The next day in Edmonton was a truly lazy one and one that comes off the back of a night out in the city.
It started with a late breakfast at the hotel (random aside – the Metterra Hotel also has happy hour, before a leisurely stroll through the farmers market in Old Strathcona (partly in hope of tasting every single sample on offer).
Alas, there’s only so much we could take back with us to the UK so I limited my farmer’s market purchases to fresh fruits, a generous helping of sweets and some rather tasty spicy chicken sausages ( I wandered over to this stall from just the delicious smell alone before not-so-coyly asking to taste everything on offer 🙂 ).
We’d been in Situation Beer the night before for a few drinks with Lloyd’s friend where I pretty much fell in lust with a one-night-only helping of grapefruit beer. I didn’t even know grapefruit beer was a thing and yet it was all I could think of the next day.
Alas, like I mentioned before, this grapefruit beer was a one night only kinda thing (once it’s gone – it’s gone) so I made do with one of the dark house ales and proceeded to order up a storm for lunch.
At the time, I actually thought I was just ordering a small meal – chicken wings with a side of fries and waffles for dessert. When it arrived, it was very clearly a meal for several people to share.
Despite this, I put the naysayers to shame and proceed to perform a disappearing act on all the food! (I’m pleased to say I was very successful though it was a struggle to move out of the bar for the next hour or so…).
Lloyd exercised a bit more prudence went with a cheese sandwich.
I decided to work off the huge lunch with a walk around Old Strathcona before eventually giving up and heading back to the hotel for a well-earned nap.
Like I said, this was a lazy day and I was soooooooo leaning into being a bit more relaxed – with good reason though – later that evening, we would be heading to Elk Island National Park for a midnight moonlit hike.
We headed off for an early dinner at Ampersand 27 …and yes, I started off again with another cocktail (Lloyd had just water) – I don’t think I’ve drank as many cocktails in quite some time as I did in Edmonton but when they’re this good – it’s almost criminal not to sample as many of them as possible. 😉
We started off with charcuterie…
…before deciding on a lean mean steak for myself and a pizza for Lloyd. (Both really delicious – though I’m more partial to the steak I had *licks lips*).
Elk Island National Park is a 40 minute or so drive from Edmonton and then another 10 to 15-minute drive to the lake in the park. (Watch out for bison when you’re driving here).
We strapped on our snowshoes and head torches and before long were waddling like ducks through thick snow.
I was so pre-occupied with trying to walk in the snowshoes that I didn’t even realise we were walking over a frozen lake till someone stopped to point out (via a cleared up patch) the lake underneath.
It seems like such a mundane little detail but it totally took me by surprise. Suffice it to say, this was the very first time I’d ever walked across a frozen lake. (Thanks to my misinformation from movies – I didn’t even know it was possible for so many people to walk over a frozen lake at the same time.
This is truly the kind of stuff Canadian winters are all about).
After about an hour of snowshoeing (and stopping for photos of the rather bright moon-lit sky), we stopped off for smores, toasted marshmallows and hot chocolate (for Lloyd – I’m not a big fan of hot chcocolate – I know, strange right? Who doesn’t like hot chocolate)…
…before we headed back to Edmonton to warm our cockles (with some tea and delicious chocolates from one of the local producers from earlier on – Jacek Chocolatiers) and rest up before our big drive the next day.
See, the next day we would be leaving the bright city lights of Edmonton for the natural charm of Jasper National Park (a 4-hour drive) and needed to get nice and rested for action-filled day in one of the most beautiful national parks in all of Canada and indeed, North America!