Boston

By far our shortest time in a place is here in Boston. Sad too because no one has been here before. I immediately start to fall in love with this area. The train ride north from DC was a relaxed, quick trip. The scenery was distracting; I gazed out the window the entire time.
We get in and the weather is not as hot as it has been. At the hostel we had some issues checking in, but it is resolved somewhat quickly. Each floor of the building is decorated to match each subway line. We stayed on the green line. With our short stay we head out immediately. Grab a coffee at Thinking Cup right next to Boston Common. After coffee we go across the street to the park and have ice cream from a Ben & Jerry’s truck. By now we’re ready to go check out Cambridge, so we hop on the “T” to take us to Central Square. We dine at a veggie diner, which was a great place to relax over a beer and diner food. After dinner we walk up to Harvard Square and check out the school. It’s dark by now so we don’t get to explore too much. We do find the Harvard Book Store and I purchase another Notaro for my collection. After roaming around downtown a bit more we head back to get some sleep before our early departure to NYC!

I loved Boston immediately. I will make a trip back and stay a few days so I can experience all it has to offer. If you ever have the chance to go–just do it!

 

 

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Boston

New Orleans

I have been lucky enough to visit this city twice now. The first time was back in college on a road trip and it was the year before Katrina. I’ve always wanted to return so this leg of the train trip I was greatly looking forward to.

As we are getting closer to our destination, the rain starts to fall. On this trip we have been blessed with decent weather. I was a bit bummed that Nola was going to be spoiled by the weather. By the time we arrived at the station the rain had more or less stopped, and with that some more humidity joined our plans.

We check in and head out to explore. The hotel is quaint and centrally located. It so happens that Beyoncè was in town on her tour so the city was a bit more packed with people heading to the concert. After seeing a few sites, a drug deal in the works, an almost knife domestic violence incident, we decide to head back to the room to relax. Dinner was tasty–a veggie corn dog. Dessert was even better at Cafe du Monde, a coffee with beignets.

Early start, the rest of the trip will be like this. Heading to DC and visiting a friend too. On the train on our way to Washington outside of Atlanta a car hits the train. So we get delayed a bit. Apparently this is not a big deal and happens more often than you would imagine. This train is my least favorite of all the trains I’ve been on. Feels more compact and it was dirtier. I’ll be ready to see DC again.

New Orleans

Chicago

I was recently told, at lunch by my server, that if San Francisco and New York City had a baby, Chicago would be that child. I’m not sure if I agree, since I’ve not been to NYC yet, but I understand his reference. Chicago is the best of two worlds. It is the perfect blend of west coast and east coast. It is so easy to get around this city.

We got in late to the city from the train and headed to check in at the hostel. It was a great location. We dropped off the bags and went to the game. Arriving half way through the game, we hurried to grab some food and make it to our seats. I had a delicious veggie dog and a Bar Fly IPA. The weather was perfect for enjoying a night of baseball. After the game we stayed for the fireworks. It was a great night of entertainment.

The next day I went to explore the rest of the city. We had lunch at a tasty Mexican joint. Then coffee around the corner near Printers Row–a cute neighborhood. I then wandered, the best way to see a place. That evening we were boarding the train again, so groceries were purchased and dinner was planned. Pizza in Chicago is always a good idea.

Chicago

Empire Builder

This is the train we rode to Chicago. I’m letting you know what I thought, all opinions are my own. Avoid this route if possible, at least until the track maintenance is done. Long delays on an already long trip.
On a positive note, from Portland to mid-Montana is a beautiful view. And the Amtrak staff were great, friendly and helpful.
In the future I’ll be flying to and from destinations in this area. The longest time on that train was almost too much. And if you’re going to travel on Amtrak in the US, be flexible to changing itineraries and adaptable to the cold temperatures aboard.

Empire Builder

Portland

I love this place so much that I put a bird on it.

Portland is weird and that’s why I’m in love with it. Arrived and spent a short amount of time in the pearl/abc district. Getting around was easy enough, the light rail lines get you around to the major parts of the city. I’m a book nerd so finally going to Powell’s city of books was indescribable.

The food was fresh, the coffee pours freely, and I didn’t feel like an outsider. Thus it was sad to leave after such a short stay. This area of the U.S. is by far my favourite. The mix of water and mountains or all the green space. It truly is a magical place. I highly recommend a visit to this area to everyone.

I’m on my way to the third city on my train trip…Chicago. This is also a favourite destination of mine. This leg of the trip is the longest; I’ll be glad to have it behind me.

Portland

Feeling Small

Do you ever get that feeling of smallness when you realize your place in the world, does it disturb you or calm you?

For me it’s always a calm feeling. I encountered this feeling on the second leg of my trip as we passed through northern California and southern Oregon. Staring out the window the vastness of life consumed me. I regularly feel like this when outdoors.

Now I’m in the Pacific northwest and feel like I’m home. This part of the U.S. is so relaxed. The scenery is breathtaking. I’m sad to leave and head to the Midwest, but the show must go on.

Feeling Small

Los Angeles

My train trip’s first overnight stop was in L.A. We spent a little over 24 hours in the city. After unloading from the train we drop off our bags in union station at parcel check in the baggage claim area. (Four dollars for each bag, a great deal). We then get to explore the city without the burden of a bag. Breakfast on Olvera Street, a beautiful view from Griffith Observatory, and then pick up the bags and head to Santa Monica.
The ocean is beautiful. California has been a breath of fresh air. A vegan dinner at RFD of sandwiches and salad. The morning is an early start as we head out to Portland.

Los Angeles

Day one

Train Trip day one:

Tonight starts the beginning of my summer adventure. Busy, her sister, and I leave Missouri tonight and head west. After spending some time visiting with friends in the city we are dropped at the first station. The first leg of the trip is going well thus far. The more we get in and out of our packs the easier it gets to find stuff.
We have already had a few run ins with the staff (just being unfriendly). All our meals were planned out the night before. It was cheaper for three people to split a grocery bill than for one person to eat at the snack bar or dining room. Bring your own food on the train.
Also do not count on the times that the train is supposed to run. We arrived late to our first city. The little bit of rain tonight is putting me to sleep. Stay tuned for more.

Day one

Flying these days.

Tuesdays are notorious for being a good day to travel. Not my luck the first Tuesday after a holiday. Baltimore is a busy airport so I should have been prepared for the long lines. Always save yourself time by checking in online the day before your flight. And print (or bookmark on your phone) those boarding passes.

So now you can skip the check in full service line and just drop your checked bags at an express kiosk. This usually saves me time. Today the line was long. I waited forty five minutes  to drop off my bags. Then came the security line. Luckily I was selected to enter the tsa pre-check line.

If you fly often this feature is worth the time and money. I kept my shoes on, left all electronic devices in my bag, and didn’t remove my liquids. A quick step through a metal detector and then you are on your way–easy, breezy.

Time was a bit of a crunch. I made it to my gate with ten minutes to spare before boarding. Next time I’ll arrive at least the two hours (if not more) suggested before my flight to give myself more time. Even though it was a rocky start, all the workers I encountered were very friendly. Flying will always be my favorite way to travel, turbulence and all.

Any flying tips or horror stories?

Flying these days.

Haircut

This week I’m chopping off my long hair. I’m thinking a pixie cut *eek* but I’m not sure. I never understood why girls got so obsessed about their hair, until now. I’m going to miss having this length, even if I never “fix” my hair.

The motivation for the cut is I’ve always wanted to donate my long locks to a charity. I’ve always kept my hair length to my shoulders or shorter so this was a nice change.

Wish me luck.

Haircut