Castles, Caroline, and Cuts

Did I mention that while we were in Banff, we stayed in a castle?


Did I also mention that we got to stay for free???!  Jeremiah had a meeting there to present his research from this year.  He already had a room paid for, and I would have hated for him to have to be alone all those days 😉


As people who would one day like to build a house made of stone, can I tell you how long Jeremiah and I guessed at what the current cost would be marveled over the fact that this entire monstrosity was made of stone?  I’m sure all the mountains around made stone a bit more available as a resource, but STILL.




It was originally built in 1888…adding to its wonder exponentially for me 🙂


My Dad, who claims to not have an artistic bone in his body, is often telling me to include cars in the background of my pictures.  He thinks they date things well…I tend to not agree, but Dad, I’m gonna have to give it to you here.  I’m sure this photographer was hacked off that speedy Gonzales came dashing into his picture at the last moment, but seeing people leave the hotel by horse-drawn carriage totally makes this shot.  Maybe I’ll start getting more pictures with cars in the way 🙂  Who says Dad is not an artist?


I almost wore my outfit like that...


I love this room. Love it.


And these windows. Umm.


I'm just gonna have to give credit where credit is do. Canada, you rock.

Now, while taking pictures of this gorgeous hotel was fun, there was not a whole lot else to do in this national park with waist-deep snow all around.  There is great skiing, but Jeremiah only had 4 hours of free time each day.  Not really enough time to get a lot done on the slopes, and I certainly wasn’t going to commit suicide go skiing by myself.  So instead, I did what I always dream you’re supposed to do on vacations.  This:DSC_0281

I laid in bed, in a robe, and read and wrote and didn’t tense up my shoulders one time.  Normally I have a mile-long list of fun activities I want to cram in, and I’m waking us up at the crack of dawn so we don’t miss a minute.  All meals, all transportation, all paid-for on this adventure…I turned into the slug I’ve always dreamed I could be.

There was a gym, so I did take a run every day, before getting back in the bed.  Jeremiah and I also took a hike one afternoon (the second half of the shots from the last post), and I drank a lot of tea:


In a room that looked like this:


And I tried to be sure I replenished myself amply, before I returned to my reading.


At that particular meal, I was at a table with bunch of intimidatingly smart spine surgeons, when one of them mentioned that there was supposed to be a really cool “gondola ride” that we ought to try to take.  I responded, “Gondola ride, really?  Won’t that be kind of hard to do with all that snow and ice?”

Everyone stared at me blankly.  I wasn’t sure if there were large quantities of food stuck between my teeth, or if I was the only one at the table who was not struck mute by some unseen force.  I tried to draw them out of their trance, “I mean, wouldn’t it be kind of hard to paddle through all that ice?  Won’t we be cold?”

“They take us to the top of the mountain,” someone said.

“How can they take a gondola that far UPstream?” I asked, totally bewildered.

More blank stares.  I feel my face turn red.  I knew better than to try to talk at one of these things!  Finally, Jeremiah comes to my rescue (approximately 3 minutes too late), and clarifies that everyone is talking about this type of gondola:


Not the serenade type that I was picturing:

We took that gondola ride, and it was magnificent.


At the top, there was a boardwalk between two peaks, which is where I got to take all those pictures from the last post.  I think I’ve already told you what a great experience it was for me 🙂

We went with these friends.  Heidi and Gareth you have met a couple of times before.  We went together to Leavenworth and the pumpkin patch.


But, can I take a second to introduce to Anuj?


He cracks. me. up.  He’s an Eeyore, but I don’t think he knows it.  He was serious about this hat…until I could not stop laughing about it.  I love when smart people don’t know they’re smart.  When people who should be proud are humble as humble can be.  That’s Anuj…and he’s an Eeyore.  Have I mentioned that?


Anuj was probably laughing at me during this Titanic moment I was having.  I was so moved I didn’t care.

On the last morning of our trip, we had the option to have breakfast brought to our room, or eat downstairs at the (very nice) breakfast buffet.  Everybody thought we were crazy to choose to stay in our room, but when you’re the one making three meals a day, every day, the idea of breakfast being wheeled in to me without even having to put my feet on the floor, was too spectacular an idea to be missed.



Chances are he'll be mad about this shot on the blog...but oh well. He looks cute in a robe.

Just to prove that he did work a little bit for us to be able to go on this trip:


He looks cute in a suit too.


It's hard to be my sister. Pictures for the blog with no warning to put on makeup.

And now, my chicken wings are back at my side!!  Caroline flew them out here and spent a couple of days with us.  Sweet Caroline.  (Those cute shirts are HONEY BEE TEES!!! by my friend Darby.)

It’s funny how badly I think I need a break, and then how bad I miss them until they come back.  I feel a little pointless without them after a while.  Made me wonder what I’ll do with myself when they go off to college.  What if I never let them leave?

And finally a little laugh for the road.  This has gotten WAY too long.  But Locks was in serious, dire need of a haircut.


I tried it once myself, and (after 8 hours and one of the worst looking haircuts any dog ever suffered) I swore it was worth every penny to pay to have it done.  Worth every penny, but still hard to fork over those pennies.  So, as you can see, it had been a while.  I took him in and said I didn’t want the normal cocker cut because we like to take him running with us and it’s too hard to keep his feathers clean. (Which means, we haven’t been taking him running and he’s developed a serious case of fat back.)  Just shave it all I said!  Thinking it would also mean a longer time before I had to fork over those pennies again…Well….

Perhaps I should have at least told them to leave some on his ears.

I cannot stop laughing at how naked he looks.  Poor Locks.  And it’s still pretty cold out here in Seattle.

15 Responses to “Castles, Caroline, and Cuts”

  1. Melissa says:

    I loved this post…and that castle. Wow. Thomas and I were laying in bed this morning (with kids crawling all over us) and I just kept saying over and over, “I need a vacation. I need a vacation.” Maybe I can talk him into Banff?

    Glad you were able to rest so much and eat so much. 🙂 Wish I could have joined you!

    That picture that you love of that large dining room reminds me of Harry Potter. Does it you?

    • Tegan says:

      First of all, these were breathtaking pictures. And second, I haven’t laughed this hard in a long time. I thought all my laughing was done after the gondola story, then I get to the last picture of Locke, OH. MY. WORD. Hysterical! Oh, you are too funny, girl. I miss you guys so much! Dothan….ASAP!

  2. Melissa says:

    Oh, and poor Locks! He looks so tiny! Vale and I just cracked up over those pictures. Is he embarrassed? We had a cocker that we would have shaved and he would be so shy for days after his cut.

  3. Lucky you! I’ve walked around Banff Springs Hotel, but I’ve never stayed there. We went to Banff in Feb, and stayed at the Rimrock Inn, which is nice in a less stately and historic way.

    Your dog’s new haircut looks adorable! My brother-in-law’s dogs always get that kind of hair cut in the spring too. He has a terrier-poodle and a scottie-schnauser.

    I’m glad you enjoyed your visit to my fabulous country!

  4. Jennifer L. Hoscheit says:

    Wow! I am so glad you got to go to Banff and experience the castle; that is a once in a lifetime opportunity and secretly I’m jealous! Thank you for sharing!

  5. Gail says:

    Ohhhhhh Abby, I am sitting here….laughing over…POOR, POOR, Locks! His face says it ALL….Goodness he is toooooooooo precious! Soooo funny!!!! Your trip was so wonderful to read about. That hotel was beyond breathtaking. It beats the castles I saw in France! I loved that you enjoyed the breakfast in bed….and, just kicking back and enjoying it all. The story of the gondola only added to your charm! I know the girls had fun in Dothan. And, I know they enjoyed seeing you two home, too! What a fun, fun, trip and a great way to restore your soul! I pray there are MANY, MANY more to follow for the two of you. Thanks for sharing your heart, sweet girl.

  6. Katie Snow says:

    I loved the first part of this post – fabulous, but my girls cracked up when they saw that sweet puppy! Poor guy. When we did that to my dog growing up, he’d hide under the porch for days because he was so ashamed! That is just too cute.

  7. Darby says:

    So many things to comment on. First, I don’t know which is funnier Jeremiah in a robe eating toast or Locks all naked. 🙂 Seriously, both are hilarious. What is not hilarious is your castle stay + gondola ride + room service + tea… I just have one question… can I come next time!?

    Ok, gotta 3 little ones to get in bed… thanks for the t-shirt plug… the girls look precious!!!!

  8. Amy Cook says:

    LOL – on a number of things!!! The whole gondola conversation cracked me up – because I knew exactly what you were talking about. Locks is hilarious – how is he feeling about the cut?
    So glad you enjoyed it. Looks like we are moving to Wallingford next month so we will be closer. The boys ask the other day when they could play with the girls again. Lets make a date soon.

  9. Bobbie says:

    I was reading almost in tears at how perfect this vacation is and how I am going to plan one and do exactly the same thing, and then I was in tears seeing your poor naked puppy. (We have to do the same thing to our dog and point and laugh for weeks afterward)

  10. Lauren says:

    Oh my those are gorgeous views and an amazing castle. I love all of that stone. The food looks wonderful too, and how nice to be able to relax and chill with your husband on his work trip. That is awesome!

  11. Kellie says:

    Oh.My.Word – what a fabulous post, but seriously…I am crying over that picture of Locks!!! I had a Lhasa Apso growing up and one time we shaved him and he seriously had psychological problems for weeks after! Hope Locks is a good sport!!!! Your trip was fabulous – thanks for sharing – and Canada does ROCK – Will and I went to Whistler for our honeymoon and it was spectacular!!!! I’m tagging along with Will (kidless) to Vegas in June for a conference and I hope to be just like you – though I will miss the little ones greatly!!!! 🙂

  12. Wendy says:

    The dog pictures left me laughing for a long time. He went from “King of the Beast lion style with disdain in his eyes at having his picture taken” to “Who am I and what just happened”. Too funny!

    I really enjoy your blog. I love your way with words and your positive outlook on life. Such a refreshing change from some blogs out there. Your sweet soul just shines loud and clear from your stories and pictures.

  13. Abbie says:

    What an AMAZING hotel! The pictures are gorgeous. I must admit I’ve never had the itch to travel to Canada…but this post might’ve just changed my mind. I absolutely love the amazing architecture & all the STONE. Gorgeous & will last forever. Brings 1 Cor 3:10-14 to my mind!
    Thanks for sharing, Abby. I followed a link from Fly Through M. W. recently and ended up discovering your lovely home in the blogosphere.

  14. kat says:

    Such a fun and hilarious post. I laughed out loud about the gondola… I can totally imagine how mortified you felt, the hilarity of you trying to picture them paddling that high up is hysterical!!! I have to agree, Canada most certainly does rock! I am East Coast Canadian girl who has been living down south (Atlanta) for almost 11 years now. Canada is just so beauiful. If you ever get the chance to go to Nova Scotia (where I’m from) you must go, you would LOVE it. It’s beyond beautiful. So glad you had a lovely trip. Sipping tea while lazing around in robes sounds heavenly. Oh, and Locks, man, that dog has some serious fur! Love the first few pictures, it looks like he’s half cocker spaniel/half Elvis impersonator. Love it.

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