I'm not sure who was more excited about this trip: my husband, my kids or myself. Seeing the Rocky Mountains by train has been a dream of Jay’s since he was about the same age as our three boys who, at six and seven years old, are outgrowing Thomas but not their love of locomotives. So, you can see why we were thrilled when the Rocky Mountaineer company invited us to experience their three-day trip from Vancouver to Banff, Alta., with a stopover in Kamloops, BC. (We didn’t need to twist Milla’s arm, either.)
I was desperately hoping to see a bear or a moose along the way, but alas, no such luck. Though we did witness an elk casually strolling down Banff Avenue, which isn’t bad as far as consolation prizes go!
A version of this article appeared in our April 2013 issue with the headline "Rocky mountaineer," p. 22.
The kids loved Mavis and Beau, the “canine ambassadors” at the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver, and we all enjoyed the rooftop pool. Also, don’t miss the aquarium in Stanley Park.Photo courtesy of Karine Ewart.
There’s a ton to see in Kamloops, but we went directly to the historical village of Tranquille on the Lake, just 15 minutes away. Once the site of both a prison and a tuberculosis sanatorium, new developers have restored many of the buildings and are turning the area into an eco-community.Photo courtesy of Karine Ewart.
We hiked from our Hidden Ridge Resort condo at one end of town to the majestic Fairmont Banff Springs Hotel at the other (and hit every chocolate store in between). Most memorable moment: the gondola ride up Sulphur Mountain in the dark.Photo courtesy of Brewster Travel Canada.
Set your alarm!
The days started early (6:45 a.m. to catch our bus to the train), but once we were settled, we simply sat back and enjoyed the scenery, read and played cards until it was time to disembark and check into the hotel for the evening.
Adam, our car’s hilarious guide, would turn on the microphone to explain historical details about the railway, announce meals or point out interesting geographical facts.
Breakfast and lunch are freshly prepared with local ingredients by the on-train chef. All of our meals were spectacular — eggs Benedict with west coast Atlantic salmon; heck, even the fresh, warm breadbasket was delish. And my kids couldn’t get enough of the butternut squash soup — which was shocking, since they don’t usually like soup at all.
To bring binoculaurs, as well as books, tablets, MP3 players, games and other entertainment.
-The Canadian Pacific Railway was originally built in part to unify our country and act as a physical border between Canada and the US.
-The highest mountain in the Canadian Rockies is Mount Fairweather at 15,325 feet.
$$-Once in a lifetime
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