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DAY ONE

The first part of my journey in the wake of Sir John Ross involved a flight to Edmonton, Alberta.

Not that Sir John Ross came this way, and even if he did, we would hardly have been "in the wake" thereof, seeing that most of our trip was over dry land. These days the only quick and reliable way of travelling across Canada is by air.

Hence I was at Pierre L Trudeau airport at Dorval at some kind of silly hour in the morning.

Airbus A320-200 pierre le trudeau airport dorval montreal out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

Today's aeroplane is an Airbus A320-200, and it's been a while since I've had a flight in one of those.

Unfortunately I wasn't able to see its serial number so I can't tell you anything about it.

But what I can tell you is that, much to my surprise, there wasn't a meal offered on the flight. It didn't bother me at the time because the advertised flight time was just 2.5 hours. But I had forgotten abut the 2-hour time difference between Montreal and Edmonton, and so we were in the air for over 4.5 hours too.

And so I thought that the lack of an on-board meal was extremely bizarre and I was bitterly regretting having sent my hand luggage - including a packet of biscuits - down to the hold.


edmonton international airport arrivals lounge out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

The thing that surprised me more than anything about the airport is that although it's an airport that has International flights, the baggage carousel is actually in the public area.

It's easy to imagine the scene where people might be held in a long queue or even detained at Immigration, and their luggage arrives on the carousel long before the passengers arrive there to reclaim them.

It doesn't seem to me to be a very reliable way of dealing with the luggage of passengers. I would have expected the luggage to be decanted into the private side of the arrivals lounge.


hotel renaissance edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

But here at the airport a little - in fact, a major - disappointment awaits us.

As it happens, we aren't going any further than Edmonton today. There's an issue with the weather that is preventing our onward progress. As a result we've been stuck in a hotel for the night.

It's the Renaissance Hotel right at the airport terminal, and I do have to say that I have never ever stayed in a hotel quite like this one. Not even when I had an expense account in the European Union. But I won't be eating here. I've just seen the prices of the meals.


hotel renaissance edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

My room is on the top floor of the hotel and it's probably bigger than my apartment back in Granville.

And there's an excellent view of the airport from the window. I've never been to the airport at Edmonton before and so I want to add a photo of the place to my library.

You won't be able to find a better view than this.


hotel renaissance edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

I've never ever been to the city of Edmonton either.

In fact, this trip is the farthest west that I have ever travelled and beats by a couple of hundred miles my voyage to the Rockies and the Utah Desert in 2002 - coincidentally during another bout of ill-health.

But somewhere over there in the distance to the left is the city of Edmonton and as there isn't enough free time in my agenda to go out and visit the place, a long-distace photograph from here will have to do.


subway edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

And from this viewpoint over here there's an excellent view back across all of the car parks towards the airport in the distance.

But having just spent four and a half hours on an aeroplane without anything significant to eat, my stomach is thinking that my throat has been cut.

But there's an internet connection here at the hotel and with that I can do a little research. And that tells me that there's one of these "Subway" sandwich bar places in the distance and that sounds like an excellent plan.

A good stride out across the series of car parks and a little bit of climbing of a fence soon brings me out to where I need to be.

Over there on the right, the tall building is my hotel. I didn't know it at the time but my hotel is actually quite modern. It was a part of the major additions to the airport during a rebuilding programme in 2013.


subway edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

In the Subway had a very exciting couple of minutes trying to persuade the elderly "sandwich artiste" to make me the sandwich that I wanted rather than the sandwich that she wanted to sell me.

The Rolling Stones used to sing You can't always get what you want, which made me think that at one time or another they might have changed planes at Edmonton and gone for a sandwich over here.

But I did eventually end up with my footlong vegetarian without cheese, and they also had falafel too which made a nice addition to the sandwich. Mind you, the way that I was feeling right now, almost anything would have done for lunch.


Back now across the car park to my hotel. And I was interrupted on several occasions as there were so many things to see.

electrical outlets edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

Those of you who were with me on my trip around the Saguenay Fiord in 2012 will recall the surprise that I had to see electric plugs sticking out of the radiator grille of Canadian vehicles.

We know all about them now of course but what we didn't know is that here on the car park at Edmonton Airport every car-parking space is provided with a socket so that you can plug your car into the electrical circuit.

This is something worth remembering if ever I have a laptop or a battery that needs charging.


hyundai genesis edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

And that's not all. Far from it in fact.

Does anyone in Europe have an idea of what this car may be? I didn't because I can safely say that I have never ever seen one before. One thing that I can tell you is that despite the badge, it's not a Bentley.

Closer examination revealed that it's a car called a Genesis and I had to go away and research it because that meant absolutely nothing to me at all.


hyundai genesis edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

If you know your Hyundais - or "Hundays" as they call them around here, you'll know that they have a reputation of being ... errr ... cars for the popular masses and not the kind of car that would appeal to the average upmarket executive.

And so when the company decided to launch an "executive" line of vehicles they realised that perhaps it might not be such a good selling point to badge them as Hyundais, in case people got the wrong idea.

And so the brand name of Genesis was born. It's all merely A Trick Of A Tail .


nissan quest edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

Here's another car that I don't recall ever having seen before, although I suppose that I must have done because there are plenty about.

And yet it looks quite familiar too, doesn't it?

It is actually a third-generation Nissan Quest, the type that was made between 2004 and 2009 and in my opinion it bears more than just a passing resemblance to the Dodge Grand Caravans that we used to have in the good old days before Strider came along.


conference room hotel renaissance edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

Later on, we were all "summoned to appear" in the Conference Room of the hotel to discuss our future plans because the weather is in a state of continual flux.

We met the leader of our expedition and were kitted out with all of our expedition gear, but whether we'll ever get to use it is a matter of some dispute right now.

Nevertheless, if things go according to plan, which they almost certainly won't, we'll be setting off at 05:00 in the morning and I'm really not looking forward to that. I've had enough of early mornings right now and could do with a lie-in.


hotel renaissance edmonton airport out of the north west passage adventure canada september septembre 2018

There was a buffet supper on offer afterwards where we could all mingle with our fellow expedition members and then, having done the "sociable" bit I came back up to my room.

While I was admiring the aeroplanes taking off from the runway, I was reorganising my luggage. Some stuff (like my wet-weather gear) I'll need close to hand and other stuff isn't quite so important. That can go in the baggage in the hold.

And then I went to bed. I have sore misgivings and, even worse, no ointment to rub on them




To see more details of today's voyage, please refer to this page



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