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Travelogues of Jim Robertson

Date: Tue, 17 Sep 1996 02:08:34 -0400
From: (Jim Robertson)
Subject: Talgo trip


Went from Seattle to Vancouver, B.C. today northbound on the Mount Baker International. The train was the best I have ever been on! The Bistro menu is great, the service outstanding, and the food reasonably priced. I ate the Strata breakfast and had coffee and the bill was $8.15. Not at all bad considering that the breakfast includes juice, a fresh fruit cup, the entree, and a nice muffin.

The Chief of On Board Services on this train, Ron Shipley was a most congenial individual and truly appeared to enjoy his work and was most helpful and informative. Upon arrival in Vancouver, the train is backed into the station, and it is a long trip backing in, about 3 to 5 minutes! I am traveling with luggage and Red Cap service was provided at Vancouver Station by VIA Rail Canada. In Seattle one of the Amtrak Red Caps saw me with a luggage cart and told me that she would load my luggage into the 35 car as this car has plenty of space for luggage. This was very nice of the Amtrak employee.

Seats are assigned prior to boarding in Seattle and people traveling together, are kept together. The seating is two seats on one side and one seat on the other side. The seats are much more comfortable than the Super Liner seats. The cars were also spotless!

The Pacific Central Station in Vancouver is beautiful, clean, and well organized. I was going on to Victoria so I went to Pacific Coach Lines to purchase the ticket. A round trip ticket, including the ferry fare is $43, Canadian currency. It is about an hour's drive to the ferry terminal in Tsawwassen, an hour and a half on the ferry, and about 35 minutes from the Sidney ferry terminal to the end of the line in Victoria.

By the way, while on the Talgo train, I was shown the sleeping cars. Far superior to the present Amtrak sleepers! Too bad all Amtrak cars are not Talgo cars!

More later,


Date: Tuesday, September 17, 1996 4:39pm
To: Steveg
Re: More of my trip journal!

Hi Steve,

I guess by this time you are sick of reading about my trip, but I will write more now. To get back to Seattle for a moment, if you enjoy things like visiting a winery, I highly recommend that you visit the Chateau Ste. Michelle, it is a little out of the city and you would need a rental car. My Godson is living in Federal Way, so he was my driver. We first went to Snoqualmie Falls, which is only ten feet shorter than Niagara Falls, and is absolutely beautiful. If you remember the TV program from a few years ago, Twin Peaks, most of it was filmed at the Lodge at the Falls. The Lodge serves an outstanding Sunday Brunch.

After our visit to the Falls, we went to the winery in Woodinville. By the way there is also a dinner train that operates inn the area in case you are interested in that. On the way into the Falls there are some old railroad cars that have been restored. One is even an old U.S. Army hospital car or something like that. There are also many old junk steam locos there just rotting away. I think that this is a shame and someone should restore them. I have no idea what they are doing just sitting there rotting away.

Of the cities of Vancouver and Victoria, I like Victoria the best. I bought a ticket from Vancouver to Victoria on the Pacific Coach Lines. The round trip ticket includes the ferry trip. The trip is delightful. I enjoyed the ferry ride, which was about an hour and a half in duration, and the food served on the ferry was better than I was expecting.

On BC Transit, an all day pass can be purchased for $5. I bought this pass this morning to take the bus from downtown Victoria to Butchart Gardens. The Butchart Gardens are absolutely beautiful. I have never seen so many different flowers in one place on this earth! There are many nice hotels all over downtown Victoria to stay in. I am staying at the Strathcona Hotel, which has a rate of $50 per day and it is centrally located. The rooms are adequate, and there are plenty of restaurants in the area.

To get to just about anywhere on Vancouver Island there is public transportation. I have only used a taxi to get from the Victoria Bus Station to the hotel because of the fact that I had so much luggage.

This is all that I have to write for now, more to follow later!


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