Monday, November 22, 2010

I'd do this again, anytime!

The most fulfilling adventure Stargazing embarked on was in the winter of 2002 when she took the train from Toronto to Vancouver, solo. The circumstances were so that this trip was a compromise to keep her from taking an even bigger adventure with her dad to Croatia and to sate her need for excitement before moving back to Victoria and settling back into her same old routine.

To start off Stargazing, mom and dad drove to Toronto and stayed overnight at one of their most stylish and wonderfully welcoming friends' townhouse. It was walking distance to a great Greek restaurant where they dinned, drank wine, exchanged stories, laughed and stumbled back home.

Stargazing booked an upper berth on the train which included breakfast, dinner and a turndown service every night.  The first thing she realized when she got to her seat was there was no place to stash her guitar during the trip. She didn't want to have to lug it everywhere with her and was especially worried because she only had a soft case for it. The car attendant was a very sweet older gentleman and he took a liking to Stargazing. He waited until their car was empty, slyly stashed the case in the pillow compartment across from her berth and told her it would be their little secret. She had also mentioned that she would be very grateful for an extra pillow when he made up her bed and was surprised with 6 on her return from dinner her first night. That gesture was the icing on the cake and made her so happy. She read her books, listened to her portable CD player and was especially cozy in her little nest. She was rocked to sleep by the rhythmical swaying of the train... She was in heaven.

By day the berths are stowed away for regular seating. Stargazing spent most of her time reading and listening to her CD player in her seat but also explored the various cars and caboose. The caboose had a great view from above where you can see the train ahead and take great photos - there was a picture of this somewhere but it has been misplaced.  Breakfast and dinner were served in two seatings, early and late. Although she brought a book, it felt rude reading when you're seated with other people - limited seating, no one gets their own table.  Stargazing made friends with a few older couples who were interested in why such a young lady was travelling alone, what she would do once she arrived in Victoria, who was special in her life and so on. Stargazing got to hear some wonderful stories about all sorts of interesting adventures, grandchildren, pets, experiences and so on. She was truly content in their little moving world on the train. 

Your body gets so used to the swaying of the train that coming to a stop takes a little getting used to. Do they call it rail-legs, like sea-legs?

From the train station in Vancouver she boarded a Greyhound to Victoria via the ferry. Another 3 hour marvellous trip, quite beautiful.  If you're lucky you can spot dolphins jumping in the wake of the boat. Stargazing chose a bench on the top deck and enjoyed the sun and fresh air, reading but mostly people watching. 

Canada is a beautiful country and seeing it woosh by on the train is a wonderful experience. The different terrains, landscapes and weather from province to province, whistle stop to large train station, made for an unforgettable adventure.


  1. why didn't you beg me to come with you?

  2. Had a pizza slice on the train, ate a piece of the cardboard plate. Bar car ran out of my brand then my second and third choice. Still the trip was a hoot, and ten times better than the bus. But driving out in Kevin the Flask Tour Bus was the best way to travel. Make money as you go, stay in nice pubs or sleep on the bus.