Tag Archives: Amtrak

Amtrak Lakeshore Express

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There is a Cafe Car on this Lakeshore Express Amtrak train that offers beverages, chips, hot dog or hamburger. Or, down one more car is the Dining car, which offers different menus for breakfast, lunch or dinner.

Since reservations had been made & the dining car was pretty fully booked, I was seated across from a young man from Rochester who is on his way to Boston to a conference.  Adam enjoyed a sirloin burger, while I tried out the daily special of BBQ pork shanks & mashed potatoes. Both dishes came with opening appetizers of marinated vegetables and sliced fruit.

Two women were seated across the aisle from me, and asked if I would use their phone to take their picture. This is their first train trip. Another older couple got seated at their table across from them. They are from California and travelled overnight through Colorado, then a 2nd overnight from Chicago heading east. After seeing NYC, including the new Ground Zero museum they will take another train down to DC.  They’ll fly back to the West Coast from there. My seat mate back in the coach car is a student at Geneva heading home to Boston for the weekend. He plans to drive his car back. Such an intriguing cross-section of folks from around the States.

As an extrovert, it’s easy for me to talk to strangers and find out a little of their story. But the train is perfect for introverts – there’s no need to talk at all. I spent most of the time looking out the window at passing scenery, checking where the train was on an Amtrak app that showed progress along the route, and checking email and social media on my smartphone. The passenger seats on the train are about 4 inches wider than on a plane, recline more, and it’s easy to walk around… like down to the Café Car for snacks.

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Trip to the Azores!

 

(Looking out train window… trees in Upstate New York still haven’t leafed out yet)

I was going to fly to the French Caribbean with a relative when she had a week off at the end of April. But due to the zika virus, those plans were cancelled and we get to visit the Azores instead. I made the arrangements, keeping in mind the countries and types of places Clare had said she’d like to go to, and trying to find reasonable airline tickets. SATA was offering reasonably priced flights to the Portuguese Azores Islands, and some friends had taken a wonderful “trekking” trip to the Madeiras just 2 years before. So I booked our flights, having a vague idea that we were flying to islands somewhere off the coast of Portugal.  Then, when we looked at a map, we realized we were flying to a tiny little dot in the Atlantic Ocean! I guess the Azores are 900 or 1000 miles off the coast of Portugal.

Apparently when whaling ships were being built near Boston, Portuguese from the Azores helped to build them. Azores Airlines offers direct flights between Logan International and Sao Miguel Island, with connections on to Lisbon or to the Madeira Islands. Clare is going to meet me in Boston tomorrow for our overnight flight. But I decided to start my trip by taking Amtrak between Syracuse and Boston. I haven’t been on a cross country train trip since 1988 when I traveled between  Chicago and Santa Fe  (Lamy really).

Trains got a little fancier in the last 30 years (although not as advanced as Europe or Japan). Nice padded, reclining seat, electricity to recharge my phone or other electronic devices. I’m going to go check out the dining car, since it’s lunch time!