Vanessa | TRAVELING THE US

written by Au Pair in America August 8, 2018

Don‘t know how my au pair is coming to and end already, but it‘s crazy to say that I’ve entered my last month as an Au Pair in America! Being in the states for more than 11 months now sounds so unreal and long. But at the same time I feel like I left Germany just last week. Anyway, this month has been super busy since my host kids are already on summer break. But now that I think back, I realize how much traveling I did this past month!

The Niagara Falls – the Canadian edition!

PART I: NIAGARA FALLS

We kicked our travel spree off with a trip to Canada, to be more specific, the Niagara Falls. You might remember that I took a college class back in February. And as part of that, we went on a trip to the Niagara Falls. We left early Friday morning in D.C. as we had a bit of a bus drive ahead of us. By „a bit“, I mean 10 hours. Well, I was not too excited about the bus drive, as you can imagine. It became really uncomfortable after some time but I tried to look forward to our final destination. We had a couple of stops to eat and stretch out and finally (again, after 10 hours), we made it to the Canadian border.

If you are taking this travel class you can choose whether you want to stay on the American or Canadian side of the falls. In my case, I chose the Canadian side. It took us forever to go through border security! But once everyone had made it through, we headed towards our hotel. On the way there, we had a view of the Niagara Falls already. The first thing that came to my mind was: „Wow, they look tiny. I thought they were bigger“. At this point I did not know that in a few hours’ time, I would change my mind real quick…

Driving through Ontario, it just reminded me of one giant fair with roller coasters, cotton candy and ice-cream stores. Once we arrived at our hotel, we realized how close we were to the falls with only a 5 minute walk to basically anywhere we wanted to go. Later that night, we walked to one of the observation decks with an amazing view over the falls. Afterwards we went out for dinner at a really nice restaurant. And to be honest: This was the first time in months that we felt like grown-ups again, because we were allowed to order alcohol under the age of 21. It was just a glass of wine, but it made our 20 year old souls very happy. After dinner we headed back to the observation point because they illuminate the falls in beautiful colors at night and finish it up with a firework show.

Niagara Falls illumination & Fireworks!

For the next morning, we had tickets for the so called „Maid of the Mist“ –  a boat ride right by the Niagara falls. That was when silly me came to the realization that the falls ARE humongous and amazingly powerful and not as tiny as I had previously thought. Let me tell you, you should definitely not underestimate the power of these falls. We also had tickets for the „Cave of the Winds“, where you get the chance to walk right underneath the falls. And believe me, you will get wet. After our busy morning/afternoon we headed back to our hotel to rest for a little while before we went out for the rest of the night. After taking care of kids all the time, it did feel good to go out again and be young. And the on Sunday morning we had an early start again, because we were heading back to D.C. – which meant another fun 10 hours drive.

I can definitely recommend taking a travel class. Not only will you get your credits but have the chance to travel somewhere new, and we sure had a lot of fun!

Remember when I said that the falls weren’t as big as I imagined them to be? Well…

PART II: NANTUCKET

The following week, my host family was kind enough to take me to Nantucket with them for a short weekend trip. I have never really heard of that island before, but it was so beautiful and charming. it really did exceed all of my expectations. We stayed at a cute little beach house and mainly explored the island. I took beach walks and walked into town for a stroll along all the cute stores. It felt so relaxing with nothing but the sound of the beach waves and birds in the distance. I also have to admit that I had more ice cream in those four days than I’ve had over the last 11 months – but I don‘t feel guilty at all!

Every time I travel with my host family I get the feeling of „ being home“. I can’t stress enough how grateful I can be to have found a second family away from home. Oh and lucky me got a sunburn for free!

Beautiful Nantucket!

PART III: DEWEY BEACH, DELAWARE

The next week was full of more summer break madness. But on Friday night my friends and I spontaneously decided to drive to the beach the next morning. Once our friend picked us up early in the morning, we headed to Dewey Beach in Delaware. We did nothing but tanning and sunburning ourselves but after a long week of au pairing. It felt good to relax and forget about everything else for a while. I still think we are so lucky to be able to be at the beach within a few hours.

Sometimes, all you need is a day at the beach!

PART IV: NEW ORLEANS

One week later my friend Franzi and I flew to New Orleans over the weekend. We flew in Friday night and had all of Saturday to explore the city. The first thing we did was heading into the French Quarter to have breakfast at the famous “Cafè du Monde”. They are famous for their super delicious Beneigts, which is why that’s basically the only thing they have on the menu. So it should not be too hard to decide what to eat.

New Orleans’ infamous Beignets – what else could you ask for?

Then we explored Jackson Square and the St. Louis Cathedral before we headed towards Canal Street. You will see lots of cable cars on that street, surrounded by lots of palm trees. We were walking down the street until we made it to the Mississippi, where we walked along the boardwalk. At this point we were melting, because it was so hot. For lunch we went to a little restaurant, which we only chose because they were streaming the Soccer World Cup on a big screen. Since we’re from Germany, we obviously did not want to miss the game… even while traveling. If you are wondering, Germany won that game, so that definitely brightened our mood!

Welcome to New Orleans 🙂

We decided to book tickets for a boats tour on the Mississippi river. That was the best decision we could have made, even though the tickets were a bit expensive. Not only did we get to ride over the famous river, but we also got to enjoy a breathtaking sunset and an amazing view over the city. That was the perfect way to finish our day and our trip.

Mississippi sunsets are the best sunsets.

I‘m so glad I had the opportunity to explore and travel so much this month. What a perfect way to spend my last weeks in the States! And to all the au pairs out there whose kids are still on summer break… Hang in there, we are all in this together!

The French Quarter is always a good shout when you’re in New Orleans!

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