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When I started my retirement travels - the first of which was my solo overseas trip to Italy in 2009 - I wanted a way to share it with family and friends as it happened. Hence, "My Travel Journal". However I realized I wouldn't always be on a trip and wondered what to do with the blog in between times. My daughter pointed out, wisely, that travels can also include trips to the kitchen to try a new recipe, trips to visit family, trips to my neighborhood Starbucks, or a fun day trip with a friend. You're welcome to join me on any of these journeys!

P.S. I've set up separate pages for each of my major trips (see tabs above).

I recently added an "Italian Word a Day" thingie which shows up at the bottom of every page. You see the word and can click to hear it pronounced. I've been enjoying it and I think my accent is improving as time goes by.

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March 15, 2013

Happy Birthday to Me! Part 1

First of all, I had to take a picture of my cards - I think this is the most birthday cards I've ever received in my life!  So, in addition to all the big, special treats, all the greetings were very enjoyable too.

I meant to post as the weekend progressed like I do on my trips, but I was just having too much fun.  So this will be a fairly brief (what?  me brief?!) summary of the weekend and a bunch of pictures.

So, we left Huntington Friday morning (Jamie was sick and couldn't join us which was a disappointment) in a 2-car "convoy".  Main reason for 2 cars was because I was going to stay longer and everyone else had things they had to get back home for.  Our trip was totally uneventful which was nice and we got to Chris's apartment relatively early.  He had outdone himself getting everything clean and shiny and if he's anything like me, it had to be a pleasure for him to show it off.  I had told him that for our non-party meals, I wanted to try and eat at places that would be new to my friends so Friday night we went to El Pollo Rico (which is porobably spelled incorrectly).  I love going there - it's very plain, very simple, relatively cheap and has really delicious, fire roasted chicken, French fries and cole slaw.  And that's it - the only thing to decide is how much chicken you want and what to drink.  Hopefully they enjoyed it.

After dinner we took off for our home away from home and it was probably bigger than my apartment!  Four bedrooms (yes, FOUR).  Being the birthday girl, I got one with a king-sized bed with its own bathroom.  Then there were two rooms with two queen sized beds in each room and they shared a bathroom "suite" that had a big double vanity and then a shower and commode on each side of the vanity area (with a door that closed on each).  The fourth room was either exactly the same as mine or slightly smaller, I'm not sure.  So the ladies assigned a number to each room and we wrote 1, 2, and 3 on separate bits of paper and they each drew one out of a bag and slept in that room.  But it was pretty amazing that there could be four of us and not only did no one share a bed, but no one shared a room!   Chris had a bouquet of happy birthday balloons for me (another first), two boxes of  Nordstrom truffles and a bottle of delicious bubbly.  Oh and a box of dark chocolate covered strawberries.  What a guy.  And, of course, the whole suite was because Heather has a time share and got the suite through that.  There was even a nice balcony we could step out on and see the Potomac River and far away, the Washington monument.  Very nice...

Saturday was our sightseeing day and first on the agenda was a personal tour of the National Cathedral with Chris as our tour guide.  This is his 18th year serving as a docent at the cathedral and the amount of knowledge he has on the tip of his tongue never ceases to amaze me.  If you ever decide to visit the cathedral, you should try and get one of his tours. :)  It's a beautiful place and so impressive.  Everything is hand-carved stone, hand-wrought ironwork, hand stitched needlepoint embroideries, etc.  Chris pointed out some of the damage done to the cathedral by the earthquake last year - huge pieces of stonework toppled from the high towers all lined up down on the ground waiting to be resituated.  As with the actual building of the cathedral itself (which went on for over 100 years), the repairs for the earthquake damage are all being done through donations from companies, organizations, and private citizens.  If this is of any interest to anyone reading this, you might want to check out the cathedral's website at http://www.nationalcathedral.org/dcquake/

I took lots of pictures, most of which I've posted here before but who knows where they are and anyway, I bet these are nicer because of the very nice day we had.

The first one is a group picture Chris took and I think it's pretty amazing that we all look all right.

The rest are of the interior first and then a few outside shots.  It's really a beautiful building.  Oh, and if you want to know, the picture shows from left to right:  Brenda, Peggy, me, and Cindy.

And outside...

It was a beautiful day Saturday as you can see from the pictures and after we finished at the cathedral, we had lunch at a Pot-Belly sandwich shop which was another spot I enjoy and we don't have in Huntington.  I think that was pretty much a hit with everyone and then we went to Arlington Cemetery.  With all my trips to DC, I've never been there.  Peggy's dad is buried there and she's visited several times.  After she found the grave and we all enjoyed the beautiful views of various DC landmarks from the hills of the cemetery, we trekked up to the tomb of the unknown soldier, another beautifully situated monument.

We made a short trip to the Air Force Memorial which is one of my favorites - it's beautiful itself and the views are stunning.

I think that was about all our "official" sight-seeing.  When we got back to the hotel, we went out wandering around all the neat shops and enjoying the harbor area on the river.  There's a really neat piece of art right at the river's edge.  It's called "The Awakening" and on Saturday, it was crawling with kids.  I went out again Sunday morning and no one was there so you can see it both ways.

Then it was back to the hotel to gear up for my official birthday party to take place at an "unknown" destination. If you scroll down to the next post, you'll find my party post - mostly pictures.


otterine said...

What a marvelous trip! I wish you a Happy Birthday!!! :D

Anonymous said...

Happy Birthday again, Mary Lynne. What a wonderful trip. Did you see the camel embroidery while you were at the cathedral? Lisa up in Morgantown, WV

Mary Lynne said...

Thanks, ladies! And, yes, Lisa - I DID see the camel embroidery and in fact, made a special search for it. One of the chapels (I think one down in the crypt) had a lot of Christmas ones and I searched through them all til I finally found the camel.

Christopher said...

Happy birthday to you indeed. How neat you got back to The Awakening without any kids clambering around on it!

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