Travel Diaries: Ice Magic Festival of Lake Louise

When you grow up in Canada, one of the things you hear about every year is the Ice Magic Festival of Lake Louise. That and also that Niagara Falls is a must see in your lifetime. For me, though I’d lived within driving distance of Lake Louise for almost my entire life, I’d never actually been to the festival.

I love Lake Louise, and try to visit several times a year, but I’d never managed to make it in late January/early February when the Ice Magic Festival is taking place.

Fast forward to 2019 and the year that I’m making things happen. Knight and I decided to take the weekend to see the Festival. It was supposed to be bitterly cold, but I convinced him to come anyways, knowing that the colder it was, the less tourists there would be out.

We began at a little bakery in Lake Louise called Laggan’s Mountain Bakery. This place had a line up that was almost out the door. The Baked Goods were delectable. As someone who eats strictly gluten free (Celiac Disease) finding gluten-free baked goods in a tiny little town in the mountains was quite a score. I ended up picking up a few, eating one then and saving the rest for home.

To the lake we went.

Despite my best hopes, there were still quite a few tourists out to bare the blistery -31 degree weather. I guess they, like me, decided it was still worth it, no matter how cold.

It had snowed quite a bit since the sculptures were made, but I still made my way around the lake to try and make out what each of the sculptures were. Some of them were difficult to tell due to the sun being behind the mountains and the snow having fallen. Even still, it really amazes the talent people have to create such intricate statues and sculptures out of ice.

Though it was tempting, we decided to not stop at the Ice Bar and opted to wander into the hotel to shop and warm up. There’s so much history in the Fairmont Lake Louise, wandering the halls just makes you feel as though it could be filled with ghosts of guests past.

There’s a gorgeous restaurant inside the hotel that overlooks the lake, the festival and the mountains in the background. It might be a little too rich for my blood, though. So, after checking out the sights of inside, we made our way back out to the lake. My desire was to walk far enough onto the lake that I could get a photo without anyone in the background.

Saying that you’re walking out to the middle of the lake is a weird thing to speak. But when you get there the view is so, so, so very much worthwhile.

About a third of the lake was plowed from what I could see. A portion was arranged for public skating (I wish I had brought my skates) a portion was arranged for playing hockey (it is as picture perfect as the photos showcase) and a portion was arranged for cross country skiing. Basically, it’s an outdoor lover’s dream.


To me, Lake Louise is the prettiest place on earth. It really is. Of all the places that I’ve ever been, my heart always comes back to Lake Louise and those incredible mountains shadowing over the picturesque lake, the forests, the animals, the majestic world that is the Rocky Mountains.

It was a perfect day… a picture perfect day wandering the festival, eating incredible food, watching the tourists in awe of how much snow there was.

There’s something I used to tell my friends a lot, that still stands true to this day. If ever I lose my way, that’s where you’ll find me – the tiny little town in the mountains. The place where everything’s good and everyone knows everyone. To me, that will always be Lake Louise.

Day 37: Ugh

As the fifth day in a row of temperatures below -30 degrees Celsius continues, cabin fever is real and hitting hard.

I don’t own a car. The idea of taking on that much debt terrifies me. As someone who has been on their own since they were 17, I don’t want to accumulate more than I can pay off. So, when it gets this cold, there’s not much more to do than stay in side, look for jobs online and watch a lot of Netflix.

Not owning a vehicle definitely makes getting around an interesting task when you’re 30 miles from the nearest town.

There’s a dog in this house named Bruiser, who quite literally leaves bruises on your body if you piss him off. And he’s a temperamental little bugger too, so it’s quite easy to piss him off. Never have I met a more aptly named pet in my life. Also, he snores. He’s on the couch across from me, four legs in the air, snoring like a full-fledged human man right now. Oh, Bruiser.

I long for the days when life is figured out. When I have a plan, a job and can effectively turn this passion project of mine into a full-fledged reality. The days when I can wander the world, taking beautiful photos and meeting beautiful strangers… and eating food even before I learn what it is. I long for the sunsets on new coasts and sunrises in new cities.

I am bound and determined to believe that December 31, 2018 will become the best thing that ever happened to me. That it will have been the day this all started. It was the day that all of the negativity in my life was cut out and the new, proper chapter began. What I need right now is to get through this literal and metaphorical cold snap confining my existence to this unemployment.

Life will get figured out. Hopefully it doesn’t come to robbing banks to get me to the sandy beaches of the Seychelles. (Small joke, I would never rob a bank) And hopefully that’ll just be my beginning.

Until then, still counting the days.

Travel Diaries: Copenhagen is calling

Something inexplicable happens when I step off the plane in a foreign land. Overcome with the possibilities of the unknown, I can’t help but want more.

It’s been two years since I stood at the edge of Nyhavn. Two years since I wandered the cobblestone streets and felt the gracious charm that is Copenhagen.

When I look back on my travels there is always one memory that stands out in each country I’ve visited. One moment in time that I remember above the rest. Something that stands out as a just a little bit brighter and a little bit better in my mind than all the rest. In Copenhagen it was Thai Food.

I know how that sounds. Trust me, I do. Who goes to Scandinavia to find Thai Food? Shouldn’t the best Thai food be found in Thailand?

“I can get Thai food at home!” I remember yelling at my brother as I followed him down Strøget after watching the changing of the guards at the Royal Palace.

“Trust me, sister. You haven’t ever had Thai like this before.”

Though I didn’t believe him, I reluctantly chose to follow him and my sister-in-law anyways… daydreaming of lunch at any of the Danish cafes and restaurants we passed along the way.

Very few times in my life have I had to admit that I was wrong. And oh boy, was I ever wrong about this.

Scurry Hub, an unassuming hole-in-wall restaurant with fewer than 15 seats inside, dubs itself as “Street Food” that can be eaten in or taken out. And, if you intend to eat in, good luck finding a seat. Truthfully.

From what I gathered during the hour we spent there, people in Copenhagen are also aware of just how phenomenal Scurry Hub’s food is. People continued in and out the doors the entire time we ate lunch… hoping to find a seat, realizing there weren’t seats and having to take their food with them to ensure they didn’t miss out.

We sat, we laughed, we talked and we planned the rest of our day and we ate some of the most incredible food that I’ve ever had.

‘Did we magically get the only table with four chairs?’ I asked my brother.

‘I guess so’, he laughed as he took another bite of food.

That day, that food, that restaurant will forever stand out in my mind. It was a shining reminder to myself that you cannot judge a book by it’s cover.

As we got up to continue on with our day, a group of locals was already scooping our table before my jacket was on. I remember thinking that I couldn’t blame them for doing that. I also remember thinking that I’d be back there one day.

Copenhagen is a magical city. The old-world charm I witnessed as I wandered cobblestone streets, ate incredible food, shopped in one-of-a-kind stores with salespeople who LOVED learning of my Canadian’ness made it feel like home. And, though I didn’t speak the language, know the culture or even how to read the street signs, I felt as though I belonged.

The wanderlust has hit hard in 2019. I will be back, Copenhagen. I can promise that with certainty.


RECOMMENDATIONS FOR VISITING COPENHAGEN:

  1. Eat at Scurry Hub – It is THE BEST Thai food that you will ever have.
  2. Climb the Rundetårn – The top of this tower has 360 degree views of the Copenhagen skyline. And, on clear days, you can see across to Sweden.
  3. Visit the Nyhavn Canal – Quite possibly one of the most synonymous sights of Copenhagen, this is one instagram opportunity you won’t want to miss.
  4. Walk. Walk everywhere – There are so many unique stores, cafes and restaurants all over the city. If you’ve got a good pair of walking shoes then I strongly encourage you to walk so that you don’t miss any hole-in-the-wall along the way.
  5. Amalienborg Palace – Amalienborg is the winter home of the Danish Royal Family. Tourists flock to the Palace Courtyard each day to watch the changing of the guards. It’s a very ‘touristy’ thing to do. But it’s definitely a cool thing to witness if you’re up for it.
  6. Shopping in Strøget – If you want to shop in Copenhagen visit Strøget. It’s the shopping district in the centre of the city that is one of the longest pedestrian shopping streets in Europe. There’s something for everyone, no matter your tastes.

-V