By the end of the week everyone, including us, were preparing to leave. Jessica and kids left earlier in the week and Gerald and Frances prepared their kids for a Monday departure to California and Disneyland, their traditional ending activity. If all goes well, Seth and Angelica will return in September to spend the school year with us. They seem excited to come! I hope we can provide them with a sweet and beneficial experience.
Here's Gerald with Angelica and Layne, and then, Seth.
Here's our Taiwanese kids on their last day with us: Seth, Angelica, Ray, Frances, Angel, Sean, Jason, Linda and...Layne. We so enjoyed them!
On Monday we all went to the airport together; they were headed to California and we to Canada, to meet our friends, Bill and Trudy Ostler. They invited us to join them for a few days, touring the Calgary area. We have been friends with them for some years now. They moved to St. George and we to Idaho, so we meet a couple times a year to renew friendship and enjoy each others' company. I haven't been to Canada since I was a girl and don't remember much about it. But it sets in my mind as a land full of trees and all things cool and green. Reality is never quite a match for memory.
Bill and Trudy met us at the Calgary airport with smiles and plans. We were soon in a rental car and made quite a drive through the countryside. After passing through the Calgary area of flat lands and brown views, we entered a mountainous area filled with the trees of my imagination. The skies were smoky, with recent wildfires hiding the blue skies and turning the sun red. We headed to a place called Banff and settled in for the night at a very nice rented condo. We walked to a local restaurant for dinner and then back for a quick bond and bed. Oh, it was so good to settle into bed. But, for some reason, I didn't sleep much. So we began our Tuesday adventures with a bit of a sleep deficit.
Tuesday took us to Lake Louise, a well-known local sight. It rested at the base of some of the Canadian Rockies. The views were lovely and the lake was a cloudy turquoise color. I've never seen such a color in a lake before. Take a look.
Here we are by Lake Louise with Bill and Trudy. We spent just about all day here.
Wednesday we headed to the tourist town of Banff and went on the highly recommended gondola ride 7000+ feet up the side of the local mountain. Wow. What a ride. Even though some thousands of people have made it safely up that hill, my stomach was full of butterflies all the way up. Trudy, on the other hand, was thrilled with the ride. She seems to have a taste for danger! We made it to the top alive and enjoyed the views from the building on top. And a few souvenirs at the gift shop. Gotta have those, right?
Here's the sights from the top. Canada is celebrating her 150 year anniversary, so there were lots of references to that.
The valley below.
We had fun at the top, looking at views from all sides, eating lunch, and shopping.
Bill and Layne, in a guy moment.
Riding the gondola back down was much easier on my stomach, for some reason.
We headed back to Calgary on Thursday and spent the day at a place called Heritage Park. It was a bit like our Williamsburg; a step back in time with workers dressed in vintage clothing and acting out their parts as we visited pioneer homes, stores, farms and restaurants. It was great fun. So much so that we spent the whole day there. The people were friendly and the feel of this place, and all things Canadian, felt very much like all things USA.
We rode the vintage train and boat. It was all great fun.
Layne sits in front of one of the shops in Heritage Park.
Early (very early!) Friday morning found us at the airport for our flight home. The Ostlers headed to Salt Lake and we flew to Denver, then Boise, arriving Friday afternoon. No matter how fun being on a trip is there really is no place like home! For the first time in three nights, I slept all night long. It was delicious!