On the Road, Taking Notes.
I carry a notebook when I travel. It’s 4×8-inches, but it opens the long way so it slips easily into my back pocket. I take it with me everywhere when I’m on the road.
When I see something strange or curious or interesting, I jot it down for possible future use as an item in one of my blog columns.
Here are a few items scribbled in one of those notebooks, picked at random from a stack of nineteen. They were made several years ago on VIA Rail’s westbound Train #1, The Canadian, en route from Toronto to Vancouver. I believe I have made that trip nine times.
I love the Royal York [in Toronto] —one of my two or three favorite hotels. Old, but still classy. Room rates on the pricey side—exchange rate helps—but a glass of wine in the lounge is $18 (Canadian).
No clock in my room. Maid says previous guest must have swiped it.
Big convenience: hotel is directly across the street from the RR station.
TIP: Check in early for Train #1 because choice of seating times in dining car for the entire trip are given out on first come/first serve basis.
Breakfast served from 6:30-8:30 in dining car. At 6:45 on Day 2, (only three people being served. Went to Park Car (last car on the train, reserved for sleeping car passengers) and found juice, coffee, muffins all laid out … No one there! Train is full of sack rats!
Attendant in Park Car, Karine, is terrific. And a knockout!
Complaint: Provincial regulation: no alcohol served before 10 a.m. There goes my Bloody Mary!
Of the 24 seats in the Park car dome, 16 are reserved for Prestige Class passengers; 8 (last two rows) for “ordinary” sleeping car pax.
Heavy freight traffic. Haven’t reached Winnipeg yet and already about five hours behind schedule. Some pax grumbling. Me? It’s five hours of free train travel.
My impressions in 2017 were not so good. I checked in at Toronto Union station before 8.30pm to be told the train would be leaving at 8am (10 hours late), was given a voucher for the Royal hotel and was allocated a room at 11pm but told to be back in foyer at 6.30am for transfer to train. Breakfast room in hotel not open. I had a late breakfast (brunch?) about 9am, not interested in alcohol at that time of the morning., at first sitting on train then told there would be no more meals until dinner. Next day into Winnipeg about 8 hours late so informed the 4 hours stop would be only 1 hour, took a quick walk through city. The following day nearly 7 hours late into Jasper where I stayed 3 nights before taking train to Prince Rupert. So was not impressed as I really had less time on the train, no time to enjoy the Royal hotel and disappointed that I did not see much of Winnipeg.
I did enjoy the ‘Skeena” but that also arrived several hours late, about midnight.
Ouch. As noted, the problem is freight traffic and dispatchers at CN who do not give a damn about you!
YOUR OMISSIONS: Definitely more information on Karine C is needed; full last name of course, phone number, direct email address, and that list of her favorite cocktails and Toronto restaurants. I’m sure you’ll include relevant photos.
I think not. My Mom didn’t raise any stupid kids!