Day 4 on The Canadian: the final leg

Despite being six hours behind arriving into Jasper on Tuesday, the drivers had made up lost time and we were only going to be three hours late into Vancouver, arriving about 12:30pm.

I’d woken up early again. I had slept ok. I’d been setup on a lower berth this time (three beds in as many days) and can say that the lower berths are slightly longer than the upper (good to know if you’re 6-foot-1).

I got up and ate breakfast. It was early so there weren’t many people in the dining car. I caused a fuss by asking for poached eggs for the “eggs any style” breakfast. To the chef’s credit, they were really well cooked. I met a new person at breakfast, Paul from Sydney, who is on a two-month holiday in North America before relocating to London. Nice guy. Easy to talk to.

After breakfast, I sat in the dome car for the next four hours, watching the stunning mountain scenery. We went past rivers and over bridges. It was all so beautiful that it hurt to look at.

Getting closer to Vancouver it gets less attractive as you start returning to civilisation. The moments when we’ve gone through towns have been the ones I’ve liked the least, because it feels like any other train ride through suburbia. Thankfully, there haven’t been too many of them.

I also talked to Sheena, a New Zealand girl I’d met the day before. Her and her friend had been on the train since Toronto but we only really met on Tuesday. She’s loads of fun and we had great chats.

Saying goodbye to people I’d met on the train was a lot harder than I thought. It’s amazing how quickly connections can form. Donna, the woman who shared my bunk area, came up and said how nice it was to visit with me and she seemed so genuine. It was nice to have her to talk to along the way and get a Canadian’s perspective on the journey (she’s taken the train many times. One other woman has done it 25 times since 1997.)

As I wrote in the previous post, I would do the cross-country train journey again. Now that I know what’s involved, I’m a bit more prepared. It’s well worth it for seeing the stark changes in landscape. The food is great. The sleeping arrangements are more than adequate. If you like meeting lots of people, then it’s ideal. Even I found it nice (though was always a bit wary of using the male pronoun when discussing my partner). Staff sometimes left a little to be desired but there were some great people working on board, and you don’t have to spend a lot of time with them. So, if you get the opportunity and you don’t mind being on a train for four days, I say give it a go.

Welcome to VancouverOnce we got into Vancouver, I jumped off the train with my luggage in tow and walked around the water’s edge to get to Mark and Liz’s place, which was a very handy 20 minute walk.

It was about 12 degrees in Vancouver when I arrived, a welcome change to -12. Liz and I chatted while their daughter Emmie had her afternoon nap. Eventually it was time to wake up and they left to run errands and go to the park. I did some work and had every intention of going out for a walk but one look at the bed and I was ready to crawl in.

I slept for two hours and woke after everyone got home. I felt a bit groggy for a while (I should have slept for either shorter or longer). After Emmie went to bed, Liz went to her neighbours for a girl’s chat, and Mark and I ate dinner, chatted or worked on our laptops. I’m supposed to be on holiday (“Aren’t you always on holiday, Daniel?”) but there seems to be a lot to do. I’m hoping to clear a lot away before Glen arrives on Saturday. Can’t wait until he gets here.

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