A Weekend in Hudson

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Aren’t weekend getaways the best? During the long weekend, I went upstate to Hudson for a few days. There’s such a sense of relief when you leave the city. I love NYC, but I also know that it’s necessary to get out of NYC from time to time.

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By car, Hudson is only a little over 2 hours away, and I found out that it’s pretty easy to take the train there as well. We stayed in a gorgeous Airbnb- all kudos to my friends for finding it and booking it for the weekend.

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It’s such a quaint, charming little town. We spent several hours walking along the main street in town, Warren Street. There’s tons of interesting architecture, and many of the buildings had little plaques describing a bit of their history. I loved that!

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We cooked most of our meals at home, which was great as I was with people who love to cook for people, and are very good at it.  We also had two really tasty meals out at local restaurants. One was at Grazin’, which was a delicious diner. It was pretty popping when we got there, so we knew it had to be good. They basically just had soups, sandwiches, and burgers on the menu, which was fine by me! I ended up going with their classic burger and it was great.

We also had a lovely lunch at Swoon Kitchenbar. I loved the decor there (see picture below), and the food was really tasty as well.

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When we weren’t wandering around town or eating out, we had a great time chilling in the house. My friends brought some games along with them, and I love to play games! I tried one that was new to me called Phase 10. Have you heard of it? It’s a bit like Uno, but it also has multiple rounds. Definitely a fun, relatively easy group game.

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It snowed on our last night and day upstate, which left the whole area surrounded in a beautiful blanket of snow. I woke up early that morning, so I popped outside to snap a couple pictures in the snow. It was a lovely moment, so quiet and peaceful.

I’ve only been upstate twice now and I had such a great time on both trips. I’m already looking forward to the next getaway!

A Day in London

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Really though, where did this summer go? How has Labor Day weekend already come and gone? It feels like I was heading off to my cousin’s wedding in the UK not too long ago, but it’s already been a couple months.

During my quick trip to Europe, I had one full day to spend in London. I’m a planner, so the day was all mapped out (literally though, I love to create my own Google maps when I visit new places). I wanted to visit some London bookstores, do a bit of shopping, go to the park, and visit a museum. We never did make it to the museum because of timing, but I did manage to check off the rest of the list.

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On that day, I woke up to beautiful, sunny weather. After a bit of breakfast, my mom and I took the train into town. London’s indie bookstore game is strong, and you know how I love books, so I try to visit as many bookstores as I can when I’m there. This time, I went to the London Review Bookshop, which was lovely. I remember that the main bookstore had a really eye-catching window display and there’s also a café attached on the side.

Afterwards, we walked along Charing Cross Road and popped into Waterstones. I browsed around for a bit and picked up a few books. When I went to the checkout, the cashier told me that they were having a sale on certain paperbacks (buy 2, get the 3rd for free). I hadn’t realized, so she recommended The Underground Railroad for my third book, which I’d wanted to read anyway. Even though it technically wasn’t part of the sale, she gave me the deal anyway. What a gem!

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From there we headed to Foyles, which might be my favorite bookstore out of the ones that I’ve visited in London so far. I went for the first time in December, but it was only a brief visit, so I knew I had to go back. It’s absolutely massive and I think they have 4 or 5 floors filled with books, books, and more books. It reminds me of the Strand, which is my favorite bookstore here in NYC.

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By then, my mom was tired from all the walking around, so she headed home. While I waited for my brother and cousin to meet me, I walked over to Oxford Street to do some shopping. My brother wanted to shoot some footage in Oxford Circle for a video project he was working on, which turned out pretty well.

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After that, the plan was to take the tube to Hyde Park and rent a paddleboat. Silly us though, we accidentally went to Green Park, which does not have paddleboats. The afternoon rolled into early evening and we wouldn’t have made it to Hyde Park in time, so we took a raincheck and strolled around Green Park instead. I didn’t remember this, but Green Park is right next to Buckingham Palace. We walked over to the palace to pay our respects to the Queen and take a few photos.

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We were pretty hungry by then, so we walked to the West End and found a Korean barbecue spot. The restaurant was a bit of a random choice, but the food ended up being delicious, so I would definitely go back there. Don’t you just love when you stumble onto a great spot like that?

Our final stop for the night was Chinatown so that my brother could capture some night footage. I didn’t even know there was a Chinatown in London, so it was cool to visit a new neighborhood.

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This wasn’t my first or second trip to London, but I feel like I’ve barely scratched the surface of what London has to offer. I’ve been to London mostly to visit family, but I’ve been thinking that I need to plan a dedicated trip to London to spend a few days exploring the city. London, hopefully we’ll see each other again soon!

An English Wedding

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A couple of weeks ago, I was lucky enough to attend my cousin’s wedding in the UK. She’s the first of the cousins to get married, so this was an especially big deal!

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In Nigerian culture, it’s actually common to have two weddings, which is what my cousin did. Her first wedding was a traditional Nigerian wedding, and a week later she had a Western church wedding. I wish I could have gone to both, but I was only able to make it to the second wedding.

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The wedding was held in town called Burton upon Trent (isn’t that name so British?!), which is a few hours north of London. I flew in on a Friday morning, my cousin picked me up from the airport, and we drove straight on to Burton. That night, we stayed up until the wee hours of the morning to work on a few last-minute wedding details, and then woke up to a beautiful and sunny day.

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Everything was so conveniently located. We were able to walk from the hotel we were staying at to the church, and after the ceremony, we walked over to the Town Hall for the reception. Then it was dancing, drinking, eating, and general merriment for the rest of the night.

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I just have to take a moment to gush about how beautiful my cousin looked on her wedding day! Actually all of my cousins, both the bride and her twin sisters, looked stunning.

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Ahhh, going to the wedding of a close family member or friend is simply the best. Congratulations again to the newly-wedded couple!

36 Hours in Vancouver

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This was the plan: spend a few days in Seattle, drive up to Vancouver for the weekend, drive back to Seattle and stay for a few more days, then fly home. The night before we were supposed to leave for Vancouver, we discovered that we had a a bit of a problem- my dad didn’t have his passport. He thought that he might have left it at home or at work and we even asked a family friend to go over to our house and look around for it. By midday the next day, it was becoming clear that we wouldn’t be able to go to Vancouver after all. But then, my mom who came up with an alternative plan. My brother and I would take a bus up to Vancouver for the weekend and stay in the Airbnb that we’d already booked and paid for.

It was a whirlwind of emotions- from thinking that maybe we couldn’t go, to realizing that we definitely couldn’t go, to deciding to go after all and booking a last-minute ticket, to leaving my parents behind in Seattle. While it sucked that we couldn’t all go together as we’d planned, my parents encouraged us to go on our own. I also thought it would be cool for my brother and I to travel alone together. We’d never been on a trip, just the two of us, and we’d both never been to Canada, so I thought it would be a fun experience (and it definitely was!).

Friday

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We’d planned to drive to Vancouver in the early morning so we’d have most of Friday to explore, but with the change in plans, we didn’t arrive until late Friday evening. Luckily our host was still able to accommodate us (I’d been in touch with her for most of the day about our travel troubles) and we went straight to the Airbnb to drop off our bags. We stayed in a home just east of Chinatown, which was very chill. The home felt earthy, natural and zen, and there was even a hammock in one corner of the living room.

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By that time, we were pretty hungry, so we walked over to one of the restaurants on my list, Bestie. It’s a German sausage and beer joint and it was still pretty popping when we walked up, so we waited about 20 minutes for a table. The sausages were delicious and really hit the spot after a day that had been a bit stressful. After we ate, I was exhausted and walked back to the Airbnb, while my brother went off to meet a friend who lives in the city.

Saturday

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I had a pretty solid plan for Saturday because I knew it was our only full day in Vancouver and wanted to make the most of it. First on the list was Granville Island, a spot I’d seen mentioned in all of the travel guides. We took a bit of a scenic route because I wanted to walk around a bit and experience the area. We walked through Chinatown again, which we could see much better in the light of day, and passed the Telus World of Science, a science museum. From that area, I wanted to hop on The Aquabus, which was basically an adorable, brightly-colored water bus. We took it from The Village stop all the way to Granville Island and it was actually a pretty quick ride.

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Once we arrived at Granville Island, we went straight to the Public Market, where there was so much to see and to eat! My brother’s friend met us at the market and the three of us walked around there for hours, eating our way through the market. There was a nice spot near the water where you could sit, eat, and watch the boats pass by- it was so peaceful.

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After we felt like we could move again, we took the bus over to Robson Street, one of the main shopping streets in Vancouver. We popped into the mall in that area and it was great because they had free wi-fi (as soon as we crossed the border, we’d turned off our data to avoid roaming charges). We stopped by Chapters Indigo, which I think is like the Barnes & Noble of Canada, and a few other shops in the area, then walked over to Gastown. The streets of Gastown are so cute with gas lamps and pretty flowers everywhere. We also stopped at an awesome coffee shop called Revolver. I’m mildly obsessed with that place- they were so on with their excellent typography/branding and delicious coffee.

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When we left Revolver, we walked back through Gastown and over to Canada Place and took in the sites there for a bit. Then we hopped on a bus toward Stanley Park. A couple people had told me that we should rent bikes and ride them around the park, so that’s exactly what we did.

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That bike ride around Stanley Park ended up being my favorite experience of the whole trip. The weather that day was fantastic and the park was so beautiful. It’s a huge park and it took around an hour to bike around the entire thing. Actually, it took me a lot longer than that because I kept stopping to snap pictures and admire the views. There’s so much to see and do at Stanley Park and there are even beaches there too.

When I got to the end of the trail, my brother and his friend were waiting for me and they said they were a bit worried because it’d taken me so long and they thought perhaps I’d gotten lost! When we started the trail, I told them to go on ahead without me because embarrassingly, I’d forgotten how to ride a bike (I was actually floundering and thinking, “Thank goodness nobody I know can see me right now!”). In my defense, it’d been years since I’d been on a bike, so it took me a little bit to get my biking legs back. Once I did though, I was cruising with the sun in my face and the wind rustling my hair, and it was glorious.

So we were at the end of the trail and we just had to head back to the shop to drop off our bikes. Somewhere along the way back, I took a wrong turn, and we got separated again. It was a bit nerve-racking because my brother and I had our data off and I didn’t have his friend’s number, so I had no way to reach them. I also wasn’t sure exactly where I was, but I was able to figure it out and made it back to the bike shop first. Then my brother’s friend arrived and I found out that he’d gotten lost and separated from my brother too. The clock was ticking because we had to return our bikes before the shop closed and I was worried about my brother being out there on his own. I turned on my data briefly to call him, but realized that he wouldn’t see the call if his data was off. About five minutes before closing, my brother rolls up to the shop and boy, was I glad to see him! It turns out that he’d gotten lost too. Nothing had really happened, but as the oldest of the group, I was responsible for my brother and his friend and I was rather worried there for a while (the whole thing reminded me that I’m not ready for parenthood anytime soon, at all).

Well, after that little adventure, we were pretty hungry. We wandered around for a bit and found a sushi place that was good and pretty cheap. After dinner, it was late and we were tired from all the sightseeing so we caught a bus and headed back to the Airbnb to get a good night’s sleep.

Sunday

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Our bus back to Seattle left in the early afternoon, so I knew we really only had time for one more activity in the morning. We ended up taking the bus over to Jericho Beach because I was jonesing to fit in some beach time during our trip. It was another beautiful day and there was actually a music festival happening at Jericho Beach that weekend. We didn’t have tickets to the festival, but we could definitely hear some of the acts from our spot on the beach. We had an about an hour to chill and relax on the beach, then we took the bus back, grabbed our bags and walked to the station to catch our bus.

I had a lot of fun in Vancouver on my first trip to Canada! I liked that it’s such a walkable city and felt like we got to do a decent amount of activities in our short time. I would 100% do that bike ride around Stanley Park again if I get the chance to go back. Plus, there’s so much more to see and do, and I’d love to get over to one of the nearby forests on a future trip.

I hope you enjoyed reading my travel posts this week on the blog. Writing them reminded me how much I love traveling and having the opportunity to experience new places. Now I need to get to work on my planning my next trip! Do you have any trips planned for 2017?