USA: Chicago

Hello there! Just two days ago, I came back from a 17 day trip/holiday vacation from the USA. It was one of the most exciting trips of our family as we spent Christmas and New Year’s away from home. This travel blog will be divided in 8 posts, where one blog is posted per week. I do hope you’ll enjoy another #LesVoyagesdeNica series!

Let us start then with our trip to Chicago, Illinois.

Chicago nights. #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA #Illinois

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

We arrived in Chicago past 4:30pm from Shanghai Pudong via United Airlines. It was dark when we got out of the airport and traveled from O’Hare International Airport to Downtown through their Metro train. The station we got down was Washington station and it was quite a long ride, to tell you everyone was exhausted was an understatement. Kudos to my brother and dad for carrying all our seven luggages! Traveling through Chicago’s subway was a breeze in comparison with our experience in New York, or just maybe because we have already been to NYC that it made the process easier. Anyhoots, our hotel was located just across a mall that is connected to two subway lines which is a big plus for us. Not to mention, the number of food chains and grocery stores near it.

26229904_10208663168417045_7696463415632717234_n

We stayed at the Cambria Hotel at 33 W. Randolph Street, which I will be blogging about separately. For that first night, we roamed around and bought our first Chicago dinner aka McDonalds! LOL. Our initial plan was to stay from December 20 to the 23rd in Chicago, however we decided to stay only up to the 22nd so that we can spend more time with our relatives in Alabama.

The following day we headed to the Greyhound Bus station (I’ll be posting another separate blog about this) which is near the blue line of Clinton Station, if you took the subway. We purchased our tickets and off we went to a day’s adventure in Chicago.

Chill. #Illinois #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Our first stop was the Chicago Cultural Center. We got to enjoy the arts and architectures featured in the museum. We were wary at first in entering, thinking that there was an entrance fee, thank goodness, there wasn’t.

 

After the museum and a few minutes of walking we reached the famous Millennium Park to see The Bean. I was particularly excited to see this as it was commonly featured on Instagram posts.

The Bean was filled with tourists and it seemed impossible to take a solo picture. I did have to improvise. After a few shots, we crossed the bridge heading to the Art Institute of Chicago, which sadly we weren’t able to see much as it did require payment. We instead opted to checkout their gift shop.

After that afternoon walking, my grandparents decided to stay at the hotel due to the freezing weather. We again had our lunch, courtesy of McDonald’s of course. Haha! Then headed off to see the Moody Bible Institute. We took the Red line in Lake Station and went down to Clark/Division. We got a bit lost as to where we’re supposed to head out of the station. There were four exits and thank goodness for offline maps!

To enroll or not to enroll? 😂😅😁 #Illinois #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

It was also a good thing that despite the holiday break, we were able to tour around their D.L. Moody museum and shop on their book store as well.

It was wonderful to see in real life the fruits of Moody’s works. After reading countless of his biographies and studying about his life on our subject, Lives of Great Christians, it was a wonderful blessing to see how God has used one man to touch so many lives for His glory.

Right after our Moody tour, we headed to the Loop and rode another train going to see the Willis Tower (formerly Sears). They do have a paid entrance fee, so I would suggest that you bring your ID as they would ask for it.

This was another check on my bucket list. I actually thought there was one whole floor of glass, which I was stand corrected by.

#Illinois #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Bucket list ✔️ #Illinois #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

The lines for having this photo is quite a long one. But I had to remind myself to be patient for the picture perfect IG shot! It was worth the wait. By the time we exited the building, my dad wanted one last tour (seeing that we cut short our trip) going to the Navy Pier. This time, we took the bus. It was either the 29 or number 2 bus.

We headed home quite late that day with aching feet and freezing hands. We also had to pack up our belongings for that long bus ride to Alabama. The following morning, my dad decided that since our bus leaves at 7:30pm and we should bring my grandparents to see the Navy Pier.

When you try to nail the dreamy look. #Illinois #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Navy Pier is a whole lot better during the day. You get to appreciate the view, albeit it was cold. We just took a few pictures and headed back to the hotel to check out and head over to the bus station. Overall, our stay in Chicago was quite short and I wish I had seen more and tasted more especially the famous deep-dish pizza. I hope to come back to this beautiful city and see more of it.

Btw, my dear cousin made this video of our trip to Chicago. Isn’t she a sweet thing? Love you Raicelle!

 

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

P.S. Next post would be about our “American” Christmas experience in Alabama. 

 

Advertisements

Thankful for 2017

Salut et bienvenue mes chers lecteurs! Today is my final blogpost for the year of 2017. Like the previous years, I always listed things I am grateful for this year. It has always been a good thing to list down your blessings. Also, I am writing this from Trussville, Alabama. This is my first time to celebrate New Year outside the country (I suppose that is my first thing to be thankful for). 🙌🏼😁

Let us get on with this list:

1. Final year in school

Yes, this year is my final year in Theology. Three years in Bible school has not only gain me wonderful experiences but good lifetime friends as well. I am truly grateful for my dad in pushing me to enroll and learn.

2. USA trip (Summer, Christmas & New Year)

Spending my first summer, Christmas and New Year in the US of A is a truly one of a kind experience. I get to see my aunt and her family after 5 years and so did my grandparents. We went to tourist sites and did all sorts of fun things.

3. Friends

Meeting new people and getting to form a bond with them is one of the greatest things about friendships. Some are meant to last, some come and some go. But amidst this, we enjoy the company of others whether they leave us or be with us. I personally and always say that I cherish friendships. I always strive to make maintain my friendship with other people. But of course not all are a happy ending. Still, this year has been good and has been filled with new friends that I hope would last me a lifetime.

4. God

Most of all these things, God. For all the blessings bestowed to all of us and how He has been faithful to me despite all my failures and mistakes.

2017 is definitely a colorful one. One that I will never forget. So many forged friendships happened and memorable events. Praying that 2018 will be a great year for us all.

Merci beaucoup et á bientot!

Three

Hey! The self-proclaimed “kween” is back and I am truly sorry for months of not updating my blog. I am truly busy and caught up with school and its activities. Yesterday, the half of the first part of our Comprehensive Exams just ended and I am exhausted and drained in all sorts. But, let us just keep pushing through, after in just a few months time (prayerfully) we get to march down in that black toga. 🙌🏼

Now, onto our agenda. It’s my blog’s THIRD ANNIVERSARY!!! I am so glad to be able to push this through despite the hectic schedules and what nots in my life. This year is full of ups and downs, but no complaining. I truly enjoyed every bit of it and although it seems like I am running out of topics to write about, something quite exciting is coming up due next year. 😁😁😁

I do hope you get to read that upcoming post. I also wanted to thank my readers for inspiring me to strive better in my writing and blogging. I promise to post more this coming year and hopefully (cross those fingers 🤞🏼) be able to give some give aways.

Before ending this short post, I just want to thank certain people for inspiring me and making my year all wonderful. To my parents, of course, for supporting my blogging hobby. To Sunny, my dear boyfriend who always has nice things to say in my every post. To my Theology friends, who made my schooling fun and fulfilling. Lastly, to my new friend Jash, I know you might be surprised you’re mentioned here but thank you for encouraging me in my writing 😘. It is truly heartwarming for a blogger like me to know that my posts are somewhat interesting.

Once again, thank you supporting and reading my posts! All constructive criticisms are welcomed and comments are much appreciated. I hope to see you all on my 4th anniversary as a blogger. Cheers!!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

Pasta al Pomodoro

Hello there! It’s September now and I can’t help but feel excited for “ber” months to come. It’s one of the most awaited months of the year, at least for me. But this post isn’t about “ber” months and such, I will be sharing a recipe I learned and made a few weeks ago. I do hope you would all enjoy!

As you all may have noticed, I have a great love for pasta recipes. So one day, my dad requested that I make a tomato-based pasta sauce from scratch. I honestly felt intimidated and thank goodness for Google and Youtube for making this girl’s life a lot easier. Lol. Here is how I did mine:

Pasta al Pomodoro

1/2-1 kg of tomato cut in quarters
1 whole carrot diced (optional)
1 whole white onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
2-5 cloves of garlic diced
500g spaghetti pasta
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Handful of fresh basil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

Blend your tomatoes on the food processor. You may opt to leave them chunkier depending on your taste. On a wok pan, or a any pot heat your oil and cook your garlic until golden. Do not burn your garlic. Then add the onions until translucent, add carrots and red bell pepper until cooked. Add the blended tomato and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. Season with salt and pepper. Turn off the heat and cover it slight with a lid.

On a separate pot, cook the pasta according to instructions. Drain and add the pasta sauce. Add the fresh basil until wilted. Garnish with parmesan cheese and enjoy!

Pasta al Pomodoro from scratch. Soon on nicacanwrite.wordpress.com

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

I am glad that my family enjoyed the meal and I think this would be my favorite from all the pasta recipes I made. I hope you also enjoy this recipe and you might want use the sauce for a ciabatta dip instead of the pasta. Here is the video where I followed the recipe and added some twist:

 

Give this a try and lemme know on the IG account! Love love love!

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

Squash-Basil Pasta

Hello! I’m back again and will be posting another food recipe I learned. The original recipe is none other from Liv B’s Youtube Channel. She’s a vegan and if you wanna give vegan a try, I highly suggest her channel and blog for more scrumptious recipes. She features both healthy and delectable delights in the vegan cuisine. I am on the brink of becoming one too, but is still on the process. Being vegan after all is a lifestyle. But, enough of the ramblings, let’s go ahead to the recipe:

* I did my own version and hence this is not a vegan recipe as I added parmesan cheese to the pasta. I will add Liv B.’s link below for the vegan version.*

Squash-Basil Pasta

1 small size squash or half or a quarter of a large one.
1 whole carrot diced
1 whole white onion diced
1 red bell pepper diced
2-5 cloves of garlic diced
500g penne pasta
Olive oil
Salt and pepper
Paprika
Handful of fresh basil
Parmesan cheese for garnish

 

 

Chop your squash to cubes and boil them under cooked. Take them out of the pot and save some of the broth. In a food processor, blend the squash, add a little of the broth for a thinner texture. On a separate pot, sautè your garlic and onion with olive oil until translucent. Then add your bell pepper and carrot. Stir until cooked. Pour in the blended squash. You may opt to add a cornstarch mixture or cream to thicken the mixture or the squash broth to thin out. Let it simmer then add the basil. You may choose to leave a few for garnish. Add salt, pepper and paprika to taste.

On a separate pot, cook the pasta according to package instructions. Mix the sauce and pasta, add parmesan and remaining basil for garnish. Serve while hot.

 

Another thing you can do with this recipe is to leave out the pasta and serve it as a soup or ciabatta dip.

5B1E6990-B12F-4F16-A51C-D9891F8C2C12 2

I hope you enjoy making this or making your own version. As promised, here is Liv B.’s version of the recipe.

 

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

USA Trip (Day 16-19)

Salut! Finally writing down the last leg of my USA Trip. So sorry for dragging this series for too long. I have been busy at school trying to balance the surplus of assignments and projects before deadline. On my previous blog, we talked about our trip to Pensacola, Florida and to the US Space Center in Huntsville, Alabama. Today, I’m writing about our trip around Birmingham and to the Six Flags over Georgia then back to NYC and back to Manila.

*Note: I’ll be posting the website links of the establishments I’ll be writing about here at the end of the blog*

We started off for that day quite late as we were quite dead tired from our past day’s adventure. We decided to go somewhere near and off we went to the Birmingham Zoo. It was a bit of a long drive going to the zoo and the best part? We passed by the “fancy” houses of Mountain Brookside.

We saw all sorts of mansions and castle-like, monastery-esque style houses. My eyes had a total feast and all that I could utter were “ooh”, “wow”, “ahhs”. 😲😮

We finally reached the zoo at the end of the road and nearby was the Botanical Garden. We were suppose to go there as well, but time had constrained us and so we had to pick only one. We chose the zoo.

IMG_9170IMG_9171

The zoo was huge and had a lot of divisions, there were even constructions on the way for adding up Asian species. They had far more animals that I have never seen on our local zoo which made me really excited to see them in real life.

They also have a quite interactive zoo which was really good for kids and adults alike to further understand this beautiful creatures.

Beautiful #Alabama #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

 

We enjoyed every bit of scenery and learning about the animals too. We had pizza for lunch on their pavilion and although it shutted up my growling tummy, I was still looking for rice. Haha.

Hello there! #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica #Alabama

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Flamingos #Alabama #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

After the lunch, we went to the primates section then the aviary followed by Alabama’s local species. My favorite part so far were the flamingos and the lorikeets. They are such beautiful colorful creatures that are definitely an eye candy.

IMG_9198
Interesting!

On the Alabama wilds section, we almost missed out the bear that looked so cuddly and yet deadly. They also featured old Southern houses that looks so quaint and homey.

Old Southern Houses #Alabama #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

The last part of the section were the barn animals and you can pet them too. Though I was a bit hesitant, I just enjoyed taking pictures and gazing at them. Haha.

After the zoo experience, we then visited my Uncle’s dad, Mr. Doug Phillips and even met Matt (my Uncle’s older brother) along the way. We had a great time chatting and ended it around past 6pm, passing by Ate Chariz (another Pinay who gave us biko, a Filipino rice cake delicacy) and went home dead tired. We had to rest early as our last adventure on will be on the Six Flags!

I have heard of Six Flags from my aunt before and I have been wanting to try out their death-defying roller coaster rides. I always love to give myself a mini heart attack during this rides. Sometimes I make poor life choices. Haha. We left a bit earlier than our usual and the as you can see the clouds looked ominous so we were really praying that we get to enjoy Six Flags before it pours.

Last hurrah! #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica #Georgia

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

The theme park was really huge and you need to plan out your rides to maximize the park. We, the adults decided to go the high rides instead while the kids take on the kiddie rides. Our first ride really made my innards jump. I was really short that the crew had to push me down to touch the flooring of the ride. Haha!

Some rides made me almost flew out of my seat and I had to hug on the bars for the love of my life! I also literally saw my saliva go up and down before dropping on my knees which made me laugh and drool more. Yeah, I was classy like that.

However, some rides made me nauseous too. Like this Batman ride that had a lot of loops. We had to stop for a while to rest and continue for the Goliath and Dare Devil. By this time, it was drizzling a bit and some rides were having technical difficulties, but thrill of riding exceeds my safety fears. Haha.

Would you dare? #Georgia #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Facing the giant. #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica #Georgia

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Thank goodness, my Uncle and Auntie were adventure-seekers like me and my brother. We rode the Goliath thrice and had a super great time together while the elders sat and rest. Sarreh mom and dad.

It then started pouring and we decided to ride the train and see more of the theme park while being sheltered from the rain. We went down on the first stop to roam around and look for kiddie rides for my younger cousins. Sadly, there were only a few rides open since it was raining. But we found one where we all enjoy and even had a contest of the getting the highest score. It was a great bonding experience.

Eventually the park had to close due to the rain and as we were on our way out, we saw the Georgia Cyclone, which was a wooden rollercoaster who was still running. We rode it three times and had the best time. It was juggle of a ride, it was bumpy and scary fun. I think I hurt my shoulder so bad from hitting but it was worth it.

IMG_9221

Although we only rode a few of the rides because of the rainy weather, the good part was the short lines. I still can’t complain cause I get to ride Goliath, the Dare Devil, and the Georgia Cyclone who was put down by July 30. Huhu. I at least I get to try it thrice. 😦 We ended our Georgia adventure and ate at Arby’s and I enjoyed their burger/sandwiches a lot too.

We went home late and started packing our stuff. It was kinda sad to pack your stuff and know that it’ll take time before I get to see my cousins and Aunt and Uncle again. But we just chatted the night away and slept for the big trip tomorrow.

That morning was a silent one, we were trying to not be emotional and did some last minute packing too. Mims (my Uncle’s mom) came over and helped us. She even sent us chocolates and jerkies to snack on the train back to NYC. By the time we were leaving, my cousin Raicelle got really sick and so she had to be left at home. We just gave her a kiss on her forehead and big squeezy hugs and few words of wisdom before we left.

We laughed on the car ride as we didn’t want to be emotional. We checked in our baggages but somehow the Amtrak in Birmingham wasn’t too strict with the 50lbs rule per bag. It was a small station so we had to wait on the hallway and the train got delayed for hours. We were a bit worried cause we have a flight to catch and time zones to compute whether we’ll make it to the flight.

We were all praying that we won’t miss the flight. Honestly, we ate almost all of the snacks that Mims gave us at the lobby area of the station. Haha. When the train arrived, everybody was a bit cranky due to the delay but we were more of emotional than irritated.

Goodbyes are one of the most painful things in this world. But, the hope of seeing each other soon gives us the antidote to the pain of leaving someone we love behind. Goodbye #Alabama and thank you to the Phillips Family for their love and warm hospitality. To Pops for fetching us on the train station and allowing us to enjoy the use of his house at Gulf Shores. To Mims and Aunt Kathy for the yummy meal we ate as soon as we arrived and the snacks to take home. To my Uncle Tep and Aunt Cecille for being our tour guides and warmly accepting us into your home, for all the experiences we shared. To Raicelle, Tate and Tahlia for giving us the joy of playing and hanging out with them. To all the Phillips family, for the kind words and welcome. We hope to meet more and all of you on our next visit. Till we see each other again! #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

When the train finally arrived, we were all crying. I was bawling and so was my uncle and what made my heart break was to see my aunt and little Tate cry. Typing this now even makes me cry. We truly enjoyed our bonding with them and saying goodbyes are too painful. It really pains me to hear Tate say “I don’t want you guys to go.” So instead of goodbyes we instead said, “See you all soon”.

We had puffy red eyes as we board the train and slept most of the train ride. The train crew gave out free complimentary drinks and snacks which I think is because of the four hour delay. They also opened the cafeteria and had free unlimited coffee (we had to pay $3 during our first ride). We just give the server a tip as a way of saying thank you for the service, though the meals and pastries are still paid for.

By the time we reached New Jersey, we got delayed again for some problems by an hour or so. The air conditioner even shut down and it was really hot in the train. I was in pain that day too as the “flow” came in with a good timing and worried about our flight. We reached NYC and had to wait an hour before our baggages were released from the baggage section. My dad and I were computing the number of hours left for our flight plus the fact that we need to ride the subway going to the Airtrain.

It was a true amazing race in any sense. We were even debating which train to ride whether we had to go uptown and downtown. Thankfully, I found the signboard and we all boarded the train. I told my dad to look for people with baggages and follow them as for sure they were going to the airport as well.

We thought we’d be able to settle calmly on the train and guess what? The train operator suddenly announced that there were some changes on the route and some stations that we’d only pass by. The “good” part was that he removed the screen signs and instructed us to listen to his announcements. The “best” part was that I couldn’t understand a word he says. I could only pick on few words but most were gibberish. I could literally feel panic creeping in.

I am just so thankful for the man who sat beside us and noticed that we really confused and told us when to go down and what the operator said. Which was a big relief for all of us, I mean I understand English and can speak English well, but with differences in accent, I find myself confused. Nevertheless, we reached JFK airport just in time for the check in and finally settled down. We changed clothes because, hygiene and had a small meal with whatever snack we had left.

The flight home was more relaxing since we all sat together and thank goodness for China Airlines’ yummy meals which filled us up till our flight back home.

Overall, the US trip was an exhausting, sleep-depriving, body clock wrecking, adventure-filled memory of a lifetime. I am hoping and praying that we will go back and see more of the United States. But for now, my blog series ends here. I do hope you guys enjoy our trip and see you all soon for the next #LesVoyagesdeNica!

Check out the links provided below:
The Birmingham Zoo
Six Flags over Georgia
Arby’s
Amtrak

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

 

 

Creamy Avocado Pesto Pasta

Hello Guys! Let us take a momentary break from the USA Trip series and talk about food first. 😝 I always love a good pesto pasta and have seen numerous recipes online. It just so happened that yesterday, I have remembered that we still have plenty of avocados and I thought of making a pesto pasta. Now, I know that pesto is an Italian sauce made out of basil, garlic, olive oil and parmesan. Some add nuts and some add good ole avocado for that creamy kick.

But like the usual, our kitchen pantry had some ingredients missing. The first would be basil and the second was parmesan cheese. So let me tell you how I made my creamy avocado pesto pasta using avocado as the main ingredient and in replacement of fresh basil is dried up basil spice.

Creamy Avocado Pesto

2 whole ripe avocado
1-2 tablespoon of dried basil spice
2-4 garlic cloves (depending on your preference)
1/4 cup of olive oil or more
1/4 cup of nuts (preferably almonds or walnuts or any nuts of your choice)
1/4 block of cheddar cheese (1 cup or more of parmesan cheese)
500g of penne pasta or any pasta of your choice
Salt and pepper to taste
Chili flakes for added spice
In a food processor or blender, blend the avocados, garlic cloves, olive oil, nuts, cheese, dash of salt and pepper. Add oil to make your sauce a bit runny. Set aside. On a separate pot, cook your pasta according to the package instructions. Spare a half a cup of your pasta water in case your sauce is still too thick. Drain and add in your sauce. Mix well and add the dried basil spice, some salt and chili flakes. Serve and enjoy!

 

#Avocado Pesto pasta. A success! 🥑🥑🥑

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Here is the pesto version of my vlogger friend Lasea from @thefooodiefeed. Do check out her Youtube channel and IG feed for more food recipes to enjoy!

My pesto was a brighter green because the main ingredient was avocado, Lasea used fresh basil and I hope to make one using fresh basil as well in my next cooking sesh. For now, use whatever you have. Lol.

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

USA Trip (Day 11-15)

Ola! We are now on our third installment of the USA series of #LesVoyagesdeNica. We are still currently in Gulf Shores, Alabama and will be exploring more of the place and some part of Florida. I’m really sorry that it took a week for the next post, my plate has been full of tasks that I needed to complete. Now let’s get on the trip!

*Note: I will post the links of the places we went too at the end of the blog*

After our beach day in Gulf Shores, we decided to head over to the nearest city and state, which is Pensacola, Florida. We also happened to pass by the famous Flora-Bama Lounge, who stands in the borderline of both Alabama and Florida. Cool story my Uncle told me was that in Alabama, alcohol was not sold on a Sunday, so if you are inside the Flora-bama, simply hop on the borderline to Florida and buy your drink on that side. Hehe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_8823
We also checked out the yachts and deep fishing gears.

I had to sit very still. #Florida #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_8826

I'm ready to see more of you #Florida. #USA #Alabama #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

It wasn’t a super long drive but when we reached Florida we were definitely hungry and so we gave out Chick-Fil-A a try. I love their chicken sandwich and the honey barbecue sauce is definitely a two thumbs up. I also love the fact that they don’t open on Sunday ever since they started. That kind of reminded me of our business back home where we don’t open on a Sunday for church and for the Lord.

IMG_8827

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Our first stop was the Pensacola Beach. It was beautiful and thank goodness the sun shone really bright or we’d be freezing from the cold winds.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_8832
They played “volleyball” LOL

Off to another beach. #Florida #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

After a few walks, we went to the other side which is the Quietwater Beach and enjoyed the serene waters and the huge giant oyster for photo op!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I'm a rare South Sea Pearl. ❤️ #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA #Florida

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Then we went shopping and headed back to Gulf Shores for a good night’s rest. For the following day, we decided to  have brunch at Mikee’s (a sister company of Shrimp Basket) then headed over to the Hangout to enjoy another beach day.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_8844
Definitely full from it!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

IMG_8847
A news reporter

It was really cold by the beach and we had to take shelter under a lifeguard’s seat from the freezing winds. Haha!

Take your time to enjoy. #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

After my dad and uncle’s quick dip at the sea, we then headed to an outlet store to go shopping for clothes and gifts to bring back home.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We managed to look for sales and promos which gave us a huge discount too. Then we ended the night with some ice cream milkshake which was truly a thick one. I had the Malt Brownie and it was really good too!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Malt Brownies ❤️ #USA #Alabama #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

That following morning, we then headed back to Trussville after cleaning the whole place. Our family truly enjoyed the stay at the Phillips’ rest house, once again, thank you Mr. Doug Phillips!

IMG_8856

Going our way back home, we passed by Huntsville and saw the NASA Space Center and decided that our next trip would be there. So the following morning, we did so. We should’ve started earlier but we were tired from the travel, so we make do with whatever time was left but we enjoyed the tour and learned a lot.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed the interactive activities inside the NASA center

T-minus 10… #Alabama #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

IMG_8870
What gravity feels like on the different planets of the Solar System
IMG_8873
A bumpy ride

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My arms will end up sore. #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica #Alabama

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Short girl problems eh? Haha

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We also enjoyed the outdoor activities and rides that are either scary or nauseating. LOL

I thought my heart stopped for a bit. #Alabama #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

IMG_8884
A Memorial for the Monkeynaut

The US Space Center was a wonderful experience for all of us. It was truly one of a kind! We went home a bit later that evening and slept for church the next day.

#Alabama #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

We went to where my Aunt and Uncle go to which was the Church of the Highlands. It was huge! The parking was full when we arrived and thankfully they’ve got people who assist you on your parking problems. I also got to ride a golf cart as they use it to service old people who parked farther away from the entrance. I’m glad my grandma was there and my aunt who carried Tahlia.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

They had theater rooms for in case the Main Auditorium got filled up by the crowd. They also offer free coffee and boy, I drank a lot. The preaching was good as well and after the service we left for lunch at the New China Buffet and meet up with my aunt’s Pinay friend.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

We enjoyed a good hearty meal and chatting. It was all fun and laughter as we all bonded together. Then we parted ways and headed home to rest a bit and went to JC Penneys.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

My dad, me and my aunt were the only ones who went shopping. We bought some gifts and souvenirs as well. Then by around 7pm we headed home to fetch the rest for dinner at Chipotle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Most restaurants in the US lay out the Nutritional Content of their meals, which is a good way for people who monitor what they eat and their calorie intake.

IMG_8910
SO YUM!!

I truly enjoyed that Tex-Mex dish! I wish they would open one here in Manila. Chipotle, if you are reading this, please heed to my request. Char! Haha. After a super late dinner, we then went to Walmart for some grocery shopping, but my mom suddenly had vertigo attacks and thankfully, here in the US, people with disabilities are given the sense of normalcy even in the simple thing of grocery shopping.

IMG_8911
She had a nice ride

After a long but fun day, we headed home for another adventure that awaits us on our final days at the United States of America.

I hope y’all stay tune till the end!

Links:

Flora-Bama Lounge
Mikee’s Seafood
Sonic Drive-In
U.S. Space Rocket Center
New China Buffet
Chipotlè

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!

USA Trip (Day 6-10)

Off to another day's adventure…#LesVoyagesdeNica #USA #Alabama

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Hello there once again! Sorry if the next post takes time to get published. Blogging 5 days of adventure in one go is quite a handful. So I hope y’all bear with me. Hehe. We are now on Alabama and will be touring most of the Southern States.

* I will post the links of the tour attractions’ websites below at the end of the blog.*

Ark Encounter > Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center 

After a day of our arrival, we decided that our first stop 20th of May was The Ark Encounter. The Ark is located in Williamstown, Kentucky and it is a 7 to 8 hour drive from Trussville, Alabama. It is a life-size Ark of Noah which is seen in the Bible. A must see tour attraction for all ages!

We left home a bit late as we were all dead tired and time zone changes are kicking in. So on our way we decided to stop by for coffee at none other else than, Starbucks. Haha. I was really surprised to see their venti size which was really huge! After a coffee break, we drove all the way to Kentucky. It wasn’t hard to see where the Ark was seeing the huge arch they made.

#Kentucky here we come! #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

IMG_8711
Isn’t she a cutie? That’s my little cousin who gives us “good music” during this trip. LOL

We bought our tickets on the spot at the Ark and rode their free shuttle bus. The Ark’s outside attractions were not completely done yet, but the Ark itself and the insides are. It was HUGE and beautiful. I love the detailed work they did and followed every step same as it was written on the Bible. For a Bible-believer like me, this is indeed wonderful.

The Ark. #Kentucky #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

The first floor of it is their souvenir shop, the second floor contains all the animal replicas and fun facts of how it was built and run by just 8 people during Noah’s time. The third floor are the quarters of Noah and his family and some mini museums about the Bible.  Each floor has a restroom and a TV show that either features documentaries or movies about Noah’s Ark.

They also featured how did the Flood happened and the Creation as told in the Bible. I love how interactive their museum is, you may get to ask the wax figure/robot of Noah and he’ll be answering you. Kinda creepy looking but fascinating!

After walking through all the three floors, I was truly exhausted and my toes felt like separating from my feet. I guess, that’s what you get when you try to go on fashion without comfort. Haha. It was tempting to walk on bare feet especially when the wooden floors are all cool and shiny.

It was late in the afternoon when we left the Ark and headed to Nashville, Tennessee to see my cousin who was based there. It was a long drive since it rained really hard on us on our way back. I have ever seen such rain and thunderstorms. I could see lightning hitting somewhere afar and it was indeed scary. We even got lost on our way to meet her at the Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention Center.

Gaylord Opryland is one of North America’s largest hotels without a casino and is famous for its convention centers. Truly a 5 star hotel. I felt fancy entering the place and the garden was truly an oasis. Though it was a quick catch-up as we arrived there around 1am, we are happy to have seen each other. I haven’t seen her for almost a year and so we both were truly excited.

We arrived back at home at around 6am, it was a Sunday and as bad as we felt that we couldn’t go to church, we all were truly exhausted and slept almost the whole day. That evening we prepared our things for another long trip and left in the early morning of Monday for Gulf Shores, Alabama.

I would like to take this opportunity once again to thank Mr. Doug Phillips, my aunt’s father-in-law, for allowing us to use his home in Gulf Shores. My family enjoyed the place and are truly grateful for it. You may or may not read this but still, thank you and we hope to see you again!

Gulf Shores: Canal Park > Pass On Point Beach > Souvenir City > Shrimp Basket

A day at Gulf Shores. #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Right before the crack of dawn, we traveled from Trussville to Gulf Shores, Alabama which takes around 4 1/2 hours of driving. We slept on the car and woke up on Gulf Shores. It was a bit chilly in the area seeing that it is near the sea. We first did our groceries and napped for a while. We then headed to tour around the area first.

IMG_8763
Canal Park

Our first stop was the Canal Park. My Uncle said that we could go fish for bait here at the Canal and fish at some lake or by the beach area. It was a quiet place where a lot of boats are parked too. Here in Gulf Shores almost all the house are raised with poles and columns and beneath the house are their boats parked.

IMG_8764
Some fancy condominium unit.

On the way to the beach we passed by some of the fanciest condominiums in Gulf Shores. They sure do look like hotels, but Auntie said that those are Condominium units and very expensive ones too. Most of them are facing the beachside.

Beach day. #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA #Alabama

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

The beach we went to was Alabama Point East. It was nice and calm that day and perfect a beach outing but we just wanted to see the area and we didn’t bring out swimwears too. Hehe. After the beach, we headed downtown to eat dinner at a eat-all-you-can resto called Shrimp Basket.

IMG_8779

Although what we ate wasn’t shrimp or anything. Haha. The menu that day for eat-all-you-can was whitefish and catfish. We had a great time bonding over good food and then we headed to the Souvenir City just right across the street to do some shopping.

Into the shark's head we go. #Alabama #USA #LesVoyagesdeNica

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

IMG_8780
There goes my silly little baby

Aye Captain!! #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA #Alabama

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

We did bought a lot of shirts for souvenirs and ended it that day. So far, our first day in Gulf Shores was a great time for the family. On the next day, we then headed down to the Little Lagoon beach and enjoy swimming.

It was also windy and sunny that it made it difficult for us to stand a tent. We had to dug up sand so it would stand. After the hassle, we swam a bit and ate lots of sandwiches too. My uncle and the rest of the men went out fishing, while we girls ate and goofed around. We stayed there up until noon. It was a great family bonding time that we all enjoyed.

IMG_8783

IMG_8785
We also went Seagull feeding

Chill. #LesVoyagesdeNica #USA #Alabama

A post shared by Nica Gerona (@nicagerona) on

Notice the immediate tan lines? Haha yep, I get so tan easily. We still have a lot places to go to here in Gulf Shores, so I do hope y’all stay tune for the next adventures we went to here in USA.

Check out the links provided below:

The Ark Encounter
Gaylord Opryland Hotel and Convention
The Shrimp Basket

Merci beaucoup et á bientôt!