Have you ever been to Calgary? It is awesome!
The people are incredibly nice the food is brilliant and the Rocky Mountains are on your doorstep.
Sarah and I are here until August 4th and have been taking in all of the sights and sounds!
We were in Calgary at the tail end of the winter and, at the time, I considered the place hell on earth. Minus 28 celsius when I arrived early in the year. Now we have been having 23-29 degree days and have definitely started to enjoy the place.
To begin with, I have found a killer BJJ gym to train at. Gigante Brazilian JiuJitsu is absolutely amazing. Professor Fernando is old school Brazilian and he makes us suffer through every class.
In my time there I have improved considerably and gotten my ass kicked by some of the nicest guys in Calgary.
So far in Alberta we have managed to visit some super touristy places.
TOP TIP: Canadian Police officers are the nicest in the world when it comes to Irish people. You can go considerably faster than the speed limit and still get off with a fine that the rental company will never charge and zero points on a European licence. You just have to make sure you can offer good recommendations of where to visit when they go there next year!
We took a helicopter ride over a canyon, which was brilliant, and also learned what a Hoodoo is. (see pics for that)
Calgary is also home to the Calgary tower, which is less impressive than a lot of it’s newer and flashier cousins, but still cool in it’s own way.
Calgary has a whole heap of other fun stuff to do while visiting. A few great viewpoints, archery tag, 1000 escape rooms to name a few.
The pub scene is also pretty good with 17th ave having some genuinely good cocktail bars and some excellent American-Irish style pubs.
We have been incredibly fortunate to have some visitors here. My brother came over and was welcomed by everyone in Calgary. The guys a Gigante BJJ have accepted him as one of their own and we have been taking in the Rocky mountains as often as possible. It is trips like this that remind me how fortunate we really are. Some people wait their entire lives to get 1 glimpse of this ridiculous scenery and we have been taking day trips out every weekend!
We also had an old Alabama friend come and visit from Denver Colorado.
John O’Brien is a Black belt from Triad Martial Arts in Cullman, AL. HE popped up for the weekend to help Ger and I train. He got in Friday, we drank until 5am and managed, do NOT ask me how, to get to the 9am open mat. Albeit 28 minutes late.
John literally destroyed my hungover self and made it look like a tiger tossing around a kitten. It was bad.
The guys at the school enjoyed it and, I believe, took some lessons from John along the way.
We then headed to the best Brazilian BBQ joint that I have visited. Minas in Calgary. Go there. You know it is good when most of the clientele are actually from Brazil. The weapon that is “Gigante” even showed up for his lunch while we were there.
We headed back uphill to Banff to get some Rocky Mountain Jiujitsu classes and photo ops in with the best backdrop that you could ever think of.
Next up we have the Calgary Stampede. It is an epic festival that has all kinds of events- Both styles of music too – Country AND western!
In this week I have seen so many men, women and children wearing denim hot pants paired with cowboy hats. I wasn’t sure if I had been transported to the deep south of the USA in the 1850’s.
We managed to get some quality food – steak on a stick, see some interesting music – (Sheryl Crow who’s guitarist looks suspiciously like Christian Graugart in double denim) and learn how to line dance like the best of them!
From here we have headed north to Edmonton for a weekend where I managed to fit in a session at the Hyabusa training Centre. A great bunch of guys and girls who were happy to exchange tips on how to strangle another human.
Another academy was fit in on Sunday with the Rodrigo Resende academy. This is the largest matspace in Canada from what I understand! Ridiculously friendly and I genuinely can’t wait to get back to see them in the future.
While up here we managed to see roughly 6 million Bison, 3 Moose and a few coyotes. It definitely ticked a few names off our list of “must see” animals for Canada.
Next week we have some fun with some white water rafting, a UFC to attend and a few more mountain trips before we leave Alberta.
On our next road trip we will be attempting the drive from Calgary to Jasper, Kelowna &Vancouver before finally flying on to Australia!
I hope to keep you all posted if not eaten by the wildlife.