Pictured left to right outside the new store are: Paul Hardwick, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Director of Retail; Emma Bailey, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Tutti Taylor, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents; Councillor Candy Vaughan, Mayor of Eastbourne; Trevor Ridler, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents Business Development Manager; and Shirley Waters, Fred. Olsen Travel Agents..
To start my journey with First Class Holidays off to Western Canada, the outbound leg treated me to the opulence of business class, where reclining seats, gourmet dining, and attentive staff transformed the skies into a haven of comfort. As I returned to reality, I took economy class seats on my journey back, with adequate legroom, and standard amenities.
My journey through Western Canada unfolded as a symphony of indulgence, marked by a series of extraordinary hotels that left an indelible mark on my travel experience. Each hotel offered a haven of relaxation, with beds so comfortable they felt heavenly, complemented by luxurious pillows for an extra touch of opulence; thoughtful treats awaited, accompanied by the convenience of water, tea, and coffee making facilities. The friendly and helpful staff ensured that our stay experience was not only enjoyable but also memorable.
The Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf Service is truly an indulgent treat. Imagine sinking into reclining chairs with adjustable footrests and heated seats tailored to your comfort. The carriage features a stunning domed roof that adjusts to the outdoor brightness, providing a perfect setting to take in the astounding landscapes. The spacious interior allows you to move freely, and the small kitchen at the end offers delightful snacks and an extensive drinks menu, including everything from hot beverages to cocktails and wines.
The meals were a highlight, served in two separate sittings to accommodate everyone, allowing you to relish a three-course breakfast and dinner. The downstairs dining area provides a change of scenery, and there's even a lift for those with restricted mobility, ensuring everyone can enjoy the journey. The vestibule, accessible from downstairs, is a refreshing spot to stand, feel the wind in your face, and immerse yourself in the beauty outside.
We explored the Calgary Tower, where the daredevil 'viewing platform' made of glass offered incredible views. In Banff, a thrilling gondola trip up Sulphur Mountain treated us to stunning scenery. The top of the mountain boasted mesmerising views and wandering down little pathways led to moments of relaxation with hot chocolate and warmth from gas fires.
Our wildlife tour in Banff introduced us to charming squirrels, soaring eagles, and majestic Elks. Lake Louise was nothing short of stunning, providing an opportunity to stroll along the lake, capturing breath-taking photos while remaining vigilant for bears inhabiting the nearby forest.
In Vancouver, the 'Flyover Canada' excursion was a delightful experience. Seated on moving chairs with legs hanging, we were taken on a captivating journey across the country through a wide screen. The Capilano Suspension Bridge in Vancouver offered beautiful walks but is not for the faint of heart due to its height.
For an off-road adventure, the Whistler Buggy Tour took us through puddles, rocks, and along the edge of high mountains. With each buggy accommodating a driver and one passenger, the experience was a blast, complete with waterproof clothing, helmets, and goggles.
A standout moment for me during the trip was the Whistler Superfly Zipline experience. Zipping through the air with unparalleled views created a highlight that seamlessly combined spectacular scenery with an exhilarating sense of excitement. The sheer thrill of soaring through the skies made it one of the most memorable moments of the entire journey, capturing the beauty of the surroundings in a truly unforgettable way. While selecting a favourite moment from the trip is challenging due to every aspect fitting together like a perfect jigsaw puzzle, the ziplining adventure stands out as a vivid and exhilarating memory.
The trip would have felt even more fulfilling for me if we had explored the icefields or had the chance to spot a bear! If I were to offer one minor suggestion, it would be to consider having heating on the coaches, especially when it's chilly outside.
I highly recommend considering Canada for your next adventure. While our journey provided a swift glimpse of various areas, there’s so many other options you can choose from whether you are envisioning a more leisurely exploration that allows for a deeper connection with the country's beauty. With its awe-inspiring landscapes and warm, welcoming people, I promise an unforgettable experience, and the absence of a language barrier only enhances the appeal.
Picture yourself checking off Canada from your bucket list - a destination that caters to all interests. Whether you're captivated by stunning scenery, eager for wildlife encounters, or excited about hitting the slopes for skiing, Canada offers a myriad of incredible experiences waiting just for you. It's not just a trip; it's an invitation to create memories that will last a lifetime. Your Canadian adventure awaits!
To truly enhance your Canadian adventure, I have a couple of standout recommendations for you. First and foremost, don't miss the awe-inspiring Rockies and the pristine beauty of Lake Louise. These natural wonders are a must-see, offering breath-taking vistas of towering peaks and crystal-clear lakes that epitomise the splendour of Canada's landscapes. As for your journey, make the Rocky Mountaineer a non-negotiable part of your experience. This iconic train ride is not just a means of transportation; it's a luxurious passage through some of Western Canada's most stunning scenery, providing an unparalleled connection with the country's beauty. And for the thrill-seekers, make ziplining a must-try activity. Beyond the adrenaline rush, it offers a unique perspective of Canada as you soar through the air, capturing the essence of the country's beauty in a truly exhilarating way.