Whistler rivals Banff for prettiness and the mountains, dare I say it, are even more spectacular. Here’s Mum and I at the float plane dock.
Although who can really say which place we’ve been is the best? I’m reaching that stage of travel where I can’t honestly recall precisely what Banff’s mountains looked like. Lucky I’ve got five million photos!
The float plane was fantastic but slightly wobbly. The scenery was a ring of mountains with glaciers and lakes. The colour of the water was really stunning from the air.
As always, I felt my stomach lurch when the plane bumped up and down, but it was worth it! The other good thing about doing the flying options is that they’re quick (20 minutes this time) and so there’s time to do some walking around afterwards. Whistler town centre is a pedestrian mall and the town is set up for lots of summer sports. BMX and mountain bikers we catching the chair lifts up and riding down the mountain right to the middle of town. I got a free gondola ride and watched them from above.
I didn’t go up the mountain until late so I just did a little walk around, enjoyed the scenery and then came down. The gondola is one of the longest in the world and takes 20 minutes to go all the way to the top. Dare I say it even got a little boring? The views were great though, when it wasn’t rocking in the wind.
After having lunch at a cheap pasta place, Mum and I had enough leftovers to heat up for dinner in our room, which had a microwave. Imagine being able to eat what you wanted, with only a one minute wait and not have to make conversation with a waiter or try to work it tips! Luxury!
How one’s priorities change when traveling, hey?
Next: we go to another place and do more things.
It’s iconic, it’s incredible, it’s a huge tourist trap. It’s Lake Louise! One of the world’s most recognisable hotels, the Fairmont Lake Louise is a huge, bustling building and we were lucky enough to have a lake-view room.
That’s the view from our room at 6:30am. Of course the views from around the lake are even better. After we got to our room and unpacked, I left Mum to do her own thing and I walked the 2.5km path that follows the right side of the lake to the end.
It was packed with people. As I walked I could hear accents from around the world. I know some people could find it annoying to be somewhere so beautiful but also surrounded by people, but you have to come to terms with being a tourist and being part of the problem and just enjoy it for what it is, and it is stunning.
I later learned that the lake changes colour throughout the year. Obviously it’s frozen in winter – it is used for hockey and skating and sledding etc, then the ice melts around the beginning of June and at that point all the rock flour (glacier sediment) has settled and the water is crystal clear. As the glaciers around the lake start to melt in the warmer weather they bring superfine rock particles that cloud the water and reflect the light, becoming a deep jade (what you see now in August), then the glaciers freeze solid before the lake does, so the water clears in September and then freezes again. So all the lakes we’ve seen are glacier-fed and jade-coloured, but will be clear in a few months. I find that fascinating!
If you walk to the end of Lake Louise you can see six separate glaciers, three of which are visible from the hotel, but one of which is mostly covered in moraine, or landslides. People think of glaciers as pure, ancient water. But the truth is that the water that comes out of them is filthy because they grind the landscape so harshly that they pick up the rock. In Iceland icebergs are often striated with black volcanic gravel that the glaciers churn up.
Anyhow, Lake Louise was quite experience. The hotel is vast and very busy. We had dinner again with Heather and Steve, which was lovely, then an early night because we were leaving early to get to Moraine Lake, another postcard-perfect site.
In our final Iceland video, we take a Superjeep tour, go hiking over a mountain, sledding down a volcano and touch a glacier. I think we can all agree, Iceland is pretty damn rad.
Also, learn how to say Eyjafallajökull! 😀
We go back to Jökulsárlón to see the nearby black sand beach, and then continue our travels across Iceland’s stunning landscape.
Also, here are the promised 80’s-hair-metal-band Iceland horses; none, unfortunately, which are fighting. 🙂
Music: Rafstraumur by Sigur Rós
Heading east along the south coast of Iceland, we drive past some of the amazing scenery the island has on offer. We also stop off at the Mýrdalsjökull glacier, and the glacial river lagoon, Jökulsárlón.
Also, the cliffs of insanity in Iceland? Inconceivable!
Music: Sigur Rós – Stormur
We continue our Iceland adventure with a trip around the Golden Circle, the route upon which many of Iceland’s natural wonders can be found. We hope you agree that the scenery is, at times, quite Tolkien-esque. 😉
Also, Luke takes the hobbits to Isengard.
Apologies for the amount of wind noise during the video – turns out Iceland is a windy place!
The Stone Roses – Waterfall ( http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7uQMqsWsGtA )
Erwin Beekveld – They’re Taking The Hobbits To Isengard ( http://www.youtube.com/watchv=uE1RPDqJAY )