Where in the World Weds.: Cherry blossoms in D.C.

Considering how obsessed I am with all things pink, y’all know I wasn’t going to miss the National Cherry Blossom Festival in Washington, D.C., two weekends ago! It’s Where In The World Wednesday and I just can’t seem to stay out of the District.

More than one million tourists visit the Tidal Basin annually to see our cherry blossoms, a gift from Japan in 1912. Last year was my first visit to see them and I was enthralled; this year was even better, considering Mom and I had time to wander for hours and take a billion pictures! (Or, okay, about 250. But it felt like a billion, especially when I went to edit them all in Photoshop.) These were all taken on April 2, right around their peak bloom date.

A few of my favorites from this year’s festivities are included below, and the full set is up on my Flickr.

Where In The World Weds.: Lake Garda, Italy

It’s Where In The World Wednesday! As part of that great European vacation I took with my family in 2007, I found myself in one of the most beautiful and strangely unexpected places ever: Lake Garda, the largest of the Italian lakes and positioned between Milan and Venice. Popular among Swiss travelers, Lake Garda is cold — and windy! — but breathtakingly beautiful. My dad famously referred to it as “something out of ‘Lord Of The Rings'” — it just had that majestic, sweeping feel to it.

While visiting Lake Garda on our Italian tour, we took a boat out on the lake . . . and I felt 99 percent sure I was going to tip over the side with the wind gusts a few times. Thankfully I survived to write this blog post — and share these photos with you. Sit back, relax, draw a jacket tighter around you and take a trip to an Italian lake with me!

Where In The World Wednesday: Chicago, Illinois

Taking a spin around the U.S. on another Where In The World Wednesday, today we’ve venturing over to Chicago, Illinois — and back to August 2006!

I’d just finished my second internship with a daily newspaper and was preparing to start my senior year of college. In seven years, the two weeks between when my internship ended and my part-time job at Borders began remain the only time I’ve ever been unemployed. Ah — the good ol’ days! And the days before digital cameras, too . . . hard to believe, but those tell-tale date stamps in the corners are hard to miss. These were actually scanned by yours truly! Oh, I can barely remember back that far.

My parents, sister and I flew to Chicago for a long weekend to take in the sights, enjoy the beautiful weather and see “Wicked,” Kate’s favorite musical. The best part of the story was that she had no idea my dad had scored tickets to the show until we got there! Who says we can’t keep a secret?

Growing up outside Washington, D.C., major cities haven’t ever really impressed me . . . but Chicago? Wonderful. It’s the first metropolitan area I could actually see myself living and working in, and I was shocked by how clean it was. We could have wandered around far longer than we did, but we hopped one of the double-decker touring buses and saw some of the highlights. The John Hancock Building was definitely impressive . . . and freaked me out.

I’d love to go back and hang out by Buckingham Fountain again someday. A perfect spot to read and sip a latte, I’d imagine! And Navy Pier was so fun and an awesome place to wind down after a long day. Watching the sunset there remains one of my really happy memories.

Where In The World Wednesday: Trevi Fountain, Rome

It’s Wednesday — and that means it’s time for my friend Jess’s weekly Where In The World Wednesday! As an avid travel bug, I can’t believe I only recently discovered this fun feature. And since Jess featured Rome this week, I figured I would, too!

That lovely lady to the right is yours truly at the Trevi Fountain in Rome, Italy. In May 2007, mere days after I graduated from the University of Maryland, I spent 10 days traveling through England and Italy with my mom, dad and sister Katie, and I saw and experienced so many fantastic things . . . it’s crazy for me to even think about everything we did.

Between the gorgeous sights (I don’t think I ever put my camera down!), awesome food, great traveling companions (we were with a tour group) and time with my family, it’s definitely a vacation I’ll remember for the rest of my life. It was my first time in Europe and to see such a different world there — so different than my familiar American culture — was incredible.

And, you know, it brushed my obsession with the UK into an uncontrollable fire. And for that? I’ll always be happy!