When I first came to Canada I didn’t fly directly to Vancouver but to Seattle. Why? Well, there’re two main reasons. The first is that the flights to Canada are overpriced on an insane way! So given this the best choice ever remains on flying to States saving up to 30% on the flight’s final price. The second reason is that I had never visited Seattle and as for being there I could cross the boundary on the mythic Amtrak Cascades rail route which links Portland (Oregon) with Vancouver (British Columbia).
This railway is a compelling trip for those who love the mighty atmosphere in which the trains are involved. After having done the trip 6 times since march I don’t fed up with it and just look forward to have new excuses to be onboard again, like our upcoming need to renew our 6 months US Visa at the border otherwise we won’t be able to book prospected holidays in Hawaii or Alaska early next year 😉 .
The route from Seattle to Vancouver is everything but pointless. The first third of the whole way leads the train throughout the pacific shores of Washington State running so close to the coastal edge that you feel yourself like traveling over the water, beside in the right hand the landscape is formed by dispersed houses spread out the forest.
Once the sea is left behind the trains runs across a prairie, valley or whatever it is infested of those iconic american farms with the sheds within them to end up again drawing the Pacific shore until it cross the US-Canada border.
The third and last gap of the trip is not as worthy as the first ones owe to going all over the Greater Vancouver area, a mostly industrial part of the province.
On the whole a ride in the Amtrak Cascades really worth the experience, the appearances can be deceibing though, because as the chief steward told me on my first trip this train and pride of the American freedom is 100% made in Spain and just assembled in Seattle! 😀
The best way to book the tickets is on the internet. They are usually around the 35 US$ one way, basically the same price the coach companies charge but having as an asset the advantage of skipping the stop at the border.
Whereas the rest of the world just grab the kids by the hand, the japanese ever go further. This is how they pick up the kids during school trips. Well, I usually agree with most of the measures aimed to keep the children safer, but this… this is too much!
Thanks god I grew up on the Madrid’s 80’s instead of inside a japanese kart 🙂 .
The last time I flew from Mexico City to home in Madrid it was on New Year’s eve and I had the chance of sightsee some of the main United States cities from the window thanks to the flight tracking software some companies provides through their in-flight entertainment system in both economy and bussines.
Even in a 12 hour flight like this was, I can spend the whole flight length staring to whatever is outside. If you are one of those who do really like to do the same don’t miss the opportunity to get a window seat in your next flight and check in the flight tracker whether you are going to flight over any landmark or interesting area, nowadays almost every company provide the service for long-haul routes. In this case from Mexico my route was the next:
After Boston the night was so dark, there weren’t big cities to take notice of and the path left was drawn over the North Atlantic ocean. So I just could check the areas in the screen instead of though the window, learning about unknown curious places like Saint Pierre and Miquelon, a so-called country located besides Newfoundland which belongs to France.
Yesterday eve we had the first snow flakes falling down in the city. Although Vancouver itself is not a very snowy city (I mean at few meters above sea level) the mountains are being lately covered by small blizzards every now and then, eventually this morning the amount of snow on them was quite bigger than before. Added to the freezing temperatures the thermometer has reached since yesterday, I can consider the real winter season has already begun!
I could barely recall when was the last completely clear sky in here, instead of that we are having all days long these alluring mists flowing everywhere.
After these past cloudy days though, an insane cold windchill has brought us nothing but temperatures under -10º below and those rare clear skies I was missing above, which bath by the full moonlight give us awesome night views like this:
Granville st. Vancouver, July 15th. 2010.
-“Stampeeeede! you can’t miss it men, you can’t miss it!”- With these words a freaky weird guy from Vancouver encouraged us to visit the Annual Calgary Stampede knowing we were about going to the Rockies the day after. So after some exchange of confident glances with my friends, we made up our minds to detour our itinerary in order to reach Calgary before the Stampede’s closing ceremony three days ahead.
Calgary, July 18th. 2010.
Was the event’s last day when we reach the Stampedes parking after one hour driving in circles and zig-zags and trying how to manage to find the venue among the chaotic and disperse indications set in the roads of Calgary. Actually we could reach the place thanks to a guy from a residential neighborhood who gave us clear directions not before letting us know that we were late for the last rodeo of the season… but not for the very last and closing event in the GMC Arena, the Chuck Wagon Race!
The first task we had to do in the Stampede was purchasing the tickets for the Chuck Wagon Race. Once with them in our hands and a couple of hours to spend before the time, we checked what the fair had to offer us and went to wander around the place.
Somehow this North-america’s acclaimed event is not to far in essence from the fairs we have all the year though in the town festivities in Spain, regardless the cowboys, of course. Anyway, to kill the time before the Race we get inside a venue where different sorts of performances related with the Western and Cowboy culture were being displayed.
Those performances were an amusing experience after all, but for sure the best point for our european eyes was the audience! Fake cowboys or not, aren’t they authentic? Note: in the whole event you could tell apart the real cowboys from the people in disguise looking at their hats. The real cowboys wear the leader ones whereas the others have hats made on plastic or fibers like those ones in the pics above.
So after having killed the time on those spectacles and with a “beef on a bun” already in our guts we headed to the GMC Arena to see the so called amazing Chuck Wagon Race!
Coming up… Stampede part 2!
Few days ago my girlfriend took this pics from our balcony. I’d have seen it if I hadn’t been working… what a shame have missed this gift aside the rainy days we’re mostly having these days…
My camera was off otherwise she would have taken wide angle pics of the whole circle, anyways the pics were shot with a compact Canon I bought her in Japan even though is getting quite older still does a very decent job!
[Update: I’ve just found this out in youtube! check it out!!!!!!]