Archive for the Saskatoon Category

Banff, Jasper etc.

Posted in Abandoned buildings, Alberta, Athabasca Glacier, Banff, Calgary, Camping, Canmore, Caving, Drumheller, Edmonton, Forest fires, Jasper, Lake Louise, Lloydminster, Pocahontas, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Travel, Vacation, Vegreville with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on July 5, 2015 by Amanda

Last Saturday I picked up my sister from the Saskatoon airport and then we headed to Alberta. We stopped briefly in Drumheller and then spent a night in Calgary.

On Sunday we drove to Canmore (which I thought was a very nice town) and went caving. It was definitely different than other caves I’ve been in. Overall, I enjoyed the experience though I would have appreciated elbow pads in addition to knee pads and I truly thought I might never get out of the cave as it was very slippery and difficult to get out of. I left with quite a few bruises. I really liked the rappelling and it was nice to be in a cave that isn’t visited by that many people.

Entrance to the cave.

Entrance to the cave.

Later in the afternoon we headed to Banff. The campground was nice and quiet and had lots of elk. I especially enjoyed watching them lick water off of tents. We walked around the town and did a little bit of hiking.

Elk licking a tent.

Elk licking a tent.

We then headed to Lake Louise was completely insane. Parking was very frustrating. Eventually we ended up parking about a kilometre away in a parking lot for some trail. It would have been much quicker to do that in the first place. We took a trail to a lookout which was surprisingly quiet. I doubt more than one in a hundred people there took this trail but it had such an amazing view and the 1.8 kilometres walk which was pretty much all uphill was very much worth it and of course, the walk down took no time at all!

Lake  Louise from the viewpoint.

Lake Louise from the viewpoint.

We spent a night at a campground near the Athabasca Glacier. It only had pit toilets but I can’t really complain as it cost only $15.70. We got there around 3 o’clock and there were very few sites left so it was good that we didn’t arrive later. You can’t make reservations and it uses a self-registration system.

The next morning we took a tour and walked on the glacier for close to three hours. It was an interesting experience. It was astonishing to see how much of the glacier has melted since 1982 (there is a sign of where it was then). I think it would be interesting (and depressing) to visit in a decade or two to see how much change has occurred.

The Athabasca Glacier.

The Athabasca Glacier.

We stopped at a couple of waterfalls on the way to Jasper. I liked the town of Jasper better than Banff but was the campground was not good. There was so much traffic and noise there and we really didn’t sleep well; being sick of camping by then didn’t help either. We saw a bear but didn’t manage to get a picture of it. We did a bunch of hiking in the area.



On the way out of the park, we stopped briefly at an old mine called Pocahontas. It had some old ruins and informational signs. It was very interesting and we were the only ones there!

Sort of entering a building you aren't supposed to enter in Pocahontas.

Sort of entering a building you aren’t supposed to enter in Pocahontas.

We stopped for a night in Edmonton and then travelled back to North Battleford (with a stop in Vegreville as my sister needed a picture of the sign as she used to have a job where she had to send things to there all the time). On the drive, it became increasingly hazy. I eventually realized that it was smoke as it got stronger. The smoke seemed strongest around Lloydminster. It was still smoky when we reached here yesterday. I know that there are like a billion forest fires but was surprised that the smoke spread this far.

I showed my sister a bit of Saskatoon this afternoon and then dropped her off at the airport. I am a bit tired and not really looking forward to going back to work tomorrow.

Ice sculptures

Posted in Frosted Gardens, Ice sculptures, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Winter with tags , , , , on February 1, 2015 by Amanda

I went to Saskatoon today which came close to doubling the number of kilometres on my odometer.  Besides the usual shopping, I saw ice sculptures at what was called Frosted Gardens.  They were interesting but they were smaller than I’d thought they might be and the ice maze was tiny; I’m sure even little kids could figure it in one try.  It didn’t take long to look at everyone which was good as it was -19 and the windchill must have been quite a bit colder.  Here are a couple of pictures:



Thanksgiving, Edge Walk, and a surprise $800!

Posted in Air Canada, Edge Walk, Home, Megabus, Ontario, Overbooking, Parking, Saskatchewan, Saskatoon, Thanksgiving, thorold, Toronto, Travel, Travel voucher, Vacation, Winnipeg with tags , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , on October 18, 2014 by Amanda

I am a little belated in writing this post as I’ve been both tired and lazy.

Anyway, on the Friday prior to Thanksgiving in arrived at the Saskatoon airport and spent a while searching for a parking spot. With the exception of short-term and handicapped spots there were practically no parking spots and to make things more annoying there were several almost spots because large trucks were parked in a spot and a quarter or so. I saw about five cars looking for spots. Eventually, I did find a spot but it was a very frustrating experience. Luckily, I was rather early. The woman at the baggage drop-off said they have an overflow lot but they only open it once all the spots in the regular lot were filled. Security was busy by Saskatoon standards which meant there a bit of a line; I don’t think I’ve ever encountered a line there before! When I arrived in Toronto it was insanely busy with people being picked up. I was surprised at how much busier it seemed before Thanksgiving than before Christmas.

I was home for a few days and didn’t do anything terribly notable but it is was nice to have a break and the weather was generally pretty good and I did some shopping and went on a few walks with my mom.

A sidewalk without an entrance located near my parents' house.

A sidewalk without an entrance located near my parents’ house.

I then went to Toronto. As I had planned ahead it cost me all of $2.83 on Megabus to get there! I would really like to be on one of their double decker buses but once again I was on a regular Coach Canada bus but I guess I really shouldn’t be complaining considering how little it cost me.

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Me on the edge of the CN Tower.

When I arrived in Toronto I was able to check into my hotel early which was nice. Later that afternoon, I did Edge Walk which is something I wanted to do for some time now. I was there a bit early and got in an earlier group as they weren’t fully booked. I was amazed at how many staff they have. They checked the harnesses and such like a million times and we had to pass breathalyzer tests; apparently, some people actually fail those. They have had about 60,000 people come and only 30-something of them have chickened-out but apparently it is isn’t that uncommon for people to spend the nearly $200 and then just not show up. The elevator was rather slow as it was pretty windy. I think the wind added to the experience up there! We were lucky enough to get a break in the rain and the weather was very warm. The view was fantastic and it was so nice not to have windows in the way!

My flight to Winnipeg was routine though I didn’t get a seat assigned until the gate (a first for me) but it was a good seat and they ended up leaving with a few empty seats. When I was waiting in Winnipeg for the flight to Saskatoon, the gate agent announced that they were oversold by two seats and were looking for volunteers to spend the night; for spending the night, they gave an $800 travel voucher, a hotel room, meal vouchers, and confirmed seat on the flight the next morning. I took the offer right away but it took her a while to get a second volunteer. I don’t see why others didn’t jump at the offer it seemed more than fair to me, especially since I was back early enough the next morning to get to work on time the next morning! Why does it matter where you sleep? When I was waiting for my flight to Toronto when I left I Saskatoon, there was an announcement for a volunteer on the flight to Winnipeg to put on a later flight. It seems like Saskatoon-Winnipeg is a good route for these opportunities. I’ve never heard any of these offers on Air Canada before this and I’d only ever heard one on Delta once years ago (which people snapped up instantly). The guy at the front desk at the hotel said they had five people there because of overbooking that night and that was still pretty early.


The view from my free hotel room at the Winnipeg airport.

Amsterdam, Minneapolis, Saskatoon, North Battleford (Tuesday, August 5)

Posted in Airport, Amsterdam, Minneapolis, North Battleford, Saskatoon, Travel, Vacation with tags , , , , , , on August 15, 2014 by Amanda

August 5 was a long day. In fact, it was almost literally endless!

Once we arrived in Amsterdam, we got through immigration very quickly. Finding a train into the central of Amsterdam was more confusing though but once on the correct train it was only a 15 minute ride into the city!

We started out by just wandering around. It was fairly quiet early in the morning. Amsterdam is definitely a very attractive city though there was sure a lot of garbage on the streets at that time.



Eventually we decided we’d go on a canal cruise (the cheapest one we would find). The cruise was interesting but it was a bit difficult to stay awake. We maybe should have left the cruise for last or not bothered at all as while we were on the boat the streets became insanely busy. If I ever go back to Amsterdam, it wouldn’t be in the middle of the summer! It seemed like everyone there was a tourist.

We wandered around the Red Light District. In the daytime, the windows were largely empty and those few that had women in them were surprisingly fat and the one woman was truly frightening looking; I literally almost screamed when I saw her!

We also eventually found the Amsterdam sign. It was harder to find than we’d anticipated but as it was so busy, it was clear others didn’t have that issue. There were people everywhere!

The sign.

The sign.

I had thought we’d arrived back at the airport at pretty much the perfect time; we were early enough not to be worried but late enough not to have tons of time on our hands but then our plane ended up leaving two hours late. We should have spent more time in Amsterdam!

I was worried that getting on a plane in Minneapolis might be dicey but we made up about half an hour in the air and then immigration was much quicker than I’d expected. They had a new system where Canadians went in the same line as Americans and answered questions on computers and then simply gave the printout (which included a really bad picture) to the customs person. Our flight didn’t leave until 9:50pm and there were planes leaving two hours later but all the stores and restaurants closed at 9pm which seemed really strange to me.

We arrived in Saskatoon just fine and then headed back to North Battleford which we technically reached quite early on August 6.

Journey to Uganda (Wednesday, July 16/Thursday, July 17)

Posted in Amsterdam, Entebbe, Kampala, Saskatoon, Toronto, Travel, Uganda, Vacation with tags , , , , , , , on August 9, 2014 by Amanda

We left Saskatoon very early on a Wednesday morning.  The reaction to our destination of Entebbe was definitely “where?!”  I guess not many people fly from the Saskatoon airport with Entebbe as their final destination!  We boarded the plane very early but didn’t leave on time as the luggage belt was apparently broken.  It didn’t matter in the least as we had a pretty lengthy layover in Toronto.  Before we left there was an announcement about a passenger who had previously boarded the wrong plane and would now be boarding our plane.  I have no idea how that could have happened!  I don’t think I’ve ever been on plane where that has happened before.  Anyway, the guy ended up boarding the plane and received a fair bit of applause.  I didn’t sleep much on that flight thanks to the worst screaming baby ever.

The international part of terminal 3 in Toronto has changed a lot since my last visit which I think was about three years ago.  There is now almost no normal seating; instead, the place is filled with tables with ipads on them!

Seating in the international part of terminal 3.

Seating in the international part of terminal 3.

Our flight to Amsterdam was on an MD-11, a plane which will soon be retired by KLM. It was a bit louder than other planes I’ve been on but was otherwise perfectly ordinary. We landed in a really part of the Amsterdam airport but eventually we found our way to a more interesting part of the airport. The library and the museum were both much smaller than I’d expected.

Boarding for the flight to Entebbe was kind of crazy. As security is done at the gate and boarding started late, we departed late. They also had to remove bags of no-show passengers. The amount of food given on the flights was kind of insane. We stopped in Kigali but didn’t leave the plane. Cleaners came and cleaned while we were seated. In the end, we arrived about an hour late in Entebbe. The immigration people were unbelievably friendly. Our bags took some time to arrive but they definitely weren’t the last of the plane. We easily located our driver and then drove for an hour to the hotel in Kampala. There were a lot of people around and businesses open as we drove around midnight.