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James and the Giant Journey

USA - East Coast Extravagence

USA | Friday, 3 February 2012 | Views [240]

So it was wheels up at London Heathrow, Terminal 5 at 11:15am on 16th January 2012, the start of 7 months of a giant journey which should take me around the world. Arrival at Washington D.C 8 hours later was quite an introduction to the American winter -2 degrees Celsius! Then it was just a bus and taxi ride until we arrived at the address I had been given by James and Anne Church who had kindly agreed to host us for the first stop of many in the USA. However all was not right as we knocked and knocked on the door to no answer.. Georgina then asked me the question"Are you sure this is the right house, have you seen their house before?" To  which I could only look sheepish and respond"...umm no.." So after speaking to both their neighbors we discovered that Anne was in fact in and was in the kitchen but hadn't heard our knocks!

So began our 3 days in Washington D.C and Georgina's first glimpse of the capital. We took in the museums on the first day as the weather was grey and rainy so shelter was a good choice. We also managed to stumble into an Occupy Capital Building protest while heading home so took lots of pictures of that! Loads of police everywhere and fairly quiet and sort of boring protesters marching by! (It didn't have a scratch on the Student protests in London!) The next few days saw us visit many of the monuments in D.C including the White House! There appeared to be some sort of function going on there so we stood and watched, not sure we glimpsed Mr & Mrs Obama but will have a closer look at the pictures when I can!

Our last eve in D.C was spent having dinner with Anne and James then he and I went off to the range to indulge in James' latest hobby of shooting his 9mm pistol, it was great fun!

After D.C it was time to head off to the Big Apple, New York City and the first of many of our greyhound bus experiences! After 4 hours of staring out the window listening to tunes we arrived in Manhattan. We met up with George's friend Andrew then George and I parted ways as she was staying with him and I went to see my Dad's cousin David and his family in Brooklyn.

The weekend in New York was awesome, we couldn't decide what to see in such a short time and as David's daughter Frankie put it "New York isn't just a city its more like a culture, just go for a walk around!" So we took her advice and spent many hours walking round the city taking in the sights and atmosphere. We did go to a few sights including the September 11th memorial which I think is a really fitting tribute to those who lost their lives. The monument is two huge square fountains set exactly in the footprints of the twin towers surrounded by a garden and overlooked by the new No. 1 World Trade Center tower. Despite the -6 degree temperature it was an amazing experience. Also amazing was going up 69 stories to the top of the Rockefeller Center Tower, from here we had brilliant views of New York including the Empire State Building. The best part was the fact that we had timed this just as it was getting dark so we have pictures of the city in daylight and lit up at night, which is absolutely breathtaking!

We could litterally have spent all 6 weeks in D.C and NYC however it was then off to Boston to see George's friend Zach and visit the world famous educational institute of Harvard University. We even got to attend a class for 1 hour at Harvard which made me feel Very intelligent..... Then we had an evening meal at the pub called the Thirsty Scholar which some of you might know appeared int the film 'The Social Network' (now another film I can ruin for Si with "I've been there!")

From Boston we had a day trip up (a 7 hour bus ride!) to Niagara Falls! We saw the falls from the Canadian side as greyhound run a bus up to there. The falls are just as spectacular as I remember and despite the negative temperatures we spent a good few hours walking round. As it was just a day trip we then jumped on a night bus for another 8 hour bus ride to the windy city, Chicago!

Chicago was a day and a half of walking round looking at the fantastic architecture, sculptures (giant mirror ball for some cool pics) and heading 103 stories up the Willis (Sears) Tower! Now this may sound great to be 103 floors up, however it gets even better as they now have 3 glass boxes at the top which stick about 3 feet out the side of the building, including glass floors! So you can see all of the 1,563 feet below you to the ground, seriously spectacular views! In the evening we took in a nice meal and tried to find a bar with some live music however it being mid week there was none so we ended up having a pint in an 'English Style' pub!

From Chicago to was time to head south...see you down there...

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