Banff: A Home Away From Home
There's something so carefree about the city of Banff, there's no wonder why it attracts thousands of tourists every week in the summer. During the winter months, my favorite time to visit is when the city becomes almost dormant and locals are mainly the only people still enjoying what Banff has to offer.
Banff is 30 minutes away from the tourist town of Lake Louise and a 2-hour drive from downtown Calgary. I felt so at home when I stayed there, it was a nice change of pace from my usual cosmopolitan adventures. I spent a good amount of my morning just strolling the ghostly streets and empty side roads. Each street seemed to have its own little charm with the occasional log structure to remind you what city you're in. Stone storefronts and cabin restaurants painted a picture of true Canadian rocky culture, it was exactly what you would expect from a town in the region.
After getting to know my way around town, it was pretty endearing, it was time to grab a casual bite to eat. I local had raved about the likes of a restaurant called Eddy Burger, that served food unique to the area. I reviewed the menu that consisted of Bison Burgers, alcoholic milkshakes, and warm sides. I ordered a bison burger with Swiss cheese and a birthday cake milkshake, sans alcohol. I had never had bison before this point but it soon became my favorite protein.
With my stomach content, a was ready to see what the city had to offer in terms of shopping. Although there wasn't a huge number of stores, they seemed to be going for the quality over quantity idea. Canadian stores like Hudson's Bay, Roots, and Helly Hansen were favorites along with Lululemon Athletica, Footlocker and local boutiques. I purchased a cardigan for my cousin in Hudson's Bay signature red, blue, green and yellowed striped pattern.
It was getting late, I scrambled to find some wine before closing, though it wasn't hard as there was a wine store on almost every corner. I chose a light rose and taxied back to the hotel. The classy wine served as my introduction to the night as a local had suggested that I try a dance club called the Dancing Sasquatch. Not only was I doubtful of the name, I also wasn't convinced anyone would show up as I had barely seen a soul during the day. I live by the saying “when in Rome, do as the Romans”, so I laced up my black knee-high boots and paired it with an off the shoulders sweater dress and was off.
To my surprise, there was a lineup to get inside. It looked like the reason the city was so dormant was that most of the residents worked at the hotels and restaurants, they were no eager to let loose and dance off their stressful day. The club was packed and lively and locals were eager to share their hard-earned tip money on complimentary cocktails for me. At the end of the night no man, or woman, was left behind and locals worked as a team to make sure everyone got home safe, including the tourists.
Who would have ever known that this little town held the key to my heart and the time of my life?