It was pointed out to me the other day that I may never really have finished the story here. I took a trip on a train with my dad from Toronto to Vancouver – but with the way that I wrote things, it seems like the whole trip ended with a quick dinner. Part of this has to do with the fact that I took far too long to write about the trip. I had notes at the ready, but I really only got to writing about the Canadian months after it had happened, and so some details were simply lost to the fog.
However, the other fact of the matter is that the train really didn’t register chronologically for me. I mentioned on more than one occasion that I lost track of time, and I really did. There’s something mesmerizing about the rumble of the train on the tracks. Then there’s the dulling sensation of not having moved very much in days, thanks to being cooped up in a train. The point is that, despite my notes, my version of a train ride is still a very sleepy affair, and so I attempted to share those little moments of wakeful clarity that I enjoyed between long hours with the letter Z.
The question at this point then is: would I do it again? Well, yes and no. The $2500 price tag does seem like quite a lot, and the $500 ticket seems much more reasonable, so I’d wait for another discount. The food was phenomenal and a major highlight of the experience. VIARail really has a restaurant on wheels. The Canadian is also a great way to meet new people, whether you like it or not. There’s plenty of food to chat over and vistas aplenty for you to delight in with others, but it’s best to be open to it, and that takes a bit of energy. A train ride can be restful, but it’s ironic that it’s best to be a little rested beforehand.
In the end there really isn’t anything else like taking a train across Canada. The paths that the Canadian can cut – right across the mountains, especially – are spectacular and there’s a special kind of magic in waking up at 5 AM to an orange sunrise and a completely alien view outside of your window.
Oh, and if I ever did embark on this trip again, I probably wouldn’t expect Wi-Fi. I think this is VIARail’s subtle hint that “getting away from it all” won’t work if you end up bringing it all with you on your phone, anyway.