Basically, I screwed up my dates. I miscalculated the amount of time I had to spend in Edmonton, and left for Calgary early. I was ahead of schedule! Which is great for Calgary, because I got two and a half full days to explore it. The downside is, I could have spent more time in Edmonton. Ultimately, the trip turned out to be a little Alberta heavy (sorry Saskatchewan! Next time!)
I realized this fact on the bus ride to Calgary, when it was far to late to do anything about it. After I was finished kicking myself about that, I vowed to try and really explore Calgary and take my time, as I wasn’t rushed.
When I arrive,d I met up with Tami, a friend of a friend, who promptly took me to Peter’s Drive in when I told her I was hungry. Peter’s is an institution in Calgary. With over a million and a half flavours of milkshakes, and the ability to mix and match flavours, Peter’s is the kind of place that Calgarians make pilgrimage to frequently. I got an Oreo and Marshmallow milkshake, and I was in heaven. I wish I could tell you what Tami told me about Calgary on the drive back to her house, but I honestly don’t know. I was in milkshake nirvana. I'd like to go on record here and say that along with the best nachos in Canada, I've found the best milkshakes in Canada. Period.
After I got settled in Tami’s house, I set about calling an old army buddy of mine. Yes, I seriously mean an army buddy. I worked for a brief period as an embedded reporter for the Canadian military, and I met a few troops from Calgary. I called up one of these strapping young men and, in the true army fashion, he offered to take me out for a night on the town to get blinding drunk. So, in true journalist fashion, I said yes.
Tami and I left to meet Pete and his brother Marc at the train station that evening, dressed in my backpack’s finest. As luck would have it, Tami and Marc knew each other quite well, and the group of us headed downtown for a night of bad dancing, drinking, and debauchery. We even had pizza after the bar, but it wasn’t as good as pizza corner in Halifax. All in all, though, it was a great introduction to Calgary.
The next morning, after some slightly hung-over yoga, Tami and I went for a walk down by the Bow River, which is a hot spot in Calgary. People like to float down the river, or have parties by the banks. It’s a beautiful spot. She filled me in what Calgarians like to do for cheap: not much.
As it turns out, Calgary is a fairly expensive city. There are a lot of jobs, and a lot of people with money, so everything is a little more expensive in Calgary than other places in Canada, and even other cities in Alberta.
Still, we managed to find some cheaper things to do. We walked down through Kensington, a funky, arty area of town filled with little shops and restaurants, and we drove through the downtown area.
I also managed to save money that night by staying in. Since I had another full day in Calgary ahead of me, I let myself have the night off. When Tami’s family left to go to a football game (against the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, coincidentally) I watched a movie, had some leftover pizza, and relaxed. It was delightful.