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“And so the spring buds burst, and so I gaze,
And so the blossoms fall, and so my days ...”-Onitsura

 

Hi Readers,

 

The 4th day of our East Coast vacation in 2015 started out as a disaster. Right after going to the Statue of Liberty on the 3rd day (see post 3rd & 4th day: How to Make the Most Out of 5 Days in NYC), we cut our sightseeing short because we all agreed to go back to our airbnb and sleep earlier than usual in preparation for our trip to Washington D.C. the next day.

A few weeks before, we purchased a 2-day tour to New Jersey-Philadelphia-Washington D.C. at taketours.com. There was a 1-day seasonal tour in the website for the Annual Cherry Blossom Festival but that tour ended on the second week of April. Our vacation was not until the 3rd week so we were unfortunately off by just a week. They said that if we go there at that time of the year, we may only be able to witness the last few of the blossoms and most of them may be by the ground, wilted. That was totally discouraging because the Cherry Blossom Festival  was the main reason why we wanted to take a side trip from New York to D.C. in the first place. We had no choice but to get the alternative 2-day tour to New Jersey-Philadelphia-Washington D.C. We thought it all worked for the best because 3 major cities in 2 days would be more than what we expected of this whole vacation.

On the morning of the 4th day, WE TOTALLY SLEPT IN. Our luck decided to take the day off. Tsk. I guess it's true what they say, "the best-laid plans of mice and men oft' go astray." Walking around NYC must have taken a lot of our energy, we suppose. Living in the Midwest for quite a while now, you can't get to places without having a car because subways are non-existent and cab fares are very expensive. If you are a fitness nut then maybe you would have the endurance physical activities require. But if you are like us, who are in the verge of being couch potatoes (lol) and always driving even at 5-minute stops, our bodies have not been accustomed to the NYC lifestyle that even brisk walking was already very strenuous.

The tour bus usually leaves at 8am and we had to be there supposedly by 7am. "Kikay" as we are, you would never expect us to leave the room with just half made-up selves.  We knew we were doomed the moment we stepped out of the airbnb. It was already 0730am and the meeting place was a good 45-minute subway ride with a few blocks of walking. Arneil tried to ask the tour guide over the phone if we could possibly catch up with the bus but she said it was impossible to get out of the city that fast given the NYC traffic and that they had already left.

If you are impulsive and risk-taking  travelers like us, you wouldn't give up that easily. Without a plan but all fired up with a "come what may" attitude, we boarded a Mega Bus from NYC to D.C. which was about $25 per person and waaaay cheaper than the Amtrak, rented a car at the bus station and looked for a hostel for the night. The hostel is a cheaper alternative for a hotel or suite if you are a student. They usually ask for ID's; good thing, J-salem was still schooling that time. There are cheap inns around the area as well but we just opted for the cheaper accommodation because we already wasted money on the missed tour (sob). We relied on GPS the whole time and Voilà! Sans tour guide, Washington D.C. trip turned out to be a success. If it wasn't much of a consolation, fate must have taken pity on us, the cherry blossoms were still there. Hooray! We got the chance to explore other sights as well.

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Gel with the cherry blossoms

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Lincoln Memorial, Washington D.C.

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From L to R: J-salem, Gel, Angela, Gwend, Arneil; in front of the White House

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Gwend and Arneil at the Dwight D. Eisenhower Executive Office Building

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On Gel: Forever 21 beige coat, TJ Maxx Little Black Dress, Younkers leather gloves, Forever21 black stockings, black ballet flats, Louis Vuitton Turenne pm

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On Gwend: Zara trench coat, Zara halter neck open back yellow top, Asos pleated midi skirt, Celine Mini Luggage smooth calfskin in black, Zara ankle nude boots

Readers, if there is one thing we would like to tell you after this funny experience, travel on impulse at least once in your life. Go to some place where you don't know anybody and just follow where your heart leads you (or the GPS for that matter, hehe). It can be pretty scary but it's very liberating to know that you can survive outside of your comfort zone.

Sending love your way,

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Published by Gwend & Gel