Wednesday, July 16, 2008

Rocky Mountaineer: Day 1- Vancouver to Kamloops

Jason and I travelled from Vancouver to Banff (via an overnight stay in Kamloops) on the Rocky Mountaineer Train. We chose to go Gold Leaf class... the website states that Gold Leaf is "QUITE SIMPLY, AS GOOD AS IT GETS" and its true. It is great!!! The GoldLeaf Dome Features:
  • designed bi-level dome coach (with massive windows)
  • Panoramic views from full-length dome windows
  • Assigned seating in reclining dome-level seats that rotate to accommodate groups of four
  • Full galley kitchen
  • 36 dining room seats (4 per table) with picture windows
  • Full service all day (drinks and snacks- alcoholic and non-alcoholic)
  • Amazing 3 course breakfasts and lunches

Here are some pictures of the train for you. Most of the time we are up the top in the dome level, when dining we were down below for full silver service a la carte meals.
We departed Vancouver station about 7am and Jason and I were in the second service for food. So we got to enjoy the start of our train trip with coffee and a raspberry scone. Her is the first bridge that we went over. You can see the front of our train on the bridge already.
About 2 hours into the journey Jason and I got to enjoy our breakfast service in the dining cart. We started with fresh tea and coffee and hot out of the oven croissants. Next was a small refreshing fruit platter each. After that we got to choose off the menu for the main part of the breakfast. There was eggs benedict, omelette, pancakes, granola parfait, and scramled eggs with salmon. As well as these choices we could choose cold cereal and toast as well. I had the eggs benedict and Jason had the omelette. Yummy.

As we left Vancouver it was very green and lush looking. Here is abeautiful still looking lake with great reflections.

Our train carriage was filled with a lot of older people who just either went to sleep or jsut read books... not sure I can understand with all the beautiful scenery outside. The good thing for us is it meant that the oldies didn't like to go outside on the vestibule much so we had it pretty much to ourselves which was awesome.

Here's Jason at our seats. To our direct left was the "academics" they were hilarious, they just read the whole time, rationed their photo takings out and fought all the time. In front of them were two asians from California who snuggled under blankets the whole time. In front of us was the Aussies, they were the ones who, when asked to point out wildlife got extremely excited to see a common duck and shouted "its a duck, its a duck" the tour guides meant deer, elk, bears, bald eagles etc... it was hilarious.

The train averaged about 30 miles na hour throughout the whole journey, sometimes we went as slow as 6 miles an hour, sometimes as fast as 60 mph. Don't ask me to put that into kmh though. Here we are whizzing along.

Another shot of the scenery whizzing by. Jason took this all by himself, I wasn't even there...there is a whole series of Jason playing with the camera like this.

Here is a spot called hells gate... where the river narrows substantially and a lot of water flows through the gorge.

Another one of our signature range shots... lucky Jason's arms are so long.

As we travelled closer to kamloops the scenery changed dramatically. It was now very desert like.

As we were in the second sitting for food we had an antipasto platter around 12pm while the first sitting went down for lunch. Jason was very brave and decided to try everything including olives and artichokes. He actually decided that he liked the olives!

We went down for lunch and enjoyed fresh bread, then a choice of salad or cream of mushroom soup. Pah salad.... we are on holiday so cream of mushroom soup it was. Yummy it was really good. The main course gave us beautiful options including steak, chicken breast, pasta with prawns, a vegetarian dish and another couple of options... Jason chose the steak (surprised anyone??) and I had the chicken. SOOOOOOO good. Here Jason is at the dining table.
An example of one of the meals... just stunning:

The main course was followed up with a dessert tasting platter with a choice of three small desserts each. Mmmmmm what a good food day. All thoughts of diets are aside right now.

More instances of the changing scenery on this trip.

About an hour out of Kamloops all we could smell was cookies... the chef came up to our level and handed out fresh baked, warm choc chip cookies for us good. We arrived in Kamloops a little behind schedule but to a welcoming party of 4 men on horesback in full traditional canadian mountie uniform. As well as all the locals who come out and wave to us... do the do this every day??

One of the awesome things about gold leaf was the fact that we didn't have to carry a single piece of luggage. We arrived in kamloops transferred to a bus and were dropped off to our hotel room very promptly and efficiently. No waiting around at all. Our bags were already waiting for us. We didn't even have to check in, our room keys were distributed on the train.

We stayed at the Hampton Inn in Kamloops and it was really nice. Two double beds (as it was in every room we stayed in on the trip). The hotel had:
Free high speed internet computer in lobby
Free 24 hour tea/coffee available in lobby
Indoor pool & Hot tub and waterslide (6am to midnight)
Fitness room
Dog friendly rooms available

The waterslide was sooooo much fun and we tried to do some lengths in the 7 m swimming pool... got a bit dizzy though. But great fun to act like big kids.

We had been warned that there wasn't a lot to do in Kamloops as it is the "tournament capital" of the world.... hehehe. So that night we got to enjoy the great canadian lumberjack show. This comedic story features two world-class lumberjacks competing against each other to be the best in town. Step into the historic world of a logging camp as sharp axes fly through the air toward the bull’s eye - and we had to watch out for the splash from the entertaining log rolling competition! We had to "hoot 'n holla" for the lumberjacks... it was a fun night.

No comments: