You know something exciting is happening when you have to set your alarm on holiday for 06:15! Today was one of those days. We were boarding the famous Rocky Mountaineer- a wonderful train journey that would take us all the way from Jasper to Vancouver, through the Rocky Mountains. We were travelling in Silver Leaf- however some of our group had upgraded to Gold Leaf. The difference was that in Gold Leaf you had a double decker observation car and lunch sittings in the dining car. In silver we had a glass roof and meals brought to our seat.
On arrival at Jasper station there was an abundance of red carpets and we all got a royal welcome! Excitement levels were through the roof and it was only 07:45!
We were welcomed on board enthusiastically by our hosts, Shay, Courtney and Mieka. As the train rolled out of the station, we all toasted a wonderful journey ahead and the staff on the station waved flags as we departed! It was really special!
It wasn’t long before the scenery became dramatic, and we were told to keep our eyes peeled for bears. Some on our train spotted one very soon but we were on the wrong side!
Breakfast, and mid morning snacks were served as we rolled through the Rockys. It was fabulous. The Clouds were in wonderfully dramatic formations, and we couldn’t stop staring at the views and looking out for bears!
Soon it was lunch time; we opted for the Lamb curry which was delicious washed down with some local red wine.
The rest of the day was spent admiring the dramatic scenery, listening to the wonderful and highly entertaining commentary from our host team and basically being treated like royalty!
Around 5pm, we rolled into Kamloops for our overnight stay. This section was completely under the organisation of The Rocky Moountaineer team, rather than GRJ and as such those in Gold Leaf went to a different hotel to us. I’ve never seen anything so meticulously organised- each train coach had its own motor coach lined up on the station, in order, all our luggage was already in our rooms- it was amazing!
Our evening in Kamloops consisted of more food and drink of course. Not because we were hungry, we just can’t help wanting to try all the local food and drink. We are noticing that each place we visit has a whole load of local lagers and ales to try, and even some gin.
There was a free concert in the park so we wandered down for a while to listen before having some beers and food in The Noble Pig. I had the Texas Poutine which had pulled pork on top of a pile of chips and cheese (healthy eh?!) and Keith had a local chorizo pizza, both of which were absolutely fabulous.
An early night followed as it was another 06:00 alarm!
Day two aboard The Rocky Mountaineer! By 07:30 we were back on board and toasting our imminent departure from Kamloops.
They hadn’t even served breakfast before our first Bald Eagle sighting, and for the next three hours, we saw dozens of them!
In nests and soaring above- they were absolutely incredible to watch! Majestic and glorious – we couldn’t believe our eyes. We also saw a number of Ospreys and Big Horn Sheep. And then- we got our Bear sighting! I literally was jumping up and down in delight! We saw a mother and her cub and it was just wonderful!
The scenery today was even more dramatic as we followed the Thomson and then Fraser river. We wound our way through the desert and then the rainforest and we couldn’t believe that the change in environment and landscape that we were witnessing in a relatively short distance.
Lunch was braised short ribs which melted in our mouth. The food and hospitality was incredible- goodness knows what was happening in Gold Leaf as Silver was spectacular!
Around 5pm we rolled into Vancouver. We were sad to be saying bye to the team on board, they had made the trip incredible. It had felt like a once in a lifetime journey and I’d recommend it in a heart beat.
Our evening was spent at leisure in Vancouver which I’ll cover on the next instalment.
Until next time