USA - New York

Currently traveling
October 2018 - January 2021
Currently traveling
  • Day1

    Bagels and Boats

    October 21, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    We didn't want to make the same mistake we made in Singapore and sleep all day which completely screwed us up so we made lunch plans with Alex. We were utterly exhausted when we woke up but up we got anyway. As we were a bit early we decided to walk from 86th Street to 51st Street where we were meeting. Oh my god, it is bitterly cold here. I don't think we are prepared for this!! I am literally wearing every layer of clothing I have and I'm freezing.

    We left with plenty of time and had a really lovely 10 minutes of walking before realising we had walked in completely the wrong direction and were now at 96th street. It's a good job the streets are numbered here. We then power walked in reverse all the way to 51st where we were meeting for good old American bagels at Essa Bagel and we went all out! We got a Rueben bagel (this is a heartattack bagel full of pastrami and cheese, a bit much in my opinion) and a bacon and avocado bagel (super yummy). It was sooo nice to see Alex and Adriana after 2 years. He was at uni with me, lived in London and moved to NY 2 years ago. They are engaged!! So it was even more of an occasion to see them 😊 After lunch we went to a local pub for one and then let them get on with the rest of their day.

    Although I have been to NYC a couple of time now there are still a few things I've not done, including the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty. We didn't realise it was free, so that was a great relief 🗽😌 It was pretty fun and we decided to stand outside so if I'm honest by the time we returned I was like a frozen snowman, so we had a hot chocolate in in the terminal while watching sunset before heading back home. For dinner we just ate cheerios and then went straight to bed.
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  • Day2

    Why do we even bother...

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

    Apart from our excitement for the wedding we have really been looking forward to our trip to the Catskill Mountains to see the Fall. And today the day has come to pick up our booked car and drive into the mountains!

    Really excited we got up and ready and began our 1.5 hour journey to the car rental pickup point. Oh and before I carry on, a tip for anyone who wants to rent a car in NYC. If you cross over to NJ then the rental is half the price. We arrived for 12:30pm and all transport ran smoothly. But then things rapidly went downhill. We gave all the relevant documents to the car hire guy and he then asked what insurance we had. We said we don't have any and that the car will have basic insurance. It seems this is not the case. If you are not a US citizen you have to purchase additional insurance for the car and it comes with zero insurance. The guy quoted $45 per day extra for the insurance. This would make the car rental twice the price that we budgeted for it. Apologies for my language but SHIIIIIIT!! Our hearts sank. This did not happen to us last when we rented a car here! We then spent the next hour and a half researching how we can get cheaper insurance or even book the car with an alternative rental company. We came to an absolute dead end. Our two options were to pay $200 extra or cancel our trip to Catskill and stay in NYC. We decided the latter.

    It was now gone 2pm and we were both quite miserable as you can probably understand, so we went for a cheer up dunkin donut lunch. We ordered two cheese bagels, a Boston creme donut and 2 hot drinks. I must admit it was pretty good 😂

    By the time we turned our frowns upside down it was nearly 4pm so we headed back to the flat to put our luggage back down. It was now nearly 6pm. We both decided the one thing that will make us happy is good old home cooked food so we went to the supermarket and bought ingredients for spaghetti carbonara!! It's my favourite dish that Will makes and honestly it made me super happy once we slurped it up.

    Did we make the right decision? Well we saved money by cancelling our accomodation (well we lost 2 nights rent) and car hire, so overall we were winning, but we were both gutted to not see the fall and literally spend a whole day on the subway and buses!

    Tomorrow will be a fresh start so let's see what tomorrow brings! They do say bad luck comes in threes...
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  • Day3

    Seriously can something go right for us?

    October 23, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    We were feeling pretty defeated in the morning and to be honest we woke up with zero plans for the day. So we had a lazy morning, did our washing and chilled for a bit. Around lunchtime we decide to head out and have what America does best, a dirty brunch and go to Johny's Luncheonette. Will went with his work colleagues previously and said its an experience that I need in my life. So all ready and about to head out I hear a cry of help coming from the bathroom. I ran in and the whole place was flooding. The toilet was blocked and it was overflowing everywhere. We panicked for 30 seconds with not a clue what to do before I realised I remember seeing a plunger and eventually was able to stop the water. We were able to clear the water quite quickly and bleached everything. Just as we finished up we heard the doorbell ring... again our hearts began to race... I answered the door and the maintenance guy said there was a leak downstairs! We explained what had happened and he seemed pretry calm and just said OK that's fine and walked off. PHEW!! After discussing this with Luke and a few others it seems this is quite common in Manhattan!

    It was now pretry late and our brunch turned into a high tea, but we went to Johny's Luncheonette anyway. And wow... It was an experience... But I would NEVER take anyone there again. Although the place was clean, it was a true American dirty diner experience. No one needs to eat that much food...

    Full, slightly greasy and dehydrated we went to the 9-11 Memorial Museum which has free entry after 5pm,all you have to do is queue early, get a ticket for a time slot and then queue for the time slot. Have I mentioned that it's FREEZING here. So waiting in a queue for 2 hours was not my ideal, but the time eventually passed and we got in. Having been to quite a few heart tugging museums now I wasn't really sure what to think of it. The people's stories were very overwhelming and powerful but overall, maybe because it was so busy, I didn't quite feel the emotion I have felt in others eg Budapest and Vietnam, but still definitely worth going.

    Having not quite completed our steps yet we meandered around the area for while before heading home and having a spaghetti Carbonara for dinner 😊
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  • Day4

    Botanical Gardens

    October 24, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 10 °C

    The morning was spent sorting out the next few steps on our journey, booking flights and sorting out a few nights accomodation etc

    In the afternoon we went to the Botanical Gardens, which is free on a Wednesday, in the Bronx where we did a walking tour through the Thaine Family's forest trail. Our guide took us along Native American hunting trails and we saw marks left by glaciers, and passed under trees dating back to the American Revolution. The unique beauty and ecological importance of the forest are one of the reasons why the founders selected this site for The New York Botanical Garden in 1895, which is based on Kew Gardens in London. The trees were on the verge of turning but weren't quite ready for fall unfortunately but it was still really gorgeous.

    We stayed in the gardens till about 5pm and Then headed home for a quite pasta and movie night in preparation for the next few days of madness!
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  • Day5

    A day of seeing lovely people

    October 25, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 8 °C

    And finally the day has come to meet up with Will's friends from school / uni!

    During the day we pottered around Central Park, had a Dunkin Donut 2 for $5 Bacon and Egg Croissant and $2 Maple and Pumpkin enormous Iced Coffee. At the time it seemed fun but carrying an iced coffee when it's 8 degrees outside was no t so fun, but it was tasty haha

    Andy was arriving today and we were meeting Simon and family later in the afternoon. Simon, Will's friend from high school, and Countess are getting married on Saturday and we are so glad we've been able to get here to see them! Si's parents have been the absolute best and offered to bring our clothes for the wedding with them so that we didn't need to worry carrying it round for the next couple of months. As we needed to kill a few hours before seeing everyone we set off walking through Central Park. I remember the first time I came to NYC and walking through the park. I must admit I still have that feeling I had then... SERIOUSLY WHY ARE THERE ROADS RUNNING THROUGH THIS PARK! I always thought Central Park was going to be a really beautiful, ambient and QUIET park. Its quite nice and has interesting sections but the ambience is completely destroyed by the roads which divide various sections of the park. However, this time I was prepared and wandering through an autumnal park in the crisp air was really lovely. Also the park is really really big and so by the time we got to the end it was nearly time to meet Si's parents to pick up our clothes,but before we did we squeezed in a cheeky dollar pizza slice and a wander around Times Square.

    When we got to the hotel it was a long awaited moment. Andy, Si and Will have not been together for years, but honestly it's like they had never been apart. We all sat chatting in Si's parents hotel suite and it was really good fun. Before heading for dinner me and Will ran back through the park to drop our clothes off and then back where we joined everyone for a vegan Asian dinner. I ordered the bibimbap and it was absolutely delicious!

    After dinner myself, Will and Andy went for a quick night cap and then headed home for even more chatting.

    It's been such a lovely day and it's been so nice to see everyone. I can't wait for the next few days of just chilling with our friends.
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  • Day6

    Walking, Beer, Hot Dogs and Cocktails

    October 26, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 7 °C

    Today our plan is to just catchup with our friends. Myself, Will and Andy's first stop was to go to Champs in Williamsberg which is a vegan diner for brunch. The food was fantastic! Honestly I could easily transfer onto a vegan diet I think and in particularly because the food is always so appealing to the eye.

    After that we just walked. We chatted and walked and walked and walked and eventually found ourselves in Brooklyn. We were freezing and tired so took shelter in a Starbucks. After we walked back over the bridge to Manhattan and went to the scene where Ghost busters was filmed.

    Later on, Andy went for a shopping trip, we went for a wander, a cheeky dollar pizza slice and then we met up again for a couple of pints for even more catching up. Well when you've not seen someone for a couple of years there's a lot to catch up on!

    In the evening myself and Will went to meet Mark and Becca, also friends from Will's High school, for hotdogs and cocktails while Andy went to a gig. Now this wasn't just any cocktail bar, this was a speak easy and it was so much fun! To get in you have to find the hidden telephone booth in a cafe and then ask for entrance. Inside is a 1920s styled hidden bar. We had various cocktails, hotdogs and tater tots. Wow where have tater tots been all my life? They are like hash browns but with the perfect ratio of crunchy outside to filling.

    Another amazing day of catching up on lost time!
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  • Day7

    It's a nice day for a white wedding!

    October 27, 2018 in the United States ⋅ 🌧 5 °C

    Well actually the weather is absolutely horrific, but I couldn't resist using the lyrics! The weather has been perfect all week and guess what... Today a storm has hit New York and the heavens have opened.

    Getting to the venue is a bit of a trek and as I've decided to wear a sari, let's say its complicated the situation! There is no way I can travel across NYC and up New Jersey in a sari especially in this storm so the plan is to get the bus to New Jersey, go to Mark and Becca's hotel before they have to check out, straighten my hair, then have lunch somewhere, check out the surroundings in Ringwood, get to the venue for 2pm and finally get changed.

    The journey started off well and we made it to the bus station with plenty of time to spare, little did we know we would get so lost, not have a clue which gate to go to (it has over 300 gates) or which bus we had to take and there was no one around to help, just 100s of lost customers. After an hour of faffing we eventually found out where to go, what bus we needed and how to buy the ticket. Phew! In the end we arrived at 11:15am, so we just made our way in search of lunch. It wasn't easy to find a vegan place along the way so me and Will ended up just getting a subway and Andy grabbed a few things from the shop and because the weather was so horrific we headed straight to Skylands Manor in hope that we could find somewhere to get ready.

    Gosh I wish the weather was better because when we turned up it looked beautiful! It was an old Manor house with huge grounds. We arrived and Martin, the best man, saved the day and let us use his room to change. We arrived at 1pm so had plenty of time to meet and greet, straighten my hair and get changed into the sari.

    I've been to to so many weddings in the last couple of years and it's so amazing seeing all our best friends tie the knot. The ceremony was great, the all vegan food was incredible, the drinks were fab and all in all it was a lovely day. The wedding finished by 9pm and although initially we thought this was odd, when it came round to it we were all shattered and happy to get an uber back to our motel in Mahwah. Our uber driver only spoke Spanish and he was great fun!

    Now I must admit I've been a bit dubious about our motel as I've heard so many horror stories about motels but actually it was fab!

    What an amazing day 😍😊
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  • Day8

    Sleepy Hollow

    October 28, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 9 °C

    Well it is Halloween after all!

    After our microwaved egg croissant and waffles courtesy of our hotel Will, Andy and myself went for a wander around Mahwah where we saw a lot more of the beautiful fall and also houses all dressed up ready for Halloween. Mark picked us up and before heading back to Manhattan we went to Sleepy Hollow.

    It was great fun, we had hot apple cider, walked around the sleepy hollow cemetery and town, ate dirty American pizza and then headed back into town by late afternoon.

    Exhausted, Will went for a lie down while I caught up with my blog, washing and finally packing ready for our flight tomorrow.

    In the evening we met up with the whole wedding crowd at Vspot for Latin American delights (apologies in advance for the swearing picture but this was later sent to Mark who went home to bed and didn't join us), Beetle Juice for ambience and then finally Barcade for drinks and retro arcading which was a great end to a fantastic time in NYC.
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  • Day9

    Bye bye New York!

    October 29, 2018 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    Well the time has come to leave this city, country and living in luxury behind and go back to our backpacking life. Although it was full of ups and downs, it was a reminder of why eventually we will want to go home, our incredible friends. For the past few days we were not frugal with our money and we just enjoyed ourselves. Albeit and expensive way to live it was just what we needed.

    Just before leaving Luke's flat he and Ines arrived fresh off the plane from Mozambique. I'm so glad I was able to see them even if it was just for the 1 hour that we did. I have missed them both so much since they've moved to NYC. After saying our sad goodbyes me and Will went for a quick brunch and then jumped on multiple trains to get to Newark Airport. On our final train to the airport we realised we were about to change our watches and therefore would technically now be dated 30th. So before doing this we had to get our 10,000 steps in. We looked like such idiots doing running actions on the train, but we got there in the end!

    Going through security and doing our spritz, water and wee routine was all straightforward. Now I will close off this footprint as the time difference has screwed me up and technically I need to start on the 30th! So speak to you soon when we arrive in Hong Kong... If we arrive...
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