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Climb aboard the Rocky Mountaineer A luxurious train ride through the Canadian Rockies By Ed Boitano

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his is one time where man really got it right. Quite simply, the Rocky Mountaineer is a life-changing train journey that touches your very soul, immersed in the sweeping beauty and ever-changing landscape of western Canada. This historic train route was created more than a century ago, linking the country and introducing the world to a new and rugged land of towering mountain peaks, glacial lakes, roaring waterfalls, abundant wildlife bear, elk, deer, moose, bald eagles, osprey, mountain goats, bighorn sheep and pristine vegetation. With departures from Vancouver, B.C., the two-day journey 280 miles each day climbs from sea level to more than 5,000 feet through the Canadian Rockies and Continental Divide to Banff or Jasper, with station transfers to Calgary for your departure cities. All travel takes place in daylight there are no sleeper cars with overnight accommodations in the charming hillside town of Kamloops. It’s a popular excursion for none other than Bill Gates and family (who once rented) an entire coach. To witness the wonders of such beauty in the comforts of a luxurious rail coach only enhances the experience. Travelers enjoy plush seats in glass-enclosed coaches, along with attentive stewards who deliver passionate and insightful narration throughout the journey. Rocky Mountaineer’s all-inclusive packages include seats at the white linen-clad tables of the dining room, where awardwinning chefs prepare three-course meals using regional ingredients from British Columbia and Alberta. Dishes such as baked wild salmon; slow roasted Alberta bison; wild British Columbia mushroom chowder; and pickerel, a white, sweet tasting fish, should not be missed. Also, try a Caesar, Canada’s answer to the Bloody Mary. Welcome to Banff and Lake Louise After the railway journey, guests are invited to spend the night and enjoy quality time in the Rocky Mountain communities of Banff and Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada’s first and foremost national park. The park is a year-round protected wilderness area

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offering a remote alpine beauty that one must see to believe. There is an endless array of vacation possibilities available, including a dip in the world-famous hot springs. Where to Stay: The Fairmont Banff Springs Modeled after a Scottish baronial castle, the opulent Fairmont Banff Springs is like its own bustling village, tucked away in the mountains. An adult Disneyland comes to mind with its army of impeccably uniformed staff, mammoth ballrooms, elegant restaurants, stately lounges, designer shops and recently renovated European-style spa. If it’s activities you want, this world-class resort is the hub. Make sure you start your day with the phenomenal breakfast buffet at the Bow Valley Grill. The Backstory “If we can’t export the scenery, we will import the tourists” was the self-fulfilling prophesy of William Van Horne, General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway. He recognized the potential for

robust tourism at the hot springs near the railway station at Banff, Alberta. It was his vision to design a luxury hotel amidst the stunning mountain scenery of the Canadian Rockies above the confluence of the Bow and the Spray Rivers overlooking the beautiful Bow Valley and the only way to get there in 1886 would be via a railway. The hotel officially opened on June 1, 1888, and was declared a historical site by the Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1992. If Walls Could Talk In 1956, Marilyn Monroe was staying at the hotel while filming River of No Return, directed by Otto Preminger. During the filming, she sprained her ankle and was on doctor’s orders to be transported around by wheelchair. Needless to say, fierce arguments broke out among the bellmen as to who would get to push Ms. Monroe around the hotel. The dilemma was handled in the only civilized way each morning the young men drew straws. Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise Located approximately a scenic

20-minute car drive from Banff, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is an essential stop on your free time in Banff National Park. Nestled besides its namesake lake, which itself is set against the backdrop of Victoria Glacier, the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise is perhaps the most photographed scene in the Canadian Rockies. The location lends itself to the tranquility and stillness of the outdoors; a good place for a gentle hike in the woods or a stroll around the pristine lake. You can enjoy the property’s worldclass amenities or simple things like a good book in front of the properties cozy fireplace. The Rocky Mountaineer offers more than 65 Canadian vacation packages and four unique rail routes, with other destinations in British Columbia and Alberta such as Whistler, Jasper and Calgary. You may also connect to the Canadian Rockies via Seattle through the Coastal Passage route, which showcases Seattle’s’ stunning sea and landscapes. For further information, visit: www.RockyMountaineer.com/en

December 2016 : : Lovin’ Life After 50 : : page 37

Lovin' Life After 50: Phoenix - Dec. 2016  
Lovin' Life After 50: Phoenix - Dec. 2016