On the three-month trip I had, there were many places I would like to have spent a bit more time in and around. Some places were stops only to break up a journey, or because it made the most sense to take a certain route via a particular place.
Having spent a few days in Memphis, my aim was to head to Washington DC to catch up with a friend and see the city with people around this time. Since I don’t drive, and since I like train journeys, my intention was an overnight stop in Nashville then the overnight train from Atlanta to DC.
The Greyhound station in Memphis is in an inconvenient area from downtown, highlighting the problem of poor public transport. After snoozing/reading my way through the bus journey, I arrived in Nashville early in the afternoon on a blazing hot day. Passing a bar with the windows opened fully, one of the first things I saw in the city was a bar full of people watching a young girl playing guitar and singing about being “back in Folsom prison”. Awesome!
Nashville immediately felt like it would be more fun than the other “music cities” – particularly Austin and Memphis. On a Sunday afternoon there was a great atmosphere, and rather than a single street where everything happens, it had a lot more to explore.
The intention in Nashville was simple: get some food, plant myself at a bar, have a beer or two. I wandered a few blocks around downtown and then crashed out in the hotel.
The bus trip to Atlanta the following day took me to Georgia’s capital with a few hours to spare before my train. I was a bit “touristed out” by this point, particularly with the end of a three-month trip within touching distance, and had little appetite to see much of Atlanta during the few hours there. I grabbed a coffee, some food, a beer, and didn’t stray far at all.
To compound the slightly down feeling, I had planted myself near to a place hosting a large corporate conference, and was surrounded by people in suits, reminding me of what I was heading back to in a few days.
The overnight train from the tiny Peachtree Station in Atlanta was an expensive one. That was through my own fault, however, since I wanted to arrive in DC the following morning feeling vaguely human and hence opted for a room on the train, complete with a bed and shower. It was a step up from the Trans-Siberian and Trans-Mongolian trains certainly, but also cost many times more. I wouldn’t do it again.
With just four days to go before I was to fly home, the train rolled into Washington Union Station and I was on my way.