Monday, May 26, 2014

Day two on the Canadian – Manitoba and Saskatchewan

It stayed light until nearly 10 PM.  I had forgotten how daylight lengthens as we go north.  I took some photos before we went to bed and took some again at first light  - still not much change in the terrain.  Time changed by an hour overnight so we set our watches back before going to sleep.  Breakfast was again excellent – today blueberry pancakes with maple syrup and or a 4 cheese omelet. No boring food on this train!
Scene at First Light

The train arrived in Winnipeg at 8 AM and would board at 11:30 for a 12 noon departure.  We had breakfast and left the train about 8:30.  Our first stop was in the rotunda of the station in Winnipeg to post the blog. No problem at all and in 15 minutes we had downloaded and checked email and posted the two days of blog.  Using Livewriter  from Microsoft allows Jane to write blog and insert photos off line and then quickly post it when internet is available. The rotunda was beautiful with a lovely ceiling. They are in the midst of a major renovation here like they were in Toronto.

Jane posting blog in Winnipeg Station
Beautiful Ceiling in  Rotunda

Within walking distance of the train station was a huge outdoor park and a market area called “The Forks”.  We first visited the market and enjoyed some looking.  Good thing we had just eaten.  Ben loves cannoli and one of the vendors in the market had more types than I had ever seen.  He did buy a little bag of Jelly Belly’s!  There were several gift shops and I was able to find a post card to send Daniel.

Bakery at "The Forks"

Inside "The Forks"
After some window shopping we headed out for some sunshine and fresh air – it was in the 80’s and very pleasant.  There was some sort of Scottish Bag Pipe Competition as well as some type of athletic competition among some college age students. There was also a skateboard park.  Being Saturday morning it was a BUSY place.  People watching was fun and I have to post one photo  for my neice Amanda to share with Ryan – her husband -who is an accomplished part of a bag pipe group.  Just wondering is they would be interested in adding skateboarding to their interests?!

Ben in park at The Forks"
Unique Skateboarder
Back on the train it was again time to eat. The lunch was great – grilled scallops and shrimp on a salad with Saskatoon berry chutney. Ben had an equally good ham and cheese sandwich on foccia bread.

Shrimp and Scallop Salad with Saskatoon Berry Chutney

Soon after leaving Winnipeg we passed through Portage La Prarie known as an area food processing center for all the produce raised in this fertile area.  Their other claim to fame is having the largest “Coke” can in the world.  I had forgotten that many small towns have the largest something – seems we have a lot of those photos from our AK trip.
Largest Coke Can

Our afternoon adventure was to make the hike to the very back of the train. There is a car called the bullet which has two lounges on the lower level and an observation car to the upper level.  I think I reported earlier the train had 21 cars – no it has 24.  We eat lunch in a car about 5 cars from the front of the train – so we came back to our car and then headed further back to the end….19 cars we walked through.
We sat in the upper level enjoying the view – changing as we are now in Manitoba – the plains – flat with some rolling hills. We have seen deer, various types of ducks, geese, grebes, coots, etc. Lots of beaver ponds and lodges but  no beavers to be seen.

Colorful Containers on Freight Train passing us

The only disconcerting thing about the train travel is when we pass a train and the cars fly by so close.  We the passenger train always stop for the freight trains to go by – they own the tracks so have priority.  During our time in the dome car we had one pass us that was VERY long – as far as the eye could see.  The colors of all the containers made a great photo.

Ben and Jane in Bullet Car

We staggered around on the lower lounge car – and I do mean staggered. It is difficult to walk anyway but in that last car – it really swayed from side to side.  We probably stayed a hour or so in the back lounge and view cars.

Dinner was excellent as usual. We both had short ribs.  I had never had them before – like pot roast on a bone. Very tender and tasty but way more than we could eat.

We have a new attendant for our car – Carla and she will stay with us all the way to Vancouver.  Time to download photos and write something. This blog is to stay in touch but also keeps my mind straight about what happened when and where.

Ben says to write about the electronics – well we do have a lot of cords and cables to keep  us connected and entertained.  1) 2 kindles and a charging cord 2) 2 iphones and a charging cord 3) camera, 2 batteries, a battery charger, and a cable to transfer photos to computer 4) my old dell computer, charging cord, and mouse (only thing I have not used) .  All these fill up one pocket on one carryon. The thing we did not bring that we see all the young people with is earphones.  Guess if we were big music listeners we would have that too.  I only wish the cords were in different colors for quick Identification.

No problem with being disconnected from WIFI – having periodically keeps us connected but we are certainly not tied to anything. Hope to post this tomorrow afternoon in Jasper Alberta.  We are looking forward to seeing the Canadian Rockies.  Since we have seen patches of snow both yesterday and today we expect the mountains to be fantastic.

Ben just added a fox to our wildlife count. It was running through a just planted field.  He is observing the various farm equipment. The fields are huge like Texas – fields stretch from horizon to horizon. We are now in Saskatchewan and have just entered another time zone – that is one yesterday and one today – I believe a 3rd will be when we enter British Columbia late tomorrow.  This is one huge country!

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