Exploring Georgetown

Hometown, Uncategorized

One of the perks of my current living situation is the proximity to one of the cuter parts of DC. Georgetown is literally across the water from my apartment and is walkable. Georgetown is pretty impossible to drive to and isn’t Metro-accessible, which can make it a pain in the butt to visit.

Getting there: I find the easiest way to get to Georgetown is to take a little walk. You can park your car at Rock Creek Park and wander over along the waterfront or you can find parking in Rosslyn and walk or take the free Circulator bus across the river.

What to do: The main attraction of Georgetown is the shops along M St. There’s anything you could want from Kiehl’s to Nike to Starbucks. It’s also always rotating, so you may visit two months apart and see new shops where another had previously been. I’m not a huge shopping person, but the window shopping opportunities are good and there’s plenty of people watching. (Warning: good weather means people and Georgetown can get packed, especially during tourist season.) I love a good wander, so I’d recommend ditching the main road and taking a stroll up the hill towards the cute houses there or down the hill towards the waterfront.

(In the winter, Georgetown Glow lights up the night and the waterfront hosts an ice skating rink for your winter activities.)

Where to Eat: Farmers Fishers Bakers has a great brunch if you’re in the mood. Skip Georgetown Cupcake and get a sweet treat from Baked and Wired instead. And if you want a bit of history with your meal, visit Martin’s Tavern.

Bonus Bits: Georgetown University is right there – it looks a bit like Hogwarts… And the House of Sweden (home to the Embassy of Sweden and the diplomatic missions for Iceland and Liechtenstein) is on the waterfront. Both host events that are open to the public if you’ve interested.

Honey, I’m Home

Travel

It came to my attention that a friend who shall remain unnamed has lived in the DC area for a few years and never ventured down to my favorite place in the metro area: Old Town Alexandria. I was personally offended. I think Old Town is one of the coolest part of the DC area. And if you love history, hate crowds, and always want to be surprised, Old Town is the place for you.

Getting There: The excuse I was given was that Old Town was too tough to get to. Which is bull. When Metro hasn’t shut down all of the Virginia stops, you can get to Old Town easy peasy on the Yellow or Blue line and hop off at the King’s Street stop. The walk from the metro isn’t horrible and is a straight line down King Street to get to the water front, or you can hop on the free Trolley that’ll take you all the way down King. Parking isn’t ideal, but if you’re keen on a day’s adventure, there’s bike paths that lead straight there from all directions. You can also hop a riverboat from Georgetown and National Harbor.

What to Do: Old Town is filled with history: go on a ghost tour of town, visit Gatsby’s Tavern, wander the cemetaries. It’s also a quintessential walkable area. You can wander down the history cobblestone roads and see historical buildings with just a touch of cute. If you’re on the hunt for that perfect birthday gift or that not-too-touristy present to bring back home, there’s plenty of boutiques and cute shops all up and down King’s Street that are fun to just pop in and out of. Make a stop in the Torpedo Factory to peek at some local artists’ workspaces. If you’re there in the summertime, the boardwalk is filled with performers and opportunities for people watching. Plus there’s that relaxing sound of the water that just can’t be replicated by an iPhone.

What to Eat: Old Town is constantly updating their food options, with shops coming and going. I’ve got a few favorites that are consistent: for “Chicago” style pizza, go to Bugsy’s. Looking for a Marg and a couple tacos, Los Cuates is a good bet. On the hunt for a classy meal, the Chart House has good food and great views. And to round it all off, there’s nothing better than a scoop (or two) of ice cream for your wander onto the boardwalk: there’s a Ben and Jerry’s, but my personal favorite is the Cookie Dough at The Creamery – just keep an eye out for the bear in the window.

Basically, there’s so much to do in Old Town and it’s just so close to DC that you have no excuse.

The V&A

london, Travel

D.C. and London have quite a few things in common: large metropolitan areas, with history, culture, and politics constantly overlapping. One of the things I take for granted when in other cities is one of those commonalities: free museums. Both D.C. and London have some of the best museums in the world, and a good number in both cities are free.

My attention span is short enough as it is, so though the Louvre has thousands upon thousands of pieces of art, I can only focus long enough for a room or two. When you’re paying for the museum, that’s not quite justifiable. (Shout out to that broke student life.) When the museum is free, however, you can pop in and out, based on your schedule, rather than your wallet.

I’ve seen a good number of London’s museums over the years and have popped into the British Museum, the National Portrait Gallery, and the Natural History Museum in past months. The British Museum is literal blocks from my current housing and the Portrait Gallery is blocks from my job, so those were easy to pop in and out of. Though the Natural History Museum is a bit out of the way, I had gone with friends and spent an afternoon looking at rocks and animals. Because they are free, I feel no need to rush to see everything. I can always return.

The other day, I had a rainy afternoon free and decided to spend it somewhere other than my bed. So I hopped on the tube and went back towards the Natural History Museum with a new destination in mind. The V&A.31945634_10214184006888013_125461024122863616_n

The Victoria and Albert Museum is a curious place. With a Chihuly hanging in their lobby, there is a little of something for everyone. You can marvel over fabrics or sculptures or jewels or wrought iron or paintings. I watched a class of retirees practice sketching sculptures and I watched a school group wander through the Buddhism collection. I followed a family of tourists through a collection of some of the most stunning jewels I have ever seen.

31947285_10214184007808036_1847038835830030336_nI find the most entertaining parts of museums to be the people. The ways that families and tourists and locals and art connoisseurs intermix and flow through the space, leaving careful room around a sculpture or a painting. The V&A offers quite a few balconies that allow you to look down at larger exhibits and watch the people as they wander.

31914135_10214184007528029_5663347570177474560_nSo I spent an hour or so people-watching before I took a chance on the break in the rain to make a run for the tube. There was no regret in leaving, no worries that I must have missed something.

31944370_10214184008808061_6955756873685401600_nI guess that’s one of the perks of living in London. I’m free to make my way back to my favorite spots and blend in with the crowds, #stillatourist.

Three Times I Visited London and The One Time I Moved Here

london, Travel
When I moved to London last September, it was not my first time in the city. It was my fourth.
2142_1093267965794_9956_n
My first adventure to London was one of my first trips outside the States. My parents dragged 6 year-old me to all the sights. I have vivid memories of climbing all bajillion stairs to the top of St Paul’s Cathedral, absolutely terrified that my flip flop covered feet might slip between the grated steps and send my shoe, and my whole body, to the ground far below. My apologies to whoever was at Legoland the day I drove (a LEGO car) for the first time on the right side of the road only to cause a few collisions thanks to Brits driving on the left.
2142_1093271045871_3131_n
I was little but it was memorable. (For those of you wondering how long ago this adventure took place, our flight home was a few weeks before that sunny morning when two planes crashed into the Twin Towers.)
My second trip was in middle school. After listening to me complain about how my brother got to go on a spring break trip, my poor mother gave in, booking last minute flights for us to spend five days in London. We’re great traveling buddies, we learned. From falling asleep the first day on the tourist bus driving around London to sitting having breakfast (chocolate croissants and chocolate milk) while marveling at the adorable school uniforms of the students visiting the Victoria and Albert Museum, I got on the flight home and told myself I would live there one day. I would live in London.
1910397_1113903401667_3348588_n
My next trip to London was while I was abroad. I’d already lived away from home in a different state and a different country, but spending just a few days in London reminded me of home. There was something familiar about the people (speaking English!) and the sights (most of which I’d seen before). Wandering through the parks just ready to bloom with spring flowers, touring the Churchill War Rooms (definitely worth a visit!!), wearing everything I’d packed because I was dreaming of warmer, springtime weather… I flew back to Sweden and to classes and to a promise that I would return and see all of the city.
12971005_10209316302932700_4444743806838682659_o
And so two years later, I can’t help but think how crazy life is. During my senior year of undergrad, I had two amazing programs to choose between for grad school. One was in Scotland and the other was in London. I joked that I picked the London school because I wouldn’t be able to speak the language in Scotland (have you heard a Glaswegian accent?!), but I think in the back of my head I knew I had to fulfill that promise to live in the city I’d returned to so many times.
31484771_10214131628498586_4240887640494178304_n
While I’ve learned I don’t like people nearly enough to live in a city, sometimes the six year old in me comes out with a brief glimpse of the St. Paul’s or a mention of driving on the wrong side of the road.