Looking for more adventure

Life has been a bit slow lately.  We haven’t done anything spectacular since last Saturday, so something had to give. We’re going on an adventure.

Up early this morning to catch a plane to Vancouver, BC.  We’re taking the train through the Canadian Rockies, and we’re going the fancy way, on the Rocky Mountaineer. Gail’s son Ross is joining us–he mentioned to me a few months ago that he wanted to take a train trip in Canada, and I knew that Gail had the same desire.  A few thousand phone calls, emails and texts later, here we are.  Ross’s wife and sons didn’t want to make the trip, so it’s just the three of us rollicking across the mountains.

First, we had to get to Vancouver, so we arranged tickets on Air Canada Rouge, a new, cheapo version of Air Canada.  It sucks.  The seats are the closest together I’ve ever seen–here’s Gail, look how close the seat in front of her is:

The closest seat pitch in the universe.

The closest seat pitch in the universe.

 

They nickle and dime you for everything–$25 to check a bag, $30 to reserve a seat online.  Not even a miserable bag of stale peanuts.  Fanatics about checking the size of carry on luggage.  Some kind of inflight entertainment that you can only access through an iPad or iPhone–but they will rent you an iPad for $10.  I looked them up in Wikipedia, and found this:

 Customer reviews of Air Canada Rouge on Skytrax have been predominantly negative.

I’m not a fan of Air Canada Rouge.

 

I AM a fan of Vancouver, though.  This city is always beautiful and welcoming.  We are staying at the Fairmont Pacific Rim, which is right near Canada Centre, where we had a national bridge tournament 15 years ago.  It’s fantastic, ultra-modern and filled with every luxury and amenity you can imagine.  The service is on a par with the decor, and we love it.  Sadly, we have to leave at 6:55 tomorrow morning to catch our train.

The view is spectacular–there is a building across the street that perfectly reflects the water and the mountains.

This could be the inspiration for the Impressionists

This could be the inspiration for the Impressionists

I asked the concierge where to have the best dinner, and she sent us to Joe Forte’s, a 5 minute cab ride up the street.  Dinner was good, but not great, and the service was non-impressive.  I had the sockeye salmon:

Sockeye salmon, with potatoes and veggies.  Creamed spinach in the background.

Sockeye salmon, with potatoes and veggies. Creamed spinach in the background.

 

The made a big deal of telling me the fish was cooked medium rare–which seems to mean sushi in the center and slightly warm on the edges.  That’s OK, I like sushi.

Gail had the fish and chips.  Vancouver is a very British city, or it used to be, so you would think this would be good here.  Well, the fish was fine, the presentation on newspaper (or something that looks like it) was clever, but the “chips” were soggy, undercooked french fries.

Fish and chips that wouldn't make it in London

Fish and “chips” that wouldn’t make it in London

 

Once again, service was the drawback.  The entrees took entirely too long to come out of the kitchen.  The dessert menu had a brand of port I never see on menus at home (it’s Australian), and I was ready to order a glass with a cheese plate, but the waiter took so long to return that I gave up and just asked for the check.  I’m sure my cardiologist would approve.

Back at the hotel, we drank in the benefits of being so far north–at 10 pm the sun was still setting.

From the 20th floor balcony after 10 at night.

From the 20th floor balcony after 10 at night.

This is a beautiful city, but things will get even better tomorrow in the Rockies, then we end up in Lake Louise for 2 nights.  Stay tuned, more adventure to come.

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