The system of the Rocky Mountaineer is a well oiled machine. You can tell this isn’t a new activity.
People line up awaiting their turn to drop off their bags at the hotel starting point. The faces are a mixture of deadpan, excited, anxious, those lacking coffee and those jumping around from lack of sleep and too much early coffee.
From there we were herded on to waiting buses. The buses’ bellies are filled with suitcases…extra large, floral, tiny, duffels and a few too many turquoises just like mine. The buses take us first to a baggage drop at a nearby huge car park. Here the buses are emptied of bags and sorted by Kamloops hotels ( their destination). They don’t travel on the train. They go via truck. Then it’s off to the train station for us.
We travelled ‘Silver Leaf’, akin to premium economy plane seats. ‘Gold Leaf’ is the business class equivalent ( but it comes with stairs and sharing eating tables with others-not for me). People set out to find their carriage. The numbers are jumbled to add to the confusion- oops, ‘adventure’. Some dawdled like me, others a speedy step, some hobbled with walking stick sticks. “All aboard” called the carriage host. We piled onboard obediently, located our seat, to be ours for the 2 day journey.
With a lurch and a shudder and horn blown loud and proud the trip began. It had the familiarity of a school camp to me. Some with loud voices letting everyone know their were there. Some quietly chatting to to a partner or friend. Some staring out the windows. Some even waving goodbye to those there to see them off. A staff member strolled the aisle, re-counting the heads.
The scenery was the initial draw card . As we left Banff mist shrouded the majestic mountains. One might say they were farewell tears-I like to think so.
We traced the Bow River in all its colourful beauty. The white boulders … mixed with those of greyish tones give the water its turquoise hue.
Breakfast arrived, momentarily distracting from the scenery outside the window. Laid out on white cloths with silver cutlery, it too is special. Tasty morsels of fresh fruit along with a croissant began the feast. My choice for mains was scrambled eggs with salmon. A delicious plate it was. Coffee complimented it.There were an assortment of juices for those desiring it as well.
The scenery continued to be of tall trees, gigantic mountains, turquoise rivers and interesting bridges. Someone shouted, ‘Bear to the right!’ People for a moment forgot politeness clambering and pushing and grappling for a prime window spot. I’m not convinced it was a bear. I think it was a blackened log.
Snacks of chocolates, nuts, savoury crackers and trail mix and an array of drinks are offered…hot,cold,alcoholic, soft drink and juices. I sampled my first Caesar cocktail and enjoyed the flavours.
Lunch is also provided- as delicious as breakfast. The ribs melted in my mouth and the parsnip and potato mash teased my tastebuds. No ketchup was offered and (a first for me) I didn’t need it. Dessert was a tangy lemon tart with a sweet berry compote.
More drinks and snacks were offered at regular intervals- the hungry/thirsty could collect extras at their desire.
The journey took us late into the night. The scenery changed slightly. The mountains lost some height, but the rivers still enticed with their colour and fast moving rapids. Eagles zoomed overhead as if taking the train on in a challenge. Lights started to twinkle in streets,and in homesteads and along roads as the train snaked on.
Dinner was included, though this is not part of the regular package. Our due arrival time at the hotel was to be 2.5 hours late at Kamloops our bed for the night. The town options for food for 800 people at 9 pm would be challenging. So they whipped up butter chicken and rice.
Arriving at Kamloops buses took us to our hotels. Entering our room our luggage was all there awaiting us, almost magically. You know how many people are losing luggage when travelling? Well we didn’t lose anything but did end up with an extra suitcase in our room.
Tomorrow starts with a 7:10am bus back to the station. 💤💤💤
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