I traveled to Chicago and Washington by train while Jean attended a retreat. I left St. Paul at the end of a very harsh winter.
I rode coach from St. Paul to Chicago but had a cozy sleeping compartment for the rest of the trip. The seats slide together to make a comfortable bed.
There was a lot of green being worn in beautiful Union Station, Chicago. I had been oblivious to St. Patrick's Day!
The view outside Union Station is magnificent, since the city spruced up the Chicago River area.
Marina City is a famous development dating to the sixties. Today it presides over a celebratory green river and crowds of party-seekers.
Two of my favorite buildings from the 20's: the Wrigley (built by the chewing gum guy) and the Tribune Tower, where the newspaper still is headquartered. I don't think the green river is complementary.
The train shed of Union Station these days is a catacomb. We head out to our assigned cars on Amtrak's Cardinal train.
In my first-class sleeping car: the coffee/refreshment nook and entrance to the shower compartment.
After dinner in the diner and a night's sleep, I woke up in West Virginia. This is New River Gorge, whose single-span steel bridge was the longest in the world in 1977.
The countryiside near Staunton, Virginia is bucolic.
Our General Electric locomotive pulls us into the Washington suburbs.
Time to say "good bye" to Mama J, my sleeping car attendant.
It's a dramatic feeling to disembark from an overnight train and emerge into a beautiful space like Union Station, Washington. It's a moderate walk from here to the Capitol.
On my first day in D.C., I sat in on a session of the Supreme Court. No pictures allowed but here is my view upon exiting.
I utilized my Library of Congress Reader's card to do some work and drink in the setting. This is the view from my desk.
After climbing snow banks to get on the bus in St. Paul, the park behind the Smithsonian headquarters was especially welcome.
One of my D.C. favorites: James Whistler's Peacock Room in the Freer Museum. Whistler was an aesthete who fought with his patron, a Detroit industrialist. For one thing, he paid much attention to the man's wife. Whistler's peacocks, warily circling each other, are said to represent the two of them.
My other favorite is The Throne of the Third Heaven of the Nations' Millenium General Assembly. It was assembled over 14 years by a janitor in various government offices. He used discarded furniture, glassware and light bulbs, all wrapped in foil and bright paper (now faded to brown). It is said to represent a unique blend of African-American spiritual inheritance with Christianity.