in the hall of the mountain king


During all my time living in Edmonton I can think of only one trip that was made with the express purpose of visiting the mountains. That is not to say that I haven't visited mountain country on other occasions, but I was always just passing through on my way somewhere else. This past Valentine's weekend was another story. For months the gentleman and I were looking forward to the winter wedding of the gentleman's close family friends. I had been promised three days of photo opportunities, fresh mountain air and visits to the Banff Springs Hotel. Who could dislike such prospects?

We drove up to Canmore on Friday and arrived in time for the rehearsal dinner, a delicious feast of perogies and other Ukrainian delicacies prepared by the groom's mother and family. After a few hours of eating, drinking (and a few impromptu speeches) we headed back to our hotel and fell asleep after an episode or two of the Criminal Minds marathon on A&E. We really know how to keep things romantic.

the obscured mountain view

While Friday had been a beautiful sunny day with blue skies and the mountains magnificently prominent wherever you might look, Saturday was grey and misty (but still beautiful). The ceremony wasn't scheduled until late in the afternoon. The gentleman and I had no responsibilities as guests, so we took advantage of the hours we had to ourselves and made the quick trip from Canmore to Banff for a decadent brunch at the Banff Springs Hotel.

The gentleman had made reservations for 11:30 and we arrived intentionally early so I could explore the hotel and take pictures.

Banff Springs Hotel

The hotel is a castle. Winding staircases, stately halls, a maze of wings and hidden rooms... heavy tapestries, walls of windows with stained glass, beams, amazing detail work with curved ceilings and carved banisters and nary a burnt out light bulb in sight. Colour me impressed.


After wandering about inside, we stepped briefly to one of the many outdoor patios to enjoy the view (both towards the mountains and at the hotel) and take one of those rare portraits of the two of us together before we headed back in for brunch (which by the way was delicious... excellent buffet with incredible selection and a dedicated server who addressed us by name).

hidden portrait
lad and lady out for brunch

I would have loved to stay a bit longer in Banff to explore the town some more, but I didn't want to risk being late for the wedding. We returned to Canmore sated, but a little sad to be leaving Banff after such a short stay. But it's not exactly as if we had to leave the mountains. Our hotel room had a great view of the Three Sisters peaks.
Mountains, mountains, everywhere!

And then there was the wedding. Short but meaningful ceremony, followed by a fun reception with much hilarity provided by the bride's brothers during the speeches. I took few photos of the evening though. It's so much more relaxing to be just a guest.

the bridesmen
the bride and groom the bride and groom

I tired out pretty early and took the shuttle back to the hotel, hoping that a short nap might invigorate me enough to make it to the after party. I crashed though and slept through till morning. We made a quick stop at the post-wedding brunch before heading back to Edmonton.

All together it was a lovely weekend. I'm already scheming up excuses to make another trip to the mountains.