Day 1: The American Leg

After a late night of meeting and visiting with my new nephew (who is now an entire week old), I was oddly wide awake at 6:30 AM, excited to hit the road.  Desirée and I had packed effectively (kind of) and had all our documents in order.  We caught an Uber (shoutout to AAA for the $10 off coupon code) and reached downtown Durham with ease.  A certain someone who shall remain nameless volunteered me to walk a mile and back to Rise to get us some biscuits for breakfast but it was worth the trek.  By the time I returned, the Megabus was a few minutes from pulling up.  My father-in-law, who was already out and about, decided to surprise us by showing up and seeing us off.

The 5-hour ride up was relaxing to begin with. We ate our biscuits and proceeded to fall asleep, with her sleeping straight through and me waking up from time to time to write in my journal and make sure our devices were charging properly.  But, around the 4th hour, things began to get shakey.  The bus literally stopped moving in the center lane of I95.  The driver got it started back up again and pulled to the side of the road.  The transmission was acting up.  We were back moving after 10 minutes.  Unfortunately, 10 minutes later, we were forced to spend some more time with the shoulder.  This time, the tire had overheated.  This break took 15 minutes.  Then it was smooth sailing and we reached D.C. safely.

We reached Union Station and ran into an ATM that we needed. I have a bank account with a certain financial institution that does business in America and Europe and, in hopes of avoiding some currency exchange fees, Desirée and I pulled cash out of our joint account to put into my international bank.  Problem is my account was compromised at some point in the recent past and I was unaware that my card had been shut down because of an internal error (this of course is an account I just hold onto for traveling purposes and isn’t a primary).  Long story short, our plan of circumventing the fees may not work unless I can walk into a European branch with my NC license and convert dollars to Euros for little to no cost.  And yes, we have other methods of payment but, as you all know, cash is king.  Small roadblock but not an insurmountable one.

After figuring out the situation with the money, we got a bite to eat in the station’s food court and proceeded to head to Baltimore via MARC and Maryland Light Rail.  We checked into our Airbnb in Mt. Vernon (one of the city’s many boroughs) around 6:00 PM.  The apartment is pretty cool.  Cozy 1 bedroom, 1 bathroom apartment with all of the necessities.  The only downside is we are a 2 mile walk to the Harbor.  I would have rather been right on the water.  Irregardless, we walked to the Harbor, took a few photos, and walked another mile to this eatery called Thame’s Street Oyster House but the 2-hour wait was not the business so we slid down the block to Kooper’s Tavern.  I was in the mood for seafood since I was 50 yards from a pier and figured that no respectable establishment that close to water could be around since 1897 without good fish.  I was right.  My salmon BLT was spot on, as were her fish tacos.  After we finished, we took a quick Uber ride to our apartment for the night, showered, and were knocked out.
Make sure to follow the hashtag #12Days1Duffle on social media to see our pictures as we move around Europe.

Make exploration a priority.


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