How much trouble could we get into on a five-hour train ride from Edmonton to Jasper?

Well, actually

The folks at VIA Rail kept us contained and entertained and time seemed to fly by. I love the relaxing roll of the rails.

Our adventure started before dawn when we were picked up by a Yellow Cab at the Fantasyland Hotel in West Edmonton. We needed a minivan to fit all in our party plus the luggage!

Not to worry we made it in plenty of time, but were briefly delayed at the station – long enough to enjoy a spectacular sunrise with a French class from Alberta.

It was suggested that we get a sleeper car, not that we would be sleeping, they’re just more private. So our valet helped us into two separate rooms. The kids’ smiles were immense as they chose the kids room. Then the valet removed the panel between the rooms and I think Aren cried. I did too.

Alberta CanadaThat wasn’t really so bad. I sent Chris to the back car for continental treats – aka coffee and croisants – while I arranged the luggage and pulled out some school work. There’s no WiFi on the train so it was workbook pages for us.

Then we had a knock at the door to let us know our table was ready in the dining car. Do not miss out on the dining car. Take our advice and ask for a table time, especially if you have a big group. Then enjoy. I think this was Erysse’s favorite part.

We went back to our sleeper car and finished our reading and spelling, mostly. It’s pretty hard to concentrate with so much beautiful prairie passing by. But what finally broke up class was a quick announcement that there was live music in the back car.

Alberta CanadaThis had Iden smiling. And fidgeting. And completely distracted from school.

He was practically bouncing off the walls with excitement. And it was a cultural experience. So I had to let him go. Right?

I’m so glad I did. The caboose, a “park car,” had seating under the glass-domed roof with stunning views from the upper floor, the back had an oval of seats with passengers sipping tea and singing folk songs with a guitar player as the the mountains came into view.

We stayed as long as we could. When our arrival in Jasper was being announced, we had to run back to our car to get our bags. The crew really helped out and we were on our way to the car rental counter in no time.

On the ride to the Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge, Erysse wanted to know if five hours had really passed by and when we’d get to ride the train again. I think we have a new favorite way to travel.

Alberta Canada