I cannot begin to describe how great it was to spend the weekend with my little brother. He may be almost 6″ taller than me but he is still my baby brother and it was so fun to hang out with him all weekend. It was even cooler because we ran the Banff half marathon together! If you missed the recap you can find it HERE!
13.1 miles later we were hot and sweaty and ready to relax and enjoy Banff. We had booked a hotel room for the night after the race so we could hang out in Banff for the afternoon and evening instead of rushing home and having to drive four and a half hours after just running a race. After spending a couple of hours hanging out at the finish line, we needed something to eat. I am never very hungry after a long run or race so by the time the awards were over and we got out of the park it was already 3 hours post-race and our appetites were creeping up. I don’t know how a vegetarian ended up at a restaurant called “The Meatball” but it happened and it ended up being wonderful.
Water was the first thing to be ordered and the waitress probably has never had to refill water glasses so many times. We were thirsty. I asked the waitress what types of options they had for vegetarians and she went back to ask the chef, returning to answer that most of the dished could substitute vegetables for meat. I asked about the chicken parmesan sandwich and just said that I was fine with whatever vegetables he could throw in there instead of the chicken. She put our order in and returned to say the chef could prepare an eggplant parmesan sandwich for me! It. was. amazing. I was so impressed by their service and the food was delicious. Eggplant parmesan sandwich and house salad with a mango vinaigrette.
Stuart had a thin crust donair pizza and he said it was great! I was really happy that they were willing to accommodate a vegetarian in a place called “The Meatball” and my meal was awesome. I would definitely go back there!
We still hadn’t showered when we went for lunch because we weren’t able to check into our hotel until mid-afternoon. Thankfully when we were done eating our room was ready and we were able to clean up a bit. I think washed a pound of salt off of my skin. As per usual, we dawned our race shirts for the evening after the race. The shirts fit well and one of my favourite colours is green so I was thrilled! We walked around downtown Banff and did some shopping before dinner.
At the insistence of our parents we made reservations at Nourish for dinner. When my mom and dad were in Banff for my dad’s work, they ate at a vegetarian restaurant that they claimed was “unique and amazing.” My mom had ordered the nachos and they came with TWENTY SEVEN toppings that included things like strawberries, pickles, pineapple, and olives. I absolutely 100% recommend this restaurant. They encourage a sharing style of dining and each dish is brought out one at a time so you have time to enjoy each one. Stuart and I tried the 27-topping-nachos, the butternut squash, fig, and goat cheese salad, and the King Kong rice noodle soup. Excellent, excellent, and excellent. You wouldn’t think all of those toppings would work together but they SO did.
When we had finished dinner we were full and exhausted. Many hours in the sun including a two hour run makes for two tired people. We spent the rest of the night doing fun things like watching Myth Busters… trying on our new clothes (because I really needed bright blue running capris I swear!)… admiring our major sunburns…
… and enjoying the cute hot tub at our hotel…
In the morning I wanted to get up and go for a walk before we hit the road to head home. I set my alarm and when it went off I hadn’t had the best sleep and contemplated just turning it off and rolling over but I am very glad I didn’t. It was about 10 degrees Celsius when I left the hotel. I threw on some shorts and a hoodie and headed down Banff Avenue. It. was. gorgeous. The sun was already shining bright in the sky and it wasn’t even 7 am yet. The streets were quiet and I was in heaven. I walked half of a mile to the paths by the Bow River and then decided I wanted to get my legs moving a bit and ran (reeeeeeeeally slowly) 3 miles. I walked another 1.5 to make it 5 miles back to the hotel. Most of the paths outside of Banff were closed due to the Grizzly bears and such spotted near town so I stuck close to the populated area. You don’t have to tell me twice not to venture too far away, especially when I see two FRESH piles of bear poo on the path!
The air was so fresh (well, maybe not in the bear poo areas) and the trees and mountains are just so gorgeous. I didn’t want to go back to the hotel. Or leave Banff in general. I mean, c’mon, this is just amazing.
Our hotel had free parking and FREE BREAKFAST. If you go to Banff, the Banff Aspen Lodge is great! Everyone was super friendly too! We hit up the breakfast before we hit the road and I enjoyed some toast, eggs, and fruit salad. The fruit salad was actually fresh and wonderful. I don’t like that canned stuff or the ones with only grapes and old melon. This one had watermelon, apples, honey dew, cantaloupe, pineapple, oranges, mandarins, grapes, and it was all FRESH. Fabulous.
I drove 12 km/h out of the park because I just didn’t want to leave. I was hoping the park rangers would pull me over and force me to enjoy another few minutes of Banff but it didn’t happen. I am considering driving 4 hours down to Banff on each one of my days off this summer… anyone want to meet me there?
I can’t thank my brother enough for coming with me this past weekend. We had a blast and though he says that was his second and LAST half marathon I haven’t given up hope. I’ll just let his sunburn heal and his soreness disappear and he’ll be signing up for #3 in no time!
Have you ever been to Banff? Where is that one jaw-dropping place you like to travel?