Thursday, 13 January 2011


At first light, the skies were leaden and the streets below our Regency Suite Hotel apartment looked quite univiting, so Clare went out to the adjacent fast food store to get something for breakfast, rather than us go out hunting for one of the better recommended places for breakfast somewhere out there in the unfamiliar and chilly streets (still minus 23 centigrade).

Later, we braved the outdoors to visit a local covered shopping centre called the Eaux Claire Market. It's a simple modern design, mainly iron work building on two levels in a retro style emulating Victorian covered market structures, omitting the fancy decoration. The site of the market may well date back into the last century, and the building may have replaced an older one. There was nothing on display to inform about its history.

Over the past twenty years, the buildings of old downtown Calgary were razed, with few exceptions, to create the present 'central business district'. The city sprawls out in every direction for many miles over rolling plains, and is composed mostly of one and two storey buildings, so the distinctive glass clad high towers of downtown are visible to well beyond the city limits. In wintry conditions, the sight of downtown on the horizon is reminiscent of something from in a sci-fi movie it was visible from the airport, beyond the city limits.

It was simply too cold to be out on the streets looking around for more than fifteen minutes at a time, so we bought food for lunch at the market and ate in our apartment, whiling away the time until the airport shuttle taxi came to pick us up.  After a twenty minute drive, we were checking in our baggage and browsing the shops, with a three hour wait until boarding. Our 'plane arrived on time but was three quarters of an hour late taking off, as were others. The necessity of spraying departing aircraft with anti-freeze seems to have been the most likely reason.

After takeoff, we watched movies, ate and then dozed until dawn broke on us, somewhere between Iceland and Scotland, about seven hours into the nine hour flight. Although late arriving, a mad dash between terminals ensured that we were able to catch the coach on which we were booked. We dozed our way to Cardiff via Bristol and Newport, and arrived in the rain in time to jump on a 33 bus, and were home by half past four - thirteen hours travel from Calgary, plus tree hours waiting, plus five hours the day before getting to Calgary from Fairmont Hot Springs.

We enjoyed the travel and enjoyed our stay. It's take some time to re-adjust to so much rain, and neither snow nor blue skies.

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