Travel

Present and Thankful for All the Things

December 4, 2017 782 views

The sentiment behind the Thanksgiving holiday is really a lovely one, spending time and breaking bread with friends and family. It’s a shame it’s tarnished by consumerism at it’s worst, almost immediately after literally giving thanks and being grateful for everything you have.

Remi and I were lucky enough to be invited to thanksgiving celebrations in Maryland with our friends Chris and Jasmine. We all had tickets for the 6o’clock bus and the plan was to meet at the bus stop in midtown and board together so we could sit next to each other. Unbeknown to us, there were actually two busses scheduled for a 6pm departure. As it was (bloody) freezing outside, Remi and I hopped on the first bus to save x4 seats, while Chris waited for Jasmine to arrive outside. Suddenly, the bus we were on was ready to go, but Chris and Jasmine weren’t on the bus yet. Remi and I grabbed our bags and ran off the bus – only to realise that we’d left our Thanksgiving Pecan Pie in the overhead compartment, as the bus was driving off.

We notified the Vamoose bus staff that we left “something” on the first bus. When they found out it was a Pecan Pie they all started to laugh – our plan of arriving with a nice Thanksgiving gift faded rather quickly after that.

The second 6o’clock bus arrived and we all hop on, ready for the 4 hour adventure. It came and went pretty quickly, and getting out of Manhattan wasn’t as much of a traffic nightmare as we had previously expected. The bus driver was extra friendly towards Jasmine and she got an Instagram friend request out of it. ?

When we pulled up to the bus stop in Bethesda, there, waiting for us, in the freezing cold under a dim streetlight, escorted and protected by not one, not two but THREE Vamoos bus staff, was our Pecan Pie.

Chris’s sister Sarah picked us up from the bus stop and we learnt all about the black plague and that if we see dead rodents everywhere in NYC we need to evacuate PRONTO (thanks for the heads up Sarah!) We were dropped off at Jasmine’s place and had a solid sleep-in, into Thanksgiving.

Thanksgiving started with a traditional home-baked German fruit loaf, home made Swiss hot chocolate, home-roasted coffee beans and home made mint tea. We sat around the dining room table and talked for hours until it was time to head to Chris’ house for a traditional Ethiopian Thanksgiving. 84 friends, family and children gathered at Chris’s place where we over indulged in amazing Ethiopian food and home made honey wine. Remi and I were warned that Thanksgiving is a marathon, and not a race, but we started sprinting back for round two before we could stop ourselves. #rookiemistake

Once we were stuffed to the brim, it was time to head to Jasmine’s house for thanksgiving round #two. We arrived to a delicious spread of caramelised walnut veggies, smoked salmon, shrimp salad, mashed potatoes (crowd favourite) and a huge leg of ham which lasted for days. But it didn’t stop there –  once we’d polished off the entire table of food, it was dessert time. Wine was free-flowing and the conversation was heartwarming. We went around the table and each shared what we were thankful for. ?

After some yoga that turned into floor naps, it was time to head to Walmart ? Remi and I were so keen to see the craziness at the Black Friday sales (on Thursday) that Chris and Jasmine drove us 20~ minutes to the local shopping center where we saw a line of people outside and around the corner for Best Buy – just standing and waiting in the freezing cold. We decided to check out Target and Walmart which were pretty low key in terms of chaos – but we still saw a family try to shove a flatscreen tv along with all the other items they bought viciously into the boot of their car.

A late night with full bellies called for a late sleep-in. Friday was a late rise, with another amazing breakfast spread and homely company with free-flowing giggles. We had planned to go for a hike to work off some of our indulgence, but as it was already late in the afternoon Remi and I thought we’d missed our chance. Not so! Jasmine was confident we could make it to pick up Chris (+~15 mins) drive to the hike site (+30 minutes) climb the track (+~1 hour) and return, before dark. Remi and I weren’t convinced, but as it was Jasmine’s hood, we trusted her. The trust soon faded once we picked up Chris who told us the story of their last hiking adventure; they had reached the summit just as the last rays of sunlight was disappearing over the horizon. Still, we persisted as Jasmine was even more confident now that we’d make it in time.

The hike through Billygoats Trail was amazing. It was more of a scaling-boulders-uphill than a walking track. (See photos for good butt shots).

Perhaps, unsurprisingly, the hike took us 2 hours and 15 minutes to complete and we definitely walked back in the dark. We rewarded ourselves after our big adventure with (obviously) more food; a Spanish pasty filled with chicken, veggies and a lot of broth. Friday night was a write-off as our bodies couldn’t decide what they were recovering from – the food abuse over the last three days or the 2 hour uphill-boulder-climbing-mountain-scaling adventure.

Saturday we hopped on the train and went to explore DC. We only had a day but ticked off a lot of the monuments – we absolutely loved DC and will definitely have to go back. The White House was a lot smaller than I had envisioned it to be and the Lincoln Memorial was a lot bigger than I had thought. The Capital building was definitely my favourite; along with all the ‘hidden’ secret service and security. We were told the Air and Space museum was a must so we scheduled that into our day, and by the time we’d finished, it was time to catch the train back.

We had such a wonderful adventure over the Thanksgiving long weekend. We had such fun with Chris and Jasmine and their families and were made to feel so welcome in their homes ? We can’t wait to go back and check out everything else ??

? bus selfie
How babies are made
Head count: 84
Fresh cuts

Thanksgiving Round #1 ?
Murica ??
Thanksgiving Round #2
Thanksgiving Round #2
Thanksgiving Round #2
Thanksgiving Round #2
The cutest ?
All the deliciousness
Thanksgiving Round #2 ?
Pumpkin Pie ?
Target at midnight: Black Friday shopping on Thursday
Buying out Walmart
Billy Goat Trail A: Start time: 4pm

Casually scaling cliff faces, free hand.
Casually scaling cliff faces, free hand.
Jasmine easily running up the cliff face with camera in hand: “You’re doing so great guys! Smile!”
The sun is setting… quick, take a group photo before it gets too dark!

  

Still hiking
? DC train trip with this cute face ?
Flag is up = President is home

  

DC Sunsets

The eye made it!

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