Better nights sleep but alarm is for 6am. Coach sets off at 7 am to the Rocky Mountaineer (RM) station in Vancouver about 10 mins away. We congregate in the reception hall with the multitude of other travellers we are joining today. The start of the experience is initiated with a bagpiper followed by a collective ‘ALL ABOARD’ orchestrated by the VP of RM.
We climb aboard to our designated seats - very, very plush and comfortable with an incredible view as you are able to see all around you with virtually fully glazed side windows and roof. The train is sent off by all RM staff based at the station lined up waving ‘bon voyage’, around 40 of them. Given the length of the train it must have taken about 4 minutes to complete.
At first there is not a lot to see as we leave Vancouver and it’s provinces, but very soon it becomes clear that we are in for an abundance of breathtaking views. I have included a number of pictures to show the countryside we travel through and at this point will leave the majority of these to speak for themselves. Apologies for any reflections evident as most are taken through glass but will try to annotate any of interest.
We are in the gold service (the best of course!) which is a 2 tier carriage. The lower level is for eating, the upper for viewing. We have breakfast shortly after the start of the journey which is delicious. We join one of the Aussie couples from our tour and have a pleasant conversation whilst eating. Then back to the upper level after. I really do think that opening the bar to serve drinks at 10 am to be a little premature but some do partake - not us yet of course! Lunch follows at about 1pm and this time we join a mother & daughter, again from our tour, and really have a lively time with them both over the meal. Worth mentioning here that all meals are prepared fresh on the train in our gold leaf service. Again back to the upper level until we reach our overnight stopover at Kamloops (which means ‘meeting of the waters’ as two rivers do actually meet in the town). The temperature upon arrival at 5pm is 38c - phew! We make our way to our transfer coach.
RM have this operation down pat as we are given our hotel room passes on the train (so no booking in required) and our bags are already waiting for us inside our room. We are advised to check at the hotel our pick up time tomorrow - unbelievably this is 6.15 am. Surely this has to be the earliest we will need to be ready to leave on this trip - watch this space! Jen & I chill out for a short while before we prepare to go out in the town to listen to some live music in the towns park later.
The music event apparently is laid on by the city council every night for July and August every year and is free. Tonight it is very heavy, hard rock and is extremely well attended by all ages, from toddlers up to people in their eighties - I estimate in excess of 1,500. They are actually pretty good musicians but as this really isn’t our genre of music we leave after about 30 mins and stroll back to the hotel via the riverbank path.
We have just the one drink back at the hotel and then retire to prepare for the 5.30 alarm set for the morning.