Thursday, July 25, 2013

Jana and Ana are in the USA :)

So this weekend (and week) has been a very much awaited week.  One of my cousins that I am closest to was finally making the trip to the USA after promising me to do so for soooo many years!  She brought her roommate Ana along with her who I had met before so I was incredibly excited to see them! They had asked to see Charleston and Savannah, so it was the perfect opportunity for the family to take a mini vacation :)  Since the drive to Charleston from Atlanta is the same if you go directly there or through Greenville, I decided to hit the road after Joe and my date night Friday night and drive up to Greenville so that I would have company on the remainder of the drive.

Bright and early Saturday morning we hit the road and headed to Charleston, SC!  We got there right around 11 AM so we instantly hit the beach (Folly Beach).  It was super exciting to take Jana and Ana to Folly because they had never been to a natural sand beach.  Anyone that has been to a European beach knows that where Slovenia is, there are only rock beaches.  They have some sand beaches but they are all imported sand.  I have to say that I think they loved it!  Although it rained at the beginning of our beach day, it cleared up about 30 minutes into it and we enjoyed a couple hours on the beach.  After getting enough sun, salt, and sand, we headed to downtown Charleston to eat lunch.  We went to our standard lunch place, A.W. Shucks, to enjoy some wonderful seafood!  I had a mahi-mahi salad and some She Crab Soup while everyone else enjoyed other seafood meals!  After lunch we were all so full so it was time to walk off our meal.  We walked through the marked, down Rainbow Row, to the battery, on the pier, and explored all of Charleston.  After we were worn out we got in the car and drove over the Cooper River Bridge before heading back to the hotel.  After a solid 2 hour nap it was time to go out!!!!

Family Photo

Rainbow Row

 It was incredibly crazy that Andy and Meredith as well as Lauren were in Charleston at the same time we were.  Since Jana and Ana won't be going out too much while in the US we decided this was the perfect time to try to meet up with them.  We met up with Andy and Meredith at Wet Willies where they enjoyed slushy drinks that are very "American" and then we headed to a rooftop bar that was super awesome!  You looked out on the Cooper River Bridge and the bar had a pool, DJ, dance floor, and obviously drinks!  After shutting down the bar and hanging out outside of the bar, it was finally time to head home.  As a side note, I cannot wait until the day that Meredith moves to the good old ATL.  But for now, I can't wait to see her next weekend for the 3rd weekend in a row!!!
Wet Willies Slushies!!!

Roof Top Bar
All the Girls!!!!!

Sunday started with the family going to church at a small super cute church in Charleston.  After church we checked out of the hotel and headed to the beach to eat a breakfast picnic (well more Brunch).  After breakfast we relaxed on the beach before getting scared off by rain!  Luckily, we decided to wait it out in the car because the rain only lasted 5 minutes.  After the rain ended we took a long walk on the beach before heading to lunch.  Lunch today was at Rita's Seafood Restaurant.  They had great reviews and even at 2 they were super crowded.  After waiting a bit (and the girls going shopping at the surf shops) we sat down to eat.  I had some shrimp quesadillas and a salad that were all super tasty.  Once again, I ate way too much so I walked back to where my family was hitting the beach again for a bit.  After another hour or so on the beach we hit the road for Savannah.  Since we had a huge late lunch, we opted out of dinner once we we got to Savannah and went for desert.  We went to Leopold's Ice Cream which had rave reviews and we all had amazing ice cream.  I must say I am not a banana flavor fan but Jana got banana and it was super yummy!  I got peanut butter chocolate chip which was one of the most amazing ice creams I have had and we are definitely going back tomorrow :)  After that, we headed back to the hotel where they were super awesome and upgraded us to a suite because Jana and Ana had to get the best experience of their lives while in America (or so the front desk lady said) and we relaxed for the rest of the evening.

Monday was our day to spend in Savannah .  I had only been there once before and I didn't know much about the city but I was up for the challenge.  We woke up and got a workout in and then had breakfast before heading out to explore.  Savannah is just such a beautiful city that I could seriously walk around and look at the beautiful trees and buildings all day.  We saw a lot of the landmarks in Savannah that morning then it was lunch time.  We ate at Bernies River Street which was a suggestion made by Joe.  We had oysters, crab cakes, shrimp salads, and hush puppies and they were all amazing! I would definitely want to go back and eat there next time I was in Savannah.  After that we walked down the Savannah River and did some shopping.  I bought Joe some fudge from the chocolate factory since that was the first gift I ever brought him when we started dating :)  Then it was time for ice cream one more time before heading back to Atlanta!  Although I tried a couple of different flavors, I was stuck on the peanutbutter chippy flavor and got that again.  We had perfect timing getting back to the car because it started raining the second we got in the car!
Ice Cream!  So good there is a line out the door :)

Love the Spanish Moss!
 Once we got back to Atlanta, Jana and Ana had made some suggestions for "American Deserts" that they wanted to try.  I will post the recipes later, but we ended up making amazing Apple Pie and Cookies and Cream Rice Crispies which are quite possibly the easiest desert you will ever make in your life!  After that we headed to Joe's parents house to sleep since the AC was broken once again in our house.  After the drive to Joe's parents house it was time to try on my wedding dress for my cousin (it still fit!!!) and I fell in love with the dress all over again :)  After that, it was time to go to bed because we had a crazy day ahead of us!

Today was going to be the most touristy day for us.  I know Atlanta fairly well so it was much easier playing tour guide in Atlanta than Savannah.  We woke up and headed to Biscuits and More for some Bacon Egg and Cheese biscuits and cheese grits so they got a taste of what real southern breakfasts were like!  From there it was time to head into the city.  Our first stop was the coke museum where we explored all of the rooms and learned about the history of Coke.  At the end they have a tasting room where you can try 60+ different cokes from around the world.  I am not a big soda person but I tried a couple which were actually pretty good!!!  After getting our fill of sugar, it was time for our next stop!

World of Coke!

The next stop was the Georgia Aquarium since it is such a monumental piece of Atlanta.  As anyone knows that has already been, the aquarium is huge.  We had a reservation to watch the Dolphin Tails about 2 and a half hours after we got there so it was perfect time to explore all of the displays.  I had been to the aquarium before but when I last went the penguins weren't on display so that is what I was most excited about!  We even got some time to get gifts from the gift shop before the dolphin show.  The dolphin show was new to me and I had never seen it and it is an amazing show!  It makes me want to swim with dolphins even more (someday)! After the show it was time to head to our next destination!

After the dolphin show we walked around Olympic park and saw the Olympic ring water fountain.  From there we walked to the Hard Rock Cafe so that Ana could buy a Hard Rock shirt!  After that, it was time to leave the downtown area and take them to lunch.

Lunch, of course was at the Varsity which is an Atlanta must weather you like fast food or not.  After lunch we explored Tech's campus a bit.  They saw all of the athletic facilities since that was such a huge part of my life and loved seeing the pool! They were very impressed with the campus and loved the layout and all of the buildings!

Sac Field is gone :(

After that it was time to show them my new future home.  We went by our new town house so they could see where Joe and I would be moving before heading home.  Once we got home it was dinner time (and we hate the whole tray of rice crispies) and then we relaxed for the rest of the evening since we had been up and at it since early in the morning!

Today was the last day that I had to spend with Jana and Ana.  We woke up in the morning and made chocolate chip waffles (another very American thing) before heading to Stone Mountain to hike.  It was overcast so you couldn't see the amazing view but you could still see the Atlanta skyline!  After the hike we went home and made peach pie (we finished the apple pie the day before) with peaches that they picked earlier that week with my parents and had lunch!  After lunch it was time to go shopping!!!!  We headed up to the outlets and went shopping which was obviously super fun and I always spend way too much money.  My parents met me at the outlets to pick them up and take them back up to Greenville.  It was so sad seeing them go because we had such a good time, but they have so much more to see in the US before heading back in about a week!
Stone Mountain!

I am incredibly blessed to be so close with Jana even though she lives so far away!  We have been lucky to see each other about once a year and I hope to continue that as we grow older.  That wraps up their trip, so now it is time to get back to work :)

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