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Travel Diaries – New York (Part One)

Right, I think I’m feeling awake enough to make a start on some holiday posts! I love making a record of our adventures and when previous trips pop up on Timehop, I’m really grateful to have this little corner of the internet to look back on fun times.

In case you didn’t know, my husband Ian and I spent two weeks travelling down the East Coast of America, stopping off at New York, Atlantic City, Philadelphia and Washington DC. Today’s blog post will be part one of the five days we spent in New York.

Day One – Monday 27th July

So our holiday started with a 4:30am alarm clock although I think we were both awake before then, a bit too excited to sleep! After a big mug of tea (me) and coffee (Ian), his parents and their dog George very kindly dropped us off at Bristol airport with just enough time for me to purchase a new perfume (L’Impératrice by D&G).

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We flew with Aer Lingus, which meant having to go via Dublin. I hadn’t flown to the States via a connecting flight before and after this experience, I’m not sure I’d be in a hurry to do it again. We sat on the runway at Bristol for about 45 minutes meaning when we landed, we were really late for our connecting flight. Cue a mad dash through Dublin airport and security and arriving on our next flight a bit hot and bothered. Not the best start and I definitely needed a large G&T afterwards!

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Apart from that drama, it was a fairly uneventful flight…bad food, good films and I also read Mindy Kaling’s book ‘Is Everyone Hanging Out Without Me?’

We landed mid-afternoon and after a bit of hanging around at the airport, we caught our transfer and were dropped off at our hotel, The Ameritania, which was a couple of blocks from Central Park, right in the centre of Broadway.

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My first impressions of the hotel were good. I would say that the décor was not my style but it was very modern and clean, the staff were so helpful and you really couldn’t beat the location. Our room  wasn’t huge but again very clean, luxurious and modern with a lovely bathroom, really comfortable bed and good views. We weren’t sure about the ‘Lover’s Intimacy Kit’ which was included in the minibar though! I think the only thing that could have made our stay more perfect was free wifi as we had to go to Starbucks over the road for it.

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After settling in, I was quite ready for bed but knew I had to stay up and try and get on US time. We walked up to Central Park and had a leisurely stroll around, sussing out our running routes for the next morning and taking in the atmosphere. It is without a doubt my favourite space in New York; a little oasis amongst the hectic pace of the city.

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We then walked over to Times Square which was a bit of a mistake as it was packed with people waiting for Tom Cruise who was there for his latest film premiere. We finished the night with a bite to eat and of course I had to order ribs for my first meal!

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Day Two – Tuesday 28th July

Thanks to the time difference, I was awake at about 5am to see a beautiful pinky-golden sunrise from our hotel window. Ian and I both packed our running gear for this holiday as we decided we should try and balance out all the eating and drinking with a few morning runs. I never thought my running shoes would make it into my holiday suitcase but I’m so glad they did! Running through the streets of New York before everyone else was up was kind of surreal but also a chance to see a different side of the city. A near-empty Central Park was beautiful and it was refreshingly cool too.

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On my list of foodie places to go was a café called Argo Tea and I was pleased to see one on the way back to the hotel. They did an amazing iced chai tea drink which I had every day we were there!

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After a quick Starbucks, we bought our Metro passes and headed Downtown to Battery Park. It was absolutely boiling the whole time we were away and the air-conditioned trains were a godsend for getting around the city.

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The first thing we decided to do was to take a trip to see the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. Previously when we visited New York, we got the free Staten Island Ferry past the island which was OK to see it but this time we wanted to get a bit closer. We got a ferry over to Liberty Island, had the first of many audio guides and enjoyed great views of the green lady as well as back over Manhattan.

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Next, we hopped back on the boat, this time to Ellis Island and its Immigration Centre. I found this place fascinating. It was well set out, the exhibits were really interesting and it not only told the history of immigration to America but really challenged my views on it today too.

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The grand hall was impressive and having travelled there by boat, you could really imagine how people would have felt decades ago, arriving and seeing the statue before starting a new life in America.

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After getting back onto dry land, we were really hungry so walked to South Street Seaport where I had read about some cool foodie places. We stumbled upon ‘Smorgasburg’ with lots of individual stalls selling a great variety of food and drinks. We settled on some local beers, a Vietnamese-style beef brisket roll and the best lobster roll I have ever eaten!

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Fed and watered, we walked through the Financial District and visited the 9/11 Memorial and Museum. It didn’t feel right to take lots of photos inside but it was a fascinating and very moving, sombre experience. I didn’t think the actual exhibits were particularly well laid out (lots of waiting for the people in front to move before you could see the displays – I would recommend going early before the crowds) but it took you through the events of the day using video clips, artefacts, newspaper reports, answerphone messages and parts of the actual Twin Towers. Outside we saw the two huge memorial fountains too.

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We decided to end our day at one of my favourite places to eat in America: Bubba Gump! Yes, I know a Forrest Gump-themed restaurant isn’t the height of culinary sophistication but I order the same dish every time (Cajun-spiced mahi mahi and shrimp with a bourbon sauce) and loved it!

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Right, that’s it for Part One…the next one should be up tomorrow x

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Sunday Catch-up #5

I cannot believe I am writing this in February! I’ve got a really stressful fortnight at work but then it’s half term and time to breathe and reboot with friends coming to stay and a weekend away with Ian.

This week I have been…

Making: myself go to bed earlier

Going: out for pizza with my bestie Lu (and Ian!)

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Wearing: hats and scarves to try and keep warm

Eating: my salmon, pea and leek quiche…very tasty if I do say so myself

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Drinking: this delicious elderflower gin

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Reading: Gone Girl…I cannot put it down!

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Watching: the new series of Girls

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Buying: sensible things like a new car headlight, black tights and a new phone

Planning: hotels, train tickets and travel plans…our weekends are getting booked up quickly for the next few months!

Cooking: for a curry night this week…I tend to panic when I have all four hobs on the go but it all turned out fine

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Baking: Coca Cola Cupcakes

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Writing: a blog post every day in January! I didn’t think I’d be able to keep it up but I feel like my blogging mojo is back

Favouriting: Before and After work-out stretches to save my aching legs from keeping me awake

Working on: a new recipe to try out this week…it’s Thai-inspired and spicy!

Trying to decide: between tulips and daffodils…tulips won!

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Wishing: I could find the magic formula (or lip balm) for non-chapped lips

Enjoying: how pretty floral tea towels look

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Needing: to get ‘Uptown Funk’ out of my head…singing it all day every day!

Feeling: ready to tackle another DIY project in our house

Giggling at: the things the children in my class say…in stitches most days!