Amtrak to San Francisco, Part 1: New York

This entry is part 1 of 2 in the series Amtrak to San Francisco

My 20-day trip from East to West Coast began by stumbling across one simple blog. It was the blog of a man called Derek Low who travelled the length of the United States, using only Amtrak trains for a relatively reasonable price. Having failed to gather enough people for a road trip in a car (maybe this says something about me) this was the chance I was looking for to explore outside of the West Coast. Combining this coast-to-coast train journey inspiration with a previous invitation from a friend who lived in New York, allowed me to decide on my final solo route:

New York to San Francisco

DAY 1-5: NEW YORK CITY, NEW YORK

After a slightly claustrophobic six-hour flight from my hometown of one year, San Francisco, to the Big Apple, we (myself and two friends) touched down at JFK Airport and, thanks to an enthusiastic Lyft driver, got a guided tour of Queens and Brooklyn by night. However, during the next four days we ended up spending the entirety of our time in Manhattan and even after that there was still plenty of the city left that I hadn’t seen. After ticking off the touristy things on day one, (Times Square is a lot smaller than you’d expect — I blame countless films; the Empire State Building, just from the outside — there was no way we were paying $34 to go up 86 floors; and Washington Square, basically just a nice park), we had only scraped the surface of the city so good they named it twice.

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Amtrak to San Francisco, Part 2: Philadelphia

This entry is part 2 of 2 in the series Amtrak to San Francisco

Of the eight stops I was allowed on the 15-day Amtrak train journey from East to West, my first stop was Philadelphia. Knowing virtually nothing about the city except that it is home of the Philly Cheesesteak and the Liberty Bell, and with nothing other than references from It’s Always Sunny in Philadelphia and the Tom Hanks film of the same name, I was at the mercy of a few suggestions from a friend who had lived there for a year. Continue reading

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