Great Canadian Adventure, Eh (Part 2)

September 16, 2017 10:40:10AM

Oh, man. I've really fallen behind on this. Well, not just on this or that, but a lot of things. I should really get this Canada trip series done because 1) the memories are very hazy, even with my notes and b) I'm going on another international trip soon! So I have to make room for more rememberies. Okay, let us continue our journey in Edmonton, Alberta, Canada.

Day 1—Saturday, January 14, 2017

First morning in Canada! If I recall correctly, there's still snow on the ground. The hotel we were in, while actually very nice, did not have a continental breakfast buffet. It did have an attached restaurant, but the reviews were not so good. Looking at the Google Maps, we locate a Tim Horton's about a block away. Driving would be too easy. Time for a walk in the brisk, freezing temperatures of Canada!

I broke down the clothing in the last post. Basically, everyday was the same setup—thermal underwear top and bottom, jeans, flannel shirt (hip and practical), three-in-one jacket (insulating layer under weatherproof shell), gloves, beanie, athletic socks, and boots. The ensemble worked out great. The boots were not great for a while. I had to start walking differently because the the top of the boot was digging into my calf. And the coldness was about at the limit of the boots temperature rating, so most days it was just enough to not have frozen feet.

Anyway, this is our first foray into the cold. Yeah, we were out the night before, but this time, we were walking at least 3/4 of a mil...I mean, about 1.21 km. Was it cold? Yes. I don't remember what the temperature was, but it was somewhere in the 0°-3°C. It was fun crunching through the snow; the boots provided ample traction on the icy parts. We finally land inside Tim Horton's where everything is hot now because of all of the layers.

We ordered some form of breakfast sandwich, which was passable. The real treat was the donuts. For a "specialty" donut, they were quite good. They're cakey donuts, which usually aren't my thing. I can't recall exactly what flavors we got. I think the donut was a sour cream thing, and the donut holes (Timbits®) I think were different flavors. All good stuff.

After breakfast, we ventured into a nearby gas station to investigate our cellular options. Luckily, it seemed like 95% of places had wifi, but we really wanted something so we could navigate. We did a lot of research pre-trip on different carriers, and the main lesson I took away is that Canadians don't seem to be really happy with their cellular service. But, we had to make do. One of the big gas station chains, Petro Canada, had one of the cheaper pre-paid plans, so we went with that. I think we got 1GB of data, which was more than sufficient for our needs.

We get back to the hotel to load one of our phones with this SIM card, only to find we don't have a tool to pop out the tray. We searched the room high and low for something, even trying a shard of a coffee stirrer (spoilers, didn't work). The front desk was without paper clips, which I find questionable. In hindsight, maybe they were holding out on us. Well, there was a dollar store, Dollarama, near the Tim Horton's, so we venture back out into the cold winter morning. We drove this time! Probably to save time. We picked up some safety pins, actually a pack of 100 or so different sized ones. Slightly more than we need, but it gets the job done. We're on the Canadian grid!

In the afternoon, we headed out in search of a place to play in the snow. I was pretty much just looking for big green areas on the GMaps, and we ended up driving to Mill Woods Park. Armed with our usual winter gear and legged with snow pants, we did some light frolicking. There was a small hillside the kids were sledding and tubing down. I'm not a snow expert, but the snow on the ground was more icy than powdery, so it didn't seem optimal for balling. We were able to construct something that passed as a snowman. We made snow angels. Probably the two most touristy things we could do. Walking through the park, it was snow all around as far as you could see. It was pretty cool.

After we had enough of the snow, we headed over to a little mall area across the street to grab lunch. Just normal mall food. I think I had a burger from A&W. By now, the weather was starting warm up a bit. I recall the car telling us it was a toast 8°C, about 46°F. The warmth was noticable.

Back at the hotel, we took a nice afternoon nap, which would become part of the routine. Now it's dinner time. We head out a few miles down the road to an Indian place. There were a lot of international foods around, and a seeming lack of Canadian food places. But I guess, what is "Canadian" food? Besides poutine and maybe a few desserts, I don't know that we really ever got a taste of Canadian cuisine. Or maybe it's just really similar to American? Anyway, I don't remember what our Indian meal was, but it was probably good enough.

And that was our first day experiencing Canada. While it wasn't super adventurous, I think we got a good taste of the winter weather. Well, I still have 6 days to cover, and those are filled with more interesting stories.

canada snow tim horton's donuts winter travel edmonton

Dear diary...

None shall pass...!