Getaway Weekend in Washington DC

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC1

                                                                              Big Washington DC

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC2

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC3

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC4

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC5

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC7

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC8

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC9

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC10

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC11

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC12

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC13

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC14

 

 

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC15

Getaway Weekend in Washington DC16

                            Getaway Weekend in Washington DC17

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Road Trip 2014 Ups and Downs

Jay on the road!
Jadzia on the road!
“I am tired” “I want to hang out with my friends!” “The summer is going to be over and I haven’t had any fun with my friends.” “My back hurt!” “When we are going back home?” “I am hungry…” ” Uff I can’t be sitting on that van for 6 more hours!” ” Ohh my feet hurts!” ” My stomach hurt, I am breaking my eating routine.” ” Can’t wait to sleep in my bed!” ” But how it come that you don’t know where we are going? I thought you knew!” ” Is this way or that way?” “I want to go home! I am tired!” After hearing this and more from every member of my beautiful family, for a week and half, over and over again you want to go home too. Traveling with family has its awesome moments of bonding, laughter, fun, memories and more, but also brings the responsibility of feeling responsable for the group, especially if you were the one doing all the planning.
At the World War II Memorial
Walking to the Capitol.

Our road trip was a completely success no matter what! We enjoyed everything we did. We had plenty of laughter, learning, discoveries, exercise, fun and more. Thanks God I had everything plan, but still things did not run smoothly and perfect like I would it like it to be. This was our first road trip and with it, came a lot of lessons for the next time. In general was an awesome experience, we all did and saw things that we never had before. But definitely what is fun for me, not necessarily is fun for teenagers. The way I appreciate things is not the same for teenagers. The endurance that I could have for the day, it’s not the same for everybody in the group. I love learning about different places, I have travel inscriptive in my mind and soul. I want to see everything here, close to home and around the world. I like to take time to see and learn new things, I want to continue even when I am hungry or tired… but not everyone in the group have the same mentality as me or the strength to keep going no matter what. So, big lesson for me, I have to take it easier when I am with other people. Not expect so much or want it to do so much. Anything like that happended to you ever? Or its just me?!

Walking in DC
Resting in Central Park for a little bit after biking around the park.
Next time when planning a road trip that includes so much walking and physical activities, it will be good to plan for some days off and/or relax days. Like sitting by the pool, or go out only to eat in a good restaurant, something that doesn’t require a schedule. Also for next time, I would take in much consideration to save more money to get better hotels closer to the areas that we want to visit. For example, even though it was an awesome experience learning to take the metro in DC, and also it was the first time ever for the kids to take the metro, we could it save a lot of time on the riding back and forth to and from the hotel. Because hotels in DC are expensive, we got one hotel a little far to the east of DC. Taking the metro was only about 15 to 20 minutes, but waiting for the metro, finding what station was the appropiate to get off takes a lot of time and still there was a lot of walking involve after getting off the metro. In the morning we didn’t care much, but at night we were so tired that all the trouble of going back to the hotel it was like walking barefooted through rocks with fire, like each of us were caring thousands of backpacks in our back. Once back to our room we were 5 tired complaining individuals, all wanting to use the bathroom at the same time. Understand this, we all wanted to take a shower and go to sleep as soon as we could, but we only had one room with only one bathroom.

-______- Can you imagine?

Brooklyn Bridge Tour, our tour guide took the picture! 🙂

 

Wifi and the DVD player on the van were great tools of entertainment on the road. We rented movies using Red Box and when we were done, we used the Red Box App to find another Red Box on the road. We returned movies and rented some more. Between the two major cities that we visit, kids enjoy much better NY City than DC. On DC the kids finished watching and “exploring” the museums in two hours top, while we, the adults still wandering in the same area for the same two hours. After that the “I am board! What are we doing next?” came right along. In NY the drive was much better, the excitement and constant movement of the city was enough to keep us busy. Still we did so much, we took 3 different bus tours around the city, we walked, took the subway, and try to keep with a schedule and still we didn’t do everything we wanted.

Night time bus tour in NY City.
Night time bus tour in NY City. Jay’s selfie!

 

In both places DC and NY City we stayed 2 1/2 days in each place. In both places after leaving the hotel or friend’s house (in NJ) in the morning, we didn’t come back until night, we didn’t took much free time, only for eating and keep going. I think here is where my biggest mistake was.

After NY city we were supposed to drive to the Niagara Falls but everybody was so exhausted that I thought it was going to be better if we headed back home. I couldn’t imagine eight more hours driving north and then having to drive all the way down to Florida. So, the decision was made… We went back home with no Niagara Falls experience. I will sit and meditate better our options for our next family vacation. I have to think in less heavy schedules, more relax time, and even more fun… That is for sure.

Virginia Beach, on our way back home.

Any suggestion for family vacations with teenagers and grandma? If you have one please feel free to share it!

Until then…

xamlinnette 🙂

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Big Washington DC

How naive I was about the size of the famous monuments and structures in DC. I had watched this monuments, buildings and structures hundreds of times in TV and movies but I was far in my mind of what I thought they look in person.

After we settle in our hotel, we drove to Cheverly Train Station, that was the closest station from our hotel. We parked the van and hopped in a train to DC. Leaving the van parked there was only $4.00 and weekends are free! The app, Washington MX, (that I found earlier on my search for tools for this trip) for the Metros in DC worked perfectly for us.

The first thing we wanted to see was the White House. After studying the metro map and the regular DC map we decided to get out in Metro Center Station. At first we were disoriented were to go, it´s a matter of situating yourself with the map, after walking in the wrong direction few times we figure it out. So, going back to the subject after we found a place to eat, we kept our focus to the White House. While walking around I was hypnotize by the dimensions of the city. I found it big! Spacious! One building can take half of the street, they look classic, formal, antique and big.

Also I think it looks even bigger in my eyes because even though is a busy city, people are more spread out than in NY City. In other words there in not even half of the crowd that in NY City.
The funny thing about all this ” big subject in DC” , is that I thought that the White House was super super super huge! And its big, but not as big as my imagination thought it was…

 

That same night we visited the Lincoln Memorial and I was (again) impressed of the dimensions of this monument. Oh me, so naive!

 

During that weekend we visited all the landmarks that any tourist will do. Everything is huge, the museum, The Mall, the monuments. The walks between one place to other were from 15 minutes to 30 minutes even though you can see it from the distance and it give you the impression that is less time walking. At the end of the day our feet were suffering major pain.
It was a great experience and we enjoy it at the maximum. unfortunately we were not able to see everything, definitely I want to go back… But a cool thing, I learn how to ride the metro in DC! Next time will be easier. (You see we don’t have a metro system in Orlando FL)
Here let me share with you more pics fo the BIG DC!
I found the Capitol to be Huge!
A view of The Mall up to the Washington Monument. This pic I took it from the Capitol.
World War II Memorial, at the background is Lincoln Memorial
National Air and Space Museum
National Museum of the American Indian
and more…
Smithsonian Castle
United States Botanical Garden
 
Until then,
xamlinnette 🙂
 
 
 
 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Something To Think About!

 

It is incredible how nature give us the example that not everything that you see at first, it’s the real thing… These butterflies for example, when the wings are closed they are simple brown butterflies, probably won’t catch your attention but if you stay for a little longer it will share with you it’s true beauty!

The photos were taken at the National Museum of Natural History in the Live Butterfly Pavilion http://spotabutterfly.com/Museum in Washington, D.C., United States of America. By me 🙂

Until then,

xamlinnette 🙂

 

 

 

Research, Research and more Research

I am at the second stage of my road trip planning. In my last post about this subject (Planning Road Trip 2014 – How you Plan a Road Trip), I mention my intentions of researching or knowing some apps that could help me to plan our itinerary. All the applications that I will be mentioning or using I found them at the apple store because I will be using my I pad. I am pretty sure that most of the apps also come for android users.

I love the fact of being able to have a device that you can carry around and it is multi-usable. I love the fact that you can have all the maps, attraction lists, metro maps and information, in other words your everything with you at all times y one same place! Amazing!

Ok, so I first started with Washington DC. I went to the App Store, look through the options. First I started exploring the free applications that have information about the city, maps and attractions. I got CityBot DC and City Walks for Washington DC. I found out later that this two apps comes for many major cities in US, including NY City. After playing with this applications for a while, my conclusion was:

CityBot – Gives you good information but constructing an itinerary is a little hard, at least was for me. I decided to used it as reference for prices of places and for research of places.
City Walks DC – I liked this application very much, but I have to confess that I upgraded for $4.99. At the beginning was a little hard to used but that is when I realized that if I wanted to used it the way I wanted, I had to upgraded. I didn’t fight it much. It really is a great tool to move around and have a step by step itinerary in a place that you never been. The app comes with some standard tours that covers pretty much everything that we or any other tourist will like to see from DC.

 

You can also make your own itinerary from scratch or use the standard tours that they suggested mixing them in a way that works for you. That is what I did, I created my own tours based on the ones that they suggest but accommodating it to our needs. It also will give a map, for you to arrange your tour and stops in the order that is more convenient for you. Here is one of the tours that I made for Saturday May 14.

Here is another App, this one I found for free (MX for Metro in DC). I think this one is great, comes with a metro map of the city and you can enter the metro station from where your departing and where you want to go, it will show you which metro to take and the time of your ride. For anyone that it’s not familiar with the metro system in DC its a good start. I eventually will let you know if it really works.

 

 

For New York I used the same applications for the City of NY. For the metro system in NY, I will be using the App NY Subway. This one is a little bit more confusing but basically works the same way as the DC one. Of course, the metro system in NY is a lot more complicated than in DC. Here is a pic so you can have an idea.

 

I got you a closer look, in this map you can touch one of the stations (round/square numbers or letters) and it will open asking if this is where you want to come from or go to. Then you pick up the other end of your trip and it will trace your route, giving you the information of how many stations you will pass and the time of your ride. I think it will be very helpful too.

 

Well this is all I found out on my research, I hope this will be helpful for you and me. 🙂

Now I am working on my options for coming back home and a plan B if we decided not to go up to the Niagara Falls.

Until then,

xamlinnette 🙂