Padinago's trip to Canada in 2009

Day 1 - Arrival in Calgary, Alberta

Today, the four of us, finally leave for Canada and we are really looking forward to this trip. The taxi picks us up very early in the morning and drives to Nathalie’s parents (Lucien and Sofie, abbreviated: LuSo) to pick them up. On our way to the airport we start worrying…it seems that our driver is almost falling asleep behind the wheel and Lucien just keeps talking to him in order to keep him awake… sounds promising!
Once we arrive safely at the airport in Zaventem, we check in which goes very well. Also at the customs it all goes very well but apparently the inspection of the hand-luggage is much more rigid (a few weeks ago Zaventem had a very bad report regarding hand-luggage inspection and now they want to make up for this). You have to take off your shoes, belts, luggage is checked and Lucien and Patrick are being body-searched! They are fine and we can move on.
So first our flight to London Heathrow and then the longer flight to Canada with Air Canada which afterwards seems to be an extremely good company.
We leave around 9.55am from Zaventem and fly to Heathrow. We adjust our watches to the local time (-1h).
British Airways is, as we already knew, really not recommendable, the staff is unfriendly at the airport as well as on the plane where Nathalie has almost immediately a ‘collision’ with a flight attendant who just throws someone else’s huge hand luggage on top of hers in the overhead compartment and keeps wringing it against ours which is filled with photo equipment!
After about 75 minutes we arrive in Heathrow without any problems. After all the goings-on we leave at 1.15pm for Canada with Air Canada which, as previously mentioned, is very good, friendly staff, good food (at least for a flight) and especially lots of legroom and each has its own TV screen with a choice of more than 20 movies so enough to keep us busy. Again we adjust our watches and turn back the time with 7 hours, local time in Calgary AB.

Around 3.35pm, about 9 hours and 20 minutes later we land in Calgary where we very easily find our luggage and walk to Alamo to pick up our rental car. In the garage we look for our car, a Jeep Commander. We asked for their largest 4x4 and get it, so this is again going very smoothly. We drive to our hotel, Hotel International Suites in the centre of Calgary. Very nice hotel and especially our rooms which are suites with a living room and kitchen. Unfortunately we only stay one night here. Our car is parked at the hotel’s parking lot and for one night we pay almost 3 CAD! PaNa (Patrick & Nathalie) drive to the Calgary Market Hall to do some groceries and to buy a cool box and LuSo stays at the hotel to shower and rest a bit. Our GPS gives us some trouble and sends us to the wrong place... Finally, we did our groceries and found a small cool box and we return to the hotel to have a shower. Afterwards the four of us walk under a beautiful blue sky to the Calgary Tower to have dinner (each of us a 6oz Tenderloin) at the ‘Sky360 revolving restaurant’. We quickly go to the observation deck with a glass bottom at a height of 160m. By now we are awake for about 25hours and we start to feel it so we return to the hotel and go to sleep. When passing the reception desk the receptionist calls us. There is a package for us?! It is the entire package of the travel agency with plans, information about the region, a road book and lots of other stuff. The package weighs about 2 kg. Now we got much more reading material but we will not start now as we are too tired. What a great bed with lots of pillows!!!

Daytrip approx. 14 km

Our rental car, Jeep Commander Calgary Tower Calgary Tower On Calgary Tower On Calgary Tower