Wednesday, December 21, 2005

I Heart the Train

Taking the train to New York City at Christmastime - is there anything better?

At any time, the train is such a civilized, refined, and altogether more comfortable and less-harried way to travel. Frankly, 9/11 changed nothing about train travel. Show up 5 minutes before your departure, grab a Starbucks, stroll down to the platform, lean out and watch as the lights bend into view, and board.

Nice.

The train hurries north, out of the lovely beaux-arts Penn Station in Baltimore, through the industrial wastelands, past block upon block of tidy brick rowhouses with their scrubbed marble steps. The quiet hum of the engine suffuses all as we rocket across a narrow bridge, spanning the upper Bay and its tributaries, pass Mariner Point and the Middle River, then the Bush River, Havre de Grace, all these graceful little harbors where I plied my kayak this summer, now edged in ice creeping out from the shoreline, over the Susquehanna and the Flats, where dead brown grasses now rise from the marshlands and wave in the chill wind, the ice below us like a dusty mirror; then up, north and north again, through Philly, past the clubby UPenn boathouses lining the Schuykill, and zipping then past the old stone buildings of the zoo.

There is no finer way to travel

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