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.
Eugene Chaplin Introduces Chaplin's World Museum
in Vevey, Switzerland
Lake Geneva/ Matterhorn Region and Switzerland Tourism
recently blew into Los Angeles with the most esteemed guest, Eugene Chaplin.
A man of remarkable lineage, he is the fifth child of Oona O'Neill and Sir
Charles Spencer "Charlie" Chaplin, the grandson of playwright
Eugene O'Neill, the brother of Geraldine Chaplin and father of actress/model
Treasures of Ireland: The Burren (Dispatch
The Palladian Traveler ventures back to the days
of fearless Celtic warriors to search for some "stones to take you
home" as he files his latest dispatch from the monochromatic moonscape
known as The Burren.
Buckingham Palace It's THE Most Popular Tour
in Great Britain (Part 2 of a 2-Part Series)
Is it more momentous for a Brit to do the Buckingham
Palace tour than say an American or indeed any other nationality? Yes, I
know that's an odd question, but if you grow up as I did in
London back in the 1950s, getting inside Buckingham Palace was the stuff
of dreams. Hence my surprise at touring BP in 2005.
Paradise on Earth: The Romance of
Tahiti and Her Islands
The first thing you notice is the fragrance. The intoxicating
perfume of the tiare flower announces to your senses that you are in a magical
place, overflowing with tropical vegetation and soothing trade winds. It
is the same fragrance that the English seamen on the HMS Bounty also first
encountered; but they came, not for flowers, but for breadfruit, intended
as a new food staple for their slaves in the West Indies.
Provence: As Much a Mood, a Spirit as a Destination
"On a Clear Day You Can See Forever" goes
the song. Robert Goulet sang it and Barbra Streisand and Johnny Mathis,
too, and it surely comes to mind when you stand on a bluff in the Luberon
of Provence and stare across at the little hill village of Gordes. The view
is the best part; the village's interior itself is not dramatic and stands
as a warning of what contemporary popularity can do to the simple homes
of 12th century working people.
Exploring Venice: Lost and Found. And Special Finds.
Walking home to our apartment in Venice, we share a
wave through the window with the owner of Baba, our local osteria. Leaving
for a day of sightseeing, a cup of my favorite pistachio gelato awaits me
despite the early hour. At the Bar Dugole, we relax after a day of sightseeing
and order the regular: vodka for my husband and Amaretto for me.
Traveling with Beautiful Boots and a Bison Backpack
People often asked about my favorite travel apparel and
gear. This happened to me at the airport recently. One question came as
I was putting back on my clothes after going through the TSA checkpoint
striptease. Before leaving the area, I heard a soft voice say, "hey,
I really like your boots. Where did you get them?"
Film Review: "My Hero Brother" A Tribute
to the Human Spirit
I just spent five days attending the Santa Barbara Film
Festival and for the most part, the features, animated shorts, and documentaries
were quite professional and compelling. That said, "My Hero Brother,"
a documentary that was particularly outstanding, told the remarkable and
inspiring story about a group of Down syndrome young men and women who
go on a two-week trek through the Himalayas with their non-Down syndrome
La Paz, Baja California Sur
Photographer Deb Roskamp focuses her camera on La Paz,
Baja California Sur. The resort property is CostaBaja, and the boat tours,
which include snorkeling at the UNESCO protected site, Isla Espiritu Santo,
were conducted by Fun Baja. The photographs are intended to speak for
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!