3 national parks in four days

After leaving Washington DC and the Arlington cemetery behind, we got on the road and headed east, towards Shenandoah National Park. The drive wasn't too long, and soon we hit the winding roads up through the mountains. We stopped for lunch, before continuing on into the mountains some more, and headed to the trailhead of the Stony Man Trail.  This was our first hike in the States, and we were unprepared - who needs hiking boots and poles? For a first hike, it was hard, steep and uphill and in the sun for about a mile but the view was more than worth it in the end.

We stayed at the top of the hill for at least an hour, watching everyone scramble rocks down the front of the hill mountain, whilst enjoying the view of the surrounding mountains. After we'd relaxed and cooled down and enjoyed the view we then had to attempt the long, steep walk down with a lure of an ice cream at the bottom. After finishing up with the ice cream, we were back on the road, and off to the campsite. W…

To walking tour, or not?

I have a thing for walking around cities, no planned destination or route in sight, more 'let's go this way and see where we end up'. And it works more often than not. You get to see things that otherwise you may never have discovered if you caught the train or underground. You can come across cafe's, shops, buildings or even views you never would have spotted otherwise.

And to be honest, you will always miss things. But there's no better way to learn about the city you're in or explore new neighbourhoods you never would have on your own, than from someone who lives in the city, who knows the best places, who can give the best recommendations and who know's about the history.

Whilst we were in Chicago, we did a walking tour around the Lincoln Park area, through the side streets and off the beaten track areas, learning all about the gang history and Al  Capone's involvement. We did this through 'Free Tours by Foot' where we spent two hours walkin…

Philadelphia and Washington DC.

Imagine the looks as you're driving through the toll booth and entering Philadelphia, whilst rapping along to the Fresh Prince of Bel Air intro. I'd like to think it had happened more than once to the toll booth worker as we drove through, but either way, she just laughed at us, tourists. You can't really blame her.

We drove to Philadelphia straight from the Newark Airport in New Jersey, where we'd met with everyone else on out Trek America tour at 8am. Needlessly to say, we weren't all that chatty at that time of the morning to begin with, but once the excitement kicked in we all started to bond - until we found out the vans wifi password. The drive took a couple of hours, but the anticipation of trying a Philly Cheesesteak meant it flew by!

We arrived into Philly, parked up and found some amazing street art straight away. We were then off to have a look at the Liberty Bell - from the outside looking in, rather than wasting precious minutes in the queue and learnt…

Moving back to Spain...

Two years ago when I left Spain, I was confident that my Spanish adventure was over. Never to be repeated. But the more time I spent away from the country, the more I missed it. But I sat down at the beginning of this year to write a goals list, and 'Move to Spain' was on there. And it wasn't just on there, it was number one.  

And I searched, I googled, I tried to find a job - the main selling point was that it had to be something I'd enjoy - I wasn't keen on going back to Au Pairing. I didn't love it as much as I should have. I tried finding a job, and I failed. I put that dream on the back burner. And then one Friday night, scrolling down Facebook, the perfect opportunity almost appeared out of nowhere. I didn't want to believe it was true. I also didn't want to believe that the deadline was that night. But it was. I wrote out the quickest job description known to man, sent it off and crossed my fingers.

By the next Friday, I'd had two interviews, …

Trek America.

Finding a way to travel everywhere we wanted to, within budget and a decent timeframe wasn't easy in the slightest. We knew there were certain locations we wanted to go to - like Yosemite National Park and the Grand Canyon and we had no idea where to start, or how we could get there. Neither of us wanted to hire a car - namely because I can't drive, and Loren wasn't confident to drive in the States - nor was it fair for it to be all on her.

I can't remember where or when I first heard of Trek America, but the idea stuck with me. Up to fourteen strangers - including the leader - packing up everything into one van and trailer, and upping and going travelling around the States, with someone who knew where they were going, with great ideas and recommendations to boot. And the highlight for me - you could do it all camping. What a true American Roadtrip Experience.

That first night in a campground outside of DC, was my first night sleeping in a tent. But with living in a si…

New York City.

Our first view of Manhattan, was when we crossed the Tappen Zee Bridge, and got the distant view of the famous skyline. The closer we got, driving through upstate New York and New Jersey, the more sneak peaks we had until we were eventually driving through THE Lincoln Tunnel, and eventually making it onto Manhattan Island.

Our first challenge once we left the bus station, was finding our way from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, down to the World Trade Centre. Which, when you're overtired and dragging a suitcase, and have to decipher the subway - isn't the quickest or easiest thing to do. Eventually, we found the right platform, bought the right tickets and headed in the right direction.  Nothing screams out-of-towner than struggling to figure out which way to put your card in the gate and dragging your suitcase over the top rather than through an easy access gate. Our hotel, however, wasn't so easy to find, and we found ourselves walking around an entire block before find…

New England

Salem, Massachusetts-
Day 3 of the trip and we headed up to the Boston North Station, bought our tickets, and then hopped onto the train to Salem, and only 30 minutes later we were there.

We wondered out the station, purely pretending we knew where we were going. The architecture in Salem was stunning, the first side street was lined with romanesque pillared buildings, the next with the 'traditional Salem' black wooden houses.
We spent some time in the Salem Museum, relearning the story of the Witch trials, thanks to some human-sized figures and sets, in the basement of a high street building. Whilst waiting for our museum tour spot, we checked out the local second-hand bookshop and a good old tat shop. We walked down to the waterfront, took in the amazing architecture, and walked down to the House of the Seven Gables, and naturally, as travellers on a budget, checked out the view from the outside, rather than the inside tour.
We got slightly lost and ended up finding the Salem gr…