Saturday, 2 May 2015

Our last day! A homage to Sex and the City!

Last day!!! Airport by 5.30 pm and flight to London at what to do on our last day! 

A Sex and the City tour of course! Bags packed, checked out and bags left with the picking us up at 3.45....

We walked to our usual breakfast spot! Then onto The Plaza Hotel (thinking of Friends at this point) to pick up our trip. I had paid a little extra (£6 each to have VIP seating at the front of the coach and it was worth it). Our guide was an actress called Sarah originally from the UK but now married and settled in NY. We had a fantastic time - little snippets from the show as we drove to the next location put everything on context. 

One of the highlights of this tour is that it took us to areas we had not explored - the Meatpacking  Distrct and Greenwich/West Village were fab! We had a wander around Greenwich/West Village where Sarah Jessica Parker actually lives (yes we saw her house!) and were desperately trying to spot any stars wandering around - apparently they actually LEAVE their houses and go shopping and to restaurants and stuff?!????

NOT SJP's house but near it!! The owners came out and took our photo - must be annoying 30 tourists standing outside your house every day taking pics just because it was in SATC a long time ago!!!

We did see the start of the High Line - something we didn't get time to do but definately on my list if i am lucky enough to get back to NY at some point! (The High Line is a public park built on an old freight line elevated above the streets on Manhatten's West Side and sounds awesome!)

A cupcake from the Magnolia Bakery compulsory!!

Some other lovely shops in the area!!

Lol!!! ....

We had a brilliant tour and were dropped off at Bryant Park a short walk to the hotel. We stopped off for a slice of pizza (huge) and then back to the hotel for our bags. The transfer to the airport was great - very interesting taxi driver from Guyana who pointed out places of interest in Queens (the airport is in the borough of Queens). The airport was heaving and it took an age to clear security but the flight was called on time and off we went! A lovely flight with Virgin Atlantic - i have never had so much leg room!! It takes just over 6 hours back and we landed at Heathrow just after 7 am the next morning!

So that was our trip to NYC! We loved it!! Thanks for reading!

A lovely day out - our trip to Washington DC!

An early start! Luckily the meeting point to pick up our trip to Washington was 2 minutes from the Hotel on 8th Avenue. We had booked the trip through Viator and though we knew it would be a long trip (15 hours in the end) we were excited!!! Our guide for the day was Victoria who was brilliant - she spoke 4 languages and had two groups (English speakers and French speakers to explain everything to!) at the other end of the coach was another guide for the Spanish speakers!

The journey was long (4 hours) but we stopped off at a service station in Delaware to get breakfast and have a loo break. 

We crossed a big river...

And drove past Baltimore which we were told was the most dangerous city in North America.

Eventully we reached Washington and crossed into Virginia for a quick gander at the Pentagon before parking up at the Vietnam war memorial.

The Pentagon

The Vietnam War Memorial is located north of the Lincoln Memorial. It includes the names of over 58,000 servicemen and women who died during the conflict. 

The Lincoln Memorial was our next stop and it is located on the western end of the National Mall with the Senate at the opposite end and the Washington Monument inbetween.

It is pretty amazing!!!! 

The Korean War memorial is a short walk away

We then hopped back onto the coach to go and see President Obama who was at home that day!!

The White House is located at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue and there is a park in front of it so we were able to walk up quite close....its tiny...really.... Apparently everyone says that...thats because it is...tiny!

We then went to the Smithsonian Museum of aviation!!! You know the one in A Night at the Museum!!!! We had a good wander around and then had lunch before sitting outside and enjoying some welcome warmth from the sunshine! It was 22 degrees in Washington!!!! And a lot of blossom was opening on the trees! Pretty!

Not the most attractive of buildings!!! But the one opposite was!!

Unfortunately Capitol Hill was covered in scaffolding - very inconvenient for us tourists!!! 

After this final stop off it was time for the long 4 hour coach trip back to NYC but we had a fantastic day. Washington DC is worth a visit and I would highly recommend this trip. We travelled through 6 states - New York, New Jersey, Delaware, Maryland, Washington DC and Virginia!!! We loved our time in NY but the contrast of Washington was simply amazing. And we have seen the White House!!!!!!

Wednesday, 29 April 2015

New York part 2!

Saturday 4th April

We walked onto 8th Avenue to catch the Hop on Hop off bus down to Soho where we were heading for the Vans shop (present purchase for Dominique's friend Mia). First we had breakfast! 

And watched them make pizzas!!

We hopped on the bus downtown to Soho. Hopped off and got just couldn't find the Vans shop....for ages! After eventually seeking help (and warmth - it was windy and chilly) in a very friendly store we were pointed in the right direction and eventually found it and made a succesful purchase!!!

We then decided to walk downtown to Ground Zero. The last time i was in NYC the visitor's centre was under construction and the area was fenced in. Now One World Trade Centre is completed the Ground Zero's waterfalls are accessible from the street. It is not an easy place to visit and the names of all those who died are engraved around the waterfalls where the footprints of the twin towers were. A sad place. 

We decided to walk to Battery Park and catch the ferry to the Statue of Liberty. The queue was huge and I mean we kind of found ourselves accidently (!!!!!) in the VIP queue with a load of English school kids and their teachers...and a 2 hour wait became 10  minutes!!!! Big tip - if you plan to go to the Statue of Liberty go early!!!!!

The ferry trip gives you a great view of the NY skyline and Lady Liberty. We decided not to visit Ellis Island but go straight to the Statue. The weather was windy but sunny and we spent an enjoyable hour or so wandering around taking selfies!! Then we ate cheesy chips. As you do. (Note - this was the last time we ate cheesy chips - there is only so much of that orange plastic stuff called 'cheese' in America one can take.... It was becoming a cheesy chip too far!)


We then made our way back to the ferry and before we knew it were back in Battery Park. We hopped on a bus and made our way back uptown.

Dominique had decided that she wanted to go up the Top of the Rock on her birthday the next day so we got off at the Rockafellar centre stop to get tickets for the next evening.

The ice rink was still going!
Before heading back to the Hotel Dominique bought the world's biggest gherkin!!!!

Next to her phone for scale!!!!

After a shower and a rest at the Hotel (read here...a few hours of American TV!) we went to Ruby Tuesdays for our evening meal for Dominique's birthday. It was packed so we had to wait by the bar for a while and people watch!! The food was delicious - prawn starter, steak main and cheesecake pudding!! Yummmmmmy

Sunday 5th April - Dominique turns 19 

After a great breakfast at our favourite cafe oliviero we jumped on the tour around Central Park again! Today's weather was a lot better than last time we tried this!

Central Park

We decided to have a walk around the park before heading to 5th Avenue for the Easter Day parade and jumped off the bus outside the Guggenheim.

And a lovely Sunday morning stroll through Central Park with a visit to Strawberry Fields.

We then hit 5th Avenue where the annual Easter Day parade was in full flow. Loved some of the outfits but my favourites had to be the dogs!!

Just brilliant!

By this time we were peckish so decided to head down to Grand Central Terminal (built in 1913 and on E 42nd Str and Vanderbilt Ave) - not only is it absolutely beautful but there is a food hall underneath! 

The ceiling of the main concourse has a beautiful celestial mural painted on it - excuse my rubbish picture. 

After filling up on hotdog/burger/chips and milkshakes we headed back to the hotel for a rest! 

We had tickets for the Rockafellar Centre Top of the Rock for 6.45 and as it was only a short walk from the hotel headed there just before - the aim was to get sunset picture of NYC. You have to go through security before being herded into the lifts. Some Swiss tourists had left rather a fancy army knife in their rucksak which they were extremely upset to have confiscated. I couldn't quite believe their stupidity.

The lift is fast but the lights and effects happening around you take your mind off it if you are a little bit claustraphobic like me!

The views are amazing of downtown Manhatten and of Central Park and of course of the Empire State building!

Trying to get all that in on a selfie was interesting!!!!

After staying at the top until the sun had set we headed down to earth and had a wander around the Rockafellar Centre itself which had a lovely display of flowers to celebrate Easter.