Friday, May 27, 2011

Montreal to Schenectady

It was raining so I took a taxi to the train station. My taxi driver was an angry young man who cursed at everyone and everything that got in the way of his taxi while he alternately stepped on the accelerator and/or stomped on the brakes. I'm glad it was a short trip!

An announcement that it was a holiday weekend in the USA and the train could be crowded had me worried. But despite the holiday the train was mostly empty.

We had an hour and a half delay at the border. Crossing from Vancouver was better since they only stopped long enough for the border guards to get on and did their inspection while the train was moving. At least we didn't have to get off and queue like you do crossing by bus.

It's a scenic train ride with lots of lush greenery. Much of the way is alongside Lake Champlain. I saw bald eagles, great blue herons, the ubiquitous red-winged blackbirds, and lots of turtles. There were stretches where every log in the water had at least one turtle on it and sometimes six or ten lined up in a row. They were all sizes from two to ten inches. One had climbed out to the very end of a branch about three feet above the water. I could see a bellyflop in his future! It was nice to see such an seeming abundance of them.

As in many places this spring, the water level was really high and many cabins by the water were flooded out. It wouldn't take much more before the water would be over the train tracks.

I got off in Schenectady and found my way the few blocks to the Stockdale Inn where I was staying. It's a historic building and there are only 11 rooms.  My room is very nice with a big four poster bed. The sun was pouring in the windows.

I went for a walk through the park by the river where there were a couple of canoes out. The town was first settled (by Europeans) in 1661 and there are lots of historic buildings and attractive old houses. Thomas Edison had his Machine Works here.

The hotel has a well rated restaurant but it looked full and the atmosphere seemed a little "stuffy". So I decided to try out the Moon and River Cafe. How can you resist a place with a hand written sign in the window saying "stop the freaking fracking". Predictably, it was a funky little place with only half a dozen tables. (Even their web site is funky!) But they had good vegetarian options and a band was just setting up for some great live music while I ate.

Tomorrow, the final leg to Boston to meet Shelley.

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