Thank you all for joining us on this incredible journey! We are honored to have been able to share our journeys with you. If in any way we have inspired you to love this world a little more, then its been worth every second. Here’s to a thousand more incredible journeys!
Here is our list of Top Ten Monuments that were bigger/smaller than we expected.
#10 – Mt. Rushmore – SMALLER
It’s true! Despite what Nicolas Cage in National Treasure might try to convince you of, this iconic face (or faces) of America is smaller than you expect. I had hoped that it would tower over me and I’d be consumed in the shadow of Jefferson’s nose. Not the case.
Despite the fact that this 150 year old monument doesn’t seem as big it is anything but disappointing. It was voted as the most patriotic small town in the 2011 Best of the Road rally with Rand McNally and it deserves it. What the mountain lacks in size it makes up in heart. Also, a little know fact, behind Lincoln’s head there is a secret vault known as the Hall of Records. The architect behind Mt. Rushmore, Gutzon Borglum, wanted to preserve the essence of the monument for thousands of years. A cavern was hewn out of the mountain behind Lincoln and inside is a sealed titanium vault containing several porcelain copies of our nation’s most important documents, including the Declaration of Independence, the Constitution, and the Bill of Rights.
# 9 – Space Needle – SMALLER
It pains me to say it, but yes, the space needle is smaller than you might think. True, it is a lofty 605 ft. at its tallest point. However it hardly clears the Seattle skyline any more these days. When it was erected in 1962 it was the tallest building west of the Mississippi. Today it’s tough to compete with the CN Tower in Toronto, but to its credit the Space Needle is incredibly beautiful. Not only that, it is a marvel of engineering. The Restaurant near the top rotates on a turntable designed in the 60’s by the railroad companies. Today it takes only a 1.5 horse power engine to turn the 125 ton restaurant.
# 8 – Machu Picchu – BIGGER
There’s been so much coverage of Machu Picchu over the years that this once hidden city may have lost some of its mystery for people with internet access. Clark is happy to remind of all of us that this peak is far more impressive in person.
# 7 – Stone Henge – BIGGER/SMALLER
It’s hard to say. When Clark and I went to Stone Henge in England we expected it to be much larger. I have no way of justifying why I thought that. It’s not like you see a lot of Stone Henge on TV. Interestingly enough though, when I stopped into Maryhill, WA (in the South Center of the State) there is an exact replica of the monument, and I thought it was bigger. My only thought is that the finished henge feels larger where as the traditional henge in England feels a touch deflated with a few pieces missing. Both are spectacular feats of engineering. The original Stone Henge (it is now speculated) was built to serve as a calendar to marking the solstices and equinoxes. The WA replica is exact in size and orientation. Dedicated in 1918 by Maryhill resident Sam Hill it was built as a WWI memorial.
The project began when Hill was mistakenly informed that the original Stonehenge had been used as a sacrificial site. He thus constructed his replica as a reminder that “humanity is still being sacrificed to the god of war.
# 6 – Great Wall – LONGER but SMALLER
The Great Wall is astounding. When I first saw it I was struck by how absurdly long it is. That said, I had no idea how short it is. Sure, the Mongols were shorter back then, but it’s pretty short in some places. The average height of the wall is 25ft but slopes to a scant 10ft in some locations. While the wall of the Ming Era is reported to have been 5000 ft long it is interesting to note that the wall was discontinuous and so the Mongols actually just rode around it and invaded Northern China. While it might not keep your dog out of the yard it does make an incredible camping experience.
It should also be noted though, that while visiting the Great Wall, my hair was much bigger than expected.
# 5 – Chand Baori -BIGGER
Truth. This 1000+ year old step well is one of the most impressive structures I’ve ever seen. It is a 13 story, 3,500 step, well which was filled by jar and rain. This focal spot for Indian life was established to provide for the community and allow life in the harsh Rajastani desert. Today it is sorrowfully neglected and left as a local toilet. Although, a much larger one than I had imagined. Even after seeing it in the final installment of Christopher Nolan’s Batman series. You may recognize it as the prison that Bane is kept in.
Both Tawny and I were blown away at just how massive this once radio tower is. Not to mention, it’s the only place in France we found free wi-fi. The trip to the top is dizzying and leaves you very satisfied.
# 3 – Coliseum – Exactly the Same
Russel Crowe prepared us nicely for the Coliseum. Both from above and below, this monument is massive. Of course, that’s sort of what you expect. At no point during our tour did I find my self thinking, “I thought there would be more.” In fact, I was very pleased with how many different levels (both literally and historically) you get to explore at the Coliseum.
# 2 – Korea’s Penis Park – BIGGER
This is a monument not to be missed. Tawny and I happened upon it quite by accident while road tripping through Korea. It’s both bigger and more prominent than we ever thought a penis park would be. Located in the small town of Sinnam on the East Coast, this strange collection of phallus statues and shot glasses was originally erected to ensure a good catch. The popularity of the place couldn’t have been predicted and today 8 new penises are brought in every year. It’s certainly a folk village worth seeing. Just don’t lose an eye.
Blissfully, the Taj Mahal is far more grand and inspiring than I could have ever imagined. This structure towers over everything around it and threatens to blow out the limitations of the imagination. Not only is it a stunning structure but it actually hums. If you arrive super early in the morning before the crowd (you’ll have to wait in line and then run past all the tourists) you can stand in the center of the sepulcher and hear what has been called “the sound of eternity.” The perfection and the symmetry of the building allows it to purr with a harmonic sound when the wind whispers through it. It has my full endorsement.
What about you? Are there any monuments that you’ve visited that are bigger or smaller than you expected?]]>
It’s no secret that the single most important thing in Tawny and my life is coffee. That might be an exaggeration, but I’m unwilling to discuss it until after my Starbucks run. A lot of people ask us if we’ve ever encountered hardships while traveling. They ask us if being in Thailand during the Red Shirt protests was difficult, or if the Pakistani border was tough on the nerves, “surely hitch-hiking across South Africa had you at your wit’s end?!” No. You want to know difficult? We drove from Virginia to Kansas and never once found a cup of coffee. Sweet tea? That’s not coffee my friends.
We almost died.
With such passion for the caffeine gods welling in our veins it should come as no surprise that we are about to launch a new series in which we devote our selves with academic zeal to the coffee cultures of the world. . If you love coffee as much as we do, you’ll be hot on the trail to your own perfect cup soon. So why not run to Washington or Italy, our favorite… If you like it cold, take a trip like we did to the beautiful islands of Hawaii with their iced coffee that could make our dear Dutch Bros blush, or go try out the Chinese version that we found at the corner of our cheap hotel in Hong Kong. Whether we’re sipping civet coffee, fresh from the butt, or sampling espresso with Italian models, rest assured we will find your fix. Here’s a quick shot of what we have in store.
So whether we are discussing Italian vs. Seattle coffee or just praising the magic elixir that is java, please keep your eyes open. And, do tell,
What do you think is the best coffee in the world?
You can also check out our coffee cultures around the world, HERE, on USA Today.
We found ourselves extremely busy when we returned that we never got the time to truly reflect on our GoWithOh European invasion. It wasn’t until recently that we were able to reflect on our favorite parts of our trip and what surprised us about the cities that we visited. We wanted to share our findings with you.
What we loved.
What’s not to love about Europe? As it was my first time on the continent, I couldn’t contain my excitement as we deplaned in London. What made our trip so special was that we stayed in apartment rentals the entire time. I don’t think we could’ve had a more authentic experience if we had stayed in hotels. I enjoyed walking to our various apartments, keys in hand, pretending that I was a local, or at least an American transplant who had decided to call Europe home. We also took public transportation everywhere we went. I’m trying to recall any time that we ended up taking a cab, but even then, the bus or metro was much cheaper and usually more convenient.
As always, the food was a definite highlight of our trip. We were treated to two different high teas and a legit Sunday roast in London. Paris met us with baguettes, creamy cheeses, and pastries out our ears. Strudel might have been on our radar in Vienna, but the true jewel was the weiner schnitzel. I could eat crispy fried piece of gold every day. And let’s not forget about Italy. Everything that I ate was scrumptious. If we didn’t walk everywhere while in Venice and Rome I probably would have gained twenty pounds. At least all the food is fresh and usually home grown.
Another thing we loved about our 30 days in Europe was our Eurail pass. The continent was our oyster and if we had more time we would have taken full advantage of our pass. I couldn’t believe how easy it was to get from country to country. All of the trains we rode on were clean, comfortable, and surprisingly spacious. I think I might prefer European train travel to air.
I’m going to get real. The one city that I was the most excited for was Paris. It was a place that I had dreamed of visiting since I sat down in my very first French class in 7th grade. I don’t know if it’s because we arrived in the thralls of winter, or if I truly hadn’t done my research, but Paris kind of let me down. It didn’t help that we found ourselves in between paychecks and running low on dough after expensive London. I was also a little put off by how dirty it was. The streets were littered with dog poop and the freshly fallen snow had turned to slush, making puddles of runny dog muck an extreme walking hazard. Le gross.
Surprisingly enough, the Eiffel Tower was more beautiful and even larger than I had imagined. I know that some people think it’s an eye sore, but I thought it was lovely. Also, the best wifi I found in Paris was from the top of the Eiffel Tower- a score for any blogger! I also have to give it to the city, they had plenty of posh places to stay. I might have booked our tickets a day early (sorry Captain) leaving us stranded in the city of lights needing a place to stay in Paris. Luckily we did find something for the first night, right next to a quaint little boulangerie-pâtisserie. Not to mention it was right next to a subway stop.
I was caught off guard by how much I loved Vienna, Austria. It was one of Chris’ picks. I had chosen Paris and London as my two cities and let Chris choose his top picks. I think I was drawn to Vienna by the beauty and friendliness of its locals. A darling elderly couple escorted a very lost Chris and me to our apartment on the night that we arrived. They barely spoke a lick of English but were adamant about making sure that we found our accommodations okay. We also met Doris, the amazing photographer behind Midnight Sun Photography. She was gracious enough to show us around her hometown, indulge us in some of the best food imaginable, and even take our engagement pictures.
Needless to say, Chris and I really enjoyed Europe. So much so that we are already planning a trip back this fall. The only question is where should we go next? We want to circle back around and spend more time in each of the cities that we visited with GoWithOh, but we’re also looking into other fall hot spots. We’d love to hear any of your suggestions in the comment section below!
All of our apartment rentals in Europe were sponsored by GoWithOh. Eurail graciously offered us Eurail passes in exchange for our honest opinions on our experience.
I’ve tried to like tea, believe me I have. There’s just something about flowers and leaves steeped in hot water that my palate doesn’t enjoy. My big girl taste buds have slowly been coming in and I’m hoping that tea will be in on menu in the next couple of years. Here’s to hoping. Nevertheless, my distaste for tea did not hold me back from experiencing a very posh high tea at the acclaimed Fortnum and Mason’s tea room.
I should have known that we were in for a treat the second we entered Fortnum and Mason. As it was a couple of weeks before Easter, our eyes were greeted by huge, elaborately decorated chocolate Easter eggs, colorful macaroons, and every type of bonbon you could imagine. My stomach had started grumbling as soon as my eyes feasted on all of the goodies before us. We quickly ran up the three flights of stairs to the Diamond Jubilee Tea salon where we were going to take our tea.
I have to make a confession. This wasn’t our first high tea experience. That had actually happened the day before. Our friends had treated us to a champagne high tea the afternoon prior and it was incredible. We had tiny finger sandwiches, scones with clotted cream, and champagne. Champagne! I honestly didn’t think anything could compare. Imagine my surprise when we sat down and a plate stacked with the most amazing looking treats was laid in front of us.
I felt like I was Alice crashing the Mad Hatter’s tea party. Everything looked too perfect to eat. Not only was it beautiful, but it was delicious as well. I had fun imagining whether the light pink frosted eclair would make me grow taller or shrink me to the size of a strawberry. It did neither. Did I mention that there was a pianist who was pumping out sassy croons while we indulged? ‘Cause there was.
Our afternoon tea included a staggering five finger sandwiches, four fluffy scones, three kinds of jam,
two turtle doves, and a variety of naughty cakes. We also had a bucket of clotted cream, which doesn’t sound appetizing but is actually quite scrumptious. We washed down the aforementioned treats with two pots of tea. I’m not going to lie, the tea was good. It’s still not something I’d drink on the daily, but our kind server chose a subtle blend that was perfect for my baby taste buds.
Would we do a London high tea at Fortnum and Mason again? Hells yes.
Our fancy pants high tea was courtesy of the kind folks at GetYourGuide. They’re happy to help you book catered tours all around the world. As always, all thoughts are our own i.e. we would have told you if the tea sucked, regardless of whether we paid for it or not. We give this experience four Captain and Clark thumbs up!]]>
I wouldn’t have considered myself an apartment stay kind of guy before this trip. Yet now, ex post facto, I don’t know how I’ve lived this long without doing more of these. This particular apartment ran for 37 pound a night. Considering how much cheaper that was than a normal hotel room would be enough to satisfy me. I’ve stayed in London rooms before and it’s great to have a whole flat and to not have to spoon your backpack at night because there is not enough space.
Living in the apartment has really opened up the chances for Tawny and I to live like a local. In the last week we’ve skipped a lot of the more tourist-aimed attractions and gone out with friends from London and also hit up the local pubs. Every morning we went out to stroll through Kensington Gardens, and then off to tea or a pint (usually a pint).
Ravenscourt was a super posh neighborhood. It was half a block’s walk to the main tube line and a ten minute ride into central London. We had the quite and calm of a suburb with all the excitement of the city just a stone’s throw away. I loved it.
Now I can hardly wait to see what the other apartments this month are going to look like. Be sure to check out our Tumblr. We’re updating everyone on the journey in real-time. Be sure to check out Go with Oh too. They boast a huge range of apartment rentals in Europe. If you’re considering accommodation for your next trip it’s worth looking into.
While Go with Oh sponsored our stay at this apartment as a part of the competition, our opinions are entirely our own.]]>
In preparation for our big trip across the pond we’ve been putting all of our spare change into the piggy bank. We love to bring back fun and memorable souvenirs from all of our adventures. These trinkets can really add up and luckily for us, the VisitBritain Shop is offering up a nice chunk of change to a blogger who can conjure up the perfect London shopping trip.
Before we divulge the London shopping experience of our dreams, we thought it necessary to translate a few tricky British fashion terms. While living in Korea we were able to become good friends with a couple from England and Wales. We made numerous faux pas when it came to naming fashion items. We want to spare you the blank stares and stifled giggles that might occur when asking a sales associate where you can find a pair of hot pink studded pants.
Below we have listed a handful of helpful American-British fashion translations.
No, this is not a term to refer to a person who gets you in shape at the gym. When someone in London is referring to their trainers they are actually talking about their sneakers or “training shoes.” You might hear a tour guide tell you to pack your trainers for a walking tour. Basically, comfortable walking or jogging shoes.
While it might sound like it, a welly is not a care package that you send to a sick friend. The term “wellies” refers to Wellington boots. Think of Paddington Bear. He wore his little red wellies all over town. In the States we would call wellies, “rain boots.”
This is probably our favorite (or should we say, “favourite“) British fashion term. While it may be the name of a terrible Hayden Christensen movie, in London it simply refers to a sweatshirt or pullover. We like it even better if you say it with a British accent. Jum-pah.
Imagine our confusion when our British friends told us they were going to wear their “fancy dress” outfits for Halloween. We couldn’t understand why they wanted to get dressed up with their best suits, ties, and gowns. It turns out that fancy dress is the British term for costumes. If someone tells you that the party calls for “fancy dress”, you better go all out on something that involves a mask or face paint.
No special watch that turns into a parachute or socks that shoot lasers. We’re not talking James Bond-esc garmets here. These are exactly what they sound like- clothes that make you looks smart. I think the best American term for these clothes would be “business attire”, something that is professional and well put together.
We made the mistake of talking about our pants numerous times while in the presence of our British friends. I was so upset that I tore a hole in my pants after a beach volleyball game and was recounting the story to our friends. They were laughing throughout the entire tale and I couldn’t figure out why they found my torturous story so funny. Turns out, they thought I was referring to my [ahem]… undergarments. When in the UK, be sure to keep your pants underneath your trousers!
This term is quite essential for me. Purses and handbags are kind of my addiction. The one thing to keep in mind when shopping for a purse in London is that the term “purse” actually refers to a wallet or coin purse. If you’re looking for something bigger that can hold you cell phone, wallet, and car keys, you’re going to want to call it a handbag.
Now that we’ve gotten the translation essentials out of the way, let’s move on to our dream London shopping trip. As it will be my first time in London, I think I’d like to go all out! If money was no limit, we would be sure to shop ’til we drop in some of the most well-known stores in all of England.
First stop, Harrods! I can’t tell you how long I’ve wanted to peruse the racks at this luxurious fashion mecca. If money weren’t an option, I’d be sure to stock up on my favorite shoes, handbags, and fragrances. After surely working up an appetite, I’d make my way to a wine tasting event followed by scarfing down a few scrumptious macrons. It would be hard to choose between Harrods many restaurants, but high tea at The Tea Room and lunch at Galvin Demoiselle would be ideal.
The next stop would have to be Oxford street. The Captain would be well burnt out on shopping by this point. My best assumption would be that he would rather wander the streets of London and perhaps film a trip riding the London Eye.
Oxford street is one of the best places to not only people watch, but also find a good bargain. With over 300 stores, every shopper is sure to find something they love. I would be sure to stop by the famous Selfridges department store. With over a mile and a half of shopping glory, I’d be able to walk off the delicious lunch we had at Harrods.
After taking in the more luxurious side, we would head to Camden town. We’ve heard that this area is more our style of shopping with a bohemian feel, including countless retro and secondhand shops. We would sift through all of the piles of vintage clothing and find a few treasures to wear around the town. We’d obviously be rocking out to Macklemore’s “Thrift shop” as we popped tags and searched for come ups.
Our dream day of shopping in London would obviously have to end with us searching for some adult refreshments. We would reunite with the British friends that we met in Korea, and sample signature cocktails from Mahiki, Sky Lounge, and Sketch, the latter looking incredibly eclectic! We would be sure to instagram, tweet, and blog to report our findings.
There you have it! Our ideal London shopping experience. We’re hoping to fulfill at least a couple of these while visiting England in one short week! Stay tuned for our European adventures.
What about you? What is your ideal London shopping experience? Do you have any more British fashion terms that we should learn before we go? Leave your suggestions in the comment section below.]]>