Monday, February 20, 2012

A Very Valiente Excursion

This holiday weekend, the Yankee and I drove to Philadelphia for a quick weekend trip. Philadelphia is a very pretty city in the tourist parts with lots of one-way streets (score!) and independently-owned businesses. They also cater nicely to tourists with money to spend.

We planned to leave right after work, but there was an emergency that the Yankee had to tend to, so we didn't leave until midnight. A late start meant late rising on Saturday, so we didn't embark on our exploration until mid-afternoon. We took a bus tour of the city, which was pretty great. There was some random stuff on the tour that we didn't care about, like a museum where you can touch everything, but we also saw Betsy Ross' house and the Rocky Steps. We also saw the Liberty Bell and all the places that Nicholas Cage ran around and dismantled in "National Treasure."

We had a number of lessons-learned on our trip. I consider myself a fairly great budget maker and we are somewhat great budget-stick-to-ers. We were able to pay for the trip entirely in cash (thanks Dave Ramsey!) and stay at a really wonderful hotel. There were a few things that I had not considered when laying out the projected cost of our trip:
1. Tolls. Effing Tolls. Effing New Jersey and tolls. We paid about $50 in tolls that I had absolutely not even thought about.
2. Parking. The Gross family always tended to travel economy-style, which meant staying in hotels without a lot of "extras." These kinds of hotels tend to be located on the out-skirts of the places we visted, which means there is normally a nice parking lot. The Valiente family has tended to select the most baller hotel we can afford, but these kinds of hotels are normally smack-dab in the middle of the action, built vertically and not hortizontally, and happy to park your car for you. We spent over $70 in parking.
3. Breaksfast. The kinds of hotels with parking lots are often the kind with continental breakfasts. Radissons and Hiltons also have breakfasts and are happy to bring them to your room with little bottles of ketchup and itty-bitty salt and pepper shakers. Over $30 on one breakfast. Thank goodness we slept through breakfast on Saturday!

The Northeast tends to kinda hates letting you park or drive anywhere without paying for it. I consider this to be complete and total crap. I work in New Jersey, which means I pay taxes there. Why in the world do I have to PAY to drive on a highway if I've already given the state taxes? In Texas, they pay no taxes and there are hardly any toll roads, except in major cities. Northeast region, I call BS on you.
We ate some pretty fantastic food and enjoyed a gluten-free bakery that was okay. We also got a lot of rest and time to relax. We came home on Sunday afternoon with a list of fun things to do next time we go to Philadelphia- which I hope is soon. I also came home with a bit of sticker shock and will most definitely consider this when we plan our next trip (to Boston in the Spring).


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