That's right, Gui and I are taking a train to Austin. No, it's not the Polar Express, but we booked tickets on the Amtrak Texas Eagle to get to Austin after spending a weekend in San Antonio. It's a real, live, breathing passenger train that serves the central Texas area! We thought we'd save ourselves the hassle of renting a car one-way and spare our friends or family a boring drive from Austin to pick us up, as well as be conscious of our ecological footprint by sticking to public transportation. Plus, it's so much nicer to have someone else in charge of the driving.
When Gui first asked me if we could take a train to Austin from San Antonio, my cynical American response was, "yeah right." But, lo and behold, there actually is a train in Texas that transports more than cattle and horses! With the rising cost of gas (I heard it's something like $3.78/gallon on average today), it's worth taking a look to see if Amtrak serves the places you're traveling to around the States - our tickets were only 15 bucks a piece (less than gas would have been). The only downside to our ride is that we'll have to leave super early in the morning (luckily, the best tacos in San Antonio are available 24-hours, so we'll be stopping by at 5 a.m to scoop some up), and there's only one departure per day. Maybe with all the demand for public transport in the States, they'll finally put into place the so-called Texas T-Bone Corridor that would connect some Texas cities by rail and make taking the train more convenient for travelers. Or, maybe I've just become a silly, optimistic European already.