London: Palaces and Parks – Tuesday 15th April

Tuesday – We were up a bit later than expected.  We had Oyster cards, which make travel really easy.  Much like the Snapper cards in Wellington, you just top them up with an amount of money, then swipe into the subway system, or swipe on to the buses.

Took the tube to Green Park, where we walked through, past the deck chairs waiting to be sat on, to our first view of Buckingham Palace.

Squishy subway ride
Squishy subway ride
Deck chairs in Green Park
Deck chairs in Green Park
Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace

We planned to view the changing of the guard, and had read that we needed to be there early.   We arrived 45 minutes before it was supposed to start… Yet, People!  People everywhere.  Everyone else was also there early.  We positioned ourselves at what we thought was a good spot, and hung around.  Eventually they came, with their music and their horsies and their very straight marching.  They yelled a lot, and marched around, and swapped places.  The prim and proper guard band played some music for us, including Dancing Queen, and various songs by Abba.

Buckingham Palace
Buckingham Palace
Waiting patiently!
Waiting patiently!
All in line
All in line
So very many recording devices
So very many recording devices
::marchmarchmarch::
::marchmarchmarch::
Toy soldier
Toy soldier
Selfiee
Selfiee
Fancy gates
Fancy gates

Wandered up along Constitution Hill, grassy, cool, and pretty.  The mounted police went past occasionally.  They have horse crossings, complete with horse height buttons to press, to cross the road.  We visited the Nz war memorial, the Air corps memorial, and the Wellington Arch.  Briefly stepped foot into Hyde Park.  Literally inside then out, just to say we’d been.  I’m sure we will go back there!

Bumblebee hat is off to somewhere important,,,
Bumblebee hat is off to somewhere important…
Patrolling Ponies
Patrolling Ponies
Constitution Hill
Constitution Hill
Pony crossing button!
Pony crossing button!
Ponies can't cross yet
Ponies can’t cross yet
Wellington Arch
Wellington Arch
P1240225
NZ War Memorial

 

NZ War Memorial
NZ War Memorial
They erected this statue!
They erected this statue!
Wellington Arch
Wellington Arch
Entrance to Hyde Park
Entrance to Hyde Park
Rawr ponies
Rawr ponies

Back to subway, over to Brick lane,  where we wandered for ages, trying to find somewhere to eat.  We walked past a lot of Indian restaurant people trying to convince you to come eat at their restaurant.  Apparently we are supposed to bargin.  But the thought of sitting in the restaurant while they all stare at you and rush around to serve you just didn’t really do it for me   We ended up having a very late lunch + cider at a yummy burger place.

Cute little castle house
Cute little castle house
Abandoned buildings
Abandoned buildings
Unicorn house!
Unicorn house!
Street art
Street art
Do not disturb
Do not disturb
The owl and the pussycat
The owl and the pussycat
A pleasant lunch spot.
A pleasant lunch spot.

Then took the Toob to Greenwich.   Large boat, cutty sark, lots of lines!  Walked through the info centre, then up to the observatory, to stand on the gmt line.  It was such a lovely day.  Like everything else awsome that you want to get your picture in front of, there was a line to get a picture with the line.  Instead of waiting, I took a picture of it by itself, then we went down the path to the side, where there also was a line, but it was by itself, so we got our picture there.  Much better than waiting.

Cutty Sark
Cutty Sark
Cutty Sark
Cutty Sark
Cannon
Cannon
Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park, beautiful
The Prime Meridian Line, where time begins!
The Prime Meridian Line, where time begins!
A clock
A clock
The lesser known part of the, where you can get pictures any time!
The lesser known part of the, where you can get pictures any time!
Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park
Greenwich Park
Pop
Pop

A lovely walk back across the green, then the subway back to town, to Oxford Circus.  Ridiculous amount of people.  A seething mass of humanity.  We were meeting Jerome and Amy for dinner at a place called ping pong.   We waited for them at Oxford Circus, so I got to just stand back and watch the hordes.  There was a constant stream of people descending into the depths of the earth to ride the tube.  Constant and never ending.  Or so it seemed.

Masses
Masses
Hordes
Hordes
Oxford Circus
Oxford Circus

Ping Pong is my new favourite restaurant.  they serve Dim sum, and amazingly, a whole vegetarian option!   Mmm steamed bun, mmm dumplings.  Deilishuz vegetarian,  so good.  Home for raspberries and icecream dessert, and chatting with our hosts.

Yum
Yum
Steamed dumpling yumminess
Steamed dumpling yumminess

Our first Visit to London – Monday 14th April

Our first visit to London, Exciting!  We got up at a reasonable hour and headed off to the train station for our 10am train.  We didn’t have to catch an early train, as it is supposedly very busy in the morning, with all the commuters.   We had to carry our bags around for two of the three days we were going to be there, so we had packed very small bags, with minimal stuff, so we wouldn’t have to lug the stuff around.

Brighton Station
Brighton Station

We hopped off the train at Victoria Station, and out into London.  Almost got run over by a bus within a block, as I was staring simultaneously at the other red double decker buses, and the old stone buildings that were nestled amongst the newer, more modern ones.

P1230877

The Albert
The Albert
Busses
Busses

A few blocks walk took us to Westminster Cathedral.  Not the really big one, but still pretty big!  We wandered around, checked out all the small chapels dedicated to different saints, and marveled at the sheer amount of pretty stone that was used in the building.

Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral
Westminster Cathedral

After that, we walked down to Westminster Abbey, which we didn’t go in to, as the line was out to the road, and halfway down the block.  We did admire the outside.  Walked down past the Houses of Parliament, and the House of Commons.   Such a fancy building.  We wandered through a park, and took in our first view of the Thames.  A brownish, fast flowing river.

P1230898
P1230910

Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
Westminster Abbey
P1230931
South Bank, and the London Eye

P1230911

Houses of Parliament
Houses of Parliament
P1230960
The London Eye. And a bunch of tourists.

 

We walked back up the road, and past Big Ben, who chimed 1pm for us.  Headed over the bridge to South Bank.  There were so, so many other tourists there with us.

P1230981

Big Ben
Big Ben
Big Ben
Big Ben

We wandered past the London Eye, with a conscious decision not to go on it, like the hundreds of people lined up, waiting.  It was near Easter, so there were carrots in the trees, and bunnies all around.

P1240004
Bunny…

P1240001 P1240003

Eye
Eye

We took more subway, via Waterloo Station, with it’s pretty exterior, and ended up in Leicester Square (hey, these places are named just like in Monopoly!), where we sat for a few moments.  There were some very cool, probably super old, knobbly trees, in amongst the rush of people and bustle of city.

P1240008
Waterloo Station
P1240013
Some of the escalators are pretty steep!
Crazy horse fountain
Crazy horse fountain

P1240017

Knobbly tree
Knobbly tree

After our lunch in the park, we wandered an indirect way to Trafalgar Square.  It was quite weird walking through near deserted streets for a few blocks, to come right smack into the middle of tourist central, hundreds of people, as we entered Trafalgar Square.    We were greeted firstly by a big, blue cock, who stood out the most, on the fourth pedestal, that is reserved for changing art installments.

Big and Blue.
Big and Blue.
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
The National Gallery, Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square

Trafalgar square was pretty, if you ignored all the people.  Some lions, a couple of fountains, and surrounded by buildings.   We had a quick look in the National Gallery, which was free.  One of the paintings I saw was of Lady Jane Grey.  She was Queen of England for just 9 days until she was removed from the throne, and sent to the Tower of London to be executed.  I think she was only 16.

After the gallery, we subwayed to the Covent Garden Markets, which have been around for quite a while.  It is quite an interesting place, back in the 1600’s was a developing area around a square, with an open air fruit and veg market.  Over time it fell into disrepute, and for a while was a red light district, as taverns, brothels etc opened, and artists and poorer people moved in.   They built the roof cover in the 1800’s, and was more organised after that.  It has been various things, but is now more of a tourist destination, with cafes, shops, and a crafty market area.  We ate at the Pie Shop, and at Creme de la Crepe, where I had an amazing, fantastic apple crumble crepe.  Yum.  Nearby was Punch and Judy Pub, which has been around since 1787, and is thought to be named after the puppet show that used to take place at the market.

Covent Gardens Market
Covent Gardens Market
Chimneys
Chimneys
Magic
Lots of street performers
Covent Gardens Market
Covent Gardens Market
A very old pub Covent Gardens Market
A very old pub
Covent Gardens Market

Lastly we headed to King’s Cross Station, to see the infamous Platform 9 and 3/4 (or the representation of).   There was a very big line to get a picture taken there, which I didn’t want to stand in, so I have a picture of it, just not with me in it.  Maybe one day we will go back when there are no people.  There was a cute little shop where you could buy scarves, cups, wands etc.

Best to just sit on the roundabout
Best to just sit on the roundabout
Kings Cross Station
Kings Cross Station
Kings Cross Station
Kings Cross Station

 

We stayed with one of Dale’s friends from back in NZ, Jerome and Amy.

 

P1240048
That is quite a long way down!

 

Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Trafalgar Square
Big and Blue
Big and Blue
P1230945
Big and Ben

 

12th April – Bike ride, more Brighton meanderings

I spent a few runs along the water front, in various weathers, plenty of pretty views and chalk cliffs.

One weekend we biked out to the Smugglers Rest Inn, in Peacehaven, for lunch, with Henri and Alastair.   They had good bikes.   We had medium hire bikes.  But it wasn’t too bad.   Lovely ride along the South coast, chalk cliffs, a bit of a breeze, a non nudists beach, and chalk!

 

Brighton Marina
Brighton Marina
Marina
Marina
Keep off...
Keep off…
Brighton
Brighton
Bike ride!
Bike ride!
Chalky cliffs
Chalky cliffs
Zoomy
Zoomy

 

Smugglers Rest
Smugglers Rest.  Henrietta, Alastair, Myself and Dale
A beach
A beach
Low tide
Low tide
Climb the wall
Climb the wall

 

P1230864

I realised that I could use the chalk walls to write with!
I realised that I could use the chalk walls to write with!

P1230872

<3
Don't be nekkid
Don’t be nekkid
Bye!
Bye!

 

Contrail shadows
Contrail shadows

 

P1230847
Fancy places to moor at the Marina
Springtime
Springtime
Springtime
Springtime
Springtime
Springtime
IMG_0847
St Peter’s Church
IMG_0846
St Peter’s Church

Various Brighton Things (and squirrels)

After arriving back from France, we didn’t get up to much.  I was mostly just waiting around till our next travels, as I was going to New Zealand and the end of April, so not a lot of point looking for a job yet.  We also wanted one of us to have a job ideally before getting a flat, so we weren’t really looking for that yet either.   We had Sunday Lunch at some delishuz places, usually equipped with some great vegetarian option (like nut roast, and mushroom roly poly), roast veges, gravy, and Yorkshire puddings.

The most biggest omelette I've ever eaten.  Well, didn't manage to eat it all
The most biggest omelette I’ve ever eaten. Well, didn’t manage to eat it all
Sunday Lunch, complete with Yorkshire pud
Sunday Lunch, complete with Yorkshire pud
Grubbs vege burger!
Grubbs vege burger!
Fountain in Brighton
Fountain in Brighton

 

Lots of buildings around that are old and fancy stone, or ones that are all the same, a whole row of houses up the street, all like the others.

Buildings in Hove
Buildings in Hove
Samey
Samey
Buildings
Buildings
Self explanatory
Self explanatory
Pretty buildings
Pretty buildings
Henri's street, sameseys houses
Henri’s street, sameseys houses

The next weekend was cruisey, Henri and I went op shopping – lots of cool 2nd hand stores in Brighton and Hove.  They are all quite small, but I think they have a high turnover of stock, and they seem to keep a lot of nice stock in.  Some of the also seem to get donations (?) from department stores/bigger stores, so occasionally they have new stuff tags still on.

We wandered around town, and the Pavillion, where we met the local squirrels.  Wandered the streets a bit, met a few showers (its a bit like a tap is turned on).

Pavilion
Pavilion
Hey a squirrul!
Hey a squirrul!
Tulips
Tulips
Pavilion
Pavilion
Nomnom
Nomnom
Tempting the squirruls down to me
Tempting the squirruls down to me
Nomnom
Nomnom
Noms!
Noms!
Who knew I was taking a photo
Who knew I was taking a photo

Moved to a friends house to stay for a while, whom had a spare room, and we were very appreciative of the opportunity to have our own space.   One of the nights, we made Saag paneer from scratch, including the paneer, and it came out a lovely shade of virulent green.  Way greener than any curry you get at a takeaways, and I think it is cause the spinach is so fresh.

Home-made Saag Paneer
Home-made Saag Paneer

Went bouldering with Alastair in Portslade, which was very fun.  It is wall climbing, but without ropes, so you need to be a bit careful, rely on your skills and strength.  It is not as high as a usual climbing wall, only 3-4 metres high.

Bouldering Brighton
Bouldering Brighton

 

Is this how I get back to Blackrock???
Is this how I get back to Blackrock when my hearthstone is on cooldown???
Guy on the beach was sorting the pebbles
Guy on the beach was sorting the pebbles
Cat shoes!
Cat shoes!
So many of these are painted all cool n stuff
So many of these are painted all cool n stuff
mmm tea
mmm tea
In NZ it is "Streets"... not so much here
In NZ it is “Streets”… not so much here
The eye of Brighton
The eye of Brighton
Kemptown
Kemptown
Night eye
Night eye

 

 

Bordeaux Part 2

Monday dawned nice and sunny.   We all piled in Curby (our vehicle, a 7 person carvan), and headed out into the local neighbourhood.

Our little house
Our little driveway

We had a bit of trouble finding our first location, and zoomed on to the second.  A lot of the roads are quite small, and kinda crazy, zipping through them in a large car-van.    We found the second location, but they were closing for lunch – most vineyards seem to close for a period over lunch, perhaps for napping?   While waiting, we decided to go to the supermarket and stock up on cheese and bread!  We spent the rest of the day trying, drinking and buying wine.   It was very interesting, many of the people didn’t speak much English, and we didn’t speak much French, so there was plenty of extrapolation, hand waving and charades, but we enjoyed it, nonetheless.

 

P1230579

Someone's castle...
Someone’s castle…
A mural
A mural
Pretty
Pretty
This castle has a moat!
This castle has a moat!
Someone else's house
Someone else’s house
French cows
French cows

 

Our last day was spent in a town called Cadillac, where they had various interesting points.  There was  a church, Chappelle d’Epernon.

The Chapelle
The Chapelle
Inside the Chapelle
Inside the Chapelle
A cute street
A cute street
Window boxes
Window boxes

There was also an old castle – Chateau de Cadillac, that was used for various things. It is apparently a good example of French Architecture, and was quite amazing inside, with massive rooms and fireplace.  Each one was elaborately carved in marble and stone, with huge tapestries.

Chateau de Cadillac
Chateau de Cadillac
Chateau de Cadillac
Chateau de Cadillac
Fireplace!
Fireplace!
Tapestry
Tapestry
Fancy fireplaces in every room
Fancy fireplaces in every room
Detail
Detail
Garden of Chateau de Cadillac
Garden of Chateau de Cadillac

 

The town even had a proper wall, town gate, towers with arrow slits.  It was pretty, lots of spring flowers around.  We ate lunch at a little bakery, where I had to go back and buy apple pastry things, and eclairs, a couple of times, as they were very yummy.

 

A cute street
A cute street
Town gate
Town gate
Tower gate, complete with arrow holes
Tower gate, complete with arrow holes
Looking into town
Looking into town
We found a play thing
We found a play thing
Spring
Spring
Town square
Town square
Flowers
Flowers
Chapelle
Chapelle
Chapelle
Chapelle
Moat around Chateau de Cadillac
Moat around Chateau de Cadillac
 Chateau de Cadillac
Chateau de Cadillac

 

The day we flew out, we spent a fair amount of time packing, and headed into Bordeaux early so we sort out extra bags.  I think a couple of extra bags were bought by people for transporting wine home.   We stopped at a massive mall, that had the most amazing fancy toilets I have seen in a while.  We also bought more macaroons, and ate them.  🙂  Plane ride back was uneventful.

The biggest baguette ever
The biggest baguette ever
mmm delishuz flavours
mmm delishuz flavours
Tree
Tree
Our house
Our house
Sad face building
Sad face building
Time to leave
Time to leave

P1230758

Old architecture
Old architecture

 

Brighton, France, Saint Emilion, Wine, Cheese

The best thing so far about Brighton, is the vast array of vegetarian options!  This is very exciting for me.  Many places have 1/4-1/3 of the menu vegetarian and there are many places that are fully vegetarian.  So delishuz.  I have had pasties, pies, platters.  We went to a cafe called Chockywockydodah (not sure of spelling), where they make amazing cakes and chocolate items, and the cafe has 4 items on the menu (liquicd chocolate hot chocolate, cake, shake, sundae.   All great.

Chocky wocky do dah
Chocky wocky do dah
Chocky wocky do dah
Lampshades – Chocky wocky do dah

 

Chocky wocky do dah
Chocky wocky do dah

We went to see the new Captain America, which was very similar to seeing a movie in NZ, but they have either sweet or salty popcorn, or a mix of both.

The beach is all small stones, but I don’t mind that, cause I’m not that keen on sand anyway.  There is an amusement park at the end of the pier, with small rollercoasters and things like that.

We spent the end of Friday night packing our bags – can only take carry on with the cheap tickets we have with Easy Jet, but there is no weightlimit on your carry on, you simply have to be able to fit it in the overhead compartment, and be able to get it up there and down again yourself.

We arrived in France to overcast skies, but a decent temperature.  Bordeaux is definitely a winemaking area, even the airport is surrounded by vines.  We are staying in a house in the countryside, 40mins from Bordeaux.  Is it super cute.   All the buildings are sandstone brick,  again, it all seems so like it should be.  A bit surreal.  There is a vast amount of grass here, much more than we saw in Canada.

Driving
Driving
Trying to work out gps.  Alastair only looks a little scared
Trying to work out gps. Alastair only looks a little scared
The cottage we were staying in.
The cottage we were staying in.
Tiny town
Tiny town
Sunset
Sunset

We bought lots of food from the local supermarket – mostly bread, cheese, wine, and meats.  Most meals are composed of this.   In this area, most people speak French, and many of the shopkeepers have only a very small amount of English.  It is very interesting, trying to badly speak french, enough to buy things.  I know how to ask for cheese, wine, bread, and where is the toilet?  Also, chocolate, candy.

Tiny town
Tiny town
Cute
Cute
Crepes with cream
Crepes with cream
The BEST crepe I have ever had - caramelised apple with apple sorbet, amazing!
The BEST crepe I have ever had – caramelised apple with apple sorbet, amazing!

Macaroons are delishus, I bought a few, and promptly ate them all.  We spent today wandering around  Saint Emilion, which was very pretty, old bell tower, old (but still current) wine cellars, massive amounts of vineyards.  Tiny town is fully of cobbled streets stretching up and down the hills, tiny alleyways and side streets, with decidedly french people lounging on the corners, wine for sale in every second shop, and many macaroons!

VIneyards everywhere
VIneyards everywhere

 

Town sign
Town sign
Leaving the town
Leaving the town
Tiny, steep cobbled streets.  Stacey, Zoe, Henri
Tiny, steep cobbled streets. Stacey, Zoe, Henri
Spring
Spring
Saint Emilion
Saint Emilion
Tables outside, ready for people
Tables outside, ready for people

P1230447

 

Henri and I
Henri and I
Alastair and Henri
Alastair and Henri
Weathering
Weathering
Moustaches
Moustaches
Armour
Armour
P1230468
Fancy-as houses
P1230464
A nicely cobbled street
Is this someones house??
Is this someones house??
P1230485
The wine has been there so long…

P1230500 P1230519 P1230537 P1230555 P1230556

Sunday we visited a lot of vineyards, and did a lot of wine tasting.  Lots of reds.  Got shown around a few wineries, and enjoyed the lovely weather.  We headed back in the afternoon, to sit outside in the warm afternoon sun, and drink wine, cider, and eat things.

P1230565
Keith and Alastair taking with their cameras
Archway
Archway
Shutters
Shutters
P1230542
A tiny part of the city wall

P1230524 P1230577

My favourite thing from France was eating Raclette for dinner.  Melted cheese on everything.  So. Good.  Raclette I think is originally swiss, a type of firm cheese that is mostly used for melting, you hold it towards the fire until it starts melting, then scrape the melty part off, and eat it with potatoes.  In modern times, we have tiny pans, that are set on an element, and slices of cheese are laid in them, and gently melted, until bubbling, then you slide it out onto your plate, and voila!

Raclette
Raclette

We totally ate veges too

My next favourite part was seeing all the tiny towns filled with cute little stone houses and terracotta roof slates.  Tiny towns with tiny little cobbled roads.

Also, I thoroughly enjoyed anything that required us to reference the fact that we were in France.

Macaroons!  The only picture I managed to get before I inhaled them all.  There were more in the bag, only seconds earlier.
Macaroons! The only picture I managed to get before I inhaled them all. There were more in the bag, only seconds earlier.

 

 

 

Leaving New York, Next Continent! Tues 25th

We woke at a reasonable hour, and packed EVERYTHING into our bags.  We seem to have accumulated a large amount of stuff, and my bag is quite solidly packed:  I literally can’t fit anything else in it and get it closed.

We stored our bags downstairs in the storage room, and headed off to the cafe for more waffles, as they were so yum, and we had totally missed the hostel breakfast.  We stayed there for a bit, then retired to the hipster cafe, Swallow, near the hostel.  It had about 15 people in it, and pretty much all of them had 14 inch macbooks, and were playing on them.  We felt slightly out of place, as we had proper laptops.

Delishuz breakfast waffles in Brooklyn
Delishuz breakfast waffles in Brooklyn
Happy coffee
Happy coffee

Then, we headed back to the hostel, loaded up all our bags, and trotted off to the subway.  Our transit passes unfortunately had expired the day before, and when we arrived at the subway entrance, we were a bit sad to realise there was no ticket booth.  We left me in charge of our bags in a pile, and Dale went back to the hostel to find out the nearest entrance with a ticket booth, which was luckily only  a block away.  We successfully transferred trains until we made it to the airport and checked in.  We found a seat with a power plug, and entertained ourselves until it was time to leave.  We flew with Aer Lingus, which was fine, except for the supposed lack of vegetarian options in flight.

Green plane
Green plane
tiny wine
tiny wine
classy
classy

We left at 10.30pm, t was 6 hours across to Dublin, then 2 hr stopover, then another hour and a half to Brighton.  We somehow managed to land in Brighton at 8.30am, with only having had an hour or two nap.  Very tired.
Henri met us at the train station, and took us to her flat, where we showered and lay down on the couch for a 5 hour nap.  Lovely.
The next few days were sleep, and Henri showing us the lovely food places and shops in Brighton.

It is a little surreal; we have never been here before, but it looks exactly like I think England should.  The countryside is green rolling hills, with hedge lined roads, and a slight mist.   Town is very bustling, people everywhere.  Houses are cute little country houses.  In Brighton, everyone speaks with some kind of British accent, and there are lanes and streets, and lines of houses that all look exactly the same.  I understand that we are in a different country, but it is weirdly familiar, from all the TV shows and movies we have seen.

uh oh
uh oh
Armory in Brighton
Armory in Brighton

We have sorted out sim cards, a duvet, I bought a skirt (YAY), can’t get bank accounts because we don’t have a flat or a job.  We are happy to be here, but can’t wait to get sorted with the new time zone.    We are off to France (Excite!) on Saturday, for Henrietta’s birthday.

NYC Day 6: Empire State and the Met

Monday was a sunny, but very cold day.  We ate breakfast at a brunch place in Brooklyn, with various types of waffles.

Knickerbocker ave!
Knickerbocker ave!
Waffles, chicken
Waffles, chicken
Street art
Street art
Street art owl
Street art owl

We went to the Empire state building for a look, clear and could see for miles.  We did the audio tour, which was cool, made the visit a bit more informative.  It was one of the nicer days of our visit, which was a nice change to have climbing a tall building to lookout in decent weather, rather than clouds and rain.

Empire State Building
Empire State Building
Empire State Building
Empire State Building
Downtown Manhattan
Downtown Manhattan
It's so hard, finding other tourists who can take good photos :<
It’s so hard, finding other tourists who can take good photos :<
Streets
Streets
Central Park in the distance
Central Park in the distance
There was a pigeon, enjoying the view
There was a pigeon, enjoying the view

We then made our way to The Metropolitan Museum of Art for the afternoon.  We only had a few hours, and barely got around any of it.  That is the one place I wish I had more time at, it was very interesting.  We checked out the greek statues and art, the American wing, and some of the weapons wing, where they had full suits of armour, including horse armour.

 

Subway signs
Subway signs
We decided to wait for the next train, this one seemed quite full.
We decided to wait for the next train, this one seemed quite full.
The Metropolitan Museum of Art.   Too big to fit in one photo
The Metropolitan Museum of Art. Too big to fit in one photo
Nice jugs
Nice jugs
Armour
Armour
Rawr
Rawr
Ancient kitty!
Ancient kitty!
Almost got in trouble, the guard thought I was leaning on the 2300+ year old sarcophogus.  I wasn't. Sarcophagus of Wennefer
Almost got in trouble, the guard thought I was leaning on the 2300+ year old sarcophogus. I wasn’t.
Sarcophagus of Wennefer
They erected a temple in the museum! The Temple of Dendur, 15BC
They erected a temple in the museum!
The Temple of Dendur, 15BC
Very old selfies
Very old selfies
Armour
Armour

A last walk through Central Park, then for dinner we went to Chelsea Market again.  I found a vegan sushi place, where they had the most delishuz sushi… though I’m not sure if you can call it sushi when it has no seaweed or fish.  It was very tasty, nonetheless.  I also had tiny doughnuts again, with crazy flavoured sugar.   I had cardamon, and apple flavoured sugars.

Sqirrul
Sqirrul
Soundshell in Central Park, with a few patches of snow
Soundshell in Central Park, with a few patches of snow
Main walkway
Main walkway
Very old oak trees
Very old oak trees
Some guy in frilly trousers
Some guy in frilly trousers
food stalls
food stalls
Amazing vegan sushi
Amazing vegan sushi

Our final stop was the Empire State Building again, this time in the dark.  I definitely recommed it for anyone who goes to NYC, the view is amazing, with lights everywhere.  Everywhere.  All the buildings look so cool, and you can see the glow of Times Square.  The crazy thing was we could see a line of lights in the distance, over the lower tip of Manhattan.  It was a line of planes, we could see 7 of them, all in a row fading into the distance, and all, I assume, headed for JFK.  The line kept moving, but was always there, a constant incoming of planes that were landing.  This was about 9pm at night, and we must have seen at least 10 planes go past (it could have been more, I wasn’t counting).  It was a bit ridiculous, just the sheer amount of planes that were landing.

Macy's and the Empire State Building
Macy’s and the Empire State Building
Flower display in Macy's
Flower display in Macy’s
Lights
Lights
Downtown Manhattan
Downtown Manhattan
Si many planes
So many planes
Looking east
Looking east
That massive glow is Times Square
That massive glow is Times Square

There was a helicopter flying all around our hostel for ages.  Maybe they were looking for someone.  I couldn’t face packing, so we had all decided to go to bed, when we found out my brothers finacee has given birth to a cute tiny little baby (not actually tiny), so that was pretty exciting 🙂

 

Inside the foyer Empire State Building
Inside the foyer
Empire State Building
Downtown Manhattan
Downtown Manhattan

P1230082

Rockefeller Building
Rockefeller Building
Looking towards Brooklyn
Looking towards Brooklyn
The Met
The Met
Cowhead jug
Cowhead jug
super old, 600bc
super old, 600bc
Ornate
Ornate

P1230221 P1230226

A pouring dog
A pouring dog
Mounted knights
Mounted knights

NYC Day 5: The post about SQUIRRELS. Central Park

Today we slept in, and eventually dressed, and went to Central Park.  Via a hipster coffee shop, where we ate bagels.  Then via Grand Central Station again, as I wanted another look.  It was still huge.

 

So many layers of subway
So many layers of subway
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Fancy wee drinking fountain. Grand Central Station
Fancy wee drinking fountain.
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station

We walked around all of Central Park.  I’m not kidding, we walked from one end to the other, with various trails and meanderings in between.  We popped out at about 86th ave at about 3pm where we grabbed a bagel for lunch from another good bagel shop, then we were right back into it.    That was all we did all day.  Dale mapped it,  About 12kms.  Unfortunately most of this post is pictures.  Or fortunately, if you like looking at pictures.

Church
Church
The Plaza Hotel
The Plaza Hotel
I think, a statue of  General William Tecumseh Sherman
I think, a statue of General William Tecumseh Sherman
Horse drawn carriages all ready to go
Horse drawn carriages all ready to go
Omnonom
Our first squirrel of the day.  Omnonom
Hai thar!!!
Hai thar!!!
Crazy Dale
Crazy Goat

We chased squirrels, climbed over rocks, followed pretty trails, and towards the end of the day we came across a whole bunch of people marching and chanting.  In Spanish, I think, and I believe it was some kind of church group.

Some of the statues and stuff we had to wait a while to get a clear picture – at the Alice in Wonderland statue, we had to wait for a couple of kids to get off the statue, just for a moment, so we could get a picture.  They seemed to think everyone wanted some random kids in their pictures.  I appreciate they’re kids, and want to play, but just because I’m an adult now, doesn’t mean I don’t like playing too, doesn’t mean I don’t want to climb on the statue and get a picture.  I’ve felt this in a few places, that the adults have to stand back, while the kids run around and play on stuff and have fun.. why aren’t the adults allowed to do that too?  Just because we’ve grown up, that doesn’t mean we have to sit back and be boring and bored and not climb and explore and blow bubbles and have fun.  I still like tree climbing and flying foxes and dancing around, why shouldn’t I be allowed to do that?

My favourite part was when we were walking down a random trail, and something fell out of the tree beside us.  My first thought was, omg, why is a bird falling out of a tree?!, but it turns out it was two squirrels fighting, who fell maybe 6m, landed on the ground with an audible thump, and then they both jumped up and ran off.  They looked a little stunned.  Silly squirrels!

We rode the carousel – there has been a carousel in the park since 1871, I think the current one is the 4th one in the park, and the longest lasting.  The first was powered by a horse and a mule, walking around under the carousel, out of sight.  The next two were powered by steam, and the current one has been around since 1908.  All the bits are hand carvved.

 

I'm not sure of the context...
I’m not sure of the context…
A clock
A clock
Central Park
Central Park
Riding Balto
Riding Balto

P1220798

First crocuses
First crocuses
Don't do it
Don’t do it
Mother Goose Statue
Mother Goose Statue
Sneaky
Sneaky
Ride the carousel!
Ride the carousel!
Crazy horse
Crazy horse

 

Imagine
Imagine
Everyone likes it
Everyone likes it
(Other) People chasing squirrels
(Other) People chasing squirrels
Don't fall in
Don’t fall in
So many fountains
So many fountains
Pretty bridge
Pretty bridge
Pretending to feed the squirrel
Pretending to feed the squirrel
Short tail
Short tail
Ahhh
Ahhh
Bushy tail
Bushy tail
Please sir, could you spare a nut?
Please sir, could you spare a nut?
omnomnom
omnomnom
Alice in Wonderland Statue
Alice in Wonderland Statue
Must contain the leaves
Must contain the leaves
Hai!
Hai!
Arthas (Actually Polish King Jagiello )
Arthas
(Actually Polish King Jagiello )
Obelisk
Obelisk
Central Park
Central Park
Selfie
Selfie
Obelisk, with little crabs holding it up
Obelisk, with little crabs holding it up
A pretty bridge
A pretty bridge
Waterfall
Waterfall
Ice skating
Ice skating
Very thin
Very thin
North end of Central Park
North end of Central Park

 

 

Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Grand Central Station
Squirrul
Squirrul
Ducklings around the base of the goat.  Maybe the goat was crazy coz he didn't like ducklings
Ducklings around the base of the goat. Maybe the goat was crazy coz he didn’t like ducklings
Googly eyed frog
Googly eyed frog

 

NYC Day 4: American Museum of Natural History

We awoke early again, subwayed into town, checking out some of the local street art on the way.  It was another cool day, but I think rain was scheduled, so a good day to do inside stuff.

The Loft hostel
The Loft hostel
Roberto's
Roberto’s
Street art
Street art
Street art
Street art
Our subway station
Our subway station

P1220513

Rawr
Rawr

We headed straight up to the American Museum of Natural History.  Then we spent all day there.   It is Huge.  4 floors of massive displays.  We didn’t get around it all. The dinosaurs were great, you only comprehend how big they actually are when standing next to the skeletons.  Imagine a land where those things are wandering around.  Crazy.  Many of the intact skeletons they have there are from Alberta, in Canada, likely from near the badlands area.

P1220523
Rawr
Tall
Tall
Tall legs
Tall legs
tiny
tiny
Not afraid of the t-rex
Not afraid of the t-rex

P1220594

The only time it is appropriate to "duck face"
The only time it is appropriate to “duck face”
P1220645
A full skeleton, with a HUGE singluar arm/wing above it

P1220604

So many of the displays were done well, like little windows into other parts of the world.  The background is painted to blend in with the exhibit, they use the substrates that match – sand, dirt, bushes etc, they even make footprints and groom the ground to make it look natural.

Animal dioramas
Animal dioramas

P1220542

 

The forest displays were pretty neat, as were the animals,….. The ocean displays were very cool, you entered a room with dim lighting, looking down from the upper tier, to the floor below.  The roof has displays overhead, blue and ripply, like you are underwater.  Hanging from the roof, diving into the room, is a massive model of a blue whale (life size, I assume).  You wander around and check out the animals, my favourite of which was, in a dark corner, a sperm whale and a giant squid restling.  Well, all that fits in the window is the head of the whale.

P1220664
Underwater Hall
Giant tree
Giant tree
Meteor
Meteor

P1220671

 

The day ended with us walking back through the Rockefeller Center and getting amazing Ben and Jerry’s icecream in a chocolate coated and chocolate hail dipped waffle cone.

 

 

Icecream!
Icecream!
Hey, isn't that...
Hey, isn’t that…

 

P1220634
Mammoth!
P1220560
Tiny arms
P1220580
Horns

P1220598 P1220600 P1220649 P1220655