Vacation

2019 Washington DC Trip

I got to join Jess for a trip to DC for a long weekend. She has a tradition of taking a Friday off every year and visiting a museum with Farley and this year we visited the Museum of Natural History and saw the exhibits for fossils and diamonds.

In the afternoon we visited the National Gallery of art and focused on the 17-18 century Italian, 18-19th century French tour, Dutch and Flemish galleries and 17th centuries sculptures.  Jess had some pieces that she had read about so we all played scavenger hunt to find them.

We tied to go to Jazz in the garden, but a few minutes after it started a thundercloud rolled south of us and so the event was cancelled.  Nevertheless we improvised and ended up having dinner on the roof at Neil’s. We followed that by an improv comedy show that Celeste was in.

Saturday was brunch, shopping in Mount Vernon, lunch and going to Neil and Sonya’s engagement party.  And Sunday Jess and I went running around the tidal basin and visited a market and a bookstore before making our way home.

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2019 Sacramento

The second leg of our trip took us to Sacramento to visit my sister and her husband to meet my new nephew. Monday afternoon we arrived in Sacramento and intended on checking out the art museum there only to realize it wasn’t open on Mondays.  We explored old town Sacramento before meeting up with Cheryl, Dean and Calvin to visit a neighborhood sports bar to watch UVA win the NCAA Basketball Championship.

Tuesday we all piled in the car and headed towards Sonoma and dropped Calvin off at his grandparents house for the day. Calvin’s grandfather was a sailor and has a huge train layout in his basement that was fascinating.  Our next stop was Iron Horse Vineyards for a sparkling wine tasting.

We got lunch in Boone and then went to Porter-Bass winery for another tasting and met back up with Calvin. Next we drove out to the coast to see the ocean and walk on the beach which was made a bit treacherous with the high winds blowing the sand around. It was still pretty.

Wednesday we took the dog hiking in the Auburn State Recreation area. We hiked about 6 miles around the North Fork American River across the No Hands Bridge and under the Foresthill Bridge – one of the highest bridges in the country.  The views were amazing and the trails were very nice. The whole park was just under an hour away from Sacramento and an easy drive.

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2019 Dallas

Jess and I returned to Dallas for a long weekend of seeing friends, revisiting favorite places and attending a wedding. We started out by visiting her old neighborhood and a taco joint we both loved to frequent. We did some shopping and got dinner with Sydni, Andrew and Doug.

Friday, we met max for lunch, visited Deep Ellum for an art festival, rode our first electric scooters, and went for an evening sail on White Rock Lake with with Tim & Griffin. Friday night was dinner in the Greenville neighborhood.

Saturday we slept in and relaxed before heading to Grapevine to check into our hotel – the Gaylord Texan which was nearby the wedding. The wedding of Ashley and Zach was held in a beautiful winery event space and we got to meet many more of Ashley & Zach’s family and friends as we celebrated. We also kept our eye on the score of the UVA/Auburn basketball game and stopped looking after the 3 pointer at the buzzer was missed only to find out later there was a foul that led to 3 foul shots to win.

Sunday we visited the Dallas Art Museum and went for dinner at another favorite Mexican restaurant with Andrew before checking into our airport hotel for the night.

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2019 Cancun

In the middle of winter Jess and I got to escape the cold weather for a thaw out trip to Cancun Mexico. We stayed at the Grand Palladium in the Rivera Maya about 1h 15m south of Cancun in their all-inclusive adults-only TRS Yucatan property.  It is a gorgeous property with some good restaurants, cool pools and an expansive beach.  Over the course of 5 days and 4 nights we spent time all over the resort. We especially liked the Bali beds at the far end of the beach where it was nice and quiet.

Our room was a bungalow on the lagoon with a patio, canoe and an outdoor shower that was nice except the night it rained.

On our last full day there we visited the spa and all of the gardens, pools and hydrotherapy areas. We wished we had discovered this sooner and spent more time there.

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2018 OBX

We had the most amazing week at the beach with Jess and her parents.  Beautiful weather all week and only a few storms that skirted by or hit in the evening when we were already off the  beach. We had a lot of fun with Flow the Flamingo in the Pool, walking on the large newly replenished beaches, going for runs, cooking hot dogs, eating outside, golfing, and otherwise relaxing and hanging out.

#OBX #kittyhawk #kittyhawkpier #beach

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Courtney & Preston’s Wedding

Jess and I got to enjoy a weekend in the Outer Banks spending time with my ECU friends and getting to celebrate the wedding of Courtney and Preston.

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2018 VCU EMSIS International Trip: Saturday

Our final day of the trip was set up to be a long one. We checked out of the hotel and headed to a donkey farm and went for rides.

Next we stopped in the town of Lefkara to admire the old architecture, a few old churches and to have lunch.

Our next stop was Fig Tree Bay for some time on the beach to relax.

Some folks swam while others chilled on the beach and some folks from our group went paragliding. The day continued with a stop at a sculpture garden.

We stopped for dinner and then hit a beach club in Larnaca to hang out before our flight that boarded around 3am.

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2018 VCU EMSIS International Trip: Friday

We started today in Cyprus with a visit to the University of Cyprus. We heard about the University’s founding as the first university in Cyprus in 1989 and it’s path to becoming an institution of over 6,000 students today. We got to hear leaders of the computer science department tell us about some interesting and innovative programs and their new innovation center was especially compelling. We also got to eat in a dining hall for what was my first time in over a decade – it was like any other dining hall food.

From there we went to the old town to meet with an Architect entrepreneur and to hear about his experience running a small business in Cyprus and the challenges and opportunities faced.

The rest of the evening was spent hanging around the hotel, working out, running and having dinner and then packing to leave in the morning.

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2018 VCU EMSIS International Trip: Thursday

This was our travel day from Athens to Cyprus and it started out with a slightly delayed flight that was otherwise uneventful. After arriving in Cyprus we drove into the old town of Larnaca where we had lunch. It was 5 or 6 courses of small and very tasty family-style dishes that we spent a couple hours on.

Due to the late flight our tour of Larnaca was cut short due to some places that closed in the mid-afternoon so we went to a church and then to the beach and walked around a bit.

From there we took the 30 minute drive to Nocosia where we would be staying the next two nights.The town is the capital of Cyprus and sits right on the line where the island is divided between the southern republic of Cyprus and the Turkish Republic of Northern Cyprus. That evening some folks hung out at the hotel pool and bar while I went with Vengat and Chris down to the Pivo Microbrewery in the old town for some beer and food. We got to walk around and see the dividing line as well as the shops in the old town.

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2018 VCU EMSIS International Trip: Wednesday

Wednesday was our day to visit University of Piraeus Department of Digital Systems.  After sleeping in an extra hour we went to the University and saw one of their computer labs while having a discussion with the professor we had done a project with over the past couple months and was presented at one of the companies earlier in the week.

We had lunch at a sea-side restaurant that required the bus driver to navigate some extremely tight streets to get to.

The rest of the afternoon was spent relaxing and doing some souvenir shopping.

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