I have avoided writing anything too travel focused in recent months for obvious reasons, but I have desperately wanted to start writing up some of the lovely experiences I had during my January 2020 trip to one of my favourite places – Calgary.
As you may know if you’ve stuck with this blog over the years, Calgary holds a very special place in my heart. I first visited in January 2017 to see my friend who lives there. I had spent a long time whilst we were studying together asking her about Canada winters, and the weather she experienced and frankly it all sounded so ludicrous I had to experience it for myself. Cue me arriving in Calgary, togged up in every layer I could fit on me and being asked constantly by my friend’s friends and family why I chose to visit in the depths of winter. However, I clearly do not regret that decision and have returned twice, both times in January. One day I will visit in the summer, I promise!
This winter was a cold one in Calgary and when my plane touched down it was a balmy -28 degrees in the city so a week full of Tim Horton’s coffees and trips around town punctuated by London Fog’s and hot chocolates seemed entirely necessary. My friend Sarah, who very generously lets me stay with her when I visit, insisted we venture to a place called Higher Ground. I mean, with such a good name, how I could resist?
Higher Ground is located in a part of Calgary called Kensington. Now, if you’re from London like me, you have a very fixed image in your head of what Kensington looks like but let me tell you that Calgary’s Kensington is about sixty times more adorable than the one you’ve explored when you’ve hopped off the Piccadilly Line. With so many gorgeous independent shops and cafes, there is something in this area for everyone, and Higher Ground should definitely be on your list!
Just stepping inside the door of Higher Ground, you are swathed in the comfort, warmth and welcoming scent of coffee and the whole place has a very familial atmosphere. Now, I’m not used to that these days, I’ve become accustomed to the slightly cold, factory like set up of marching through your Starbucks order (which don’t get me wrong, I do enjoy on occasion) so having someone smile when speaking to you, and happily commenting on your order (a London Fog, of course, they are DELICIOUS and actual London UK needs to have them more readily available please) and suggesting their favourite sweet snack to pair with it was just delightful. My rosy cheeks from the cold were buzzing with excitement at the ambience of the place, with its comfy chairs, fireplaces and brilliantly named drinks of so many varieties. In case you care, we shared a gigantic cookie as our treat and my goodness it was tasty. If I say that Higher Ground gave me the Gilmore Girls/University vibes of my dreams, does that help give you a little insight? If I ever reach a point in my life where I can sit in there with some coffee, some lunch and get some reading or notes done, then I will consider myself having won at my life.
At what point can I start calling myself a #TimFluencer?
Whilst I am a huge fan of the artisan teas and curated coffees of places like Higher Ground, there is a big part of me that enjoys a decaf double double and a maple dip donut from Tim Hortons. It’s warming, sweet, affordable and tastes like a trip to Canada for me. I know you can go all fancy and fabulous, of course you can, but I just love some Tim’s every now and then! I know that we do have Tim Hortons in the UK now, but I haven’t been able to venture to one of the towns or cities that plays proud host to an outlet yet! I am desperate to!
Again, I think I am just desperate for my life as a university student again (how Sarah and I met, actually) becuase grabbing a coffee on the go, dashing to lectures is all just my ideal life. There is a strong chance I really need to grow up!
Now, I didn’t just explore coffee whilst in Calgary, I enjoyed the delights of cocktails too but I’ll save that for another post. Suffice to say, I love it there and I recommend a visit! Don’t be put off by the freezing temperatures in the winter, it just adds a layer of wonder to the whole experience.