Rocky Mountaineer Day 1: First Passage To The West Snapshots
Looking for train journey inspiration? Look no further!
Lately, I’ve been feeling a great need to unplug. I was speaking with a friend a few months ago about how I needed to take a real vacation, one that lets me unplug from my phone, laptop, social media, and surroundings. He responded by saying the vacation I described sounded a bit like rehab haha! I have been thinking about trips where I could go and disconnect from the world and when an opportunity came up to take the Rocky Mountaineer train from Vancouver to Banff and I couldn’t say resist. I love trains. It’s definitely one of my favourite ways to travel. I love being able to sit and enjoy the views as a passenger and not have to man the wheel.
TRIP PLANNING STARTS HERE
- What To Expect On Day 2 of A Rocky Mountaineer train ride
- 30 Photos of My Rocky Mountaineer Journey
- A 48 Hour Guide to Banff
- A 48 Hours In Calgary
- What To Pack For Banff
- Arnette’s favourite gear and gadgets for travel and daily life
- For more travel tips and other destination guides
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HELPFUL GENERAL TRAVEL TIPS
- Flights: Find a cheap flight using Skyscanner or Momondo. I like these two booking sites because they both search all websites and airlines around the globe including budget airlines.
- Accommodations: I use Booking.com or Tripadvisor to find the best rates on hotels. Hotels.com offers a free night after booking 10 nights
- Get up to $40 off your first Air Bnb stay by using this code!
- Travel Insurance: Having gotten sick on my travels in the past, I never travel without being insured. You never know when something may happen. For my round the world trip and extended long-term travel, I use World Nomads. For other trips, I have used Roam Right and they cover activities like extreme sports.
My train trip was scheduled for mid-July (2015) and I was able to experience Rocky Mountaineer’s Goldleaf Service. Let me tell you…it was something else! The attentiveness of the staff, the food, and the scenery made it a trip of a lifetime. The best way to share my experience with you is with photos. I took a couple of thousand photos from…no joke! The Rocky Mountaineer is one of the best ways to enjoy the Canadian landscape at its best. If I could do it again or try out some of the other routes, I would in a heartbeat.
Now for some Rocky Mountaineer photo inspiration!
My Fairmont suite
I officially started my trip with a fantastic 2-night stay at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. Even though the hotel has been around for a very long time, many of the floors are going through renovation. My suite was new and it was one of the largest hotel rooms I have stayed in ages. I also had a delicious cocktail at Notch 8 which is the restaurant/cocktail bar downstairs. If you’re looking for a good base in Vancouver, this is it. The Fairmont Hotel Vancouver is walking distance to many of Vancouver’s attractions, shopping, and food.
The morning of our departure, we were asked to meet in the lobby of the hotel. We picked up our tickets at 6:30 am and then we were picked up by a bus which took us to the Rocky Mountaineer train station. For Goldleaf service, bags are to be left in our hotel rooms. Rocky Mountaineer would handle our bags and they would magically appear in our room at the next stop. LOVE!
Everyone in the lobby was buzzing with excitement. After getting organized and loaded on the buses, headed to the station which is about 10 minutes away. It was even more alive than our hotel lobby!!
At the station
At the station, we heard a few announcements. There were tons of Rocky Mountaineer staff and a bagpiper playing to send us off. We loaded onto the trains and got ready for the journey to Kamloops. With the route I was taking, we started in Vancouver and left for Kamloops. We would then stop for a night and then continue on to Banff the next day. I was really excited to see the landscape and be able to take photos and video since I wasn’t driving!
After our sweet send-off at the Rocky Mountaineer station, we were on our way! In our train cars, we started off with an introduction to the staff that would be with us for our two days on the train, we said hello to our neighbours, and then we settled into our seats and made a toast.
Loved passing by other trains and going over trestles – the Cisco Bridge
Taken from the comfort of my seat
As we went along the tracks, I seemed to forget about being connected to Wi-Fi and not having any data. I started talking to my neighbours and the friendly and genuine staff. Either I looked out at the beautiful scenery from the comfort of my seat or going outside to the vestibule to get a better look and breath the fresh air. Before the ride, I was a bit worried about feeling claustrophobic. But don’t worry because the trains are so spacious and when you need fresh air you can go outside.
I loved seeing different landscapes. I forgot there are desert-like conditions in BC
Now for the food! Our train was split into two groups for dining. While one group went to eat the other was served snacks and drinks. You do not go hungry in Goldleaf Service on the Rocky Mountaineer!
Because I was travelling solo, I joined other travellers and got to know my neighbours. Travellers came from far and wide but there were many Aussies in my carriage because they were part of a tour group. The food was like no other train food I’ve eaten. It’s definitely not like going to the train cafeteria on a train and grabbing a bag of chips. In Goldleaf Service, drinks are included. The wines they served were from BC and the liquor was top shelf!
Here are some of the meals that I ate on the train
Breakfast on the train – definitely not an average affair
Lunches were multi courses with a salad/starter, main, and dessert! Indulged so much!
The food was so delicious
I had imagined the day to drag on but the scenery and conversation with other travellers made it go by so quickly. We passed through towns and landmarks. The staff would give us a heads up when a great photo opportunity was going to come up. Next thing I knew we were making our way towards Kamloops, where we would stop for the night.
Getting into Kamloops
We arrived in Kamloops around 6 pm and were taken to our respective hotels by bus. When I arrived at Hotel 540, my bag was already in my room and there was a little note on the bed welcoming me to Kamloops. The hotel was central and walking distance to several restaurants and eateries.
It sounds silly but I was exhausted from the train ride. I know that I was sitting on a train but the day was long and my mind was reeling with images of BC landscapes. Even though I wasn’t too hungry I stopped into the Noble Pig. It was a few doors down from my hotel, for a quick beer and salad. After I ate I went back to my hotel room to get ready for another early morning.
A Kamloops welcome, craft beer at the Noble Pig, my room at Hotel 540
And that was what Day 1 was like on my Rocky Mountaineer First Passage To the West trip!
**Disclaimer: Many thanks to the Rocky Mountaineer as well as the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver and the Hotel 540 in Kamloops. As always, opinions stated on my blog are my own.**