My husband and I just came back from a trip to Arizona and California. The trip was short, only 5 days, but it was oversaturated with sightseeing, meeting internet friends in person, and getting back in touch with old acquaintances. It was a true whirlwind and by the time my husband and I got off the red-eye flight home and drove for 3 hours to join our kids at the beach, the rollercoaster wore us out to the point of literally not being able to stay awake.
During this trip I was going to meet in person four of my friends I met on Etsy.com. We have became more than acquaintances over the past year, but have never seen each other, save Skype. So, the trip was planned accordingly, with the stop in Phoenix, AZ initially planned with the sole purpose of meeting Tania and Albina, and the whole California stay planned around meeting Irina and Yana.
I wanted to bring a souvenir for each of the girls so I made four identical wall bud vases for them a couple of days before we left. I based my color choices for each of the bud vases on what I knew about each of the ladies. I was very much surprised when I was going through my pictures after the trip to discover that these colors matched closely the experiences we had together during this trip. In Arizona, Tania's bud vase matched the mountains near Sedona and Albina's - the colorful cacti I loved and photographed everywhere I saw them.
The Arizona leg of our trip lasted exactly 24 hours. We landed in Phoenix at 4 pm and were picked up by Tania (SocksAndMittens Etsy shop), her wonderful husband Don, and Albina (AroundBeads Etsy shop). We went on a brief drive-by tour of Phoenix and visited the most wonderful sporting and hunting store, which really was fascinating. To mention just a few things, there were about 140 knives in stock (my secret passion) and an exhibit of taxidermy covering local animals that would make a small museum of natural history proud. After that we enjoyed a wonderful home-cooked meal at Tania's house and chatted about nothing and everything. The evening was kind of brief, since AZ is 3 hours behind Wasington DC, and I pretty much fell asleep at 10 pm.
We've more than made up for that the next morning. Tania and Don are early risers, so we started our day at 4 am (7 am our time) and left the house by 5 am. In the next 8 hours Don drove us to Sedona, where we enjoyed the mountains, had breakfast (eggs benedict, yummm…) and visited artisanal shops. I bought a most wonderful metal bat (animal) which I will have to show you later. Then we moved on to the Chapel of the Holy Cross - a church built into the mountain and Montezuma's Castle - a 400-year-old native dwelling built literally in the mountain. Then we shot handguns and shotguns at a target in the desert and as a last-minute bonus visited Lake Pleasant...
I found Arizona to be the most beautiful and interesting place and am looking forward to visiting again, this time with the kids, and exploring it in much more detail. Of course, this day would not have been such a joy without our wonderful hosts - finally meeting such wonderful people and spending the day with them really made everything else even more beautiful.