VIA Rail: Moncton to Montréal [with children]

Our family of four departed from Moncton, NB at 5 pm Atlantic Time after spending 3 lovely weeks with my father, grandmother and my father's girlfriend. Leaving the Maritimes is a bitter time, but leaving it slowly takes the shock out of it. Via Rail offers transport at about 100 km/hr heading north, then west, then south to Montréal making it a gentler departure.

We've chosen time over money in our profession, so with lots of time and little money, we rode coach (or Economy) for the 17 hour journey through Miramichi, Bathurst, Campbellton, Mont-Joli, Rivière-du-Loup, Charny, Drummondville, St-Hyacinthe, and finally Montréal rather than the 12-hr drive or the 2-hr flight (or the 17-hour train in a sleeper compartment).

I got motion sickness right away, so I sipped ginger ale for the first hour and gazed out the window at the passing trees. I felt fine afterwards and enjoyed some egg salad sandwiches (a whole other story - third time I had eggs that day...)

So, the real point of this blog post is how amazing my children were. Despite the fact that I didn't sleep the whole time, Blaise and Acadia were exceptional in their behaviour, cooperation and excitement. Acadia played with stickers, coloured and amused herself. Blaise played Angry Birds and read.

Just before bedtime, I thought it would be fun to bring the kids to see the last car of the train (the bubble car). Not my best idea. The train threw the kids into the walls of the narrow corridors on several occasions, the kids fought over who could lead our trio, and I was told sternly at the second to last car that we weren't supposed to be back there as it was reserved for the luxury travellers. The attendant did let us visit the last car, though I felt sheepish walking my kids up the stairs and holding them up to see through the glass ceiling in front of the wealthy guests. The walk back through 30 odd cars was just as stressful as the first half.

The night didn't go as planned. I anticipated a late night, maybe 11, and all of us being able to fit on the 4 full sized recliner seats. Ultimately, Blaise couldn't sleep and so from 10:30 pm to 1 am he read his Geronimo Stilton book. Acadia was out like a light when we put her to bed. Amber slept off an on. I did not sleep. I listened to podcasts, played Angry Birds and read.

Despite my low energy level, I was pleased to watch the Montréal skyline come into view on time. Via Rail did a fine job of getting us there, but our reception at the station was marred by having to wait nearly 90 minutes for our luggage.

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