Friday July 15, 2016

No exaggeration: the past two days were a blast! Following an early-Wednesday transfer to the Banff rail station, we settled into our near-new Silver-Leaf Service carriage aboard the luxury Rocky Mountaineer train for a scenic rail adventure that took us almost 1000kms … up-up-up into the spectacular Canadian Rockies, then all the way to the west coast of Canada and Alaska.

In between being fed, watered and waited on hand-&-foot, we kept eyes and cameras at the ready for vast award-winning views of high mountain passes, rocky lakeshores, interior ranch-lands, and hold-your-breath tunnels. The food was delicious, and the highlights were numerous: the Continental Divide, the Spiral Tunnels, the Kicking Horse Canyon, Rogers Pass and Craigellachie – where the last spike of the Canadian Pacific Railway was driven home.

A warm bed in a cosy hotel was awaiting us in the midway town of Kamloops. Then, next morning, our Rocky Mountaineer excursion continued its westerly direction – towards the Pacific Ocean and the coastal city of Vancouver. The views through our big picture-windows and overhead glass-domes kept changing – from the desert-like environment of the interior, through winding river canyons and pristine forests, to the coast and Cascade Mountains and the lush green fields of the Fraser River Valley.

Day #2 highlights included steep slopes and avalanche sheds along the Thompson River, the rushing waters of Hell’s Gate in the Fraser Canyon and, finally, Vancouver, where our great rail-romp came to an end.

The Rocky Mountaineer experience …? An enthusiastic ‘thumbs-up’ from all 33 of us!

STILL TO COME: Cosmopolitan Vancouver is one of the world’s most beautiful cities – and we’ve got 60 hours to explore its nooks and crannies. Don’t go far …

PEOPLE-NEWS: Three more hotly-sought-after duckies have found new homes …

  • Wendy received our ‘Duh No.1’ Award – for having a senior moment, and losing track of her trains. At one point she was heard to observe, “Hey, there’s a train way up ahead that’s stopped …” Then, a few seconds later, “Oh, we’ve stopped, too. I wonder why?” Someone else had to point out that the ‘train-up-ahead’ was actually the front end of our train. Duh …
  • Ross earned himself our ‘Duh No.2’ Award – for having a senior moment, and misreading the name-tag worn by our Iranian chef on the train. It gave her name, ‘Shi’rin – from Culinary’ … but Ross thought it said, ‘Shi’rin – from Calgary’, and wanted to know why she lived so far away from Vancouver. Duh …
  • Beth scored our ‘Duh No.3’ Award – for having a senior-moment and being geographically impaired. Towards the end of our second day on the rails, Beth enquired (loudly and in all seriousness), “Are we in Brisbane yet?”  Duh …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

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About John Cooney

John Cooney and his wife Robyn have enjoyed more than their fair share of travel. They hesitate to call themselves ‘experts’ – but they’ve grabbed every chance that’s come their way to explore new countries, cultures and customs. They’ve had the privilege (both on their own and as the leaders of numerous successful group-tours) to sample many stunning destinations: Europe, the UK, Singapore, Vanuatu, the USA, Israel, Egypt, Africa, Dubai, China, Laos, Cambodia and Vietnam. And their recent (and most pleasant) memories are of the places ancient-and-modern that border the Mediterranean. John and Robyn are at-home in airports, hotels, cruise ships, and the like … and they know how to make the most of a unique travel opportunity. Travel, they reckon, is an all-five-senses experience – a chance to see, feel, smell, hear and taste the world. And they’ve done it often enough to know for sure: sightseeing with a group of laid-back Kiwis is DOUBLE the fun – lots of laughs, great company, and memories that last forever!


  1. WOW … Coons what spectacular scenes. Reminds me of some of the scenery you get on
    the train trip from Wellington to Auckland. Such a relaxing and fun way of travel aye.
    Missing you both. xx

  2. Message for Frankie. Photos on blog look great. You will love Vancouver and the gardens.make sure you go on virtual ride of Canada. Found next to cruise terminal, well worth it. Take car xx. Lynn

  3. Happy you are keeping up with the training John even while you are away. You will be so fit that biking around Northland will be a breeze. Enjoying the blog and revisiting all the marvels and grandness of the rockies.

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