I was looking forward to this part of the trip, travelling the Rocky Mountaineer train, from Vancouver to Jasper in the Canadian Rocky Mountains, on the ‘Journey through the Clouds’ blue route. It was wonderful just sitting there, watching the scenery go by and being served meals and drinks in the comfort of my seat. This is my kind of relaxing holiday.
Also, I have ticked off another UNESCO site, as the Canadian Rocky Mountain Parks are UNESCO World Heritage listed.
Day 1: Vancouver to Kamloops with overnight stay a in Kamloops hotel – Tuesday 2nd May
Day 2: Kamloops to Jasper – Wednesday 3rd May
The scenery was ever changing from the Vancouver suburbs to valley farm land, to mountains (not the Rocky’s) to barren mountains and eventually the Rocky Mountains. It was fascinating to watch the changes and admire the views as well as the engineering feat of actually building the railway. There are two rail lines, one on each side of the rivers we follow in the valley of the mountains. The first rail line built was the Canadian Pacific and had the pick of the terrain to build on. When the Canadian National rail line was built, it had to do so on the other side of the river which was less desirable and more difficult to construct with more obstacles. We passed many freight trains and the largest had 134 freight cars!
There maybe the odd flying saucer in some pictures, this is just a reflection of the ceiling lights!
The Rocky Mountaineer train has changed over the years. It used to have Gold Leaf and Red Leaf carriages with Red Leaf being very basic. They have replaced Red Leaf so now have Gold Leaf and Silver Leaf. I chose Silver Leaf as it has inclusive meals and drinks, including alcohol (new this year), and the single-storey large windowed domed carriages looked great. Having now done it, I am glad I chose Silver over Gold, as the Silver carriage had uninterrupted views out of very large windows and I could easily see out the windows on the other side. The Silver carriage also had 2 toilets and a small viewing platform at the end of the carriage.
The other benefit over Gold, which is double storey, is that you are served your meals, as well as snacks and drinks, at your seat. In Gold you have to go downstairs to eat, meaning you are sitting in a low-ceilinged and small windowed section which minimises the magnificent views. There were many times we were eating when the train slowed for scenic pictures.
The food was fantastic and for breakfast and lunch we could choose from two options. The snacks in between were scrumptious and as we had been fed so well, I didn’t have dinner either night of the train journey.
The two hosts and two chiefs for our carriage were awesome. They were friendly, provided excellent service, were very knowledgeable about the history of the railways and the environment/surroundings and engaged us with stories. The train manager popped in and out of the carriage giving us updates on what was happening, more stories and generally making sure everyone was having a good time.
The overnight stop:
We stopped in Kamloops for the night and were taken by bus to our various hotels. The luggage goes by coach and was in my room upon arrival. As I was still full from all the food served on the train, I just went for a walk and then had an early night. It was amazing how tiring you can get from doing nothing but sitting and eating for the day!
For those who were hungry or wanted a drink, there are plenty of options and we were provided with a map of Kamloops which showed where the accommodation was and the various eateries and drinking spots.
Once we arrived in Jasper we were once again bussed to our hotels and my luggage was waiting for me.