Heading to Canada

Today was a particularly long day, which mostly consisted of waiting. And then some.
First of all, we had to get from our hotel to 42nd street, where our bus to Newark Airport was destined to leave. This meant we had to travel with a subway train (6) to Grand Central Station.
We got off the subway and waited a little bit for the bus to leave to Newark.

Our tickets said that the flight was being carried out by United Airlines Express, which meant we had to Get off the bus and check our bags at terminal A. Unfortunately, this was not the case. As we found out a little while later after we checked our bags.
So, we were off to go to terminal C.
The only problem was that the Airtrain which rides between the three terminals at Newark was not running at all. And you cannot walk from A to C. Bummer.
Eventually, we persuaded a bus driver from a hotel to take us from A to C. We owe this guy a big thank you!

During every step above, we waited. And did some more waiting. It was quite the process.
Arriving at terminal C, we went through security (taking off our belts, shoes and getting virtually every device out of their bags and pockets) and went for breakfast. We were quite hungry by then!

After settling in at gate 95X we waited for about 75 minutes only to find out the plane did not leave it’s previous destination yet! So we waited for more than over an hour extra. Finally, around 1:45PM we left Newark. We left our hotel at 8:30AM.

There were some bright sides to this story. We travelled through the air for about 1 hour in a Dash-300 TurboProp plane! That is quite something else compared to all the jet planes!
The pickup of our rental car also was easy fast and a nice experience as we did not get the car we ordered but were silently upgraded to a Volkswagen Jetta. Yes. A German car. With a 2.5 litre US engine. 😉

Tomorrow, we’ll travel from our hotel to the falls. Let’s see what this place has in store for us!


Last full day in the Big Apple

I never quite understood why New York city was called the Big Apple, and did not find out this trip either. Not in the last place because of the fact that I didn’t bother to go looking for the answer anyway.
Oh well. The last full day. Only one more night of sleep and we’ll be heading to the airport to go to the next destination.

But first today. As we have visited most if not all of the items on our todo list, today has been a day of relaxation and trying to do stuff wedding not think of beforehand. This meant we started off at a restaurant which was recommended to us by a couple of friends.

Little Italy. Or SoHo. Or NoLita. We actually don’t know. All we know the place we had breakfast is called Balthazar and is located on 80 Spring Street. That’s on Spring Street and Lafayette Street. And it’s not Italian. But French. And really good. Actually, really good. It’s where the locals also go. And where we had our breakfast. 🙂

With our stomachs filled we headed off to nowhere actually. We ended up touring SoHo (Wooster Street, aka Woostah!) only to find quite a lot of hipsters and really stylish stores with furniture, kitchens, interiors and designer clothes. After this, we went back to NoLita and also Little Italy (Grand Street) to get a good taste of what this was like. As we were there around lunchtime, the restaurants were literally begging us to get a taste of cannoli and pasta. We politely refused.
We can definitely recommend touring these three districts as they are both historically important for the city itself and really fun!

Trying to find our way back towards a subway station we ended up walking through Chinatown (Mott Street) which was a true blast. This was not the tourist’s Chinatown, this was Chinese Chinatown. Brimful of little shops with fruit and vegetables, weird spices, and fish markets, this is the place where the NY Chinese live and go grocery shopping. No common letters around. Only Chinese script. What a sight! We have been wandering around getting amazed at every corner on the streets.

With a small loot of cherries we headed to 34th in the neighbourhood of our beloved Empire State Building to eat those and enjoy being there. Eventually, we ended up doing some more shopping and buying as spending money on clothes is something all travellers to NY seem to do, we were definitely not an exception. 🙂

Heading back to the hotel, we figured we didn’t want to go far to grab a bite which meant we were going to eat at the restaurant directly adjacent to the hotel. Also serving Italian food, it was good but not too much. And at 23 degrees it was really nice to have dinner at a table outside.
Our last trip of the day included riding the 6 and the 5 all the way down to Fulton Street tosee the Brooklyn Bridge at night. Just lovely!

Unfortunately, we are destined to leave New York tomorrow. We have come to really like this city and the bustling atmosphere. We however disliked the smell. If only this could be dealt with. It’ll probably not be why we’re not going again! 🙂

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Empire State shopping

After yet again a meal at our local SubWay, we started making our way up to Saint Patrick’s Cathedral to see for ourselves what my brother recommended us to go see.
On the outside, it’s like a lot of buildings we’ve encountered here in New York: under construction. The entire façade of the building is wrapped up in fabric and scaffolding. Only the higher parts of the church are truly visible.

The inside however is something completely else. While only the organ is under construction the grandeur of the cathedral is plainly visible. It’s a great sight, and makes for some lovely pictures. Also, the atmosphere is really mellow and inside it is nice and cool. As the temperature is rising outside and with clear skies this is a welcome refreshment.

Not too far away from the cathedral our destination for today is located. The Empire State Building. We bought tickets and got the advice to come back later and go see the sunset. Which meant we had some time to spare and spend on something else.
Central Park!

We got off the MTA at 72nd Street and started crossing the park in the slowest way possible. Whenever you go to New York, you should definitely do it like this. Don’t go to Columbus Square. It is too busy, and there are too many people trying to sell you something there. Get off at a station a little higher up in Manhattan and enjoy the peaceful surroundings.

Right after our little visit to the park we went back to 34th street and had a quick meal outside. We then went up the building. And up we went. Through the airport style security where we had to put our stuff through the scanner and take our belts off again. Up to the 88th story and the observation platform.
Just check out the pictures!
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Going uptown

The second full day (or third day in the United States if you’re counting) in New York was all about the lower parts of Manhattan. To get there, we took the 6 downtown to Brooklyn Bridge only to get off and ride another train back up to Fulton Street. A slightly longer walk than expected led us to Pier 17 and the boatride around Manhattan island!

The boat not only took us to Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridge, but it also did a tour around the southerrn tip of Manhattan and the WTC-site. After that, Ellis Island and Justice Island were also on the list.
Nearing Justice Island, our attention was drawn not to the statue on said island, but to a very remarkable move. USS Intrepid (the Spaceshuttle) was being carried on a barge right up the Hudson River towards its final destination at a museum whose name I cannot remember. Being the only Spaceshuttle to be transported, it is a really uncommon sight and for a short while f even more important than the French lady looking towards France.
She was nice as well. Needless to say, we took some pictures there. And then some more.

After getting off the boat, we rode some more trains to Rockefeller Center to go to “Top Of The Rock”. This is an observatory on the 69th floor which overlooks Central Park on one side and lower Manhattan including the Empire State building on the other side. What lovely views!
By this time, the weather has cleared fully and we even have received a sunburn from being up top for a little too long.

As we have made reservations for a show on Broadway this night, we needed to get our tickets from the box office at Minskoff theatre. A trip to Broadway meant we got our tickets and we were free to do whatever we like to do until 8PM.
As we had some time to kill we went to Central Park to chill out and give our sore feet a little off time. As Central Park is the place where the regular New Yorker does just that, we were in the right place at the right time. And boy, this park is huge!
Not only is it big, it is also a really nice and quiet place during the daytime to relax, sit back, and enjoy the scenery. Which we did,

Today yielded some more tips for future travellers to New York. Go eat at street side stands. Have a meal at Schnippers. Go to the top of the rock. (yes, this is cheesy, but good fun and really spectacular views) Spend the money, and go see a show on Broadway. Enjoy some time off at Central Park. Go to New York for more than 3 days. Get on a boat and see the skyline from the water. 🙂

There are some pictures to back my story up…

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Going across the pond. Again.

This year is quite different from past years when it comes to holidays as we’ve actually gone pretty mad with the destinations.
In addition to our trip in August/September we’ve also opted to take a two week leave to go back to the USA. To New York specifically.
To make matters worse: we’ve also decided that, as we are in the vicinity anyway, trips to Niagara Falls and Las Vegas were going to be part of the deal also.

So, here we are.
New York.

After quite an eventful flight with turbulence and today being riddled with appearances from well known Dutchmen, New York itself is still really impressive.
From arriving at Newark and taking the Newark Airport Express bus directly into Manhattan to just being there in the city that never sleeps it all is quite overwhelming. There are people and taxis everywhere you look, and the skyscrapers stand tall all around.
And when you thought you’ve seen a tall building, just go to Manhattan and find out anything smaller than bout 20 floors is just being dwarfed by huge buildings like the Empire State Building, the Chrysler Building, the Bank of America and so many others. Everywhere you look, buildings lower than 5 floors are really rare. How different from our cities can it be!

Unfortunately for us, the weather is not that great right now. We flew in with quite heavy rain and an appalling 14 degrees temperature in overcast skies. Not really perfect.
Also, we were told it will not be the greatest of weather in the coming days. Bummer!

Right now, we are both very tired and probably going off to bed soon. Tomorrow a new day, and probably a lot of stuff to do and see!