I know. It’s been a while. But better late than never, right? The other night Josh and I were talking about how we haven’t had just a couple of days to ourselves in months. Between work, class, weekend trips, holidays, hosting out-of-towners, etc. it has been difficult to pick up my computer and write when those little moments of free time present themselves. I have little time to write but am thankful to have lots to report. I am reminding myself to be grateful it’s not the other way around.
Now, let’s get to the good stuff: our trip to Atlanta! The whole thing happened very quickly and out of the blue. Josh and I and a couple of friends from Austin were contacted by another friend who lives in Atlanta. She is Josh’s best friend’s girlfriend and asked if we would consider making a surprise trip for her boyfriend’s birthday. Within hours the four of us had booked our flights and a place to stay.
We all flew out of Houston late on a Thursday. We got into Atlanta after midnight and Ubered to our Airbnb. This trip was mine and Josh’s first experience with Airbnb and we can’t say enough good things about it. The four of us had a whole house to ourselves in a neighborhood pretty comparable to the Heights in Houston. The houses were old but kept up nicely and full of character. We had two bathrooms, two bedrooms, a kitchen, dining room and living room; way more than what we would have gotten from a hotel, and for less money. In my opinion, there is something more cozy about staying in a home that has been lived in and taken care of as opposed to being in a hotel room. Three out of the four of us slept great and only one out of our group was a little freaked out that we were in a stranger’s house. 8/10, would (and will) Airbnb again!
The four of us took it slow getting started on Friday. The birthday boy worked in the morning so we decided to grab breakfast before surprising him. We went to Thumbs Up Diner after reading some positive reviews on Yelp. This really is how the whole trip went. Basically a bunch of millennials relying on Uber and good reviews to take us through Atlanta. The food did not disappoint and the location was full of photo ops.
We surprised our friend the way God intended surprises to be: with a polite knock on the door and Facebook Live. We made sure his mom was tuned in from El Paso. After the shock wore off we piled into yet another Uber and headed straight to the aquarium.
The Georgia Aquarium is a big deal. I am not one for staring at glass boxes of fish but even I was impressed by the things it had to offer. We got to see sea otters holding hands and playing with what I am pretty sure were dog toys. Josh was absolutely enamored by this giant tank of beluga whales. It was cute (Josh, not the whales). We also saw some penguins
walk waddle through the lobby. My favorite part was the exhibit that simulated open water. I am curious to know exactly how much water went into that tank. We wound under it and through it and no matter how hard I tried, I could not see where it ended. It was amazing.
The best part of the trip came after the aquarium when we headed over to Ponce City Market. On it’s surface, the place is a mall with a great food court. But it looked like something Chip and Joanna Gaines put together. It was in a giant old building that has been completely gutted and redone. We headed to the rooftop after eating for some drinks, mini-golf, rides and carnival games. Given the chance to visit Atlanta again, I would 100% go back here. We tried to keep the party going by stopping for drinks afterward but everyone was exhausted so we called it a night.
On Saturday we walked to Home Grown, just up the street from our friends’ place. There was a long wait but the food was good so there were no complaints. From there we went to a little brewery, Eventide. My husband, who now considers himself a connoisseur of craft beer, had few good things to say about the drinks. IDK guys, it tasted like beer to me. Home Grown and Eventide gave us a good glimpse into the whole Atlanta scene. You know, like how they say New York is all hustle and bustle and Austin is weird? Atlanta is surprisingly hippie dippy. And I am not talking Austin-hippie, what you’d find in a coffee shop listening to Indie music. I am talking straight out of Woodstock, no shoes, natural hair hippie. It was unexpected but not in a bad way.
Our last big activity of the trip was a visit to the World of Coca-Cola. It’s right next to the Aquarium but it’s also huge so I would not recommend trying to knock them both out in one day. Now, I come from a staunch Coke-drinking family. As in, there are visible cringes on my parents’ faces when their waiter asks “is Pepsi okay?” Walking through all of the Coca-Cola exhibits, I could feel in my bones that my family would appreciate all it had to offer. There was an original soda shop stand and interactive displays to show how highly sought after the recipe is. There was a big room dedicated to Coca-Cola’s presence in pop culture with a lot of original pieces. I thought the exhibit with Coke ads dating back to Coca-Cola’s start was the most impressive. It’s obvious what a huge company Coca-Cola is and how woven into American culture it is. The grand finale (before the gift shop of course) is the tasting room. You grab a cup and can taste Coca-Cola products from all around the world. Josh was in Heaven. I was not as impressed, probably because I stopped drinking so much soda a while back. We did agree on one thing: the floor was very sticky.
What does a stomach full of foreign Coke product need? More food! Our friends took us to their favorite spot in Atlanta, Gaja Korean Bar. We had the fried chicken and it was absolutely delicious. Apparently they project movies onto a big blank concrete wall some nights. That would have been cool to see but the food was enough to keep us all happy that day. Again, we were all exhausted and agreed to stay in on our last night. We grabbed some comfy clothes, board games, wine, snacks and beer and headed to our friends’ place.
We left Atlanta for Houston the next day. I am so proud of all of us for being able to pull it all together as quickly as we did. It’s one thing to make a nice little get away for yourself but coordinating and making arrangements to fit everyone’s wants and needs is no small task. I would love to go back and, given the way the first time went, I don’t see why we won’t be visiting again soon.
Lots of love,