Once I returned to D.C. from from my east coast "road trip", I only had two days left before flying back to California. I spent those two days doing some work, packing and crossing off a few things on my DC bucket list, such as beer tasting at Mad Fox Brewing, swimming at the Beach exhibit and walking around the National Mall one last time. For those of you who don't know, the Beach is a huge ball pit in the middle of the National Building Museum, set to imitate the beach. Kids and adults of all sizes could jump in/swim/get lost in there. I HIGHLY recommend this to anyone in the DC area. It was so fun to just jump in, roll around and act like a kid again! I concluded my last day in DC by getting some Shake Shack custard and walking around the National Mall for a final time. It was such a bittersweet day because while D.C. has and always will have a special place in my heart, I was more than ready to come home to the west coast (aka I was in need of some real Mexican food, hiking and hoppy west coast beer). I also wasn't too sad because I know that my future job will eventually bring me back to DC. So thank you D.C. for another amazing summer and I will see you again soon!
Last week, I decided that I needed to get out of the city. So I hopped on a bus to Philly for the day. Due to bus schedules, I was only able to spend about 8 hrs in the city. Luckily, I had been to Philly a few times before, so I knew where everything I wanted to see was located. I started by checking out Independence Hall and the National Constitution Center. I came back at the end of the day to see the Liberty Bell when the line was shorter. Afterwards, it was off to get a Philly cheese steak from my favorite place, Jim's on South, but the line was too long and I was short on time. I continued walking around and ended up on harbor and was amazed at what the city had done with it. They had set up lights, hammocks and chairs, and food stands along the water! The pictures I took don't do it justice!
After a day of exploring Flagstaff, my sister and I decided to go to check out the Four Corners Monument rather than stay in Flagstaff for an extra day. It was about a 4 hour trip through the Navajo Nation and along the way we were able to make a pit stop at a Navajo Code Talkers exhibit. It was inspiring to learn about the critical role the Code Talkers played in WWII and to see all of the memorabilia.
The last stop on our grand European adventure was Ireland. We spent two days in Dublin and one day taking a tour of the Cliffs of Moher. We started our stay in Dublin by going to the place that Ireland is most known for, the Guinness factory!!!!!! People always told me that the Guinness was better in Ireland but I never believed them. I just thought it was that whole, "it's just because you were in Ireland" deal, but boy was I proved wrong. The beer really was better, smoother, sweeter and creamier than in the states. After the beer tasting, we headed into the heart of Dublin and explored the streets for a bit before I was hit by a massive wave of fatigue and was forced to retire to our hotel and sleep.
The last two days in Paris were spent doing the rest of the touristy things on our list such as, visiting the Notre Dame and the Louve. We walked around, ate as much French food as we could fit into our bellies and tried to take in as much of the city as we could. But before we could do all of that, we realized we had no clean clothes and so we were forced to do laundry in a foreign country. Let me tell you, that was an interesting experience! You figure that using a washing machine would be pretty simple, even in a foreign country... but I was wrong. Word to the wise, make sure you ready the directions for the washing machine before you start putting in the detergent! Nevertheless, after a slight delay, we were on our way to taking in as much of Paris as two days would allow us.
After an 8 hour bus/ferry ride we arrived in Paris. Tired, sleepy and in a country where we didn't fully know the language, my family and I decided to take it easy the first day. The first thing we did after leaving our luggage at the hotel was find a bakery and buy fresh chocolate croissants. I don't know why but the chocolate croissants are just ten times better in Paris than in the U.S. We then hopped over to the Museum of Natural Science and the Museum of Natural History. Both are very interesting places and I highly recommend them if you are looking for something to do for a relaxed or rainy day in Paris. The next day we headed over to see the Eiffel Tower. The elevators were broken at the time so we had to walk up the 600+ steps, which made us appreciate the view that much more. After some lunchtime crepes we went to see the Arch de Triomphe, did some shopping on the Avenue des Champes-Elysees and finished the day with a French dinner that included delicious escargot.
The last two days in London were very relaxed in comparison to the first two days due to the rain and Easter Sunday. This meant that I had to get creative since everything was either closed due to Easter or because it was raining very hard outside and I didn't want to get soaked. Luckily, I managed to pay a visit to the Tower Bridge and Big Ben before the rain. On Saturday night I even got to see my friend, Matt, who is doing his MBA in London, and who showed me the hip part of London by taking me bar hopping and to a disco tech. On Sunday, I went to church for Easter Mass at one of the most beautiful churches I'd ever seen, St. James. I finished off the day by heading over to the Natural History Museum before hopping on a bus to Paris.
After years of wanting and wishing to visit Europe, I finally had the chance to this last April. I spent two weeks eating, drinking and walking around London, Paris and Dublin. My first stop was in London, where I spent four very fast paced days exploring the city. It was exciting to be able to see the city I had read so much about growing up. During my stay, I visited all of the usual tourist spots such as, Big Ben, Westminster Abbey, Buckingham Palace and King's Cross Station. I even managed to get my Sherlock Holmes fix by visiting the museum on 221B Baker Street and visiting the Sherlock Holmes Pub.