Thursday, 26 March 2009

Our journey to the Yukon.

It occurred to us all too late that Waterton is not a handy place to travel from. Stuck down in the corner of southern Alberta, we are a 45 minute drive (no public transport) from the Greyhound depo, and a further three hours bus ride from the airport. And the buses only go to Calgary once a day. Our flight to Whitehorse was Wednesday evening, but we had to leave Waterton on Tuesday evening to get there. Our bus to Calgary was 4.35am, so we stayed with our friend Roy in Pincher Creek on Tuesday evening, and crept out of his house at 4am to walk to the bus station. Then followed a horrible bus journey into Calgary, where we had a day to kill in the city before we made our way to the airport.

You may remember my post early on about the twelve hours we spent in Calgary in October, and how I didn't like the city during those twelve hours. Another twelve hours last Wednesday did nothing to endear me further to Calgary. That place is just not set up for carrying out daily functions in a nice and easy manner. Especially if you're a tourist. The city is not pretty or impressive (although we did find a little park with Canadian Geese...or, just geese, as the Canadians say), and everything is so spread out. We arrived at the bus station at 7.45am, and walked thirty minutes down a main road (and through a decidedly ghetto neighbourhood) into the city. We had a good breakfast, walked around the shops (I bought a new camera, which is confusing Seamus in the photo above), just killed time. In the afternoon, we traipsed all the way back to the bus station, where we'd left our bags in a locker. And this leads me to the worst thing about Calgary. THERE IS NO DIRECT BUS TO THE AIRPORT. Despite the airport only been 15 kms from the city centre, they decided it would be too handy to have either a public bus running, or a shuttle bus (surely every other city in the world has both?). There is a very complicated way of getting to the airport, involving two buses, one train and a lot of walking. But since we were on holiday, we gave in and paid $45 for a cab. But it hurts. Do they not want their people to travel? Do they not want to encourage tourism in their mediocre city? Or is their economy purely dependent on taxi companies?

Once we were at the airport, everything was very simple. We checked in, hung out and played cards, then boarded. We were flying with Air North, who just deal with the Yukon, Northwest Territories and Alaska. Despite the flight only being three hours long, they gave us free, nutritious and tasty food, and a nice magazine to read. I love Air North!

We arrived at Whitehorse pretty late, got a taxi to the hostel (Whitehorse have both shuttle buses and public buses between the airport and the city, despite the population being only 20,000, and the distance being 5 kms) and then went for CHINESE. Every holiday should start with Chinese.

There's going to be a lot of blog posts about Whitehorse...more to follow!

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