Joined November 2018 Message
  • Day11

    Homeward Bound

    November 29, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 6 °C

    Last day today. The morning is spent packing, well Janet’s morning is. School boy error by not taking a spare carry on case, so a quick dash out to buy one. We have to check out by midday, we get our luggage stored at the hotel and are out for our last afternoon.
    First stop is at pub recommended to me, good call it was too. Lovely Irish Breakfast to go with the coffee, tea and 🍻. Over to the Rockafella Centre but tours to the top are only available at 5.30 so we don’t chance it. We spend the rest of the afternoon wandering around in various shops. Think we’ve both had enough now and are ready for home to see the kids and of course our Pads.
    Coffee and cake back at the hotel before we nip out for some last minute keepsakes (keyrings/fridge magnets) then into the bar until the taxi to the airport arrives. We have worked out we have walked 77 miles whilst in NYC. And 23 in Memphis that’s 100 miles in total for the holiday, just as well with the food and alcoholic consumed. We arrive at JFK airport in plenty of time it’s only 16 miles but takes an hour and 15 minutes to get here. Glad I don’t have to drive here, they are nuts! Safely through check in with 90 minutes until boarding so what else to do 🍻. We are making the most it cos come Monday training starts 🏊‍♀️ 🚴‍♀️ 🏃‍♂️ 💪.
    The sort of flight we all like - uneventful even managed a couple of hour kip. Straight through customs, bags collected and onto the tube to Kings Cross, now I’m pretty sure that the world record for getting the most people into a Mini must be held by users of the London tube. We are closer than we should be young girls and old men and women but still they keep piling in, fortunately most had used the shower this morning. Straight to the parcel yard (pub at Kings Cross) for a couple of refreshments. Nice trip back, first class on the train to finish in style. It’s been a great holiday with lots of things ticked off the bucket list. For anyone thinking of going to either Memphis 3 nights was enough - you could probably do two days and nights. New York, maybe 7 days/nights was overkill and 5 would’ve been enough, but we didn’t want to be rushed 😀.
    I have got to add some thanks to a few people who have made this trip possible, Judith and Maurice for taking care of our Pads (its a great weight off knowing he is well loved and looked after whilst we are away). Grace for being sensible enough that we have the confidence to leave the house in her care, Joe for taking the time off work so we didn’t worry about him getting up on time 😂😂 and for “hoovering” 😂 and chauffeuring Grace 👍. Everyone that gifted us money for our anniversary, your generosity bought the Graceland tickets. Thank you to Josh, Shane & Hilary for looking after Lou la, very much appreciated and to everyone that has read and commented on this blog. And finally to Janet for being my girl, 32 years together (25 married) is some feat that she has achieved by putting up with me❤️🗽🇺🇸🍏✈️ 🕺 😘.
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    Lee Mallender

    Well we’ve had a fab holiday with you, looked forward to reading your blogs in a morning. Welcome back both 👍

    11/30/18Reply

    Ah ya big softie. Glad you both had a fab time. Look forward to seeing all the pics xx

    11/30/18Reply
     
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  • Day10

    Rocking all over NYC

    November 28, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 4 °C

    Today is our last full day in New York, it’s also the anniversary of when we first met Friday 28th November 1986. 32 years ago, Janet was 16 and I 17. We weren’t overly impressed with each other to start with, but fortunately once we got to know each other, things changed.
    A real lazy morning, waking to a call from Grace to say she has passed her driving theory test (well done sweetheart never in doubt). Heading down to breakfast at 10am breakfast it’s a little bit quieter than other days.
    We eventually leave the hotel at midday, a trip to pick up a Christmas present before we go to Radio City Music Hall to watch the Christmas spectacular starring the Rockettes. Once again, as with nearly every attraction we have been too, you are subject to near airport style security. I was allowed to keep my belt on at this one 😂. Its a very good show, although the family in front need to sit bloody still (Janet’s only short) 😂😂. There’s a heavy police presence when we leave, along with manic traffic - this is all due to the Christmas Lights switch on tonight at the Rockerfella centre.
    After a quick nip back to the hotel to drop off our presents, we stop off for cocktails (we are getting a taste for these).
    We head over to towards the Rockafella Centre with the intention of going to the “Top of the Rock”. After battling through the massive crowds, a NYPD officer tells us we can only be admitted with tickets so we abandon our plan for beer and food. The advertised tree lighting at 7pm is not only televised, but also still not happened by 8.45 - glad we didn’t queue for it 🙃. We head back to the hotel stopping off at a little cocktail bar en route, negroni for Janet Apple Whisky cinnamon for me. Janet isn’t keen so orders Prosecco (it is happy hour), the negroni isn’t that bad👍. Back to the hotel via Times Square and a stop off at starbucks for a cup of tea.
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  • Day9

    Statue of Liberty

    November 27, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 5 °C

    Earlier start today, well we set the alarm for 8am 😂😂. By 9.30 we are in our friend Mr Uber heading to Battery Park. I learned that an Uber pool car means that you can share with others, however Sandra our ride share failed to turn up - still took 45 minutes to get to our destination despite it being only 5 miles.
    Collect our tickets and we are on the ferry to Liberty Island. After a self guided tour with the aid of a headset, we are at the crown. 377 steps up and obviously the same down, good stamina training - although Janet was huffing and puffing a bit, neither of us realised their would be so many steps and some in a very confined space. The Statue of Liberty 🗽 itself is a magnificent construction and fascinating to see. We read about its history and construction. Did you know it has an iron frame structure, covered with a copper skin, the frame designed by Eiffel (the Eiffel Tower designer), the skin is quite thin only 2x1 cent pieces thick. We call at Crown cafe, its heaving and as per with attraction cafes - overpriced and understaffed. If you ever visit wait for the cruise boat it’s better value, we leave Liberty Island and head to Ellis Island and the Immigration Museum. Quite a sobering tour realising that millions of people from hundreds of countries were processed in the main hall and form what is America today. We have missed the last hard hat tour so are unable to visit the hospital which is a shame, it’s said to be untouched since it was stopped being used, that’s maybe why you have to wear a hard hat. I do however, discover a possible ancestor on the wall of honour.
    Ferry back to New York, we had hoped to visit Coney Island which is on the coast and has a traditional funfair from the 60’s but it only opens May though to October and we’ve been advised it’s not particularly safe on an evening, nor will anything be lit up so a little pointless.
    We head towards Wall Street stopping at the raging bull, where a nice lady offers to take our picture before asking us what we think of the new Dr Who !! Turns out she has met most of them in a previous role as a bodyguard, just part of every day random New York.
    We walk the 3.5 miles back up towards Times Square past City Hall and the Chrysler building stopping off at a small Korean bar for some refreshment and sample their chicken wings that are excellent before calling at a Greek restaurant for dinner. They give us garlic bread and a side salad which is a meal in its self and that’s before our actual order. Good job we are doing so much walking whilst here. Finish the night with cocktails in the hotel bar.
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  • Day8

    Stars, rain and Broadway

    November 26, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 9 °C

    Yet another lazy start to the day, we didn’t get out of bed till 9am. We skip Breakfast again, heading to Madame Tussaud’s to mix with the famous, royalty and some of the big world influencers. I tackle the best footballer in world Messi (Ronaldo isn’t worthy of a statue) and square up to Connor McGregor before we take in a 4D marvel show. We then call at a small cafe for coffee and danish, before heading back to Macy’s for a spot more shopping.
    It’s raining when we leave Macy’s, but we head up to Radio City Music Hall to book tickets to the Christmas spectacular - bagging ourselves a couple of bargain tickets, but not until Wednesday’s matinee. It’s raining torrentially now so we seek shelter from the rain and take a late lunch, before heading back to the hotel to get ready for our Broadway show tonight.
    Rumour has it that a glass of wine is $28 at the theatre so we have a beer in our hotel before heading out, fortunately the rain has subsided to a drizzle now and Janet has her brolly. We have great seats on the first row of the mezzanine (thanks Gracie for helping to pick them). The show Chicago is fantastic, we both really enjoy it. The show finished with a surprise on-stage visit by Cuba Gooding Junior.
    Back to the hotel after the show as we intend on making it to breakfast in the morning.
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  • Day7

    Shopping NYC style

    November 25, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Another lazy start to the day, taking our time to get sorted and skipping breakfast, before we hit the shops. Macy’s first and after spending all morning there, they have some good deals as well as some of the original building features, notably in the escalators 4th floor and above. We drop our purchases back at the hotel, before taking a late lunch.
    We then go back down to 33rd street to a mall, to be honest it’s a bit rubbish, but we have our bargains.
    We go up 5th Avenue to Topshop (I know) but we are looking for something specific, it turns out to be a good decision as its opposite Saks on 5th Avenue and they do spectacular light display on the front of the shop, I’ll try to upload a video in the pics.
    Another refreshment stop before we head to the Empire State Building, an anniversary gift from the kids (thanks Grace for organising), a great view of New York at night, pictures can’t do it justice. I make a little faux pas on the 86th floor of the observatory, put my arm around Janet and point out our hotel.... only I don’t recognise the voice or reply, it’s not Janet, rather a young oriental lady. Fortunately she sees the funny side and Janet is right next to her😂😂😂
    As we wander back to the hotel we spot a Carraghers bar so in we pop, before returning to the hotel, sampling a hotdog from one of the many street vendors (it’s pretty average). But another great day has been had❤️🍏🇺🇸🗽
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  • Day6

    Central Park

    November 24, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☁️ 6 °C

    Real lazy start to the day, not venturing down to breakfast until 10 AM must have been tired out from yesterday.
    We decide to wander into Central Park taking in the varying different elements, watch a little bit of ice skating but neither of us are keen on partaking at the moment. As we wander out we spot the horse and carriage rides, we decide to take the tour with Danny Boy (that’s our horse for the next 45 minutes). The driver is very knowledgeable pointing out several different elements referencing lots of films to locations including Home Alone. We stop at the fountain that’s in the Friends opening/closing credits for some photos before finishing our tour.
    Leaving Central Park we head down 7th, cutting off at Radio City Music Hall, and the Rockafella centre where they are preparing for the Christmas lights switch on on Wednesday. It’s heaving in and around there today so Wednesday could be interesting!! They also have ice skating on the lower level of the Rockafella, we get a view but getting close to it would have been a battle. Over to Grand Central Station via Saks 5th Avenue, I’d been recommended a bar at GCS, once we find it, it’s packed, maybe 5 on a Saturday isn’t the best time. We go off hunting for a secret bar that I have read about, we find it on the 2nd floor of a hotel but it’s closed for renovations 🤔. We battle on through a very busy Times Square and after that we need a couple of 🍻.
    After several beers we are heading back to Central Park the idea being to watch the ice skating under lights, but both needing the loo and it’s persistent raining, we seek solace in another refreshment establishment. Ice skating can wait for another day. We call for traditional pizza on the way back to our hotel. We get a small pizza, of course it’s massive, but very nice.
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  • Day5

    Well I would walk 16 miles

    November 23, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 0 °C

    Good nights sleep, and awake for 6.30 but we lounge around and don’t get down to Breakfast till 8 AM. There’s already a queue but only wait 10 minutes before being seated. We’ve decided to visit the 9/11 memorial today, I’m really surprised that Janet agrees to walk there!! Straight down 8th Avenue, we get to see a different side to NYC on the 90 minute meander, passing both Google and PayPal offices.
    We arrive at the memorial and take in the tributes, the queue for the museum is like something from Alton Towers in the height of summer. We decide to give it a miss for now and head over the One world Observatory, skip the queues and we are up, complete with iPad for our very own little tour. It’s fascinating watching from up there and learning about different places including where the titanic was due to dock.
    A nice wander down the side of the Hudson River sees us at the Staten Island Ferry. Rather than just jump straight back on for the return journey, we find a bar for a couple of liquid refreshments before we venture back. Once back we head to Wall Street and the stock exchange, all very enclosed and interesting. Onto Broadway and to my amazement Janet doesn’t dismiss a walk back !!!
    We call in at the 9/11 museum but there is still a queue but no where near this mornings. We opt to give it a miss again, and head back to Broadway, for a little liquid and toilet stop. We then find a gem of a bar on 34th street serving bass bitter and decent food. From there we head back to the hotel for a well earned couple of night caps. 34.5 k steps for me, must be more for Janet and her little legs 😂, I reckon we have covered at least 16 miles today, we should sleep well.
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  • Day4

    NYC

    November 22, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    We are up 5.30 this morning after an early night, we’ve still not fully acclimatised. We leisurely get ready for the airport shuffle. It’s Thanksgiving here in the USA which is a big celebration. Everywhere’s a little bit quieter in Memphis even the airport, Janet tries biscuits and gravy for breakfast, which is basically scones covered in a savoury sauce - again the portions are huge. She is back on form with a beer for breakfast, well we are on holiday. Do a little bit of smooshing as initially we are not sat together on the plane, the gate guy Mike soon rectified it.
    2 and a half hour flight to La Guardia airport spotting Ellis Island and the Statue of Liberty 🗽 on the way in. My friend Uber is once again called upon to get us to the hotel, traffic is quite busy especially in and around the hotel but the Uber driver tells us today is a very quiet day due to the holiday, oh lord I’d hate to see it busy. The drivers are a little bit nuts as well, but we survive and get settled in our 21st floor room. The rooms are a little on the small side to what you get used to in the Uk but clean and fresh, we don’t plan on spending much time in our room anyways.
    We venture out to Times Square, it a bit bloody cold. First stop is for lip balm for me and tights for Janet to warm her up, courtesy of Walgreens. We wander out of Times Square and find a little bar, get chatting to a Wandering Jew - Janet think he’s full of sh*t I tend to agree. On for food and we find a nice little Chinese (Savour Sichuan), full of “locals”. Think we are the only ones not using chopsticks but it’s very nice. Another stop at an Irish bar (it had to happen) as we head back to the hotel before we sample the bar delights there. Stopping to get Janet a hat as she is already thinking it’s too cold😀. Nothing planned for tomorrow currently, we will see how we feel in the morning and decide from there 🍏🇺🇸
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    That’s looks horrible

    11/23/18Reply

    That does look disgusting

    11/23/18Reply
     
  • Day3

    Chills, wanders, Ducks and surprises

    November 21, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 10 °C

    A much better nights sleep last night after our room change.
    I quite like to take in cities before they get going, not many folks out and about at 6.45 - mainly workers and a few homeless people as I take a nice refreshing and chilly run around downtown Memphis.
    Once back and showered, we take a leisurely stroll Downtown, walking via the tram route and high street to experience some different views including the bridge over the Mississippi River, which is lit up at night and changes colour every hour.
    Spot of brunch, the portions are huge, Janet only manages half of hers.
    We decide to walk down to Sun Studios - a 20 minute walk from Beale street. We buy tour tickets and spend the next hour learning the history of the place including of course Elvis himself amongst many others. We decline the shuttle service back and instead walk back via a slightly different route to take in more sights. We head to the Peabody hotel which has a tradition of ducks in the lobby fountain, they march down at 11am and back to their rooms (they live in the hotel) at 5pm spending the rest of the day in the fountain. As we watch the ducks we enjoy a cocktail and a Manhattan, whilst I sit taking in the sites Janet says she’d like to see the Graceland Mansion lit up at night, so we agree to get an Uber down there... or so I thought next she’s looking at prices to stay at the Graceland guest house. Under 60 minutes later we have checked out of our current hotel and checked in to the Graceland guest house... we are not disappointed 😀👍
    We wander out to get photos of Graceland in its illuminated glory, before heading back to the EP restaurant for some dinner and a couple of beers.
    We’ve really enjoyed our few days in Memphis, fulfilling a lifetime ambition, another flight tomorrow as we carry on our adventure. ✈️ 🍏
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    Number 1 on my bucket list ❤

    11/22/18Reply
     
  • Day2

    Graceland

    November 20, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 2 °C

    So today’s the day, 25 years ago we vowed to visit Graceland and that happened today. Not a great start to the day, bins getting emptied at 2.20 in the morning and the hotel is close to a main road, so a disturbed nights sleep but we manage till 5.30 local time.
    Well what an eventful morning. Our tickets for Graceland are booked for 9.30 am
    I’d downloaded the Uber app to book taxis to ferry us about, but it didn’t like my credit card, so we asked at reception for a taxi @ 8.30 (it’s 10 minutes to Graceland) 15 minutes we were told, no problem. We get chatting to a couple who turn out to be from Stockton-on-Tees, same as Janet, they are here with his sister and her husband. I end up cancelling our taxi and get on a tour bus with the four of them to get to Graceland. The tour bus doesn’t get us there, it’s a confusion of what tickets we have, so we do a deal with the tour bus driver to take us to Graceland for a small incentive. He arranged to drop us off at the Peabody hotel and pick us up in 15 to take us - 35 minutes later he turns up but can’t take us, so I re download Uber order a taxi for 6 and we eventually get to the Graceland reception at 11.30am, just your 3 hours 😀.
    But from there on in, what a great day. Graceland is a fantastic place especially the mansion side, a truly great homage to the King. We spend the next 4 hours looking around - including private jets, cars and so much more. The meditation garden where Elvis, his parents and paternal grandmother are buried, as well as a tribute to his stillborn twin brother is quite surreal compared to the commercialisation of some of the complex. It’s definitely been a day worth waiting for. We head back to the hotel via Uber again, great app when it’s working. Straight to the bar for a few beers with our new found buddies.
    Quick freshen up, Janet has a bit of a moan at reception about the traffic noise and we are swapped rooms. After a bit of research courtesy of trip advisor, we head down to a little Mexican. Steak Monterrey for Janet and Arroz Margaritas for me, Janet also spotted a nice 2 for 1 pitcher deal.. result. Little walk to the hard rock for a night cap before the shuttle back to the hotel. Let’s hope for a good nights sleep after a landmark day.
    Love you Mrs B xx
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