When it comes to package holidays one option I never knew existed involved travelling by train through Western Canada. Looking at the different holidays for singles over 50, it sounded interesting enough to explore further and, as I discovered, it made for a perfect trip.
The train is the Rocky Mountaineer. It follows a couple of different routes but I took it from Jasper to Vancouver. I arrived in Jasper via Greyhound bus from Calgary. The train ride itself was amazing. I was not the only senior riding alone as for some reason this unique package holiday attracts a lot of global travellers from around the world seeking an unusual holiday.
I took this trip in May and was a bit surprised that because of the elevation, there was still snow in places and it was still rather chilly outside. There were many venues along the way where we saw a lot of wildlife. I guess that because the train route is different to the highways network there is different terrain to see and the train travels in places that vehicles can’t.
Lake Louise was a stunning sight with ice still forming a thin layer on the surface. I rode in the Gold Leaf Class which meant I had a glass-viewing dome. This was most definitely a huge bonus to me as you can see things that are not always clearly visible from the vantage point of the regular car windows. I got to see snow-covered peaks I would have missed otherwise.
Food service on board the train was nothing short of spectacular, as were the views throughout the trip. The dining room was a level below the seating and viewing area so you did not have to exit to another car in order to enjoy a meal or a snack during the ride. The stops along the way were well chosen. We got to see some amazing venues as well as quaint little communities.
A Personal Favourite…
One of my favourite stops was the Fairmont Hotel in Banff. This community is a bustling little tourist Mecca filled with funky little shops, surrounded by incredible skiing mountains and wildlife that casually wanders the main streets. I could not believe how close to nature I was until I saw a large caribou strolling across the street several feet away from where I was standing.
The trip through British Columbia followed historic railway routes. Our tour guides were extremely knowledgeable about the politics of the late 1800’s and the rush to get a national railway to the west coast in order to bring British Columbia into Canada. I found all of this fascinating and the details added some depth and perspective to the rail journey.
Although this holiday package deal to Canada was over in a matter of days, I have discovered a part of Western Canada I hope to explore further one day. The wildlife, scenic venues, incredible mountain lakes and historic towns that dot the route make this a special introduction to Canada’s rich railway history.
You really must consider riding a train through parts of British Columbia and Alberta. It is one of those experiences of a lifetime. If you are looking for a holiday for solo travellers over 50, the Rocky Mountaineer is a great pick!