Category Archives: USA 2013

Monuments, Presidents and Astronauts

In order to give our last holiday it’s due respect, I will be completing my blog on our holiday to the US. By hook or by crook …

Day 17

Washington! We took ourselves off on the Amtrak for a jaunt to Washington DC to visit two dear friends we met in Mongolia and again in China on our last adventure. Well, three friends, as they now how a cutie-pie named Henry.

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He is divine! And the baby isn’t too bad either! Ba ha ha!

Brian and Erin took us out for breakfast  …

breakfast
I had beans and rice, plantains, salsa, tortillas, eggs, cream (!) and garlic bread. Would order it again in a flash.

… then took us for a tour of the Washington DC sites.

white house
Yep, I reckon we could live here.

forest jenny

lincoln

The Lincoln Memorial was overwhelmingly large and impressive, as was the Martin Luther King, Jr. Memorial. I think this one was my favourite actually.

martin luther king

We then escaped the insane heat and took ourselves to one of the 19 amazing, free and world-class Smithsonian Museums. It was hard to choose, but due to Luke’s boyhood dream of being an astronaut, we took ourselves off to the National Air and Space Museum!

space museum

After all this sightseeing it was time for a break, so we went home to freshen up, then hand the baby over to his grandma and head out! We went to the historic neighbourhood of Georgetown for gluten-free pizzas and cocktails, with a charming walk around the waterfront for good luck!

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A few beers may have been consumed at home that evening, along with some fabulous catching up time.

Day 18

The next day Luke and I headed out to the Arlington National Cemetery to see some famous graves, which sounds quite odd now that I’m typing this. Anyway, we saw the graves of the darling Kennedy brothers and Jackie O, and saw the changing of the guard at the Tomb of the Unknowns.

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The cemetery was worth the visit. Beautiful and touching.

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Again to escape the heat, Luke and I visited another Smithsonian Museum, this time the National Museum of American History. Highlights being the fabulous old cars, a display about the First Ladies, an excellent exhibition about the evolution of food in America, and of course, Julia Child’s kitchen!

julia child
“A party without cake is really just a meeting.” Ooh I love her!

luke and squirrel

As usual, Luke made friends with a squirrel …

capitol

… then made us march around the hot city to see the Capitol Building. Not that I minded!

Then finally it was time to say our farewells to beautiful Washington and our so generous friends. Thank you Brian, Erin and Henry for showing us how beautiful and full of great food (and drink!) Washington DC is!

washington station

Next, our last few days in NYC …

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Dinos, Yankees and Queens

We are now alas home, but the blog must go on!

Day 14

Turns out that today was quite an important day, but I just didn’t know it yet …

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First stop of the day was the American Museum of Natural History. This museum is so, so good. We could have spent all day here, playing sillies, but alas our hunger for NYC deli food won out.

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The T-Rex was scary!

We decided on a picnic in Central Park, so took ourselves to Zabar’s to source bagels, gluten-free bagels, cream cheese, lox, cucumber salad and fruit salad. A genuine feast!

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We sat near the Great Lawn and enjoyed our treats, then continued our wander to the Loeb Boathouse and Bethesda Fountain.

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Where, of course, we all now know that the darling Luke James popped the question. Delightful.

All this called for a celebratory dinner, so we took ourselves to the lovely little French bistro near our apartment, Vin et Fleurs.

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French wine and bread. Perfection.

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We both had filet mignon, with fries and buttery green beans. Oh my.

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We finished the night with rooftop cocktails, Old Fashioned’s of course. See the Freedom Tower behind me? That’s where the new World Trade Centre is. Subtle red, white and blue lights.

A perfect day!

Day 15

Today’s museum was the Museum of Modern Art. Which we loved, until it got all too modern and minimalist and, sorry to say, weird. The Kahlo, van Gogh, Cézanne, Gauguin, Matisse, Duchamp and Warhol were damn fine though!

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Looking good considering the humidity!

We then searched around for another gluten-free friendly deli I’d read about, Blooms Deli, where Luke devoured a burger and a $5 vanilla shake.

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We then explored Grand Central Station, including the Food Market, which was full of tempting treats!

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Hustle. Bustle.

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The evening saw us subway up to The Bronx to see the Yankees play the Minnesota Twins.

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The baseball game was fun, I like cricket and baseball is the same kind of vibe, but unfortunately, we spent the first three innings like this …

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… huddled together under an umbrella. Which was fine, until the rain started coming in towards us. Unpleasant.

So we called it quits and went for a romantic rainy walk and ate these –

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Much better.

Day 16

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Taking the subway like a boss.

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Saturday! We visited the Chelsea Antique Garage and the Brooklyn Flea on this fine day, which were fabulous, but more on Luke’s (vinyl) and my (vintage) purchases another time. Today was all about visiting old friends!

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We met up with Chris and Nicole in Brooklyn, wandered around Brooklyn Bridge Park, had sangria and plantains in DUMBO (Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass), then visited their amazing apartment in Queens for these views and beers.

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The night ended with popcorn and soda the size of your head and the very highbrow Pacific Rim. Both of which were perhaps enjoyed by the 12 year old boys and these two, more than Nicole and myself.

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Thanks guys, we had a damn fine time in your neck of the woods. We shall be back.

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Skyscrapers, sailors and sandwiches

Day 11

flight path

Travel day! From Carlsbad to LA, LA to NYC! Made a stop over for another In-and-Out Burger experience (this time under the flight path), went to the movies and travelled by bus to and fro. Boarded our red-eye to NYC!

Day 12

first glimpse nyc

Very, very sleepy today. And hot. My word is it hot. Breakfast, napping, lunch, napping, dinner, bedtime. Turns out there isn’t much sleeping to be had on the red-eye.

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We had Vietnamese in Chinatown for dinner, and gelato in Little Italy for dessert.

Day 13

high line

For our first real day in NYC, we explored Chelsea and the High Line. Which was so lovely and I could have walked along it again and again, hot humidity and all. The High Line was an old raised train line, turned into public park. Gorgeous.

us on the high line
We are very sweaty. But happy, I promise! 

We sought refuge at Risotteria, and ate the best gluten-free pizza of our lives. Also had salad and a bottle of wine for lunch. It’s a holiday after all!

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We saw more sights …

cafe wha

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Having a quick Carrie moment on Perry Street in the West Village. Sex and the City filmed here!

… then went on the most wonderful sunset sail on the Hudson River, and visited a great bar called the Rusty Knot.

statue of liberty

me on a boat
Drinking champagne while hanging on for dear life.

holly and luke on hudson

boat
Excuse the sailor on the left.

Oh, and we had a picnic of small Ruben sandwiches for dinner.

ruben

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Love and happiness

The ever romantic, sexy, kind, fun and generous Luke Ramsay asked me to marry him last week. Because mama didn’t raise no fool, I said yes.

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While standing on the Bethesda Terrace in Central Park, overlooking at the fountain and lake, Luke said some very, very kind things about me and pulled out a ring.

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The sneaky bear had bought the ring in Melbourne, and had been saving it to ask me while in Central Park. Swoon. He had even spoken to my sister, and both our parents before we left, not to ask permission, but to ask for their blessings. Gotta love a family man.

Luke

He really is the one for me.

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Old glory, nuptials and hangovers

Turns out when holidaying in NYC there is no time for blogging! So here is a super quick run-down of our last days in California, before I update you with THE MOST AMAZING NEWS and some NYC stories …

Day 6

Wednesday saw Luke head out on Sean’s bachelor party for go-karting, roof top drinking and karaoke. All men returned the next day with hangovers and no voices. Bachelor party success.

in and out

I headed down south with Julia and Jess to Encinitas for a quiet night in. Highlights of the drive was a crash between two trucks, one of which had a bobcat on it, and lunch at In-and-Out Burger. Oh my. I think I finally understand why people have burger obsessions.

Day 7

Thursday was FOURTH OF JULY! Happy fourth you guys! Us ladies (well, Jess’ mom and aunties) rustled up some patriotic decorations and food, while the men slowly returned.

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The main event began at 5pm, with games of hula-hoop, corn-hole and backyard cricket. Hotdogs and potato salad were followed by lemon meringue pie and chocolate chip cookies. And beer, always beer.

Day 8

Friday was the wedding rehearsal and family dinner, all of which we played a part in as Luke was a groomsman at the wedding, and I was given the honour of reading an Aussie poem during the ceremony. Rehearsal all went to plan, with walking and hand positions perfected.

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The wedding venue was a 163 year old ranch. It was gorgeous, the white buildings, the blue blue sky, palm trees and bougainvillea were just perfect.

Day 9

The day we have all been looking forward to, and the reason we are here!

sean and jess

Sean and Jess had the most beautiful wedding, the ceremony was officiated by their friend Sam, the food was divine, and the home-made sangria far too tasty. I ended up in a fountain with some of my new friends! Oops …

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So classy.

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I can’t wait to share the official photos from the wedding once we have them, Luke looked very suave! In the meantime, here is Luke and I are in the background of this beautiful photo of Jess dancing with her Dad.

Day 10

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Hungover. Atoned with waffles and bacon and a bloody mary.

Next up, NYC!

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DISNEYLAND!

Day 5

On Tuesday, Luke, Sam, Jess, Sean and I went to DISNEYLAND!

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Look how much fun I’m having!

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We got there nice and early, lined up and got in at opening time … 8am! Samwell took the job of obtaining our fast passes (said best in an American accent), which gave us certain times to go on the rides without lining up. I screamed like a baby throughout all the rides, Space Mountain was my favourite scary ride, with the Mad Tea Party Teacups and Peter Pan a close second. Don’t ask about the Tiki Room though …

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I couldn’t resist some ears. Surprisingly no one else joined me.

Luke ate a gluten-free hotdog, I had a root beer float, we watched a New Orleans jazz band, I saw a guy from Melbourne Uni who I used to work with, we drank many free ice waters, Sean borrowed an ugly hat from lost property … all in all it was a most successful 10 hour day.

the team at disneyland

Until next time happiest place on earth, we will be back!

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Bagels, bikes and bums

I’m a little behind on this travel blog of mine, so here goes …

Day 4

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We started off the day with a breakfast stop in Santa Monica. I had a little bagel and a huge green tea.

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We had another look around Santa Monica, then hired ourselves some beach cruisers and rode to Venice Beach.

holly bike

Venice was its usual unusual self, with homeless people, body builders, wanna be musicians and ‘physicians’ selling medical marijuana. We even saw a man spooning and kissing his dog, and a man being arrested while yelling the lords prayer at the top of his lungs. Classy. We avoided all of the above, and instead wandered along the boardwalk and had Mexican for lunch.

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After returning our bikes in Santa Monica again, we took ourselves off to a small independent cinema for a little well deserved quiet time. After all, tomorrow we have tickets to DISNEYLAND!

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Downtown, tortas and sunsets

Our adventure continues!

Day 3

On Sunday Luke and I buckled up our shoes and headed to Downtown LA. Downtown is certainly an odd place. Lots of beautiful but run down buildings, barbed wine and a so called fashion district.

downtown la

However, this is not what we were here to see.

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We were here to indulge my love of all things Mexican at the Pueblo de Los Angeles. This part of town is where the city of Los Angeles first began in 1781. I found myself some lovely Mexican treasures, and a lovely big torta de carnitas (pulled pork sandwich). My vegetarianism wanes around Mexican food …

torta carnitas

We then took the metro to Hollywood, where Luke was immediately underwhelmed. This is a mandatory reaction I believe. Hollywood is dirty, touristy and generally not very pleasant. So we hustled ourselves down the walk of stars, took some obligatory photos and saw the Hollywood sign.

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We then treated Luke to a visit to Amoeba Music, where he indulged his love of records. We passed this bar on the way. We didn’t go in.

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After an iced coffee break, we took the bus for an hour and a half from Hollywood to Santa Monica. The long drive was  fun, we saw the city change from grotty Hollywood to lovely Beverly Hills in a street. The city just changes in a moment.

Once at the beach, we found a food truck and shared a half litre of Mexican Coca-Cola (which has real sugar and is delicious) and some veggie, shrimp and chicken tacos.

food truck tacos

We then took our little bodies down the Santa Monica Pier to watch the sunset. Very pleasant.

santa monica sunset

All in all a very successful day.

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Tacos, art and traffic

Los Angeles has treated us damn well so far. We’ve seen art, eaten tacos, been stuck in traffic, seen the sea and the hills. Sean and Jess are looking after us so well and we’ve been eating like kings.

Day 1

We took ourselves on an adventure to the Los Angeles Country Museum of Art to see an amazing Stanley Kubrick exhibition, and my favourite Latin American Art section.

kubrick

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Diego Rivera, El Dia de las Flores, 1925

We then made our way through the sweaty streets (SoCal is having a heat wave!), to the Farmers Market where we partook in tacos and frozen bananas.

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Tacos with mushies, succotash, pork and mole chicken.

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There is always money in the banana stand.

Day 2

Yesterday we took a jaunt around LA to UCLA, Echo Park Lake, and around Echo Park and Silverlake, then up along Mulholland Drive and back through Malibu and Santa Monica along the Pacific Coast Highway. Lots of traffic and lots of beautiful views.

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Sean and Luke at UCLA, where Sean studies.

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Echo Park Lake. I ate a paleta.

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City of Angels. Not bad.

We rounded off the day with spaghetti and clams from Jess’s work. Tough. Three more days here then we scoot down to the beach …

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