Friday, May 29, 2015

Amtrak Adventure - Day 11 - New Orleans to San Antonio

Day 11 was our first long daytime train journey. New Orleans to San Antonio, a trip of fifteen hours starting at nine o’clock in the morning. New Orleans station, as pleasant and well-organized a station as one could hope to find,  provided the first photo opportunity with its wonderful mural above the departure gates.

Given we were not sleeping on the train we had reserved upper level coach seats but we ended up spending most of the time in the lounge car which offered seats facing panoramic viewing windows. With a café conveniently downstairs it’s a great way to travel.

The scenery started off rather industrial but soon changed to farmlands. Miles and miles of farmland, just like this:

We were told that the main crops in the area were sugar, rice, cotton and corn, but I have no idea what the crop in the picture is. 
Every so often the view changed to this, which I must admit looks more like what I expected:

Occasionally we would pass a small town – the most noticeable aspect being the large, neat cemetery on the outskirts, each plot marked with white marble headstones and many decorated with fresh flowers - so many, I couldn’t help wondering whether the flowers had anything to do with the recent Mother’s Day.

Before we crossed the Louisiana/Texas border the train slowed and then stopped. Someone mentioned birds and when we turned to look we saw hundreds of white birds in the bushes, all different species and sizes, some quite large.

Tucked among them was the occasional pink and white bird (Pink Ibis according to someone who claimed to know). It was quite breezy and it was fascinating to see the bird sway in order to keep its balance on a branch that didn’t look capable of supporting it.

And down below was this fellow:

(There was also a huge turtle but unfortunately the photo didn’t come out well.)

After the Texas border the crops disappeared and were replaced by fields of cows, although field is probably the wrong word for the vast area they had to graze in. At any moment I expected to see cowboys riding by, but sadly I didn’t.

The land was amazingly flat – you could literally see for miles, but I have to admit the outlook quickly became boring. It stayed that way for hours until we reached Houston where glimpses of the skyline provided a welcome change.

After Houston it started to get dark and all we could see through the windows was the reflection of the coach. With another five hours to go it seemed a little daunting but the remainder of the journey flew by and, a few minutes before midnight, we finally arrived in San Antonio.

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