Friday, 23 January 2009

Canada Part 3

When we got to Vancouver, we had a few hours to kill after we checked in our luggage (first class is good that way). We went into the city for a few hours and found a crepe restuarant (C Girl has made crepes for breakfast since returning from Paris in July 2007). After enjoying a lovely dinner we strolled the streets before heading back to the train station. Scheduled depature - 8pm. Actual departure - 8:30 - time we stopped to let a cargo train go past - 8:35 - no kidding.

Australia - a relatively barren, low population country - has a rule about train travel. At 2pm every day, a passenger train goes through the hunter valley. It has the right of way, it doesn't stop. Blasts (that cost a lot of money) have to be scheduled around this passenger train (because some blasts stop the railway line). In Canada - freight comes first. This is why our train arrived in Jasper 6 hours late - did I say 6 hours - yes. Unbelievable - and this is supposed to be a Developed country (yeah right). Please remember - we missed a train by 3 minutes last year in Austria - it had left - we were 3 minutes late. A bit of a difference don't you think (oh yeah - and it snows in Europe so what is Canada's excuse (okay it was a bit colder than usual - but so what).

The amazing view from the train. It was truly spectacular and I am very glad we went by train. We met some very nice people on the train. The cutest moment was when Munchkin and Bear and I went to the entertainment cabin and played Bingo. Every time the lady said a number, the two of them would repeat it under their breath. B 5........B5, G 45.......G 45. Since the cabin was filled with retired people, there were many giggles. After an hour, the two of them hadn't noticed that everyone thought that the twins (as they try to pass themselves of as) were adorable. They got a special price for being guest Announcers. They were happy, they had almost won a few times and they don't like to lose - ever.

When we arrived in Jasper - we were very fortunate to find our hotel across the road from the train station. I scooted the kids across to our room, then headed back to get our bags. There are no words to describe just how cold it was at 10:30pm. Freezing is an understatement. But, at 3am we were ringing the hotel front desk because our room was stuck on 30 degrees and we couldn't get it turned down. We ended up sleeping with the window ajar - and there was an ice trail in the path of the open window - very wierd I assure you. But it was fine - we all slept until 9am. Don't underestimate this mountain air (in retrospect the kids slept between 11 - 12 hours every night that we were on holiday -us about 10).

We wandered around in the morning (found a great Native American shop where we spent an hour (and a bit of money).....the owners were nothing short of fantastic with the kids. We needed to do something that was special and unique when visiting. It was too cold for the dog sleighs, so we settled on a walk along an iced river. It was a great choice. It was spectacular (and great exercise). The kids were fine - not too far or hard for them (this was shown by them being directly behind the guide - the adults being the stragglers.

At the very start, the water wasn't 100% frozen. Yes -it is as cold as it looks (it was about -25 degrees celcius on this day).

Walking over a dangerous part of the river. One at a time. We have cleats on our feet so that we don't slip - and special shoes. All part of the guided tour.

This is actually a frozen waterfall. The guide was excellent at guiding us through the dangerous frozen river. How many kids get to say they have walked on water (and you could hear it running beneath us).

The little girl on the right is the reason we couldn't keep walking for the full tour. Although she is a native Albertan, she was not dressed for the weather. Her and her sisters lips were blue by the time we got back. She was fffffrrrrreeeeeezzzinnngggg.

Is this not a priceless view?

Cold Mum and son - after returning to the starting point (I had heaters in my feet by this stage - I was cruising).

Don't tell me this doesn't look fantastic. It was really great going for a walk in this park. Well worth the effort and definitely worth the cold.

We will not forget Jasper in a hurry. Beautiful.

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