I’m such a huge fan of embracing the seasons.
In summer-time, I want to spend every possible moment soaking up the sunshine outdoors.
In autumn, I want to marvel at the dramatic change in nature as the leaves turn from what is almost ‘uniform green’ to all the many beautiful hues from reds to oranges.
In spring… well, the jury is still out on that one. Not really sure what to do with spring just yet! 😄
Winter, on the other hand, has to be spent in places that truly experience winter in all its frosty landscape-changing beauty. Winter is all about finding places that truly experience winter and heading over to explore it properly.
Coming from London, we don’t really get ‘winters’ per se. I kid you not, even in February, we had a spell of weather in England that saw temperatures soar to around 27C (80.6F). I don’t even think it even snowed properly in London this year.
Suffice to say, London isn’t really where you’d go for winter weather and with that, we packed our bags and headed over to Canada, more specifically, the province of Alberta (one of my absolute favourites– and you’ll see why over the next few posts) to take in winter in all it’s glory.
We flew directly from London to Calgary and checked into the Le Germain hotel – a cool spot smack bang in the city, which is pretty handy as it meant that we could maximise the little time we had in the city before heading out to explore even more of Alberta.
(* Last time we stayed at the Fairmont right opposite so we kinda knew our way around this part of the city a little bit).
The only thing on my mind as soon as we arrived was dinner and with that, we headed over to Native Tongues Taqueria, a spot we discovered the year before, which had left such an indelible mark on our taste buds that there was no competition for where to have dinner that night.
Oh, and it was every bit as good as I remembered it.
The cocktails were on point (which made me so pleased we were sitting right at the bar 😉 )…
…and the food was just the freshest, most delicious Mexican food in all the land. (Bold claim, I know. 😄)
We went for nachos, ceviche and several different types of tacos, all to share…
…finishing off with a gigantic doughnut, which I remembered from last time was probably meant to be shared between two but we went ahead and had one each. *licks lips*
Suffice to say, after that feast (aided along with even more delicious cocktails), I pretty much fell as soon as my head hit the pillow back at the hotel.
The next morning, we got up bright and early for breakfast, super refreshed from having slept off most of that jetlag (typically, if I can stay awake till bedtime in the location I’m in and have a good night’s sleep – I’m usually fine for jetlag for the entire trip).
After breakfast, we headed straight out to Studio Bell, a beautifully designed spot celebrating Canadian music and artists. It’s kinda like a museum for music and you can see everything here from original instruments some of your favourite musicians played (a few of which you probably didn’t even know were Canadian) to the actual outfits they wore for iconic parts of their career.
^ That’s Deadmau5…
^ Avril Lavigne
^ Monsieur Michael Bublé
^ Shania Twain
Even if you’re not crazy about music (to each their own, I say 😃), you have to visit this spot for the amazing architecture.
It’s just so impressive and a landmark in and of itself (a fact that hasn’t gone unnoticed by the rest of the world as it’s notched up quite a few International design awards since it’s been opened).
I think we had also two turns at exploring this place. The first one was pretty much just looking (and playing with) the actual stuff that’s in the museum (e.g. that Theremin in the video here which is both the oddest and most interesting musical instrument 😄 ).
The next lap was actually spent taking in the design of the whole place in all its magnificent curves.
Leaving Studio Bell, with architecture and design still fresh in our mind, we decided to pop into the next door(-ish) Calgary Central Library.
At first, we headed to the library to check out the architecture here too but as it turns out, the library is actually designed very much as a public space that goes beyond a place where you go to pick up a book or go for a leisurely reading sesh.
There are rooms here for budding videographers to make their own videos, short story machines that will print out stories for you based on how much time you have to read them, play areas for kids that rival playgrounds anywhere, drop-in sessions to learn about Alberta’s history from the indigenous First Nations people, chill out spots and a particularly great café to boot.
As a local, I guess I get why you’d want to visit the library, as a tourist (perhaps even one with just a day or a few hours transiting in Calgary), I wasn’t so sure until we visited and realised that it’s very much open to everyone – not just locals (granted, you probably can’t take a book away with you) but there’s so much more to get up to here than you’d think.
Eventually, though, the familiar rumbling of my tummy reminded me that it was well past lunch time and with that, we bade farewell to the Calgary Library and went off in search of lunch in the city.