Have you ever made a flight delayed and the whole passengers waiting inside the plane because of you? I have! The chaos started with a phone call from my travel agent the previous afternoon...
Travel agent: "Hello Miss, I'm calling to inform that the embassy hasn't issued your visa yet
Me: "What do you mean? My flight is tomorrow morning at 9"
Travel agent: "According to the embassy, it's a peak season and there's a huge pile of passports applying for the visa. Your parents' visas are already issued. Unfortunately your passport somehow tucked somewhere in the pile so they missed to stick the visa on your passport"
Me: "Do you mean my application is denied?"
Travel agent: "No. Your visa is granted and they will issue your visa tomorrow morning at 7"
Me: "This is ridiculous! How can I get my passport back on time before my flight?"
Travel agent: "Don't worry, we have a courier ready to deliver your passport to the airport tomorrow"
I had an instant headache after the phone call. I have to prepare myself for the worst that could happen. I mean I've paid the flight tickets, the hotels and the cruise to Alaska. And I was so close to lose them all if my passport is not delivered on time.
The next morning, I was ready at 6 in the airport waiting anxiously. By 7.30 my parents were already done with check in and immigration. I was waiting outside with some people from my travel agent. At 8.45 I heard the announcement calling my name for the last call when I saw the courier was running frantically handing my passport to some airport officers. Then they ran ahead me and asked to to follow them. I handed my suitcase to check in desk which they quickly put a "Priority" sign. Some officers escorted me to special immigration desk so I didn't need to queue. After less than 5 seconds immigration process, they asked me to board an airport cart and rushed me to the gate. At 8.55 I boarded the plane and the stewardess closed the door behind me. I walked through the aisle while most passengers were staring at me. I didn't know whether I should bow or waving my hand like a Miss Universe greet her fans. Finally the plane took off after a 10 minutes delay and the culprit was....me.
|Canadian Rockies view from the bus|
It was summer but the weather was a bit chill with unpredictable rains and strong winds. That day, from Revelstoke we were heading towards Banff with a first stop at Bow Lake. It is one of the lakes that line the Icefields Parkway in Banff National Park and Jasper National Park. The rain suddenly poured really hard when we got there so I couldn't take many pictures of the beautiful lake.
|the Athabasca Glacier|
Arrived in Athabasca Glacier around noon so we had a buffet lunch in the Columbia Icefield Discovery Centre. We then took a bus to the edge of the glacier and boarded into a massive Brewster Ice Explorer. I've never ridden that kind of vehicle before, so I was really excited. The 80 minute journey was lead by an experienced driver-guide, who shared a wealth of fascinating information about glaciers, icefields and their impact on our environment. The journey was thrilling when we had to pass a very steep glacier but fun in the same time. It's like riding a roller coaster minus the high speed.
|Ice Explorer, the coolest vehicle I've ever ridden|
|fighting the strong wind, rain and cold for this picture :)|
The Ice Explorer made a stop at one area of the glaciers and all the passenger were allowed to hop off and step out onto the glacier and stand on this powerful ancient ice. Beware though, because it's very slippery. And again for the second time of that day the rain and strong wind intruded. It was so cold that I could hardly feel my hands. After some quick pictures, I hop on back to the Ice Explorer .
|this clear blue water is drinkable|
|it's summer, so it's normal to be shirtless :p|
|me and Jojo were soaking wet|
|Peyto Lake, the bluest glacier lake|
On the way to Banff, we made a stop at Peyto Lake, the bluest glacier lake in Canada. It's located in Banff National Park near Bow Summit and was named after Bill Peyto who was a historical trapper and trail guide in the late 1800's and early 1900's. Peyto Lake gets it's beautiful turquoise green colour from glacial silt created by Peyto Glacier and the Wapta Icefield.
It was too early for dinner, so we checked into our hotel before wandering around the town. Banff is a resort town and one of Canada's most popular tourist destinations, known for its mountainous surroundings and hot springs. Along the main street, you can easily find any kind of souvenir shops and restaurants. It was my first time visiting Banff but I feel an instant "homey" feeling in the first minutes. I don't know maybe it's the cosy and relaxed atmosphere. Or maybe it's the people who mostly are very friendly and would talk to you like an old friend. I'm in love with this town, I can even picture myself living here.