One our first morning in Edmonton (we arrived the evening before), I somehow managed to escape the jetlag entirely and woke up thoroughly refreshed and very eager to explore the city!
We pretty much rushed downtown as early as possible for a group breakfast with new and old(er) friends at the rather delightful District Café.
Random/not-so-random aside: I’ve been fat-biking once (before arriving in Edmonton) and that was in the French alps – for all of like 10 minutes on an electric bike. Truth, the idea of cycling on snow kinda terrified the lazy kid in me but once I got on that bike, it was pretty hard to get me off it (also, it was an electric bike so it was super easy). Today, we would have the chance to do this in Edmonton… sans electric bikes… and in what turned out to be warmer than the day before but was still -19C.
Breakfast was something of a slow and very indulgent affair. It started off with homemade granola (soooooooo sooooooooooo good!)…
…followed by fresh fruit salad.
Then there was the breakfast sandwich (absolutely fantastic, you have to try this when you’re here)…
…finished off with rice pudding. *licks lips*
District Café is the perfect place for breakfast…or even more excitingly, brunch as after 10 (or 11 – can’t remember which), you can get alcohol here so you have no excuse to have some bubbly… or at least a mimosa with your eggs. 😉
By the time we hit the bikes, we were well and truly fuelled and ready to explore Edmonton properly! (*If you fancy trying your hands at this by the way, we did it with Chris Tse and Michael Macflynn of Revolution Cycle so hit them up and tell them we said hi!)
Once we hit the road and that Canadian chill set in, I started thinking “What have I let myself in for?” but within minutes, you start to get very warm from the cycling and very distracted by the beautiful snow covered city in-front of you. (Also, you start off flat and then head downhill so its pretty easy cycling to begin with).
We made our way down to the River Valley and stopped to check our the snow covered river. (Contrary to what it looks like – this River is now frozen so do not try to walk across it!)
We carried on through the valley, stopping every so often to marvel at how winter wonderland-esque everything looks and before long, we found ourselves at the most amazing sight of them all – The Ice Castles!
The Ice Castles are every bit as amazing as they look and I kid you not, as soon as we arrived, I pretty much chucked away my bike, helmet and backpack and ran off to explore this place properly.
It. Is. Magnificent! If ever there was a reason to visit Edmonton in winter – this is it!
Dramatic icicles and gigantic ice sculptures turn this place into real-life Narnia and the effect when you’re here in person is almost overwhelming (in a very good way)!
There’s even a throne room here!
Oh, and I almost forgot one of the most fun parts – the ice slide!
Suffice it to say, you could easily spend countless hours of fun here and we certainly did our very best to stay as long as possible!
Alas after a while here, our hunger got the best of us and we decided to say farewell to the ice castles and headed back downtown for lunch!
Edmonton is pretty impressive so far, right? 🙂