The Internet connectivity was iffy again in the morning (I actually whined about it to the hotel as we checked out. There really is no excuse for that in a hotel of that caliber) so we gathered ourselves up and went downstairs for a quick and dirty mini-breakfast (coffee and toast, really) and then went back up to the room, consolidated our bags and baggies as best we could, and departed. We had one of the worst, most sullen taxi drivers I’ve ever shared a taxi with; he behaved as though we were kind of imposing on him by hiring his cab. He was, as best I can tell from a conversation I overheard with another driver, Russian; possibly he was one of the last Romanovs and driving such hoi polloi as ourselves was so utterly beneath him. He even gave rdeck the hairy eyeball when he was asked to actually lift our bags onto the sidewalk as he took them out of the trunk of the cab.
We had lunch at the little restaurant attached to the Portland railway station – which is an extraordinary place, with fabulous food and friendly straff, where we had had a great experience at least once before to the point of actually looking forward to returning there. It’s so utterly not a railway station fast-food greasy spoon type place – I would even go so far as to call it gourmet, with good quality ingredients prepared in appetising and ingenuous ways. Today’s dessert, a crème-brulee PIE, if you don’t mind, with amaretto cherry liquerur on top, was quite superb. And once again we were left with a sense of loking forward to going back there sometime.
Afterwards, we waited for a while in Portland station – where we were entertained by a trio of young kids, two girls (a Bohemian brunette with an artistically twisted scarf in her hair and a fragile-looking blonde) and a young man, who sat in a huddle and played guitars and sang the sweetest, most haunting melodies in high and nicely harmonising voices. I thanked them, after, for brightening my day – and obviously brightened *theirs*, because they GLOWED at the words. They lined up, later, to board the same train as us but I lost sight of them. I hope they continued to make music as the train rolled into sunset, and then night.
We screeched to a halt in Seattle about half an hour ago, and then lurched out of there – they tell us we will hit our own stop on schedule, and then it’s a cab ride back home at last.
I tell you – I am suddenly excruciatigly bone-tired, and I am longing to come in under my own roof, fuss with my cats if they will have any of me after my two-week absence, and crawl into my own bed. It’s been a lovely trip on so many levels and on so many ways… but I’m coming home tonight. And I can’t wait.
(WRITTEN on the moving train, somewhere between Everett and Mount Vernon.To be posted at such time as Internet connection permits.)