Through the Canadian Rockies By Ringo Boitano
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. Its
a popular excursion with none other than Bill Gates and family once
renting an entire coach.
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 Mountaineers 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,
Canadas 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.
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 its 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.
"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.
Photo courtesy of Deb Roskamp
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 propertys
world-class amenities or simple things like a good book in front of
a cozy fireplace.
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 ha...love your "schtick" Ringo!!
Dolly, Las Vegas, NV
Hello the travelling Boitano's hope you enjoy. Best
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
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.
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
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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Now that football season is
over --- Ive often wondered what you Packer fans did in the off
season ---- its 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, whats 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.
Journey to the Bottom of the Globe: Exploring the
White Continent of Antarctica
As a travel journalist I am constantly asked what are
some of my favorite travel experiences. The list is endless. But there is
one destination that seems to raise the most eyebrows. That destination
is a cruise to Antarctica. Sadly, that cruise line I was on is no more,
but today there is a plethora of cruise lines that offer similar packages.
Here's a look back at my Antarctica cruise.
Treasures of Ireland: Food, Fun and Falconry at
Ashford Castle (Dispatch #18)
The Palladian Traveler soars above the crowd with
a gal named Lima, cruises across a lake dotted with hundreds of islands,
and feasts like a king in a regal dining room.
Would You Believe She Can Carry 800 (Yes, 800!)
As she came around the corner we could not believe
how big she was. Massive, and yet incredibly beautiful almost elegant
in fact. Her lines were so symmetrical she seemed to blend into a classic
example of astonishing good looks. The other fact that amazed all of us
was how quiet she was. We felt sure that with the obvious overwhelming power
she evidenced, she'd be extra loud. It's a cliché, but she was as
quiet as a church mouse or "as quiet as dreaming trees."
Highway 49 Revisited: Exploring California's
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 Sutters Mill in El
Dorado County, creating the largest gold rush in history.
Lake Charles Family-Size Low-Key Mardi Gras
The Southwest Louisiana Mardi Gras in Lake Charles,
the second largest in Louisiana, does not need parents there to avert their
childrens 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 years 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.
Cedar Hill: Frederick Douglass' Home is as Imposing
as the Man who Lived There
Having recently received a misguided shout-out from
the president during Black History Month Frederick Douglass has done
an amazing job... it seems a good time to revisit the cultural icon's
legitimate place in history. And a visit to his home in Washington, DC
surely a place the current president might want to consider visiting himself
would be a good place to start.
Hanging Out in Huntington Beach, California
Huntington Beach is legendary around the world as one
of the best surfing spots. Its waves and beaches are so great, it is also
officially known as "Surf City." But as I learned on a recent
getaway, the town is more than just tasty swells and beautiful white sand;
it also boasts gourmet restaurants, luxury, ocean-front hotels, great
shopping, and tons of California coastal charm.
Richard Gere and Joseph Cedar Discuss "The Moderate
Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer"
Richard Gere is one of America's acting treasures. He
has an uncanny knack for selecting scripts with the most interesting characters.
Included in some of his vast body of films are "American Gigolo,
"An Officer and a Gentleman," "The Cotton Club," "Internal
Affairs," "Pretty Woman," "Primal Fear," "Unfaithful,"
and "Chicago." Joseph Cedar, writer and director of the critically
acclaimed "The Moderate Rise and Tragic Fall of a New York Fixer,"
was born in New York City but when he was five, his family moved to Israel
where he was raised.
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
Leviticus 20:13 Sent by Tom of Pasadena,
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!