stampedeI unabashedly love the Calgary Stampede.  I am not alone in this camp, although there are also many who despise it and others who stoically tolerate it for the 10 days that it completely consumes this city.  I am by no means a cowgirl (in fact I am horribly allergic to horses), but for a week and a half each July we all giddy-up and embrace our western culture.  Admittedly by the end we are a little tired of our plaid shirts and cowboy boots, but as we pack them away we are already thinking ahead to donning them again next summer.  To me it's like Christmas - if Santa came every night it wouldn't be as exciting and have so much anticipation and build-up.  The Stampede is the same. The tourists it draws from every corner of the globe, the big name performers, the kitschy hale bales and spontaneous YAHOOS truly turn everything into a giant party - and who can resist free pancakes every morning?

This has absolutely nothing to do with traveling to Europe, but it does remind me that I live in a city and region that draws tourists in it's own right.  While I marvel at the Eiffel Tower and the cobbled back streets of Rome there are people from those cities walking the streets of my own city, or marvelling at the majestic Rockies while sitting in the Banff Hot Springs located a mere hour from my house.  So in every sense I feel blessed - to live here and to be able to travel there.  The world is so big and so small and really, just so fascinating.


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