What I Did On My Summer Vacation
By Deborah Weltman
Do kids still write this essay at back-to-school-time? I personally haven't touched the topic for fifty years, but I had an awesome vacation! So, here's the scoop:
I went to visit my daughter in Berkeley, California mid-August. Our time together was easy, fun, and sweet. We did Mom/Daughter shopping, decorating, and met with friends and family. Cousin Peg conducted our San Francisco tour, complete with a walk down the beach to the Golden Gate Bridge. I was informed that locals refer to San Fran as "The City". I was also taught other "tips" to avoid being recognized as a tourist. And, we cooked together, and ate delicious foods: Multi-Layer Veggie Lasagna, homemade Oat Shortbread Fig Bars, and lots of Daughter Anna's yummy homegrown heirloom tomatoes! A wonderful time was had by all!
A big part of the travel adventure of this vacation was the mode of transport I chose: the TRAIN! I took Amtrak from St. Louis to Berkeley, a three-day affair that necessitated a jog up and through the Chicago Amtrak hub and two transfers. It was great! I loved the camaraderie with my fellow passengers: first, Mark, the college student from South Korea, now in the States to study American culture. He asked me many questions about American slang, "What does it mean, ‘Hey, Dude'?" I met Richard from Wisconsin who was bringing his granddaughter a beautiful guitar he had made for her. He played it for me. It sounded as beautiful as it looked! In the dining car I sat with a couple of Chinese tourists. We were having trouble communicating as they spoke little English and I speak no Chinese, until...we began to share photos of our homes. Pictures: the universal language! And there was my seatmate, Lloyd, a bike-riding San Franciscan with a penchant for getting arrested at protest marches. There were oodles of other lovely and interesting folks...and, plenty of time to meet and to talk about our lives.
Plus, the views from the train were stunning! I ended up with so many photos I loved. I am pleased to share a few favorites with you:
The train entering one of the 27 man-made tunnels we passed through as we went (literally) through the Rockies.