I’ve been waiting for this trip look. Firstly, we have never been on a vacation with her husband. Of course, we have chosen on the local base, we went for a week in the mountains to go skiing for the weekend – to the country, or on the lake with friends. But when had the opportunity to take a trip together to the America, my thoughts began just about it. We would like to plunge into a new culture, meet interesting people, improve my English, and, of course, to see two nephews, who until then we saw only in photographs.
Waiting for this journey turned out quite long. It took a couple of months on what to collect all the necessary documents to obtain a US visa , then you had to wait a whole month of interview at the consulate. It was the most painful stage, because it was unknown whether we will give a visa or not. When we finally heard from the consul – “Your visa is approved,” the tension eased, and the mood was immediately suitcase. Ahead of waiting for pleasant chores, buying tickets, gifts and packing suitcases.
Flights to America.
The road from Russia to the America – probably the only bad moment during the whole journey. Although, I would rather call him a tedious than frustrating because there are so many sympathetic and good people! Everyone is ready to help if you find yourself in a quandary. We flew with two changes and in every city where we stayed, had to wait for about seven hours. It is very exhausting, it is not surprising that at the end of the path, I fell asleep on every point, had only to sit down, and I have seen dreams.
The first transplant was in Finland. I had to wait long enough in advance so we did a transit visa to be able to go into town and see Helsinki. There is such a visa is inexpensive, about 35 euro per person. It gives the right to carry out in the country all day.
By the way, the Finns are very hospitable people and are pleased when foreigners are interested in their culture. One friend, who often flies through Finland, told me that when you fly through their country, and do not do such a transit visa, the Finns are very offended and next time may even refuse a visa. In Finland, almost all speak good English, so if you know at least the basic proposals in this language, you will understand easily how to get from the airport to the city center and back.
The end-point of our destination was the city of Washington. We spent 3 days and then went to our relatives who live in Virginia Beach. It is about 3 hours from Washington.
Washington – it is not only the political capital of the USA, but also a city with a very rich cultural life. Here are concentrated many different theaters, monuments, museums such as the National Museum of Natural History, the conquest of Space Museum, Newseum, and many others. There is even the International Spy Museum! Clearly, what to visit all the museums at a time is not possible, so I advise you to find information on the Internet and choose in advance, in which museums would you like to go.
At the heart of the city is the Capitol – it happens Congressional session. Tourists interested in politics are even free to attend at a meeting of the House of Representatives and the Senate. To do this, you must first get the tickets in the west wing. Tickets start from the 9:00 in the morning, but when we came to the booth by this time, was going to have a long waiting list. Therefore, if you want to avoid it, I advise you to go a little early.
Diverge from the Capitol 4 big streets that divide the town into 4 sectors. It is surprising that these streets are exactly the areas of the four parts of the world. In Washington there is a law that no building in the city should not exceed architectural monuments. Therefore, here you will not find common to all of the modern metropolis of skyscrapers, towering over the city. From that Washington seemed much more comfortable than, for example, New York City, with its famous skyscrapers, which have some oppressive impact.
Particularly striking looks Capitol at night, when lights are lit everywhere and activates the backlight. In front of the stretched huge green lawn, where you can sit comfortably and enjoy the beautiful view.
It stretches from the Capitol Boulevard National Mall, where there are memorials to US presidents – Lincoln Memorial, Washington Monument and Jefferson. I would like to dwell separately on the Washington Monument. On the surface it looks like a narrow column, lined with marble. Looks, of course, majestic. After the column rises above the city at an altitude of 169 meters. It is the tallest building in the city, which can be seen perfectly from any point. Inside the obelisk there is a staircase and a lift, in which you can climb to the observation deck and see the Washington bird’s-eye view. Is it worth about 13 dollars.
And another famous building, about which I would like to tell you – the White House. Seeing it for the first time, I was very surprised, because I imagined it pathetic and overwhelming. In fact, the White House has been very modest, an official of a small building, which I would easily could be mistaken for any museum or gallery. Close to, we did not approach him, but from the stories of friends of Americans know that the president is an office in the left wing of the building.
In Washington, I really liked the structure of the city. Everything is organized very clearly and concisely. For example, if you walk down the street and see the building of a court, it means that you’re in a sector where there are only some courts. Similarly, it is with museums, sports centers and other government departments. It is very convenient, because Washington – business city. If a person, for example, came here for some court cases, most likely, he will do all his work in this, the legal sector and he will not have to wander around the city in search of his next destination.
Leaving Washington, our road passes by the Pentagon – the building of the Ministry of Defense. I used to think that the Pentagon is hidden from the usual tourist or resident of the city. In fact, it is just a few meters from the road and it is safe to consider. This three-story, very large building in the shape of a regular pentagon. The other two floors are underground. In the building, in addition to military offices, shops, banks and other institutions serving only employees of the Ministry.
Roads, road …
From Washington to the small beach town of Virginia Beach, we traveled by car. American roads deserve a separate discussion. For all the six weeks that we spent there, we did not encounter a single accident. Despite the fact that we traveled by car, almost every day. Characterized by the quality of the materials of which make the roads and ways of their construction.
Most of all I liked the fact that the lanes are always separated, that is, if you go one way, then the opposite lane, almost never seen. And if it is clear that between the strips is a small basin, in order to endure if suddenly the car off the road, it gets into the recess between the bands and not be able to go to the counter. This greatly increases driving safety.
Another safety feature that caught my attention – grooved surface at the edges of the road. This is done so that if the driver had fallen asleep at the wheel and began to move down the road, the wheels in contact with the metal on the surface roughness, the car sounds strong buzz that will wake the driver. At night, all lit dividing strip. Every few meters a small asphalt mounted lights, which are included at night.
Roads are constructed so that lie bypassing settlements. Therefore, if a person goes to a particular city and the road passes through other towns, he did not have to pass through the city and look for the right road. It is very convenient and saves a lot of time, do not stand in the urban traffic jams.
On the downside is the fact that the track is nowhere to be deployed. If you missed your exit of the highway, then it is possible for a long time to go to the next exit. Sometimes, it is very difficult to go back on the road missing. Several times we even got lost off the road not on the index, and then long strayed in search of the right path.
In general, travel by car in America is very convenient. The roads are smooth, clean, minimal stress for the driver. Only without the navigator can not do here, because the outcome can be very complex.
In addition to Washington, we were in Las Vegas, in a small but very rich history of the campus of Charlottesville, in the military town of Norfolk. But most of the time, we certainly held his sister in Virginia.
From Washington to the beach town of Virginia Beach, we traveled for 3 hours. During this time, I am not tired, because, as noted earlier, the roads in the US is very comfortable, fit for travel. In addition, flashing outside scenery, is not allowed to miss. Sometimes the road went along the ocean, then you can enjoy the beautiful coast line and see the distance or large warships.
When the road went through the woods, I often walked along the road deer, squirrels and some other forest animals. And, of course, it seemed unusual American road infrastructure. It’s a lot of motels, stores, recreation areas and different places where you can have lunch or dinner. Sometimes on the slopes you can see signs inviting to relax a bit from the road and visit some museum. It’s enough to pull off the road to the corresponding output and has a few meters of highway will be located on the museum building. Along the way, we came across the military museum, aviation museum, the Museum of American History and the Korean War Veterans Memorial.
Virginia Beach – a resort town, which is famous for the longest public beaches. Also found here, and three large American military base. Very often in the sky flying fighter jets that create a lot of noise. But the locals refer to it with understanding, some I even saw a sticker on the machines – “I love the noise of planes.” In general, the military are treated with respect and reverence. For the men in uniform, there are special discounts in cafes, restaurants, entertainment centers. When we flew from Virginia to Las Vegas with us on the plane was a military. Before takeoff the flight attendant announced on the loudspeaker that the military is flying with us, who is your service joyfully began for us all to applaud him. I was very impressed.
Despite the fact that every year come here to rest by thousands of tourists, the city looks very clean and comfortable. Every day, the beach is clean and sieved. The area where we lived, is distant from the tourist centers, so there I was able to see the daily life of Americans.
I was pleasantly surprised by the fact that local residents are constantly involved in sports! Run, almost all and always – in the morning, afternoon, evening; in parks, along the road, the ocean or even in the city center. Run and youth, and seniors, and people with artificial limbs. Sometimes you go out in the morning from the house of newspapers, by someone runs or rides a bike or rollerblading. They are sure to say hello, ask how are you, and wish a good day. From such goodwill immediately lifted the mood and has the energy and the mood for a good, productive day. Such a style of communication to quickly get used to it and soon he becomes as “smiling”. This I really like about Americans. Many Russian I heard that Americans smile insincere and unnatural. I am ready to argue with that, because a smile – is in any case a positive and good mood.
In the city a lot of places where you can relax and have a good time. There is a large number of restaurants where you can find the kitchen, it seemed to me, almost all the nations of the world. Restaurant prices are quite normal. The average bill per person of about $ 20-30. There are, of course, and pretentious restaurants where dinner will cost twice as expensive, but you will not regret it, because most likely it will be an incredibly beautiful place and great food. One day we were having dinner in a restaurant. Our table had a view of the ocean, near the burning fireplace and live music. Very romantic place!
In addition to the restaurants in Virginia Beach is many parks and attractions for children. Small parks and playgrounds, as a rule, free of charge, they are either on the ocean or near the major shopping centers. For paid parks need to allocate a whole day because they are very large, and to get around it all takes a long time. We visited the water park “Big Monkey”. Here everyone will find something for everyone – both adults and very small children. You can just swim in the pool, which occasionally catches up strong waves. You can have fun at the attraction, which slowly typed into a giant water bucket, which then suddenly overturned all who stood nearby. For fans of extreme sports have special spiral slides, which are at great speed “spit out” you in the water. There are also more quiet hill, from which you can slide down on the tubing.
A whole section of the park is reserved for kids, in which there are plunge pool, a mini-roller coaster train from tubing and more. And, of course, there is a comfortable locker rooms and showers, where you can change clothes at all dry.
Despite the large number of restaurants, parks, cafes and bars, most institutions already closed at 10pm. One day after going to the cinema, we decided somewhere to sit and enjoy a cocktail. It turned out that it is very difficult to find a place that would be open at least until 11.
One of the main attractions of Virginia Beach – Aquarium and Marine Science Center (The Virginia Aquarium & Marine Science Center). There are around 12,000 marine inhabitants. The aquarium is really huge. It consists of two buildings connected by a path, in the open air, where you can see the plants and some animals. The aquarium presents different species of sharks, fish, crabs, algae. Nearly every exhibit is worth the museum worker who gladly tell you about the features of this type. An interesting fact is that the work here, mostly volunteers, ie people working on the enthusiasm, absolutely free. Therefore, the bulk of the staff – pensioners. In addition to marine life, there are birds, reptiles and amphibians, some animals in the museum.
Another place that is worth a visit – it’s a zoo. It is situated a 40-minute drive from Virginia Beach, Norfolk. The zoo animals are presented from different continents – giraffes, elephants, antelopes, monkeys, orangutans, tapirs, rhinoceroses, tigers, lions and many others. Most of all I liked the fact that the animals are not in cramped cages, as it often happens in our zoo, and in large, spacious enclosures, which, of course, protected from the observer, but the obstacle is not particularly noticeable. For each species the habitual landscape created. For example, for the lions made the rock on which they like to climb and bask in the sun.
Charlottesville – a small college town with a very rich history. It is situated to the north-west of Virginia Beach, surrounded by mountains. The town is small, it is home to just over 40,000 inhabitants. In Charlottesville born Thomas Jefferson, the third president of America, which is known for having adopted a declaration of independence in 1776, and founded the famous University of Virginia in Charlottesville.
We chose the hotel in the heart of the campus. The hotel is inexpensive, but very cozy. The room has everything you need student – a bed, a desk, iron and ironing board, refrigerator. Most of all I remember the view from the window right under our windows was a football field, where every day there were some student events – training, football matches, competitions, concerts and rehearsals of student girls with pom-pom cheerleader. All as shown in American films about students. Such location of the hotel allowed to feel part of the American student culture.
The University of Virginia is in the top 20 best universities in North America. Main Campus Institute (Rotunda) in the classical style, designed by Thomas Jefferson and is open to the public. Inside – a large circular room with a domed ceiling, it looks very gracefully.
Walking through the campus, we were able to see the room in which the students live. Two major university buildings located at a considerable distance from each other, are connected by a two-story corridor. This built-in the corridor and are student rooms. Each door hanging magnetic board where young people write letters to each other if the room the owners were not at home. In front of some doors were some pots and pans for cooking. Many doors have been opened, and you could see inside the room. The premises are very small, fit only 1-2 beds and desks in them. The students that I have seen in the rooms, have been busy studying. Someone was lying on a bed with a laptop, someone reading a book at the table. In practice, in all the rooms I was a mess – clothes, sports equipment, books and notebooks – all were lying in a heap. In some rooms we saw a ladder that led to the second floor.
Charlottesville is a very rich sport life. There are plenty of tennis courts, where you can play for free, volleyball, football pitches, dance, and dance classes. In the evening, after school, the majority of students come to the area for sports. In all the time we spent there, we have not seen a single person with beer or other alcoholic beverages. I think this is not only because of drinking alcohol on the street is prohibited, but also because there’s a different culture and students are much more interesting to play sports or participate in the Institute’s social life than to drink alcohol after steam.
The central street in Charlottesville called Downtown mall (Dountaun mall). This is a historic center of the city, which is a pedestrian street with hundreds of small shops, souvenir shops and restaurants. At the beginning of the street is the ice arena, where there are games well-known American ice hockey teams. In winter, in the middle of the mall’s skating-rink, where everyone can enjoy. We were on the street just on 11 September. Coming closer to the center of the street, our attention was attracted by standing right in the center of the fire engines. Moving to the end of the street, the number of cars has increased – there were ambulances and emergency services, intensive care, emergency services, police. We thought that something had happened. Reaching the end of the street, it was finally understood what was going on. In the back of the final steel beam lying machine on which it was written that it is a beam from one of the tragically struck the twin buildings. We are standing around in the form of police, and a little further, on the open stage to sing the chorus, in memory of the victims of that fateful day. It looked majestic and sad at the same time.
Another outstanding attraction of Charlottesville – Monticello is a mansion. This is the house where Thomas Jefferson spent more than 50 years of his life. Manor is based on his own design, which he has repeatedly changed and reconstructed. On the ground floor there is a hidden behind the fireplace lift that goes down to the wine cellar. The estate is interesting not only design but also the materials from which it is made. For example, for his bricks brought from England, and other materials, including nails, Jefferson produced locally.
Monticello is located on the mountain, to the house you need to get on a streamer. Places climbs and descents are very steep, so if you do not know the way, it is better to go slowly and carefully. The road is very picturesque, in some areas much like the clouds trail along the road. Unfortunately, the very manor we were not able to drive as it was closed for renovation.
Near the house is a winery Monticello, on which you can take a tour and taste the best wines of Virginia.
Having been in Charlottesville, I wanted to become a student again and join this active, busy learning life.
Not far from Charlottesville, in the mountains, it is a winter ski resort Wintergreen . Since we were there out of season, in the autumn, when the snow is still there, the campers were very few, and the majority of cafes, restaurants and other entertainment venues were closed. But despite this, we had a great time and saw a beautiful, natural environment.
Wintergreen is divided into two parts. In the first, which is on the lower level of the mountain, concentrated all the hotels and most restaurants. The second part of the resort is a little higher, and it is closest to nature. Here you will find hiking trails, which descend from the top of the mountain to the foot. We have to go a very long time, so the shoes should be appropriate. Also there is and Preserve. Not far from the road, we found the observation deck, which offers stunning views of the mountains. I think it is not necessary to say that the air is simply amazing!
Not far from the road, we found the area tennis courts. Courts are levels 3-4 of the court at each level. Coming down from the mountain down and down, you will come across such platforms. All courts were available to play, but unfortunately, we did not know about it and do not have your racket. Cladding – now, as in professional courts.
Next to the tennis courts are area golf course. Here we saw a lot of playing. In general, Americans are very fond of this game. Golf course in the mountains look particularly beautiful. Near the sports grounds was a small restaurant. About him I would like to say a few words.
The restaurant is right on the mountain. Going into it, you first find yourself in a long corridor, which sells golf equipment. A little further on he begins the restaurant hall. We asked for a table on the street, and the waiter took us to the back terrace. It offers such an incredible view! Directly in front of our table is a tree with some berries, and the trees you can see the descent from the mountain. The feeling was that we were alone on this mountain. We ordered soup, salad, and cheesecake. Everything was very tasty, and the prices have surprised its cheapness.
After a day in nature, we are pleased and a little tired, went down to his car, and found her about a strange animal. It was large enough and we totally not afraid, so I managed to even take pictures. This was a wonderful end of this wonderful day.
Las Vegas – a place that you want to return. Everyone who comes to Vegas, here pursuing their goals and interests, but, probably, the majority of people come here, after all, have fun in the hope. For good reason second name of Las Vegas – Sin City. Here are pouring alcohol River, almost every hotel has its own erotic show on the main street, Las Vegas, at every step of the Mexicans handed out leaflets advertising contacts and girls of easy virtue. But, nevertheless, there is a place for a family vacation or a romantic weekend with a loved one. Everybody can find what he wants to find.
In Las Vegas, we arrived early in the morning, but, despite this, the street was already about 40 degrees and the slightest breeze. At the bus stop near the airport bus stop, which drove the free everyone in the garage, where you can rent a car. By the way, the car is better to book in advance. Firstly, you do not have to stand in line, and you can go directly to his car, after showing the employee number of the reservation. And secondly, on-line booking will cost several times cheaper. Generally, a car hire in America costs much cheaper than in Europe. If Europe car rental prices start from 90-100 euros / day, here we have a brand new Ford Focus for $ 25 / night.
With the machine in Las Vegas for a vacation much easier. And it will be possible to see a lot more from the heat and have a place to hide. Each hotel has attached multi-storey parking lot where you can park the car yourself for free. If you do not want to drive around on the floors in search of parking space, you can leave your car in Diamonds (usually, this is the first floor of the garage) and her poultice for you. Then only need to be said at the reception, by what time you adjust the machine. In this case, it will have to give a tip to the person who will drive it.
This time we stayed in hotels in Venice. Driving up to the hotel, there is a feeling that, indeed, you are in Venice. Two towers hotels interconnected marble bridge under which is a channel network with clear water, merging into one large channel. The canals gondolas, gondoliers run. Gondoliers, riding tourists sing very beautiful operatic voices serenades. Here you can see the bell tower and the famous Campanile and the Doge’s Palace in Venice.
Another channel system located inside the hotel, over the casino hall. Outwardly, everything here looks like the famous Piazza San Marco – columns, shops, restaurants, lampposts, antique clock, roadway, paved with special brick. Most of all I was struck by the sky – clear, blue with light clouds. I realized that it is drawn only when the thought about how this can be done indoors.
All the corridors and rooms of the hotel are designed in a single, Italian-style. Ceilings and floors are made of marble, on walls and ceilings – famous paintings. Even the chandeliers and lamps thought out to the smallest detail! Numerous boutiques sell masks, wigs times Casanova costumes. You can find products made from Murano glass. Of course, it is worth it all quite expensive.
Venice hotel is famous for its show the Phantom of The Opera of (Phantom of the Opera), one of the most expensive show in the world. At its creation it has been spent 40 million dollars. The show takes place in a theater built specifically for the opera. The interior design of the theater is organized in accordance with the latest technical developments, the scenery change for a few seconds and the audience instantly transferred to the magical world of the Paris Opera of the 19th century.
When we entered the room, I immediately noticed the chandelier, which, as we thought, hanging too low over the heads of the audience. We thought it was such a highlight of the interior. The action begins with the fact that an auction, which sold the remaining copies of the theater in the old theater. At center stage is an object, closed the old cloth. At a time when the auctioneer says the word – “And now, our last lot – broken chandelier that had something to do with the mysterious history of the Phantom of the Opera …”, with the object on the stage is reset and the fabric part of the chandelier is underneath. At that same moment chandelier with speed and is carried away from the scene pulled to the side of chandeliers, which hangs in the auditorium. On the other end of the hall go another 2 parts of the chandelier, and the whole chandelier is assembled from four pieces directly over the heads of spectators. At the same time, with the right and left walls of the auditorium down the curtains, under which is the set of artificial boxes with them sitting in the audience – dolls, mannequins. All this is accompanied by the famous theme song from the opera Music of the night.
From this thrilling action even chills run through the skin. And the whole opera takes place in the same spirit. Personally, I had a sense of interactivity and involvement in the process of what is happening: the actors play not only on stage, they now and then there is the side of the viewer, then suddenly appeared in the artificial bed among mannequins and once Phantom of the Opera suddenly hung on the chandelier above the audience. In general, a chandelier in this production is a symbol of work. Action returns periodically to her, so the audience sitting directly beneath it, were in constant tension.
For me, this show turned out to be the most memorable event in Las Vegas. In this city it is worth visiting just to listen and see the Opera House. Tickets cost about 200 dollars, but it’s worth it!
Night in Las Vegas, all come to life on the streets there are hundreds of tourists, every hotel starts its own mini-show. This choreography singing fountains at the Bellagio Hotel, Music show with a waterfall at the Wynn hotel, the ship’s seizure of the hotel “Treasure Island”, a volcanic eruption at the hotel “Mirage” and many other interesting things happen in this fantastic city. For example, walking past the hotel “Planet Hollywood”, I am face to face with the hero of Johny Depp from the movie “Pirates of the Caribbean.” After going a little further, I saw a man in the crowd of passers-by in a hat and with a tape recorder in hand. Looking closer, I realized it was Michael Jackson (actor portraying him). Seeing that people began to pay attention to him, he put a tape recorder at a traffic light, and began to dance and sing softly, photographed with a willing and gave a few autographs. As soon as the traffic light turned green, he took his tape recorder and went on … Here you can meet girls in short shorts, with ears bunny playboy, Marilyn Monroe, Elvis Presley and many other interesting characters.
Interestingly, the main street of Las Vegas – Boulevard or as it is called, Strip length not more than 7 kilometers. It should pull in a few meters on and around will only desert, sparse vegetation and a small, but very prominent, reddish mountains. Residential areas are the same as in the rest of America – one-storey buildings, shops, cafes, fast food outlets, banks, gas stations … It’s hard to imagine that not far from here is the whole empire of entertainment, burning billions of lights and everywhere you hear the sound of coins .
Concluding his story about America, I would say that in this country it is impossible not to fall in love. Of course, there are many opinions on this subject, someone likes it, someone hates someone refers to America exactly, but someone wants to live there. But in order to understand America and imbued with its culture, you just need to go there.