Today we were moving from our private and very nice room in the HI hostel dorm on Tunnel mountain to the Banff International Hostel. We headed to downtown Banff on the bus and walked about 10 minutes to the new hostel. It looks ok, not as nice as the one we have just checked out of. We put our packs in storage and headed to the river Bow, as today's activity is canoeing!! It was pretty cloudy today not the bright blue sky that we have been having. We put our life jackets on, and it was time for us to get rowing! It was a out one degrees and I guess you could call it fresh! I asked the guys at the rental place what are the chances of falling in... They said it should be ok, as long as we didn't stand up! I'm not bothered about falling in and getting wet. I'm bothered about falling in to water that will result in hypothermia!
It took a little while to get a rhythm going. Chris was at the front of the canoe and I was at the back - in control of the steering! I have done this a few times but still managed to hit a few logs and nearly row into the bank a couple of times!
We headed up the river against the current which took a little more effort. I wanted to go down stream and see if we could make it down the Bow River Falls! It's not quite Niagara Falls, but chances are we would have got wet, oh... and hurt! It would have been an adventure. Paddling up stream we really wanted to see some wildlife, we weren't disappointed. Sadly it wasn't a bear or a moose, but it was elk. Two of them drinking on the river bank. We headed up the opposite side of the river as quietly as we could. One of the elk had a fixed gaze on us, just watching us getting closer and closer. We were about to get some pictures when a pissing cargo train rattled past, and scared them off. Gutted. We kept going up stream for another few minutes before turning around and heading back. This time we were going along with the current, and were back at the rental place with still 20 minutes. We decided to head up a smaller part of the river instead of retuning early. I have thought about signing me and Chris up for the Rio 2016 Olympics in rowing, that's how good we are! Arriving back to the dock we both got out the canoe without falling into the river. It was a really great way to start the morning fresh air and amazing views of the Rockies from the middle of the river.
We hadn't had any breakfast and decided to grab something to eat before going on a long trek! We walked passed an Indian restaurant called Masala. They were doing an all you can eat buffet for 15 bucks. Bargain! Plus it was now midday and time for a beer. The food was really nice, but we weren't feeling that great after 3 or 4 plates - think we might have eaten to much!
We headed to the information centre to get a good route that would take us a few hours into the mountains. The first one he recommended was walking up the mountain from yesterday - I think not! Although it sounded like Chris was up for it! Still really full after our massive curry, we sacked off the trek and decided on the next best thing. The Banff hot springs! We went and got our swimming stuff from the hostel and then jumped on the bus up to the springs. As soon as we got off of the bus we both looked at each other as it smelt like a bad eggy fart..! You might have thought it was the curry, but it wasn't. We worked out it was the sulpha from the hot water springs. It was gross and smelt so bad. Not sure I can get in the pool if it is smelling like this.
After getting changed we made our way to the pool, showering before we went in. The water was 40 degrees and like a bath, there was a slight smell of egg still. I couldn't handle being in the pool for very long so every 10 minutes I went and stood in the cold mountain air for a while! After about 40 minutes going in and out the pool we decided to leave. Making sure we had a shower before we left, as I didn't fancy smelling like egg for the rest of the day.
Retuning on the bus to the hostel we were finally allocated out room, and yes - it's the pits. Someone was in one of the beds that we had been allocated. The receptionist didn't have a clue what we was doing, so we just took one of the others. I have now stayed in loads of hostels, and this was is crap. (Thank god we are only here one night, and we have an early start tomorrow). The room was an ok size- no head room for the top bunk though. Hardly any plug sockets, lockers to small for your bags, blood stained pillow.! Not good. They will be getting a bad review on hostel world.
We chilled out for a while, in the smallest tv room, I think it was about the same size as my spare bedroom in my flat - small. Managed to upload more pictures on Facebook before walking down the road to the Safeway's supermarket. They must be the equivalent of M&S or something because everything is expensive. Picked up stuff to make a pork stir-fry. The kitchen was packed, so many people - they seem to have a lot of people on package trips. Our dinner was amazing - really tasty and HOT! There was nowhere to eat at the table so we ended up sitting on a step in the kitchen with our dinner plates on our knees! We looked like tramps!
This evening we hadn't planned to do much, there was a movie on in the reception that we watched a bit of, before heading to bed. Being organised we sorted out stuff out before we went to bed as our alarm was set for 6:45 and we didn't want to wake everyone else up. There was a strange guy in our room that listened to music all night, and we even saw in the stop of his bag was a knife??? Strange I know. When I was climbing into my top bunk, I nearly knocked myself out forgetting there was no head room. You couldn't even sit in bed. People kept coming in banging about during the night - it wasn't going to be the best night sleep!