I forgot that I had drafted up a synopsis of our time in Canada – a pleasant surprise!
Saturday we arrived, and were met by my folks. Straight off to my favourite Calgary food – Vietnamese – at the Bagolac, a small but very busy little vietnamese diner just off Macleod Trail. I was tired, having knit like a crazy person on the plane (I knit and frogged the same sock three times, giving up and starting on the rather complicated Chucks Socks, a two colour cable by Eunny Jang) and starving. I had bun and for once did not wish I had pho. The lime slush was particularly delicious – it had slivers of fresh coconut in it. Mmmm. Home to my parents where I pretty much dropped into bed fully clothed while David and my mom bustled around me unpacking and hanging suits and shirts. Oh and of course laundry – we ran out of time in London and, like my good old student days, we brought back a whole suitcase full of dirty laundry to be done in the luxury of a electricity guzzling top loading north american washing machine and massive tumble dryer. Heaven!
Sunday we had planned on heading up to Banff and get a day’s skiing in, but reality decided to check in and we ended up running around doing last minute errands. At this stage we still hadn’t finalised the seating plan, and had no clear idea how to actually present the seating plan so we wandered around Michael’s, a sort of craft superstore, in a slightly frenzied and harried aimlessness. We finally gave up, having had no real inspiration, and headed up to Banff to meet Clare, who had arrived slightly earlier than we expected. I love the drive to Banff – all prairie as we leave Calgary, heading towards the snowcapped mountains in the distance. Then suddenly, the mountains envelop us and we are in Kananaskis country, then Banff National Park. The sky was brilliantly blue, and the sun shining above. I’ve been going to Banff since I was a kid, and in high school I was up there every weekend. And still, after all that time, it never fails to thrill me.
Clare came up to our room to meet us when we’d checked in – it was such a trip to see a friend from London on home turf. We went to the hotel’s wine bar Grapes for a fondue dinner – delicious. We also had a red rooster pinot noir 2005 that was absolutely divine. Canadian wines are such a treat, more so because it is very rare to find a Canadian wine in London. The cheese sat heavy in our bellies, but totally worth it. Mmmm….
We hooked up with David’s best man Carl, his gfriend Helen, and Helen’s sister F and F’s husband P for a quick drink at the end of the day. Then C, H, Clare, myself and David headed to the hot springs pool at the Banff Springs. This is one of my favourite places in the world – a big pool filled with hot water from the local hot springs, surrounded by the rockies and the snow. Fantabulous. For dinner, we went into Banff town to the Grizzly Bear for more fondue.
Tuesday we went to Norquay and had a morning of sun and snow, followed by a meeting with our wedding planner for final details. We also went to the Banff registry office to fill in all the formal paper work in preparation for the big day. I got flutters when we’d signed – it struck me as being all quite official then. When I was asked to affirm my intentions, I said, ‘Yep’. When David was asked, he said ‘I do’ in a very formal and serious voice.
We drove back to Calgary to pick up David’s folks from the airport, and met up with my parents and my uncle Kai and aunt May (papayamango’s folks) for dinner at D’s fave Calgary restaurant – Catch. Uncle Kai & I shared the Tower of Lesser Power – a two tiered crab, shrimp, mussel, clam, oyster & scallop extravaganza. The Tower of Power had 3 tiers, which was too much power for just us 2. D as
usual picked the best dish – a gorgeous seared tuna steak.
Wednesday we did a quick drive by visit with D’s folks, who opted not to join the japanese lunch with Uncle Kai, Papayamango, Uncle Ping & Aunt Amy (though it was yummy!!). We ate, Uncle Ping did his best rapper moves (helped by wearing my floor length shearling coat), then proceeded to talk strategy for the wedding. Uncle Kai was MC, as was papayamango, Uncle Ping & Aunt Amy were official supervisor’s and artistic eyes for the overall impact. Satisfied that my mother had a General’s command of the strategy and placements for the day, D & I headed back to Michael’s to get the materials for the table placements as I had finally had some inspiration, then headed back to the airport to pick up the S-P clan.
The first person we met was Irmgard, who had arrived from Kelowna. We were joined very soon thereafter by Melissa & Luke, then a beaming, but tired, Sophia, followed by B& Paul. M & L headed up to Banff with their prebooked transfer, and the rest of us piled into the SUV and back to Banff where we met with Lynn & Norm in the lobby of the hotel.
We left the S-P-S clan, and joined up with Clare who had spent the day at Sunshine, and went to Crazyweed, a very inventive and highly rated restaurant in Canmore. It did not dissapoint. A square gallery type space, with a grass roof, the food is Asian/fusion for want of a better description, but is so much more. Serious explosion and riot of flavours and textures. It is just divine. I had a duck leg and confit, over sweet potato mash, with caramelised kumquats. David had rib steak. Oooh that was good… and Clare had sable fish over a sauce of limejuice/fish sauce, kaffir lime leaves, soybean… it was exquisite.
Thursday wasn’t terribly exciting for me, I spent Wed night thinking of how to do the placements, and figured it out and worked that out during the day. David & Clare went to Sunshine for some skiing. We later met with Colleen, the wedding coordinator at the hotel, and then the chef as we were very concerned that the roast rib of beef not be overcooked. He was lovely, and completely agreed with us that the prime rib should be done medium rare – for everyone. With these kinds of things it is so easy for the food to become kind of blah, and we were anxious that the alberta beef be shown at its best (we Albertans are terribly proud of Alberta beef, and, despite being biased, I feel I can safely say, rightly so). He did not dissapoint… but more on that later.
Thursday eve my mom treated us to a couples massage – 90 minutes of bliss. After the days on the slopes we really needed it. My legs were sooooo sore. I spent the first ten minutes laughing hysterically as David struggled with and then finally accepted the concept of being naked under the massage towels and blankets…only to find that I had kept my undies on. He then worried that the masseurs were going to think him a perv! I couldn’t stop laughing.
The actual rehearsal was a riot – I had a fit about the exchange of chattel bit (father walking me down the aisle, and then passing me off to David like the exchange of a camel or dairy cow!). But it was good fun and the commissioner Carl was a lovely guy. I’m glad he talked us through it as we had no idea what to expect!