Sunday, July 27, 2014

Destree Fun Trip 2014- Atlanta, GA.

After the silence and solitude of the swamp, we moved onto the big city. On the way, we stopped in Tifton, GA. and checked out a local bookstore, grabbed lunch in an adorable, little cafe and walked down the beautiful, historic main street. After lunch, Mama & Papa Destree decided they had a hankering for peach cobbler. And why not? When in Georgia, after all! After a quick google search, we found a lovely peach orchard/family farm that sold some of the best peach & blackberry cobbler that I've ever tasted. Once our bellies were full of fruit and ice cream, we got back on the road. 

After battling some of the worst traffic we'd faced during the whole trip, we finally made it to Atlanta! We made a quick stop at a comic store and then made our way to our hotel, located right in the middle of the Atlanta Art District. While the hotel was beautiful and the staff was super helpful, we did have a considerable amount of trouble. First, one of the managers cancelled our room reservation (we got the room through Living Social, which we probably won't ever do again) for the first night and because they were hosting an engagement party, they had no vacancies. We ended up sharing a room with Rick's parents and the hotel gave us a dinner voucher and some free drink vouchers, so we didn't end up on the streets of Atlanta! 

The next day, we took the MARTA (Atlanta's public transit system) to the Georgia Aquarium. The Georgia Aquarium, housing more than 100,000-120,000 different fish and sea creatures and representing for than 500 species, is the largest aquarium in the world. The animals live in 10 million gallons of water and one of the tanks (6.3 million gallon tank) at the aquarium is 3 times bigger than the entire Denver, CO. aquarium! 

The Georgia Aquarium is the only aquarium, outside of Asia, to house whale sharks, and it currently houses three. While aspects of the aquarium were very commercial (I saw one of the cheesiest dolphin programs that has ever existed. You might want to skip that one if you go), the entire experience was definitely worth the price of admission. We stayed at the aquarium all day and probably could have stayed longer, especially sitting in front of the Whale Shark tank!

While on the walk to & from the subway station to the aquarium, we saw some of the beautiful architecture Atlanta is famous for. As a native Coloradan (a state that is relatively young in comparison to the rest of the U.S), I sometimes forget how old cities are on the east coast and in the south. There is so much in Atlanta that we didn't have a chance to see. If the opportunity arises in the future, I would be more than willing to spend some more time Atlanta!

After returning to the hotel that evening, we ordered some drinks from the hotel bar (I had one of the best Moscow Mules I've ever been served) and kicked back. The next morning we packed up, enjoyed a complimentary breakfast and headed out. While getting our vehicles from the parking attendant, we realized that Mama & Papa Destree's vehicle had been broken into and ransacked. Fortunately, none of their major electronics had been left in the car, but the thieves did get one of Papa Destree's sound recorders, his binoculars and several other items. The hotel staff, again, was very helpful and sorry but I will say that the room cancellation issue paired with the robbery did negatively color our time in Atlanta.

But no vacation is all good, right? As my mother would have said, "We made a memory!" and when we look back, years from now, all of the experiences, good and bad, will create a rich reminiscence of our vacation. And in that moment, in my experience, it's hard to look back with anything but fondness and gratitude.

Our next and final stop: Southern Illinois 

On the Road

Tift Theater

Lunch, where I learned that even the "unsweetened tea" is sweet when you're in Georgia
Farmer Destree
Whistle Stop Fried Green Tomato Batter
Lovely old buildings in Tifton, GA. 

Atlanta, GA. 

Beautiful Architecture  
The courtyard of our hotel

The Georgia Aquarium
Looking at the a fish tank 3X bigger than the entire Denver Aquarium

Whale Shark 

Manta Ray

Ceiling tank, showing what a river would look like underneath
Albino Alligator


Tank that had simulated crashing waves

Harry Otter 
Whale Shark

People can pay to dive in some of the tanks at the aquarium

Manta Ray

As close to a Ritz Carlton as I'm ever going to get. And I'm okay with that
Longest. Escalator. Ever.
The first time I've ever been on a subway! 

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