Amberica #2: Best Places That I Visited in the USA

amberica

As you may or may not know, back in March I travelled to the United States of America to visit one of my best friends. I was going to vlog the experience, but gave up a couple of days in because I felt fairly awkward walking around with the camera, and also we got up to so. much. that I didn’t want to take my eyes off of anything and get distracted by filming. Instead, I have decided to wrap up my trip in a few blog posts, because I want to let you all know what I got up to during the ten days I was over there.

Today I wanted to talk about the top places I visited during my trip to America. Over the ten days I was there, Laila and Dee were lovely enough to drive me all over the place so I could go sightseeing, tick things off my weird bucket list, and just generally have an amazing time.

1. Busch Gardens, VA

The day before I left to go home, we drove to Williamsburg to go to Busch Gardens (which is a theme park, for those of you not in the know) for the day. While the drive there wasn’t too great, because Dee’s baby nephew was in a terrible mood, the day turned out to be amazing. It was really warm and sunny, and the rides were so much fun. It took a while, but I eventually persuaded two of Dee’s nephews to come on the big rides with us, and after that they both turned into huge adrenaline junkies and wanted to go on ALL THE THINGS. I’m proud of myself.

The park has a European theme going on, and each section of the park is designed to be a different country. There is England, Scotland, Ireland, Italy, Germany, France, and New France (which is Canada but and not actually European, but Americans).

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My favourite parts of the park were seeing the wolves (ACTUAL WOLVES. IN PERSON.), the Alpengeist (a ride where your feet dangle), the Verbolten (a ride that goes really really fast), and the Escape from Pompeii (it’s kind of like Thorpe Park’s Tidal Wave, except when you get to the top you go inside into “Pompeii” where there is ACTUAL FIRE and then you come out and drop into the water). And no matter how much Dee tries to convince me otherwise, I did not like Apollo’s Chariot. (I lie, it was fun as long as I kept my eyes closed on the drops.) And then there was an awesome sunset over the river on the way home.

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2. Arlington National Cemetery, VA

Dee and Laila’s brother, James, took us here during my last afternoon in the USA, just before I went to catch my flight. Since he works there and does (i.e. shoots the guns at) the funerals for soldiers who have died, he was like a walking Arlington encyclopaedia, and told us so much about the cemetery and the people who were buried there, as well as what goes on during the funerals.

Arlington Cemetery was an eerie experience, and I was getting rather emotional looking at all the gravestones and listening to some of James’ stories. It’s a beautiful yet haunting place, and I wish I had thought to take my good camera instead of only using my phone, because I could have taken some great photos to show you all.

I also saw the Pentagon from afar!

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3. Windsor Castle Park, Smithfield, VA

Windsor Castle Park (also known as simply Windsor Castle, but the true Windsor Castle is here in England so I refuse to call it that) is a former plantation that has been turned into a public park. Dee, Laila, Laila’s son, and I took a walk through it one morning, and it was beautiful. I could have spent a lot longer there, and when I visit Dee again I’m going to make sure they take me back. Or I’ll attempt to walk there myself if they refuse, but that’s tough to do in America.

We walked from the car park around the edge of the park, where we saw buzzards, and then proceeded to hunt for other Virginian wildlife as we crossed over a bridge and walked by the river. Then we walked by the huge fields, saw the manor house and the horses and some dogs, some graves, and even a really friendly cat. I’m so glad I was able to go there because it was such a picturesque place.

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4. Barnes and Noble, Newport News, VA

Going to Barnes and Noble was one of the things on my bucket list for the trip, so when Laila had to go to Newport News (where there are lots of navy people walking around in uniform) she took us there. I spent a lot longer than I should have stroking all the books, and I’m pretty sure Dee and Laila were getting bored while they waited for me to finish flailing. I ended up coming out with only two books, although I would have bought the whole store if I could have.

They had a lot of the Leatherbound Editions on display, and I wish I had bought Jurassic Park because it’s so hard to find here in the UK. I wanted to buy everything, but it was all quite expensive so I was forced to choose something from the bargain table.

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5. Walmart

For two years, Dee has been increasingly more amused/distraught by mine and Tatum’s obsession with Walmart. I feel like it’s a place that you have to visit when you go to America, you know? We hear about it all the time online through other people, and so I was very excited to go to a store when I was over there. And they really do have everything. There was a whole section of shelving dedicated to Oreos, and it left me wondering why we don’t have stuff like that over here. Give me those mint Oreos NOW.

Of course, Walmart is actually very similar to the UK’s Tesco or ASDA  (which, I believe, is a Walmart company), but don’t tell Dee this. Walmart is magical.

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6. Dulles International Airport, DC

Being somewhat of a keen traveller, I have been to a few airports in my twenty one years on this planet. However, Dulles International has to be my favourite. Everything is so clean and crisp, everyone is very helpful, and they have a bunch of different stores. Sure, everything is a tad more expensive than it would normally be, but there is a bookshop and a Chipotle (nom) and wi-fi! None of the other airports have had wi-fi.

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7. The Beach, Virginia Beach, VA

I can’t remember which day it was but it was hot and it was sunny and we went to the beach. I don’t know which beach it was, and Dee and Laila can’t remember, but it was on a naval base which meant it wasn’t jam packed full of people and we could walk along the ocean in peace. I had such a great time hunting for shells (which, in the end, I forgot to pack in my suitcase and bring home with me. Doh.) and looking at the different types of crab and digging tunnels. We were lucky it was such a hot day, considering this was back in March. The water was cold, so we didn’t go in, but just walking along the sand was lovely. And we went to buy cupcakes afterwards, which made the day even better.

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Posts in the Amberica series:

13 comments on “Amberica #2: Best Places That I Visited in the USA

  1. Kristen@My Friends Are Fiction June 5, 2014 2:37 pm

    Great series of posts! I love seeing your take on the US. It’s odd to think that everywhere doesn’t have a Walmart. I’m a Target fan myself. I hope you share more with us :-)

    • Amber June 7, 2014 12:20 pm

      Thanks, Kristen! We do have ASDA, which is pretty much a Walmart, but Walmarts are more exotic. To me, anyway 😀

  2. Nara June 5, 2014 3:51 pm

    haha of course you went to Barnes & Noble. That’s one of the places I want to go too! That and Strand Books in NY. Apparently Strands is awesome 😀
    I’m surprised that the books are expensive though! I always thought books were a lot cheaper in the US.

    • Amber June 7, 2014 12:23 pm

      Obviously! It was the first place that I wanted to go to. I would love to visit the Strand if/when I go to NYC! I feel rather left out. From what I could tell, paperbacks were slightly cheaper over there, but hardbacks were £11/£12! This might seem normal for some people but I spend my time looking for special offers and buying from charity shops, so it was a lot for me XD

  3. Rachael @ Rachael Turns Pages June 5, 2014 7:36 pm

    I find it funny that Barnes and Noble and Walmart were important places on your visit. I guess those are things I just take for granted in living in America.

    • Amber June 7, 2014 12:24 pm

      Of course they were! Haha. I just HAD to experience them.

  4. Tabitha (Not Yet Read) June 5, 2014 8:20 pm

    You know I LOVE that you included the Arlington National Cemetary. Isn’t it somewhat haunting? It’s featured in so many movies and just seeing all those white headstones makes me tear up.

    I hope your trip went fabulously!

    • Amber June 7, 2014 12:25 pm

      It was a beautiful and haunting place! As soon as I saw the headstones I started to get really emotional, and then the things that Dee’s brother was telling us… x___x I cry over EVERYTHING, so it was hard to not break down in the middle of the cemetery. I might not have been invited back by Dee!

  5. Rinn June 6, 2014 9:20 pm

    I love these recap posts 😀 I’m so jealous, I’d love to visit the US. One of my best friends is there right now, grrr!

    Find some good bargains in Walmart? 😛

    • Amber June 7, 2014 12:26 pm

      Why, thank you 😀 Basically, we need to win the lottery and go to BEA together. Or you could scrap your Masters, and we could go next year. Who needs education.

      And I found lots and lots of food!

  6. Rita @ Weaving Pages June 8, 2014 7:41 pm

    Wow! All these places sound AMAZING! I would love to go to every single place on this list.
    Also: WALMART. I would actually consider going to the US just so I can go to Walmart and Barnes & Nobles. When my dad when to Utah, I actually found the closest B&N on a map, and sent it to him so he could get me a book. It was a necessity since we couldn’t go with him! XD I’m really happy you had such a great time, and I love hearing about all the things you did! Keep the Amberica 14 recaps coming!

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