Experiencing Amtrak

My husband was convinced that he didn’t want to rent a car and travel from San Francisco and down the coast towards Los Angeles. He is no novice in driving in the United States but his voice told me that he meant it. I had never driven anywhere in the United States so it was out of the question that I would drive.

The Amtrak office close to Mission Street in San Francisco

The Amtrak office close to Mission Street in San Francisco, everything is forbidden!

From home, we ordered tickets online from Oakland to Salinas but how would we come from San Francisco to Oakland? No one seemed to know at the two hotels. Our Visa Cards and Master Cards were so secured that we weren’t allowed to use it for booking more tickets online. Off we went to find the office for Amtrak and after some searching at the Mission Street area, we found it. I happened to ask the man something about how to activate the tickets on my new Amtrak app.

I already told you twice!

I tried again and it worked. He didn’t seem to have anything to do but to ridicule me. I thought to myself that this man wasted his day being mean.

Amtrak bus stop at 39 pier, Fisherman´s Wharf

Amtrak bus stop at 39 Pier, Fisherman’s Wharf

We had a hard job finding the Amtrak bus stop at the 39 Pier as nobody had heard about it at the hotel. The evening before departure we finally found it and once we were picked up by the bus driver everything went on perfect. The driver just checked that our names were on his list. He brought us to Oakland in the morning rush hour and we had plenty of time to get on the train at Oakland heading for Salinas. When we returned home to Denmark, one of our sons told us that Oakland was a city with a lot of crimes. We found the station very clean and calm and felt secure.




Oakland Train Station

To get on board the Amtrak was an experience. The staff stood outside and informed us of which carriers to choose. We were given a cardboard sign to place on the head of our chosen seats showing our destination. We were told that we would be guided to the right station and not left on the train. We are not used to so much service. In Denmark, we would have to figure everything out by ourselves. You would only occasionally see a staff member and not if you needed one. On the other hand, we have rails and train stations in most cities so we are not accustomed to transferring buses.



Waiting for the train at Salinas

The train came from the far north and some passengers had been onboard for many hours. Sleeping wagons were available as well as dining wagons. We don’t have that anymore in Denmark. Compared to the aeroplanes these trains were a lot more comfortable in regards to seats. We had very nice views all the time either landscape with cultivated fields, mountains in the dry wilderness and the huge Pacific Ocean.



A lovely Farmer’s Market at Oxnard were we stayed the last week of our stay

On top of all that we were entertained by the staff and the people we met. Those who were awake were friendly and some of the entertaining consisted in just listening to conversations without their knowledge. Two ladies behind us were sure that Trump would put all old people in a concentration camp!



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On the long journey between Salinas and Oxnard, 7 hours there are only a few stations and in advance, a conductor would speak through a loudspeaker:

You can go out to get some fresh air but don’t forget to come back in. It’s not nice to be left behind!

We felt like we were on a school excursion. One passenger was about to be arrested as three big policemen surrounded him and questioned while the train had stopped. At another time the train also stopped and we were told that a man was walking along the rails. It’s nice to know what’s going on.

Amtrak "no trespassing"

Taken at a car ride later on at Gaviota State Park


Once in Paris, on a train to the De Gaulle Airport, the train suddenly stopped due to a similar situation though we got no explanation. At last, people had to leave the train and wait for another. We never got any info and a lot of people got very frustrated and an elderly French person said

 Vacance fini ! The holiday is over

Luckily, later we all reached our flight in time as we had squeezed into a train heading for the airport.

At this vacation in California, we escaped the wildfires but we often think about how fragile life is.

Categories: Travelling, USA

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