Wow, what a great way to travel. The kids and I had a blast. It was like a breath of fresh air when I got onto the train. The last couple of weeks had been a hectic rush of visiting and packing and I was really looking forward to the train ride. I knew that once I was on that train, I would have 2 days or relaxation.
It didn’t disappoint. We went to the train station with all our 16 pieces of luggage, 8 to check in and 2 for each of us for the train, one with pillows and blankets and the other for their toys and stuff. I of course had the 2 food bags…. Anyways, we get to the train station with my parents, Kyle’s mum, his brother and his wife. It was nice to have people sending us off. Matthew got a little emotional and was a little sad, the other 2 were so tired, they just wanted to get off their feet and get on the train. They had been so looking forward to traveling plus it was 10:30 at night.
After saying goodbye to everyone, we head onto the platform where we had to take the long walk outdoors to our coach. Thank goodness for porters, they took my super heavy food bags for me all the way to our seats. I was so overwhelmed (I felt like a little kid), I forgot to tip him!
The train finally pulled out of the station at 12:15am, the kids were still wide eyed, and looking at all the city lights and figuring where they were in the city. Finally when there are no more lights from the city, they are willing to pull down the blinds to go to sleep.
The next day they all woke up happy and we had our packaged breakfast at our seats and enjoyed the views from the large train windows. At one point, the train stopped in the middle of nowhere. I asked the conductor and he said that there are many cottages along the train and they often pick people up along the track. As there are mile markers along the track, they can request a specific pickup/drop off point. I thought that was cool. One other thing, we stopped at CN Collins and picked up some young people with backpacks, they went straight to the dinning car. 10-15 minutes later they got off the train. Someone said that that was their ride to school! Wonder how they got home. All these little facts that you wouldn’t have know…
We spent the morning on the sky train, there we could see everything. The front of the train and the back of the train. It was cool to be able to see as the train goes around a bend or changing tracks. Just like when you are playing with those toy trains on tracks… The kids kept themselves busy with their toys and books while I started my newest knitting project.
For lunch, we decided to treat ourselves to a meal on the dinning car. The kids love being served and the dinning car was so bright and cheery. Great service and very reasonable prices. Another little fact, the prices on the menu include taxes. It is easier for the accounting department to figure our where in the country the meals are served and the provinces get their appropriate taxes than for the servers to charge the taxes. So the prices you see on the menu is what you pay, excluding tips of course. In the coaches, many people seem to sleep all day so the lighting in the cars are usually pretty dim, so unlike the dinning car.
In the afternoon, we decided to just relax. I tried to get them all to have a nap since we went to bed so late the night before but not a chance, so they just read. The kids felt so comfortable on they train, they moved from the coach train to the skytrain by themselves except for Natalie, as the doors were too heavy for her.
I promised them a movie in the afternoon after they rested, unfortunately when they were ready to watch, someone else was watching a movie on TV in the dinning car, so they ended up watching it on my computer. Good thing they have electrical points on the train.
After dinner, they even had entertainment. Jared from Quebec, played some songs from some Canadian composers and some of his his own compositions. It was a nice addition to the day. It was so funny, only a handful of people came to listen even though it was announced over the PA. I think the music was good but Andrew on the other hand was so tired, he was lulled to sleep.
Saturday we arrived in Toronto an hour early. We got a porter to take our luggage onto the train so we were free of bags for our 2 hour layover in Toronto.It was a miserable day, foggy and snowy. We went outside the train station, thinking about walking over to the CN tower but it was just so miserable so we just had a snowball fight instead!!. We did make the walk indoors though and got our photo shoot.
Traveling with kids is the best. We never have to stand in line, we just wait in the waiting area and get priority boarding. I guess everyone prefers it when they don’t have to put up with whiny kids standing in line, plus the extra time is very important to settle the kids, make sure they are all comfortable before the train leaves.
Finally at 5pm, we arrive in Ottawa, 41 hours after leaving Winnipeg. The kids were so happy to see Daddy. I personally enjoyed the train ride, so did the kids, and I highly recommend it, as it was fun. For the older folk, I suggest getting a berth as the coach seat isn’t the most comfortable for the achy bones but it worked for the kids and myself.
Another adventure to add to our life of adventures…