Friday October 2, 2015
It rained all day on Thursday, we stayed in the trailer for a while updating the blog and checking on condos.
Later we were drooled on by Shaun and Marsha’s two Newfoundland dogs.
We were up early and headed to the train station by 9:30. We arrived at the train station about 10:15 and proceeded with boxing our panniers and bagging the bikes. We had asked about bike boxes when we bought the train tickets, Via Rail use plastic bags for bikes.
There are two thoughts on bags versus boxes – the first is that the handlers can see they are bikes and are more gentle with them, the argument against bags is the handlers really don’t care what is in the bag and will not handle them any better. The argument for boxes is that the box will give some level of protection to the bike, but the handler may stack other luggage on the box, therefore damaging the bike. I guess we will see what happens to the bikes and whether plastic is better than box.
We had booked a cabin which included meals. Our steward (Francois) introduced himself, and gave us a quick rundown on the route, trip and meal service etc.
Francois asked us about our trip, noticing that we had bikes. Shortly after the train departed we headed to the dining car for lunch. Francois was there and told the waiter about our trip, the waiter said we needed to celebrate and bought us a complementary glass of wine!
We had a very nice lunch and then headed to the dome car for an afternoon of looking at the scenery and chatting to our fellow passengers.
It would appear our bikes were the talk of the train and when people discovered we were the cyclists, they wanted to know if we had cycled across Canada. When we told them what we had done, we “held court” for about an hour. The same questions we have been asked many times before. How many miles per day, How long did it take you, Good days and bad days – and are you going to write a book.
During the afternoon we had a complementary wine tasting of Nova Scotian wines and some lovely smoked cheese also from Nova Scotia. Zach (the guy in black) told us where the wines were grown and he also gave us information about the different areas the train was going through. He would make an excellent tour guide.
At 6:15 we headed down to the dining car, bouncing from one side of the corridor to the other, occasionally getting hit by a door handle..
One of the things Dad and I enjoyed when we did the Cross-Canada trip together were the meals in the dining car. The food was good, and we met some really interesting people. The same happened tonight for us, we were seated with a couple from Quebec who were competitive Bridge players. We were both a little “shy” to start a conversation as their English and our French was equally bad. However, Michelene’s English improved as the meal progressed. She thanked Ralf for speaking slowly so that she could understand him.
They have three grown children, however, we were shown photos of their dog and not the children or grandchildren!
After dinner we bounced back to the dome car and then back to our humble cabin that had been made up into bunk beds. Ralf got the top bunk, as usual. This is what it looked like during the day. Ralf couldn’t get a photo of the “night-time” set up, there was not enough room – a cosy room.