Tuesday, 4 December 2012

New York and Back to Blighty.

Bye Houston :-(
For the first time, I am blogging from my teeny village on the outskirts of Essex due to my being home in England as of 9.30am yesterday morning. On Thursday I sad my somewhat weepy goodbyes to Houston and its lovely people, its blue skies and unfailing sunshine, and the family that I have lived with for just over two months, and I headed on a plane to Newark. I left behind 70+ degrees F and landed in 38, which was a bit of a change.

Donning my long-awaited winter coat, some thick wooly tights, and my almost-over-the-weight-limit-but-not-quite suitcases, I jumped in a yellow cab and headed into Manhattan like some kind of dreamy halfway point between leaving America for England on the coming Sunday. As the car pulled over the Holland Tunnel, I caught a glimpse of both Lady Liberty and the Empire State and it felt oddly like coming home. Having been to NYC last April, I knew what to expect, yet the feeling of the city can not be paralleled. It's a concrete-and-glass kind of beautiful, and I adored it. Christmas was in full swing in the city with the Rockerfeller Christmas tree having been lit the night before we landed. The shops had their window displays out, only to be matched with ridiculous opening hours for the Holidays; Macy's is open from 8am to 11pm, and Times Square Toys'R'Us is open 24 hours a day without closing. Madness.

I couldn't help but compare my two trips, anyone for another annual trip next year? 16 year old me/18 year old me would be thrilled.
I met my Mum at our hotel, conveniently located opposite Madison Square Gardens and just a ten minute walk from Times Square. Our reunion was emotional to say the least but it quickly dawned on me that nothing had changed, and we headed out for the evening. My main love of NYC is the way that I could happily spend a few days just walking around admiring the city, and for the second time, I found that (for Mum and I at least) most roads lead to Times Square, Central Park and the shopping heaven that is Fifth Avenue. We spent the weekend eating and shopping our way around Manhattan, visiting just a few tourist hot spots (Flatiron Building, Union Square, Brooklyn Bridge) but avoided the rest having done them last Spring. Have lots of photos to illustrate my points - my next post is one of importance (duh duh duh)!

Brooklyn Bridge - the devestation from Sandy was evident on the Seaport sea front. Shops boarded up and smashed in, complete with a 'National Disaster Team' lorry.

Enjoying the walk across the bridge..

Rockerfeller tree!

Times Square is one of my fave places. Fact. And not just because I almost walked into Snoop Dogg on Thursday night.
Ice Skating in Central Park.
Flat Iron building.
In Grand Central.
We frequented 'Andrew's Cafe' for breakfast on our mornings, as well as grabbing a Starbucks coffee to go, and I have never had such a wonderful breakfast - apple and cinnamon pancakes, complete with maple syrup and bacon. The breakfast of (British, middle-class) gap year-ers, right? The price was definitely affordable for even the more budgeted travellers. 

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