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2007, Williamsburg – U. S. A.
There is a little place in the world I called home for 4 months.
I was in my second year of college, the summer was coming and felt the need to go out there and do something different. So the idea of signing up for a Work and Travel USA program in Williamsburg seemed just what I wanted.
The whole experience was a life-changer, but this is not the subject of this story. 🙂
However, I can say a whole new life starts in Virginia. Go back in time only 400 years, and you will meet the native Powhatan tribes and the first 100 English colonists sent by the London Company to build the New World!
So, if you ever find yourself traveling on the eastern coast of USA, look out for Williamsburg, Virginia. So much to explore in one place!
When we finally got to the place called Colonial Williamsburg one day, there was something very strange about it: imagine a whole different city with dozens of restored and re-created buildings, thousands of people dressed-up in costumes, working and talking like in the colonial times.
It was the first outdoor living history museum I have seen. You can imagine we felt like traveling back in time, to the 18th century!
Wait, there’s more. A little adrenaline rush might spice things up!
Go find Busch Gardens Williamsburg, one of the best themed parks I have ever experienced. And it’s been 9 years since.
More than 150 ha of entertainment, a combination of roller coasters and Broadway-like shows: this is the summary of a 2 days/24-hours fun marathon for us.
I remember those days like yesterday.
As we walk into the park, the giant monsters rise from everywhere. So we ride them one by one: Alpengeist, Apollo’s Chariot, Escape from Pompeii, Loch Ness Monster, Roman Rapids, trying to get ready for the ultimate experience (we were told there was one that makes your heart stop!).
On top of that, we are making our way through unexpected roaming creatures, haunted houses and screams: it looks like they are already getting ready for Halloween.
We are finally standing in line for the 90-degree, 75-mph free fall Griffon, and hear the excitement (panic?) from above. Are we really doing this??
We have to!
In a few minutes we are almost on top of the world: it suddenly turns and we are standing there, suspended in the air, petrified, looking at the ground from a 90-degree angle…1…2…3…4…5…we are going down at full speed, zero-gravity effect. Inversion again, another drop, water splash!
The whole park experience was a blast. Ok, everybody, day off tomorrow.
Believe it or not
On some other day, we went to Ripley’s Believe It or Not museum. What’s inside? Well, pretty much every weird thing you can imagine: a piece of Berlin Wall, shrunken heads, robot sculptures made of car parts and toys, hair lock of George Washington, african human skin masks, a mummified falcon, human teeth collection, dinosaur eggs, and a whole lot more oddities, fun facts and interactive games. Great place to feel like a kid again.
Virginia Beach is just 1.5 hours drive, you cannot miss the Atlantic view. Take a bath in the ocean and relax.
There are plenty of outlet malls in Williamsburg or Newport News, do not worry. I still remember that 1-per-week bus ride to the outlet. After a while, the driver didn’t even ask where to drop you off, it was obvious.
Yankee Candle and Hallmark stores are lovely, especially right before Halloween.
Another one I remember is the all year-round Christmas shop founded in 1985, Christmas Mouse: summer outside, winter fairytale inside.
Our journey here comes to an end. A final stop to New York, and the summer is gone.
We say goodbye to each other having mixed feelings, not knowing what was real and what not. You leave as one person, and you come back a totally different one.
But one thing you learn is that friendships have nothing to do with age, gender, race, language barrier. Some bonds are born out of nowhere in the most unexpected places, and that’s the best part of the story.
Happy travels and stay safe!