I am back! I came back from my vacation this week! To satisfy your curiosity, have a brief account of what happened. Later posts might (if called upon) feature anecdotes or more detailed retellings of stuff that happened on the road, more pictures, statistics and whatever I can think of.
After a trip through time and across the Atlantic, clearing baggage claim, re-check, customs and immigration in under one hour I arrived in Jacksonville, Florida, where @wacie picked me up at the airport, I got a rental car and we ended up eating delicious Gatortail in Gator’s Dockside with two friends of her’s.
The first day on the actual road saw us driving up I95 to Savannah, Georgia where we walked around a bit and stopped for a lunch break in the district cafe & eatery which I can only recommend. The rest of todays 367 miles took us up to South of the Border, South Carolina which we embraced in all its tack and cliché. The signs anouncing it started about 160 miles out but couldn’t prepare us for all it was.
Welcome, to the tackiest place on earth!
The Peddler Steak house is a good place to eat if you are looking for a really awesome steak, though.
This was the day we turned the road trip into a boat trip. Nah, not really. But we did drive about 241 miles to Cedar Island only stopping at Waffle House for breakfast and a gas station for Cheerwine soda.
After first taking the ferry to Ocracoke on the Outer Banks, which is a two hour ride, we managed to time the second ferry crossing in a way that let us experience the magic of a sun setting at sea.
By the time we arrived at our hotel it was too late for any of the local restaurants, so we feasted on microwave pizza and this beansplosion burrito. It wouldn’t fit in the microwave, so I had to cheat.
We spend most of the day driving along the Outer Banks, stopping for Wildlife Preserves with turtles, ponies who weren’t actually there, and the Wright Brothers National Memorial in Kitty Hawk. Fun fact: while North Carolina and especially Kitty Hawk
We actually didn’t even plan to go to the Wright Brothers memorial, but when we saw the sign I just had to pull over, and it was well worth it.
The stop before that was about as coincidental.
“Hey, look at that sign!” – “Oh wow, I want a picture of that!” – “Hm, why don’t we just eat there?”
And it was absolutely delicious! Eat the seafood benedict, if you can.
The day also finished on a high note. We arrived at our hotel in Virginia Beach, got ocean- and poolview rooms on the 6th floor, the front desk supervisor was in a good mood and gave us free parking and the frustrated concierge handed us taxi fare after trying to conjure information on how to get into town, using an automated hotline system. Dinner was at a Beatles themed pub/restaurant called “Abbey Road” where I had fried oysters and crabcakes. Walking back along the beach some random skater said he liked my Metallica jacket..
Today we passed the 1000 mile mark. But not after we spent a few hours at the Virginia Beach aquarium, marveling at various sorts of marine life and taking a walk around beautiful Mt. Trashmore!
At some point in the evening we arrived in Alexandria, VA, where we met our host for the next few days. After dinner at Nando’s where I was carded for the first time on this trip((I handed them my German ID, they looked confused and gave me beer, so it went well enough)) we ended the day in a boardgame simulating wholesale destruction of Tokyo.
Our first day in Washington D.C. ! We took a train towards Capitol Hill and spend some time walking around, looking for breakfast. That took us until dinner time, when we succumbed to the McDonalds in the Smithonian National Air and Space Museum. That museum is a blast, by the way. Lots of interesting and some interactive exhibits about flight and space travel.
Best part: When I didn’t spit and laugh at the guy who explained to his mate that the lunar rover’s wheels were hollow due to the Zero-Gravity on the moon. His mate called him a dumbass.
Some more walking around took us to the White House, Washington Monument and Taco Tuesday in Alexandria. Followed by watching “National Lampoon’s Vacation” about one and a half time.
More planes! More Space! But first: Pancakes. On our way to Chantilly we stopped for breakfast at an IHOP, then we went to America’s hangar, the second part of the Air & Space Museum.
This baby is why!
Oh, and the other planes and the flight simulator that lets you do barrel rolls and stuff is pretty neat, too. And yes, we spent most of the day there. No, we don’t regret it. Yes, I bought astronaut ice cream. And ate it!
More Washington D.C. goodness! Technically on our way out, we spent the morning around the National Mall again, taking in the reflecting pools, the Lincoln Monument and the groups of 5th graders rampaging through all of it.
After this blissful experience we drove on towards Philadelphia, PA. Got stuck in a hailstorm because a tree had fallen across the road in a thunderstorm that just passed through but managed to get to the hotel unscathed, so we could finally get our original Philly cheesesteak. In Philadelphia.
Today was history-, culture- and art-day. After an okayish hotel breakfast we went to see Liberty Bell, Independence Hall and the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
That successful day ended on a very delicious note. While I didn’t like Sake that much, the food at the Aki Japanise Fusion restaurant was pretty awesome.
The first half of today was devoted to needlessly pannicking about not being let on the train to NYC and actually travelling to NYC by train. We’d given up our trusty rental car because I didn’t want to drive into NYC just to have it stand there and gather dust for $25 a night.
A harrowing walk and an equally harrowing cab drive later we ended up at the hotel, just to drop our bags in the tiny room in Brooklyn, just to get a subway train back to Manhattan, where our friend Allie showed us around mostly Time Square and introduced me to Mr. Softee
After some tasty pizza in a converted church we took a train back home just to get off at the wrong exit, being to confused to find our way to the right train and walking about 30 blocks to our hotel. Wacie might have hated me for a while that evening.
We split up after taking the train to Manhattan, Wacie went wild in MoMA while I went up to Top of the Rock.
We abandoned all other touristy plan to spend the rest of the day with Allie and her friends in Long Island, eating burgers and hotdogs, and ending up playing Cards Against Humanity until we ran out of white cards.
Ever wondered how it feels to be playing that game, as a German, in a group of mostly jewish people, with them playing most of the holocaust cards and usually winning the round? It was pretty awesome, to be honest. ;)
The morning was filled with some touristy stuff, namely the Staten Island ferry so we could look at the Statue of Liberty without having to go to Ellis Island, the Ghostbusters HQ, me hopping into MoMA while wacie went up to Top of the Rock. The afternoon was taken over by our trusty indigenous tour guide Allie who showed us the Disney Store, Nintendo World and the Lego Store before we first went to a street fair and a rooftop bar with a nice view of the Empire State Building.
After that we went down again, having awesome food at Madison Square Eats before we called it a night. Not before going up Empire State Building in the dark though. And while the view was nice, god was the wait long. And the platform crowded. And how the tourists hogged every inch of view. I was able to grab a few pictures, but leisurely enjoying the view for more than a few seconds as a time was simply not done. But I did have my revenge.
After our second cab ride in New York City we got our new rental car. In Manhattan. On 40th street. But what can I say? Driving out of the city, while pretty crowded, wasn’t as bad as I imagined it to be, so we were on our way along the Taconic State Parkway in no time and arrived at @JadedArsenic‘s place in the early afternoon. And we only almost hit a deer once!
After being shown the local sights we went for another instance of delicious Taco Tuesday before we called it a night.
Another museum day had come! Starting off with the Samuel Morse Museum and house we moved on to the F.D.Roosevelt library and museum, dinner at Ruby Tuesday and what probably was the highlight of the day: We got all but kicked off the “Walkway over the Hudson”, a mile-long footbridge that closes at dusk. *cough*
Eh, what can you say? Another roadtrip day, I guess. After a healthy and hearty breakfast at a pretty decent diner we drove all the way to Niagara Falls, NY. Unfortunately the boat trips had closed down by the time we’d arrived, so we settled for a Buffalo Style Chicken Pizza to be dinner and entertainment for this evening. It was tasty and huge enough to serve as breakfast the next day.
Alas, our last full day of vacation hathest arrived!
After our pizza breakfast we went on our Niagara Falls adventure. We did the Maid of the Mist boat trip and then walked over to the Canadian side of the falls.
And what everyone tells about that is true. Not only is the view much better on that side, there’s also basically a theme park going on there. So we busied ourselves with ice cream, Tim Horton’s, playing games in an arcade/sports bar and of course Poutine for dinner.
Only getting out of Canada was a bit of an exercise. At the foot bridge we realized that there were turnstiles, aksing for two quarters to cross. No biggie, you say? Sure. Unless you’ve spent all your cash because “Hey, last day of vacation!”.
Oh, look! An exchange and ATM shack. Good. So I grab a $20 bill from the atm and decide to break it up in Starbucks. I get Canadian change of course. Bummer. Well, back to the change shack. Oh, closed for the night. Luckily the border crossing has change machines that break up my Canadian $5 bill into a metric ton of coins, so we finally make it out of the country.
And that’s about it. We both flew home on May 31st, after turning in the car and having breakfast at the air port.
If there’s anything specific about the trip you want more info on, let me know, otherwise look out, I will probably post a few pictureladen blog posts once I’m done with sorting through about 2000 pictures.