Hope everyone had a good first week back to work! Mine felt like it lasted for ages- so I hope everyone else felt like theirs went by faster.
I thought I’d start out the New Year, with continuing to catch up on my travels from 2015. Where I last left off on my travels was after getting home from Budapest, and getting ready to fly to New York.
Well, after a night of no sleep, and a flight that went by very quickly (thank goodness for eye masks and ear plugs), we had arrived.
Assen and I often will stay at AirBnB places- as I find they are cheaper than hotels, and I love the idea of being able to save money by making my own food. Truth be told, I’ve never made anything besides coffee and bought some yogurt and fruit for breakfast- but even that adds up after a few days!
For this trip, Assen had found us a beautiful place to stay in, which was just a 40 minute train ride away, as we were staying in Brooklyn. Assen’s dad lives just an hour away from New York, so we wanted to have the option of him staying with us for a night, and the place we ended up staying at was a 2 bedroom apartment. Honestly- I loved it. It was a tad far away from Manhattan, but once we bought ourselves a week Metro card, we were good to go for the rest of the trip.
On our first night, we were feeling a tad jet-lagged, but still wanted to try and do something. So we went to the most obvious place, and wandered around Time Square.
I love Time Square- the advertisements, the people- it’s a great start to feel like you’re in New York. Plus, when you’re feeling tired because your body thinks it’s 3 am, all of the lights really make you feel more awake.
We also wandered over to Rockefeller Center. Since we hadn’t researched the trip much beforehand, we weren’t sure if the Christmas tree would be lit up, and sadly it was still being decorated when we were there. However, even seeing how big the tree truly is- I can’t imagine how beautiful it must be lit up (it’s hidden behind the GIANT 2015 sign)
After wandering around for a couple of hours, we decided to call it a night and head back to our place to get some sleep.
The next day we were very lazy in the morning, especially since with the time change we were both awake quite early, but didn’t actually end up leaving our apartment until about noon. Assen wanted to see the Brooklyn bridge, and I wanted a few pictures of the beautiful Manhattan skyline, so we started off by our side of the island.
Often times, Assen will take my camera, and take multiple angle pictures of me. I’m sure we look incredibly strange as a couple, as he’ll be directing me how to move, and I’m laughing while trying to complete his instructions. The below pictures are just a couple of the many, many pictures I have like this- but they always make me smile when I see them.
After spending some time (and taking far too many pictures) by the water, we headed into Manhattan and down to Wall Street. We found the New York Stock Exchange building, which I have to admit was a little underwhelming to see in person. Both Assen and I are accountants, so we spend a lot of our time working on clients which trade on the NYSE, therefore to see the building which is the cause of many, many hours of our lives was almost more depressing than exciting.
We also wandered around (eating some very disappointing pretzels!) and found the bull in New York.
Finally, for that afternoon, we wandered into Chinatown, and Little Italy for all the sites.
We finished our wandering for the day and found a small Vietnamese restaurant that was serving hot pho. It was quite a cold day, and we had been outside for hours at this point, so it was so nice to eat some hot food, and warm up for awhile.
We had purchased live comedy tickets for that night, as we decided going to see anything on Broadway wouldn’t make much sense, since all the shows also play in London. However, we got slightly scammed for our comedy tickets. On our first night, we were at Times Square, and a guy was selling tickets on the street. Now, this should’ve been our first clue, however I heard him saying that Tina Fey had played there the night before (and I LOVE Tina Fey), so I stopped to listen to his spiel. He told us all about the people who were included in the show, and they were all well known actors- not super famous, but I had at least heard of all of them. He sold us the tickets for $10 each (which should’ve been our second clue), and off we went. When we went to the show the following night, well- it was all local artists, and the crowd was about 95% friends and family. The place had a 2 drink minimum, and after Assen and I each had our two drinks, plus tip, we ended up spending $70! We still enjoyed the night, but was certainly not the show we had been promised. So lesson learnt! Don’t buy tickets from strangers in Time Square.
The next day was raining all day, so Assen and I took a bus to New Jersey and spent the entire day shopping at an outlet mall (by the end of the day, we had walked 13 km just around the mall). I bought myself a new winter jacket, and a couple of shirts, and Assen bought himself some clothing as well. I don’t have any pictures from that day, so I’ll skip ahead to the following day, which started off with an iconic building
Now, for those of you who have been following this blog for awhile (or know me in person), you’ll know that I am obsessed with tea, and specifically, David’s Tea. However, you can’t buy it in the UK. Therefore, anytime I’m in Canada, I always stock up as much as I can- and my friends often send me care packages with extra tea. Therefore, one of the first things I researched when Assen and I booked this trip was whether there was a David’s Tea in New York…and then I convinced Assen that we absolutely had to go.
It was a good stock up trip.
After we had completed that essential stop, we headed over to the Empire State Building, as I wanted to go to the top of the building.
Thankfully, when we were there wasn’t very busy. When you go to the top, there are two ticket options which you can buy, which is to go to the 80th floor, or to go to both the 80th floor and the 100th floor. If you choose the option with both floors, you can also upgrade yourself do avoid the queue. There were several people selling tickets outside the building, and Assen chatted it up with the one guy for long enough that at the end, he told us to just buy tickets for the 80th floor, as it was a quiet day and we wouldn’t be missing anything by not going up further. Even though we just bought the normal tickets, it only took us about 40 minutes before we were outside and snapping pictures.
It truly is impressive how high up you are. I kept on trying to find landmarks to compare how high we were, compared to other buildings we had seen on the ground.
After enjoying for quite some time, we finally headed back down to check out one final famous landmark area- Central Park.
We arrived as the sun was starting to set, so didn’t want to spend too much time in the park, but sat by the water for awhile and chatted with our coffees, and then wandered through the park to come out on 5th Avenue.
That night, Assen’s dad came into New York, and we went out for delicious sushi with him- unfortunately, I did not snap any pictures from that entire evening.
The next day, we drove out to Long Island, and had lunch with Assen’s cousin and her husband. Thankfully they were aware of traffic in New York, and advised us to head to the airport with a lot of advance time before our flight. Next time I’m in New York- I will take the subway rather than sitting in a car! It took us 3 hours to drive from Long Island to the airport! And this was on a Saturday, so it wasn’t even rush hour! Thankfully we had left with enough time, so we didn’t miss our flight.
Because we had booked our flight so last minute, to get a reasonably priced flight, on the return trip we couldn’t get a direct flight. Instead we flew to Toronto, and then had an 9 hour layover- between 11 pm and 8 am. We decided getting a hotel wouldn’t be worth it, so we spent the night at the airport. I tried sleeping with my body wrapped around my bag, but after shivering for a couple of hours, I finally admitted defeat and just read my book for a few hours. However, it was finally time to go through security in the morning, and before leaving, I bought a few gifts to commemorate Assen’s first trip to Canada
And then just a short 7 hour flight, and 2 hour drive later, we were back home again.
I’m heading back to New York in May with a friend- does anyone have any tips of things I missed which I should see? If you’ve been before- what was your favourite landmark?