Canadian Rockies by Train - 69 year wait!

Posted by Liz · Jun 05 · in Banff, Alberta · about Escorted or Guided Tour · 1 Comment

Read the heartwarming story of our special client CeCe - 89 years young and realizing her dream of seeing the Rocky Mountains again after a 69 year wait.

Canadian Rockies by Train - 69 year wait!

Cecilia ' CeCe''s sense of adventure was forged as a (US Navy) WAV in WWII. As the war ended, she and two girlfriends, also WAVs, decided to have a memorable adventure travelling from Seattle to Banff and Lake Louise, then to California (to see all the movie stars), and on to the Southwest. CeCe was awestruck by the beauty she saw in Canada and mentioned to her friends how incredible it would be to take a train ride through the Canadian Rockies someday.  A few years later, CeCe married, Larry, a sailor who not only shared her sense of adventure but went on to become a naval aviation pioneer and World Record holder. As CeCe and Larry moved from one military base to another, they tried to make each move an adventure for their family.

Larry passed away in 1976, and CeCe continued to travel on her own every few years, never visiting the same place twice. Today, at 89, she has a 'can do' spirit as strong as ever. In spite of the pain from severe degenerative arthritis in her lower spine, CeCe walks an average of 3 miles every day, using a walker.

Since 2010, CeCe has had a number of health challenges, which now require her to make the difficult choice about which type of assisted living situation will be best for her. During one of the recent family conference calls, CeCe's son, Mark, who lives in Vancouver, suggested CeCe come visit him and his wife, Barbara, for both a little vacation and so he can also show her a variety of living options. Mark's mention of a visit sparked CeCe's memories of her time as a WAV in WWII, and how much she loved that time in Banff and Lake Louise, and her dream of returning someday to take a train trip through the Canadian Rockies.

Thanks to some above-and-beyond help from several caring travel agents at North South Travel and their partners Classic Vacations and Rocky Mountaineer, a vacation was arranged for CeCe to travel via the Rocky Mountaineer's Gold Leaf Service from Calgary to Vancouver, passing through Banff. 

Once she arrived in Vancouver, CeCe was asked about her impressions.  With a big smile, she replied: "I imagined the scenery would be spectacular and the overall service would be very good, but the reality was so much more than I ever imagined!  You know, just before I started this trip, I thought about how there are very few places in the world today where most of us aren't challenged to get real value for our hard-earned money.  Well, I can tell you without any hesitation that the Rocky Mountaineer Gold Leaf Service is an incredible value. No, I really mean it.  For example: the seating isn't just comfortable, it's really comfortable.  The observation windows aren't just large, they're so large you have completely unobstructed views.  And, oh my, the food! It's so beautifully presented, so delicious, and (laughing) seemed to never end!  

The best value, though, is the quality of service. It may not mean as much to others, but it matters to me that Janice, our onboard Travel Service Manager, came up to me, looked me in the eyes, with a genuine smile (and all the patience in the world), to ask me how I'm enjoying myself and if there's anything I need to make me more comfortable.  Sure, other places may do that as part of their service, but it never feels sincere. I've been around long enough to know the difference and there was no question Janice and the onboard hosts really cared about my having a memorable experience. So much, in fact, they made me feel like a Queen!

It's hard to take in that it's been 69 years since I dreamed of taking a train ride through the Canadian Rockies, but it's easy to be grateful how wonderfully my dream came true!"

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