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The World Through My Eyes Travel is more than the seeing of sights; it is a change that goes on, deep and permanent, in the ideas of living.

New York, New York. It's so good they named it twice!

USA | Friday, 7 June 2013 | Views [741]

My last and final stop on my trip was New York...The Big Apple! Five days spent there was nowhere near enough time to explore the gigantic city but we gave it a go!

Flying in from Lima, I was to be met by my sisters arriving from London. After being told I couldn't check in until they arrived I took it upon myself to go out and wander around. I didn't get too far before my hunger decided to make an appearance! I strolled past a few cafe's then finally went into one named Potbelly, ironic really seeing as that's how I felt after my mass consumption of dulce de leche in the neighbouring South America! I grabbed a turkey sub and a drink and took a seat in front of the window and watched the world go by. If you look past the yellow taxis and don't look up towards the skyscrapers you could almost mistake yourself for being in London. A city of people, all going about their day to day business. Office workers on lunch breaks hurriedly piling into eating estabishments, police directing traffic, street vendors selling amazingly looking fresh fruit, more street vendors selling fast foods and salesmen and ladies ripping you off to buy bus tours - yes we fell for that sales pitch! After years of telling myself i'd make it there, I'd finally arrived in New York and what a better week to arrive than one where they're having a heatwave!

A few hours later my sisters arrived. After getting ready we took to the sidewalk and made our way towards Greenwich Village and into a lovely Spanish Tapas restaurant. The food was delicious and the Sangria was even better!I can confidently say much better than any i've ever had in Spain! Seeing as we were all tired after dinner we headed back to the hotel and had a not so early night. The next day we had big plans, or that's what we thought! After pounding the pavements for nearly forty five minutes on the hunt for a traditional New York breakfast we eventually settled on Lindy's, a diner literally two minutes from our hotel! We all ordered the blueberry pancakes which were stacked high (if you're British) maybe not so if you're an American. We had the slowest waiter who looked close to retirement and was perhaps a little hard of hearing as he didn't ever seem to bring Steph (my eldest sister) her coffee refill when she asked! He did however rate his service himself as great and shockingly we obliged and gave the tip! Around an hour later we eventually escaped from there ready to start our first full day in the city.

Walking along the streets we got pestered time and time again to buy a bus tour, eventually we gave in and purchased the useless tickets! Later that afternoon we ticked our first tourist hotspot off the list. The Empire State Building. We took the New York Skyride simulator tour and then made our way up to the 86th floor and took in our first views of the New York skyline. It was amazing. Overlooking the Hudson River on one side and the East River to the other, the mass of high rise buildings rose upwards from the ground, making the taxis and cars on the roads below appear as though they wouldn't look out of place in a childs toy box. Sightseeing is thirsty work so once we'd left the building we stopped in a pub along the route for a well deserved drink. 

In the evening Tasha and myself took a bus tour, the worst tour i've experienced in my life! We waited for an hour for the bus to arrive and when it did eventually come we were greeted by the most annoying tour guide! Thankfully our earphones didn't work, making it easier to switch off. This proved to be a bit hard to do when he broke out in song but it did provide an element of amusement. We were shown sites and given explanations about them, none that i'm able to relay in great detail as like I've  just mentioned I'd switched off! We passed through Manhattan and out towards Brooklyn where we were able to get a photo of the bridge and then headed back towards Times Square. On returning to the hotel we were both disappointed and tired but stayed up to plan our next day.

The following day we had breakfast at Balthazar which serves superb French cuisine, we all had egg's but in different forms. It set us up for the day ahead and the walking which would follow! We took the subway up to Grand Central Station where we were all in awe of the outstanding architecture and the size of the building. After stopping for a few photo's we made our way over to the New York Public Library where once again we were amazed with the stunning architecture. We passed through Times Square where Tasha had a photo with the Naked Cowboy (he's not totally naked just in case anybody's wondering!) Fighting the midday heat we continued onto the Rockefeller Centre which we stopped briefly at to take more pictures! By this time we were all hungry so had lunch at Essa Bagel which had been recommended to me and it turned out to be a good recommendation. After re fuelling on the big bagels we made our way towards Central Park, unfortunately we didn't get to spend much time there as we had Yankees tickets for that evening!

The Yankees vs The Red Sox, a good game I kept getting told whilst on my travels then followed by the question "how did you manage to get tickets to that!?" It was thanks to my friend Emily, she invited us along. If it weren't for her we wouldn't have known, so Emily if you're reading this..thanks Dedo! We didn't really understand the game, well we didn't but the atmosphere was fun. It appears people tend to do alot of wandering around whilst the game is on, or sleeping as the guy next to Steph opted to do! All in all a good experience.

Saturday we went back to Central Park and took a rickshaw ride around it with a guide. It was nice to have things pointed out and explained to us and he also doubled up as a good photographer! The park is beautiful, it was great to see so many famous landmarks that appear in many films and tv programmes and if you're a FRIENDS fan, like we all are that famous water fountain, which yes of course we stopped at to take some photo's! We only managed to see a section of the park as we ran out of time but what we did see was picturesque. Next we stopped at the 9/11 Memorial to pay our respects, a very moving experience and one that I can't and would not want to put into words. After stopping there for some time we made our way onto our boat tour which allowed us to take in the famous sites of The Statue Of Liberty, Ellis Island, Brooklyn Bridge and Lower Manhattan, which includes Wall Street. We stayed on top deck which seemed like a good idea until the wind attacked all of our hair! Stepping off the boat we took the somewhat long walk over the Brooklyn Bridge, where we thought we would get good views of Lower Manhattan,however due to scaffolding being up most of them were blocked! It probably wasn't the best day for me to wear a skirt and cross a bridge either as it kept getting swept up by the breeze, causing a few Marilyn Monroe moments! Once in Brooklyn our destination was set to Grimaldi's as I was strongly recommended there. Unfortunately we weren't in luck to try the pizza as the queue was huge and we didn't have time to stand around and wait in it, instead we continued onto Juniors. If you mention Juniors to most people in New York they will recommend their favourite cheesecake to you and what a recommendation this place was! The cheesecake is HUGE and it's good! Tasha and myself decided to have some jerk chicken before we got started on dessert and well, we were in New York so you know the drill,the portions are big! Unable to eat the cheesecake we took it away with us, it made a great treat to come back to after our night out.

Fortunately for me I have two friends in New York who I was able to meet up with. We were joined by my friend Santi at the 230 Fifth rooftop bar. At first he was turned away for not wearing collars but he came to our rescue and saved us from the sweaty club downstairs! When Tasha had asked one of the bouncers if there was an outdoor area (we'd been specifically told to come here for the views from the rooftop bar) she was told "no there's nowhere outside unless you're leaving!" It was not long after this that my friend came along and saved the day! He asked what we were doing downstairs when there was a rooftop bar!? Always handy to know a local when you have views of the skyline just waiting to be taken in. We stayed there for a few drinks and then went on to the bar at the W Hotel in Times Square. A nice bar playing lots of good music and we even managed to sit in the reserved area, thanks to Santi flinging the card off the table!

Sunday was our last day and that day was dedicated to what is tradition in New York!Shopping! We shopped at the speed of lightning and were met by Emily too. A New Yorker who hasn't been to Juniors, almost unheard of so we had to introduce her to it! As if we hadn't had enough of it the night before we headed back to Juniors but this time in Times Square. The plan was to take the cheesecake away but once the waiter started waving that cocktail list infront of us we weren't going anywhere! We sat down for lunch over a cocktail, had our cheesecake and then had to make a quick dash to start packing for our flights!

So there you have it. My final blog!!

In 10.5 weeks I've been on eight flights (one VERY scary!), travelled on nineteen buses, riden four trains, bobbed along on eight boats, sat in numerous amounts of taxi's (some driven by dangerous drivers) and taken nine tours!

I had a great time on my travels. I did many exciting things, experienced different cultures and languages, saw some fantastic scenery, learnt alot, met a whole group of great people, made new friends, got to meet up with old friends and came back richer - not in wealth but in experience. A fantastic opportunity for me and i'm proud to say I done it all alone. A life changing experience with memories to last a lifetime.

Thank you to everybody who's followed me these last few months, I hope you've enjoyed reading my blog as much as I've enjoyed writing it. So until the next time tchau,chau and last but not least goodbye.

Tags: 9/11, balthazar, brooklyn, central park, juniors, manhattan, sightseeing, staue of liberty, yankees



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