Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Closet Canuck's Great Big Canadian Train Adventure DAY ONE: Flying from Seattle to Halifax

Sunset at JFK International Airport. Photo by Sue Frause.

HALIFAX - This isn't my first Canadian train adventure. I'd taken the train from Vancouver to Montreal before. Granted, that was 3+ decades ago, long before blogs, digital cameras and my current life as a travel journalist.

On Tuesday, I flew to Halifax from Seattle via JFK on American Airlines, landing around 10 PM in the darkness and chilliness of Nova Scotia. I'd only been to Nova Scotia one other time, and was pretty smitten with this Atlantic province. I'm looking forward to getting to know her better.

Halifax Stanfield International Airport, actually located outside of Halifax in Enfield, was built in 2000. Many people remember the role the airport played following 9/11:
Following the September 11, 2001 attacks the airport was part of Operation Yellow Ribbon, as it took 40 flights -— more flights than any other Canadian airport involved in the operation—carrying about 7,300 passengers -— more passengers than any other Canadian airport involved in the operation other than Vancouver, which registered 8,500. (Wikipedia)
Going through Canada Customs and Immigration was a breeze, and the nice young man who asked me the usual questions ended his so-called inquisition with a smile and, "Welcome to Canada!" I had booked a room at the Quality Inn Halifax Airport Hotel, knowing I'd be arriving late and just wanting to crash. I called their free shuttle from a courtesy phone at the airport, piled in the van with the other weary travelers, and was soon in my clean, nothing fancy room.

Later this morning, I'll take a cab to downtown Halifax, where I'll spend two days and nights, giving me time to get reacquainted with the city. From there, it's a ten-day journey west to Vancouver, BC on Via Rail Canada. I'll be staying at Fairmonts along the way, with overnights in Montreal, Quebec City, Ottawa and Toronto (two nights). Then it's four days and four nights to Vancouver.

I'll be blogging daily, so follow my 6,119km journey (3,802 miles). All aboard!


Closet Canuck's Great Big Canadian Train Adventure 

Day Two: Halifax water, suds and pub tunes
Day Three: Halifax shines as a vibrant university town
Day Four: Halifax to Montreal
Day Five: Montreal to Quebec City
Day Six: Quebec City to Ottawa
Day Seven: Ottawa's Obama cookies and Toronto
Day Eight: Toronto's Frank Gehry and the Jersey Boys
Day Nine: Niagara Falls and Via Rail from Toronto west
Day Ten: Gogama, Foleyet and Hornepayne, Ontario
Day Eleven: West to Winnipeg and Saskatchewan
Day Twelve: Edmonton, Jasper, west to British Columbia
Day Thirteen: Almost home to Vancouver, BC