My Rocky Mountaineer Adventure Part Two

Vancouver to Kamloops

I stayed the night in Vancouver at the Hampton Inn and Suites which would be classed as a Silver Leaf Hotel. It was a good location next to the BC Place Stadium, home of Vancouver Whitecaps FC. The Hotel Room was Spacious and had everything you need for a comfortable stay including a birds eye view of the Stadium.

Top Tip: Remember you have just come off a 9-and-a-half-hour flight and although it is 4pm Vancouver Time, they are 8 Hours ahead of us so it is midnight in real time for you. So even if you are tired, try stay up until at least 9pm to avoid that jet-lag.

I didn’t get to see much of Vancouver as we were guests of Rocky Mountaineer at a Reception at the Four Seasons Hotel but if you were doing this trip I would recommend a couple of nights, ideally three to make the most of this city. Here are some facts and information for you from Vancouver Tourism to help you decide.

About Vancouver

It is a City of Nature

It has Mild Coastal Weather

It is a Compact, Walkable City

Key Neighbourhoods

The West EndEnglish Bay & Beach

Granville IslandPublic Market, art & theatre

Chinatown – History, Chinese culture

Stanley ParkSeawall & Vancouver Aquarium

GastownHistory, Nightlife & Dining

North Vancouverto Capilano Suspension Bridge & Grouse Mountain

YaletownOld warehouse district, trendy

West Vancouverto Horseshoe Bay ferry, Squamish & Whistler

SIGHTSEEING

Vancouver Foodie Tours

Granville Island Market Tour

Food Truck Tour

Guilty Pleasures Gourmet Tour

Gastronomic Gastown Tour (NEW)

Hop-on, Hop-off Tours

Vancouver Trolley Company

WESTCOAST Sightseeing

Landsea Tours & Adventures

Guided sightseeing tours

Cycle City Tours

The Stanley Tour

The Grand Tour

Craft Brewery

Adventures on Water

Sewell’s Marina

Sea Vancouver

Whale Watching with Prince of Whales & Vancouver Whale Watch

Harbour Air

Floatplane tours & scheduled flights to Vancouver Island & Whistler

TOP ATTRACTIONS

Vancouver Lookout – 360-degree views of the city

Fly Over Canada – virtual flight-ride experience soaring from the East to the West coast

Capilano Suspension Bridge – Suspension Bridge, Cliff walk & Treetops Adventure

                                     Grouse Mountain – Breakfast with the Bears experience, year-round activities

Rockwood Adventures – eco-tourism, gourmet picnics & rainforest walks

                   Stanley Park –  Stanley Park is a 405-hectare public park that borders the downtown of Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and is almost entirely surrounded by waters of Vancouver Harbour and English Bay.

As you can see this City has a lot to offer visitors and it would be a shame not to make the most of your time here.

Rocky Mountaineer Day One

Well if you are doing this journey it’s to be hoped you were not too late to bed after sampling the delights of Vancouver Nightlife as the alarm call for the Rocky Mountaineer is early. You will leave your Hotel around 7am but don’t worry you don’t need to get breakfast as this will be provided on the train.

Top Tip: You may want to grab a coffee before you leave.

We arrived at the Rocky Mountaineer Station at 7.15am. The Train I was travelling on was a particular long train as it was one of the last journeys of the season. The Station was full of passengers eager to start their adventures. We were greeted as we entered and lots of staff were milling around with Drinks and Pastries. Music was playing and the atmosphere was great.  As it nears time to board a Scottish piper plays the bagpipes to pipe you aboard.

I was in Gold Leaf today. The Gold leaf carriages are double storey with the seating upstairs and the Restaurant, Restrooms and Outdoor Vestibule downstairs. The seats are spacious with plenty of leg room. Each seat is electronically controlled so you can adjust them to the right sitting position for you including a back support and heated seat function.

Top Tip: As your luggage is transported by Road by Rocky Mountaineer you will not have access to this on the train. There are no storage areas or overhead storage so just bring a small bag or back pack as it will need to be stowed at your feet. This should contain any essentials you need for the journey including any medication.

Once we had boarded and got seated the Train was soon underway, waved off by all the station staff at the track side, which I thought was a lovely touch. The Hosts were then introduced to us. In Gold leaf we had 3 Chefs looking after us and 3 Hosts who normally stay with you through the whole two day journey, as you would be staying in the same class whereas I was swapping to Silver leaf on day two.

They are soon coming down the train with the first lot of drinks and believe you me it is the first of many. PS: for those of you who enjoy a tipple the bar opens around 10.30/11am for alcohol so anything before that is a soft drink.

In Gold leaf you have a separate restaurant downstairs but this does not seat the whole carriage so Dining is split into two halves.

Top Tip: Make sure if you are travelling with other passengers you have advised Rocky Mountaineer of this in advance to make sure you are dining together.

The First sitting is called soon after drinks. If you are not in the first sitting you will have a few extra treats. Whilst the others are eating you will enjoy a Cinnamon Scone to stop you from feeling hungry and they are delicious. If you are travelling alone or as a couple, going downstairs to the restaurant is a great Social opportunity for you to chat to your fellow passengers ,as you are sat in tables of four.

When you do go down for Breakfast you have a great choice and they are quite happy to cater to any quirks you may have as each plate is cooked to order by the Michelin star chef.  At the recommendation of our host I had the Blueberry pancakes and they were delicious, with lashings of Canadian Maple syrup of course!

The Journey I am undertaking with Rocky Mountaineer is called:

Journey Through The Clouds.

As we leave Vancouver behind we follow the banks of the Fraser River, named after Simon Fraser, an explorer and fur trader, born 20 May 1776, who led an exploratory expedition in 1808 on behalf of the North West Company. Passing Pattullo Bridge we head into the Fraser valley region. This a mainly agricultural area with lush green fields and you will pass many homesteads along the route.

What amazed me is the number of people who live along the route that regularly turn out to wave to the train as it passes. The Staff know many of these people by name as do many of the regular passengers.

As you wind your way up into the coastal mountains there is something amazing to look at with every turn. Don’t forget to keep watching for those bears. You may also see bald eagles, long horned sheep and deer along the way so keep that camera at the ready.

 

Top Tip: On-board you will find a copy of the Mile Post at your seat, which will keep you informed along the route of points of interest with a little camera symbol for the not to be missed photo opportunities, so you can track where you are as you travel.

Don’t worry about missing anything though as your amazing hosts will keep you informed of points of interest with great stories and anecdotes as you go. They will suddenly stop what they are doing and pick up a microphone and tell you about a photo opportunity coming up and a story behind it so even if you know little about the history of Canada and its people you will certainly leave the train a lot wiser. The Train will slow down at some of the points of interest as well to let you get that all-important shot.

Don’t forget in Gold Leaf you have an a outside vestibule that you go stand on to get a clearer shot if you want to or if you just fancy some fresh air.

One of the points of interest on this first leg is Hells Gate with its steep Gorge sides and white-water rapids where 200 million gallons of water surge through the rock each minute.

I am not going to tell you about all the things to see as I want you to experience them for yourselves.

We follow the banks of the Thompson River a Tributary of the Fraser River which was named by Fraser River explorer, Simon Fraser, in honour of his friend, Columbia Basin explorer David Thompson and is home to several Salmon species.

As the first diners go to for the lunch we again got an extra treat!

Some lovely Cheese, Biscuit and  Fruit and a lovely Crisp white Chardonnay to go with it!

When it was time for Lunch the Menu was just as tantalizing as Breakfast and the food Superb!

Including these Delicious Chocolate Brownies.

As the train continues towards Kamloops the scenery changes from lush mountains which are thickly wooded to a more barren landscape as you travel into Canada’s Desert region.

Yes, you did hear right I did say Desert region. So, depending when you decide to take your trip the temperatures here can reach a scorching 40°C or higher in the summer months so be prepared.

Throughout the afternoon you will continue to be plied with drinks and snacks

Coming into Kamloops you pass the old Tranquille sanatorium which has long been abandoned and now offers Spooky Tours for Tourists. Many of the local residents of Kamloops believe it is still home to many of its ghostly patients. Originally a Tuberculosis Sanitarium built during a severe outbreak of TB, over the 41 years  it was open approximately 1600 people died there. Once a cure for the virus was discovered in the 1950’s, the sanitarium was transformed into a mental hospital.  The mental hospital consisted of 40 buildings and an extensive underground tunnel system that runs under the whole city of Pandova. The tunnels were used for transporting food, goods, and sometimes dead bodies so that they wouldn’t upset the patients. In 1984, the facility was shut down due to government budget cuts. Whether you believe in ghosts or not, this place is definitely creepy.

On arrival in Kamloops you will be greeted by the Mounty on his horse along with station staff to wave you in. You feel a bit like royalty.

Rocky Mountaineer will allocate your Kamloops Hotel a few weeks before you travel. None of the Hotels in Kamloops are first class but they are clean and comfortable. Rocky Mountaineer use a number of hotels like the Four Points by Sheraton, Doubletree by Hilton and Hotel 540. I stayed at the Coast Kamloops Hotel. The room was large and spacious with comfortable beds.

Kamloops is split into 2 halves, Downtown where most of the hotels are or uptown which is about 6km from the centre. You can get a taxi to Downtown where most of the restaurants etc are but there are a number of eateries in uptown as well so you may not want to bother going far after your long day.

So this is the end of Part Two.

If anyone has any specific questions about Rocky Mountaineer or the Post Train Tour please feel free to ask.

You can email me at alanam@cruise.co.uk or post a comment.

Part Three will take me from Kamloops to Jasper. So tune in for the next exciting episode…

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