Rocky Mountaineer - Vancouver to Banff

Trip Start May 15, 2010
Trip End Dec 15, 2010

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Flag of Canada  , British Columbia,
Friday, September 17, 2010

Day One - After being dropped off at the station i was greeted by a Rocky Mountaineer steward who pointed me in the direction of the Goldleaf queue. The goldleaf queue was much shorter that the standard redleaf I stood in queue with my suitcase and waited until i was at the front of the queue. At the front of the queue they gave me a boarding pass and a gold plated maple leaf pin, they also took my suitcase which would be waiting for me in my overnight hotel. I then had to wait around for around half an hour until boarding. They had free tea and coffee on offer but no decaf so i declined to partake. I boarded the train and was sent upstairs to find my seat, i had one of the front seats in front of the serving station. I was joined in the pairing seat by an Australian lady who was randomly chatty. Once boarding was complete and the safety notice had been read out we were under way. They told us that since the dining cart was only half the capacity of the viewing deck then we would be eating in two settings. We at the higher number seats would be in the second sitting. The front end of the coach headed down stairs for breakfast and while this happened we were served breakfast muffins while we waited. For the next two hours while the first sitting ate we sat and watched the world go by. When they returned it was our time to eat, we headed down and being the last in i was left with a choice of the last seat in the cart. Breakfast was much the same choice as the cruise ship. I went for the loaded omelette i was sitting with the lady from my coach seat and an australian couple. After lunch it was back upstairs and then outside to enjoy the view in the open air and to take photos without the reflection of the glass. About half an hour after we came back from breakfast the other sitting headed for lunch. This cleared the viewing platform and i spent an hour enjoying the view. Taking photos and generally watching the world go by. I then went back to my seat where we were served cheese and biscuits while waiting for lunch. About 2pm the first sitting returned from lunch and we headed down. I sat with the same people again, the familiarity was something unusual on this trip so it was nice to just eat and chat. Three courses, first course soup, I then had the steak (no surprise there). And a couple of glasses of wine. Following the main was an excellent chocolate cake. It was about 4pm once we had finished lunch and we head back to our seats. The crew had been tireless through out the day and they explained to us what would happen when we arrived at our overnight stop in Kamloops. At 5:30 after another period of enjoying watching the world go by we arrived at the station in Kamloops. On arrival we were given a coach number and hotel room key for our hotel and we boarded and were taken to the hotel. Arriving at the hotel i took my stuff to my room where my suitcase was waiting for me. I had agreed to meet the couple from the cruise for a drink so i headed down to the bar to meet them, We walked into town to look for a bar. We found and irish bar and had a couple of drinks (the waitresses were dressed in kilt style mini skirts, nice). After the drinks the couple decided to go find somewhere to eat, since it was not long since i had eaten on the train so i decided to head back to the hotel. We had to be back at coach outside the hotel at 6:15 so i would have to be up at 5:45am (and to think i thought i was on holiday). So it was a bit of american tv then off to bed. 

Day Two - Up at 5:30 for day two on the Rocky Mountaineer after getting ready and leaving my suitcase where i found it i headed down to the coach. The coach took us back to the train and we boarded back on the carriage we had got off the previous day. After the host had speed read the safety notice the train was underway.The train headed off and was much shorter than it was, our half of the train was heading to Banff with the other half of the train making its way to Jasper. The second day followed the same format as the first, except that the meal sittings had been reversed, so at around 8am we were off to breakfast. This morning i chose the eggs benedict. I was seated with the same people again and had a polite breakfast. After breakfast we went from a mountain range to lakes and then back into mountains again. Im not sure it was a good thing, but as i watched the desert like scenery go past i was thinking red dead redemption (must be the geek in me). After another period of watching the world go by it was time for lunch, we were in the first sitting for lunch as 12pm so i headed in and was seated for lunch, on this day i chose the chicken breast which came after the soup, after ordering the waitress came round to fill our water glasses. At this point the train turned a corner and the waitress and water glasses came in my direction. I put my hands in front of my face to shield and my t-shirt and trousers got a small drenching. After lunch it was a journey through the rockies including a trip through the spiral tunnels. At around 3:30 the host on the train announced that were were entering Alberta and a new time zone, so the clocks went forward, so it was 4:30 and we were an hour away from Banff. As we were approaching Banff we were told about leaving the train and our attention was drawn to the information sheet which detailed about what the tip rate should be for the stewards (canadian tip culture). On leaving the train my suitcase was on the platform. As i was collecting my luggage i bumped into the guy from the cruise and we agreed to get a taxi together since we were staying at the same hotel. Although after seeing the queue we decided to walk, so after a 10 minute walk and a detour round an elk we arrived at the hotel, home for 3 nights. 

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