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My friend Paulette took this photo of me in Toronto's Union Station, May, 2010, as I embarked on the second leg of my solo cross-Canada train trip. Don't I look like an adventurer in my Tilley hat and my Tilley clothes?
In 1967, when I lived with my family in White Rock, BC, my brother Clint joined the Royal Canadian Navy along with two of his friends. They were put on a train in Vancouver and sent to Halifax, Nova Scotia, while boys from the east coast were sent to Victoria, BC.
Mother and I thought the idea of a train trip across the country sounded great, so, off and on for the next 40 or 45 years we talked about it, always saying, "We must do that some day."
Of course, "some day" never came. What did come was a time when Mom no longer felt up to doing it, and then, in 2007, she died. Dad died in 2009. They had done pretty much everything they ever wanted to do, and, as a family, we had no regrets. I still had one dream, though: I wanted to make the trip Mom and I never got around to making.
By then, I had already travelled by train from Vancouver to the Rockies, and I was living here in southeastern Alberta, so instead of going back home to Vancouver to start my journey, I went up to Edmonton to take the train from there to Toronto, from Toronto to Montreal, from Montreal to the Gaspé Peninsula and back, then from Montreal to Moncton, New Brunswick.
First, I spent a few days visiting my friend Paulette at her home near Toronto, before she accompanied me to Union Station to wave me off and to mark the occasion with the above photo. (It was the profile picture on my blog for the next year.)
I highly recommend a trans-Canada train trip with Via Rail. It isn't cheap, and it isn't fast, but it is wonderful. This is old-time train travel, folks. The journey is part of the destination. I had a lower berth (very roomy and comfy) so my fare included three delicious meals a day in the beautiful dining car, where I could meet with, and eat with, my fellow travellers.
It was a veritable trans-Canada cruise!
If I needed help getting on and off the train, there was always a Via staff member to help me with my luggage or with my three-legged cane (I don't leave home without it). The phrase "give me a hand" doesn't need to be spoken, it just happens. The service is great.
|Between Toronto and Montreal.|
Yes, European trains are faster (some are a great deal faster), and quieter (because they're electric) but I so enjoy the clickety-clack of the train cars in Canada, the 360-degree beauty from the scenic Park cars, the conviviality of the lounge areas, the luxury of the elegant dining cars, and the gracious help of Via personnel.
Most of all, I love the soulful sound of the train whistle, which, rather than waking me up, lulls me to sleep instead. I'm glad there isn't a sign like this one (right) for the CP Rail freight trains coming through our town. If I'm not asleep yet, the whistle of the midnight train is like a lullaby.
Posted for ABC Wednesday, the meme started by Mrs. Nesbitt in the UK
and carried on by her talented team of photobloggers. Thanks, Mrs. N., and thanks, team!
To see how other bloggers made Use of the letter U, please click HERE!