A Lift Up in April

After a somewhat rough March in which I got laid off from my job, in April my fortune took a turn for the better. After countless phone and several in person interviews, I ended up in the extremely fortunate position of having two job offers to pick between. One was with a company I had really been wanting to work for in a role that I was excited about, so I accepted. I will be starting in mid-May!

In the meantime though, I took advantage of the time off to have some fun adventures. In early April I headed to the Tidal Basin in downtown Washington, DC to enjoy the cherry blossoms that our city is so famously known for. Despite living almost my whole life in the DC area, I had not been to see the blossoms since I was a child. It was a great experience and I was fortunate to have excellent weather the day I visited.

Markell also had a field trip to Philadelphia that I had initially not be able to volunteer for since I didn’t want to take off the day from work. Since I got laid off though, I emailed his teacher the day before the field trip to let her know if any parent chaperones dropped out to let me know (the flu was going around his school). It turned out that one parent had to stay home with a sick child, so I was able to join after all. We had a great time doing a whirlwind trip of Philadelphia in which we saw Independence Hall, the Betsy Ross house, the Liberty Bell, Congress Hall, the Benjamin Franklin Museum, the National Constitution Center, and Elfreth’s Alley. I really enjoyed being able to spend time with Markell and his classmates.

Right around Easter and Markell’s spring break we headed to the Eastern Shore of Virginia for a stay on Chincoteague Island. We visited Wallops Island where NASA launches several rockets a year, and then drove around Chincoteague which is known for wild horses. Our stay got cut short when a tornado hit half a mile from my house, and we decided to leave early so I could ensure there was no damage. I irritatingly had to spend time making our case with manager of the hotel where we stayed, who only gave us a half refund for our second night. Ah well.  The weather had turned crappy on Chincoteague anyways so we didn’t feel like we missed much.

En route home (and after my dad went to check on my house for me since I was worried about it – there was no damage to my house fortunately, although lots of trees down in my neighborhood), we stopped at the Harriet Tubman National Historical Park. The park is built near the land where Harriet Tubman was born and where her family was from and we were able to learn more about her life and contributions to help slaves escape to freedom.

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Last but not least I had one more big trip in April. Once I had accepted my job offer and was going through background checks, Mark and I decided to plan a trip together. He had limited time, so we decided to go to Europe versus South America which is a trip I am hoping to plan within the next year. Our first stop was Budapest, Hungary. I really enjoyed Budapest’s vibe. In Budapest we went to St. Michael’s Chapel, the Market Hall, enjoyed the thermal baths at the Gellert Hotel, went on a boat road of the Danube, ate well, and did two escape rooms.

We then moved on to Vienna, Austria. In Vienna we slowed down a bit and mostly relaxed and walked around to take in the grandeur of the city. We ate a lot of Austrian cuisine – bratwurst, schnitzel, chicken cordon bleu, and sachertorte to name a few. We also attended a classical music concert held in Saint Anne’s church in the center of town where the musicians played Mozart, Haydn, and Beethoven beautifully. We also made our way to Schönbrunn Palace hoping to do a tour, but the wait was almost four hours. We skipped waiting for the tour and instead walked around the palace’s grounds and gardens for free which was rather pleasant.

Mark then had to leave to go back to work, but I continued on to Salzburg. My first day in Salzburg I did a day trip to Hallstatt. Hallstatt is a small village on a lake considered one of the most beautiful places in Austria and is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The next day I did a Sound of Music day tour where we visited several of the filming locations for the renown movie. I hadn’t seen the movie in many years when I decided to do the tour, but fortunately my hostel played it every night so I re-watched it ahead of going and really enjoyed singing along to the movie’s famous tunes with everyone on our tour bus.

After Salzburg, it was then time to say goodbye to Europe and head back home.

So, what’s next for May? The month will be fairly quiet travel wise since I am starting a new job and need to focus on that. However, over Memorial Day weekend I will be heading to Colonial Beach, Virginia for a weekend by the water to welcome summer. Hopefully I’ll be able to get a few hikes in as well. Stay tuned!

What are your plans for May and this summer?

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