Two days into our Canadian air safari and it's a bit hard to get a grip. I feel like I need to get this much down on the page before I forget, and before too many other experiences come along to blur the memories.
Leaving Vancouver on the Rocky Mountaineer and spending two days training it across the Rocky Mountains was incredible. The first day ended up with us sweltering across the semi arid desert region that I never knew western Canada even had. We hopped off the train at the end of day one in 38 deg C with the air-con on the RM not having its finest hour.
Not to worry, all was attended to with a relaxed beverage that night and next day the temp came down to something normal for our trip up through the highest parts of the Rockies, ending up at the postcard town of Lake Louise. From there we were on the road, complete with scenery to die for and even a family of grizzly bears by the side of the road to add that international feel to the drive.
The various guides we had along the way make all the difference, of course, and we learnt lots about the country, culture, wildlife and quirky stuff that makes up the fabric of remote Canada.
The ski town of Banff was tropically hot when we called in for lunch, and here, like everywhere else in Canada, they do do a very nice hanging basket, girls.
Quick flight from Calgary to Toronto had us meeting our gorgeous air safari host, Clare McEwan, who has put together this 16 day itinerary which has so far been around eleven out of ten. We've had our fair share of wind - in fact on the day we had to do our checkrides to hire the aircraft, it was blowing dogs off chains so that was a bit challenging, however Don, Steve and I all managed to convince the Canadian authorities we could handle our Cessnas without wiping out ourselves or any of the local population, so were handedthe keys and let loose on the maple-leafed skies.
Our first stop at Killarney was a typical lakeside holiday lodge for Canadians. some staying at the lodge, others staying at their cottages, whihch are everywhere, and others staying on their yachts. We met loads of local residents, plus all the staff who were mainly seasonal workers, - 20-somethings on summer break - and all great kids.
Today we left Killarney early, under sunny skies, and headed off to find Quebec Ciity. There was a bit of weather to dodge, but This afternoon we hit the St Lawrence River and the outer steps of Quebec international control zone. The terminal and tower frequencies were a riot of French, so it was with much relief when the poor guy who'd copped this arvo's shift on the radio responded to our inbound calls with clearly audible English.
He had a bit on, but managed to squeeze our four aircraft into his schedule and we were soon on the ground and being beautifully ushered in to our parking areas by lovely boys in nicely pressed uniforms who couldnt do enough for us re fuel and general stupid queries we had for them.
We now get to hang up the headsets for two nights. tomorrow we explore Quebec and from what we've seen, we will not want to leave on Sunday. We've got a walking food tour aroung the old city tomorrow morning ... Now, to bring back my best haggling French for the markets ...