Postcard Perfect – Lake Louise and Morraine Lake

Even in the sudden September snow, Lake Louise and Morraine Lake still managed to look even more spectacular than I could ever imagine. We stayed a night in Lake Louise to break up the journey from Banff to Jasper, and stayed at the HI Hostel Lake Louise. Despite the crappy internet connectivity (which, in the middle of the Rockies isn’t surprising) it was an awesome hostel. It’s cozy wooden interior made it feel more like a lodge than a backpacking hostel, and it is a MUCH more affordable than the other accommodation options in town!

Even though it was well outside our budget, we did visit the iconic Fairmont Lake Louise. Even though it is one of the most photographed hotels in the world, I have to say I wasn’t very impressed. The exterior looked in well need of a paint job, and the inside was nice but nothing jaw dropping. I guess it does have the amazing views of the lake, but that would be the only reason I would stay there!

Although Lake Louise was beautiful, Morraine Lake was the one to take my breath away. The mountains that towered in the background were so majestic, and the lake was so radiant it looked like liquid sapphire. We had brought a picnic lunch with us, and I could of stayed there all day just taking it all in. Even just writing this is making me lust after that view… take a look for yourself!

Morraine Lake - I wish we got to use those canoes! Next time...

Morraine Lake – I wish we got to use those canoes! Next time…

Morraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks

Morraine Lake and the Valley of the Ten Peaks

 

Fairmont Lake Louise

Fairmont Lake Louise

Lake Louise in the Snow

Lake Louise in the Snow

 

HI Hostel Lake Louise- Photo from hostelbookers.ca

HI Hostel Lake Louise- Photo from hostelbookers.ca

Motivation Monday – Week 2

After being overseas for a year, it can be hard to come home to friends having new cars, buying their first homes, having a way cooler wardrobe than me, etc etc. I am back driving my crappy little Toyota Corsa (which is in SERIOUS need of a paint job), back living with the parents, with a wardrobe that I’m sick of and a major lack of money. But there is no WAY I would of changed the last year for the world. Snowboarding, surfing, partying on countless work nights, snowmobiling, dining in 5 star restaurants, seeing the Empire State building, seeing Kurt Cobain’s hand written lyrics, Ziplining, seeing Lake Louise, having a bear in my backyard – just to name the few of the experiences I never would of had if I had spent all my money on possessions.

Now I am not some gypsy hippie that hates shopping and likes living off the land – I also did spend a nice sum of money on a Michael Korrs handbag, and a few too many clothes I wore once and decided I didn’t like. But after returning home and going back to the same-old everyday life I had pre-Canada, I have much less desire to shop and a lot more focus on saving to make new memories!

Collect Moments Not Things - Travel Quote - Miss Voyager blog  // Summer // Bonfire // Beach // Sunset // Tofino // Canada

Summer Snow in Banff

When we planned our road trip through Canada, we were thinking of spending two weeks straight in shorts and flip flops, building a tan and going on exciting hikes and horse rides and lake swimming. I mean why would we think any differently about a road trip in early September? We got the sun we were hoping for on Vancouver Island and in Kelowna, however we were NOT expecting to drive into a full-blown snow storm in Banff.

We had read the forecast a couple of days before we had arrived in Banff, and saw they were expecting snow. We were really unprepared so we made a stop at Walmart to pick up hoodies and gloves. Snow in September, we thought it would probably just be a dusting on the mountains and it wouldn’t be too bad. Boy were we wrong.

Snow was EVERYWHERE when we entered Banff. We had to drive super slow as we didn’t have snow tires plus the visibility was so bad. It was really exciting because it was so pretty but also really disappointing because it was so foggy we couldn’t even see the mountains surrounding the town.

We had planned for 3 days in Banff- had a list of a couple of hikes we wanted to do, a lake cruise and a horse riding tour. We had such high hopes and expectations which all fell through because the snow was too deep to do anything. It’s not like any ski fields were open coz it would have been perfect for some snowboarding!

Luckily on our third day, the sun came through and the fog lifted, and we actually got to see all the scenery that had been hiding since we arrived. We only had half a day since we were driving to Lake Louise that afternoon, so we crammed as much Banff sightseeing in as possible.

Even though we didn’t really do anything in Banff we had planned, it was still so majestic seeing it covered in snow! Also it gives us a reason to go back… next time I’m thinking July/August may be a better bet… although knowing my luck maybe there will be a hurricane or a bush fire or something else to hinder my plans!

Welcome to Banff! Where you get snowstorms in September!

Welcome to Banff! Where you get snowstorms in September!

Church in Banff, Alberta, Canada #travel Sunset in Banff, Canada #travel Street in Banff, Alberta, Canada #travel Snow in Banff, Alberta, Canada #travel #winter

Lake Minnewanka! Would love to go back and do a cruise on it!

Lake Minnewanka! Would love to go back and do a cruise on it!

Castle in the clouds! The Fairmont looking oh so majestic :)

Castle in the clouds! The Fairmont looking oh so majestic 🙂

Do you wanna build a snoooowmaaaaaan?

Do you wanna build a snoooowmaaaaaan?

Wining and Dining (and more Wining) in Kelowna

Now that I have been home for just over 2 weeks, the memories of my amazing road trip through Canada are already feeling distant. I have traded the 31 degree days in Kelowna for the 122km/h winds and rain and sun and hail and everything in between of Wellington!

Kelowna was just meant to be an overnight stop on our way from Vancouver to Banff, but we really wanted to do a wineries tour so we extended our stay to allow an extra day to do this (with no driving afterwards!)

A bear sculpture on the lake waterfront

A bear sculpture on the lake waterfront

We stayed at the Samesun Kelowna – great hostel by the way, if you go to Kelowna it is such a great budget option! They recommended the Club Wine Tours, which was a 4 hour tour for $80 (I think we may have got a discount booking through the hostel as on their website it says $95). Our guide connected well with the whole group – us 4 girls in our 20s, the 2 couples in their 60s, the 1 couple in their 20s and a mother and her daughter. For such a diverse group he did a great job of keeping us laughing and entertained. Even though the tour said 4/5 tours, we went to 5 vineyards for tastings plus Mission Hill Winery for a photo opp!

Of all the wineries we went to, Grey Monk and Kalala Organic Winery were my favorite two. Grey Monk because of the views – over the stunning Lake Okanagan, with flowers in bloom and rolling grapevines… pure bliss (the wine isn’t too shabby either). Then Kalala Organic Winery which has award-winning wines – their iconic  2012 Chardonnay Ice Wine won a gold medal at the prestigious Chardonnay Du Monde competition in France! For a winery that is so successful, it was really cool to meet the owner and see how humble and modest he was.  They support a number of charities, but one that is really close to his heart is the project to build a  school in his home town of Kalala, India.

After we got to the stage where we were tempted to turn down more wine (yes, it’s possible) we went to Earls restaurant for a bite to eat and some cocktails (I would never rule out alcohol  completely!) Normally I prefer not to go to the chain restaurants when in a new destination, however the view from Earls was too hard to resist. The rooftop bar looked over Lake Okanagan, and the $5 cocktails went down a treat. Keep in mind though it was a good 30 minute wait to get a table, but definitely worth the wait!

It was just a quick visit to Kelowna, but unless you are wanting to do a lot of water sports or adventure activities then a 2 night stay is the perfect length of time. Now I would give anything to be back there, drinking wine in the 31 degree heat… Home is just not cutting it for me!

Grey Monk Winery with views over the Okanagon Lake

Grey Monk Winery with views over the Okanagon Lake

The view at Mission Hill

The view at Mission Hill

Mission Hills Winery

Mission Hills Winery

Wind down drinks... after a long day of drinking!

Wind down drinks… after a long day of drinking!