Updated: Mar 23
Currently we are sitting in a really nice house in Maryland, which is something that I can't quite get my head around because its not where I thought we would be at this point in our journey. Well aware that we wouldn’t be able to afford staying in DC itself, I assumed we would be staying in Pennsylvania. My husband assumed it was West Virginia. That’s because I thought that Washington, DC was located in Pennsylvania and my husband thought it was West Virginia.
I did my best to learn all of the states by heart and their rough locations before coming out here, and I knew that DC wasn’t a state itself but neither of us knew that it isn’t technically classed as being a part of state and is actually the District of Columbia. If you look on an outlined map, you can see it is made up of land on either side of the Potomac River from both Virginia and Maryland, although it appears to me to be primarily Maryland.
So that’s how we ended up in Maryland! It’s really a good thing because for us it’s a bonus state that we weren’t expecting!
How we got here is of course a different story. Let me backtrack a couple of days…
We had previously been in New Orleans, Louisiana. From there we had to get to Washington, DC. They aren’t exactly next to each other! How would we get there?
Fly? That was shockingly expensive! Coach? That would take too long, and would have limited comfort. Train? It takes nearly the same amount as the coach, but hey, at least they have a dining cart and reasonable restroom! Train it is. There was of course a catch! This very affordable form of transport would take us 41 hours!
We had two options. Do this 41 hours in a direct trip, or stop for a day in Chicago which would break it up. We chose the second option. It would give us a chance to stretch our legs and of course we would also get to go to a city that we had unfortunately had to miss out.
Great! Let’s go!
With one last trip to Cafe Du Monde – a must when you’re in New Orleans – and a last glance at the beautiful architecture, we sadly said goodbye to the beautiful city that we had very quickly fallen in love with. It’s vibrant, it’s musical, it’s full of culture and history. What’s not to love?
Our first train journey wasn’t the best. We were in a noisy car. You see there are two kinds of train passenger.
The Considerate Passenger – We talk at a low volume; we put our headphones in and make sure they are on a sensible volume; we use electronic devices that do not require headphones; we save chit-chat for passengers that aren’t directly next to us for the dining car; we keep ourselves to ourselves and don’t feel the need to tell everyone our life story at the top of our voice; we avoid talking on the phone, and if it is needed, we do so quietly; we apologize for any possible inconvenience we may cause, and worry that by looking for our headphones in our bags, we are causing too much noise; we do not move from car to car when told to remain in the car has been designated for us.
The Inconsiderate Passenger – They talk at a high volume, to anyone that will listen, and even to those that won’t; they have not heard of headphones, or at least think that everyone wants to listen to their poor choice of music; they talk on the phone frequently and loudly; they set wake-up alarms that they do not switch off; they do no turn the volume off their handheld games; they move from car to car, only to then be removed by a conductor; they chit-chat late into the night, even after the lights have been turned off; they rustle around and regularly eat from noisy packets; they do not apologize for any inconvenience or disruption caused by them.
Don’t be an inconsiderate passenger. No one likes that.
We did manage to watch a couple of films and get some reading done so that was a bonus. We also saw a lot and passed through quite a few different cities, including Jackson Mississippi, which is featured in one of my favorite books, The Help.
Night fell, and with it came the struggle for sleep. It wasn’t impossible but it wasn’t easy either. We were thankful when morning came and we pulled into Chicago’s Union Station.
We had about 9 hours in Chicago. It was freezing, but it was sunny! I don’t want to go into too much detail about what we did, because I will be writing a more detailed blog once we’re home. I can say that Chicago is wonderful city though! I would have loved to have seen more of it. I’ll give you a hint as to what my favorite part was… it’s big and it’s shiny! Any guesses?
We got back on the train with some Chicago pizzas – a place called Due, if you ask for an individual and expect a slice… don’t. You get a tiny pizza! – only this time we made a small change. My wonderful husband suggested that we upgrade to a sleeper, so long as it wasn’t too expensive and they were available. Thankfully they weren’t, and they were! I was so happy. They aren’t huge rooms, just big enough for bunk beds. The top bunk attached to the ceiling so that you can stand up. The bottom turns into two separate chairs. There is a little table that unfolds in between them, blankets, pillows, and free bottles of water. Plus it included dinner that night and breakfast. It was right next to the loos and there was a shower too! Quite a good shower I might add. But most importantly, the beds were comfy and it was private. We didn’t have to sit around any noisy passengers. It really was a wonderful decision!
We arrived in Washington, DC the next day refreshed after a very cosy nights sleep.
Having such long train journeys has also meant that we have met some really interesting friendly people.
We have seen some amazing things so far. New Orleans is like something I have never seen. I feel like we learnt the most whilst we there. It’s beautiful and vibrant. The food is stunning.
I’m very excited to explore DC, and hopefully a bit of Maryland.