Top ten surprises from our first five days


There has been so much to take in over our first five days. But some things have come as a surprise. Here’s our rundown ..

1) Airline food can be OK. Nice teryaki chicken on Virgin Atlantic Heathrow to Chicago.

2) Kamloops–the landscape either side of Kamloops on the route on the Rocky Mountaineer was semi-arid desert. (For our full review of the Rocky Mountaineer, click here.)

We weren’t expecting this dry landscape on our trip across the Rockies.

3) The confluence of the clean, fresh Thompson river and the murky, silt-filled Fraser river, seen from the Rocky Mountaineer…is like a crazy merging of two busy motorways….well worth jumping out of our seats to see.

The water from the Thompson river (blue) alongside the mucky brown Fraser river

4) Vancouver is stunning. A busy, commercial city…but clean, friendly, affluent…and set against a beautiful mountain backdrop. (To see whether we preferred Vancouver to San Francisco, click here.)

img_20160913_195217-25) There is a 500-strong army of volunteer ‘White Hats’ to greet visitors at Calgary Airport. They were lovely, helpful and charming.


6) There’s a piano player at Joe Fortes in Vancouver who does a mean jazz version of Derek and the Dominoes’ Layla. No…really 🙂

7) There are posters at Alpine Village in Banff warning visitors of wolves which have “accessed garbage within town, and shown bold behaviour in yards and streets.”

8) You can spend six months planning your round-the-world schedule, then get bitten on the bum by the dreaded jetlag. Cut yourself some slack. Schedule some downtime.

9)  The Fairmont— a leading, luxury hotel in Vancouver is so pet-friendly that it offers room service for your pampered pooch . And if you don’t have a dog of your own, you can borrow beautiful hotel resident, a yellow lab called Beau from reception, and take him for walks.

10) The Chicago subway once offered a service for the dead…with funeral trains stopping at selected cemeteries. Not sure if they checked your ticket though….

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