Amtrak – Seattle to Vancouver

By September 2, 2017

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Ok, so I had just spent 4 wonderful days in Seattle enjoying a wonderful conference and catching up with some great mates.

After catching up with one of the guys over coffee I checked out and make the decision to walk down to the station where I got off just 4 days earlier.

I had plenty of time and it was a lovely sunny day otherwise would have got an uber down.

Once there I checked the board to see what time my train would depart and couldn’t see it, so checked the App to make sure I had the right day, time and location and yeah, all correct. I went and spoke with a lovely assistance who advised me that I had booked a bus ticket and not a train ticket.

Great, I booked the train as it’s an easier process through the Canadian border security I didn’t want to have to get off a bus, wait for it all to be emptied and wait for everyone to pass through security.

Turns out I wasn’t the only one person and the woman next to me had done the same, she even told me had she known it was a bus would have picked a different company as it was half the price.

I had a decision to make – get the bus or wait a few hours and get the train, but get into Vancouver quite late into the evening.

If you want to know more details about the routes and times visit the Amtrak website.

Bus

I went for the bus option, I had paid for it and it would get me there first.

The downside is it had no wifi or plug sockets. I was quite tired I had three nights of networking and exploring Seattle bars so I decided to get a little nap for the first part. I dozed for around the first hour or so but then was very awake.

I still had about an hour to go to the border but just looked out the window and watched the scenery go past.  It was lovely forests and small clusters of houses, not big enough to call a town but usually multiple houses together.

The Candian Border

Canadian and American flags at the border

The part I was dreading, not because I have anything to hide, actually as a Brit I don’t need a VISA to get into Canada via SEA or land. If you are arriving by air you do need a visa. This is for British – if you are not sure to visit the Official Canadian Government website here.

Just before the border I kind of fell a sleep again and that was a mistake which could have been costly.

The driver pulled up the border and got us all off and we had to collect our bags and go into Border control – fine so far.

As I approached the desk to be allowed in, I was asked several questions and one of them what are you coming to Canada for. I started to say the word Business and realised what I was saying and stopped myself and said holiday.

That got him to ask even more questions as if I was coming in on Business I did need a visa, I was honestly coming in on pleasure and the guy soon realised I had made a mistake a let me in. All I can say is that they are much friendlier than US border control.

There were two young girls on the bus sat near me and they asked their mum if they could have a photo taken with the standing half in America and half in Canada. This is obviously doable at most places across the border as it’s just a strip of land, but at the actual check points its all fence, so they were a little upset.

Back on The Bus

Everyone got through border security ok, the woman took a bit longer than the rest but we were soon on our way. I would say it took probably about 30 minutes in total, to unload get checked and back on the bus. Luckily as we arrived there were no other coaches waiting, as we were leaving there was a queue of 7 coaches – that could have been some wait for them as each coach I believe is done one by one.

Canada

The city of Vancouver in Canada

This was my first trip to Canada and it wasn’t much different from what I had just left in America – I don’t know why I expected it to look much different, most of its nature and the border is human made. Trees are trees and were growing long before the border went up.

It still took about another 90 minutes once inside Canada to reach our final stop in Vancouver, it made 2 or 3 stops before getting here (exactly where the train would have stopped).

Once off the coach a quick Google search to realise I had booked a hostel less than 0.3miles from the bus stop – must have picked it for that reason when I booked it.

Time to go and check in and hope this hostel is better than the one I had in Portland.

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