Travelling in times of Covid from Europe to Canada

25th and 26th of September, 2021

Both my children live on the other side of the world; my daughter in Australia and my son in Canada. Due to the pandemic, I have not been able to see them for a very long time. I check from time to time the Canadian travel website and the moment I see that Canada is opening up their borders, my partner and I book a flexible flight from Amsterdam to Calgary. Although nothing is official yet, we apply for our visa. This is my chance to see at least one of my children and I have to act NOW! More towards the date of leaving, we get all our paperwork printed, download the ArriveCAN app, fill in health declarations and get tested just before we hop on the plane. It all sounds easy, but it isn’t; the preparations are pretty stressful!

Upon arrival in Calgary it takes us nearly two hours to pass all the checkpoints at the airport, due to the covid control. Once we get our car from the rental agency and join the other vehicles on the highway, we feel relieved. The Rocky Mountains are right in front of us and will surround us for the next two weeks!

It will be a long drive to the remote area, where my son settled down two years ago. He lives deep down in the Rocky Mountains from British Columbia. To be able to enjoy the countryside, we booked two overnight stays; one in famous Banff and one in mountain destination Revelstoke.

As of all the delays, we arrive early evening at the Alpine Resort in Banff. We booked a cabin for ourselves, very rustic and quiet. We had plans to go for a hike into town, but by now we are totally exhausted. Although the Alpine Resort is more a hostal for backpackers, there is a bar and a small dining room. The menu is simple, but the burgers are good and in the morning they serve free pancakes.

At 9.00 we are ready to continue our trip, but first we go for some sightseeing. We drive down to the Bow River, a river with a length of around 600 km. The name of the river derives from the reeds that grew along the banks. They were used by the First Nations to create bows.

From here we have a great view on the impressive Fairmont Hotel, on the other side of the river.

Banff is still very quiet on this sunny Sunday morning. We grab a coffee, buy some sandwiches and continue our trip over the Bow River Parkway. Immediately, we are checked for the National Park Pass which we did buy on Saturday, when entering Banff National Park. At least it is 24 hours valid!

We stop at Baker Creek Mountain Resort, just to take some pictures. A lovely place to spend the night, but not cheap!!!

The pictoresque Parkway is bringing us to famous Lake Louise. It is my third visit to this Unesco World Heritage Site, only today it is packed with visitors. There is just one parking spot left and we pay the eleven CAD for the Day Pass.

Our next stop are The Spiral Tunnels at the Kicking Horse Pass. We are just in time to see a train circle into the mountains, in order to lessen the grade of the hill.

We follow the road towards Field, a small town in Yoho National Park, on the banks of the Kicking Horse River. It is time for a last coffee, as we still have another two hours to drive, before reaching Revelstoke.

Due to a lot of construction on the Trans-Canadian Hwy we barely make it to our hotel “River In” before dark. The hotel is situated close to the railway track, but at least the train does not keep blowing its whistle during the night, like in Banff!