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Thursday, November 14, 2013

Oh, Canada! FINE dining in Edmonton, trains, geese, the Icefields Parkway, & Jasper!

Our first stop in Alberta was Edmonton,  where we stayed at the Holiday Inn Express Downtown (on our hotel points :-), and thanks again to our GREAT AAA book, had a truly excellent "foodie" dinner of New Canadian Cuisine just a block away at the elegant Wildflower Restaurant: Peppercorn-Herb-Crusted Bison Tenderloin, with a fig and chanterelle bread pudding, butternut squash puree, and a blackberry sage reduction... Canadian Prime Beef Carpaccio and truffle parmesan frites, with shallot chipotle jam, arugula and BBQ aioli... Smokey Alberta Venison Loin w/Saskatoon Berry Reduction Sauce, Prairie Succotash, and Chipotle Polenta... and all beautifully matched with excellent BC wines! It was SO good I shot "Instagram" photos with my Nexus7:

A WONDERFUL dinner of New Canadian
cuisine at the Wildflower Restaurant in Edmonton
Our breakfast stop the next morning was at a sweet little café in Wildwood, which Wikepedia describes as a "hamlet"on the Yellowhead Highway (Highway 16). I think this is the first time I've ever been to a hamlet! The owners were charming, and helped me get online (hence the FourSquare photos from my Nexus7), and while I was getting coffee and FourSquaring, crafty Dan managed to snag us a bottle of Canadian wine!

Our road trip across Canada took us through some truly beautiful places, and we stopped to enjoy a field of white Canadian Geese:

We took the time to chase trains, and to stop and enjoy the beautiful landscapes and the quirky and interesting things along the way...

The Mounties! (I can't help it- I always think of Dudley Do-Right!)

We headed for Jasper, Alberta, which is within Jasper National Park, and our first stop was for a yummy lunch of Canadian Beef Carpaccio and Duck salad with a local beer sampler (and buying some local beer jelly!) at the Jasper Brewing Company!

The Jasper Brewing  Company is right across from the
Jasper Train Station, which is a working depot, as well as an historic one:

We stayed at the Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge, a truly lovely place to stay, where we had a cute cabins, great service, and excellent food at their Restaurant (elk and bison tenderloin!) 
That evening at the bar, we were drinking some more great BC wine and talking with the owner, the chef, and the staff, and when the owner found out that I was an Official Artist for the US Coast Guard and had been a military illustrator in the Israeli Defense Forces, he gave me the book "A Terrible Beauty- the Art of Canada at War" by Heather Robertson-  a most extraordinary gift!
The Sunwapta Falls Rocky Mountain Lodge is 30 minutes from Jasper on the "Icefields Parkway", which is so incredibly gorgeous that you truly have to see it to believe it! I found the Lodge on TripAdvisor, called and learned they had a special that included a bottle of bubbly and a credit at their restaurant, and decided that this was The place for us to enjoy our one night on the Icefields Parkway!

 After we checked in, we drove a few minutes up the road to Sunwapta Falls and hiked both to the Upper and Lower Falls- me in heels, of course! LOL We did about 5 kms total, which is more walking than we've done since our last vacation ages ago LOL, but we were really surprised to find out how good it felt! :-)
At one point I looked down and spotted a twig so unusual that I had to pick it up- I thought it was a carving of a bird that someone had made and accidentally dropped on the path! I took my pinecone "bird stick" with us as a lucky charm for our trip and a wonderful natural souvenir of a beautiful, romantic place...


 I love this man!

Elisse and her "bird stick"!


Frisbee: A traffic jam on the Icefields Parkway. LOL

 Chasing trains down the Icefields Parkway...

 Next: British Columbia!

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