Tuesday, 27 February 2018

Come away with us to Washington DC 2017

What a gorgeous place. If you're looking for bags of history, amazing architecture and beautiful blossom... look no further.

So my parents live in Old Town Alexandria, just outside of DC, a short train ride away. We went to visit them in April (which is the a perfect time to go if you want that grammable blossom shot!) We flew in to JFK in New York City first, because it was much cheaper. We booked via SkyScanner and found Virgin flights for £331 each return. Perfect for us because we fell in love with NYC back in 2016. We spent a few days in NY before getting the Greyhound bus down to DC. It's $20 for a return to get the bus and it takes 4 hours, you pass Philadelphia and some really pretty old American houses, it goes really quickly actually!

I'm writing this from memory, so please bare with!  We went here almost a year a go, but some of the photos I have are just too nice for only Facebook friends! But some are awful and taken from my old iPhone and for that, I apologies in advance!

As always, I had a list of places I wanted to see and visit whilst we spent time here, but this was actually paid for by my parents for a pre-wedding get away, so we also wanted to chill (I'm not very good at that)

My parents house is GORGEOUS, it's the typical American house, three story, HUGE kitchen, big  fairy lights draping across the roof terrace and big double doors so you can sit and listen to the record player whilst catching some sun and reading. They live a stones throw away from the Potomac and Kings Street, full of boutiques and restaurants.

We walked down there a few times, they have a Ben and Jerry's factory on the Potamac front and OH my life you can smell it a mile off. I was like a wild animal on hunt for a gooey cookie on top of a phish food sundae. There are yachts galore, dog walkers, volleyball pitches and Starbucks everywhere. King's Street is a blogger's dream, quirky signage and shops, fashion boutiques and thrift shops selling designer brands, antiques and homeware shops etc, oh you can spend an entire day walking the length of it.

I'm so cross with myself, I'm sat here writing this wondering about all the places we dined and I've had a brain fart. I mean, shake shack is my life, it's a glorified version of McDonalds and they even make food for dogs, their milkshakes are HEAVENLY! My mum kept trying to get us to go to Bilbo Baggins bar, they go there often for drinks and food but I was poorly and not up for a drink. We went to a Japanease Steak House, they set fire to my onions and made Todd catch a piece of beef in his mouth, was such a good evening! A short taxi journey away to the National Harbour is the MGM Grand Casino! We went to an MGM in Vegas, this was built the year before and so my parents wanted to go for a gamble... free drinks and big winnings, well, big enough for amateurs like us! Another must do wherever you go in America, is the cinema, the sizes of the popcorn and slushies are huge and you can also buy alcohol and fast food!

George Town... Here we went kayaking down the Potomac under Key Bridge and around Roosevelt Island, make sure you team up with a gym-aholic because it is hard work! Oh wait... I did, and even he struggled! It's such a scream, we were awful at it and there was snapping turtles everywhere ready to attack me! It's a must do, it's inexpensive and it's another way to see the sights of Washington DC. I watch Scandal, it's a series on Sky and there are always "filler snap shots" I like to call them of the Potomac, so I knew I wanted to be able to say and think when watching that, "Oh we kayaked up that river!"

George Town though, is spenny! Crikey, I'm sure the usual shops like Jo Malone and Sephora etc are double the price here haha! Another place Mum wanted to try was George Town Cupcakes, a must visit here! You're probably thinking a cupcake is a cupcake though, right? It's not! They are bloody delicious and again taste heavenly! Just look at that fluffy buttercream in the second picture, I can taste it now.

I was coming out of Forever 21 when my step dad, Jon, was pointing at a restaurant across the road, there was like 6 SUV Cadillacs and loads of men in black suits with ear pieces in, I was like a crazy celeb spotter and it was all because the Vice President, Mike Pence was sat having his lunch, haha! I don't think I'd like to live that lifestyle, crikey, can't even go for a baguette with out a security detail the width and breadth of George Town.

 How gorgeous is my Mum by the way?

So, the Capitol - probably the most touristy place to go in DC, it's packed with history, you can't help but embrace the patriotc vibes. I loved walking around wondering who was a VIP or who might be a member of the White House and who's footsteps I was walking on etc! Everything isn't too far away from each other so we walked everywhere and I got some really good shots of all the buildings and sights. We started at the Capitol, the Senate and then  the Smithsonian (free entry by the way!) Walked down passed the Washington Monument and the Reflecting Pools, you also pass Thomas Jefferson Memorial, Veterans Memorial with the refreshing fountains and finally to Abraham Lincoln Memorial. This was my most favourite day, I can't really explain why, I just love seeing places you hear about and see in films yet never imagine yourself standing there and embracing the atmosphere, I loved it.

There wasn't really masses of places to eat around this part, so I suggest getting a good breakfast in, otherwise there's tonnes of street food, little vans serving ice creams and hot dogs etc for you to snack on. A short walk away is the White House. There's so much security and secret service details around this area, we did feel almost nervous, as they all stare at you and you're only aloud so close to take photos. Jon is brilliant, working for the MOD, he has lots of knowledge and history of the government and was like our very own tour guide. Ask me to repeat what he said and I wouldn't have a clue, but at the time, it was very enticing. If you look closely at the pictures, you can see the secret service on the roof tops!

What else did we do? The Pentagon Mall, every shoppers dream, so many shops that we don't get here in the UK. They have a huge food hall and my favourite is there, shake shack! Ooo, top tip, buy a paper when you're there, they have loads of Dunkin' Doughnuts coupons, go enjoy yourself a yummy doughnut! Also, you can cycle from the Pentagon down to Old Town, I'd really recommend going there depending on where you're thinking of staying if you ever visit.

Hire a car and go to Great Falls, climbers paradise, dangerous paradise for my step Dad who will be reading this you are NORTY I don't like the thought of climbers here, if you fall, you are a'gonner! But we packed a picnic and spent a few hours here. The scenery is really pretty. Try and go on a nice day. There are built in BBQ's in the picnic area, which I think is pretty neat... (Oh my God am I American as well now, neat?!) The drive here, you pass humongous houses that belong to the rich and famous, get me - I'm such a fan girl I love imagining the life of the rich and famous!

We visited Arlington National Cemetery. Get a tour, if you like to learn all the history. It's an amazing place, try to avoid a hot day - it's so hilly and it's quite uncomfortable in the heat. The change of the guards was my favourite part. They guard the unknown solider. I felt emotional here, there's complete respectful silence, it's a monument to remember the un documented soldiers lost in the war and who's remains weren't identified.

What a lovely trip we had, I'd like to say a huge thanks (don't worry I did thank them at the time too) to my parents for being so free spirited and moving to places like DC, so us "kids" can experience the wonderful world.

If you are still with me, here is a little video I made so that you can really, come away with us to Washington DC.

Love, Rey x


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