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Travel adventures of Jim Friend
Travel adventures of Timothy Mattox
Travel adventures of Corinna Lothar
Travel adventures of Roger Fallihee
Travel adventures of Tamara Lelie
Travel adventures of Beverly Cohn
Travel adventures of Raoul Pascual
Travel adventures of Ringo Boitano
Travel adventures of Herb Chase
Travel adventures of Terry Cassel
Travel adventures of Dette Pascual
Travel adventures of Gary Singh
Travel adventures of John Blanchette
Travel adventures of Tom Weber
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Ringo Boitano: Template

Rocky Mountaineer train passing through the Canadian Rockies
Photo courtesy of Rocky Mountaineer

Train Travel
Through the Canadian Rockies

By Ringo Boitano

he Rocky Mountaineer train journey is one of the best ways to experience the sweeping beauty and ever-changing landscape of western Canada. The historic train route was created over a century ago, linking the country and introducing the world to a new and rugged land of towering mountain peaks, glacial lakes, roaring waterfalls, abundant wildlife -- bear, elk, deer, moose, bald eagles, osprey, mountain goats, bighorn sheep -- and pristine vegetation. With departures from Vancouver, B.C., the two-day journey -- 280 miles each day -- climbs from sea level to over 5,000 feet through the Canadian Rockies and Continental Divide to Banff or Jasper, with station transfers to Calgary for your departure cities. All travel is done in daylight – there are no sleeper cars -- with overnight accommodations in the hillside town of Kamloops. It’s a popular excursion with none other than Bill Gates and family once renting an entire coach.

train entering a tunnel in the Canadian Rockies
Photo courtesy of Deb Roskamp

To witness the wonders of such beauty truly enhances the soul, and to do so in the comforts of a luxurious rail coach only makes it better. Travelers enjoy plush seats in glass-enclosed coaches, along with attentive stewards who offer passionate and insightful narration throughout the journey. Rocky Mountaineer’s all-inclusive packages include trips to the white linen-clad tables of the dining room, where award-winning chefs prepare three-course meals using regional ingredients from British Columbia and Alberta. Dishes like baked wild salmon; slow roasted Alberta bison; wild British Columbia mushroom chowder; and pickerel, a white, sweet tasting fish, should not be missed. Also, try a Caesar, Canada’s answer to the Bloody Mary.

Banff and Lake Louise
After your railway journey, it is essential that you spend quality time in the Rocky Mountain communities of Banff and Lake Louise in Banff National Park, Canada's first and foremost National Park. The park is a year-round protected wilderness area offering a remote alpine beauty that one must see to believe. There is an endless array of vacation possibilities available, including a dip in the world-famous hot springs.

the Fairmont Banff Springs in Banff National Park
Photo courtesy of Gary Avrech

Where to Stay
The Fairmont Banff Springs Modeled after a Scottish baronial castle, the opulent Fairmont Banff Springs is like its own bustling village, hidden in the mountains. An adult Disneyland comes to mind with its army of impeccably uniformed staff, mammoth ballrooms, elegant restaurants, stately lounges, designer shops and recently renovated European-style spa. If it’s activities you want, this world-class resort is the hub. Make sure you start your day with the phenomenal breakfast buffet at the Bow Valley Grill.

The Backstory
"If we can't export the scenery, we will import the tourists" was the selffulfilling prophesy of William Van Horne, General Manager of the Canadian Pacific Railway, who recognized the tourist potential of the hot springs near the railway station at Banff, Alberta. His vision was to design a luxury hotel amidst the stunning mountain scenery of the Canadian Rockies above the confluence of the Bow and the Spray Rivers overlooking the beautiful Bow Valley -- and the only way to get there in 1886 would be via a railway. The hotel officially opened on June 1, 1888, and was declared a historical site by the Sites and Monuments Board of Canada in 1992.

If Walls Could Talk
In 1956, Marilyn Monroe was staying at the hotel while filming River of No Return, directed by Otto Preminger. During the filming, she sprained her ankle and was on doctor's orders to be transported in a wheelchair. Needless to say, fierce arguments broke out among the bellmen as to who would get to push Ms. Monroe around the hotel. The dilemma was handled in the only civilized way – each morning the young men drew straws.

the Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise on the shores of Lake Louise, Banff National Park
Photo courtesy of Deb Roskamp

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise approximately a 20-minute car drive from Banff, the Fairmont Chateau rests on its namesake lake, which itself is set against the backdrop of Victoria Glacier. Perhaps the most photographed scene in the Canadian Rockies, this is one time where man really got it right. The location lends itself to the tranquility and stillness of the outdoors, a good place for a walk in the woods or a stroll around the lake, which is frozen in the winter. You can enjoy the property’s world-class amenities or simple things like a good book in front of a cozy fireplace.

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Feedback for Ringo

I love Ringo's piece on historic hotels. I once stayed at the Laurentian in Montreal - is it still around, is it historic? And then there was the Heups in Bismark.

It is interesting that two of your entries are in CANADA.

Brent, Seattle, WA

It's no mystery that you are great at what you do.

Sandee, Seattle, WA

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The Mystery on the Oasis pics are very funny!

Ramon, Kansas City, MO

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Ha ha ha ha your "schtick" Ringo!!

Dolly, Las Vegas, NV

Hello the travelling Boitano's hope you enjoy. Best wishes.

Elsa Magdalena Berno-Boitano, Laussane, Switzerland

My Irish roots understand terrible beauty. So do my human roots. The concept has such a ring of truth to it, doesn't it? Great article, Ringo. I hope to get to Ireland eventually, and thanks for blazing the trail!

Sandeee Bleu, Seattle, WA

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No wonder I've been hearing all these wonderful stories about Ireland. I used to think that it was just for Irish Americans seeking their ancestral roots but your article seems to call out to the non-Irish like me. Fascinating and intriguing.

Peter Paul, Pasadena, CA

Thanks for this great post wow... it's very wonderful.

Key Logger, New York

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Lets not forget that the Marriot Harbor Beach is within walking distance to the world famous Elbo Room - Fort Lauderdale's oldest bar.

Jeff, Fort Lauderdale, FL

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Thanks for taking the time for the message and reminder. Indeed, I had a quick drink at the Elbo Room. My trip to Ft. Lauderdale would not have been complete without a visit to this historic institution.I have been reading about it for years, and was not disappointed. It felt like a real local's hangout.

- Ringo


I thoroughly enjoyed your article about Dick and Liz. I remember seeing that article back in the heyday of Life Magazine.

To remember the "behind-the-scenes" stories like that makes you genuine fan of the 60's. The famous couple's turbulent relationship was just a precursor of today's headline-grabbing media stars like Britney Spears and her colleagues. Life was simpler then. The paparazzis still had some sense of decency. You "coulda" been a good paparazzi. I say "coulda" because you kept this to yourself all these many years.

Looking forward to other media trivia you can remember.

Peter Paul, South Pasadena, CA

Hey, Ringo –

Enjoyed your article on Antarctica --- cool photos, too. One thing, you mentioned that Ushuaia in Argentina is considered the most southern city in the world. I read that Chile lays claim to that distinction, with Punta Arenas, the southernmost city in the world.

Mick, Greenbay, WI

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Mick –

Now that football season is over --- I’ve often wondered what you Packer fans did in the off season ---- it’s great that you took the time to visit TravelingBoy. Great question, unlike my older brother, I adore all lamb products, and Patagonian Lamb --- cooked in a restricted area at the restaurant in an opened wood-fueled fire pit --- is amazing. The chef actually uses an ax to carve it. Frankly, I found it superior to Norwegian fjord lamb, Irish Burren lamb and even those much esteemed creatures down in New Zealand. The crab in Ushuaia is the other thing to eat. Wait a sec, you asked about Punta Arenas vs. Ushuaia as the furthermost city in the world. Well, they both have little disclaimers re populations --- you know, what’s a city, which one is a town, ect – so better let Chile and Argentina brass it out. They seem to be able to argue about any subject.

- Ringo

Ed Boitano's travel blog/review
Three Musical Pilgrimages: Mozart, Grieg and Hendrix

Troldhaugen Villa in Bergen, Norway
Johann Chrysostom Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart (1756 - 1791) could read and compose music, plus play the violin and piano, when he was five years old. Born into a musical family in Salzburg, Austria (then the Holy Roman Empire), he had a unique ability for imitating music, which first became evident when he recited a musical piece by simply observing his father conducting a lesson to his older sister. This led to a childhood on the road, where the young prodigy performed before many of the royal courts of Europe.

Go There

Tom Weber's travel blog/review
Treasures of Ireland: The Irish Goodbye (Dispatch #20)

Irish sunset

The Palladian Traveler brings to a close his 20-part series on the Emerald Isle from an upscale restaurant in downtown Dublin where he files his final dispatch and then quietly slips away.

Go There

John Clayton's travel blog/review
Two "MUST SEE" Truly Spectacular Places in Europe. Here's Why.

Culzean Castle, Scotland
The Han Grotto and Culzean Castle. As the name of my Traveling Boy feature is "Travel With a Difference," it's important to me to always bring you offbeat and unusual tourist places around the world you may not know about. These two fit that category to a T, and they're absolutely worth a visit. One's in Scotland and one's in Belgium. Culzean (pronounced CULLANE) Castle is located near Maybole, Carrick, on the Ayrshire coast of Scotland.

go there

Ringo Boitano's travel blog/review
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's Gold Country

aurora borealis lights up the night sky near Fairbanks
In the 1840s, the population of California was only 14,000, but by 1850 more than 100,000 settlers and adventurers had arrived from all over the world – and they came for one reason: gold. James Marshall had discovered the first gold nugget at Sutter’s Mill in El Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.

go there

Eric Anderson's travel blog/review
Lake Charles’ Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras

dressed-up for the Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles, the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their children’s eyes. This is family entertainment and children are very much part of it. The main office of the Lake Charles CVB has costumes from last year’s Mardi Gras but it also has figures to fascinate little ones from country boys fishing for their dinner to alligators who have already fed and are rubbing their stomachs.

go there

Fyllis Hockman's travel blog/review
Puerto Vallarta: Magic and Mayhem on the Malecon

Cedar Hill, Washington DC
So I heard that you could spend from dawn to dusk on the Malecon in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico and never get bored and I thought, "Okay, I'm up for that challenge." Well, maybe not the dawn part – I'm not a morning person – so I had no problem leaving those early hours to the joggers and those seeking an early start to catch their red snapper for dinner.

Go There

Greg Aragon's travel blog/review
Relaxing at The Inn at Laguna Beach

Greg at Huntington Beach

There is nothing like sleeping in an ocean-front room and awakening to the sounds of waves crashing against the sand. It is one of the finer things in life. And it is exactly what I experienced recently on a memorable getaway to The Inn at Laguna Beach. The adventure began when a friend I pulled off the 5 Freeway in Orange County and took SR 133 south nine miles through winding lush hills and wilderness areas to the ocean.

Go There

Bev Cohn's travel blog
Tim Robbins On His Road To Stardom

Tim Robbins

Award-winning Tim Robbins began his career on episodic television. Robbins' film work, however, is what catapulted him into becoming a major movie star including "Bull Durham" and "Mystic River" for which he won multiple awards. Equally at home behind the camera, he directed the riveting "Dead Man Walking." He is Founder and Artistic Director of The Actors' Gang, which he formed thirty-five years ago and has directed multiple provocative productions.

Go There

Deb Roskamp's travel photo blog
Tahiti and Her Islands


Just their names (pronounce each vowel!) conjure up romantic images: Tahiti Nui, Moorea, Bora Bora, Huahine, Ra'iatea, Taha'a. Her people are gentle; the air, tiare-perfumed. Warm lagoons, majestic peaks, tropical fruits from the land and bounty from the sea all tantalize the senses. Paradise! As near as can be found on planet earth. And, in my experience, the finest way to explore her is on a ship designed for that single purpose.

go there

Raoul Pascual's travel blog
Leviticus 20:13
Sent by Tom of Pasadena, CA

It all makes sense now. Gay marriage and marijuana was legalized in the last election. Leviticus 20:13 states
"If a man lays with another man, he should be stoned..." We've been interpreting it wrong all these years!

go there

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