Toot, toot, choof, choof - off we go!

Trip Start Apr 18, 2007
Trip End Jun 29, 2007

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Flag of Canada  , Manitoba,
Thursday, May 3, 2007

Jasper is a two-bank town - and at 11.00am, one was closed. The other's ATM spat out my Visa card forcing me inside to withdraw cash. In true Canadian style, the bank staff were happy to see me and each teller had a bowl of mints on her counter. These were FREE for customers - no bank charges involved. And on Fridays they have chocolates! Amazing.

Due to it's late departure from Vancouver, 'The Canadian' was an hour late leaving Jasper. It stretched for about 20 cars, including 3 diesels, 2 dining cars, an activities car and three lounge cars with dome observation decks. My carriage had the delightful French Canadian Jean-Robin as our steward who showed me the workings of my little bedroom and sounded just like Gabriel Gate. I had hoped that the explanations would have been more intricate.

The train picked up speed as it rolled out of the Rockies, leaving the snow, aspen, spruce and fir trees behind for birch groves and ice-fringed lakes, then open farmlands of crops and cattle of Alberta province. This was regularly punctuated with signs of extensive timber and wrecked car industries.

The dining car - next door to mine (a definite advantage at 80km/hr) - served adequate meals, although not up to Rocky Mountaineer standard. Thai chicken salad and maple syrup icecream for lunch. "The Devil Wears Prada" was the entertainment after lunch and I then explored the rear observation car where I met Ann-Marie from Warwick, Queensland - a chatty primary teacher on long-service leave.

Jean-Robin assembled my fold-down bed - surprisingly comfortable - and I snuggled under a thick eiderdown, expecting no trouble sleeping. Unfortunately, it was at least 1am before I nodded off and at 5.30am I saw the Saskatchwen/Manitoba border sign whiz pass my window...
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