And, finally, Vancouver. (Not that I’d forgotten about this post, oh no.) My first impression was that I could move there tomorrow, though after 5 days it was starting to feel a little quiet for my taste (I’ve clearly been ruined by London and New York!).
Amtrak’s Cascades line runs along the North-West coast from Eugene, Oregon up to Vancouver, and is a popular route with people travelling in this area – it seems that even Americans can be tempted off the roads occasionally! In our original plan for the trip we would just have taken it from Seattle to Vancouver, but visiting Portland meant that we got to double our time on the Cascades, and it was really very pleasant.
Seattle confounded all our expectations from the start, as we arrived on a gloriously sunny afternoon and stared up at the hill rising sharply from the waterfront. I’m not sure why it being hilly was such a surprise, but that was the first thing we both noticed, followed immediately by the fact that it wasn’t raining.
I had assumed that we would never have reason to visit Portland (Oregon), so it was rather a surprise to find out that we were going there. As it was we only had an evening and a morning to look around, and we could easily have spent longer.
So what do you do with just 24 hours in Chicago?
Travelling from coast to coast across North America by train – for some a dream, for others a nightmare. When we started telling friends that this was our plan for our main trip of 2014 we received all kinds of responses, but we thought it would be brilliant. The plan was to catch the Lake Shore Ltd. from New York to Chicago (an overnight journey of around 18 hours), and spend a little over 24 hours taking a brief look around Chicago. We’d then transfer to the even more evocatively-named Empire Builder for a full two days spent travelling across to Seattle, by way of Wisconsin, North Dakota, Montana, and Idaho. Coach seats were deemed acceptable for the first part of the trip, but we decided to treat ourselves to a sleeper for the longer stage. Bookings were duly made, hotels and excursions planned, but very sadly all did not go according to plan.