First time really far away from home
  • Day18

    The Conclusion

    April 30, 2018 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 12 °C

    After a long, but very smooth flight back, here I am, back home, trying to get used to the usual every day life.
    I promised myself that I will write some lines to conclude the overall experience that was this trip to US. I have to admit I was quite skeptical about how Americans are, about this country in general. And I am still not convinced that America is the place where all dreams come true. Nevertheless...even if the only 100% original are the Native Americans/American Indians and the country was entirely built by people coming from all over the world (England, Irland, Germany, China, Japan, Canada, etc), it is still impressive how they got to where they are. Even considering the issues they had and still have: the interracial crimes, the guns, the drugs, the wars, you can see that they are trying to co-exist, to bring everyone together, no matter how different they are. I found them (with few exceptions) very communicative, considerate, kind and with a common sense that I definitely did not expect. I saw everything: men dressed as women and women dressed as men, white, black, asian, homeless, rich, stupid and smart - so much diversity! They all live there in a country that gathered them and allows them to be who they are. Or at least tries to. I still would not say it is the perfect place on earth, because it probably is not, but I can say that it is an experience that is worth seeing and living. Fore more than just one time, as I am sure that the whole country is as diverse as its people are.Read more

  • Day16

    Last (full) day in USA

    April 28, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 9 °C

    Today we left New York by bus, back to Boston, for our last night in US.
    The trip, disappointing this time - bus leaving with more than 45mins delay from NY, crowded highways - brought us in Boston in almost 6h (originally planned 4h30). If before it was not so visible, now, coming from NY, you really notice the difference - directly from the bus terminal.
    By being smaller, Boston is somehow more compact, cleaner, less noisy, but still very impressive. I loved NY for what it represents, for diversity and its symbols, but I would never live there. I really love the „intimate“ Boston, with its historical importance that they preserve so well.
    Our hotel is now very close to the Boston Harbor, in a more „fancy“ area of the city. We seem to be cross the street from a very popular club (the way people are dressed and the queue at the entrance indicate that), and also very close to locals that serve fresh sea-fruits.
    It was very easy to decide what to have for dinner: lobster!!! I had the first lobster (and 2 🦀) in my life: very delicious, even if difficult to get to it.
    We will start tomorrow with a short run in the harbor area - enjoying the view on the city and the river / ocean that „guards“ it for one last time.
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  • Day15

    Last day in New York City

    April 27, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 12 °C

    The day started late and lazy (as it should be on holiday). First thing we did (after the morning run) was to go visit the Chrysler Building. It is now an office building, so you can only see the ground floor, but is still impressive.
    We took our time to enjoy a warm day mostly around Times Square (spending some time into a park nearby, going into some stores, walking around the place. When hunger became unbearable, we decided to take the subway towards where we live (Brooklyn). We found the best place ever: great service&atmosphere - best dinner we had in New York so far. Maybe even in US (fighting for the 1st place with Coda in Boston).
    Overall, today was mainly about feeling, hearing and enjoying the complete craziness of NY by going and spending some time in Times Square. It is maybe the hottest/ noisiest spot in NY from the people/ sqm point of view. But it is also interesting to see it all: locals & tourists - all in one place: some trying to get home for dinner, others trying to get the best photo of their lives...
    Tomorrow we shall „ride“ the Greyhound once more - to Boston - for our last day in the USA 🇺🇸.
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  • Day13

    Shopping day

    April 25, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌫 12 °C

    Because of the cloudy / rainy weather, today we decided to do some shopping. Well, not much to say about it: yes, here you pay much less for some brands that in EU are very expensive (CK, Guess, Tommy), but you also pay huge amount of money for brands that I have never heard about. Honestly, in the end it is only clothes and shoes. It is what we wear and not who we are, isn‘t it?
    After a short walk through Central Park (where we met a little cute friend☺️) we continued on 5th Avenue (UAU!) and finally ended up having dinner in a Mexican restaurant where we ate burritos and drank margarita(s).
    Even if calm, it was still an exhausting day.
    We are now expecting to see what the last day in NY will bring. For sure lots of sun!
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  • Day13

    The symbol of it all.

    April 25, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 11 °C

    When you think of New York / US, there are some main things that come into your mind: Empire State Building, World Trade Center, Wall Street, Central Park, Coca-Cola 🙂. Still, the perfect symbol of what this country means and especially meant for millions of people can be only one: the Statue of Liberty. This day was dedicated to visiting the Liberty Island (where the Statue is located) and the Ellis Island.
    The Ellis Island was the gateway for over 12 million immigrants to the U.S. from 1892 until 1954.
    In the Island’s museum you can hear & read about how this country was discovered, populated and built (starting from Columbus in 1492). Along the years, people came here for different reasons: because of difficult conditions in their countries, because of religion, for the opportunities they had here (land, gold etc.), others were deported and others came as slaves. The information presented is not trying „to portray“ the country as the perfect place, but also as a place where lots of people were in-slaved, others judged and killed for being different, while others were depraved of their and homes and land (Indians). The place is full of history... Honestly, when you enter the big registration/ luggage room, you can almost see and hear the thousands of people that waited there to be accepted in US, hopping for a new and better life.
    As for the Statue itself (in place since 1886), while approaching it from the sea, you can see it standing alone in the middle of the island, with the flame up in the sky - and you then understand why it was, and probably still is perceived as a symbol of liberty, of freedom and of hope. It is imposant, somehow showing force and power over all.
    The tour for both islands (Ellis & Liberty) lasted in total around 5h, including also the waiting period for the ferry (approx 1h with reserved tickets). It can take even longer for those who visit all of the Ellis Island and really go through all the information in the museum.
    In the evening we went to Chinatown for dinner. I have to say I was a bit disappointed, as I expected something else: more light, more noise, more open stores, more „Chinese atmosphere“. Nothing like that, though. Still, the food was very tasty: we just picked a random restaurant, as I think you can not really go wrong with the food there.
    Another day full of history and mixed emotions. Tomorrow they announced rain, so we will take a break from visiting and we will sacrifice our time to shopping. Good luck with that!☺️
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  • Day12

    Central Park West

    April 24, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 7 °C

    Another dream of ours was to have a proper run in this incredible park of theirs - and we did it! We ran for more than 2h (21km), surrounding the entire area, trying to see as much as possible, stopping to take pictures whenever one of us saw something special. For some it might be only a park, but I can tell you for sure it is not! The park created in 1857, with more than 37mil visitors/year, has baseball areas, has roads!!! with traffic lights for bicycles and pedestrians/ runners, has rocky/ hilly areas, it has around 5 lakes with different sizes, playing grounds for children, large green areas, beautiful trees...It is the place where people (both tourists and locals) go to really enjoy nature.
    After the run, we had a very tasty lunch at Uno, after which we decided to drink our coffee in the park, watching the sunset.
    We ended the day by walking half of the Brooklyn bridge, to enjoy an amazing view of the city at night...
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  • Day11

    Roosevelt Island

    April 23, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 7 °C

    With a very warm&sunny day in front of us, we decided to head somewhere close to the water, our choice being the Roosevelt Island - situated on the East River. If you are in the mood of getting away from the city for 2, max 3 hours, but still to be able to enjoy the amazing views of the Manhattan buildings, then this is the place to be. Not very crowded, it offers you the possibility to walk along the river, to sit and relax on the grass and, if lucky, (as were we) to enjoy the beauty of the blooming cherry trees. If to get to the island we used the subway, on the way back we decided to take the tramway (suspended tram), for an additional joy to the eye (if needed).
    With no other specific plan for today, we walked towards Rockefeller Center and Times Square - to add some noise and light to this (up to then) silent day.
    This city is so immense - we were just talking today that somehow you can not „measure“ it, you can not get a feeling of how big / huge everything is. You get at some point in a little park and when you look around you see you are surrounded by 10 buildings of more than 40 floors high. You walk on the streets, getting used to the high buildings and then you turn right and see a 80-floor-high building. It never stops surprising you with its contradictions: low-high, grey-green, calm-noisy, dark-light, fancy-poor. You are constantly amazed.
    Tomorrow we are supposed to start the day with a long run in Central Park West. Let‘s see what else will the day bring...
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  • Day10

    Another day in NY City

    April 22, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 8 °C

    As if there were not enough special things here, the people of New York decided to create the High Line. The High Line is a former rail trail transformed now into an elevated (up in the air) "living system". It has approximately 2,4km and is situated in the western part of Manhattan. Trees, flowers and grass, places where you can sit and enjoy the sun, listen to live music...everything above the earth, in between the blocks and buildings of Manhattan.
    As today was a very warm day, we continued our outdoor activities by enjoying Central Park West. Part of it, of course, as it has around 3.4 km2. Once again, knowing it from so many movies, it felt so familiar even though I have never been there. Surrounded by all those high buildings it offers, like everything else in this „crazy“ town, incredible sights.
    The evening ended with us going into a small Jazz Bar (Cleopatra’s Needle) where we listened to great music, enjoyed the atmosphere and of course a glass of wine.
    Tomorrow will be the hottest day of our stay here. With the hope that it will be as great as the others, I am looking forward to it.

    http://www.thehighline.org/about
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  • Day9

    Dreams come true.

    April 21, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 3 °C

    Beautiful, emotional day today!
    Since my first memories of US, I had three things I wanted to see: Brooklyn Bridge, WTC (before the tragedy) and Empire State Building. Today I saw them all! We started by crossing the Brooklyn Bridge (first opened in 1883) to Lower Manhattan. From there we could see an impressive, extraordinary view over the island!
    Once in Lower Manhattan, we headed to Ground Zero. I have to say I am still astonished by what people can do to each other. It was for me very intense to be there... I found it very appropriate the way they built the monuments: twin Memorial pools, located in the footprints of the Twin Towers, surrounded by bronze parapets where they inscribed the names of the 2983 people killed in the attacks. For me it really was more than just a place to check on the NY to do list: it was a reminder that everything can stop in a second. So brutally and sudden...
    In the evening we decided to „climb“ the top of Empire State Building (up to 86th floor) A dream come true for me! The view of New York by night leaves you speechless. There is nothing much you can do or say, than just be amazed. It is a joy for the eyes, as well as for the hearts of those who dreamt about it since they were teenagers.
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  • Day8

    Travelling to New York City

    April 20, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌙 3 °C

    Today we left Boston (not before having a „real“ breakfast in an American dinner) and headed to New York. I have to admit that everything I lived today was something that I had seen only in the movies before: the American dinner - with pancakes and coffee -, the Greyhound „that takes you wherever you want“, the city of New York. The bus left us in Manhattan. Having an hour delay (mostly in New York), we got a chance to see parts of the city. Yes, Boston was really special, but New York is f...ing crazy! You can not understand until you have seen it. Light and noise and people and cars and...life. 100% Life. I do not know if happy or sad or poor or rich... it is just pure LIFE!
    First stop was Hard Rock Cafe - directly in Times Square. Good drinks and food - but still not better than the one in Bucharest. Or maybe I am just subjective?! We just got to our apartment - a very nice one in Brooklyn area. Eight days are waiting ahead...and we are eager to live every single one of them.
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