Sunday, 19 April 2015

Our trip to New York (with Washington DC as a bonus!) Part 1!!


FACTFILE

Who: me and my daughter (her 19th birthday present!)

When: Thursday 2nd April - Wednesday 8th April

Where: NYC and a day in Washington DC. We stayed at the Crowne Plaza Times Square for 5 nights.

Flights: Delta from Heathrow Terminal 3 to JFK (in the borough of Queens) and back with Virgin Atlantic JFK to Heathrow. Both excellent though Virgin get a massive shout out for amazing leg room and entertainment!

Sights seen: you name it we saw it!!!!!

Travel agent: Heather from Trailfinders (best travel agents around in my opinion!)

Excursions/Transport: hop-on/hop- off bus booked through Viator and tickets to the Top of the Rock and the ferry to the Statue of Liberty, day trip to Washington DC and the Sex and the City Tour of NYC - all booked through Viator

Transfers from airport and back- once arrived and after passport and baggage claim go through into the airport where you can book a shared shuttle bus to your hotel. Highly recommended cost $50 including the obligatory tip. Waited about 20 mins then shared a minibus with some French/Dutch and Belgian tourists into NYC. On the way back I ordered a taxi from the hotel a few days before. This was more expensive at $93 but was worth it for peace of mind getting to the airport during a busy rush hour!!! Plus the driver was excellent pointing out places of interest in Queens on the way!

Weather: cool (10 degrees) to warm (21 degrees)with some rain on the Friday morning. Typical for the first week of April apparently (though i will confess the 21 degrees was in Washington!!!)



FIRST EVENING!

The 72 hour hop on hop off bus came with a complimentary night tour so our plan was to get the tickets, go on the tour then find somewhere to eat!

Big tip here!!! Don't just assume you know where Madame Tussauds is from your previous visit.....Anyhoo....If you have bought tickets off Viator for the bus you need to swop your bit of paper for your tickets...so after a quick shower and change of clothes we exited the hotel into the noise, crowds and general busy mahem of Times Square!!! And wow how amazing is the place!!! Your senses are bombarded with sights, noises, smells and.....leaflets being shoved at you outside the many theatres on Broadway.

So Madame Tussauds! Its on 42nd Street so from Times Square walk south on Broadway or 7th Avenue and you will see Madame Tussauds on your right. There is a desk at the entrance and you can swop your paper for tickets there!

We decided to get onto the next night tour which left at 6.45 at the corner of 42nd/7th. 





Crossing Brooklyn Bridge


Skyline with big pole in the middle of the photo?!?

I have to say we thoroughly enjoyed the tour though there was a moment whilst crossing on the Brooklyn Bridge when we both thought we may freeze to death!!! Soooo if its not 30 degrees plus i suggest you take a cardigan/fleece/hotwater bottle!!

The tour ended by driving through Times Square...it was dark...all the billboards were flashing...there was at least a million people milling around and horns blowing etc etc...the atmosphere is unlike anywhere on earth!!

Times Square!! 

After the night tour we decided to get some food...what we didn't know at that point was there was an amazing pizza take away/eat in across the road from the hotel or that 8th Avenue has loads of places to get food.... So we went to TGI Fridays..which was ....shall we say...interesting!!!! Mainly due to a few staff running around like headless chickens! Nevertheless the burger, sweet potato fries and large Coke hit the spot so we retired to our hotel full, knackered and looking forward to exploring more the next day!

FRIDAY 3rd APRIL

This was the weather forecast!!!!��������
So what to do?!?!
First of all we decided to head out and find somewhere for breakfast. We headed north towards Central Park on 7th Avenue and that's where we found Cafe Oliviero!!

I cannot recommend this place higly enough for breakfast and we ate here 3 mornings....check out those pancakes!!! I cannot describe the deliciousness that is a breakfast of fresh pancakes, bacon and breakfast syrup!!
Oh yummmmmmm
Dominique enjoying her breakfast!!
Place your order and wait while your pancakes are cooked for you!!
After this hearty breakfast we decided to walk up to Central Park and catch one of the hop-on hop-off bus tours. The rain at this point was holding off so we decided to do the tour around Central Park taking in Upper West side, Mornington Heights Harlem, East Harlem and the Upper East Side. So after half an hour on the open top bus...yes...the heavens opened....So we sat there with our raincoats on and the plastic coats provided by the tour guide and saw nothing!!!! Eventually by the time we arrived outside the Guggenheim Museum the rain had stopped and we had had enough! The sun came out and off we hopped!

We decided to walk down 5th Avenue and hit the shops! After a good hour in Hollister where Dominique tried on most of the clothes then an hour or two in a shop selling trainers (hundreds of trainers)we headed back to the hotel for a rest!!

We decided that that night would be perfect to have a take-away and watch some US TV.

As we had discovered on our travels that day 8th Avenue has a lot of great places to eat so off we went! Shake Shack was the destination! With hot dogs, burgers, cheesy chips and milk shakes (we LOVE milk shakes) on offer it was a must! We had to queue outside it is that popular...but check out the milkshake menu!!!! Peanut butter milk shake like yessssss!

This is what we ordered and took back to the hotel for a chill out evening!
And how yummy it was!!!


In my next blog entry I will be detailing our adventures on Saturday 4th and Sunday 5th April! Highlights include the Statue of Liberty, a trek around Soho looking for the Vans shop, and a lovely birthday meal with Dominique at Ruby Tuesdays!!

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Life is something that happens when .....

I love that quote because it is definately typifying my life at the moment....

Much as i dream of our trip and our life in Australia....it is very much in the future because our  life now is getting in the way! Working full time can sometimes be very full time. 

I have done a little work on the blog .....the new name I think is here to stay! And I really hope to get a new look sorted in the next few months too - I need to network! Though I must say I feel quite a lot older then most bloggers I am following....especially all the travellers....but there must be room out there for a late 40 something wanderer too I think.

It is grey, dark and quite miserable in the UK at the moment and I am dreaming of blue skies and sunshine. The light box may have to make an appearance if it gets any worse. I have always struggled with the winter months in the northern hemisphere and it does not get any easier year after year.

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Above picture taken in Malta a few years ago. One of my favourite destinations and always cheers me up looking at that picture.



Tuesday, 21 January 2014

Getting my head around my blog

Well I am still working on improving my blog and have just discovered today that you can buy templates ALREADY DONE on Etsy!!!!! Well that will be my next stop to improve things!

I am also exploring new more effective (hopefully) names..... 

Watch this space as they say!

Friday, 13 December 2013

Off for a bit of r and r in London

Well i have decided to have a mini break and am at the present moment on a very empty train down to London.....



I am off to spend some quality time with my daughter's godparents who i have known for 25 years....they were our next door neighbours when we lived in South Africa and i met them when i was in my final year of my BA degree at Wits University.

I was thinking the other day of the places in the world i have been lucky enough to see and in some cases live in and where my next priorities are....

The trip from Moscow to Beijing via the Trans-Mongolian express has to be one highlight to look forward to and Vietnam and Cambodia are the countries i am particularly excited about....oh and Phi Phi in Thailand....

There seems to be so much world to see and hopefully in the New Year more concrete plans will materialise...

Watch this space as they say!

Tuesday, 10 December 2013

Not long to go now....

Well after nearly 12 weeks in Norway my husband is nearly due home....another 10 days or so. There is even more snow and he has tried (unsucessfully) to build a snowman! The snow is too powdery though so he didnt have sucess. Not bad really for a guy who really doesnt like snow...

I have been playing around with Polyvore creating all sorts of pretty sets....travel isnt far from my mind. I have a few orders to get out for my business and then i am shutting shop for Christmas. These seem to have been shared on my blog....I really do need to learn how to run a blog in the. New Year...I think that is a resolution!!!!

My daughter has an interview at Oxford University next week which is very exciting.....So all in all a good month!



House decorations have started with avengeance. 

And plans are starting on our trip to South-East Asia.... Well a map is on my dining room wall!


On another note....The World lost the most amazing leader and man this week - 


Its snowing in Norway and you must see these pictures




L






How beautiful is this.....

Wednesday, 4 December 2013

Must do better

Having had a look at some amazing blogs this morning I have realised i need to improve this one as it is too basic...so a trip to the local library is in order...Blogging for Dummies is on the list in the hope. I can revamp my blog!
 
Wouldn't it be lovely to join the band of people who just travel...forever...There seem to be loads of people in their 20's travelling and 20 years ago i was one of them. I remember the excitement of arriving in Paris in December 1989 after having just completed my first degree at the University of the Witwatersrand in South Africa....freedom to now do what i wanted.

Now over 24 years later and i feel the same way...on the verge of a big adventure...a scary one! After all i am 46 shouldn't i be settled now? But you know what I have no desire for materials things..for the big house and the posh cars...that does not appeal...not if it means i am stuck...My main belief is that THERE ARE MANY LIVES TO LEAD...why just pick one? Your life and view of the world is only one view and I want to live many...

My favourite quote.....The World is like a book....and those who do not travel read only one page....and you know what i want to read the entire book from cover to cover....that is my goal in life...

And this is an awful picture...lol!