Sunday, 15 September 2013

Banff last day

Today is our last day here in Banff so we were up and out early to make the most of it. Our hotel for last night was The Fox Hotel and Suites which we just think was so great and we had a great dinner in the hotel at Chili. Ian is now converted to ribs and I expect that considerable research will take place when we get home in order to replicate the delicious flavours we have enjoyed here. I'm guessing the purchase of a smoker BBQ will be on the priority list. For someone who wouldn't even try them at home this has been somewhat of a revelation!
We had decided to try to see the museums that the tourist advisor suggested so first off we went to the Indian Trading Post and Museum which was fascinating and we have added a little knowledge of the Aborigines from this area. We were able to learn how they were affected by the arrival of Europeans in the late 1700's.  Of course with the arrival of the Europeans came the diseases which decimated the people but also came the treaties which were supposed to provide them with some stability. It's easy to be wise with hindsight, but its easy to compare our own treatment of our Indigenous people too.
We did learn that the Europeans brought the beads which the Aborigines used to embellish their clothes, shoes, saddles and just about anything and the skill they displayed is remarkable and beautiful.
The babies were kept snug in beautifully embellished "moss bags" which were made from animal skins tanned and soft and decorated with the beads. The really interesting feature of the moss bags is that the babies were wrapped in moss to absorb the babies fluids and keep them warm at the same time. When this became soiled it was discarded and replaced with clean and fresh moss. The museum card described this form of diaper as efficient, clean and very environmentally sound as they returned the moss to the ground! The baby in the photo certainly looked very happy!
Then we moved on to see the Parks Museum which was the first museum actually built as a museum in Banff and was established before electricity was available. It is superbly crafted from local wood and quite a magnificent building in itself even before you see the huge range of birds and animals on display which have been collected over the past 100 and more years.
Then our last museum was the Whyte Museum which is a far more contemporary museum containing a wide range of general history items detailing the development of the Rockies.
We returned to the Fox via the excellent public bus service to collect our belongings. There was a great service which the Fox had for us in that they issued us with bus passes so we could travel the whole town right up to the Gondola and also to the Fairmont Hotel where we are now for free. A great way to have a free hop on hop off bus service.
We are now at the iconic Fairmont Banff Springs which is where we will be picked up from to begin our trip on the Rocky Mountaineer tomorrow. 

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