In San Francisco we started to think about the next step and the main reason why we were in US: Portland. After comparing prices we noticed that a overnight Greyhound bus trip would be our cheapest option. However there was a stopover in Sacramento and Matte had been curious to go there, so we decided to extend the trip with one night to properly see what the California state capital is about.
We booked one night in a hostel and were happy to afford a private room due to a good deal on a booking website. The hostel turned out to be quite grand and by far the best-looking hostel we have been to. A beautiful, Victorian mansion right next to downtown.
We had been reading about Sacramento on other travel blogs and due to those posts were carefully hopeful that it would be a great 2-day visit. However, after a few hours of walking around, we felt we had already seen the city. Matte probably enjoyed Sacramento a bit more than myself. I do have a vague memory of announcing how bored I was just after a quick walk-through of downtown…
Sacramento definitely seems to be a bit hollow administrative city, where the locals don’t stay spend time after work and studies. The fact that the local mall and sport stadium were under renovation / construction during our visit might had have something to do with the quietness.
State capitol was impressive, although a bit less grand than the one in San Francisco. There would have been an option for tours and museums inside the building, but we opted out to save the bucks for something else. Maybe we missed out on the chance of hearing great stories of the Governor Arnold.
Our first evening we decided to head out to see a movie. A 40-minutes walk from our hostel was this pretty, old school theatre, where we were delighted to see Captain Fantastic. It sparked great discussions after the movie.
The second day we went to see the Old Town of Sacramento. We also got a glimpse of the Tower Bridge, which originally was built 1935 but got its current, golden colour in 2001.
Old Sacramento is a US National landmark and a decent-sized area of Victorian, gold rush- era buildings with shops, restaurants and museums. And so many horse carriages – offering valuable rides to tourists – that we lost count.
The had also preserved an authentic school in the middle of the town. It’s worth to have a look at the list of punishments, and even more than that, the reasons for punishments. All I can say is that I am happy to have attended school in the 1990’s.
Touristy or not, we actually thought it was fun to experience this side of States. It is part of the actual history and after all the buildings in Old Sacramento are the real thing: restored buildings from back in the day. Maybe that is why the area feels more than a movie set and has managed to preserve some of the feeling of those iconic days.
Even outside of the Old Sacramento you can easily see remnants of the old era. Sacramento is filled with beautiful, wooden mansions like our hostel. Still probably the best-known one is the Governor’s mansion built in 1877.
Governor Arnold, however, did not reside in this address. It was a home to the state’s governor 1903 to 1967, and returned to duty again in 2015 with the current governor.
After the historic tour of Sacramento and some dinner, we ordered our Uber and head out to the Sacramento bus station for our 3-hour wait for the bus. Our bus left after 10 pm in the evening and we were anxious about the 14-hour drive to Portland. We had been doing these long bus drives in Australia, but the wait with somewhat sketchy co-passengers at the station made us think the possible, unwanted adventures ahead of us.
Getting to the bus did not help either. It was definitely the dirtiest bus we had been in US and of course that is when you are supposed to be there for 14 hours and sleep against the surfaces.
Have a picture of my window ledge.
And that was not all, but I imagine that picture is enough to deliver vivid images. Needless to say our bus trip started off on a wrong foot.
In the end I was able to catch some sleep, at least enough to keep me going. We always like to sit at the front of the bus and previously it had been a good spot even on overnight trips. However during that trip all the lights in the front of the bus got light up every time we made a stop at a bus stop or gas station.
For the last 3 hours, starting at 5 am in the morning, a lady in the front of us started to feel chatty with our bus driver, whom I am sure soon regretted his decision to engage in the conversation. The conversation escalated quickly in a monologue of the lady’s life, hardships and battles with her demons. I mean full-blown crazy talk, that we were not able to quiet down even with turning the volume up on the Spotify.
All that was just a bad dream when we started to close in on Portland. It had been almost 3 years to a day when I first arrived in that city.
And oh boy, it felt so good to be back.