I still couldn’t put my latest NY experience into words, yet. I promised a pie- filled recap from our visit at the Big Apple, but instead let me serve you a few bites from the land of peaches, Georgia. :)
A 651 mile- drive may not seem too far for your usual avid road- tripper but this was quite a milestone for me. For the first time, I was able to drive my soccer mom suv further south than just VA. Butt- numbing? Yes, but no wheel sharing. It was meant to be just a 10- hour drive but if you add the rest stops and refueling on the way, it was an easy 12 hours.
I was already bracing for real busy streets having chosen a place to stay at that was dab smack in the middle of downtown. Good ol’ reliable Waze got us through backroads without an ounce of hassle, leading us past neighborhoods of single- homes that would most likely pass my dad’s approval. Each house was quite unique, not one looked similar to each other. I had this assumption that blank lots we’re initially sold to each landowner and they get to build their home however they wish. I don’t know guys, it’s like Minecraft. Haha. And it’s not always like that back home. I wonder if they also reflected how different families are in each of them.
Once we arrived at our destination, this tan- bricked townhouse definitely told us a lot about our host. We had very minimal interaction with her personally but she was super accommodating and communication was constant via phone. Her place was definitely proof that it had received a great amount of TLC. The moment we stepped in, I already knew that we were getting more than we bargained for. It was a home where comfort meets luxury. Come on now, how can you resist a home with this kind of view?
Sunsets here would probably have been amazing to see but we were out enough that I never really got the chance to just sit and watch as the sun bids its daily goodbye.
We ended our first day with some family friends up in Alpharetta and celebrated the little reunion at a birthday party (which I wasn’t informed about- ugh). My travel- friendly outfit will have to do. One night isn’t enough to play catch up with everyone but there was always time for some non- human interaction. I went out to my Tita’s backyard and found this guy!
Day two was dedicated to some of the must see attractions of Atlanta. But before the exploration could commence, my sister and I went out for a much needed Target run in the early morning. Despite the Maryland tag I felt like a local driving around doing “errands” and of course, out for coffee. We had breakfast at home and eventually busted out our inner tourists to drive out to our first tourist spot:
GEORGIA AQUARIUM (go ahead, hover and click! )
They say a picture is worth a thousand words but even a couple more photos could not describe how well put together this place was. There’s so much diversity in species under one roof and yes, that includes Homo sapiens.
We saw a dolphin show during our last bit at the aquarium before we headed out. I don’t yelp out my wows anymore as I did when I was younger, but was it weird for me to get goosebumps every time something jaw- dropping happens? I honestly just felt like I was I little kid again. I hold no shame in that! ;)
You know what’s another thing I can’t seem to part with since coming back from this trip? I’ve started to take a liking for Coca Cola products and I’m constantly craving for a can for the past couple of weeks. I’ve been pretty good at avoiding sugary drinks and that all went away after. I know, I know. It’s not necessarily healthy for you but the company has done a great job of promoting their product. Oh, the power of advertising.
World of Coca-Cola was next on the list. It was quite convenient because it was well within the vicinity of the aquarium. We entered the lobby where we each got a complimentary can of coke. Man, it has been so long since I’ve had a good sip of soda. A little pang of pain started in my chest soon after I got a taste of my Coca- Cola Life. My body can’t even handle all those bubbles from that baby can. Haha. We were in the lobby for quite some time and a little trivia was held by the staff. That, my friends, was the first time I witnessed google/ wikipedia fail someone on the spot. Hahaha.
We were led through back doors afterwards, where we proceeded towards a room filled with Coke history. I have to be honest with you, I wasn’t very into it at all. There was definitely something about it though, everything was presented in a way that made me appreciate how far this line of product has gotten. For many years now, they have been a known partner- sponsor of the Olympic Games. I had no idea! The smallest things wowed me about Coke (I feel like this can be taken completely out of context, no sweat. hahaha). With the right song, even the slightest tear- jerking video montage could do the trick.
We don’t remember days, we remember moments. — Casare Pavese
Touché, Coca- Cola. I’m finally seeing you in a different light. Thanks for letting me try all the different Coke products from around the world. My faves obviously came form the Asian bunch- surprise, surprise. Nothing too sweet, or too carbonated either. The only thing I didn’t like was the gas build- up I left with. Excuse me, I know it’s tmi. Haha.
But what’s never too much, you say? It’s spending until wee hours of the night catching up with family friends that you haven’t seen in too long years. That’s exactly how the day ended; and at that time, they were just a 30- minute drive away. It’s always nice to see my folks interact with titos and titas other than relatives. In my book, they are family.
Our time in Georgia is nearing it’s end but we were determined to make the most of it and finish the trip on a high note. We had a rocky start in the morning but it’s nothing that a home- cooked breakfast couldn’t fix. It could also have been the crazy- butt humidity, but we were quite cranky. We continue to try, and what better way than to start with food.
Our first stop was Fernbank Natural History Museum for day three. It could have been a better enjoyed attraction if it wasn’t mainly outdoors and if we were below 12 years of age. 😅 They did offer a trail that would have satisfied some hiking craves but I was saving my energy specifically for Stone Mountain. As disappointing it is to turn my back to a trail, we had a lot still going on for us later in the day.
I say, “On to better things!” We later found ourselves headed towards CNN. We tried to get our tickets for an earlier tour of the studio but had to settle for one that was not available until an hour and a half later. Big bummer, but it gave us time to explore the building.
For some reason when things were starting to look up, stuff suddenly happens and you don’t quite know how to react. I’ve been tested and tried in this trip, fam. I’m not going to lie. It happened from losing a ticket for a tour you’ve been waiting for hangrily to getting stranded in the city because of a rainstorm.
I let my family go on with the tour by themselves. Boohoo. But it was okay, malaki na sila. Yet again, I’m gonna continue to keep it up. I didn’t want to stay indoors so I looked out and found that not only were there partially clear skies all of a sudden, the sun was out again! The best part? It’s no longer humid.
I didn’t plan a time when I’d have to be alone during this trip so I felt so giddy and antsy at the same time. My feet led me to Centennial Olympic Park. It may not be as grand as Central Park, but it’s definitely earned a place in my 💜. Not too shabby, Atlanta.
My giddiness only grew upon realizing that every travel time is a chance for a little pilgrimage. Cathedral of Christ the King was right down Peach Tree St, about a 5-minute drive away. I quickly took the risk of losing my perfect parking spot. It also meant going around in circles trying to find the driveway into the church’s lot, but oh so worth it. It was a little bit after 5 PM on a Saturday which usually meant confessions were being heard. How great is it to be able to receive His love and mercy at times when you least expect it and when it’s most needed? He didn’t even stop there. God led me to the closest parish that housed a first class relic of the Cross. And even if things weren’t as I expect it would be, He definitely has His own way of making things work out in the end.
I drove back to make sure I was there before the tour ended then later find out that my parking spot was not taken. How ‘bout that? About half of the plans for the day didn’t pan out but life has a funny way of making the best out of it. In a way, day three gave us an opportunity to see off my ate and kuya. We were able to see their new place and talk about their recent wedding and honeymoon over some southern fried dinner. Top Golf was next on the list if it weren’t for the two- hour wait; so instead, we got to pig out some more at Sweet Hut. 🐽 I regret nothing.🐽
Come strike midnight, we’re off to say our goodbyes…Hard as it was to do so.
I never made it to bed last night. I completely knocked out on the sofa while savoring the last of Atlanta city lights through our living room window.
But of course, I would wake up at five in the morning and before everybody else. Packing didn’t take much time to do but leaving the city did. Our family had a “to buy” list that we conveniently left to do on the last day. It wasn’t ideal but what are you gonna do, right? #procrastileaving
The most important on the list: Breakfast — to-go, as recommended by our host, from Delia’s Chicken Sausage Stand (which btw is A MUST!). It has been a while since I’ve seen a menu present creative ways of serving chicken sausage. If breakfast ain’t enough they’re also available for lunch, dinner and everything in between. ;)
№2 on the list consisted of pasalubong with a few sub-categories:
- Magnets: For every new land we set foot adds on to a never- ending refrigerator magnet collection, including a couple more for family and friends. This was the hardest to find because we wanted to keep it cheap; we ended up disregarding them at the more tourist-y spots. My mistake for doing so because I ended up driving store to store looking for them. Let me save you the gas if you decide to go in town and don’t go looking for them at Publix, Walmart, or the DollarStore. Simply purchase them at the attraction of your choice or an isolated gasoline station outside the city. Gotta learn the hard way, I guess. Haha.
- Peaches: Why not bring home the goods?
- Publix’s Mango and Key Lime Pies: Quite head over heals for these!
- Airheads Extreme Bites: In Rainbow Berry, please. Road trip necessity when you’re the driver.
- Ice: For ‘em liquids in the summer weather.
And though these weren’t on the list, it’s been a requirement for musical soundtracks to be readily available on family road trips. Hours on long roads tend to slip by faster that way when you got hands on the wheel.Thank you Hamilton, The Waitress (Sara B’s and OG Broadway Casts’), Aladdin, and of course let’s appreciate any Alan Menken song there is. I may not be a big theater nerd myself, but it’s started to become a pretty awesome *coughexpensivecough* hobby in the past two years.
I’m quite surprise you’ve made it this far. Until next time, reader! — ruthaaaay