Hi everyone, apologies for not updating this sooner but I have had a bit of a whirlwind week! So I headed down to Philly and despite getting a bit lost found my way to my hostel which was down this really shady side street - looks can be deceiving though. The hostel was amazing, easily the best I have stayed at so far! It was really friendly and a good social scene there as well. I signed up to do a ;ghost tour' of Philly that night which the hostel was organising, obviously a complete load of rubbish but there was a good crowd of us that went down and was a good day to meet the people in the hostel. In keeping with recent tmes we all went out for a beer that night, one of the guys was under 21 so we had to buy him beer but it worked out well in the end.
The following day, as it was going to be my last full day, I tried to get round and do all the touristy stuff - Philadelphia is really steeped in history which I didn't realise, they signed the declaration of independence there and it was the capitol for a few years while they built DC. I went to independence hall where and saw the liberty bell which was pretty cool and there was a load of different monuments and sculptures of the founding fathers of the Us and its all so well kept and pretty it puts our parks and open areas to shame. I jumped on the bus up to the old State Penitentiary, this was a pretty creepy place but it was good to take a wander around and see what its all about. I definately would not have wanting to be staying there! Apparently they do a huge haloween party there which I imagine would be really good. I headed back and did a few more of the open parks and areas which were really pretty, Philly had a real laid back atmosphere which was a nice change from New York. I headed back to the hostel after a full days doing the sights to book my hostel in DC (yes i know I should sorted it sooner!) and just my luck there was no availability - anywhere. SO I thought i'd stay in Philly one more night but they were fully booked as well - s*** i was bricking it a little by this point as i thought I woudl have to pay for a hotel which would have been stupdly expensive. Instead of worrying about it I headed out with the guys from the hostel for a few beers and to try and work out what to do (probably not the best idea but if I thought if i was going to be homeless the following night I might as well be hungover). The hostel manager came out with us that night like the night before and we got chatting and he turned out to be a sound bloke - the following night they have a 25 cent a beer night in this pub (thats about 17p for a half a beer - pretty awesome) and he said that if I paid for his drinks all night I could crash on his sofa!!! Strange how things have a bit of a habit of working themselves out but he definately saved me a lot of money.
The next day I spent the day with this British girl, Annabel, she was really sweet and we got on well. We headed down to teh harbout to chill out as it was a nice day and then took a walk arounf the US mint which was in fairness pretty boirng but free! We took a walk down South Street which is a really cool part of Philly, reminded me a lot of Camden, and then headed back for our 25 cents a beer bonanza! As it was so cheap we got a big crowd of us out and all got pretty drunk, I was drinking with this Irish lad who was determined not to be outdrunk by an Englishman - lets just say I wasn't the one puking up in the toilets half way through the night!!! They were a really great bunch of people and was a good way, albeit a tad random, to have my second last night in Philly.
I had to be up pretty early the next day to head to DC which was not good, I felt like absolute dogs*** but alas it was all self inflicted! The bus down to DC was only about 4 hours which wasn't too bad and the hostel i was staying in was really outside the city centre which was a bit rubbish. When I got there it was more like someones house than anything else and the woman who owned had gone out to lunchand I was left waiting there like a bit of a lemon for about an hour. She was very sweet when I did finally check in and headed back into DC to see a few sights and meet up with our Trek leader, Emily, as she was in Dc on another Trek but had a few hours spare. It was pretty cool to catch up and we might even cross paths again on the west coast but who knows. By about 6 i was completely beat so I headed back to the hostel and crashed out really early, I was staying in DC for another night but had to go to a different hostel - this one was closer to DC and in a really cool area called adams morgan which is where they have a lot of jazz bars and cool live music. I dumped my stuff at the hostel and did the rest of the sights that I didn't have a chance to do before, white house (mr obama was not in unfortunately), lincoln memorial, Arlington Cemetary (this was a huge cemetary where JFK is buried it is an extremely somber place but they have a batallion of guards who patrol the tomb of the unknown soldier and every half an hour they have a changing of the guard ceremony which was good) I also headed to the Pentagon which was a complete waste of time as there was a s*** load of police with huge guns you can;t take any photos of anything (hence the photo of me at Pentagon subway - that was as far as I could get with my camera) and you feel like your being watched - its a really uncomfortable place to be. After the bug touristy day I headed back to the hostel for a quick change and head out, unfortunately i had missed everyone in my dorm so technically didn't have anyone to go out with.I really wanted to see some live music and have a couple of beers (i was feeling surprisingly better than the day before) so I headed to this live music place across the road - on my own. Now at first this was a really s*** thing to do as it was really quiet and I felt like a bit of a loner but as it got closer to the band playing the place really filled up and I got talking to some weird and wonderful people in there., eating some womans birthday cake and being shown how to dance (very badly i might add) to jazz music. It was the most random night I have had butalot of fun.
I headed off to Virginia Beach the next day - cue an 8 hour bus journey not good especially when your hungover! II got to VA beach and finally found my hostel after once again getting pretty lost!! The hostel was right on the beach front and really laid back, its such a nice change of pace from the last few days so i have spent most of my time chilling at the beach (although the weather has not been that great) or at the hostel and using this time as a bit of a holiday within a holiday. The people at the hostel are really friendly and I spent the first couple of days with a group of Scottish lads who were all under21 so they couldn't drink but they still enjoyed a good laugh. We played a bit of volley ball yesterday which I am pretty rubbish at and then met up with all the girls from our hostel for a few drinks. The weather is a lot nicer today so I'm going to spend most of the afternoon down at the beach trying to get a bit of a tan and also even up my awful t-shirt tan that I have! I'm heading down to New Orleans tomorrow - cue a 27 hour bus ride - really not looking forward to that but I'm sure it will be good when I get there. I hope your all doing well, I'll try and update this a bit more regularly and thanks for all the messages on the message board - i still haven't worked out a way to send personal replies but I'll figure it out! Speak to you all soon!