Travel Blog: Week 1

USA

Week 1: 12.11.2012 – 18.11.2012

Monday

So November 12th arrived. Dad took me to the airport early so we plenty of time for a great breakfast. Through to departures and onto the plane. All ran to time and I was soon in the air. Have to say Virgin were great. The flight was half empty (or if you’re an optimist half full) so there was loads of space to stretch out and the food was pretty tasty too. Great selection of movie which I watched back to back, apart from a little snooze. Before I knew it we were descending for the final approach and landing – a little choppy but turndown went OK.

It seemed to take an age to transfer from the plane to the the luggage carrousel. The shuttle bus waited until it was full before leaving and I didn’t make the best queue choice through passport control. However, the guy in the booth was both friendly and funny – who’da guessed. By the time I got to the carrousel by luggage was almost the last to be collected and had been left on the floor. It was all there though and it was easy to collect. Better than fighting for space when everyone else was looking for their bags. I made it through arrivals and Tammy was there to pick me up. I was expecting to have to wear every layer of clothing but I was pleasantly surprised how warm it was. The journey to Woodbridge went quickly and I had soon dumped by bags in my room and Tammy and I where sitting down to supper. Despite the time difference I stayed awake until a reasonable time before hitting the sack.

Tammy had arranged loads of different trips for my visit so I knew the weeks ahead would be full of interest and fun. Let the games begin.

Tuesday:-

Tammy had work so left the house early leaving me to have a day to myself. I decided to just get settled in. As i was here for a month or so I sorted through my stuff and got the room set up for my stay. Its rare that I unpack my bag but as this was longer stay and a home from home I allowed myself the luxury. Apart from a run around the local housing area, there are a lot of cul de sacs here, I spent the day watching TV, listening to music and setting up my blog. I needed to work out how the site could best be used and also catch up on the notes of my Olympic experience – see my ‘Bonkers’ blog.

Wednesday:-

Never does the grass grow under my feet. Not if Tammy has anything to do with it anyway. Tuesday was an early 6:30am start. Thanks to a touch of jet lag this was easier than it sounds. We were off to Boston. I’d never been but it’s one of those places on my list – why? I have no idea. I’d probably seen a picture sometime.

90 minute flight to Boston. Loads of leg room, free snacks and soft drinks, and personal screens for entertainment. We collected the rental car and headed for the city. Tammy dropped me at the hotel and headed off for work – yes, this was a work trip for Tammy but I was tagging along as a bonus. It was cold, really cold. First stop was a hot drink and free wifi then I walked around. Easy to navigate and compact. I took a spin on the hop n stop bus tour (rather a lot of waiting around with my chosen company – note to all avoid using Beantown Bus Tours) which gave me an overall view of the city, especially from the skywalk tower.

  

 

I had a fabulous Ruben for lunch and met some interesting people, including some young Mormon’s who were hoping to convert me into something, so after all’s said and done a rather good day. Back to the hotel to meet Tammy (and get some feeling back in my hands and feet, then out to experience Boston at night. We started with a beer before heading out to Beacon Hill for a walk and food. Great meal – we ordered the two best meat dishes and swapped plates half way through. Perfect! The final stop was the Cheers bar for a beer. I was wearing my super coloured leggings which seemed to get a lot of attention in this town so they were the topic of a conversation with a group of Bostonians – apparently it was a bet!! They’re not that bad. Are they?

  

Thursday:-

Today we were heading back to Washington, but wanted to make the most of Boston. We got up early and headed for Panera Bread for breakfast. Boy its a cold one! First stop was a walk through the Common to the info centre. We picked up some info but decided to walk the Freedom Trail on our own.

We followed the red line through the streets (sometimes painted and sometimes made of brick). We eventually found our way the Faneuil Hall (said like Fennel) and joined a park service free walk. It was very informative and fast moving which we needed because it was soooooo cold (the poor old Brits got a bit of a kicking though – the Boston massacre for starters).

 

By now we had earned lunch. We ended up in Chinatown and found the most amazing restaurant in an old theatre. It was very popular and filled with the local Chinese. Needless to say English was not the first language but we managed to communicate our ordher, a mixture of soup and dim sum, and were soon tucking in. Bloody marvellous and very reasonable. Back on our feet we headed for the site of the Boston Tea Party then we followed the path around the harbour. After a while we crossed the bridge into Charlestown. A quick stop to walk the boards of the USS Constitution and then up to Bunker Hill. We braved the nearly 300 step spiral staircase to the top to see the views. Back across the bridge to the hotel then onto the airport and home.

  

  

Friday:-

A quieter day today. Tammy showed me a great running route around the local area – I’m going to be good at hills by the end of this trip! The rest of the day was spent chilling until early evening when we jumped onto the Metro into DC. We grabbed a great fast meal at Roti before getting to the DAR (Daughters of the American Revolution) Constitutional Hall for a Ray Lamontagne gig. Despite the late start and the constant stream of late arrivals it was fantastic. The music was amazing – Ray can really sink live – and the venue was terrific. Every seat in the house had a great

Saturday:-

Early start for a day of hiking. We were taking part in a hike to be led by Gene. it was a 13 miler along the Appalachian Trail. Tammy drove us the 30 minute journey to the communal lot to meet the others. Then a further 30 minutes to the start of the hike. There were 20 or so of us taking part, including some pretty seasoned hikers – yikes!! W were also joined by 3 dogs. It was an up and back so 6.5 miles each way. Lots of ups and downs and a demanding pace. Needless to say I was near the back but that’s how I prefer it. The weather was chilly but kind to us with plenty of sunshine. Most of the leaves had fallen from the trees so the pathways were littered with a crunchy carpet which hid some of the stones underneath. We stopped for a short lunch break at Dick’s Dome shelter before heading back. It was a great hike and gave me quite an appetite. It was to be Karen’s farewell meal. Karen was one of the well known hikers (she had done Killi the same year that Tammy, Margaret and I climbed it) and she was leaving Virginia for pastures new. So we all sat down for drinks and dinner in classic US style, with a special ‘lunar’ story from Jennifer. That’s quite enough for one day.

 

Sunday:-

After a full on Saturday we had a lazy day with just a trip out for some shopping – Target, REI (woo hoo I got a great jacket in the sale) and the mind blowing food variety of Wegmans. We stocked up on food and bought the turkey for Thanksgiving.

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