Tuesday, June 02, 2009
"All Aboard!" . . . .
"drf" and I finally succumbed and booked a trip on VIA Rail from Toronto back here to Vancouver. It's something we've talked about for years, and VIA had a 1/2 price sale if you travelled prior to June 1st. Four nights and days later we arrived back home.
Here are some photo highlights of the trip:
We did a "hop on, hop off" Gray Line bus tour of Toronto. Unfortunately, it was a foggy, rainy day so the visibility was very poor.
The public market was very good, especially the olive bar!
Luckily, we had enough time to pop into a public library and attempt to find our blog "brothers" Tom and Emilio of Canadian Hope. By reading their posts, they had recently opened an ice cream/gelato parlour named Sweet Creamery and we were within blocks of it. Needless to say, we walked over to finally meet the boys in the flesh. We also got to meet their friend Kim - another great guy. It was wonderful to see them and wish them well on their new venture. The gelato is incredible, BTW!
Judging by the crowds already patronizing their establishment - it had only opened the day before - they will be successful. If you're in the 'hood, stop by. It's located at 521 Parliament Street.
Once onboard, we quickly learned that passenger trains take a backseat to freight trains. This is first of many that sidetracked our train.
Ontario river scene once the weather cleared up.
We had about an hour and a half layover in Winnipeg, so we got to walk around downtown a bit.
Look! The South doesn't have a monopoly on Bubbas!
While enjoying a Starbucks break with travel mates, I noticed this sign across the street. (Click to enlarge.)
Assuming it was a subway sign, I inquired of a local if Winnipeg had a subway. I was assured that "Yes, we've got a subway!" and was directed here.
It's all about perception, I guess.
We were advised by a person I stopped on the street to check out the Manitoba Legislative Building. We're glad we did, as it's quite spectacular.
There was not nearly as much of "The Plains" as we had expected. Perhaps that was because we travelled through Saskatchewan at night?
This is as close as we got to Edmonton. Apparently, CN Railway sold their downtown properties to make way for developers. Great.
Back on the train heading west we finally began to see some snow-capped mountains in the distance.
Not too long after that, we were in them and the "oohs" and "ahhs" began reverberating through the observation cars.
Some mountain sheep were near the tracks, as were bear, bison and various eagles along the way.
An actual avalanche occurred as we passed by.
Mt. Robson in eastern British Columbia.
Our train winding through the BC mountain passes.
There are still snow-capped peaks not that far out of Vancouver.
The domed car at the very end of the train was where we spent most of our time aboard.
When we weren't stuffing ourselves in the dining car, that is. This is a rare moment when no one was in the dining car.
A BC waterfall that the engineer slowed down for the passengers to take photos of. Quite spectacular.
"Home, Sweet Vancouver Home" in sight.
"Bdeh, bdeh, bdeh, that's all, folks!"
It's great to be back home, but the train trip was definitely a memorable experience. Probably the best part of the trip is meeting the other passengers aboard. We had folks from literally around the world. Great Britain, Australia, Jamaica, the US and even China were all represented. Of course, Canadians from nearly every province, also.
There is really something special about train travel and the people who take the time to enjoy the scenery.
We highly recommend it . . . .