Friday, July 8, 2011

William and Kate's Visit to Calgary

The hat I made for the parade. I didn't get to wear it! It obstructed people's view.

Calgary's been all a-buzz about the visit of William and Kate to our city this week. They flew in yesterday afternoon and flew out again this morning, on their way to California. Yesterday The Royals toured the University of Calgary and enjoyed a private rodeo performance at Stampede park. The public wasn't invited to either.

The best chance to see them seemed to be right before the official Stampede Parade this morning. Stampede is the annual rodeo here in Calgary and is a VERY big deal. The whole town goes western for a week, decorating with all things cowboy and dressing up in western wear.

It was reported that Will and Kate would travel the parade route in reverse at 8:30am, ending up at the point where the Stampede Parade would begin. This was our first Stampede parade but we're told the crowds were MUCH larger than in past years, obviously because the newlyweds were involved.

We had bleacher seats which usually guarantee a better view than being on the sidewalk, so I expected to get some great photos of Kate's streaming hair and Williams' brilliant smile as they rode by. We were in our seats by 8:00. Unfortunately, this was our view:

The bleachers were behind a mesh fence! But I knew I could deal with that by standing up and raising my camera over the fence to get the shot. No biggie. But then all of a sudden, there were police cars escorting a line of black town cars and everyone was standing and someone said, "It's them!!" and my husband pointed to one car in particular and I was snapping pictures and they flew by and then all was quiet. Someone said, "That was it?"

Everyone sat back down, looking at one another, puzzled. The woman next to us said she heard they'd be coming by in a carriage. "Instead, we get a drive-by at 50 miles an hour?" We all laughed. 50 mph was an exaggeration, but it certainly was quick. Amazingly, though, when I zoomed in on the above photo, you can see Kate in the back seat, wearing a white cowboy hat:

That was something, I guess. Though incredibly disappointing, our little bleacher group forgave the 'drive-by,' assuming the closed car must have been used for Will and Kate's security. Someone said, "There are a lot of crazy people out there." Nods were exchanged and we all settled in for the actual parade.

Yeah, well, I didn't really. I couldn't let go of the fact that William and Kate were in my city and I wasn't going to see them. This young couple is a part of history. I wanted two seconds to look at them in person, even if it was in the middle of a crowd, from far away.

I wasn't sure what the plan was for W&K after they reached the starting point for the parade but I knew I had to find out. I told my husband I wanted to walk over there in case they were making a speech or sitting at a dais or something. He was up for it.

The first few blocks were a piece of cake, but as we got closer to the beginning of the route, it got harder to maneuver around people. I pointed down an alley which took us behind some buildings and then finally, back out on the street about a block from the parade. Unfortunately, because of construction, it looked like we'd have to head in the opposite direction in order to work our way back to the parade route.

We wound up at an intersection across from The Hyatt. At every corner there was a crowd, cameras aimed at the hotel doors, ready to shoot. Heavy police presence. I asked someone what was going on and they said simply, "William and Kate."

I actually had a great spot with a clear view of the doors diagonally across the street from us.

We waited maybe ten minutes and were finally rewarded with these photos:

Look! He's waving at me and she's smiling at me! (...and the rest of the people standing with me-lol)

That's all I wanted. *happy*


Anonymous said...

You did get to see them, nice shots of them!! The ones in the car looked like she had a hat on, yours was more impressive, thanks for sharing!!


Anonymous said...

So cool!!


Anonymous said...
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Anonymous said...

That's a lot more than the rest of us saw! Good for you being persistent! I think Will WAS waving to you and Kate DID smile at you! Very cool!


caryl said...

We decided that Will was waving at me and Kate was smiling at Greg!

J said...

D'you realize how outstandingly fortunate you were to be able to see them again? How lucky were you to gravitate to the exact place, at the right time to see them like you wanted to! I am amazed!!!

On another note, I hope you got to see the rest of the parade without that redic mesh fence in your view! The C Parade is the best parade I know of, and I was hoping that K & W would get to enjoy it too. But it appears not, what's the time stamp on your pics of them coming out of the Hyatt Hotel? Looks like they went there to change their clothes / pick up their luggage....

And I hope you enjoy your first Stampede Week!

caryl said...

Hi, J! Thanks for your comment. Yes, I realize we were incredibly lucky.I still can't believe it.

Was I right about what I wrote? I know wristbands were given out for something that The Royals were involved with, but don't you think most people in the city thought they'd see them along the parade route? I wonder why they were in open cars in other cities but not here? Obviously a security issue but I hope they didn't get threats.

I guess Will & Kate did watch some of the parade. I saw that after the fact- it wasn't widely publicised beforehand (that I know of).

Anyway- we had a GREAT day. We did get to see most of the parade and then last night we watched the chuck wagon races, followed by an amazing show by VOLTE. looking forward to the rest of Stampede week!

Linda said...

Enjoyed reading about your adventure. Only one thing missing - a photo of you wearing 'the hat' :p

Margaret said...

:) :) :) :) !!!!!!

caryl said...

Linda- everyone wants to see me in the hat! I'll make it happen.

Margaret- :) I used my new camera, btw, but hubby thinks if I shot it in raw, they would have come out better. I need to learn how to do that.

Anonymous said...

Very cool you actually got to see them and get a pic of them.