FRIENDtastic Adventure through The Canadian Rockies!

Happy Fall, Everyone! If you live in any area where foliage changes with the seasons, you know how exciting and beautiful autumn can be. I love fall and the colors of the changing leaves especially when they turn a vibrant orange, yellow and red! The fall foliage in our area is absolutely stunning right now.

This beautiful display brings back fond memories of our recent trip across the Canadian Rockies a few weeks ago. On our “Journey through the Clouds”, we saw the larch needles turn to gold and the aspen trees turn into shimmering wonders as their leaves became a brilliant yellow. 

One of the best parts of the trip was sharing this beautiful country with friends…friends from near and far, some who have known each other for years and others who met for the first time. This is the beauty of “Social Travel”, the topic of my last newsletter.

“Social Travel” is about bringing travelers together from all over, many who will meet for the first time, go on an adventure, discover new cultures and cool experiences and enjoy a new part of the world…TOGETHER! Life is better when we do it together! 😊

Social travel = MOMENTS you won’t forget! In PLACES you won’t forget. With PEOPLE you won’t forget!

I’m excited to share about our train adventure with you. There were so many amazing highlights that it was hard to narrow it down. For additional inspiration, take a look at my Facebook and Instagram pages where I captured some breathtaking scenery and moments of our journey. And I posted our trip itinerary on my website for you to follow along. This adventure was truly magical in every way!

So read on as I share about our “Journey Through the Clouds”……


Our adventure began in Vancouver, a city that is surrounded by majestic mountains, sparkling ocean waters, rainforests, and beautiful foliage throughout all four seasons. And of course, with all these natural beauties, this makes Vancouver one of the most beautiful cities in the world.

We explored the city, learned about the history through a food walking tour, visited Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden, shopped at Granville Market and learned about the Chinese influence in the community by going on a “wok” around Chinatown.

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden

Dr. Sun Yat-Sen Classical Chinese Garden was named as the world’s top city garden by National Geographic. It opened in 1986 and is the first Chinese or ‘Scholars Garden’ built outside of China.

The jade green pond, koi fish, and the collection of 150-year-old trees plus the Tai Hi rock imported from China, are a few of the delights in the garden. It took 53 master craftsmen from China and 950 crates of traditional material using 14th century methods – no screws, glue or power tools to build. It’s a beautiful, peaceful garden, especially in the early morning before most visitors come to enjoy.

A “Wok” Around Chinatown

Established in the 1890s, Vancouver’s Chinatown has been humming busily for more than a century with vivid colors, exotic cuisine, and a vibrant culture. Rich in history and architecture, this area east of downtown boasts North America’s third-largest Chinatown after New York and San Francisco.

We had a fabulous time on our “wok” around Chinatown with “Chef Robert”. We visited the markets, a tea shop, tasted a variety of Chinese specialties like barbequed meat, delicate pastries, herbal products and ended our “wok” with a delicious Dim Sum lunch.

Life was meant for great adventures and good friends!

Next, we joined the Legendary Gastown Food tour that took us through the cobbled stone streets of Vancouver’s oldest neighborhood. We enjoyed local craft beer, Japanese Kar-age style chicken, freshly made Sicilian Tortellini with local wine, crispy sweet & chili cauliflower, smooth soft serve ice cream, Vancouver’s award winning cheesecake and delicious lemon bars! Our guide shared some fascinating and funny little-known stories about Vancouver and its “Wild West” history that dates back 150 years. There’s nothing better than learning about the history of a city than through food. So delicious and very interesting!

Granville Island

The Granville Island Public Market is the jewel in the island’s crown and a MUST visit. This large indoor market features a fascinating assortment of colorful food and produce stores, showcasing handcrafted products and the very finest in unique gifts. The area is packed with theaters, market stalls, art studios, restaurants, bars and bookstores. It’s a great place for unique souvenirs, for tasting fresh seafood caught just offshore and for a freshly baked scone from the local bakery! So tasty! 😋

Sea to Sky Adventure

We ended our visit in Vancouver on the Sea to Sky Highway, a legendary route from Vancouver to Whistler. It’s a gorgeous drive along the side of Howe Sound, an ocean fjord, and then up through the mountains to the Whistler ski village.

There are many fun stops along the way, including the Sea to Sky Gondola, waterfalls, cultural points of interest and historic sites. This highway links together the regions’ three main centers – Squamish, Whistler and Pemberton. It’s a beautiful drive along the coast! 🏔☀️😍

Our first stop along the route was to the Sea to Sky Gondola🚠 and the Sky Pilot Suspension Bridge. These suspension bridges always make me a little nervous but with a “little help from my friend” Terri, we did it!

Our last stop was in Whistler, home to Blackcomb, one of the largest ski resorts in North America. Besides skiing and snowboarding, the area offers snowshoeing, tobogganing and ski jumping at the Olympic Park, a venue for the 2010 Vancouver Winter Olympics. The village is beautiful in the summer but I bet it is spectacular in the winter when it is blanketed with several feet of freshly fallen snow! ❄️

An Adventure by Rail

🚂 And now…for the star of the show…the Rocky Mountaineer train! All Aboard! 🚂

On the fourth day, we boarded the train early in the morning to experience the “Journey through the Clouds”. We certainly had a “room with a view”! Our seats were in the bi-level glass domed coaches which was ideal for viewing the incredible landscapes and the abundant wildlife. And when it was a bit too sunny, the hosts flicked a button and the glare disappeared. Every now and again we would jump across the aisle so we could gaze at the stunning landscape that was before our eyes.

Each row of seating was very spacious and had a lot of legroom. Our seats were very comfortable, reclined, and had seat warmers for the chilly mornings.

Embarking on new adventures is a million times better with close pals.

A Feast for our Senses

Our taste for adventure wasn’t the only thing we indulged in on our journey. Traveling between Vancouver and the Canadian Rockies, what we found on our plate was just as impressive as to what we saw outside the glass-dome windows. We dined on multi-course breakfasts and lunches that were served on board the train and created by the Rocky Mountaineer professional culinary team. Truly delicious!

Spectacular Scenery

The Canadian Rocky Mountains are a UNESCO World Heritage site. They are filled with rugged mountain peaks, ice fields and glaciers, alpine meadows, beautiful blue-green lakes, waterfalls, extensive karst cave systems, thermal springs, wildlife and deeply incised canyons.

Some of the best-known mountain scenery on Earth is concentrated in a set of seven parks in the Canadian Rocky Mountains. And the beauty of traveling by train, is the opportunity to see this scenery all throughout the journey. No matter which direction you look…left, right or through a Vista Dome roof, you will see so much more compared to when you travel by plane.

Remember to enjoy the journey and the scenery along the way!  — Katrina Mayer

We traveled on the Rocky Mountaineer train during the day and spent the nights at beautiful properties in the major cities like Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff.

Fairmont Chateau Lake Louise was my favorite and a hotel that I longed to see in person since I was a teenager. When I walked into my room and over to the window, I was in awe of my view of Lake Louise and Mount Victoria! Breathtaking for sure!

Although the train portion of our trip was 2 full days, the next 6 days were spent exploring Jasper, Lake Louise and Banff National Parks. The scenery was breathtaking, the air was crisp and fresh, the adventure was a blast and our memories will last a lifetime.

Next week I will share more about our visits to these National Parks. So get ready for some truly visually mind-blowing pictures! It does not come as a surprise that the Canadian Rockies is a bucket list destination every traveler wants to visit at least once in a lifetime.

Our “Journey Through the Clouds” was magical in every way, but nothing beats traveling with friends. One of the best things about “Social Travel” is that your experiences are heightened when they are shared with travelers around the world. You’ll soon feel like you made lifelong friends with many of them. What a great reward!

It’s the friends we meet along the way that help us appreciate the journey.

Are you ready to join me in experiencing a journey to Greece? I know you will love this adventure as much as I did last year! It’s magical (and a whole lot of blue and white) in every way!

If the answer is YES…then let’s do it! I believe, whole-heartedly, that YOU would enjoy a journey to Greece that wows you every step of the way. Just send me an email ([email protected]) that you are ready to explore the Greek Isles with me!

Let’s pursue a new adventure together! Don’t wait! Life it too short!

Another friendly reminder…we have a fun group that is exploring Egypt in February! I have 2 spots left. If you’d like to join us, let me  know! It’s a fabulous destination with so much enrichment for all!!

Enjoy your week!!


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Hi I'm Lisa, founder of XOOM Tours

And I believe, whole-heartedly, that YOU deserve a travel journey that wows you every step of the way. I’m here to design just that, just for you.


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