Canada/Alaska; DAY - ahhh buggerit.

Click this link here to view the full range of pics I took on my trip. Well, most of them. I've got the first two weeks up and I'm now going through the ones on the boat - I mean Ship.
I tried. Really I did. I had this idea that I would write a bit each day and upload photos as I trundled along on my Women’s Weekly World Discovery Tour of Canada and Alaska. 
I figured that there would be heaps of places to connect my laptop and write away and upload. Well there was, but it cost a bit and while the download speeds were great the upload speeds were quite sad and it took sometimes up to an hour to upload any pics.Interestingly (for you geeks back home) there seems to be a sway away from community broadband hotspots etc in Canada and the US. It’s too expensive for the groups running them to maintain and those little usb, mobile plugins, doovy-whacker modems seem to be becoming very popular. None of this unsustainable, commie style, community access nonsense - pffft! Anyway. I had a great time, met some lovely people and took heaps of photos and HD video to keep me happy (and help me learn some of Final Cut Studio). I’ll do a bit of a roundup of the trip now from where I left off all those weeks ago. When I last wrote I was catching up a bit..wot me? It was a cool flight in the chopper and the footage I got was pretty awesome. When I got back home and looked at it on my telly it was a bit wobbly and all but looked amazing - sigh, I love high def. It’s so purdy. Gotta get me a good tripod now.That day in Banff turned into a bit of a shopper day. Heaps of bargins about with the change of seasons and heaps of young Aussies working behind counters or serving you food and footware. The little buggers were everywhere - One of them did give me a great discount on some hiking shoes, down from $350 to to $80 and he knocked off another twenty for me - onya cobber. I remember as I was typing the previous blog entry in the Starbucks, over-hearing a pretentious lil’ Aussie, Princess Bogan (and potential future Big Brother contestant) carrying on about how boring Australia was and that was why she was loving Canada and the States to her friends at the table. She was really loud and that’s saying something considering she was with a table of Americans. Sad to say we Australians may be taking over from the yanks as the worlds most annoying travelers. It used to be we were known for our good humour and graciousness overseas. But I think we may be getting a bit up ourselves.I really liked Banff. It’s a lovely old place surrounded by the most amazing mountains looming over a pretty Alpine Town dotted with these huge pine trees. We stayed for a couple of days at the Banff Springs Resort which I renamed Hogwarts due to the number of times I got lost inside. (and me with an impeccable sense of direction). It was also a bit `Hogwartian’ looking inside. At the Resort art gallery I discovered the artwork of a Canadian Artist called Doris McCarthy. I noticed this painting. A triptych of a Canadian Rockies Landscape that was so beautifully stylized and with such an individual palette of colours that was so out of the very ordinary. The artist is 97 now and was 90 when she painted the picture. You could have knocked me over and slapped me about for a bit - it looked like it was painted by a very competent and creative, much, much younger person and certainly challenged your stereotypes of what elderly people...or people of any age, paint. (No pretty watercolour roses in country cottage vases for Doris) She was the last living link to the Canadian version of our Heidlebrandt School of Art from the thirties and fourties here in Australia. But I think they called theirs the `gang of Seven’ or something. Perhaps they solved crimes and guzzled down lashings of Ginger Beer while they weren’t painting. Jimminy!Hmmm, now what did I eat? Well the first night there, I trundled along and eventually found a Bavarian Restaurant, hidden in the woods a kilometer or so away from the Banff Springs Resort. It was worth the trip. The place looked like it had been sucked off from Southern Germany and deposited into North America. In the entryway, on the walls were lots of stuffed animals who weren’t fast enough to live. I was met there by a gorgeous vision of Germanic blondness in a Dirndl who escorted me to my table where my dinner companions were patiently waiting. I just loved this place. It was so...German! Very warm and comfortable and to me at least, quite exotic. After downing a very large stein of Guinness I feasted on an entree of escargot (in garlic and butter) and a main course of something I can’t remember. It’ll come to me one day when I’m not thinking about it - but I did have a great night. Got a bit pissed and caught the shuttle bus back with two elderly Australian blokes from South Australia who were very merry as well. We had a great old chinwag and giggle winding our way back to the resort through the huge trees in the twilight and past the waterfall where Marilyn Monroe filmed `River to Nowhere’ back in the late 50’s.I liked Banff a lot. I’d love to go back there when it’s snowing, I reckon it would be such a beautiful place then. If we’d had been there two weeks earlier we would have seen the place covered in snow. So apart from eating some great food - like hamburgers with bacon and sprinkles of blue cheese (a taste sensation that takes burgers to an amazing place), I went up in a gondola to the top of a mountain and pointed, sketched and stared at the incredible view. Went up in Helicopter that scarred the shit out of me. Went on a great walk along the Bow River and pointed at the native wildlife and some beautiful old houses. (`Len! There’s a strange hairy man outside pointing at the house! Get the gun out.)

All these pics below are of the leg between Whistler and Banff. The landscape changed from bloody big mountains to relatively flat and then back to bloody big mountains again. Much pointing and staring was achieved.