The Great Trans-Canada Rail Odyssey - 2016


Saturday 10th September, 2016
Sunday 11th September, 2016 (part one)
Sunday 11th September, 2016 (part two)
Monday 12th September, 2016

Saturday 10th September, 2016

Drop Cap ff we go again.

DJ picked us up on time and whisked the three of us down to Rydges at the Airport. Cadfael was ensconced with his minders and it was a lovely spring day.

Drop Cap e indulged in a rather decadent dinner, Geoff had chicken liver pate and a huge pizza he couldn't finish, while Mac and I shared a little hot damper, I had roast chicken and Mac had lamb schnitzel.

Back to Top Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Sunday 11th September, 2016 (part one)

Drop Cap fter a reasonable night we organised ourselves and luggage across to the airport and had no problems with the self check-in. Geoff's blood sugar dropped dramatically and unexpectedly until we gave him a large breakfast (French toast) and then we got through customs and security (just the usual hassle caused by my knee) and on to the boarding gate in good time.

Drop Cap he flight was long and somewhat tedious, as usual. We did not get exit row seats as ordered (and paid extra for) but did have bulkhead seats, lots of leg room and no seats in front. Tray tables and TV screens came out of the (fixed) arms, the food was quite OK and the crew and service was friendly.

Sunday 11th September, 2016 (part two)

Fairmont Vancouver Hotel photograph

Fairmont Vancouver Hotel

Drop Cap e arrived in Vancouver at about 0745, to a fine early autumn day and found a shuttle car to which we gave our voucher - no problems - and he took us to the impressive Fairmont Vancouver Hotel, looming like a castle over Downtown (as they call the CBD). To our great appreciation we were able to access our room straight away, so we dumped the bags, had coffee from an impressive looking coffee maker with pods and Geoff had a shower.

Fairmont Hotel Room photograph

Our Room at the Fairmont Vancouver Hotel

Drop Cap hen we walked out to find somewhere to buy simcards for the phones and I-pad. This proved more difficult than anticipated, so we only got sims for one phone and the i-pad. After which we had lunch, did a little shopping and came back to crash. After having a nap we called Jackie Lamb and arranged to meet for lunch tomorrow.


Drop Cap e walked out to find dinner which we had in a very nice Italian place called Bellagio, just around the corner from the Fairmont, where Mac and I shared a 12 inch pizza, lovely and crisp and flavoursome, and a mixed salad side. Geoff had a pizza to himself (too much, though) and we all had Strongbow cider. It was very nice and we enjoyed it. Had a short stroll afterwards and then returned to crash (again!) It was a good start to the trip.

Back to Top Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Monday 12th September, 2016

Drop Cap e slept late this morning, not stirring until 0800. So with scant washing we set off round the block to a French style patisserie called Faubourg, for breakfast. We had coffee with pastries (croissant style) and Geoff had OJ as well, and it cost about one third of what the same meal would have cost back at the Fairmont.

Drop Cap e moved on to a large IGA (!) convenience store where we bought some snack bars for Geoff, some cough mixture and Listerine, brought it back by way of a drugstore where Geoff got some strong painkillers for his chest which is feeling the strain of his cough.

Canada Place photograph

Canada Place Vancouver

Drop Cap hen we headed off for the train station for the Skytrain to Waterfront. We bought day pass tickets from a machine and headed for the fully automated train (no driver) to the Waterfront. Waterfront Station is the former main rail station of Canadian National Rail but now only serves the Skytrain and the West Coast Express, which seems to be a commuter train for the suburbs. It is a very impressive building with Corinthian columns and vast space inside.

Canada Place photograph

Mac and Geoff in Canada Place

Drop Cap e had a drink and a snack for Geoff in a very pleasant square overlooking the harbour and beside Canada Place, the impressive centre which was built for the Expo many years ago. We saw it last time in Canada, nearly twenty years ago. It is built like a sailing vessel with sails and contains various tourist and retail outlets. The harbour was quite busy, with lots of boats of all kinds, and many floatplanes and helicopters buzzing about. There seemed to be a float plane depot fairly close as we saw many of them coming in and going out.

Drop Cap t was a pleasant, sunny interlude, before we caught the Seabus ferry across the Burrard Inlet to Lonsdale Quay, where we soon met Jackie Lamb. She had left her daughter, Janice, with Barry, now in a wheelchair upstairs in a pleasant restaurant and so we joined them. It was lovely to see Jackie, who was so enthusiastic about meeting us again, hugging us both. It was a little more difficult with Barry, who is extremely hard of hearing now and there doesn't seem to be anything that can be done about it either, making communication rather difficult.

Lambs and Macs  photograph

Lambs and Macs at Lonsdale Quay

Drop Cap ut it was a great afternoon, and Janice said she had enjoyed putting faces and voices to the names she had heard so much of. Jackie told me she really enjoyed my Christmas letters over the years, so that's nice to know. I get very little feedback on my letters and I sometimes wonder if people think I am having myself on , thinking they would be interested in our doings.

Drop Cap nyway, after lunch we took some photos and dispersed. Lonsdale Quay is a marketplace, selling everything from souvenirs to seafood, and is fun to stroll around. We crossed by the Seabus again, and went to ride the Skytrain out into the suburbs for a while, then came back to the Watefront.

Gastown Vancouver photograph

Gastown Vancouver

Drop Cap e strolled down to Gastown, the oldest section of Vancouver, an historic slum, similar to Kings Cross,cobbled and lined with pubs, cafes and souvenir shops. I bought a couple of postcards and a badge then we moved on to hear the steam clock strike the half hour (in a manner of speaking) and wandered down to the statue of Gassy Jack Deighton, founder of the area, then wandered back to the more populated (and salubrious) area for dinner at a bar called the Flying Pig. It was OK.

Steam Clock Gastown photograph

Steam Clock Gastown Vancouver

Flying Pig, Gastown photograph

Flying Pig

Drop Cap ruly, though, I have never seen so many beggars and street dwellers before as I have seen here - I suppose I never really frequent places like this at home - but with desperate buskers, bag ladies, bundles of rags containing people, and in one area of Gastown a large lot with tents for the homeless, it was very depressing. I was really glad to get out of there in the end.

Drop Cap wrote a postcard for Warwick's birthday and one for Deanna at Helloworld then went down to the Concierge to ask where we could get stamps and she directed us to Reception, where the young man took charge of them and said he would post them. I paid for the stamps, so I hope he does.

I have walked eight kilometres today all up, so that helps offset all the bready foods, I hope. Back to the room to pack our bags for crack of dawn tomorrow. Pick up at 0640!


Drop Cap hile having dinner in the Flying Pig we heard lots of sirens, and next thing we knew was at least six fire appliances pulling up outside. Didn't seem like the kitchen was on fire - never heard if anything was!

Back to Top Blue up arrow

Back to Contents Yellow up arrow

Forward to Next Green right arrow