A Novice’s View from the California Zephyr

Mathilde Visits Amtrak from FranceDespite what some told her about the flat plain states, Mathilde still decided that crossing the country by train during her trip to the U.S. was her preferred method of travel. We caught up with her on a two-day-long trek from Chicago to California on our California Zephyr.

The way only the French can, she made us fall in love—not just with her but with trains and even the concept of time itself!

Here’s Mathilde’s view from the observation car somewhere in Colorado.

All Aboard: What do you think of the train?

Mathilde: You are in a little environment. It’s very quiet. I was afraid at first, because I would be living on the train for two days and maybe people would be nervous. But there are a lot of different spaces on big trains, so I like it. You can go upstairs or downstairs. It’s like a little house.

What do you do to pass the time?

I go in the lounge to enjoy some views. And really I think you lose the concept of time watching the scenery. Maybe it’s because it’s a long trip, but I don’t know what time it is. And I don’t have any problems not knowing what time it is.

What do you think of the country you see outside?

I like all of what I see, because I’m coming with the spirit of curiosity.  I’m open to what can happen and what I can see. Some people told me the middle part of the country was not so beautiful with all of the plains, but I was happy to see it.

Did you step outside at any of the stops?

Yes, I always do to get fresh air. I was surprised to see the snow on the Rockies.

Would you recommend train traveling?

Yes, and a long distance trip. It’s important to take trains, so people that are stressed and busy can enjoy a sense of being here in the world and experience something physical. Because when you are on the train, you are in the landscape.