nostromos bLog

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* travel (241)
  `-bruxelles_07 (8)
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* zoo (38)
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08(01), 07(03), 06(03), 05(02), 04(02), 03(02)
12(02), 11(01), 10(08), 09(03), 07(17), 06(01), 05(04), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(06)
12(05), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(02), 07(04), 06(01), 05(02), 04(03), 03(02), 02(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(02), 09(09), 08(16), 07(02), 06(03), 05(04), 04(03), 02(03), 01(02)
12(03), 11(01), 10(02), 09(01), 08(23), 07(03), 06(02), 05(01), 04(02), 03(02)
12(03), 11(02), 10(01), 09(01), 08(23), 05(02)
09(04), 08(01), 06(01), 05(02), 04(02), 03(01), 02(01)
11(01), 10(02), 09(15), 08(01), 07(02), 06(04), 04(12), 01(06)
12(05), 11(01), 10(06), 09(12), 08(02), 07(02), 06(01), 05(01), 04(10), 02(01), 01(05)
12(02), 08(01), 07(15), 06(02), 05(03), 02(02), 01(03)
12(05), 11(01), 07(24), 06(06), 05(03), 04(02), 01(01)
12(01), 11(01), 10(07), 09(01), 08(04), 07(05), 06(04), 05(06), 04(01), 03(04), 02(06), 01(04)
12(04), 11(02), 10(03), 09(04), 08(03), 07(04), 04(01)
07(01), 05(01)

Sun, 07 Sep 2014
day 22 in mountie-land, (0 comments)
so this is our last day in canada for this trip. during the usual check-out procedure we talked to our host about what to do here in calgary. he recommended the bass pro shop in a big mall, as it was nearby, and we could get to the airport then quick. also a mall is always a good place to spend some time. the bass pro shop we had already seen in a documentary, so we knew what to find there; a huge shop for hunting, fishing, camping, and outdoor activity that was turned into some sort of amusement shopping park. although this sounded very tempting, we still wanted to see some wildlife. and so we decided otherwise, and put our luggage into the trunk. in daylight we saw the mosquito massacre [001] from the evening before - all the cleaning from yesterday was in vain. but a mosquito graveyard like this was pretty common; a lot of cars had that, as we found out. as this was our last chance to see some wildlife, we booked the ultimate wildlife experience trip, that guaranteed a 100% chance of seeing rare and shy animals. yop, that would be a good way to end this wonderful trip to canada. and in calgary we found all this - isn't that amazing? after a 15 minutes drive we parked our car. the weather was sunny, windy, and hot. and so we started our trip exploring the wildlife of canada, at the calgary zoo[002-214]. we started with the mountain goat[003-005,007] we had not spotted on our trip; just like the big horn sheep[006]. next was a big aviary with all kinds of cute and fluffy owls[008-029]. one could really get very close to those little birds of prey. most of them were sitting around sleepy and resting. and we also got to see the woodland caribou[030] - finally we saw a real one. next came the wood bison[031-033], which would be more indigenous to the bad lands and prairie. same with the muskox[042-043], which we did not expect to find on our trip. a river otter[034-036] on the other hand, we might have spotted if we would have been lucky.
and then there he was - the black bear[050-064], right next to a fake spirit bear[065-068] (which in fact was a black bear with white fur). we guessed those were the only two bears in west canada - the rest might be hidden in some other zoos.
same applied to the cute and elegant cougar[069-076]. such a lovely big cat, too bad we did not spot one in the woods.
next we entered the tropical section of the zoo, showing loads of plants[077-081] and butterflies[082-089] in a glass house. while it was already hot outside, inside the glass house it was even hotter, so after a while we left again to get out into the cool air again.
then we saw more big cats we were so eager to spot on our hikes through the woods - the eurasian lynx[090-100] and the snow leopard[101-103]. aaaaaaaw, so cute, the both of them. we wished we could have cuddled them. while the lynx was rather awake, the snow leopard was dozing. so all we saw was tail and paws.
the same level of lethargy had the two amur tigers[104-132]. in the beginning they only raised their heads when a loud motorcycle drove by. then they lay down again. after that, they raised their heads, and later they even got up and moved - just to swap places and fall asleep again. well... a cat is a cat.
the red pandas[133-146] had a rather big enclosure, compared to the one in vienna zoo. they also seemed way more active and agile. but they were just as cute as the ones we know. they also got very close to the glass wall - we were not used to that, so we had troubles taking pictures of them as the red pandas got closer to us than the minimal distance of our lenses required it to focus.
we went back to the snow leopard[147-148] enclosure to see if the kitty already had woken up. well, it had not, but at least it had shifted its sleeping position, so we could now see its fluffy head. another bunch of cuties were the alpacas, accompanied by a blue peafowl[149-151]. then came the rock hyrax[152-154], a rodent we have never seen before. cute little porcupines[155-156] were there too, unfortunately they were inside a big hall that housed the red river hog[157-159], with their lovely ears, and the hippopotamus[160-162] too, and it was pretty dark in there, so almost all pictures were out of focus or had motion blur - too bad, the porcupines were really super cuddly.
unusually and unexpectedly active were the african lions[163-168]. surprisingly there were two male lions in the enclosure along with several females. still, they all seemed pretty relaxed and calm - maybe they were brothers.
a single crowned crane[169-177] was doing the mating ritual and jumped around in the big enclosure. a great performance, too bad there was no other cranes around to join the dance. we were sure they would have been impressed.
a few zebra[178-183] were also there, and a little crocodile[184-186] clinging his jaws around a dead rabbit. the crocodile did not move at all, just lying there with the dead prey, staring at us, with a very intense "that's mine"-look on its face.
the zoo was soon about to close, so our last stop was at the big group of gorillas[187-209]. their enclosure was partly outside and partly inside, and very big. we first spotted the group outside and took some pictures, when suddenly the eldest and biggest of them decided it is time to move indoors. so he bullied the others to do as he wanted. the big aggressive male gorilla was pretty scary to watch. we followed the group inside, where the alpha male just lay down and enjoyed being admired by the visitors. the others kept their distance to him - i would have done the same. then we headed back all the way to the exit which was on the other side of the island, where the zoo is located on. right at the exit we saw some cute little mongoose lemurs[210-212], just above our heads, within my arms reach.
we returned to our car on the now empty huge parking lot of the zoo. we decided not to wash the car again because of all the dead mosquitoes on the grill and bonnet. we drove back to the airport and searched the garage where to return our car. the guy there told us that we drove about 3400 kilometres on our trip - not bad for three weeks. then we still had some time and money left on the airport, thus we decided to spend it for food, and souvenirs. we bought all kinds of maple stuff, like maple biscuits, coffee, tea, and of course syrup. the lady at the shop put it all in a plastic bag and gave it to us. we asked if it is not better to put it into one of those duty-free sealed bags for later security inspections. she said that would not be necessary. hm... but we have a transit flight via london, heathrow. no no, don't worry, that will be fine, she assured us. well, she works at the airport, so we trusted her - she should know best, right? so, a few hours later, we got on the airplane and left canada. and, of course, we should have known better, it is not okay to carry liquids in a non-sealed bag when boarding the plane in london. what a nuisance. well, at least we did not get bored in london, while arguing for a long time with security personnel whether we can take the bottle with us or not. and although this was not a very nice way to end our trip, all the stuff we have seen and experienced before was really awesome and amazing. what a great country (at least the small part that we got to see), we can really recommend going there. thanks nina for these great holidays - it was, as always, a great pleasure to travel a foreign country with you. kilometres driven with car: 3400 usable pics taken on trip: 3356 track for day 22.

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