Hello! Happy New Year everyone!
After a five week break I am back and more excited than ever to continue writing and growing Chic on the Run. For me, holidays are extremely motivating and eye-opening and my trip to Canada and USA was no different!
Me and my partner decided that it was about time to have a white Christmas and whilst we didn’t get actual snow on Christmas Day, there wasn’t a shortage of fun in a white wonderland!
Arriving into Vancouver we were stunned with incredible scenery of snow covered alps, blue skies and amazing ocean views. The highlight in Vancouver was bike riding around the Sea Wall. Whilst at times it felt like I was going to freeze over, the views were totally worth it.
We discovered beautiful Christmas markets, walked across a swaying suspension bridge, ate incredible truffle infused meals in the city and got lost in Canadian wilderness.
This was an incredible start to our holiday but it got even better when we got to Whistler.
Whistler is like something out of a fairytale. Incredible pine forests covered in luscious snow, outdoor fire pits to keep you cosy, adorable dogs in Christmas sweaters and plenty of incredible bars to end your day in. We skid, snowboarded and even did a bar crawl. For such a small town there wasn’t a shortage of activities!
When we thought Whistler couldn’t get any better we had a truly magical last day. After spending the day exploring an enchanting forest, we cooked dinner in our apartment and cuddled up by the fire place with some wine. Later, we decided to head out and build a snowman who we named Pete (don’t ask). Happy with the progress I turned around to celebrate our wonderful creation only to discover my partner DOWN ON ONE KNEE!!
He couldn’t have picked a better place or a better moment to propose. Everything felt so right and of course, I said yes! And OMG bonus points to him for picking an absolutely stunning ring!
I am so excited for what the future has in store and I can’t wait to return to Canada. It truly has a special place in our hearts.
Excited and ready for the next adventure we flew to Oakland! Why Oakland you might ask? Well we thought we would be really clever and stay across the bay to save some money. Since it’s only a 30 minute train ride to San Fransisco and a few hundred dollars price difference, for us it was a no brainer. While it would be nice to stay in San Fran amongst the action, the morning and evening commute didn’t really bother us… except for the occasional characters seen lurking the train…
One day we took the train to the airport to pick up our rental car. Sitting in a near empty carriage we could only see a handful of people, most of whom seemed like your average Oakland residents. Except this one guy who thought it would be totally hilarious to sit behind strangers and pop balloons. Now once balloons are blown up beyond their capacity they tend to make a loud sound which emulated a gunshot in our echoing train cart. Now you can image how much terror this would have caused for the innocent train commuters…
Terrified, we got out at the next stop and swapped into the next cart over. To our horror, this crazy balloon man decided to follow us!! Hearts beating like crazy (I know it’s only balloons but you have to be crazy to do this in the first place!!) we watched him blow up another balloon while eyeing us up and clearly enjoying the whole situation. This time it popped right next to a dear old lady who dropped her bags and let out a loud scream. A tall man next to her who resembled a strong, African American basketball player, leapt to the ground as if he was being shot at. Crazy balloon man laughed and got off the next station leaving behind many confused and terrified individuals.
Besides crazy people on trains and peculiar smelling streets, Oakland and San Fran were pretty chill!
Windy streets going up and down hills, awesome bars and plenty to explore … San Fran didn’t disappoint! We even ran into friends from back home (what are the chances!) and spent the day bike riding across the golden gate bride to a cute town called Sausalito. And you can’t forget Alcatraz! Definitely a must see.
On our last day at San Fran we rented a little red Ford Fiesta and headed towards the open road! Driving on the wrong side of the road, in the wrong side of the car wasn’t as hard as we imagined! My biggest issue was sticking in the middle of my lane as my judgement was skewed sitting in the ‘passengers side’ while driving. En route to Las Vegas we spent a night in Bakersfield (the half way point!) and stocked up on all the essentials. With a car full of booze, a quick stop to the barbershop and all the essentials from Walmart we were ready for Las Vegas!
Arriving into our hotel we were surprised with an upgrade to a penthouse! Our room was on the 36th floor, overlooking part of the Strip and featured a jacuzzi in a bathroom that’s bigger than my bedroom back home! Vegas was a lot of fun. We saw Lil Jon perform a DJ set at Jewel nightclub where he MADE IT RAIN with dollar bills and champagne while being surrounded by beautiful dancers and an incredible entourage.
We rode the rides at Stratosphere, visited the Pawn Stars pawn shop, won money playing Blackjack and watched Zumanity “adults only show” by Cirque Du Soleil. After seeing nearly naked men and women doing incredible and seductive acrobatics, I feel like I definitely got a great taste of Vegas!
Tired, dehydrated and ready for a detox we jumped on a plane and headed to Atlanta to spend Christmas with my family who live there.
With ten days under our belt in suburban Georgia, surrounded by my gorgeous little cousins and an aunt who is a goddess when it comes to traditional Russian cooking we couldn’t have asked for a better Christmas! While in Atlanta we visited many of their incredible outlets, took my oldest cousin to Six Flags, watched an NBA game of Hawks vs Knicks and even explored old town Senoia (where the Walking Dead is filmed!!!!! We are slightly obsessed…).
Well rested and full of Russian culinary delights we regretfully said goodbye to my gorgeous family and headed to New York City.
Being here over New Year’s I knew it would be busy. However, I certainly did not expect the madness we saw in Times Square the night of December 30. Anyone that’s ever been to New York in summer would understand how touristy and packed this place can get. People in costumes convincing you to tip them for a photo, promoters offering the ‘best prices’ for all sorts of tours, billboards that illuminate the skies and sounds competing with one another from store to store.
Now picture all this while you are packed in a can like sardines, shuffling along with the crowd with absolutely no choice of where you are going to end up. M&M world? Forget about it. The line looped around the blocks of Times Square and eventually got lost in the pit of shuffling tourists.
This was the moment we decided we won’t be seeing the ball drop (along with the $350 per ticket admission fee into the only classy restaurant left called Applebees…). After downing a few cocktails we began Google’ing to find some suitable last minute options for the countdown. After seriously considering paying $185 per ticket for a ‘cowboy’ themed bar which proudly features it’s very own bucking bull we found the Good Story rooftop bar at the Arlo Hotel in Soho.
An open bar, views of fireworks across the city, canapés and sophisticated decor we agreed to pay the $160 p/p tickets. If we were spending NYE in New York we were adamant to do it right.
Although we might have missed the fireworks due to distraction by the ridiculous open bar, we found some great friends, I lost my voice and we danced the night away!
Waking late in the morning on the first day of 2017 we headed out in search of the best hangover food known to man: Vietnamese Pho. If you don’t know what it is, look it up and try it out this weekend. I promise you won’t regret it.
After a day of exploration and shopping at nightfall we headed to the Comedy Cellar, a stand up comedy show that will you have you in stitches. Something I highly recommend in New York City!
With so much to see and do in this magical city I guarantee every visit would be different. This time around, I will never forget ice skating in Central Park, seeing the magical Christmas displays throughout the city and enjoying drinks with new friends at the quirky bars of New York.
And while over these adventure-filled weeks we certainly blew over our budget, I still believe that travel the only thing in the world that makes you richer.
Till next time, world!