My friends Mary Hunt and Diane Neu gladly delivered me to Union Station in Washington – it was an excuse to take their adopted daughter Min to see the big trains, the model trains and the Christmas trees and decorations in this magnificent edifice. I also managed to get a picture with the President Elect!
It was good to catch up with Washington friends Carol and Joe Scinto and with Mary and Dianne. Mary and Dianne run a programme called WATER – Women’s Alliance for Theology, Ethics and Ritual in Washington, and we have been in touch with them over the years, though last time in person was 12 years ago. They are one of the feminist christian organisations which continue to operate – many have been forced to close down over the years. I think they keep going because of the passion and commitment of these two great women.
Back to Uni0n Station – at one stage it was largely derelict, but that is hard to imagine now – it glistens with grandeur and class. It is just two blocks away from the Capitol Buildings, so it is in good company I guess.
I am once again back in the USA and about to enjoy another overnight Amtrak journey – this time to Tampa in Florida to stay with my sister and her family. Nestled into my sleeper cabin, I had everything I needed for a great trip – a good book, a variety of clothes for the changes in temperature, a great big picture window, a comfortable chair and an attentive conductor in Ed.
Once again it would have been cheaper and quicker to fly, but I am sold on train journeys and I believe they are the future of travel.
Cold and clear blue skies and beautiful sunset have been followed by a magnificent full moon rising. I love that we are travelling past people and their homes – not flying over them. Sure there are the wrecks of cars occasionally, but its the Christmas season so there are also the lights in windows, and the decorations on houses. People going about their business in factories and shopping centres.
Somehow it feels more real than flying over a country. I go to sleep looking out a the ghosts of trees emptied of leaves and awake to another world of evergreens and palms growing wild.
I leave Washington where while it was not snowing, 5 layers of clothing were a must. Go south on Amtrak for 21 hours and there are people running in shorts and tshirts.
This is definitely the way to travel.
I bet that is a beautiful train ride. I’ve always wanted to travel by train just about anywhere but it’s actually a lot more expensive then many imagine it to be! We need something along the lines of what they have in Europe, cheap yet efficient, fast. When I think of Florida, I think of Palm Bay. Nice and quiet, the Palm Bay Hotel (www.palmbay-hotel.com) was affordable and the best on our wallets!
I’ve never been to DC but I have been to Florida and Tampa as well. The sunshine state is wonderful and I bet taking a train there was so much fun. The beaches are great and they have a lot to offer the tourist! I have to agree with the comment above me as well, Palm Bay is a great little city and that hotel as well is a great snag if you are traveling on a budget!