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Moraine Lake, near Lake Louise in Banff National Park, AB

Monday, 31 July 2017

Celebration Tour - Part 4 - Whistler, BC

Sunday, July 30th

We managed to sleep in a little this morning, not getting up until 7 am. It was somewhat cloudy, so no rush to get out and about. Ray and I did go out for crepes (yum) by 8:15 though as I was in need of a coffee fix and then back to the room to wait until it warmed up outside. On the way back to the hotel we heard a bunch of clanging of bells ... and walked up the path to see some of the Ironman Bike portion go by on the highway. We will go back up the mountain today in the opposite direction to get a different perspective and keep away from all of the crowds associated with the Ironman this morning. The road out of town is even closed until 12:30 pm.


We left our hotel at about 10 am and headed over to the Upper Village, about a 10 minute walk where the lifts up to Blackcomb begin. Again it was nice there were so few people out and about as it's still a bit chilly out. Once on the top we saw that there was nothing we particularly wanted to eat as we were still full from breakfast so we hopped onto the Peak to Peak and went across to Whistler Mountain. Good thing we'd not planned to take the Peak Express to the Summit as it was in the clouds the 1/2 hour we were wandering around. This time we also checked out the gift shop. To our surprise they had Icebreaker shirts on sale so Ray got a few replacements as some of his shirts are wearing out.


View of the Fairmont Chateau Whistler coming down the gondola.


Whistler Sliding Centre viewed from the Gondola

After stopping for a drink of water it's back down the gondola to Whistler Village and scout out for a pub with a nice patio to have a brew with our lunch. Watching the gondolas going up to the top they were all packed. Glad we went up early. Lots of things for kids to do at the bottom of the lift. A great family destination.



At the bottom of the lift there were 3 pubs to choose from and the Black's Pub was the winner due to it's large shaded patio with great views of the mountain and all the comings and goings. A great people watching post.  Food was pretty good, prime rib burgers with a garden salad for me and fries for Ray. We sampled some Red Truck Lager.


After lunch we walked down the Village Stroll and stopped for ice cream at Cows for dessert. We were able to see some of the runners in the Ironman run past us heading for the finish line. Ray and I carried on back to the hotel so we could have a few hours rest before going out for dinner tonight at 6 pm.
The bridge from the lower Viillage

Did someone see a bear!








They have the most beautiful flowers and baskets everywhere.







After a rest at the hotel ... we actually had a snooze for 1 1/2 hours. It was time to go out for dinner at Araxi Restaurant and Oyster Bar. A beautiful setting and a great viewing platform to watch the people on the Village Stroll.


Our meals were excellent. Special margarita's to start, then Ray had some oysters while I had a wonderful dungeness crab roll. (One piece is missing from the crab roll as I just could not wait!)



Next we had our mains, I had prawn and pea risotto with a seared scallop and Ray had Wagu Beef Cheeks. He said it was the best beef dish he has ever eaten. With a great bottle of red wine we thoroughly enjoyed ourselves. They also gave me a small taster dessert plate for my birthday.




We walked down the Village Stroll back towards the hotel and saw the Ironman's finish line. Runners were arriving after 12 1/2 hours of competing. Wow.



We walked past this bakery suggested to us ... Ray was drooling but since we were so full, opted not to purchase anything. His mum would have loved this place!


Another fantastic day. Back to the hotel at 8:30 pm exhausted. But had a blast.

Celebration Tour - Part 3 - Whistler, BC

Saturday, July 29th

Up at about 6:30 relaxing with some coffee and muffins. Another gorgeous day. Ray and I were out the door at 9:30 heading to the Whistler Gondola to the top of Whistler Mountain. It was a short 10 minute walk to the Guest Services Building to get our tickets I'd purchased a couple of weeks ago. After our pictures were taken for our new pass, up we went to the top of Whistler Mountain. The gondola takes about 15 minutes, a lot longer than we thought it would take but a nice ride never the less. We crossed over the Mountain Bike Park where our son Garrett came to ride.

Once we got to the top, Ray was busy taking pictures of everything he could. We did not take the Peak Express chairlift to "The Top of the World" as it was quite a hike down to the lift and then you would have to hike back up ... a little too strenuous for Ray and myself. Before Ray's surgeries it would have been no problem.

The Roundhouse
Views from the top of Whistler Mountain.


Looking across to Blackcomb



Whistler Peak with a chairlift to the top

Pond that they use for the snow blowers in the winter


The deck at the Roundhouse looking at Whistler Peak
Trails along Harmony Lake

After determining lunch was not something we wanted to get at the Roundhouse we boarded the Peak to Peak Gondola over to Blackcomb Mountain. Here the views from the Gondola were stunning. Much better than those at Whistler Mountain, we thought anyways but we did not do any of the hikes.





Looking at Whistler Village

Looking at the Blackcomb ski runs.

Looking up the Pemberton Valley and Mount Currie

After reaching Blackcomb, we decided to take a short trail to see some Alpine flowers and get a little higher for some better views for pictures. We only walked total about 1km, but sure felt it being so high up.

Top of Blackcomb, The Rendevous
 Views from the trail to travel up the Alpine Loop Trail to see some wildflowers.









Looking across to Whistler Mountain and the Peak to Peak Gondola.






Back at the bottom of the trail we saw this helicopter coming in to pickup or drop off tourists. While we were on the patio for lunch we also saw them swoop straight down the mountain giving their guests a thrill.


After our exercise it was time for lunch at Christine's which had the best patio with views that wed seen so far. The food was unbelievable although not inexpensive. Both Ray and I chose the daily special of peppered filet steak with 3 kinds of beets on a butternut squash puree and feta cheese and a whole bunch of other things that I cannot remember. It was the best thing Ray and I put in our mouths so far this trip. Double Yummm. The portion size was a little small but they had other things that were for bigger appetites like a Korean pork sandwich with some kind of salad. The sandwich was as tall as most fully stuffed hamburgers.

View looking up at Christine's Restaurant

View from the deck at Christine's

Our view from our table. We had a craft beer from Chicago which was a cross between beer and champagne with the bubbles. Different but real tasty.

Yummm! A work of art.
Ray even spotted a Hoary Marmot sunning on a rock below the patio.



They have other less expensive options to eat up at the Rendevous as well.

Different food stations, hamburger station, taco station etc. You could eat really healthy or have french fries!

After a relaxing lunch, we headed back down the mountain by taking two chairlifts to reach the bottom. The views were much nicer going this way than going up to Whistler Mountain. We even saw a bear. Lots of wildflowers to see on the way down too. You can see many trails that the hikers take up the mountain.












Tonight I've booked dinner at the Bearfoot Bistro in the Village. It was a fantastic foodie experience. Our friends and family may think we are spending a lot of $$$ with this trip and we are, but we decided we were supposed to be on a cruise for the celebration tour with the great food they serve, but with aging parents and their health issues we decided to spend the $$$ this way. No guilt, well maybe a little!

We had an awesome meal at the Bearfoot Bistro with a great bottle of Vancouver Island wine. The service was spectacular. They even have a wine Sommellier who discusses your wine choices and then goes and gets your bottle from their vast wine cellar. We did not tour it but we could of, or had a meal there, or exprience the wine sabering of champagne.

Picture from Google

The also have a Ketel One Ice Room, where they have a lot of vodka to try. I snuck in to take a picture. They also give you a parka to wear while you are tasting.


Here are some pictures of our wonderful meal:

Beef  Carpacio

Duck Breast

Ray's a happy camper!

Rack of Lamb ... looks like artwork!
My dessert

Ray's dessert

They had an "Open Kitchen" ... which looked very much like Chef Gordon Ramsey's "Hell's Kitchen" There was no yelling or swearing happening though! lol They have interns working there as well. Their pastry chef makes chocolates that they sell to a lot of the other hotels in the Village.


All so very yummy. We had a party going on in our mouths for the whole meal. After, we walked back home by strolling along the Village Stroll for a ways watching all of the multitude of people.