The Big Three

My happy little traveler.
My happy little traveler.

While we were in London, we took a few trips outside of the city to checkout lots of bucket-list type attractions. Our longest day trip was an 11-hour bus tour that took us to Windsor Castle, Stonehenge and Bath. It was a lot to cover in one day, but the rushed trip was very much worth it.

Windsor Castle
Windsor Castle

We booked the tour with Viator. They picked us up at our hotel, bright and early. We were ready with our cameras, snacks, packed diaper bag and carrier.  The first stop was Windsor Castle and it was about a 2-hour drive from London. Windsor Castle is gorgeous. My favorite part was Queen Mary’s enormous and elaborate doll house. I’m talking BIG. It took a good 15-20 minutes to look at quickly. I wonder if any kids were ever actually allowed to play with it… Interesting fact: Queen Victoria was often called the “Widow Of Windsor” after Prince Albert’s death because on the rare occasion that she was spotted outside she was always dressed in black and mourning.

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We rushed through our tour because poor Luna had broken out in horrible hives all over her torso for the second time in a week. I realized she was wearing the same wool shirt both occasions so we quickly scoured through a couple souvenir shops and bought her a touristy London kids cotton tee to wear.

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Next stop, Stonehenge! To be frank, I was not super excited about looking at a bunch or rocks. The fact, that Luna was refusing a nap (shocking, I know) and being a grumpus didn’t help. I wore Luna in her carrier out to the rocks and was blasted with the craziest winds. She was screaming and I just did my best to keep bouncing and to cover her with my scarf, neither of which helped. Too bad too, because those giant prehistoric mystery rocks stacked on each other were very impressive. They are a part of UNESCO’s list of World Heritage Sites, which is a good list to check off if you travel. After a few photos, Luna and I spent most of our time in the gift shop playing with stuffed sheep and trying the wine samples.

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Our final stop, and longest drive, was to Bath. In my opinion, they saved the best for last. Bath, yet another World Heritage Site, is gorgeous. The yellow stone, Georgian architecture and the river that runs through it is stunning. Just the sight of the city as you are getting close is breathtaking. Sadly, we didn’t get a lot of time to explore the city of Bath because we focused our time there at the Roman Baths. Somewhere around a million years ago, give or take a few, Romans turned bath into a spa town. They used the natural hot springs to create lots of baths and fancy places to hangout and relax. These Romans had the right idea. I just wanted to go back in time and hop into these hot springs while I walked around listening to the audio guide with my scarf and coat wrapped tightly around me. That hot water and skinny dipping sounded heavenly.

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So, drinking the water from the hot springs is  said to be "healing".
So, drinking the water from the hot springs is said to be “healing”.

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It took almost 3 hours to get home, but it wasn’t horrible. The entire day was fast and furious, but considering it was the only way we would have possibly been able to squeeze all 3 sights into our itinerary, I’m thrilled we did it. (Plus, even with all the driving, we still managed to get more than our 10,000 steps in for the day.) If you are ever in London, I highly recommend taking the day trip to all three sights. unless, you have lots of time. If you have the time then I would suggest spending a full day in Bath. I would love to go back and spend a day exploring!

Guess we will have to plan another trip to England one day…darn.

Cheers!

Day Trip to D.C.

While my friend Sara was staying with us we decided to take an overnight trip to Washington DC, because why wouldn’t we have a 24 hour road trip during her four-day NYC vacation? Sara and I had many many road trips during our year together in Albania, which are some of my fondest and most ridiculous memories. (Like the time we found 20 puppies at the Montenegro/Albania border and stopped for an hour to play with them….Or the time we went caving and discovered the most beautiful blue stream.) I have been anxiously awaiting another adventure!

Puppies!
Puppies!
The Montenegro/Albania border
The Montenegro/Albania border
The start of our hike...
The start of our hike…
The end of our hike
The end of our hike

Plus, the main reason for the visit, the only reason really, was to meet up with another friend who we met in Albania! Our friend Meghan was in the Peace Corps in Albania and is now living in DC. We took a 5 hour bus on Friday morning and arrived to our Nation’s Capital with just enough daylight to checkout DC’s most popular attractions. Also, one of Husband’s friends from high school (they haven’t seen each other in 11 years!) lives in DC. Husband’s long-lost friend was nice enough to pick us up at the train station and act as our tour guide.

The Capital Building
The Capital Building
The Washington Monument
The Washington Monument
Mr. Lincoln
Mr. Lincoln

I tried telling the friendly men with guns that I had a coffee date with Michelle, but no one took me seriously…Sorry Mrs. Obama guess we will have to have coffee in New York!

Husband and I in front of the The White House.
Husband and I in front of the The White House.

For dinner, we met up with our friend Meghan and had Albanian food and alcohol at a new Balkan style restaurant! It was not only freakin’ amazing food, but so nostalgic. AND, I ATE SALMON. I have been a vegetarian for almost 5 whole years, but lately I have been seriously craving fish. I don’t know if it was the Albanian rakia or the excitement of the whole day, but I gave into temptation and ordered salmon for dinner. I was sick all night, but it was SO worth it.

3 different flavors of Rakia
3 different flavors of Rakia
Bacon-wrapped prunes
Bacon-wrapped prunes
Of course the meal had to end with an espresso
Of course the meal had to end with an espresso

It was the most fun night I have had in a long time. Husband and I shared a couch that night, but I made sure to get some snuggle/girl talk time in the morning!

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We were back on a bus to NY by 10am. It was a quick trip, but worth every excruciating minute on the bus. Cannot wait until our next reunion!

Cheers!

My Spoiled Dog

Ever since moving to NYC Belle has become a snobby little upper east side pooch. She sleeps on a giant white feather pillow during the day, in between us at night, has an Oscar De La Renta collar (from Target…) and she shops in every designer store.

She’s been to Bergdorf Goodman’s, Barney’s, Tiffany, Louis Vuitton, Gucci, Coach, Chanel and Sephora. Virtually every store welcomes dogs here. Several offer treats, leave out water bowls and give her more attention than they give me…the customer. Our recent shopping trip was to Bloomingdale’s, which is only a 20 block walk, but it’s cold out and I decided to take the bus.

The only problem is that dogs have to be in carriers on the bus. Belle is absolutely terrified of carriers. She screams, cries, bites and claws as if she is on fire. I hate putting her in one, but considering how much we travel and how we take her everywhere with us it’s inevitable. She has actually torn up every single carrier I have ever bought, which is why I just got a new pet carrier from EzyDog.

I love it because it unzips and folds up into a completely flat carrier so it’s super easy to store in our tiny apartment. The inside is soft, the outside is tough and durable. There is no netting, just giant air holes so I can actually stick my fingers through the holes to gently pat Belle and keep her slightly more calm. I may have been excited about these inventive features, but bratty Belle could care less.

She is SO dramatic! Where does she get this from?!
She is SO dramatic! Where does she get this from?!

Once I had her safely in we left together and she remained calm as we walked and waited for the bus. No tears. No yelping. I was one happy Mama.

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Once we were on the bus, things took a turn for the worse. When I sat down the whining began, then the yelping, then the high-pitched, ear-piercing cries. I tried my best to calm her…

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Stupidly, I unzipped the carrier, just a little. I wanted to stick my whole hand in and strangle pet her to keep her quiet….people were starting to glare. The second she heard the zipper she pushed her tiny head out.

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She tried her best to tear and bite her way out of the carrier, but she failed. So far, the EzyDog Transporter is the strongest dog carrier we have ever had! Finally, after what seemed like hours, we made it to our destination.

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Belle was happy to get out, shop and walk around, and I was happy to fold up her carrier and hand it over to Husband to carry under his arm. We shopped and shopped, and enjoyed the night.

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Husband snapped the funniest picture of us while I was looking at purses!

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It turned out to be a night of only window shopping, but it was worth the bus ride and the use of our new dog carrier.

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Maybe next week we’ll take her to a store that actually sells dog merchandise!

Cheers!