on four rail routes through British Columbia, Alberta, and the U.S. state of Washington.   They began as a 19-times weekly VIA Rail daytime service between Calgary and Vancouver in June 1988.  In 1989, VIA renamed the service the 'Rocky Mountaineer,' reducing the number of weekly trains and adding an overnight stop in Kamloops.  After the sale of the branding in 1990, the current company was founded in 1990 and is based in Vancouver. It ran its first train on May 27, 1990.  It is the busiest privately owned passenger rail service in North America, having transported over one million passengers since 1990.  Rocky Mountaineer has been awarded the "World's Leading Travel Experience by Train" at the World Travel Awards seven times for its GoldLeaf service and was recognized by National Geographic Magazine as one of the "World’s Best Journeys" in 2007. The Society of American Travel Writers, the world’s largest organization of professional travel journalists and photographers, rated the Rocky Mountaineer as the world's top train ride in 2009.

 

To allow for the best views, Rocky Mountaineer operates exclusively during the day. On the First Passage to the West and on Journey Through the Clouds routes an overnight stop is made in Kamloops. Overnight as we slept, the joined our train from Jasper with 400 passengers with the train from Banff to create a final day's rail combo with a total of 700 passengers on the way to Vancouver.  On the Rainforest to Gold Rush route, there are two overnight stops in Whistler and Quesnel. The Rocky Mountaineer season runs from late April to mid-October with multiple departures every week going both eastbound and westbound.

 

While in Alaska, we saw on the Smithsonian cable channel, an excellent video program about the Rocky Mountaineer rail history and experience.  Below is a map of the overall options with this rail service, plus a couple of visuals from off of this Smithsonian documentary that is so well produced and visually attractive.   A key part of the history cited is: "The story of how the Canadian Pacific Railway began building its famous trainline is almost as riveting as the sights it opens up for the nine million tourists who come to the Canadian Rockies every year."   To build this rail route was a major engineering accomplishment. Amazing to see it all in person. 

You can connect via this link to this documentary:

https://www.smithsonianchannel.com/shows/mighty-trains/rocky-mountaineer/1004949/3472979

 

THANKS! Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio.

 

Lisbon, NWSpain, Bordeaux/Brittany: Live/blog, June 2017 from Portugal to France along scenic Atlantic Coast on the Silver Spirit.  Now at 29,485 views.  Many interesting pictures, details for history, food, culture, etc.:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2511358

 

Here is an overall map showing a wider variety of the different routes that the Rocky Mountaineer folks offer.  If I won the lottery and more money, I would definitely want to sample more of these scenic routes.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)

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From the excellent Smithsonian Channel documentary, here are just a couple quick visual samples.    First is of the Hell's Gate location.  It is a dramatic narrowing of British Columbia's Fraser River, located immediately downstream of Boston Bar in the southern Fraser Canyon. The towering rock walls of the Fraser River force the waters through a passage only 115 feet wide.:

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33 minutes ago, worldtraveller99 said:

Thank you Terry for all photos, plus menus. Going back to Vancouver we aim to go to Stanley Park, Gastown, Chinatown, a floatplane day to Victoria to see Butchart Gardens and downtown / museum there - may book this autumn, whale watching from Vancouver - may book this autumn, Grouse mountain, UBC Museum of Anthropology, Granville Island, Vancouver Tower, Christchurch Cathedral, Vancouver Art Gallery + shops! Just to say for anyone doing FlyOver Canada - I think this is what I did in the Epcot Centre some years ago, which led to a very unwell experience with a flower bed! If you are planning to take Dramamine or whatever for the cruise, as I am, you may want to take it for that too. I won't try and do it again!

 

YES!!  You have really done very well your "homework" for visiting Vancouver.  Previously, during a trip to Seattle, we had visited wonderful Victoria, British Columbia.   Therefore, no need for us to consider that excellent option for an excursion from Vancouver during our recent trip.   Granville Island is a must-see super star.  Keep up the great research and planning.  Let us know any other questions, comments, etc.  

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Panama Canal? Early 2017, Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco adventure through Panama Canal.  Our first stops in Colombia, Central America and Mexico, plus added time in the great Golden Gate City. Now at 27,525 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2465580

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Glad you got to Queen Elizabeth Park, the views are great and the birds and plants in the arboretum are amazing!  

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15 hours ago, worldtraveller99 said:

Thank you so much Terry for your wonderful information about Vancouver. I guess you all drove to Queen Elizabeth Park - or is there a good way there on public transport? We have 5 days in Vancouver before our cruise - not been there before. 

Sorry to jump onto Terry's thread, but since you've asked some info that he can't provide this seems like the right place to supply that info for you!

 

Depending on your tolerance for walking uphill, the best transit option varies from grabbing a cab at the nearest SkyTrain station, King Edward (the Canada Line to the airport runs under the hill); connecting to a bus at King Eddy and then walking less uphill from the closest bus stop on Cambie into the park or even less from Midlothian Ave on the other side; or if you're in good shape just walking from SkyTrain (in which case the next stop southbound, Oakridge, involves less of a hill than King Eddie and only an extra 2 mins on the train).

 

Google Maps fully-integrates our transit options, walking, and bike paths, so it's much more efficient to use than the official Translink trip planner (which also uses less-accurate algorithms for walking between connecting services than Google does). Plug in your hotel, or whatever other tourist site you're planning before/after QEP, to this map (currently set for Canada Place on the current date), adjust the time/date to when you're planning for, and it'll auto-adjust to the relevant schedule frequencies.

 

Coming back into downtown, a bus then SkyTrain means you have to buy two tickets - you can't transfer FROM buses to anything else with a bus ticket even though you can transfer from anything else TO a bus, so unless you have a Day Pass that lets you seamlessly connect between all transit modes you may want to walk downhill to King Eddie or Oakridge and board SkyTrain rather than waste $3 each riding a bus for a really short distance first.

 

Personally though, I'd suggest renting a car for one day and combining QEP with MOA (and possibly also the Beatty, botanic garden, rose garden, Japanese garden and maybe even some other museums too which are also out at UBC - the rose garden is actually on top of the closest car park to MOA!) - parking is pretty cheap at QEP and UBC, and the sheer convenience of your own car for getting to both these places compared to buses (UBC has no SkyTrain) could easily save you a couple of hours on transit. Cabs from a downtown hotel to QEP to UBC and back to your downtown hotel would probably run about $100 total between meter and tips, so a day's car rental, a little gas, and a few hours parking will cost you much less (unless you pay for the extra CDW insurance etc. - get a credit card with that included if you ever rent cars abroad, it'll save you a ton!)

 

While in downtown Vancouver a car adds more expense and hassle than it does convenience, Steveston (where most Vancouver whale-watches go from) is another 'car for the win' location - if you whale-watch from Granville Island with Wild Whales you don't have that concern, but the Gulf of Georgia Cannery museum in Steveston is also superb. If Grouse is your only North Shore plan then no car needed thanks to their 'free' shuttle, but if you were considering Capilano bridge too then I'd suggest a second day of car rental could also be worthwhile as you could then visit Lynn Canyon instead saving ~$90 right off the bat for 2 people compared to Cap (Lynn is a hassle to get to on transit, involving at least one change of bus and a bridge or Seabus trip so ballpark 1hr15mins each way from downtown, but is both free and more pleasant than Cap due to minimal tourists, an ecology station manned by park rangers, and far more spectacular white water in the canyon below the bridges - this and QEP are the 'not secret at all but still it's almost all locals and their guests who visit them' places I always take visitors to).

 

There's also another angle when you're doing whale-watching and the floatplane to Victoria - do your whale-watch from there or on the way there. It's cheaper to do out of Victoria, and more companies do it - the whales are most often closer to Victoria than Vancouver or Steveston so it's more efficient for them, less fuel to find them. There's also the Prince of Whales 'fast boat from downtown Vancouver to Victoria or vice versa' service which combines en route whale-watching with transportation, and then you can fly back - if you did want to whale-watch in Vic this is the most efficient way to combine it in terms of timing, and given how pricey floatplanes are these days it's usually also cheaper than a floatplane ticket. ~$230 for the boat ride compared to ~$130 for a whale-watch and it's near impossible to find floatplanes under $100 each way these days. PoW also combine Butchart visits with their boat trips - Butchart has their own dock that you can bring a boat or floatplane into, instead of arriving at the front gate with the peons in buses 😉

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Thank you so much martincath, this is very helpful. The only reason I didn't want to let our whale watching cut into our Victoria time is that with Butchart Gardens I think Victoria itself will take all day. But I shall look up PoW trip with the gardens, thank you. Re hiring a car just for one day from downtown - where would you do that? 

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13 hours ago, martincath said:

Sorry to jump onto Terry's thread, but since you've asked some info that he can't provide this seems like the right place to supply that info for you!

 

Appreciate from martincath this excellent follow-up and all of these great details to consider for Vancouver.  YES, many options and potentials in this large and sprawling cosmopolitan area.  Based on our riding around with Lauren and Clayton, I would be careful as to getting a rental car to do much in the main parts of Vancouver.  Traffic and parking can be a challenge in their central business and residential areas, especially if you are not experienced and knowledgeable as to how to be navigating there. 

 

As to Queen Elizabeth Park, below are a couple more visuals from there.  Lots of options at the scenic area.  Keep it coming!!!  Great sharing.   No worry as to hijacking this thread.   

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Panama Canal? Early 2017, Fort Lauderdale to San Francisco adventure through Panama Canal.  Our first stops in Colombia, Central America and Mexico, plus added time in the great Golden Gate City. Now at 27,525 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2465580

 

 

Here are a couple more of my visuals from Vancouver's Queen Elizabeth Park.  First is the view towards the "Lookout" and the main part of their downtown from this park's elevated location.  Second is another view of this park's many attractions and charming details.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)

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We have family in Vancouver and for seven years our son lived there and we would drive regularly.   It can be very congested.  I have always found the taxis reasonable.   So would suggest just using them and then nothing to worry about if you don’t like driving in big cities.  

Kitsilano is also a lovely area to explore,  nice restaurants, interesting shops and near a beach.   Or Main Street in mount pleasant or commercial drive.  Lots of interesting areas and places to explore.  Both the last two easily accessible by sky train.  

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Thank you all. We live in London - it is worse to drive here than Athens! Though still better than Palermo! So cities are not an issue, just easily getting hold of the car without wasting time on that. I think you are right and we will go for the cab option!

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11 hours ago, worldtraveller99 said:

Thank you so much martincath, this is very helpful. The only reason I didn't want to let our whale watching cut into our Victoria time is that with Butchart Gardens I think Victoria itself will take all day. But I shall look up PoW trip with the gardens, thank you. Re hiring a car just for one day from downtown - where would you do that? 

Rather than clog up Terry's thread with more and more ancillary info, I'll point you over to the most-relevant Vancouver board (West Coast Departures) for any further questions, where I'll be happy to go into any details you like (and some other locals and past visitors will also).

 

But since I'm already posting I may as well answer this Q! All the major car rental companies have downtown offices so go with the best price on the day unless you have some loyalty status with a particular firm. Costco tends to offer the best prices across the board - if you're not a member, Kayak has excellent tools to compare multiple rental companies in the same city at once which saves a lot of time checking 4+ individual company websites!

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22 hours ago, bennybear said:

We have family in Vancouver and for seven years our son lived there and we would drive regularly.   It can be very congested.  I have always found the taxis reasonable.   So would suggest just using them and then nothing to worry about if you don’t like driving in big cities.

 

Great follow-ups from bennybear and Martincath saying "Rather than clog up Terry's thread with more and more ancillary info, I'll point you over to the most-relevant Vancouver board (West Coast Departures) for any further questions."    Excellent follow-ups and posts.  Don't worry about clogging things up.  It all adds up to great sharing.  Keep it coming!!

 

From the New York Times Travel Section in September 2017, they had this headline: 36 Hours in Vancouver with this sub-head: “With its urban forests, glassy downtown and energetic food scene, it’s easy to be captivated with this coastal city in British Columbia.”

 

Here are some other key story highlights: “It happens before you know it: Suddenly, you’re smitten with Vancouver — its endless coastline, glassy downtown, the extravagant nature that surrounds and permeates it. A recent article in the Vancouver Sun featured a 600-year-old Douglas fir in Stanley Park. Vancouver is that kind of place — a place where a tree is a celebrity. It’s also a food lover’s kind of place: You could spend days sampling local variations on everything from sushi to lasagna to vegetarian concoctions that can transform an heirloom tomato into something decadent, and barely scratch the surface of the constantly evolving restaurant scene. On the cultural front, a commitment to public art has turned some areas into sculpture gardens. And in this city of many ethnicities, First Nations art and culture are becoming more and more visible: A series of murals by indigenous artists has appeared around the city; a reconciliation totem was recently raised; traditional dance and other performances are staples on the cultural agenda; and museums highlight the art, history and environmental practices of Squamish, Tsleil-Waututh, Musqueam and other Pacific Northwest societies. ”

 

Here are some additional ideas, options and background that might be of interest: Stanley Park is the oldest and largest of the more than 230 parks in Vancouver: 1,000 acres of forest, wetlands and beaches (and a few manmade attractions — among them, an aquarium and a handful of restaurants).  It’s not difficult to find a reason to hop on the Canada Line for the short trip to nearby Richmond with its largely Chinese population. There are temples, like the imperial-style International Buddhist Temple, which welcomes visitors.  The wooded campus of the University of British Columbia holds many surprises: a suspended walkway through a forest canopy; a Japanese tea garden; a reconciliation pole by the Haida master carver James Hart; and a longhouse that serves as a student center. Near the water, the Museum of Anthropology has thousands of First Nations artifacts.”

 

Full story at:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2017/09/07/travel/what-to-do-36-hours-in-vancouver-british-columbia-canada.html

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

From late 2018, you can see “Holy Lands, Egypt, Jordan, Oman, Dubai, Greece, etc.”, with many visuals, details and ideas for the historic and scenic Middle East.  Connect at:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2607054-livenautica-greece-holy-lands-egypt-dubai-terrypix’s/

 

Here are some "bonus" visuals as relates to Queen Elizabeth Park, its plantings, waling areas, flowers, etc.:

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From Granville Island, here is a view from its dock looking towards the main part of Vancouver's downtown areas.  Second is my wife and Frances at one of the many cute shops in this charming market.:

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Here is one of the Aqua Bus shuttles that allows exploring the waterfront and various residential, high-rise areas. Plus, some nice flowers and an angle on the cruise ship docking area from Stanley Park.:

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As briefly mentioned earlier, we flew into Canada from Columbus by arriving at Calgary's airport.  We were met by wonderful Mark and Carol who gave us an excellent introductory tour of and around Calgary with much background as to its famed Stampede that was completed the weekend before we arrived.  We also got a sampling of the nearby country areas, plus other sites and locations in Calgary.  That night they feted us to excellent Alberta beef and New Zealand rack of lamb.  All perfectly grilled by Mark.  Below are a wide range for some of the highlights from our one day in Calgary before we got our rental car and headed west to Banff. 

 

Per Wikipedia, Calgary is situated at the confluence of the Bow River and the Elbow River about 50 miles east of the front ranges of the Canadian Rockies.   The city had a population of 1,267,344 in 2018, making it Alberta's largest city and Canada's third-largest municipality.   The economy of Calgary includes activity in the energy, financial services, film and television, transportation and logistics, technology, manufacturing, aerospace, health and wellness, retail and tourism sectors.  The Calgary CMA is home to the second-highest number of corporate head offices in Canada among the country's 800 largest corporations.  In 2015, Calgary had the highest number of millionaires per capita of any major city in Canada.   In 1988, Calgary became the first Canadian city to host the Winter Olympic Games.  Calgary has consistently been recognized for its high quality of life. In 2018, The Economist magazine ranked Calgary the fourth most liveable city in the world in their Global Liveability Ranking.


From the New York Times Travel Section early last year, they had this headline: “36 Hours in Calgary” with this sub-head: “A new generation of chefs is championing locally sourced menus, and a relaxation of liquor production laws has led to a boom in microbreweries.”

 

Here are some other key story highlights: “The construction cranes that pierce the downtown Calgary skyline and nearby neighborhoods suggest a boom on the Alberta prairie. In fact, in the past two years, sagging oil and gas prices have crimped Calgary’s economy, which is now showing signs of recovery. Projects underway before the slowdown, including the music museum at Studio Bell, have charged the city’s cultural scene. A new generation of chefs is championing Alberta-grown-and-raised foodstuffs, and a relaxation of liquor production laws in 2013 has led to a boom in microbreweries. Banff-bound visitors commonly land in Calgary and head directly to the national park, about a 90-minute drive west. But Calgary also champions the outdoors, with extensive recreational paths, world-class Olympic facilities that are open to the public and a penchant for open-air cafes even in winter when, occasionally, the chinook winds sweep in.  Calgary held the Winter Olympics in 1988 and has continued to use the competition’s venues, which are now a training draw for medal hopefuls. Opened in 1914, the historic Fairmont Palliser offers grand public spaces, including its elegant lobby and woody bar, and a full range of amenities.”

 

Full story at:

https://www.nytimes.com/interactive/2018/01/25/travel/what-to-do-36-hours-in-alberta-calgary-canada.html

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Barcelona/Med: June 2011, with stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Great visuals with key highlights, tips, etc. Live/blog now at 248,345 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

 

 

To start these Calgary highlights, here was a the graphic on a cute tee-shirt.  Second is the Bow River going around the main part of their high-rise downtown.  The third and fourth pictures show where the famed Calgary Stampede is staged, including the Saddledome that is home to their National Hockey League team and other activities.  The large grandstand is where many parts of the Stampede is conducted.:

(Open your screen/viewer wider to see these pictures larger/better!)

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Here is Mark and Carol with my wife.  They were wonderful hosts who gave us an excellent introduction to Calgary and Alberta, plus a super warm Canada welcome.:

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Below is a mix of the different architecture styles, both new and historic, from the main business district in Calgary.  Many options for shopping, dining and experiences in their downtown, but we needed to head west towards Banff National Park and the drama to be visiting for the first time to see this part of the Canada Rockies.   

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Norway Coast/Fjords/Arctic Circle cruise from Copenhagen, July 2010, to the top of Europe. Wonderful scenic visuals with key tips. Live/blog at 237,021 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1227923

 

Here are some of the buildings on and near Calgary's Stephen Avenue Walk:  Built early 1900s (turned into a pedestrian street in 1970), it is known for some of Calgary's best restaurants, cafés, pubs, bars and an eclectic mix of boutiques and high-end retail.  This street contains a high concentration of registered historic buildings.  Many of these building are made of sandstone that was quarried locally from the Paskapoo Formation.  The construction of these fire-resistant buildings followed a fire in 1886 that damaged many of the city's earlier wooden structures.  Fifth shows an interesting name for a pet hotel in their downtown.:

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Since 1914, Fairmont Palliser hotel has been a cornerstone of Calgary's hospitality industry and a landmark building.  Shown is a sample of its lobby that I visited.:

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Our Marriott hotel was night next to the Calgary Tower.  It features an exterior LED light show each morning before sunrise and nightly from dusk to midnight. Located 626.64 feet above the downtown core, it offer 360° views of the city, the Rocky Mountains, the foothills, and the prairies.  Originally named the Husky Tower, it was constructed to honor Canada’s centennial and promote the downtown core as a part of a Calgary urban renewal program.:

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WOW just WOW!!  I enjoyed every word and every photo!!  Your review is sooo impressive and thorough and entertaining and interesting!!   It was our pleasure to have met you and your wife - Clayton and I really enjoyed our day with you. 

 

Lauren

 

 

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3 hours ago, deus said:

WOW just WOW!!  I enjoyed every word and every photo!!  Your review is sooo impressive and thorough and entertaining and interesting!!   It was our pleasure to have met you and your wife - Clayton and I really enjoyed our day with you.  Lauren

 

Super wonderful follow-usp and comments from Lauren and bennybear.  YES, we also really enjoyed out wonderful day in Vancouver with Clayton and Lauren.  As mentioned earlier, the warmth and hospitality of those in Canada is amazing.  

 

BANFF:  With more than 1,000 miles of hiking and mountain biking trails around Banff, this super scenic area is world-famous.  Banff was Canada’s first national park. In 1883, on the slopes of the Canadian Rocky Mountains, three railway workers discovered a natural hot spring and from there, the park was born. Banff is part of UNESCO’s Canadian Rocky Mountain World Heritage site. The highest in the park, Mount Forbes, comes in at 11,850 feet.  Centered around this town of nearly 8,000 residents, Banff has stone-and-brick facades offerings restaurants, bars and shops selling a gamut of goods, including crafts, clothing, sporting gear and outerwear. The arts scene includes the Whyte Museum of the Canadian Rockies and the Banff Centre for Arts and Creativity. But, Banff is much more “commercial” compared to the more laid-back town of Jasper.  Banff National Park draws more than 3 million annual visitors, creating some “competition’ that can be a little challenging.   

 

Banff, at the western edge of Alberta, is about 78 miles west of Calgary.  The park is on the Trans-Canada Highway.  The Bow River flows through the town of Banff, with the Bow Falls located on the outskirts of town near the Banff Springs hotel. Later, we visited the Columbia Icefield, the largest uninterrupted glacial mass in the Rockies. Erosion from water and ice have carved the mountains into their current shapes.

 

The Fairmont Banff Springs hotel overlooks a valley towards Mount Rundle and is at an altitude of 4,639 feet. Originally built in 1888 by the Canadian Pacific Railway as one of their earliest grand railway hotels, it has undergone several stages of growth and change with major additions/rebuilds completed in 1914 and 1928.  That 1928 construction replaced the original wooden section significantly damaged by fire. The tallest part of the hotel is 195’ high. King George VI, and his Queen visited the hotel during their 1939 Royal tour of Canada.  The Banff Springs Hotel now includes 764 guest rooms and suites spread throughout the sprawling hotel property.

 

We dined, as noted earlier, at their Vermillion Room, a French/Canadian dining room with nice views, plus very good food.  Dining here is a much more affordable way to sample this amazing property without springing for the costly rooms to stay here.  Through the Rocky Mountaineer rail package, our hotel for two nights was the Moose Hotel and Suites.  That property is only two-years old with underground parking, decent food, etc.  Worked well as a part of a reasonably-priced package.   

 

THANKS! Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio.

 

Sydney to NZ/Auckland Adventure, live/blog 2014 sampling/details with many exciting visuals and key highlights.  On page 23, post #571, see a complete index for all of the pictures, postings.  Now at 223,911 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1974139

 

Here is one visual sample of downtown Banff with its various buildings, shops, etc., in this scenic area surrounding by the powerful mountains.:

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This hotel is like a "castle in the sky" with its position in the middle of such a dramatic setting.  Much to see with its unique history, the wide variety of its visitors, outdoor art, etc., etc.:

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After dinner at the Vermillion Room of the Banff Springs hotel, my dessert was called MACARON A LA PISTACHE ET CRÉME GLACÉE with pistachio ice cream, pistachio macaron, vanilla crème, cocoa nibs, brittle wafer, candied pistachio.  Their summary for this dining location is "kitchen serves dishes with French elegance and Canadian charm.":

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Oh the Banff Springs, sigh!  Love that hotel.   Had our honeymoon there and celebrated a few anniversaries too.   The most memorable was when a pine marten got in  the hotel some how and scared our granddaughters,  they called it the terrible kitty cat.  

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10 hours ago, bennybear said:

Oh the Banff Springs, sigh!  Love that hotel.   Had our honeymoon there and celebrated a few anniversaries too.   The most memorable was when a pine marten got in  the hotel some how and scared our granddaughters,  they called it the terrible kitty cat.  

 

Appreciate these great memories and connections shared above by bennybear.  You really know and have experienced well these dramatic and scenic areas of Canada.  Fun about the "terrible kitty cat".

 

LAKE LOUISE:  Fairmont’s Chateau Lake Louise is located at a site named Lake of the Little Fishes by the Stoney Nakota First Nations people.  Lake Louise was named for Princess Louise Caroline Alberta (1848–1939), the fourth daughter of Queen Victoria and the wife of the Governor General of Canada from 1878 to 1883.  As a glacial lake within Banff National Park in Alberta, it is located 3.1 miles west of the Trans-Canada Highway (Highway 1). We dined at The Fairview for their famed Afternoon Tea and enjoyed being in a scenic spot overlooking beautiful Lake Louise. 

 

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 Chateau Lake Louise has three different wings, has 550 total rooms and seven dining options.   The latest, connected addition, built in 2004, has a parking garage at its lower levels.  One of our key secrets was making an advanced reservation for doing the afternoon tea.  That got us onto the immediate grounds of this popular hotel and being able to park in the garage (with that $26 fee waived since we were using their dining facilities).  During their peak, busy summer season, many visitors must park miles away and use a bus shuttle.  Fortunately, with advanced planning, we avoided that “hassle”.  Our plan made things much more convenient and efficient.    

 

Why is Lake Louise Canada so blue?  The impressive color comes from silt-like rock flour continually being carried into the lake by melt-water from the surrounding glaciers. The tiny and uniform particles become suspended in the water, refracting blue and green wavelengths of light. Average July-August high is 68F with a low of 39F.

 

Nearby Moraine Lake is a glacially-fed lake and 8.7 miles from the Village of Lake Louise. It is situated in the Valley of the Ten Peaks, at an elevation of approximately 6,183 feet. The lake has a surface area of 120 acres.  The lake, being glacially fed, does not reach its crest until mid to late June. When it is full, it reflects a distinctive shade of azure blue.  Due to the limited parking at the Moraine Lake site, some auto access is closed off at timesand visitors are required to use a bus shuttle.  We fortunately were able to drive directly there.  Overall, Lake Louise can be fairly crowded, busy and “international” in the crowds there.  We loved Moraine Lake as it is more “natural” and less crowded.  Both are super must-sees when traveling to Banff-Jasper National Parks.

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio.

 

Venice: Loving It & Why??!!  Is one of your future desires or past favorites? See these many visual samples for its great history and architecture.  This posting is now at 84,853 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1278226

 

Not previously posted, here are three additional views as we experienced super scenic Lake Louise and walked around the grounds at this historic hotel.  Yes, that water is a wonderful shade of blue!!: 

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Here are just three of the many delicious items enjoyed as we did Afternoon Tea at the Chateau Lake Louise.:

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Here are a couple of the flags flying at Lake Louise with the forest areas in the background.:

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JASPER:  Jasper National Park is the largest national park in the Canadian Rockies, spanning 4,200 square miles. It is located in the province of Alberta, north of Banff National Park and west of Edmonton. The park contains the glaciers of the Columbia Icefield, springs, lakes, waterfalls and mountains.  Jasper was named after Jasper Hawes, who operated a trading post in the region for the North West Company. The park was established in 1907 as Jasper Forest Park and was granted national park status in 1930.   Per Wikipedia, in 2014, Jasper National Park had 2,154,711 visitors. The park was declared a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1984, together with the other national and provincial parks that form the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks.

 

The town of Jasper is 225 miles west of Edmonton and 180 miles north of Banff.  It has an elevation of 3,480 feet and has a population of about 4,500.  As mentioned previously, we liked the more low-key, less-commercial style of Jasper compared to Banff. Doing BOTH is still a priority and needed. 

 

The Columbia Icefield is the largest ice field in the Rocky Mountains.  It is located in the Canadian Rockies astride the Continental Divide between the borders of British Columbia and Alberta.  The Columbia Icefield was one of the last major geological features in western Canada to be visited and recorded by Europeans, due to its isolation and harsh weather conditions.  In April 1827, Scottish botanist David Douglas was crossing Athabasca Pass—a major trading route located north of the Icefield—when he climbed one of the adjacent mountain peaks. The icefield feeds six major glaciers.

 

In Jasper, we had a great evening meal at ALBA Restaurant.  From TripAdvisor, it is ranked as #2 of 71 Restaurants in Jasper, pricing $$ - $$$, with Mediterranean, Italian, Contemporary menu items, at 610 Patricia St., upstairs on second floor, phone:  780-852-4002.

 

Average for Jasper July-August high is 68F with a low of 39F.

 

THANKS! Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio.

 

Amazon River-Caribbean 2015 adventure live/blog starting in Barbados. Many visuals from this amazing river and Caribbean Islands (Dutch ABC's, St. Barts, Dominica, Grenada, San Juan, etc.).  Now at 64,351 views:

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2157696

 

Here are some additional views from Moraine Lake that we super loved.  Notice and like the water color, plus the dramatic mountains?:

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One of our best meals in the area was at the Juniper Hotel Bistro just outside of Banff.  Look good and tasty?  Yes, it was!:

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Here are additional views on the way to the Columbia Icefield.  Second gives a better idea as to the size and design for these special vehicles used to take us up, UP to get on top of and then reach this massive ice formation.  Like this small waterfall that was a part of this glacier?  Finally, some waterfall and flower visuals are shown.:

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Last night at a 50th wedding anniversary celebration/dinner for our long-time friends, Janet and Dennis, we had a chance to share more on our Alaska-Western Canada adventure with the mother of Holly, who took such great care of us with her Wings Airways in Juneau.  That's the location during our cruise where we did the flight-seeing trip over the five glaciers, going to Taku Glacier Lodge, etc.  Great to share those wonderful memories. That excursion was one of the top, best highlights from out trip!!

 

This past week, I also had a chance to total up the number of photos taken during these travels.  With my Nikon D7200, the overall number was 4920 pictures on that camera.  Plus, there were about 232 pictures using my iPhone.  That totals up to about 5,150 pictures taken during this three-week trip.  It sounds like "lots", but when you are trying to capture wildlife, sights from a plane and/or moving train, etc., etc., you be ready to "fire first" and sort out later which ones work and look best.  Over time, others have asked for my photo tips, thoughts, secrets and suggestions.  

 

Yes, visuals are important!! The picture postings have been great fun in sharing  Visuals are very powerful and sometimes what people remember most.  That's why this thing called television has done fairly well in our society.  I like the Eyewitness and Insight travel books because of their great variety of good visuals.   The old saying "A picture is worth a thousand words" incorporates the idea that a complex messages can be conveyed with just a single or a few still images.  People are four times more likely to remember what they BOTH see and hear.  Studies also show that those younger tend to be more visually-oriented.  That saying summarizes that through visualization, it is possible to communicate large amounts of "data" or words quickly. Supposedly, this comes from a Chinese proverb attributed to Confucius. A Russian writer wrote "A picture shows me at a glance what it takes dozens of pages of a book to expound."   French Emperor Napoleon Bonaparte reportedly said: "A good sketch is better than a long speech".

 

Here are a few of my basic, key photography suggestions:

 

1. Shooting lots of pictures!  That is easier with digital to do, learning/improving as you are taking pictures.  When done and sharing, only show people the "good ones!" and do not bother them with the average, duplicate and/or poor ones.  The more you shoot, that improves your "odds" to get more better pictures, varied framings, magic moments, etc.

2. Move closer!  Zoom in, fill up the frame, try different, more interesting angles.

3. Involve people and light.  Make it interesting. Get that human element/connection when possible.  Do NOT be boring!!  Get something better than just the normal "post-card" picture that everyone has previously seen or can find easily on the Internet.

4. Hold things steady.  Gently squeeze.  Use door frames, walls to give more “stability” and lessen the blurs in lower-light situations.  Night pictures can have a real drama.

5. Editing. Fine-tune your pictures on your lap-top, brighten when needed, level it out, improve the cropping, etc. Narrow down to only your “best of the best” pictures before sharing. I have done that on my MacBook Pro computer using their iPhoto and now Aperture software tools.  Fairly quick and easy!!  That thoughtful editing really can make a major difference to increase quality and interest.

 

Need more photography ideas and background?  Happy to share more!!  Let me know any questions, technical data needs, your added ideas, interests and thoughts?

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

SE Asia/Mekong River, Etc.!  Live/blog from early 2018, first adventure through SE Asia, stops in Hong Kong and Bangkok, before exploring all over Vietnam and Cambodia, seven days sailing on the Mekong River. Now at 49,100 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2591474

 

From our Afternoon Tea at scenic Lake Louise, here are a couple of additional visuals.  First is the view from our table out through the arched windows towards this dramatic, blue lake.  Second is a sampling for the various "sweet" options as a part of this food feast.:

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As we traveled north by car from Banff to Jasper, below are three additional samples fo the many "visual treats" we enjoyed.  First is a sample of the "play" between the sky, clouds, trees and blue water.  Second is the look of the Columbia Icefields glacier that we later were to be walking and exploring.  Third is one of the totem poles seen during our travels along this route.:

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From the Moose Lodge where we stayed for two nights in Banff, these were a couple of views from their top-level pool, hot tub, deck, etc., area that offered nice vantages to the nearby mountains.:

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If you are planning a pre- or post-cruise excursion up to Denali National Park, there is a potential that your trip might involve some time on the Alaska railroad.  That was part of our "plan".  But, however, "things" can happen!!   Why and how?  For us on August 4, there was a rock slide from the heavy rains that covered part of the tracks and damaged the steel rails that our domed passenger car would have been using in coming down from Fairbanks.  We had to adjust and use our coach/bus to get us down to Talkeetna and then to Anchorage.  Fortunately, we had some of this wonderful train experiences after we got off of our ship in Seward and in traveling north to Girdwood, near Anchorage.   Loved the train sights and travel style during this trip.   

 

From the Anchorage Daily News four days ago, they had this headline: “Alaska Railroad cancels passenger service between Anchorage and Denali due to wildfire” with these highlights: “The Alaska Railroad has canceled all passenger service between Anchorage and Denali National Park and Preserve due to the wildfire burning north of Willow, the corporation announced Monday.  The McKinley fire jumped the tracks Saturday night near railroad Mile 205 between Willow and Talkeetna and continued to burn Monday on both sides.  More passengers are expected to travel both directions by motor coach on Monday. The railroad expects to use motor coach service through Tuesday.  The Parks Highway reopened Monday morning to one lane with a pilot car leading vehicles through a 28-mile stretch, but there were still significant delays and drivers were urged to avoid the area.”

 

In an area such as Alaska, all does not go exactly according to plan or schedule.  Fires, rock slides, weather impacts, etc., require some flexibility and patience.  

 

Full story at:

https://www.adn.com/alaska-news/2019/08/19/alaska-railroad-cancels-passenger-service-between-anchorage-and-denali-due-to-wildfire/

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

AFRICA?!!?: Fun, interesting visuals, plus travel details from this early 2016 live/blog. At 46,663 views. Featuring Cape Town, South Africa’s coast, Mozambique, Victoria Falls/Zambia and Botswana's famed Okavango Delta.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=2310337

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1 hour ago, worldtraveller99 said:

Love all the photos Terry - any more from around the ship? 

 

Appreciate your continued nice comments and follow-ups.  Yes, have more visuals from around and about the ship.  As I am catching up BOTH from this three-week adventure and being down in Virginia with our grandsons, etc., during this past week, I will post more ship visuals later this weekend or early next week.  Let me know any other info and/or visual interests/needs.  Happy to share more.    

 

From the Magazine Section of the South China Post in Hong Kong on August 15,, they had this headline: “Alaska: the good, bad and ugly sides to life on America’s ‘last frontier’” with some good highlights that relate to its unique history/background with this sub-head: “Vast and underpopulated, the 49th state’s great outdoors is a hunting, hiking and adventure sports paradise, but for how much longer?”

 

Here are some interesting additional highlights: "The name Alaska is derived from the Eskimo word alakshak, meaning “great lands”. Separated from the rest of the United States by the Canadian province of British Columbia, the state is twice the size of Texas.  Alaska has the longest coastline of any US state, the most active volcanoes and one bear for every 21 humans, although it’s unclear who did the counting. As for the urban myth that Eskimos have 50 words for snow, anthropologists reckon there might actually be some truth in it – especially as there’s evidence that the Sámi people have 1,000 words that describe reindeer.
Tourists come to hike, hunt, fish and conquer some of the most challenging peaks in the US. You can book a bear-viewing tour or go panning for gold or husky dog-sledding. Alaska is home to more than three million lakes and 100,000 glaciers and, although a third of the state lies within the Arctic Circle, summer temperatures can be pleasantly balmy. In Utqiagvik, the sun rises on May 10 and doesn’t set again for almost three months.
"

 

Here are a few more items that might be of interest from this profile: "Juneau has more miles of tunnels than roads – a legacy of its gold mining days – and is the only state capital inaccessible by car. The only ways in and out are by plane, ferry or cruise ship.   Alaska’s size and relative inaccessi­bility mean many residents aren’t connected to the electricity grid while those who are struggle with skyrocketing utility bills. According to a federal agencies report, the Alaskan climate is warming twice as fast as the global average. The aforementioned pleasantly balmy summer weather made international news over the 4th of July weekend, when Anchorage recorded an all-time-high temperature of 90 degrees Fahrenheit.  Alaskans are grateful for the revenue that tourism generates but that doesn’t stop them from going online to complain about certain behaviour. Gripes include inconsiderate motorists who block highways when they stop to photograph distant moose or caribou and ill-prepared adventurers who wander off into the wilderness – then require rescuing at the state’s expense.  Alaska is the nation’s second-largest oil producer, after Texas. Besides creating employment, the Alaska Permanent Fund gives each resident a yearly pay­ment calculated from industry profits."

 

Full story at:

https://www.scmp.com/magazines/post-magazine/travel/article/3022859/alaska-good-bad-and-ugly-sides-life-americas-last

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Dubrovnik!  Nice visual samples, tips, details, etc., for this super scenic location. Over 46,372 views.    

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439227

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From CNN, the cable news network in mid July, they had this headline: “Northern exposure: Summer in the coolest US state” with these story highlights: “The United States' 49th state is famed for snowy landscapes, wintry weather and frigid temperatures.  But the long days of summer mean that there's no shortage of time to experience the wilderness, people and culture.  And with the coolest average summer temperatures of any US state, it's a great place to escape the heat.”

 

Here are a few more key items from this travel profile: "Alaska boasts more than 600 named glaciers, plus thousands more unnamed glaciers. Made up of snow that has compressed into ice over time, they move and flow like very slow rivers. While some measure just the size of a football field, others can be dozens of kilometers long.
There are more than 60 within a day's travel from Alaska's largest city of Anchorage. An option is to take a flightseeing trip with companies such as Rust's Flying Service, based at Lake Hood Seaplane Base in Anchorage, the world's largest airport for floatplanes.  Alaska may be two and a half times the size of Texas, but it has only as many miles of road as Rhode Island, meaning that the iconic Alaska Railroad is a key lifeline to get around the state. The famed yellow and blue trains follow a number of routes, with the main line running 470 miles from Seward to Fairbanks."

 

Full story at:

https://www.cnn.com/travel/article/alaska-summer-travel/index.html

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Barcelona/Med: June 2011, with stops in Villefranche, ports near Pisa and Rome, Naples, Kotor, Venice and Dubrovnik. Great visuals with key highlights, tips, etc. Live/blog now at 248,375 views.

www.boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1426474

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19 hours ago, worldtraveller99 said:

Gosh! Really interesting Terry - especially about the large number of bears and the small number of roads!

 

YES, there are many unique and interesting background items as relates to Alaska and nearby.  From the Travel Section of the London/UK Evening Standard this morning, they had this headline: “Everything you need to know about a 7-day cruise in Alaska” that features a few more info nuggets to know and consider with your planning.  

 

Here are some of the story highlights: “It’s the second most popular cruising destination in the world after the Caribbean. With 40,000 miles of rugged coastline and a capital city you can only reach via the ocean or plane, the 49th state is home to some of the world’s most sublime scenery.  The Alaskan cruise season runs from April to September. May, early June or September are your best bet for avoiding the school holiday crowds and potentially scoring a better price but weather-wise, it is warmest in July and August. For those on a wild bear hunt, keep in mind that you’re unlikely to spot them until the salmon have fully populated the rivers which can be as late as mid-July.”

 

Agree that timing for visiting Alaska can involve many pro/con factors, including price, crowds, weather, animal opportunities, etc.  This profile offers these packing/clothing insights: "Alaskan summers are unpredictable so layers are key. It’s unlikely to get very cold during cruising months but it can get chilly and rain is to be expected at least part of the week. For excursions, pack shorts, leggings, t-shirts, a few light knits, one proper jumper and a waterproof shell jacket.  Do pack binoculars. It will make spotting that whale in the distance so much better."

 

Full story at:

https://www.standard.co.uk/lifestyle/travel/alaska-cruises-guide-a4215151.html

 

THANKS!  Enjoy!  Terry in Ohio

 

Kotor/Montenegro:  Exciting visual samples, tips, details, etc., for this scenic, historic location. Over 46,339 views.

http://boards.cruisecritic.com/showthread.php?t=1439193

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