Monthly Archives: August 2012

New York, New York

Well, we have spent almost 4 days in New York and barely scratched the surface.  However, I am very happy with what we have managed to see and achieve.

Saw 2 Broadway shows – ‘Evita’ and ‘The Best Man’.

Visited Central Park.

Walked down 5th Avenue.

Caught the subway to Brooklyn.

Ate pizza under the Brooklyn Bridge.

Walked across the Brooklyn Bridge.

Walked the length of the High Line Park.

Took a cruise around Manhattan Island.

Saw Wall Street.

Saw the site of the World Trade Centre.

Sailed past the Statue of Liberty.

We are off to Boston tomorrow, so, a new city and a new adventure.

 

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On Broadway

When we were planning this trip we decided that seeing at least one show on Broadway was a must.  After spending some time perusing our options we decided on one musical and one play.

We were able to get discount tickets for a performance of the musical, ‘Evita’ this evening.  The tickets were $84 each and were in a great location – centre of the stalls and about 20 rows from the front.  Ricky Martin was excellent as well as Elena Rogers who played Eva Peron.  The choreography was amazing.

We really enjoyed the show and are glad that we were able to go.  Our next goal is to get tickets for ‘Th Best Man’ by Gore Vidal.  It has a stellar cast and according to Missy, who saw it a few months ago, it is a must see.  We are lucky that the season has been extended until September 9th.

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A History Lesson

My knowledge of American history is appalling and bordering on non-existent but it got a huge boost yesterday when we were in Philadelphia.  Little did I know that it was, for a time, the capital of the United States as well as being the city where both the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed.

This house is where Thomas Jefferson rented a room when he wrote the Declaration of Independence.

This was the home of Betsy Ross who made the first Stars and Stripes flag for the United States.  It is open to the public so we took a walk through it and then ate our lunch at a table in the courtyard.

We joined hundreds of others in a walk through of displays about the history of the Liberty Bell.  It is interesting that one inanimate object can whip up such fervour and I struggle with the whole concept of celebrating liberty and freedom whilst there slavery in the southern states.

Our final stop was a guided tour of Independence Hall where the Declaration of Independence and the Constitution were signed.  The guide was both entertaining and informative.

The interesting thing about both this precinct and the National Mall in Washington DC is that they are both National Parks.  In Australia, National Parks are the dedicated to the preservation of our natural environment rather than built heritage.

Today was a complete change of pace as we caught the train to New York.  We arrived about 2pm, negotiated our way to our accommodation which was about a 1km walk.  The most difficult part was working out how to get out of Penn Station.  This evening we caught the subway to Times Square.  That was an overwhelming experience and found the two theatres were we hope to see shows in the next couple of days.

We have a bit of a strategic plan as there is a fair bit we want to achieve here in just 3 full days.  It is probably total madness but we are going to give it a go.

More about New York later.

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Food, Glorious Food

As some of you would be aware from my other blog I have been eating a predominately grain and sugar free diet recently.  This has had a positive benefit on some health issues for me so I decided to maintain this as much as possible while travelling while still enjoying some of the local cuisine.

My other passion is local produce and I had also vowed to avoid processed foods and in particular high fructose corn syrup.

The serves of salads, like everything else, are huge.  We are eating relatively cheaply since this single serve of gourmet salad cost us $9.25 and well and truly fed both of us.  It included lettuce, spinach, mint, basil,goat cheese, tomato, croutons (I tried to avoid most of them) and cranberries with a lemon viniagrette dressing.

Since it is summer and still hot in Washington and Philadelphia, fruit and salads have been appealing.

One night earlier in the week we went to a suburban restaurant and I chose 2 starters, portobello mushrooms with sun-dried tomatoes and feta cheese followed by goat’s cheese and spinach quesadillas.

They were substantial serves for starters so a very filling meal.

Yesterday we arrived in Philadelphia, and after dropping our bags off, we headed straight for the Reading Terminal Market.  I suspect lunchtime on a Friday is one of the busier times and it was packed with shoppers.  This is very similar to the Adelaide Central Market, although there were probably slightly more eateries than in Adelaide.

After all the reading I had done I decided that we would have to try a Philly Cheesesteak.  Verdict:  Once is definitely enough!!

Here is the artery-clogging extravaganza which we chose.  It cost $8.95 for a sub style roll filed with thinly sliced steak which was heavily salted and seasoned along with several slices of melted, sliced processed cheese and fried onions.  This was the most basic version – you could have many and varied extras including bacon, mustard and numerous other delights.  It was cut into 2 halves, each about 6 inches long.  I managed about half of my share and am sure that I will never eat another one – EVER!

We then turned our attention to more healthy pursuits and bought some fresh fruit and vegetables.  We have self-catering accommodation from now on so we will be eating more of our ‘normal’ style of food.  I bought most of the produce from Kaufmann’s stall (Amish from Lancaster County which is an hour or so outside Philadelphia).

We feasted on the punnet of blackberries as we walked home and last night I made stir-fried vegetables for dinner.

This morning I have made salads with hard-boiled eggs for our packed lunches when we go sightseeing.  There is also chopped onion and red pepper for the omelette I am making for breakfast and fresh sliced peaches, also for breakfast.  Dinner will be more stir-fried vegetables.

We are well and truly back on the wagon after our diversion with the Philly Cheesesteak.

Keep reading for more food adventures during our trip.

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A Ticket To Ride

Before we left home I did some research on public transport in Washington DC and found that they operate a card system which is very similar to the GoCard which we have in Brisbane.  The cards can be ordered online but unfortunately they cannot be ordered from overseas so we had to wait until we arrived.  Apparently they will be available for purchase from all Metro stations in September but in the meantime it is only selected stations and all CVS branded pharmacies.

We caught a taxi from the airport to our accommodation on Monday evening so on Tuesday morning we headed to Columbia Heights and bought our cards and have proceeded to ride the Metro rail system to various points of DC and Virginiaover the next few days.  The lines are colour-coded and have several points where you can connect from one line to another.Here at L’Enfant station you can change from the green and yellow lines which run predominately north/south to the blue and orange lines which run east/west.

Other than our initial taxi ride and a short taxi ride home this evening after dinner, the Metro has been our only source of transport (along with our own legs).  It has cost us a little over $20 each to get around for 3 full days and getting to Union Station tomorrow, so excellent value.  You can buy individual farecards, however the cost is an additional $1 per trip so the $5 cost for the SmarTrip cards was definitely well worth it.  It is also much more convenient than trying to find money to buy a ticket each time.  Topping up the SmarTrip cards is easy and there are machines at the foyer of every station.

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Blogosphere to the Real World

Another day of sightseeing in Washington, including Arlington National Cemetery where we saw the Tomb of the Unknown Soldier and the changing of the guard.

Also, the Capitol Building with storm clouds gathering overhead.  Is this predictive?

This afternoon we had the pleasure of meeting a fellow blogger and her husband in person.  We spent a delightful few hours with them and had dinner together.  I am completely blown away by the fact that I have not only made a friend from the other side of the world via the internet  but have now had the opportunity to meet her.

My apologies for the brevity of this post but it is late and definitely time to rest my weary legs.

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Washington – Grief & Gardens

We started our day by buying a SmarTrip card for the public transport system then taking a ride on the Metro to our first destination.

To day we went to the one place that has been on my agenda for years – the National Holocaust Museum.  We were there for 5 hours exploring the story of one of the most awful events imaginable – the extermination of 6 million Jews by the Nazis.  Not only in Germany but all across Europe.  It is sensitively told, carefully presented and should never be forgotten.

We also saw the White House, Washington Monument and numerous other buildings around the National Mall precinct.  We admired the parks and gardens and there were lots of flower beds and planter boxes full of colour, despite a long, hot summer.

Finally, the kitchen garden at the White House, aka Michelle’s vegie patch.

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Leaving On A Jet Plane

These photos were taken 26 hours ago as we waited for the first of 2 connecting trains to get to Brisbane Airport.

This is our luggage – 2 cases which each weighed 13kg and a small backpack.

We flew from Brisbane to Sydney, where we transferred to the international terminal for our flight to Dallas-Fort Worth.  The direct flight was just on 15 hours of flying time.

Our arrival at Dallas was about 15 minutes late but it was the long queue to clear Customs which meant that we missed our connecting flight to Washington DC.  1.5 hours of shuffling along a few paces at a time.  Once we were through Customs it was an easy matter of getting ourselves on the next American Airlines flight to Washington.  We had about 30 minutes before departure so we found a Subway and bought a salad to share – yes, the servings are huge.  It was about twice the size of a Subway salad at home – at least the majority of it was lettuce so we did not over-indulge too much.

I have managed about 5 hours of broken sleep in the past 30 hours so once we get to Washington, we will be catching a taxi to our accommodation, having a shower and hopefully a good night’s sleep.

Tomorrow is a new day and we will start sightseeing in Washington DC.

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6 Days !!

It is now less than 6 days until we head off on our holiday to the north-east USA.

All of the planning during the past 5 months is coming to fruition.

I decided to keep this blog as a separate travel diary/journal which I will endeavour to update each day while we are away.

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