The overnight slow-train from Nice to Paris was 10 hours. San Antonio to New Orleans: 16. New Orleans to Washington, DC? 26 hours straight! We woke up at 6 on Thursday morning, got to the train station by 6:30, and were moving across the landscape at 7:05. Neither of us slept well the night before so we were a little out of it. Luckily our compartment was a tad more spacious than the one on the Sunset Limited, with an elevator bunk for more head room, windows for the top bunk, and our very own toilet and fold-up sink in the room!
The hours actually passed pretty quickly. We had our first on-train breakfast: Stephanie had scrambled eggs and I had french toast. We sat across from a nice couple from Lafayette and chatted about catching gators, good food, and their French-speaking Cajun grandparents. We had lunch with a nice older couple from Anniston, AL who couldn’t wait to get back to the comforts of home after a week in New Orleans—Steph had a burger, I had a salad. And we had dinner with a woman who never said a word to us—I had a stuffed pasta, but ended up eating half of Stephanie’s broiled catfish and rice instead.
We went to bed around the Georgia-South Carolina border, hoping the wrath of Hurricane Earl would stay off-shore (it did), and we woke up on Friday just before Alexandria, VA. We were still putting our bags back together when the train pulled into Washington DC’s Union Station. It would continue on to Philadelphia and New York, but we were getting off there, staying at a second-cousin’s vacant apartment for two days to do a little sightseeing.