As apart of the Go Au Pair program, an au pair must complete 72 hours of 6 credit unites over the course of their 12 month placement. With this in mind I signed up for the CULTURAL HIGHWAYS education program which includes 3 classroom sessions at Pierce College, (1x Saturday and 2x Sundays) as well as a tour of Washington, DC. The Washington, DC tour was this weekend (April 18th & 19th) and I absolutely had the time of my life and 100% recommend it to everyone!
Ron Dingman was our tour manager and I hope you are lucky enough to have this wonderful man on your tour! He is so funny and nice and will help you with any question no matter how dumb it may be! (I certainly gave him a run for his money on how many dumb questions he could handle in one weekend).
Our tour bus was departing Philadelphia (30th street station) at 10.10am sharp and I wanted to be on time so I caught the 7:45am train from Colmar statio which was expected to arrive at 30th street station at 8:49am. I only needed a 1 way train ticket which was $7.00.
Upon arrival at 30th street station I met some of the other girls on this trip. They brought snacks and drinks for the long bus ride however as I am extremely poor at the moment I chose the cheaper option which was to go without. In the end I did by 1x 500ml bottle of coke zero which cost me $2.69 at ‘Au Bon Pain’.
We got on the bus and the journey began. There were already other au pairs on the bus who were picked up from places such as New York and New Jersey. We were on the bus for an hour before making our first rest stop At this rest stop I brought my lunch which was ‘Pop Eye Chicken’, I ordered a 3x piece chicken combo which included fries, this cost me, $7.89. After this 30 minute rest break we were back on the road and didn’t stop until 2.00pm for our 2nd and final rest stop at Union Station- I did not purchase anything here as I was not hungry from such a huge lunch!
We left here at 2:35pm to set off to our first landmark which was THE WHITE HOUSE! This was definitely my favourite site of the DC trip! After that we left and went to the LINCOLN MEMORIAL & THE REFLECTION POOL. Both of these were absolutely outstanding! From there we went to the NATIONAL MALL and there we saw the World war 1 and 2 memorial as well as the JFK memorial.
So once we’d seen this we headed to the hotel to check in (We stayed at the Hilton Arlington). The Hotel was absolutely magnificent! Stunning design, gorgeous, furniture, friendly staff and comfortable beds, it was abslolutley perfect!
Essentially I walked in and walked out because a friend I made on the tour wanted to go see a band that was playing called ‘Oh Honey’. The band was playing at the Rock and Roll Hotel and public transport was going to take an hour to get there and so we used ‘Uber’ instead of a taxi/ cab as it was cheaper. The Uber ride was roughly 25 minutes and cost us $20 which is certainly cheaper than any taxi! (Especially as it only ended up being $10 each).
Tickets for the show cost $15 so we purchased those and then went inside, only to find out ‘Oh Honey’ wasn’t playing until 10pm. As we weren’t interested in the opening act we decided to get dinner. We ended up at Impala (just across the road from the Rock and Roll hotel) which was a nice little Mexican restaurant. I ordered a steak with fries and vegetables, with a coke. The meal was fantastic and only cost me $17.90. (Something I will definitely miss when I leave the U.S is free refills!)
We headed to the concert at 9.00pm and listened to the opening act ‘Public’ and then obviously the main act ‘Oh Honey’. I had never seen this band before however I had a really good night and I could not recommend them enough !!
We left at midnight after a meet and greet with the band and caught an ‘Uber’ ride back to the hotel. As it was later in the night and rides were in higher demand the total price ended up being $30, and so the two of us split it, spending $15.00 each. The rest of the night I spent with my room mates.
The next morning we got u
p at 8am as the bus was leaving at 9:15am. I got ready as quickly as possible however did not have time for breakfast which was totally disapointing as I was really looking forward to having something from Ihop for the first time.
We departed with our luggage loaded on the bus at 9:15pm and our first stop was the AIR FORCE MEMORIAL. We spent 20 minutes there before being dropped at the National Mall and being given 3 hours of free time. I chose to see the WASHINGTON MONUMENT as well as the HOLOCAUST MUSEUM- both attractions were free.
Before leaving the girls and I got lunch and sat on the grass to eat it. I got McDonalds from a pop up stand as there was nothing else around and this cost me $5.70.
We departed Washington, DC at 2.55pm exactly only making one stop on the way home where I did not purchase anything as I was well and truely broke and wasn’t hungry anyway.
We arrived at 30th street station at 6:40pm and I waited until 7:11pm for my train home to Colmar station where I drove home from.
This trip is well recommended to all au pairs! The cost of the classes and trip in total is $369 which is covered by your host family. You make so many friends, irreplaceable memories and have so much fun! Could not recommend it enough!