Banff, July 27, 2010
The bus met us at the hotel and took us on to Banff. I was dropped off at a small hotel called The Fox, while the rest of the group headed on to their classier digs at the Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel.
The Fox, so named because Fox St. was the cross street nearby (where the cross streets were named for animals), looked fairly new and had a modern decor with rustic touches. Rooms were entered from the outside. My room was clean and comfortable, but quite small. I think it would have fit into the bathroom I had at the Château. They had a large tub below the center of the open area between rooms. It was filled with water from the hot springs. Hotel guests could soak there for free, but I had not brought a swimsuit with me or anything that could pass for one, so I didn't try it out.
At check-in I was given a town map and a pass that would let me ride the bus system all day (and maybe the next day, if I had had time). So I headed out and rode by the Banff Springs Hotel and went to the area to catch the gondolas to the top of a mountain. Then I came back and explored the little town on foot.
I had supper in the chain restaurant in the hotel, a TGI Friday's, as I recall. The other guests were friendly and struck up conversations. That was where I talked to the family that had hiked to the tea house. I soon learned to tell people that I live near Statesville. So many Canadians drive down I-77 and use Statesville as their stop before they brave the drive through Charlotte that they know the area pretty well. I even had some luck with saying Exit 30, if people wanted more specifics. Somebody knew a retired soccer player or tennis pro or something like that who was going to be moving to Davidson soon. He said they'd live in a pink house. I haven't ever figured out who that was.
It was nice to spend some time with Canadians, since almost everybody on the train was from the US. It would not be until the next day on the train that I'd meet the Brazilian lady.