Washington D.C.

Our Washington D.C. trip was pretty spontaneous and it turned out to be better than I expected. It reminded me of Europe, so the whole time I kept thinking  I was in another country. When we arrived at the airport we decided to take a taxi to our hotel and when we finally get one it was a long bearded middle eastern old man with a really funky/hoboish outfit. My husband, which looks middle-eastern, had asked him how much it would be for the drive to our hotel and he responded in what I thought was really bad English. He kept repeating whatever he was saying and then would laugh afterward. We were really trying to understand but could not get a word he was saying. He ended up finally telling us the price and we got in for the ride. It turns out that he thought my husband was from Pakistan, the same place he was from,  and all that time he had been teasing us about the price in Arabic. That’s why we couldn’t understand him and that’s why he was laughing when he’d say it. He says that Arabs are stingy, so that’s why he had joked in Arabic about how much he would be charging us.

We arrived at our hotel pretty late, so we really didn’t do much that night except eat a little something and then go to bed. We liked our room and thought it was really spacious, but the only thing that bothered me was the bathtubs mat. It felt like it was filled with water. It’s hard to explain but it’s the same kinda feeling you get if you’ve ever laid down on a water bed. I felt like I was getting seasick every time I’d take a shower. I think it was just an issue with our room though because in my parent’s room it was normal (sorry, but I have no pics of the hotel).

The first night we went to a restaurant called Malbec. It’s an Argentinian restaurant around the Dupont Circle neighborhood. The food was amazing and the service was excellent!

Malbec Restaurant

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Provoleta a la Parrilla
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Chorizo a la Parrilla con Chimichurri
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Parrillada for 2 “Traditional Dish”

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Since we went on Thanksgiving everyone was at home with family, so we were able to enjoy things without the crowds of people. We did as much as possible Thanksgiving day because we knew the next day it’d be packed! The only issue was finding somewhere to eat breakfast. We ended up eating at Starbucks, which was the only thing opened that day. We then took the Big Bus Tour that included a live English-speaking guide (FYI: commentary is pre-recorded in 8 different languages).

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Washington Monument
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The lockkeeper’s house, where he lived with his thirteen children from 1835 to 1855! His job was to collect tolls and operate the lock of the Washington City Canal.
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The White House
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Lincoln Memorial
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Engine 3 was built in 1916 and responds to over 5,000 fires & EMS runs annually.

The second day we had breakfast/brunch at Busboys and Poets. It had a really nice ambiance and when you walk in there’s a tiny cute bookstore where you can look around while you wait to be seated. The food was really good, so I would definitely come back.

Busboys and Poets

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Busboys and Poets French Toast
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Two Eggs Scrambled w/ Meat

After, we decided to use the subway since we noticed it’d be cheap. The only other subway I’ve been to in the states has been New York’s subway and between the two I’m not sure which one wins in stinkiness. We headed to the Library of Congress and Capitol Hill and walked around.

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Subway
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The Library of Congress
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United States Capitol Building
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Capitol Hill
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Florida is well represented with a Statue of John Gorrie at the National Statuary Hall Collection.
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Inside the ceilings are beautiful. I liked this one in particular because of the pink lol.
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The Archives Building

At night we went to a restaurant called Pearl Dive Oyster Palace. It was really nice inside and really packed as well. I’m not into oysters, but my husband loves them. I thought I wouldn’t like it so much but what I ordered was actually really good. I would definitely recommend this place especially if you’re into eating oysters! My husband definitely approves!

Pearl Dive Oyster Palace

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Oysters
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Barbecued Shrimp
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Wood Grilled Gulf Redfish
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Blackened Gulf Swordfish
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Dessert of the Day

On our last day, we went to have breakfast at Ted’s Bulletin with the best, and I’m not kidding when I say this, milkshakes I’ve EVER had. I lovee coconut anything, so I knew I had to try the “Toasted Coconut Milkshake” on their menu and they definitely did not disappoint. Forget any other milkshake you’ve ever had and stop by this place if you’re in the area to try their milkshakes! After, we decided to visit a few museums and just relax and walk around.

Ted’s Bulletin

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Toasted Coconut Milkshake
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The Big Mark Breakfast
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Pancake Stack or Thick-Cut French Toast

International Spy Museum

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Petersen House Museum

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National Museum of Natural History

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In front of the National Museum of Natural History

On our last night, we went to Barcelona Wine Bar. A great tapas restaurant my mom found with really nice outdoor seating. We absolutely loved it!

Barcelona Wine Bar

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Albondigas

 

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Jamon y Manchego Croquetas & Hanger Steak
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Marinated Olives

 

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Patatas Bravas
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Jamon Serrano

All in all, it was an incredible trip!

-Daylin

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New York City

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 New York, the city that never sleeps. A city one must cross off their bucket list. Known for the hustle and bustle. There are too many things to do that one week is just not enough. The culture, history, buildings, food, broadway, and fashion, just to name a few, are like nowhere else on earth.

I had been to New York a couple of years back with some friends on a road trip but my husband had never been. He would always make comments whenever we watched a movie on how one day he would like to visit. Although it was not too far from us whenever we go on vacation we pick locations outside of the country or a few hours drive from home. I love to travel! So when it came time for our first anniversary last year I decided to give him the gift of taking him to New York of course. What makes me happy is not just giving him something but the effort and thought that goes into it. So I went out of my way to go big! What did I do? I planned a trip to New York without telling him anything. I planned out everything from flights, hotels, transportation, places to eat, and sights to see. And if you go to the big apple you must act like a tourist with an “I love NY” shirt and on a big red bus.

I started planning everything from April and our anniversary wasn’t until July but we already had a vacation booked for that month so I decided to go with November. Perfect cold weather but not freezing, after all, anything under 70 is freezing for us Floridians. I had to keep everything a secret and for 7 months that was torture. I decided 5 months into it to give him a clue about the gift. I said “it’s something you’ve always wanted to do!” and his mind went crazy! There were too many things he always wanted to do, but he narrowed it down to the most exciting for him, a GTR. And we would kid around with him saying he was going to drive a GTR, his dream car and what he would do with it etc. We had a blast messing around with him.

A week before the trip I started packing everything. I took the suitcases to my parents and would take a couple things here and there so he wouldn’t suspect anything. He had no idea! The day finally came and I said ok we’re driving somewhere, wear something comfortable. So he puts on shorts and a short sleeve shirt, I made sure to pack a sweater in the carry-on. I blindfolded him, got him in the car and drove about 30 minutes. We get to the airport he takes the blindfolds off and his reaction was priceless! He couldn’t stop smiling and wondering where we were going and said I was crazy how was I so good to plan this. When we checked in was when he found out where we were going. “Are we really going to New York!? No way I can’t believe it!?” And next thing you know we were off on the plane and arriving. When we arrived it was in the mid 50’s people were all bundled up and there was my husband in shorts.

The private car I booked was there when we arrived, I was so thankful I pre-booked. I did underestimate the traffic and how long it took to arrive at the hotel, we were starving by then. We checked into Row NY, a very nice hotel in Times Square. Everything was nearby and walking distance. The room was small, small bed, even smaller bathroom, no space for luggage or mirrors which I had to get dressed blindly and just hoped at least it matched. But who cares all we did was sleep and out we were.

 

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Row NYC Hotel

Our main focus was to explore and eat. The first days we walked everywhere around Times Square. We were so tired from all the walking we would go back to the room take a 15-minute rest, change clothes, shower and back out again. The next 3 days we had the big red bus tours, which were great we would sight see get off at any stop and then get back on and it would go in a loop so we would always get back around. For the rest, we took the subway which that was an experience on its own and a definitely must do. We tackled each neighborhood per day. My favorite experience was the One World Trade Center. It’s the rebuilt of the World Trade Center complex that was completely destroyed in the September 11th terrorist attack. It’s one of those places you sit back and soak it all in and makes you tear up. Nowadays it’s the tallest building in the western hemisphere and has amazing views.

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One World Trade Center Observatory – 102nd floor

We also visited the Empire State Building, Flatiron Building, Trump Building, NYSE, Wall Street, Brooklyn Bridge, China Town, and Central Park. Here’s some random building photography.

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Usually, in my daily office job I walk no more than 3 miles, in New York, I was walking about 10 miles per day. Which came in handy to compensate for all the food I was eating. I took a list of places I had done research on and that looked tasty. From breakfast, lunch, dinner and in between snacks, to midnight pizza and garlic knots.

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Dulce de Leche at Wafels & Dinges
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Strawberry Banana with ice cream at Wafels & Dinges
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Hop Kee in Chinatown
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Bubby’s Tribeca
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Carlo’s Bakery

Every week since we have been back, husband has asked me when we are going back. He loved the surprise and the experience. He could actually now say he was there when we watch movies. It is really a city that never sleeps and everything was amazing but I’m glad I’m back to my quiet home. I am ready for our next adventure… where will it take us?..

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-Dayana