We did an interstate road trip amidst the lockdown and it was a combination of awesome amazing and overwhelmingly lonely. Awesome because we mostly had the tourist spots to ourselves, therefore, more chances to take photos without any asungot in the background and without the pressure to just click and go. Medyo trigger happy ako sa pagkuha ng pictures kasi. On the other hand, the thing that I love when traveling is also having to see people. The crowd, however overwhelming they are, just gives you good vibes. Diba?
We also expected not to see much people but not that level, even the usual touristy areas were like ghost town, it was almost surreal. I’ve been to New York twice before and I’ve never seen it so quiet and with almost no cars on the road. Of course there are much more people in the other downtown area but Times Square being empty and barricaded by the police is probably no one would have imagined happening before COVID.
Keeping in mind the danger of coronavirus, we made sure to always protect ourselves, i.e. alcohol, sanitizers, masks and all. We practiced social distancing as our way of respecting other people as well. We were mostly just on the road (syempre road trip nga) and went to places with less people. Let me share you my version of traveling interstate in the middle of the pandemic.
It was actually a trip planned by my couple-friends so I was just nakikisali lang talaga. They pretty much kind of adopted me this past few months. I felt like I needed a good break from work so I happily aligned for a vacation leave when I knew about this road trip. I didnt help with planning and preparations whatsoever so I was kind of surprised to know the couple had everything prepared, i.e. food and drinks so we wouldnt be hungry and vitamins, alcohol and masks so we would be protected. Nagulat ako sa pa-vitamins ni alfa but was thankful…girl scout si direk! hahaha!
I knew we were going to Washington D.C. and I thought that was it. I was just not paying attention. Apparently, the trip turned out to be more than just D.C. but more of a historical/cultural trip then turned National-Treasure-shooting-location-hunting-trip. Galing!
Gettysburg is a historic town in the state of Pennsylvania, known for the Gettysburg National Battlefield, the main site of the American Civil War. Marami kang matututunan pala dito if you do the real tour. We just drove around the auto-tour open area pero I think the visitor center would offer mga tour or something.
Lincoln’s Gettyburg Address Memorial. Lincoln’s Gettysburg Address is one of the famous speeches in all of human history. He delivered the speech in 1863 during the American civil war in Gettysburg (surprise) Pennsylvania. Sabi ko nga this is a cultural trip.
Friend to Friend Masonic Memorial. This monument was kind of symbolic daw because it intended to commemorate the Freemasons brotherhood when Union helped a wounded Confederate officer during the war. This memorial site is also situated in another cemetery.
Gettyburg National Military Park. It’s actually a wide open park that depicts the landscape of the 1863 Battle of Gettysburg during the American Civil War. Fitting the COVID-type of tourism, people can just drive around the park as there are pull-off areas in major tour stops. The park also houses the State of Pennsylvania Monument which was built in memorial of the Pennsylvania soldiers who fought at Gettysburg.
I have never been to the US Capital city before so I was convinced right away when my trip organizers told me we were going to D.C. Just a couple of weeks before our trip there were protesters there re: Black Lives Matter so if my parents knew about this trip, I would not have been allowed to go. Obviously, di nila alam so…
Lincoln Memorial is a monument built in memorial of Abraham Lincoln with a giant marble statue inside and also famous for its reflecting pool and its strategic location which is facing Washington Monument. Maganda ang city planning nila dito, pinag-isipan talaga ang mga placement ng mga monument mga beshies. Obviously it’s not a small town but it’s easy to remember where the tourist spots are and kind of like easy to navigate rin. And i can say that because I was not driving. hahaha!
We parked near the National Mall going to the US Capitol. It’s not the usual mall we have back home by the way but a long stretch of park na me mga puno na me magandang view ng mga monuments on both ends.
The US Capitol Building is home to the US Congress and located in the farther east side of the Lincoln Memorial. Since we walked from the west entrance (where the National Mall is), we had a good walk in the garden area. We would have visited the Botanic Gardens then but it was temporarily closed at that time. Yes, again, covid. And for the same reason, we were the only ones walking to the main entrance of the building.
The Library of Congress was one of the two items in my checklist because of the National Treasure movie. It was temporarily closed at that time so I just had a view from the entrance of the Capitol building.
We also went to the White House but it was already dark at that time so I didn’t have much photos and I think I also forgot my camera. There were still remnants of the protests from weeks before so the area as also kind of barricaded and semi-heavily guarded. We didn’t stay long in the area but I still got to post for my instastory of the Black Lives Matter Plaza. Di lang sya ganun ka-obvious sa pic though!
Because I didn’t get to see the Library of Congress, medyo kinareer ko ang itinerary sa Philadelphia when I learned that we’re stopping by the city on our way to New Jersey. I quickly pinned the walkable tourist spots in my google map on our way from D.C. This is where our trip turned a little bit National Treasure-y.
Independence National Historical Park. The park houses several historical sites such as the Independence Hall where the United States constitution was signed and the Liberty Bell.
Philadelphia City Hall. In the philly website, it said that this City hall is the larget municipal building in the US. It is a 548-foot tower and is considered the tallest masonry structure in the world without a steel frame; it was the tallest building in Philadelphia until 1987. The Masonic temple stands across this city hall looking as grand as well.
Liberty Park in New Jersey has one of the most beautiful view of the New York skyline. It was also a nice place for family get togethers kasi free, walang bayad. There’s also a Jollibee store just a few miles away so it was more than what we could ask for!, hahaha!
New York City
New York has always been a bustling city but while we’re driving around in the middle of a pandemic, it looked like a lonely sleeping giant of a city. The buildings are still towering magnificiently but the beauty of the ever busy crowd of people is nowhere to be seen. Most stores especially the high end onces are still closed. The restaunrants are open but only for take-out and delivery.
Times Square was barricaded on all sides when we went there. We stayed in one of the hotels in the square so the police kind of have no choice but to let us in. I remembered my previous visit and it was never without the large crowd from morning until midnight.
The Vessel was opened to the public just last year and became famous for its unique honeycomb design. We were planning to go and chill at the High Line but most of the entrance were still closed that time so we ended up at Hudsons Yard. And since we’re there already, why not take advantage of another photo op diba?
The New York Stock Exchange area was our last tour stop for this roadtrip. I had the same photo of the charging bull in my last blog and it was just full of P-E-O-P-L-E, I couldn’t even see the bull. Here, I had my chance. yay!
We saw this fearless girl wearing a mask which is funny but kind of symbolic as well.
I hope this pandemic will be over soon so people can be free and go wherever they like without fear of getting sick or infecting others. For now, I am thankful that I have a few friends I can interact with while being away from home and I was able to go out on a trip like this after more than three months of being in a lockdown.
A friend ask me one time what I would do when this is all over and I said, I’ll book a flight to this place I really really like. I think people in general are really adventure seekers and while they come in different forms, many would probably say, traveling to new places is their kind of adventure. Ako pala yon!
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P.S. Super thank you to Alfa and Angelo for this trip!