Wednesday Sept 4, 2019

Believe it or not, we’re on a train right now … a famous luxury scenic train … and we’ve begun a rail journey that’ll take us 1000kms, up-up-up into the spectacular Canadian Rockies, then all the way to the west coast of Canada and Alaska. But, sorry, that’s all I’m gonna say. I’ll tell you more in my next post. Because we’ve already been busy here in North America, and I need to catch up.

We departed Auckland aboard an Air New Zealand jet two days ago (or was it three? I’ve already lost track) – arriving 13 hours later in Vancouver (British Columbia), where, a couple of hours later, we added a 1½-hr Air Canada flight to Calgary (Alberta). We were flying BACKWARDS, of course, through the time zones, and eventually touched down at 7:36pm Saturday … 40 MINUTES BEFORE WE LEFT AUCKLAND! (Go figure!)

After those long hours in the air, by the time we got to the elegant Fairmont Palliser Hotel our Mad Midlifers weren’t up for much – so we grabbed some dinner at the in-house restaurant and grabbed some shut-eye in our nearby beds. Aahh … yes!


Calgary, once a sleepy little Wild West outpost, has become one of Canada’s fastest growing cities – tempting visitors (each July) with its legendary Calgary Stampede: “the most fun you can have with yer boots on!” We had missed that fun, of course, and were too late to see any outlaws shootin’ up the sheriff in a sleazy saloon. So we packed bags and bodies into a coach (driven by the super-friendly Alex) and left Calgary on the Trans-Canada Highway – heading, past thumping great mountains and fast-flowing rivers, for Jasper National Park

When we reached the charming resort town of Banff, we rode a gondola for some breathtaking panoramic views before checking in to our hotel – then awoke next morning ready to have our socks knocked off all over again. First stop was the gorgeous world-famous Lake Louise – ‘Jewel of the Rockies’ – where we oohed and aahed and isn’t-it-beautifulled. Following which we drove further north via one of the most spectacular mountain routes in North America – alongside towering peaks, tranquil lakes and cascading waterfalls – to the Columbia Icefield, spread over 325 square kilometres and one of the largest accumulations of rock-solid ice south of the Arctic. Here we stepped uut onto a stunning glass-bottomed skywalk, jutting into mid-air over a yawning canyon … then we boarded an oversized Ice Explorer ‘bus’ for a guided drive onto the surface of the Athabasca Glacier: a true Ice Age adventure!

Oh boy! Talk about an unforgettable introduction to this remarkable region. And it’s only gonna get better from this point on …

COMING UP: We’re on the fabulous Rocky Mountaineer scenic train, ogling vast ranchlands, rocky lakeshores, high mountain passes, Kicking Horse Canyons, and hold-your-breath tunnels. So don’t go away …

Yours bloggedly – JOHN

P.S. If you want to receive future Mad Midlife Travel Blogs in your INBOX, just sign-up (top-right) for your free Email Subscription! And if you’d like to leave a message for someone in our group, just click on the little speech bubble at the top of this entry, and add your comments! (Make sure you say who it’s for and who it’s from – and keep it brie

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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. Hi Coons.
    Mind exploding stunning pix guys. Can see why you rave about the region. Wish we were there.
    Loved that pic of you Robbie too. Gorgeous.
    Think you should do a canvas of that one.
    Thanks for keeping us posted. Love traveling with you via your blogs.
    Warm hugz the Kerks

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