Episode 2: Across Canada by Train – #3MonthsInCanada

Vancouver, September 16th 2018.

Have you travelled the Trans-Siberian train line before? No, me neither but I did take the train across Canada recently.

If you did not know Canada has a railroad going from Vancouver all the way to Toronto. Now actually Canada has many railroads but there is a scenic train ride trip thing – whatever you wan to call it – for travellers to see Canada by Train. The journey takes three days. In most cases, I noticed that people as soon as they hear the length of this journey, they immediately crossed it off their trip. I too did cross it off my list at first but after my dad kept on nagging me about doing it, I got more and more curious about it. I started checking their rates, their stops and so forth. The more I found the more interested I got.

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The Train has different classes for different price ranges. Originally I was going to book the economy class, as it was the cheapest but ended up upgrading my journey to the sleeper class, which is a class in-between prestige and economy. I ended up choosing this class for one that all my meals were include, second I had a bed to sleep and I figured for the amount of time I was going to spend on here it would be worth getting some proper sleep and the third reason was that I had access to showers. The price was fairly higher as well but defiantly worth the spend!

The route has five stops where you can get off: Vancouver to Jasper to Edmonton to Winnipeg to Toronto (or the other way around). You can actually get off sooner and do the trip in stages. Most people do it this way. I was actually one of the only ones on the train who travelled all the way in one go. So let me tell you how it went:

I boarded the train in Vancouver on the 16th of September with a bunch of other people. The train was full! I had one of those bunk beds that during the day functioned as seating benches and at night turned into beds. If you can, defiantly go for the lower one as you can watch out of the window. My cart was semi-filled. I shared the space with two couples. Everything was clean and functioned well. For me personally it was quite easy getting into the train routine. Yes there is a “train routine”. You wake up in the morning have breakfast, go to the observation cart, read, drink tea or coffee, talk to other fellow travellers, eat lunch, join the train activities, watch some more nature, eat dinner, chit chat here and there and eventually go to bed to repeat more or less the same thing tomorrow again. After all you are on a train so moving around is not too much of an option but if you needed to get your body moving, the train was long enough to keep you walking and occupied for a while. For some people this will seem quite boring, as there is not much happening. I guess that is why you see more older couples rather than younger travellers. Most people also travel in couples. I for example was one of the youngest and onliest solo travellers on the entire train, which I did not mind much as it got peoples attention and so I usually always had someone to talk to. If I wasn’t talking my way around I was reading, sketching, writing, relaxing and watching the scenery pass by – OH I SAW A BEAR AND AN OTTER.

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Anyways what I actually wanted to say was that this trip is not action packed and if relaxing, looking at nature or joining smaller activities doable in trains are not your thing, you will probably find this trip rather boring. I on the contrary loved it! I was so relaxed. I don’t know what it was, maybe not having service and therefore almost being forced to completely shut off for a while. And yes you did read that correctly, there is no service for about 90% of the trip. Either way I felt very relaxed and calm all the time.

One of the reasons people do this trip is to see Canadas beautiful scenery. And that was absolutely stunning! If you’re starting from Vancouver like me the first day you will see mountains and lots of forest but as we are slowly making our way to the east coast the landscape becomes more flat. At some point all you see is agriculture fields before being swallowed up by more forest land. We even had snow at some point! It is incredible how one country can have so much diversity in landscape. Each day looked completely different, as if I had time travelled to a different country over night. It also still baffles me that it takes three days of non-stop driving to cross this country. Coming from Switzerland one of the smaller countries in this world, this seems just unimaginable to me.

After three days of travelling I eventually made it to Toronto. I am not going to lie I did not really want to get off the train. The crew was funny, the food was incredible and I actually found my own little friend group on the train. It was becoming very homey on there! Now before I finish this post I need to talk about the food for a moment – because this wouldn’t be my blog if there was nothing of some sort of food involved.

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The food: Oh hallelujah, it was delicious always! Too much for the amount you are moving but absolutely amazing. Why? Let me tell you. So for one there is plenty of option! Breakfast had the same four options with variations every morning but lunch and dinner were always different. For lunch and dinner we always got the choice of four different meals ranging from fish, beef, chicken and veggie + desert. The meals were freshly prepared on the train and portions were not too big nor too small and always accompanied with a delicious desert. I have probably not eaten this good on a holiday ever! Like I recommend you do this trip, even if it is only for the food!

I might have first not given this trip a second thought but I am so happy I did it! And if it has ever crossed your mind or you are now thinking about doing this on your trip to Canada, I can highly recommend doing so! I am not being paid to say that by the way. Frankly, I really enjoyed my trip.

That being said I hope you guys are all enjoying this challenge so far and are excited for Thursday’s recipe!

Bye bye. Au revoir. À plus tard.