Day Four (Saturday): On to Vancouver, With a Festive (And Very Personal) Final Evening
Oddly enough, not much to write about as The Canadian rolled through British Columbia and made its way to Vancouver. At this point, the journey was not particularly visual, so no photographs. But we all had a good time talking and enjoyed nice long conversations with fellow travelers.
Andrew and I were surprised at how many people we got to know and got to talk with, largely as a result of the ever-changing seating in the dining car. While we (and they) exchanged addresses, even with addresses I wonder if we’ll hear from each other. Perhaps a holiday card between Thanksgiving and Christmas but in the long run, it doesn’t really matter. We got to know each another and enjoyed being together, especially during the last day.
As our final evening approached, we had a couple of group gatherings, to get us all in the mood for the end of the trip. There was a beer-tasting of local brews as we moved deeper into British Columbia and everyone enjoyed that. Then a sweet “farewell” meeting before the dinner hour, and people began to sense that the journey was indeed coming to an end.
And for Andrew and me, there was a rather spontaneous celebration with some others in the dining car as the evening meal was coming to an end. Sort of personal, in fact, but we all enjoyed it. Only a few tables – perhaps four or five – still had guests, as the dining car was emptying out. Nearby (just across the aisle from our table and a table or two back) was a lively quartet, including the newly-weds mentioned earlier, Marisa and Louis (I never got their surname – I gave them my card, so I hope we’ll be in touch).
In our earlier conversation, as we spoke about music and other subjects, Louis and I happened to note that as singers (he’s a professional opera singer and I’m an amateur but a fellow who used to be pretty serious about singing), we had each sung at our respective weddings. He had asked what I had sung and I told him (“Caro mio ben” by Giordani). He didn’t describe what he had sung, but as art songs are one of his specialities in addition to opera, I just assumed he had sung several art songs at his and Marisa’s wedding.
So dinner being finished, we’re all sitting together, and some of the group were heading to a far-distant bar car to end the evening on a high note. Not Guy and Andrew. A little tired from the day, we declined.
But Louis was on to something. Noting that we weren’t going to the bar car with the gang, he said, “Before we go, we’ll hear Guy sing.”
I went into shock. I haven’t sung in public since my and Andrew’s wedding in December, 2011, when I surprised Andrew (and our guests) at our wedding dinner and sang for him (with three music friends coming to the front with me, to make sure I stayed on key!). And after our wedding trip to Venice, we had another reception put on by friends in California, in Benicia near San Francisco, and as our hosts had heard about my singing for Andrew at the New York party, I had to do it again (as if I minded!).
But that was the last time I had sung in public and here I was being asked – more than ten years later – to do it again.
OK. So I did. I sang that good old reliable (and very beautiful and very touching) “Caro mio ben.”
It wasn’t the best I’ve ever sung, but I didn’t embarrass anyone (or myself). Great fun, much applause, and then things quieted down as people started to wander out. Then Louis himself sang, to Marrissa. It was just about the most beautiful love song I’ve ever heard, “The Roadside Fire” from Vaughan Williams Songs of Travel, gorgeously sung.
What a treat! And what a way to end our journey!
And so to bed. We had been warned that we would probably arrive in Vancouver on Sunday between 4-5am, and that’s what happened. As we could not disembark before 8am, the day began with a very nice farewell breakfast. Once we were able to disembark, it was a quick taxi ride to the Fairmont Hotel Vancouver. We were checked in by 9, ready for a long nap, unpacking, and getting to know one of our favorite cities over the next two weeks.