Mesmerised by awe-inspiring views of the majestic Rocky Mountains I was in a world of my own until a loud shout of “BEAR!” jolted me back down to earth. sdss
Throughout the first half of my week in Canada, the subject of bears was one of the main topics of conversation in our group.
But when the yell of “bear” was bellowed out by Rod, a member of our group, there was no need to demonstrate my survival techniques by playing dead or reaching for the pepper spray, as I was in the safe haven of the magnificent Rocky Mountaineer train.
An excited Rod informed us that this particular brown bear was perched at the top of a tree, so we had clearly been well informed when we were warned not to clamber for our lives if we encountered the wild mammals.
In truth, I didn’t know quite what to expect from my trip on the Rocky Mountaineer before I boarded the famous train.
But I knew this was not going to be your average train journey and, soon after setting off on our two-day trip from the idyllic town of Banff to Vancouver, I realised why the Rocky Mountaineer attracts tourists from all over the world.
Sitting in the comfort of the GoldLeaf coach, with full length windows extending to the roof, I enjoyed a panoramic view of breathtaking snow-sprinkled mountains.
As we made our way along the route which retraces the historic Canadian Pacific Railway it was almost as if I had escaped from the real world.
There was another bear sighting over lunch, but although that passed me by I was more than content sampling a couple of glasses of wine as I watched waterfalls crash down from a great height into huge rivers with vicious currents and gazed at mountain ranges which stretched as far as the eye could see.
Before I knew it we were pulling into Vancouver, where the tranquillity of the Rockies was replaced by the hustle and bustle of a vibrant city.
I had been a little bit sceptical about spending two days on a train.
But as I stepped off the Rocky Mountaineer at the end of the journey I had run out of words to describe such an amazing experience.
Luckily for me, that was not the end of my trip to Canada.
My first night in Canada was spent in The Fairmont Pallister in Calgary.
Then it was onto the stunning little town of Banff for a two-night stay in the impressive Rimrock Resort Hotel.
We took a trip on the Banff Gondola way up to the top of Sulphur Mountain and the views at the summit in all directions were incredible.
I then boarded a float plane for the first time as we made the short trip to Victoria.
I enjoy flying, but the prospect of landing on water left me a little uncertain. What transpired was one of the smoothest flights I have ever experienced.
To quote a well known former Hollywood actor, my verdict on the Rockies and Vancouver is: “I’ll be back.”