With many routes to choose from, we decided on the two-day, First Passage to the West journey and travelled in style via the Gold Leaf service.
The journey took us from Vancouver with an overnight stop in Kamloops, before coming to an end in Banff.
Embarking the Rocky Mountaineer in Vancouver to the sound of bagpipes, we made the red carpet walk up to our two levelled, glass domed coach with full-length windows. From here we had the best seats for taking in the ever changing scenery.
Whilst the Rocky Mountaineer is the only passenger train which runs on this historic route, we did pass a few commercial trains, trains which can have up to 200 carriages! We recorded one passing us and it took over a minute to go past.
Throughout the day our hosts narrated the entire journey with stories about the landscapes we passed and Canadian history.
All the while ensuring we never went hungry or thirsty by keeping us topped up with complimentary drinks and snacks throughout the two days.
As well as listening to our hosts narrate, I kept up to speed with our journey and history of the land we passed by reading the Mile Post.
Always pondering the next beverage!
Gourmet breakfast and lunches served in the exclusive dining room for the Gold Leaf passengers.
During the day we witnessed dramatic scenery changes, starting with river canyons to almost desert-like terrain. Which I never knew existed in Canada.
When not eating, we spent time outside on the gold leaf observation carriage. Chris enjoyed the fresh air a little too much!
The most stunning part of the first day for me was traveling along the shores of Kamloops Lake.
We pulled in to the station around 6pm, here we were waved in to Kamloops by traditionally dressed cowboys/girls. We were then collected by coach and driven to our assigned hotel, our luggage was in our room when we arrived!
The next morning, we continued our journey eastwards where we were to end our journey in the Canadian Rockies in the town of Banff, Alberta.
Whenever we passed civilisation we were made to feel like royalty as we were waved at by residents.
Unfortunately by day two, I had well and truly caught Chris’s virus and I was suffering. Once on the train I was supplied with an emergency health pack kindly supplied by our host.
Oh, and many hot toddies! And so, I battled through the day.
Once again, the scenery was diverse as we passed by ranches, lakes, over high mountain passes and through historic tunnels.
The glaciers and snow-capped peaks of the Canadian Rockies were all I had imagined them to be, rugged and beautiful.
We arrived in Banff station around 9pm and were driven to our hotel, where our bags were once again waiting in our rooms.
The trip was spectacular and memorable in every way from the food and drink, friendly hosts and of course the scenery.
We would highly recommend travelling using the Gold Leaf service, its well worth the extra cost.
To find out what we got up to in Alberta come back soon!
Love Emma x