Could I be the next Ginger Baker?

This writerly blog will splinter – at least for a while – into a traveler’s diary (or perhaps a hybrid). G and I are roaming around the world indefinitely so I thought it best to keep a bit of a log. But don’t expect a bombardment of posts.

After a few conniptions at the start, we had only two days in Vancouver rather than the planned week so we made good use of the HOHO bus. Despite the rain, we had a bracing hike through Stanley Park, roamed around Gastown (great cheap snack at Jack’s Place, tucked away in the back of the Army and Navy Store) and Chinatown (including Dr Sun Yat-Sen Garden). We tapped our feet at a pub open mic, gawped at ice-skaters, ate a classic hot dog and watched glassblowing and skateboarding at the Granville Island Market.

Calgary from the tower

Our very first Canadian sit is in a beautiful suburb of Calgary, at the foothills of the Canadian Rockies and we are so lucky to have two adorable pussy-cats to care for (one is a stunningly beautiful but very aloof Princess, the other, who was rescued in great trauma years ago, now lives a princely life and loves cuddles). Our temporary home is just perfect and the weather has been kind. There were reports of lows around the minus thirties in the week before we arrived which left us with a welcoming carpet of snow but we’ve eased through nights of minus thirteens and days of plus eights so far, although there is a cold snap forecast next week.

calgary snow 3

We spent more time than anticipated snuggled up with the cats and unwinding but have begun to unfurl and venture out. We caught the bus into the city for a day, whizzed up the Calgary Tower for a good view, had a bite at the James Joyce Irish Pub and spent a few wondrous hours in the Studio Bell building lapping up all things Canadian musical. Of course, I swooned over the much-missed Leonard Cohen but there are so many great artists who’ve come out of this country and the five stories of the Studio Bell building are packed with them. You get a chance to listen to music across genres or, indeed, make some music of your own. Here’s me, belting out something (I call it a tune, G would beg to differ) on the drums.



Yesterday we took ourselves off for a little ‘roadie’ to Banff and Lake Louise. Good friends had urged us to also visit Moraine Lake but that road is closed during winter. I would love to see Lake Louise again in the spring or summer – they say its hue is beautiful – but I’m also glad we got to see it as a winter wonderland, complete with ice sculpting finalists.

Banff and LL4 Banff and LL11

Banff is such a quaint little town and after a good walk around, we decided it was time to try something culinarily Canadian. I’m sure we will get to try many interesting dishes in the coming months (butter tarts?) but the only lunch one we’d heard about was Poutine (French-Canadian) so that’s what we ordered. Basically, it’s a bowl of yummy hot chips with cheese curd and rich brown gravy. You can have them plain or with meat such as braised elk! Naughty but nice!

Banff and LL7

Some things of note:

  • If Vancouverites and Calgarians are typical of Canadians as a whole, then they are as friendly and polite as their reputation suggests.
  • It is important to perfect a certain type of duck walk to avoid slipping on hidden ice spots. And keep your core switched on. So far, so good.
  • Every time I see one of the quaint yellow school buses, I wonder: ‘Who Killed Kenny?’
  • I must stop standing still on the footpath. Canadian drivers always stop to let pedestrians cross the road. Anywhere. Any time.

My writing brain has cranked into overdrive (how could it not, with place names like Crowchild Trail and Dead Man’s Flats) but I am trying not to spend too much time at the computer as there is so much to see. Tomorrow is a university ice hockey game. The following day, I’m hoping to try tubing at Olympic Park. Watch this space . . .

Banff and LL3


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10 responses to “Could I be the next Ginger Baker?

  1. ablay1

    Lovely to read about your travels! We went to the same places last July and loved it all. I don’t think I could cope with the cold, though.

  2. Jane

    Great blog Karenlee. Love reading about your adventures. Have fun and stay safe. Keep writing!😃

  3. Well, this is going to be fun! I hope to hear more about your adventures soon. Lisa x

  4. I will so enjoy reading this, and will try to keep up. I have been to Lake Louise and Banff in the summer – in early July. Lovely places any time, though, I’m sure.

    Your reference to Dr Sun-Yat-Sen garden reminded me of my funny high school Modern History teacher. She had all these stories. When we learnt about the Chinese Civil War and lead up to the Revolution, and Sun-Yat-Sen and Chiang Kai-Shek, one of her stories was about Sun Yat-Sen and his three beautiful daughters. I have no idea why she told us that, but I’ve never forgotten that historical fact!! Haha.

    Anyhow, what an adventure you are going to have.

  5. Jono Blood

    I’ve now got itchy feet and a craving for pulled elk poutine.
    It sounds amazing and inspiring over there.
    So glad they rolled out the white carpet for you after the Manilla mania. Have a blast and keep us posted.
    Happy ice waddling 😉

    • Thanks Jono. Now I have had poutine twice but the elk was the best! The ice waddling is certainly a sight to behold.
      I’ll keep posting and you keep your beautiful prose flowing from the keyboard. There’s a novel percolating there that I am very keen to see in print.

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