Summer Train Travel: In Your Future?

Have you seen the train travel episode in one of the final seasons of Sex and the City? Carrie and Samantha take a decidedly unglamourous trip that essentially equates train journeys with bad skin and boring men. Might you have a similar association? I did until friends convinced me to ride the train to Moscow last weekend rather than fly. Read on, and maybe you'll suddenly find yourself all about Amtrak as you make your summer plans. Anyone have a favorite North American route tip?Initially, the relative eco-friendliness of the train wasn't enough to make up for the perceived convenience of flying. However, when accounting for air port transfer, security, and general waiting, riding the rails took less or equal time. Quality time, people! On the way down, some of us caught up on English gossip rags, while others made Russian friends in the dining car (with a little help from vodka and caviar!). I appreciated the chance to plow through a little work, study some adjectives, and check out the countryside: birds that weren't pigeons, lakes, and brightly colored log houses with corrugated metal roofs. Once in Moscow, voila! A short Metro ride delivered us to the hotel. All MUCH more pleasant that coping with the air port.

On the way home, we rushed straight from the theater to the night train, leaving the city at around 10:30. With one fewer traveling companion, the three of us shared a cute quad with a quiet, magazine-reading gentleman. People lingered in the hallway until the lights shut off at around midnight. We all ate, nested, and hung out before reading a bit in our cozy, comfy benches-turned-beds. Glamorous? Not really. But falling asleep to the train's undulations proved so relaxing that I seriously wished we wouldn't arrive in St. Petersburg in the morning. I could have continued on the trans-Siberian railroad right then and there. We arrived at 6:00, in time to take the metro home and get ready for class.

My skin is fine. And seriously: who needs a random man on the train?