Crazy Fish Bistro

I have been eating at a variety of places during my time in Canada – Japanese, Mexican, Canadian (read Alberta PrimeRib) and Italian so far…

Last night in Harrison I decided to have a stroll about to see what I could find – and I stumbled across an absolute gem, Crazy Fish Bistro.

We have a Fish only restaurant at home in Bedford (Eat Fish) which Clare and I promised ourselves we would check out; Unfortunately it was really disappointing when we did, so our search for a really good fish restaurant continued… That search is now over!

The restaurant looks like a shack from outside, but it nicely decorated inside, a bit like a log cabin.

The staff are great, really chatty and helpful: and not at all pretentious or stuffy… It is a ‘cool restaurant’ rather than a ‘posh restaurant’.

And the food? Outstanding!

I had the Blackened Snapper, a 7-8oz. snapper fillet coated in cajun spices, topped with a lime and tequila salsa. It was served with rice and a huge amount of grilled vegetables.

The fish was excellent – The salsa sublime… And everything was grilled (how can food be this tasty AND healthy?!).

Fortunately I have another evening here tonight, so I am going back to have the chef’s recommend Sweet and Spicy fresh BC Salmon (a dish they explained they couldn’t do last season as they couldn’t get fresh Salmon locally, and refused to use frozen!)

I know it is unlikely, but if you are in ever in the BC area, it is well worth the trip.

Oh, and the view over Harrison Lake on the walk back to the hotel is stunning too.

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Miss Margaret’s

Maybe it is just me, but I always find that somewhere that offers ‘a vast array of pampering and spa treatments’ always sounds a little bit ‘dodgy’.

I am sure that this place is very much ‘above board’, but my suspicions where raised further when I found a voucher for 10% off ‘anything you fancy’ from ‘Miss Margaret’ as part of my welcome pack.

Imagine my surprise when I ordered a Cappuccino from the coffee shop this morning, only to be asked if I had my voucher!!

Miss Margaret’s is the name of the Starbucks wannabe in the hotel… They still don’t know what I am laughing at now!


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Best of Both

I left the ski resort of Sun Peaks this morning, heading for Harrison Lake (my stop for the next two nights).

Following advice from some locals, I decided to take the 2 hour (!) detour enroute to visit the city of Kelowna, BC.

…and I am glad I did! Kelowna is a summer holiday location for a lot of British Columbians – Having a great mix of shops, bars, parks and watersports… And a cracking climate!

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It is known here at the ‘California of the North’, which suits it well. This is a really nice laid-back atmosphere to the place.

I left Sun Peaks this morning in jeans and a hoodie – It was chilly!; I should have put shorts and a t-shirt on instead for here:

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The weather is gorgeous, as is the view, as I sit here in the City Park overlooking the harbour with my Caramel Pecan waffle cone.

Canada continues to impress – Snow to Sun within a 4 hour drive.


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To finish off…

I ended today’s tour with a visit and ride on the Jasper Tramway, for a great view over Jasper (even with the clouds)

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They finally as short 30 minute stroll around Pyramid Island, near Pyramid Lake.

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A five hour drive into British Columbia in the morning, so won’t be a late one tonight.

Another cracking day.

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GyPSy Guide

I know I keep mentioning this GyPSy Guide that is helping me find my way around Canada in my previous posts, but what exactly is it?

First things first, I don’t have a ‘traveller’ in the passenger seat who keeps offering to Tarmac my drive, or look after my ‘dag’. – Not that sort of Gypsy at all… The clue is in the way GyPSy is written, emphasising GPS.

So, GyPSy is just another name for a TomTom? Absolutely not, in fact, there is no way of entering a destination into it, so it isn’t designed to find hotels for you, for example.

So what is it for then?!

Rent this small device (about the size of a mobile phone) and plug it in to the car stereo (I am using the AUX connection, but it also comes with am FM Transmitter in case your car doesn’t have one).

The GyPSy then automatically plays commentary as you arrive at points along your day’s travel route.

For example, it tells you about the beautiful scenery, interesting stories of past explorers, gives advice on where to watch for wildlife and tells quirky tales about Canada.

All the information is presented by professional local tour guides in Canada, and really is a very entertaining and informative way to tour around.

Although I said it doesn’t replace a traditional ‘enter the postcode’ Satnav, it works perfectly along side it.

As well as commentary on local communities and attractions, the guide also gives basic direction instructions at major intersections, shows photo viewpoints on it’s screen and (best of all in my opinion) suggest short side trips to places you simply wouldn’t have found on your own.

When ever we have done a touring style holiday before (California, Yosemite or Florida for example), my excellent tour guide has always been Clare with a Lonely Planet book…. as she isn’t here with me in Canada, I needed a substitute: The GyPSy guide has hit the spot.

In summary, the unit is a totally unintrusive, informative, fun way to learn about Canada as you tour around, at your own pace.

It is not banging on then whole time either, if fact sometimes it goes quiet for 10 minutes or so (and tells you it is going to to let you enjoy the scenery), before making you jump a bit as it starts chatting again (but you get used to that!)

I was dubious of the benefit before I booked the unit, but in hindsight it has
proved itself to be invaluable to me – I have seen and photographed so many locations that I simply wouldn’t have known about without it.

Excellent product – Highly recommended… Even if you are not travelling alone – I can imagine it prompting discussion in the car when travelling as group.

You can find out more at

Now, I have to go as me and my guide are off to Sun Peaks British Columbia, via… Who knows?!

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Banff to Jasper

Today was a real ‘road trip’ day – although Banff to Jasper is only 240km, I managed to take all day to do it.

The ‘problem’ with The Rockies is that there is simply no boring roads or views – There is always something to see, photograph or do around each bend.

The excellent ‘GyPSy Guide’ makes it even more difficult as it ensures you don’t miss anything either (I promise a full post on this cool bit of kit soon!)

I decided to travel on the Bow Valley road, rather than HW1, via Lake Louise on the first leg of the trip, before moving on to HW93 (The Icefield Parkway).

I had photographed Lake Louise on Friday as part of that day’s tour, so decided to look at Morataine Lake instead – I am glad I did, I think it is even more gorgeous than Lake Louise:

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The trek up the rocks to get to this view was a little tricky (especially with all my camera gear, and in thin air at 7000ft above sea level), but I think it was worth the effort.

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A few more lakes, mountain passes and waterfalls later, I finally arrived at the Columbia Icefield Experience.

The Icefield feeds the Athabasca Glacier, a huge piece of ice 4 miles long covering more than 3 square miles.

The Glacier is impressive enough to see from a distance, even better is to actually go onto it – at more than 1000ft deep (!) I thought it would be pretty safe, but was sure the Chevy Malibu wouldn’t be up to the task…. But I did find something that would be:

The Ice Explorer

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It was obviously very cold and windy out on the glacier, but an experience I simply won’t forget – It really was like being on a different planet.

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Brilliant experience.

And just when you think Canada couldn’t get any better, I arrive at Athabasca Falls – The water from the melting Glacier bursting through Quartz to produce a huge roaring falls (this is just the top!)

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Discovering Grizzly Bears

Today’s tour is managed by Discover Banff Tours: specifically by the excellent guide Hugh Johnson (is THAT for real?!) and his bus ‘Tom’- each bus has a name!

Seeing as Banff National park is 6640 sq. km (approx. 2500 sq. miles!), and only has around 60 Grizzly Bears – Needle in a haystack springs to mind, but we will see how we get on!

First leg is off on the Trans-Canada HW to Lake Louise for a quick 20 minute stop:

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All photos in this post will be taken with the iPhone4. Taking plenty with the D300 and G11, but the current lack of laptop makes posting difficult on the go!

So off west now to Golden, BC, stopping at Takakkaw Falls on the way – The second highest falls in Canada:

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And now the 90 minute drive to the Kicking Horse Resort, to look at the Bear refuge (and have some lunch).

Kicking Horse is the home of extreme sport in BC. A ski resort in the winter months which is then transformed into a mental Mountain Bike run during the off season – Basically people take their bikes up to the top via the cable car, and then hurtle down the ski-runs on them.

To make it more ‘interesting’ ramps and jumps are thrown in for good measure!

Lunch is at the top of the mountain too, via the Cable Car and then Ski Chair lift, at Canada’s highest restaurant (7,700 ft).

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Now to listen to the experts and search for Bears

Success! Just seen two Grizzlies in the wild – huge animals, even at this distance. Images from D300 later.

Super day with 4 Germans (none of whom mentioned the World Cup!) 2 Spaniards and a family of Australians.

Off to Jasper tomorrow, via the Columbia Icefields

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