Crid's 1999 Grand Tour of Canada

3 weeks travelling by train from Toronto to Vancouver

Toronto - Winnipeg - Edmonton - Jasper - Kamloops - Vancouver

Day 4 (Tuesday)  - Toronto (Mayfair B&B) + VIA Rail (Silver & Blue)

I finally managed to get a decent night's sleep.  I still woke up early (5.30am), but at least I slept 6 hours straight with no disturbances.

I don't know what time the rain stopped last night, but it's certainly a bit cooler this morning.  That might explain why I slept better.  From what I've seen on TV, it should be cooler in Winnipeg.

Took the subway to Union Station and checked in my rucksack.  Union station is a pretty impressive building.  The main hall is particularly impressive with a high arched roof.  I arrived with plenty of time to spare.

As for the train.  Well, WOW!  The Silver & Blue was the initial reason for this holiday and I am not disappointed.  At the time of writing, I have been travelling for 10½ hours and the time has just flown past.  Some people on this train are actually reading books!  What's wrong with them?!  Hundreds of miles of beautiful unspoilt scenery out there and they'd rather read?!?!

We started out with city, then city outskirts, then marsh and small lakes, then bigger lakes, then forest.  Miles and miles of forest with occasional lakes.  The scenery is truly amazing.

The food is also very nice, but eating soup while the train is going around bends can be interesting (but fortunately I didn't end up wearing any of it).  There is a galley aboard, and the food is cooked here on the train.  No microwave meals here.

At lunchtime I joined a British couple who live near Silverstone.  I had a club sandwich (which I had never heard of before), which turned out to be something like pizza.

Went to dinner at 7.30 and met up with the same couple again, plus the woman in the roomette next to mine - a German called Monika.  I had a very nice mushroom soup and a curried chicken dish.  By the time dinner was over it was dark and bed seemed like a good idea.

I ventured up to the observation dome while the first dinner sitting was on.  Lovely views to be had and you get a good idea of how bendy the track is here.  In Silver & Blue class there is an observation dome for every 3 coaches.  The observation dome is over the galley area, and the same coach has a bar at one end and the restaurant at the other end.

Whilst in the observation dome I met a group of 4 from Holland, and a group of 4 from Alabama (the Deep South accent is so strong to my ears).  Strangely, there don't appear to be many Canadians aboard (apart from the staff, obviously).

Now that it is dark there is an excellent view of the night sky if you turn off the lights.  It's a cloudless night and out here there's no light pollution.  It's so clear I can see the Milky Way clearly - something I've never seen before.

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