A Weekend Exploring The Mojave National Preserve

For a while now, Wesley and I have wanted to explore the Mojave Desert for the longest time. Last year, we did go camp out in the Mojave Desert, but we didn’t have time to really explore the areas that we wanted to. A few weeks ago in January, Wesley and I along with our adventure buddies Brandon and Anneka headed out to the Mojave to explore for the weekend.

We headed out pretty early Saturday morning to try and maximize the sunlight we had for the day. Since we were coming the Los Angeles/Orange County area, we took the 15 Freeway to the Mojave. Our first stop was Zzyzx and on the way there we stopped at a truck stop in Yermo, California. But this was not just any truck stop… this was probably the BEST and cleanest stop I have ever been too! It’s called Eddie World and I was so amazed. I was very impressed and they had all the candy in the world and so many food options… in the middle of no where! So, if you’re ever traveling on the 15 either going to Las Vegas or where ever… STOP HERE! It’s so worth it.

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After spending too much time and too much money at the truck stop, we were finally back on the road to Zzyzx. When you exit Zzyzx Road, you take the road all the way to the end and you get to the old mineral springs resort. Zzyzx’s former name was Soda Springs and was the home of Zzyzx Mineral Springs and Health Spa founded by Curtis Howe Springer. The site now is being used by the Cal State University for desert research, but when we were there it felt abandoned because there was no one there and the olds spas were still there. We walked around the the area and checked out the old springs and the pools of the facility. Behind all of the buildings was the dry lake bed. We found old chairs in the lake bed and hung out and took in the beautiful views of the mountains and the blue skies. After, we headed towards Baker and stopped to get some food.

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From there, we headed to the Mojave National Preserve. Our first stop was the famous Mojave Desert Lava Tubes. These lava tubes have a natural opening at the top of the tubes and draws in natural sunlight and gives a great effect. After gawking and admiring the tubes, we headed towards Aiken Mine. From the old abandoned mines were so much fun to explore. We walked almost the whole area and checked out the abandoned buildings that were there. It was amazing to see all of the old equipment and trucks that were just left behind. It felt like they just up and left things just as they were.

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After we spent sometime at the mines, we headed back to the main road and headed towards Kelso. We stopped at the Kelso Depot to check out the old train station and to eat lunch. After a quick stop, we headed towards the Kelso Dunes. The dunes were a pretty cool sight to see in the middle of the desert. We walked the dunes for a short while and then headed back to the main road. As the sun started to set, we headed towards Pisgah Crater, where we were going to camp for the night. This crater was so cool and not what I was expecting. We got to camp on the crater and was surrounded by black sand and amazing views. We ended our night around our camp fire having great conversations and having a great time. The next day we hung around Pisgah Crater and checked out the lava fields and the crater itself.
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Although we got to see a lot in one weekend, we only scratched the surface on exploring The Mojave National Preserve. We are hoping to go back again and see the rest the desert has to offer. Hope you enjoyed this post!


A Day Out in Downtown Los Angeles

Today was President’s Day here in the United States and I decided to do a solo day of exploring in Downtown Los Angeles. Since it was just me, I didn’t want to drive or pay for parking so I hopped onto the Metrolink and took it down to LA Union Station.

Union Station is the central nerve system for Los Angeles’ transportation. You can catch the subway or a bus from here and it can take you anywhere from Azusa to Santa Monica to Long Beach. From Union Station, I wanted to get to Pershing Square out in Bunker Hill area of downtown. You could either take the Red or Purple Line and I just so happen to catch the Purple Line. Once I got to Pershing Square, I headed towards Grand Central Market. Grand Central Market is filled to brim of delicious foods, drinks, and good feels. I’ve been there a few times, but never on my own. Most people go there to get Eggslut, but since I’ve tried it before, I headed to Jose Chiquito. They serve diner style foods along with great Mexican food. I decided to get the BTA Omelette which includes bacon, cheese, tomato, and avocado! It was delicious! After eating my filling breakfast and taking some Instagram shots of Grand Central Market, I headed towards Blue Bottle Coffee. I’ve seen this place all over social media, so I was curious. It’s a boutique coffee shop and I got the iced cold brew, which was pretty good, but a little pricey. The shop itself was super cute, so I took my time with my coffee and took more pictures inside.

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Across the street from Grand Central Market is Angels Flight which is a short cable car the runs up and down Bunker Hill that has been around since the 1900’s. I took Angels Flight up to the Museum of Contemporary Art. I was hoping to spend a few hours at the museum, but they renovating over half of the museum so I only spent 30 minutes. Since I had a lot more time to kill, I decided to head down to Walt Disney Concert Hall and Grand Park. With the curved lines and reflective materials, I took my time to appreciate the architecture of the concert hall and took a bunch of pictures. After, I headed towards Grand Park and to LA City Hall. I was hoping to explore the observation deck, but since it was federal holiday I knew it would be closed and it was.

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After, I headed back up towards to concert hall and to the US Bank Tower to experience the OUE Skyspace at the top of the tower. The OUE Skyspace gives you panoramic views of the downtown. Also featured there is a see-through slide you can ride on the side of the building from the 70th floor to the 69th floor. The views from up there are so breathe taking. After gawking at the view for a few moments, I headed towards to slide. At first I was pretty nervous since its all see-through, but once you ride it it’s not bad. The slide is so short, you barely have anytime to look around. After the slide, I spent another hour up there and admiring the view. It was amazing.
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Afterwards, I headed towards 7th Street and Metro to explore the area. I thought the walk to be further, but it was pretty close and easy. I checked out a few shops and ended up near the big Macy’s and ended my day with a nice coffee. Since my fiance works in downtown, I met up with him and we headed home together. Overall, my day went pretty well and it was so easy to get around on foot and by the metro. I would highly recommend the train and subway to anyone since it’s so easy and convenient to get around without a car! Hope you enjoyed my post and hope you got some inspiration to check out Downtown Los Angeles. There’s still so much more to do in Los Angeles and I hope to explore it soon!

2017 Year End Recap | November & December

Wow, I am so behind. I never got to do a recap of the end of year for 2017 😦 Sorry guys. November and December were filled with adventures in National Parks and celebrations!

November –  November is my favorite month and is filled with celebration. Not only is it both of our birthday month, but it’s our anniversary month too! Every year we try to do something special and different for our celebration month. Last year, we went to Hawaii and spent a week in paradise. But for 2017, we decided to keep it pretty light and decided to spend a weekend up north in the Monterey Bay area. Since we are saving for a wedding in 2018, we wanted to do something fun and new, but not spend as much money as we did when we went to Hawaii. We planned a long weekend up in Northern California to check out the Monterey Bay area and to the check out Pinnacles National Park… cause you know us, WE LOVE NATIONAL PARKS! (Support your National Parks!)

Instead of driving up to NorCal, we decided to fly up to San Jose and drive down to Pinnacles National Park. We arrived mid morning and picked up our rental car. Since it was our celebration month, we wanted to get more of a special car rather than a normal rental car. If you know me, you know that my dream car is a Dodge Challenger! I know, so random. So we booked it, but unfortunately, when we got to the airport the car rental company had already run out of those type of cars. Instead, we were able to get a new Dodge Camero! It was actually pretty cool, but I was a little bumped that we didn’t get the Challenger. So, after we received our car we headed down to Gilroy to get some breakfast. Gilroy is such a cute little town. I’ve been to Gilroy before for the Garlic Festival, so I knew that this would be a good stopping point for some food. We found a cute little hometown cafe.

After breakfast, we headed down to Pinnacles National Park. When we got to the National Park, it started pouring so hard. At that point, I felt like I hadn’t seen real rain in so long, so I wasn’t that mad about it to be honest. The rain let up and we went to one of the trail heads. This National Park is one of the newest national parks so it’s not yet set up like a normal, more established park. The park really has only one road, but has some long trails. Since we only had a half day to explore the park, we did the Bear Gulch trail and some of the High Peaks trail. This trail takes you through some of the popular areas and through some really cool caves and you see some unique rock formations. At the end of the trail you get to the Bear Gulch reservoir and then after you take a part of the High Peaks trail to get back to your car. I really wanted to do the High Peaks trail, but its one of the longest trails in the park and we just didn’t have enough time to do it. Just as a warning, some of the trails are not clearly marked so just make sure you have a map with you and especially if you’ve never been there before, make sure to bring someone with you. This park is now one of my favorites. Even though it was raining, I think it added to the beauty of the park. Since the park is covered with rocks and moss, the misty-ness of the sky added to the environment. It was so beautiful.

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After Pinnacles, we headed towards Monterey Bay and arrived in the early evening. After we checked into our hotel and rested for a little bit, we headed out to dinner at the Fisherman’s Wharf. We found this cute Tiki Bar and got some clam chowder, some seafood, and a fun island drink. Since it was a little cold, there weren’t that many people out, but ended the night watching the sea lions and exploring some of the shops on the wharf.

The next day, we headed down to explore the Monterey Bay area and Big Sur. We headed for breakfast at Cafe Trieste in Monterey. Its a cute Italian cafe and had a very filling and delicious breakfast. After, we did the 17 Mile Drive through Pebble Beach. It’s a nice and easy drive through Pebble Beach with marked stops and vista points. We took our time and it took us about 2 hours to do the whole thing. The 17 Mile Drive was so pretty and because it was a clear and crisp day, it made it even better.

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After we headed down towards Big Sur and our first stop was Bixby Bridge. I’ve seen so many pictures of this bridge and was excited to finally see it. When we got there, I was a little disappointed. I think people edit the pictures so much that it makes it look so much impressive than it is in real life. Granted, the engineering is pretty cool, but I was a bit disappointed to be honest. After, we headed down the Highway 1 and made some stops along the way to look at the beautiful views along the highway. We also headed towards the Julia Pfieffer Burns State Park to check out McWay Falls. For lunch we ate at Nepenthe, which was the cutest restaurant that was right off of the highway and had amazing view of the ocean and the coast. After taking our time going up and down Highway 1, we headed towards our hotel to rest and get ready for dinner. For dinner, we found a little seafood restaurant but it wasn’t that good… I was disappointed. After we headed towards Cannery Row to check out the shops and bars they had. We ended up spending the night at an arcade and played some fun games.

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Sunday was our last day in NorCal. We checked out of hotel and headed back towards Santa Cruz and towards the Mystery Spot. We signed up for tour of the area and was a fun spot to spend the morning. We learned about the history of the area and got to experience the “gravity pull” of the Mystery Spot. After, we spent the rest of the day at the Santa Cruz pier and at lunch at the pier and checked out the carnival games and rides of the area. Then it was time to catch out flight out of San Jose. Although it was only a weekend up north, we made the most of the time we had and saw a lot and had an amazing anniversary weekend.

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The rest of November, we spent at Wesley’s parents house to watch their dog so we couldn’t go on anymore trips for the month. For Thanksgiving, we spent a night in Dana Point with my parents. We had dinner near the water and watched the sunset near the break water. It was so pretty. I love the Dana Point area and it’s s chill over there.

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November was great celebration month filled with family and some adventure.

December – For the beginning of December, I planned a trip to Joshua Tree for Wesley’s birthday. Wesley’s birthday is technically in November, but since we had to dog watch we couldn’t go out to celebrate. We left a little early from our apartment and headed towards to National Park. When we got there, we got onto the Ryan Mountain trail… and let me tell you… I died on this trail! Although this trail is only about 3 miles roundtrip, the elevation is about 1,000 ft which is really steep in a short amount of time. But once we got to the top of the mountain, it was so worth it. At the top, you could see the whole valley of the National Park. After we drove all the way to the end of the park near the 10 freeway. Towards the end of the day, we checked out the Hidden Valley Nature Trail. We watched the Sunset and climbed some rocks. After exploring some more of the park we headed towards our Airbnb in Joshua Tree. I rented a small, but cute house in the area. For dinner, we had pizza at Pie for People although it took a long time to get our food, it tasted so good! Worth the wait for sure! 

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The next day was our last day and headed towards the park to do some more exploring and hiking. We did the Baker Dam hike and the Ryan Ranch. Both were pretty easy trails. Baker Dam had a lot of water, which I was surprised to see. Ryan Ranch had an old abandoned ranch at the end of the trail that you can explore. After taking our time leaving the park, we headed home.

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Later on in the month, Wesley’s company had their holiday party in Hollywood. We stayed at the Mondrian Hotel and it was so bougie! But I was very grateful to be able to stay there. We had dinner at the hotel’s restaurant and it was so pretty! They had strung cute lights along the open air patio and had beautiful floral centerpieces. After dinner, the company had reserved an area of the lounge area and we enjoyed drink service and some good music. But to be honest, I felt so out of place at the lounge because of the people there, but overall it was good experience and I’m glad I pushed my self out of my comfort zone.

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During the Holiday season, my sister was in town! I was so excited to see her! While she was visiting, we went to get my wedding dress!  A few of my bridesmaids joined me to get the right dress and I got it! I’m so excited for 2018 because we’re getting married at the end of the year! I can’t believe it’s happening! For Christmas, I just stayed home with my parents and Wesley and we had chinese food for lunch. A few days before New Year’s Wesley and I had an engagement party with our friends and family. It was fun to see everyone meet and get to know each other. And then lastly for New Years we celebrated at our friends house and counted down to 2018 with champagne and good company.

2017 was a great year filled with friends, family, and some adventure. I’m excited for 2018 and although we are already 2 months in, it’s already been off to a great start. Thank you for reading all of this and making it to the end! I promise to update my blog more often!


2017 | Year End Review

… better late than never.


Travel Video | Mojave


Travel Video | Joshua Tree in December


2017 September & October Recap: Sonoran Desert & Big Bear

Hey there. It’s been a while. I haven’t truly updated this blog since August. Since then, Wesley and I had a few adventures. Although it’s nearly the end of the year, I thought I would do a recap of the last few months. By the beginning of next year, I am hoping to do a year recap of 2017.

September: Arizona Trip – Tonto National Monument & Saguaro National Park

During the Labor Day weekend, Wesley and I went to Arizona to check out Tonto National Monument and Saguaro National Park. We left Southern California early Saturday morning to make it to Tonto National Monument at a decent hour. We arrived about 6-7 hours later around 12 PM. When we arrived it was about 112 degrees, but it didn’t feel that hot. We decided to hike the short walk up to the cliff dwelling. We took our time going up the short incline and enjoyed the views and vistas of the area. There were huge cacti surrounding the area. This national monument is very small, but so amazing. I realized when we arrived that sometimes the smallest national parks/national monuments are the most special. Since there weren’t that many people at this monument you got to experience the place entirely. You got to truly reflect the history of the monument. Also, you could talk to rangers one on one and ask questions you might not be able to ask when there are a lot of people in the parks.

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The next day we went to explore Saguaro National Park. The national park is split into to two one being East and the other side being the West Side. Both parks have driving trails that take you into the heart of the park and give you great views of the cacti and the landscapes. This has to be one of my favorite parks because of the calm that the park gave me. I loved being surrounded by the giant cacti and absorbing myself in the environment.

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October: Big Bear and Oktoberfest

In mid October a group of our friends headed up to Big Bear for Oktoberfest. Wesley and I left for Big Bear Friday afternoon. Usually it would take us about and 1 and a half hours to get there but, traffic was so bad it took us about 3 and a half hours to get up to the mountains. We finally arrived and made ourselves at home at our cabin. Since traffic took so long, we were too tired to go out for dinner and decided to order some good ol’ pizza. Later that night, some of our other friends arrived. The next day the rest of our friends arrived and we headed out to Oktoberfest at the convention center. Oktoberfest up in Big Bear is small, but full of a lot of spirit. After we got our drinks, we decided to dance the night away with the live band in the beer hall. It was so much fun! We all hadn’t been together for a while and it was great to catch up with everyone for the weekend.

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Travel Video | Tonto National Monument & Saguaro National Park

About a month ago, Wesley and I went to Arizona to explore Tonto National Monument and Saguaro National Park. I made a short video of our short time out there. Enjoy!!


2017 July Adventures: 4th of July, Harry Potter, and Relaxing

July is coming to an end and it was a particularly calm month in comparison to May and June. July was filled with a relaxing and kind of catching our breath from the previous months. So we didn’t do anything too crazy this month and stayed locally in Southern California.

Independence Day: So my sister and her husband were in town for their friend’s wedding and stayed for the 4th of July weekend. Our family had a very chill Independence Day party. Family and family friends joined us at my parent’s house for a bbq and swimming! We spent the day just lounging in the pool and enjoying each other’s company. It was a very relaxing weekend and I was so happy that my sister and her husband were able to come and spend some time with us.

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Universal Studios: Our friend’s Brandon and Anneka invited us to spend the day at Universal Studios with them. It was all of our first time visiting the Harry Potter portion at Universal. We arrived super early to try and avoid the long lines and the HEAT. When we first arrived we went straight to the Harry Potter part of the park and rode both rides. They were both super fun! And I love how interactive everything was within that portion of the park. We also went into every store to see what fun things they had. When we got there you really feel like you’re in Hogsmeade and fully immersed in the environment. I loved every minute of it. After we got our frozen Butter Beers we decided to explore the rest of the park. We went on almost all of the rides including the Back Lot Tour (a must!), Jurassic Park, The Mummy, Transformers, and the Simpson’s ride. Since we had an early start to the day, we headed home before the evening and got KBBQ for dinner. Also we have annual passes to the park so we may go again in the near future! Although it was super hot at the park, it was a fun day out!

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Work, work, work, work, work… and chill: The rest of the month was spent working and relaxing. Work was a little hectic this month for me. It’s our “busy season” right now and we had to go around and do some presentations for work and put together some training events as well. Also, we stayed in for the rest of the weekends in July. Also, for me personally, I wanted to get back into my routine of meal prepping for the week and hitting the gym again a few times during the work week. Since May and June were a little crazy, I really let go and didn’t get to stick to my “healthy-ish eating” or gym habits, but hopefully I can get back on track. Also, my parents, Wesley, and I headed out to Joshua Tree to look at some venues for our wedding next year. I don’t want to give out too much details, but we saw some promising venues and wanted to give my parents a quick introduction to Joshua Tree since they have never been.

All in all, that was my July. I’m not really sure what’s in store in for August, but I’m guessing it may be similar to August… which I am totally OK with. Thanks for reading!


2017 May & June Adventures: Weddings, New York, Rafting, and the United Kingdom

May and June flew by so fast and so many things happened within the last 2 months. The last two months were filled with weddings, adventure, and travel.

May Adventures:

Sister’s Wedding & New York: My sister got married in mid-May in rural Pennsylvania. Wesley, my cousin Jillian, and I took a red eye flight from Los Angeles to New York City. We arrived in the city in the early morning and headed out to Pennsylvania. We arrived in country side in the afternoon and met up with my sister at the wedding venue. Since I was Maid of Honor, I had a day planned out with my sister and the rest of the bridal party. We got our nails done and I had rented out a home close by the venue. At night we went out to dinner at a cute restaurant that served country comfort food and had a great selection of drinks! Later that night, I had prepared some games for us girls to play and it was a lot of fun! We drank, danced, and had a great time.

The next day we headed back to the venue to help set up all of the decorations for the Saturday wedding festivities. The bridal party helped put together the flower arrangements for the tables and bouquets. At first, I was really intimidated, but they turned out great and we all had a lot of fun. Later that night more guest arrived and we had a group dinner where the parents gave touching and moving speeches. We capped off the night with some games of big jenga, ping pong, and cornhole.

The day of the wedding started off great. We finished off with the decoration and clean up from the night before. My sister and some of her other bridesmaids got her hair done. We all did our make up together and took pictures with her photographer. The time for all of us to walk down the isle. The ceremony was short and sweet and very romantic. After, we took pictures and had a delicious BBQ dinner. Finally, it was time for me to deliver my speech and it went off perfectly! We ended the night with dancing and having a great time! The wedding was amazing and a lot of fun! I’m so happy for my sister and her husband!

The next day, my cousin, Wesley, and I headed back to New York to spend the day exploring and eating pizza! It had been a few years since me or my cousin had been back to New York and it was the first time Wesley had been to the city. We had dinner and had New York pizza which was delicious! We walked around the city and saw Time Square, Rockerfeller Center, Radio City Hall, and had desserts at Magnolia Bakery. The next day we headed to the World Trade Center Memorial and explored the Battery Park area of lower Manhattan and later that day we headed back to Los Angeles. Although our trip to the east coast was quick it was definitely filled with life long memories that we will all cherish forever.

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Kern River Rafting: Wesley and I were invited to go camping and rafting over Memorial Day weekend. We met up with our friends Friday night and set up camp at our first campsite. The next morning we moved to another campsite. This place was awesome! They had great showers and bathrooms! I’m easily amused… can’t you tell. The rest of the day we spent watching the Kern River and relaxing. On Sunday, we prepared ourselves for a few hours of rafting. At first, I was a little scared, but very excited. In the mid afternoon we were off to our adventure. That weekend, the water was at 6,000 CFS, which is apparently really high. The rapids were a bit rough, but it added to experience. We were tossed around a little bit, but with our amazing guide we made it out unhurt and alive. It was a great adventure and we were all glad we made it safe. I’m so glad that our friends invited us out and we got to do another first with them.

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June Adventures

United Kingdom | London, Whichurch, and Endiburgh

In early June, Wesley and I were off to London. We headed to the United Kingdom for my cousin’s wedding and to take a little vacation as well. We landed in London late Saturday night and we stayed in the Camden neighborhood through Airbnb. Our host were amazing and we stayed in the cutest little studio flat. Everything in the flat was just perfect. On Sunday, we spent the day exploring London. It was the first time Wesley had been to the UK, but it was the third time that I had gone and I wanted to plan the perfect time for him out in London. During our first official day, we went to see Buckingham Palace. It was nice because they had closed off the “Mall” area leading up to the palace to cars and were able to walk in the street. It was nice because the streets were lined with the union jack, It just added to the atmosphere. Next we headed towards to Churchill War Room and walked near the the River Thames and enjoyed the scenery of Big Ben, Parliament, and Westminster Abbey. We ended the night with a beautiful sunset and the Millennium Eye.
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The next day, we started off visiting Westminster Abbey and toured ourselves around the historic place. After, we headed towards Tower Bridge and the Tower of London. We spent a few hours exploring the area and learned of the rich history of the those establishments. We ended up walking along the River Thames down near the Millennium Bridge towards Saint Paul’s cathedral. At night we decided to explore the Camden neighborhood and have fish and chips. It was nice because it was walking distance to our flat.
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On Tuesday, we joined a bus tour to Stonehenge and the city of Bath. We arrived at Stonehenge first and we were greeted with beautiful warm weather. We got explore the area for almost 2 hours. Neither of us had been there and we were so happy to explore it together. After we explored Stonehenge, we headed towards Bath and got to explore the old Roman Baths. After we had lunch and walked around the old city. The city was very romantic and I just wish we were able to spend more time exploring. We headed back to London and had a low key dinner at Nandos! (Which I loved, but tasted like El Pollo Loco… which I am not putting down!)
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Wednesday we spent the morning at the British Museum. We both like museums but especially museums that have sculptures and mummys! After spending the morning viewing exhibits we decided to explore Oxford street and spend the rest of the day doing some light shopping. At night we decided to have dinner near the River Thames and walked to Tower Bridge and watched a sunset with London as the background. We couldn’t have asked for a better way to end our stay in London.
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The next day, we headed up to Manchester to meet up with my relatives. After resting for a few hours, my cousin and his wife took Wesley and I out to dinner and drinks in Manchester. The next day we headed out to the English country side to spend the weekend celebrating my cousin’s wedding. The venue where my cousin go married was so beautiful. She got married near Dearford Lake out near Wales. It was a romantic setting and ceremony. We spent the rest of the night of the wedding enjoying music, food, and company with my family. We stayed over night and stayed in nice canvas tents. Now we can check off the box that we camped in the UK. The next day we headed back to the Manchester area and took it easy for the night. On our last day of our UK trip, we decided to head up Edinburgh in Scotland. We took the train up to the city and stayed there for the day. We walked up and down the Royal Mile and admired the achitecture of the city. We spent a few hours a the National Scotland Museum. After we decided to have lunch along the Royal Mile and just take our time through the city. Before we knew it, we were heading back to Manchester.
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And just like that, our trip to the UK was over. This trip was a great getaway for the both of us and I am so thankful for my relatives for taking amazing care of Wesley and I.