Tag Archives: edmonton travel blog

Lake Louise: A luxurious trip in unusual times

By Karlie Marrazzo

The world has changed completely over the last six months, and travel as we know it will likely never go back to the way it was before the COVID-19 pandemic. Like millions of other avid travellers, I had a trip planned before the pandemic broke out – a trip to Italy scheduled for April – and had to cancel. Of course, this is a minuscule problem compared to those whose health and livelihoods have been impacted by COVID. As someone who suffers from anxiety on a day-to-day basis, the outbreak of the pandemic made these anxieties skyrocket and added a large dose of paranoia as well. It has been a struggle for me to think about the huge and rippling impacts COVID will continue to have on the world, the fear of getting sick looming in my mind every day. Everything locked down seemingly overnight in Canada, on a dreary weekend in mid-March. I had been reading the news from China and Italy for weeks already and dreaded the day the virus would hit closer to home. It came as no surprise to me, and when Air Canada cancelled my flights to Italy, it became all the more real.

Alas, this is a travel blog, so this post will be focusing on my first mini-trip out of town since the pandemic hit. Opening up to the idea of going out of town for a day trip or a short weekend trip was not something that happened quickly or an idea that I approached lightly. I have been very serious about isolating myself over the past four months, only seeing a very limited number of people and making essential trips to stores, so taking the step of spending two nights in a hotel, while it seems insignificant and unimportant, was a big one to me.

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Invermere, British Columbia: A weekend in the Kootenays

By Karlie Marrazzo

Have you ever had the feeling of a hazy memory, a faint image on the edges of your mind that may have really happened, or that perhaps was just a pleasant dream, but you have no way of distinguishing fact from fantasy? A remembrance so close that you can just about grab it, but then it just as easily slips away? The calm, wide lake, surrounded by mountains on either side, the water lapping at the shore with the sepia-toned sun kissing everything it touches has been that memory for me for years, and this summer I was finally able to grasp it again in Invermere, British Columbia.

Invermere is 585km southwest of my hometown, Edmonton, or, in Canadian terms, an almost-6-hour drive without stops. My boyfriend E and I had been dating for a couple of months and wanted to take a fun summer road trip together, but not necessarily to the typical hot spots of Banff and Jasper that are closer to home for us. I had been to Radium Hot Springs and Fairmont Hot Springs, nestled in the Kootenays, in the summer of 2005, and had a feeling that my mystery dream lake was out that way. Planning a trip to the mountains in the summertime typically requires a bit of advanced planning, at least in terms of booking accommodations before everything sells out. Since we were booking only three weeks out, we let the availability of reasonably priced rooms guide us and ended up booking an Airbnb in Invermere. Invermere is tucked in between the two resort towns, but not yet a tourist destination in its own right.

*Read my posts on Banff and Jasper here.

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Curating Calgary’s hidden gems and classic icons

By Karlie Marrazzo

Alberta, the province that I call home, is the land of diverse and gorgeous landscapes – the Rocky Mountains in the West, the Badlands in the South, and vast fields of canola throughout. Dotted randomly somewhere in the midst of all this natural beauty are Alberta’s two major cities, Edmonton, my hometown, and Calgary, 300km to the south. Although Calgary is a 3-hour straight shot down Highway 2, I hadn’t visited the city since 2011, always passing by on my way to the Rockies but rarely stopping. When I was invited by the Ramada Plaza Downtown to check out their Calgary Made Guest Room Package, I was eager to head south to discover some of Calgary’s best local businesses.

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Pilgrimage to Los Angeles: Reflections on my first solo trip

A view from the water of Santa Monica Pier, with roller coaster, blue sky and beach

By Karlie Marrazzo

Boarding pass in hand and backpack on my back, I walked across the chilly jet bridge at Edmonton International Airport and boarded the 737 like I had done dozens of times before. I sat down in my seat, buckled my seatbelt and gazed out the window, contemplating the trip I was about to take. It was the first day of November and I was heading to Los Angeles, a city I had never visited before. There is nothing unusual about a Canadian heading south in the winter, just like there was nothing unusual about me jetting off to somewhere new – I did achieve my goal of traveling to 30 countries before the age of 30, after all. But this trip was going to be different. After traveling around the world with someone else for the past 10 years, I was setting off on my first solo trip.

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Take on Prince George, the heart of Northern BC

By Karlie Marrazzo

Prince George, British Columbia is a small city located in the interior of BC, less than 400km from the Alberta border. Nestled among plentiful forests and the meeting place of the Fraser and Nechako Rivers, it is now easier than ever to take a quick jaunt to Prince George from my hometown of Edmonton thanks to the brand new direct flight from Central Mountain Air. I was fortunate to be invited by the airline and Tourism Prince George to check out a slice of what the city has to offer.

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Lacombe Days festival shines spotlight on rural Alberta

A small blacksmith shop features a wooden Lacombe Days sign in the foregroundby Karlie Marrazzo

Central Alberta is a glorious place to be in the summertime. The blue sky above seems never ending, as do the blooming yellow canola fields all along the side of the highway. Communities all over the province come together to celebrate the bounty of the land, enjoying the fruits of their labour and looking forward to harvest time. Each year in July, a major celebration takes place in the small city of Lacombe, simply called Lacombe Days. Nobody quite knows when the first Lacombe Days was held, but it has been running for over 20 years and is a highlight of the summer festival calendar in Alberta.

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Las Vegas exotic driving experience one-of-a-kind

A black Audi R8, a red Ferrari 458 Soider, a white Mercedes-AMG and a McLaren 12C in a row at Lake Mead, Nevada

By Karlie Marrazzo

Las Vegas, as most people know it, is a city of excess. Anything you want can be bought or done in Las Vegas, for a price. From thousand dollar meals to hundred thousand dollar watches, gun battles with real bullets to a little friendly companionship, just open up your wallet and it’s yours. On this 4th of July weekend, the extreme Vegas experience I chose mixed heart-pumping adrenaline and my favourite landscapes; driving high-powered super cars through the dusty Nevada desert with Exotic Driving Experiences.

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Finding the perfect gift at Edmonton International Airport

edmonton-airport-shopping

By Karlie Marrazzo

We’ve all been there – friends and family across the globe, or across the country, graciously open their arms and homes to us on our travels without asking for anything in return. The least we can do, you think to yourself, is bring them a little something from home to show our gratitude. Preparing for a trip can be hectic, and I often find myself putting off this important shopping trip until the last moment. If you’re like me, have no fear! You can pick up tons of great host gifts at the Edmonton International Airport while you’re waiting for your flight.

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Jasper Dark Sky Festival: An astronomical weekend in the Rockies

Bighorn sheep stand on the road in Jasper National Park.

By Karlie Marrazzo

A glow-in-the-dark map of the Solar System graced my bedroom wall when I was a little girl, accented by luminescent cutouts of stars, moons and planets pasted to my ceiling. As I gazed upon my artificial universe, my mind drifted to far-off worlds, fueling dreams about the endless wonders of the universe and who else might be out there with us. My passions turned to travel and the arts as I grew older, but I still find joy in gazing upon the heavens and letting my mind fly high amongst the stars. The Jasper Dark Sky Festival, presented by Rocky Mountaineer, aims to connect people of all ages to the wonders of our universe and to stargaze in one of the world’s largest dark-sky preserves.

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The Road is Calling, Edmonton! + Giveaway! (Contest Closed)

ukrainian-village-alberta

By Karlie Marrazzo

Exploring my home province of Alberta is one of my favourite things to do at any time of year, so when the Alberta Motor Association invited me to be a summer ambassador for their #TheRoadIsCalling campaign to show off my hometown of Edmonton, I was over the moon. I am a weekend warrior and love to discover new places close by, so this was the perfect opportunity for me to discover more about my home city.

Read on for my recommendations on unique things to do in and around Edmonton, and stay tuned until the end of this post to enter a giveaway to win a prize pack that includes admission to all of the attractions I visited!

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