Bergama Theatre Bergama Trajan Temple Dalyan Lycian Tombs Kaprulu Kanyon Afrodisias Tetrapylon Demre Beach Ortahisar Volcanic Plug Goreme Sunset View Yoruk Turquoise Treasures and Volcanic Vistas draw Travellers to Turkey
All photos copyright © 2014 Terra Encounters All Rights Reserved

Sunday, 27 July 2014

Vancouver British Columbia

My Photo

Things To Do in Vancouver


Sea to Sky Highway View
British Columbia (BC) provides many outdoor activities and natural wonders as well as one of the most multicultural experiences anywhere on the planet. Vancouver is a very cosmopolitan city where 43% of the people originate from Asia.    

Sea to Sky Highway

BC is a maritime province on the Pacific Ring of Fire (earthquake zone).  Further up the coast is the so-called Inside Passage with magnificent fiords carved by the glaciers of the Ice Age. 

Sea to Sky Highway
Sea to Sky Highway before the 2010 Winter Olympics

There is a short road up the mainland coast called Sea to Sky Highway (aka Route 99).  The highway and the railroad hug the mountains as they travel north to Whistler Ski Resort.  BTW, it is dangerous to drive and ogle the scenery.  Stop at the pull-offs or viewpoints. 



Stanley Park Totem Poles
Stanley Park Totem Poles

Stanley Park

Half of the population of BC live in the Vancouver metropolitan area. What a setting for a city hemmed in by mountains on the east, the ocean (well a strait) on the west and the U.S. border (also known as Seattle) to the south. Stanley Park is probably the number one tourist sight with unimpeded views of ocean (well strait), islands, mountains and city.  Totem poles are included along with beaches and a biking/running/hiking track all along the huge peninsula named after Lord Stanley, who also gave us the Stanley Cup (ice hockey).  Given such natural splendour, it is no wonder that the international organization Greenpeace was started right here in Vancouver. 

Things To Do

Horseshoe Bay, BC
Mountains and Islands
Some of the things we plan to do in the next two weeks are visit the nearby mountain areas for views and hiking – such as the Sea to Sky Highway, Stawamus Chief Provincial Park, Garibaldi Provincial Park, and Whistler.  
In Vancouver itself we plan to go to Grouse Mountain, Mt Seymour, Quarry Rock (Deep Cove), Stanley Park, UBC Museum of Anthropology, VanDusen Botanical Gardens, food trucks, restaurants, Granville Island, and the Dr. Sun Yat Sen Classical Chinese Gardens. 

Cultural Diversity

Speaking of classical Chinese and Japanese gardens, nearly half (45%) of the Vancouverites are visible minorities and 40% are immigrants.  This is way higher than the U.S. average where 13% are immigrants.   Over 57% of the Vancouverites come from diverse ethnic groups other than the founding peoples (native Indians, English and French). 

Festival: Traditional East Indian Dance
Traditional East Indian Dance
Moreover, a whopping 43% of the city is Asian-Canadian – yes, that's right. Note that everyone is a hyphenated Canadian since multiculturalism is part of the fabric of society and we celebrate those differences.  Canada is one of the few countries in the world that allow dual citizenship.
The largest Asian ethnic groups are Chinese (19%) and East Indian (to differentiate from native Indian, are over 10%).  But I did not know that third place went to  Filipinos (5%).  After the British and French, the largest European ethnic groups are German (9%) and, another surprise, Scandinavian (5.5%, ok that's really several countries but it's still interesting). 

For tourists this means you can eat out in a different ethnic restaurant every day of the week.  If you are from another continent don't expect that you will be seen as a tourist.  You will fit right in.  Namaste. 

Last  Post: Vancouver Island, British Columbia
Next Post: Turkey's Turquoise Coast (Day 14) 

Thursday, 24 July 2014

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Vancouver Island, British Columbia

Vancouver Island is one of the must-see places in British Columbia.  Come here to enjoy views of the coastal range across the strait from the east coast, towering massive trees in the centre and most importantly, Pacific Rim National Park and the ocean on the west coast

See also related post Canadian Rockies Spectacular Scenery

Ferry leaving Horseshoe Bay
Ferry leaving Horseshoe Bay
One of our favourite places is Vancouver Island, which is the size of Belgium!  Huge ferries operate to bring tourists and trade 30 nautical miles (1:40 hrs.) across the Strait of Georgia.  You are blown away by the contrast of mountains, islands and sea.  The ferry departs from Horseshoe Bay north of Vancouver and arrives at Nanaimo, famous for its Nanaimo Bars.  This is the ferry for going to Pacific Rim National Park.  A separate ferry travels south to Victoria, the capital. 

Cathedral Grove Cedars
Cathedral Grove Cedars

 Cathedral Grove

The road to the west coast is about three hours so take a break at Cathedral Grove Trail in MacMillan Provincial Park.  A short walk takes through a forest of towering Douglas fir trees – some more than 800 years old!   On the south side are giant Douglas firs up to 9 metres in circumference. On the north side are ancient Western red cedar as shown in the photo. 


Pacific Rim National Park 


Pacific Rim NP Beach
Pacific Rim NP Beach
Pacific Rim National Park is one of the must-see places to go.  There is a great campground, if you can get a spot.  There are easy hiking trails.  But most importantly are the rocky headlands and beautiful and very long white sand beach called Long Beach.  However, no one is swimming in the frigid water.  If only the landlord would turn on the heat! 

Pacific Rim Sea Star
It's a Sea Star not Starfish

But the most special thing is to check for low tide and visit the tide pools with interesting sea stars (aka starfish) and sea anemones. 
For more wildlife, visit nearby Tofino and take an orca (killer whale) tour.  

Pacific Rim Rocks
Pacific Rim Rocks


Butchart Gardens

Butchart Gardens View
Japanese Tea Garden becomes Tourist Mecca
Another must-see place is Butchart Gardens, 23 km north of the capital, Victoria. After Robert Butchart exhausted the limestone used in his cement factory, his wife Jennie, converted the pit into a Sunken Garden. Next they created a Japanese Garden.  In 1907 a 65 year old garden designer, Isaburo Kishida of Yokohama, came to build the Japanese tea garden.  This gorgeous garden is open from 0900 to 2200 hrs. in the summer and is busiest from 1100 to 1500 hrs. . 
Butchart Gardens Flower
Butchart Gardens Really Close-up

 I just realized how few photos I took in the old film days.  With digital cameras one can go wild.  Make sure you bring plenty of memory cards for your trip to BC.   



Saturday, 19 July 2014

Beautiful British Columbia Mountains

Supernatural British Columbia Mountains

That is this Canadian province's cliché tourism slogan but where else can you enjoy the great outdoors as well as have one of the most multicultural experiences anywhere on the planet. To me British Columbia is about magnificent Mountains and surging Seas.  This post is about BC Mountains, BC's huge expanse of wilderness
As we are about to fly to Vancouver for a summer vacation, we thought we would share some old photos from when we lived in nearby (for Canadian standards) Alberta.  This was our backyard and we have hiked and driven all over.  The Turkey Blog will continue after we return home.   

See also related post Jasper to Mt Robson Must See Sights
Lake O'Hara
Lake O'Hara OMG
Imagine pushing one end of a flat piece of tissue paper towards the other fixed end. What you get is a multitude of ridges. 
Except in real life those are a series of mountain ranges from the coastal range along the Pacific Ocean to the Rocky Mountains on the border with the province of Alberta 780 km away. 
British Columbia (BC for short) is the same area as France and Italy combined or 20% larger than Turkey! France and Italy combined have a population of over 125 million and Turkey has over 76 million. Now imagine that BC only has 4.6 million people in an even larger land area.  

Yoho National Park


Lake O'Hara

Needless to say there is plenty of wildlife, scenery, hiking, trees, turquoise lakes, glaciers and rugged mountains to enjoy.  One of the most spectacular turquoise gems is Lake O'Hara in Yoho National Park
Emerald Lake in Summer
Emerald Lake truly is a gem
What makes it special is that there are no cars allowed.  You have to arrange transport to the Lake O'Hara Lodge and then start any one of a number of hikes. 

Emerald Lake

Another drop dead gorgeous gem is Emerald Lake – and you can drive right there.  In summer we walked high up around that mountain, river crossings included.  The tiny streams were engorged with spring run-off and we had to help my sister and brother-in-law cross over the raging rocks or turn around, which would have taken much longer as we were nearly at the end.  There was a huge drop-off not too far downstream. A very long trail also travels along the edge of this large lake ending at the lodge cabins below.   
Skiing around Emerald Lake

Oh yes, there is lots of snow and skiing in the winter.   One tip we can pass on is to ski downhill during weekdays then ski cross-country on weekends.  We skied all around Emerald Lake – it was more like hiking on skis surrounded by snow-covered mountains.   
Radium Hot Springs
Radium Hot Springs Bliss



Radium Hot Springs


Après ski you can enjoy a giant hot tub (at 37-40°C) with some friends in Radium Hot Springs.   The picture does not look like it is the middle of winter.  There is so much steam coming off the hot springs, it was quite comfy sitting in the pool. 


Glacier National Park

Glacier National Park: Illecillewaet Glacier
Abbott Ridge Looking East to Illecillewaet Glacier
One of our favourite national parks is Glacier National Park, which actually does have glaciers.  But the best part is that you can climb to the top of Abbot Ridge - no climbing gear required, just hiking boots.  But at the top you have an unparalleled 360° view – now that's mountain climbing! 
You are looking down on Illecillewaet Glacier. We brought a Swiss friend from our 3-year Round-The-World trip here and a guy from New Jersey asked if he could join us.  He enjoyed teasing her that the Rocky Mountains were way better than the tame Swiss Alps.  She thought the Alps were the best. 
Glacier National Park: Abbott Ridge View North
Glacier National Park: Abbott Ridge View North
He made a point of saying he has hiked all over the world, including the Himalayas, but now every year he comes to Western Canada for his vacation. 
As he stated so well, in the Alps when you get to the top you see flat plains, cities and lots of people.  In the Rockies all you can see is range after range of mountains and you can count the number of people on one hand.  It was an accurate observation except that we were not in the Rocky Mountains – we were in the Selkirk Mountains. 

Last  Post: Dalyan Lycian Tombs (Day 13 PM)
Next Post: British Columbia by the Supernatural Sea 

Sunday, 13 July 2014

Dalyan and the Lycian Tombs

Lycian Tombs

Dalyan Lycian Tombs
Lycian Tombs First View
The Lycian Tombs were breath taking even after having seen so many photos. Glowing in the warm afternoon light, the tombs looked like miniature temples. How did the Lycians carve them so high up into a vertical cliff circa 5th century BC? Who are the Lycians? There is a mystical aura about them.
To see the Lycian Tombs in the cliffs, drive south from the park-like square along Maraş Caddesi until you see a road to the right – I believe it was Yali Sokak. There is angled parking near a small park with views along the river. Et voilà, the tombs are so close you do not even need to cross the river to see them. The ruins of the ancient trading city of Kaunos are a short boat trip across the river. 

Lycian Tombs 247mm lens
Lycian Tombs 247mm lens
Clearly, these tombs would only be built for royalty since the cost of carving rock to look like temples would have been enormous. Notice what appears to be a series of closely spaced, rectangular blocks projecting out of the top of the stone building.

Erechtheion, Athens Acropolis
Erechtheion, Athens Acropolis
This molding is called dentil (derived from Latin dens, tooth) because they look like teeth. In fact, this pattern was being used in the world-famous Erechtheion in Athens Acropolis, and later emulated by many later classical temples. 
Dentil Pattern on Dalyan Tombs
Dentil Pattern on Dalyan Tombs
The dentil pattern is based on the support beams in buildings. In fact, all stone temples were originally modelled after wooden temples and buildings. How do we know this? From earlier examples such as the rock- cut tomb of Darius (ca. 500 BC). Is this just sharing of ideas? Or is there a deeper connection? Are you into genealogy? 

Where is Anatolia?

Anatolia is not a region of Turkey. It is Turkey in pre-Hellenic times the Asian part of Turkey. Anatolia is not a single ethnic group. It was occupied by many groups - Hittites, Lycians, Lydians and Carians. The Hittites controlled the largest area of territory, northern Anatolia.  

Who are the Lycians?

The Lycians lived in the area from Dalyan to Kaş to Phaselis. They have become almost mythical with the impression that little is known about them. We know that, like the Hittites, their ancestors came from the central Asian steppes near the Caspian Sea. But how do know where they came from?  

Anatolian Languages

The science of linguistics started with research into a Proto-Indo-European (PIE) language. PIE diverged into multiple languages starting around 3400 BC. The two oldest (i.e. first) branches of the Indo-European language group were Anatolian and Indo-Iranian (Sanskrit and Iranian-based languages including Kurdish, a major ethnic group in East Turkey). The PIE people used to be called Aryans (now a politically incorrect name).

Aryan Religion

Lycia is famous for rock-cut tombs – there are still 1085 remaining tombs today, many of which were built along the streets of their cities, such as Kaş. Funerary tombs are associated with ancestor worship, a key element of the Aryan religion. The knowledge about the Aryans and their religious beliefs come mostly from the holy book, the Rigveda, composed between ca. 1500-1200 BC. The Rigveda is one of the four canonical sacred texts or Vedas of Hinduism.  
While the names may differ, the Anatolian, Ancient Greek, Ancient Roman, Viking and Hindu Religions all share a similar pantheon of gods, the gods of the Aryan Religion. These gods have similar spheres of influence and nearly identical symbols and weapons.  
Cuneiform tablets also give clues about the Aryan descendants in Turkey. In a peace treaty between the Hittite and Mittani empires, the deities Mitra, Varuna, and Indra were invoked. These are gods as they are named in the Hindu pantheon. Mithra, the god of oaths and binding, was a principal figure of Persia and the Greco-Roman religion of Mithraism. Both Varuna and Poseidon are gods protecting the ocean and sea creatures. Both have tridents as symbolic weapons. Indra, Zeus and Thor are the chief gods with a thunderbolt as weapon and a chariot as their vehicle.  

The Great Migration

Dalyan River
Dalyan River Beckons You
The Indo-European migrations took place ca. 4000 to 1000 BC according to the Kurgan hypothesis. How do we know there was a great migration? We know from the Rigveda and from the spread of the chariot, a vehicle invented by the Aryans. So it was no accident that the Romans (the Italic tribe) loved chariot racing. We also know from linguistics research into PIE throughout Eurasia. Finally, we have genetic-based genealogy. The descendants of PIE have a common gene as discussed in the topic Temple of Aphrodite in the Aphrodisias post.  

Who are the Lycians?

Iztuzu Beach 157mm lens
Mountainous Coast Beckons You
The first wave of the Great Migration flowed into Anatolia, founding the Hittite and Mittani empires. The Lycian state spanned from ca. 15th to 6th century BC. The Great Migration led to the prodigious civilizations that founded Turkey and Europe. They are part of the PIE (Aryans) that were the ancestors of the European, Persian, and Indian civilizations.  

Last  Post: Iztuzu Beach, Dalyan (Day 13 AM)
Next Post: Ölüdeniz, Patara, Kaş (Day 14)

Saturday, 12 July 2014

Iztuzu Beach, Dalyan

Dalyan felt like another country – less people, less cars, less tourists and more laid back. Iztuzu Beach is a very beautiful, long stretch of white sand with views of verdant coastal mountains with no sign of urban development.    


Day 13 AM: We had a large breakfast at the Melrose Hotel (Pamukkale), including very tasty homemade hot dishes washed down with sour cherry juice – yummy. We saved the best tasting halvah for a snack while we were driving.
This morning it was not just cloudy, it started snowing as we crossed mountain passes at about 1010m above sea level. Then we began to descend on a small mountain road (D550) to Mugla and  reached the birding area of Lake Köyceğiz.

At a short distance afterwards, we turned south and arrived in Dalyan at 13:00 hrs. Suddenly the sky was clear – our first sunny and warm day since we started the trip. Did we just change countries? It was around 20+ °C (70+ °F) – not bad for March! Well time to hit the beach!  
Iztuzu Beach Boat
Even the Boats are Turquoise

Iztuzu Beach

The best part of Iztuzu Beach is the absence of resorts, hotels and other commercial development. There are two ways to get to two different beaches – by dolmuş or car to the east side of the river mouth, or by boat to the west side , which is much busier in-season. Probably most tourists take the river boats since that makes for part of the experience. There are boats run by the local municipality for TRY 10. Beware of sharks (the people kind) as you run the gamut of private individuals with boats.  
Dalyan River
Dalyan River View
However, we had a car so we drove and stopped along the way for photographs since the road is perched above the beach and the Dalyan River valley.  The river makes a huge elbow and comes close to the road viewpoint.  In fact, the Iztuzu Caddesi (road) as it approaches the beach is also very natural.   
Iztuzu Beach View
Iztuzu Beach View
We had the beach to ourselves because it was off-season. But as the beach is 4.5 km long, there should be adequate space for lots of people though the parking lot seemed small. There was no charge for parking in the off-season.  If you would prefer off-season but would still like to swim then go in the fall.  High season ends around mid-September. 
Iztuzu Beach
Iztuzu Beach Up Close
Right from the lot you can see the beach, the turquoise sea, and the mountains across the water. There were only four other people to share the white sand beach. This is one of the top three beaches that we saw on our trip – it would be hard to rate which position but the Patara Beach (coming soon to a post near you) was the best.  
The beach is also well known for the Caretta caretta (Loggerhead sea turtle). It is sad that a species that is 45 million years old is now endangered. An organization sets up seasonal barriers to protect the turtle nesting grounds and the beach is closed between 20:00 and 08:00 hours from May to October. There were lots of interpretive signs but turtles not included (off-season). However, this conservation effort stopped the building a major resort on the beach.  
Iztuzu Caddesi View
Iztuzu Caddesi View
The adventure did not stop there. This was the 13th day of our trip (fortunately it was not a Friday the 13th). When we arrived, the owner of our pre-booked hotel said his solar panels were knocked off the roof by a wind storm the previous night and he had to turn off the water. So he brought us to his friend’s hotel nearby. Otherwise it certainly was a lucky day - glorious weather, inspiring rock-cut Lycian Tombs and turquoise sea views. In fact, this was one of the places where we wished we had booked more than one night.  
Last  Post: Pamukkale & Hierapolis (Day 12)
Next Post: Dalyan Lycian Tombs (Day 13 PM) 

Thursday, 3 July 2014

Pamukkale & Hierapolis

Pamukkale Terraces & Hierapolis Archaeology

Pamukkale Terraces
Where has all the water gone?
 Come for the Terraces, stay for the Theatre! This is probably the best ancient theatre in any archaeology site in Turkey.  The Pamukkale thermal area is beneath the ancient city of Hierapolis and cascades down the terraces on a steep hillside. 
Pamukkale thermal area
Boardwalk Empire
Day 12 brought us to the Pamukkale  terraces and hot springs, which have been used since the 2nd century BC as a spa and a healing centre.  The Hierapolis ruins and terraces are part of a "civilized park" with palm trees and park benches, boardwalks and birds. There were lots of silica patterns but no water!!! The Pamukkale Terraces would not be worth the price of admission! Moreover, it was another cloudy day and the temperature was less than 8°C.

Hierapolis Theatre

Hierapolis Theatre
Thespian Theatrics
There was one massive building in all of Hierapolis (Greek for "holy city") and everyone was hiking up the hill to get into it. Enter through the gate and you will be blown away! This theatre not only had 15,000 semi-circular seats but a complete building as well.
The theatre was built in 129 CE for a visit by Emperor Hadrian. and finished in 206 CE.  
Hierapolis Theatre Scaenae
The Roman Scaenae
It had a three-storey scaenae adorned by a colonnade with statues and lintels with friezes. Scaenae, origin of our word scene, is the scene and costume changing rooms of the theatre. The "scene" at Ephesus and most other archaeology sites is missing. Priene has part of the scaenae building but Hierapolis shows what it should look like.  While this is an Ancient Rome archaeology site, the frieze below is written in Greek.  This area was formerly part of Greece and most people spoke Greek.  Alexander the Great had conquered all of Anatolia (Turkey) in 334 BC.  Ionia (the Turkish Coast including Priene, Miletus and Didyma) was part of Greece. 

This is one of the best and most complete theatres we have ever seen. And in our opinion, the best thing to see here. No, the theatre has not been standing here since 206 CE. It had collapsed during an earthquake in the 4th century CE but 90% of the stones were still lying there when archeologists during the last century decided to re-construct it.
Hierapolis Theatre Scaenae
The Greek Scene
Why cannot this be done at other sites, whether they are in Turkey or Italy? Because over the centuries, people carted away the blocks and columns to use in constructing later buildings. In Italy it was the Christians who tore down the temples (not the barbarians) because they despised them as pagan. The only temples that survived were those converted to churches.
Ancient Hierapolis Hot Springs
Tourists in Hot Water
Coming down from the theatre the easy way (on the road), there were lots of ruins. At the main complex there are bathrooms, restaurants and a treed and pleasant picnic area overlooking an antique thermal pool where you can swim for an extra fee (TRY 15).

Hierapolis Plateia

Hierapolis Plateia
Hierapolis Plateia
There were a couple other evocative places in Hierapolis. Still standing is the monumental triple arched Frontinus Gate, built by Julius Frontinus (84-86 CE), proconsul (governor) of Asia Minor.

It was made from travertine, a form of limestone deposited by mineral springs, especially hot springs. Travertine was used a lot in Ancient Rome as well. In fact, the largest building in the world made mainly from travertine was the Colosseum in Rome, which could hold about 75,000 unruly fanaticus (Latin for mad, enthusiastic, inspired by a god), the origin of our word "fanatics" − shortened to "fans" as we call them today

The old Roman Plateia is paved with large stones with roadside columns − roadside shops no longer included. Plateia is Greek for town square, like Plateia Syntagma in Athens.  A wide (14 m) road leads from Frontinus Gate to the other side of town.  The calcite from the hot springs had once covered the road − hot springs used to be everywhere. They had to remove it with some kind of pneumatic drill.

Pamukkale Terraces

Pamukkale Terraces
The Real Pamukkale Terraces
On our way back we walked on a long boardwalk along thirsty thermal pools. Finally when we got to the middle of the national park, several large rectangular pools with hot water so the tourists could walk through them all the way down the slope to the town Even if you have been to a thermal area, this is unique. In thermal national parks, such as in New Zealand and United States, tourists are not allowed in or on the terraces at all. We were disappointed that the water was not the brilliant turquoise colour shown in the over-saturated photos on the internet. But perhaps this was also due to the lack of sun. If you were there let us know what you think.
Pamukkale Terraces
The Unreal Pamukkale Terraces
Water in the Pamukkale Terraces gets diverted to different areas every day so perhaps you will have better luck. Personally, I would have preferred to see the beautiful, rimmed pools with a little bit of water. Finally at the very end - far beyond the end of the boardwalk - there were some pools of aquamarine water that I was able to capture with just a slight zoom (150mm). However, without the sun, the pictures didn't do it justice.  Of course, nothing beats Photoshop for adding light and saturation.   

Melrose Hotel

We really like small family-owned hotels, our choice throughout Turkey. 
Melrose Hotel: Ummu
Ummu of Melrose Hotel
The owners − Mehmet (husband) and Ummu (wife) − are very jovial and spoke English very well. The rooms of the Melrose Hotel were comfortable and clean.
Very few people actually sleep over in Pamukkale because most tourists are on tours and day trip from the big city, Denizli.  As a result, there isn't much in the way of restaurants, et al in Pamukkale. However, the restaurant in Melrose Hotel is one of the best in town. They knew what to buy and everything was homemade. The soup was so delicious! The kofte (meatballs) meal was delicious and included stuffed vine leaves with a tomato paste unlike like any other. The tomato paste was homemade with fresh tomatoes, sun-dried, boiled, then sun-dried again.
Melrose Hotel Dining Room
Cozy Dining Room at the Melrose Hotel
The dining room was a beautiful, cozy, enclosed den, which was essential for the cold weather we had. However, in better weather you can sit in the outside patio or by the pool.
Each breakfast was different and delicious. They had one of the best halvah of our trip. Another speciality of Turkey is tahini pekmez (tahini and grape molasses). This is a traditional Turkish condiment made with a blend of sesame seed paste and concentrated grape juice that's typically served for breakfast. Here is the recipe for this quintessential Turkish cuisine.  There were some filo-dough based dishes that were scrumptious as well.
The family ate in the same dining room and we struck up conversations with them and some of the other guests. Ummu had migrated to Germany to work when she was younger. She said she would have liked to go to university. But the hotel is a family business and very time consuming. They have just finished renovating another building to create another hotel closer to the Pamukkale Terraces. 

Last  Post: Happy 147th Birthday, Canada!
Next Post: Iztuzu Beach, Dalyan (Day 13 AM)

Tuesday, 1 July 2014

Alberta, Canada

Happy 147th Birthday, Canada!

Canada is one of the most multicultural countries on the planet not only because 80% of the people are recent immigrants from around the world but also it was one of the first countries to make multicultural ideology a part of its law and culture.  We proudly refer to ourselves as Italian-Canadian, Japanese-Canadian, Turkish-Canadian...
Yes, Canada also has some spectacular scenery.  In the Rocky Mountains there are four national parks − #Banff and #Jasper in Alberta and Yoho and Kootenay in British Columbia. Together they comprise an adjacent area (20,238 km2) that is half the size of Switzerland or the same size as the province of Antalya in #Turkey − with only two towns that predated the parks.  That is a lot of wilderness!  Did you know that all of Western Europe fits into Eastern Canada?  Here is a photographic celebration. 

See also related post Banff to Lake Louise Must See Sights

Banff National Park

Moraine Lake, Banff National Park
Gorgeous Moraine Lake

There are lots of turquoise lakes caused by glacier flour, stone pulverized by the glaciers and so fine it stays suspended in the water reflecting light.  It also feels like flour.  Moraine Lake is one of our favourites and one of the best hikes starts from the parking lot.  A steep and sometimes narrow trail ascends to Larch Valley with dramatic views of the Wenkchemna Peaks (meaning Ten Peaks) surrounding Moraine Lake.    

Larch Valley Trail
Dramatic Larch Valley Trail

Rocky Mountain Sheep
Rocky Mountain Sheep

There is a lot of wildlife from Rocky Mountain Sheep to bears - even a lake that looks like a bear.

Peyto Lake

This lake is named after a 19th century guide Bill Peyto who took his horse-riding "tour groups" here; so they called it Peyto's Lake.  And it is still a popular viewpoint but now easily reached by car. 

Jasper National Park

Athabasca Glacier
Where have all the glaciers gone?

Driving the Icefield Parkway is one of the must-see things to do in Canada if not anywhere in the world.  Where else can you drive along wall-to-wall glacial lakes, glaciers and mountains all from the comfort of your car.   
Mount Edith Cavell and Lake Cavell
Mount Edith Cavell and Lake Cavell

Mount Edith Cavell and Lake Cavell are another favourite turquoise place.  The mountain was named in 1916 for Edith Cavell, an English nurse executed by the Germans during World War I for having helped allied soldiers escape from occupied Belgium to the Netherlands.    

Dinosaur Provincial Park

Fred the Camel, Dinosaur Provincial Park
Fred the Camel, Dinosaur Provincial Park
Dinosaur Provincial Park is a UNESCO World Heritage Site and one of the richest sources of dinosaur fossils in the world.  Many specimens in museums around the world come from Dinosaur Provincial Park. 
Turkey may have fairy chimneys, but Alberta has hoodoos.  Actually they are the same thing and have the same causes:  an arid climate (so erosion is slow) and a harder cap rock that protects the softer rock underneath.   

Dinosaur Provincial Park
Storm strikes the desert
The interpretive program is not only worthwhile but necessary as access to the park is restricted to guided groups. Yes, you can get lost out there as we can confirm in one experience where we "lost" our group while taking photos.  Fortunately, I listened to our interpreters and remembered to follow the dry stream beds since they led to the river and thus the campground. 
This area of Alberta is a desert and has about the same annual rainfall as the Sahara.  So when it rains it can be spectacular and the next day the cacti flowers have bloomed! 

Waterton Lakes National Park

Waterton Lakes National Park
Prairies Meet Rockies
Waterton Lakes National Park, a small park of 505 km2 (195 sq mi), is the furthest south and borders another great park, Glacier National Park in Montana.  Together they are a unique international park.  This photo is actually from outside the park driving along the wheat-growing prairies, the vast geographical space bull-dozed by massive glaciers during the ice age.  The same glaciers that carved out the largest freshwater lakes, the Great Lakes.