To begin

For the first hour and a bit of my journey to Chicago I drive up to a station called University Park. There I leave the car. The second half of my journey to Chicago is on the Metra.



sitting room




The Metra. A train designed to move as many people as possible from where they were to where they want to be. No frills. No bows. No luxury. The trains are not pretty. Or comfortable. Or Glamorous.   Shiny and clean at the beginning of the day. Scratched up and tired at the end. But I have always been attracted to the strong, confident, determined lines of practical machinery. The starkness. We need not speculate as to its use. There is no mystery. Steps. Seats.  Move. Stop.  Get on. Get off. Done.


Tickets Please!

I hope you had a lovely day yesterday, minding the shop for me. I had a great day. I love the city. I love the country. I love being with many people and I love being alone.  Actually I pretty much love wherever I am. This is a result of being a bit of a gypsy. A gypsy without a caravan.  A happy little gypsy. Plus I snagged my Rent a Kid and brought him home with me for another few weeks.

I hope we all have a lovely day today.


36 Comments on “To begin

  1. Hello and good Morning, Gipsy! Glad you are back well and that you enjoyed your day in the big city. Great and cristal clear shots of your transport means, the Metra. I admire your sharp view to technical things – reminds me to your shots of bridges and architecture – just great.
    Have a nice and bright day!

  2. Trains like that are a thing of my past life. Mostly I experienced them crowded, stuffed, packed like sardines, on hot days and freezing ones, mostly with my nose at armpit level to the nearest smelly person (being of restricted height). I appreciated their efficiency at getting me from A to B, but I did wish for just a tiny, tiny bit of comfort at the end of a long hot day. Empty, they are wonderful. Crammed, they are purgatory!
    I hope you will be home soon. The animals are not nearly as good at writing about their day as you are…

    • I remember summer commutes suffering somebody else’s sweat running down my arm. These Metra trains look remarkably civilised to me – there are seats!

      I hope you are home safe and sound soon: the animals must miss you worse than we do: at least we have your words in the interim.
      love, a sunshiny warm ViV in ormandy. xox

  3. Oh to live in a first world country, I am amazed at how clean your trains and stations are! Laura

  4. Those are quite lovely trains. The shiny metallic exteriors are appealing. Cities are wonderful for being alone in, too. Surrounded by people, but alone nonetheless. Happy travels, C.

  5. Sadly there are far too few passenger trains operating in the US today. Many freight trains, but few passenger trains. And, if one can even get to a passenger train to travel, the cost is more than plane travel, and the time to the destination is much more than plane travel. A reemergence of affordable, passenger mass transit system is needed here!

    • PLUS the Amtrak trains are NEVER on time.. The Metra is a city commuter line it costs me 7 dollars for an hours travel.. but the big inter state trains are as you say SO expensive and unreliable.. so right Di.. c

  6. The Metra looks much cleaner and newer compared to the Metro in NYC. Even the stations seem cleaner… and perhaps more safe. I marvel too at practical machinery – the longevity of function and purpose. I am a bit of a wanderer myself. I am most comfortable with a good friend or two, but mostly I am content to be alone.

  7. The first bit looks like trains in Bulgaria..we went on Express to Sofia….Express my foot! It took 5 hours, the coach takes three..but it was clean and comfotable and we saw the countryside. Hopefully I might be going to Istanbul next March and that is on the train…whoops!
    I am happy that you enjoyed your trip , just stay safe and dont pick up any strangers that need a home

  8. Isn’t it quiet and clean. Our chiltern train that we get to go to London is clean but never empty, and once on the underground, well as you know never quiet or empty! I have a trick though always get on the last tube carriage that’s usually quieter 😉 Hope you had a fab day in the city. I love both country and city too.

  9. We have the MAX here in Portland. That’s what took my friend and I downtown to the WP conference where we met. I take it anytime I want to go downtown. But I don’t ever get to snag a young man to come home with me. I’ll have to work on that. 🙂 Have a wonderful Halloween.

  10. The Metra is what I take to downtown Chicago. Just recently, they have instituted “quiet cars” so that people who don’t want to listen to jabberers on their cell phones can read or sleep in peace. Or think.

    • We have a quiet zone on the chiltern line. It’s a really good idea.

      • I looked up Chiltern Line–Wow–London!! (I thought it might be Illinois–Chi for Chicago Il for Illinois!)

  11. “I love being with many people and I love being alone. ” Now that’s the way to live and enjoy life.
    (We don’t have real trains for transportation here – they always look like fun. We road some on our side trips from London to Greenwich/assorted places close by places to visit. Such as delight. Probably because we don’t have to do it everyday.)
    Always hold that gypsy heart.

  12. Love this post, and the photos, lovey green/silver colours. Lovely words

  13. I’m quite fond of trains because of their possibilities to take you somewhere. As kids in a small rural town we were fascinated by them. Now days they whizz past my door and I travel in one most days. They have their downsides but are convenient. During my daily commute I sometimes think of Amtrak, which although 15 years ago, I enjoyed my train trips from LA to San Diego to San Francisco. It was a very civilized way to travel and see the countryside, and from an Aussie traveler POV quite economical and very efficient.

  14. If you end up taking the Metra during rush hour, take a look out the window at the “express”way – it usually is a giant parking lot while you’re zipping along at a nice clip. Amtrack used to be separate railroad companies who all worked hard to prove they were the most on-time company. Amtrack has no competition and is fouled up with the government, no wonder it’s always late.

  15. People in Tokyo would find it hard to believe the Metra is actually working. Where are hordes – the mass of Zen wannabes – pushing, shoving, stepping on, elbowing, rushing? Interesting emptiness – a symbol of the Illinois prairie? On another note entirely, a friend who is as comfortable in Canada’s northern bush/mountains as he is in a huge city, used to amaze me. I’d be madly trying to orient myself as he stood quietly over me, pointing. In the correct direction! Unrattled by the cacophony of chaos.

  16. I love the train, but do wish the travel was more timely. Funny–to snag your Rent a Kid. 🙂

  17. I can so relate to that statement – “Actually I pretty much love wherever I am. This is a result of being a bit of a gypsy. ” A happy little gypsy, that’s me as well.

  18. Any chance of a detour to me? I wish! I have a particularly compelling (and ridiculous) address – Paradise Road, Paradise – I kid you not!

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