Picture a scene where glacier-capped mountain peaks soar above as you twist your way between old-growth pine forests onboard a luxurious train coach.
A glass of champagne in one hand, you push a button to electronically recline your leather heated seat as the gentle rocking of the tracks below relaxes you even further.
Minute after minute passes by as you cross the Canadian Rockies at 50km/h, but time seems to stand still as you find yourself hypnotised by the landscape around you.
The gentle chatter of the other guests stirs you back to the present moment, and a smiling host announces that lunch is now ready.
You take another look at the tips of the mountain ranges rising above you through the glass dome window, and head downstairs to feast on fresh salmon.
This is Rocky Mountaineer – Canada’s epic rail experience.
The story of Canada’s railways is an important part of the nation’s identity and good fortune that was created as the tracks eventually connected east with west.
The most difficult, and visually spectacular, part of the railways is the mountainous section between Vancouver and Banff, and it is here that a family-run company is bringing the country’s history and beauty to the masses.
Rocky Mountaineer was born in 1990 as a luxurious train experience connecting the two popular tourist destinations over a two-day journey.
Carefully curating the best elements of romance that train travel’s reputation is built on, this trip is what travel dreams are made of.
Over the years it has risen in popularity to become the most sought-after experience for many visitors to Canada, and despite the fame, it doesn’t disappoint.
Recently we had the privilege of taking the legendary Rocky Mountaineer on its most iconic journey – First Passage to the West – from Vancouver to Banff.
We went in with high expectations, and Rocky Mountaineer and its hosts managed to surpass them in every way imaginable.
The quality of service was only matched by the high standard of food that was presented to us, and the level of comfort was the best we’ve ever come across during our dozens of times travelling by rail.
And of course there were the mountains, peering at us through the glass dome window that Rocky Mountaineer’s GoldLeaf Service is famous for.
This is our Rocky Mountaineer photo journey.
Our journey on the First Passage to the West was made possible thanks to our partnership with Rocky Mountaineer. All thoughts, opinions and hours spent sipping on refreshing beverages while gazing out the window at the mountain peaks are, as always, our own.
Hey! We are Alesha and Jarryd, the award-winning writers and professional photographers behind this blog. We have been travelling the world together since 2008, with a passion for adventure travel and sustainable tourism. Through our stories and images we promote exciting off-the-beaten-path destinations and fascinating cultures as we go. As one of the world's leading travel journalists, our content and adventures have been featured by National Geographic, Lonely Planet, CNN, BBC, Forbes, Business Insider, Washington Post, Yahoo!, BuzzFeed, Channel 7, Channel 10, ABC, The Guardian, and plenty other publications. Follow our journey in real time on Facebook, YouTube and Instagram.
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“Don’t worry about the rust. It adds character.” An obvious sales pitch. But he needn’t have bothered. I was already sold.