Old school - taking Amtrak from Nola to Atlanta

If you want to feel the heartbeat of a nation then for sure you got to take the train. 

 Nola Amtrak terminal

Nola Amtrak terminal

 Platform to train

Platform to train

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What a difference, arriving early in the morning at the Southern Pacific terminal in New Orleans. No hustle and bustle but pretty relaxed fellow travelers and a warm hearted Amtrak darling that gently pushed me into the line for coach class passengers. Boarding started and the column of bags, food to go boxes, blankets and other stuff was manfully escorted towards the cars where the train guard already waited and the seats assigned.

 Santa's train

Santa's train

 Coach Class the Crescent

Coach Class the Crescent

 

Step back in time, take a seat. Wow, comfy and big seats and panorama windows in contrast to todays airplanes

 Train on lake Pontchatrain

Train on lake Pontchatrain

So why should you swap a one hours flight to 12 hours by train. Well that easy. Start glimpsing at majestic lake Pontchatrain soon after departure in New Orleans. Travel through deep LA swamps and forrests and watch little villages and cities go by before the train makes its first major stop in Birmingham Alabama.

Boy this has nothing to do with Southern romance but with fall of heavy industry, segregation, Ku-Klux-Klan and the struggle of finding its place in the 21st century. It reminded me a bit of German Ruhr Region at the end of the 1980's. However, seeing dozens of bordered up or burned down houses all along the way is tough, especially when travelling in a developed country.

The train got delayed and I used the opportunity catching up with some mails thanks to freely available high-speed wifi on the train.

The dining car manager passed by and asked if I were to make a dinner reservation what I willingly did. 

Three more hours to Atlanta so I was off to my culinary discovery. 

 

 Antrak dining car experience  

Antrak dining car experience  

 A good dinner

A good dinner

The steak with a baked potato was actually quite good and the premium you pay for onboard dining not too high. I paid 25 Dollars plus 6 Dollars for a beer excluding tip.

 DeSean and his wife

DeSean and his wife

Not hungry any more I returned to my seat continuing my small talk with DeSean and his wife on their way home to Atlanta. Both spent some days of fun dancing and enjoying the excellent music on Frenchman Street in Nola. Look at their hats, wonderful.

I still hate the fact that I left out GOORIN, one of the oldest hatmakers in town, an institution for classic or stylish headgear.

I also stepped into Jason, respectively his jesus cruisers well conplemented by hand nitted socks that immediately caught my attention. Student at Louisiana State University School of Medicine, he was on the way home to Baltimore for Christmas. 

What a bunch of people, individuals like me, plane haters, pensioners, tourists taking the time to travel having stopped thinking about the downsides of modern aitravel.

 Jasons hand nitted pair of socks. 

Jasons hand nitted pair of socks. 

The Crescent train not only connects New Orleans with Atlanta but continues all the way up North via Charlotte, Washington, Baltimore to New York arriving there the second day making the journey just a little under 30 hours.

My trip to Atlanta cost me 61 Dollars in Coach. Dleeper cars and a slightly more expensive business class are available as well.  Travelling by sleeper car would make sense when travelling to NY. However, standard coach class seats are reclining seats and a price of 129 Dollars up to NY make you sleep well. Add approx 200 Dollars per  person if you want the privacy of your own compartment.

 Amtrak sleeper compartments

Amtrak sleeper compartments

More info available at www.amtrak.com

Finally I arrived at Atlanta with about 1 1/2 hours delay. The station Amtrak uses is rather small and you get the impression to arriving in a suburb.  Taxis are available at street level and a ride to major downtown hotels will take less than 10 minutes.

In a nutshell: 

Travelling Amtrak is fun. You get the chance of seeing a lot during your trip but I guess that the best about the travel is to touch base with some wonderful people, all of them having a unique story to tell.