When people ask me the highlights of our last travelling adventure, it’s really impossible to say. How do you compare the tranquillity of Xingping, China to the bustling metropolitan city of Seoul, Korea? Then, after spending 12 months in Asia, there was the cultural shock heading over to North America.
I still can’t believe how lucky I am to have visited these all of these places. Still, if I had to really boil it down to my absolute favourite destinations, I would have two answers: The Great Wall of China, and New York City. I’ve always wanted to visit New York City and the fact that it was the last place on our itinerary made it a perfect finish.
Thankfully, Mitch has the same adoration for the city as I do. So, when our coach crawled into New York City, we had our ‘Murica playlist blasting in our ears. Bruce Springsteen’s “New York City Serenade”, Alicia Keys and Jay-Z’s “Empire State of Mind”, and (of course) Frank Sinatra’s “New York” were all an integral part of that trip.
My Top 6 New York Moments
1. Walking Through Central Park
We woke up on our first day in New York without much of a plan. We were just excited to be there! It was a cold but sunny day and so we thought it would be perfect for a walk. We headed towards Central Park and passed Bethesda Fountain (the famous fountain which you see in pretty much every New York film) and the Alice in Wonderland statue. Finally, we made it to the ice rink and the New York skyline was right in front of us.
2. Ice Skating in Central Park
Ever since watching the film Serendipity when I was younger, I have absolutely loved the idea of going ice skating in Central Park. I said to Mitch that it was top of my list of things to do while we were in New York. We went on a beautifully clear day and they played songs from the 90s as we skated around. I was on top of the world at that moment and I am so happy and grateful that I had the opportunity to do it.
3. Taking the Staten Island Ferry
We were travelling on a budget by the time we got to New York. Thankfully, New York has some great things to do and see for free, one of which is the Staten Island Ferry. The best thing about the ferry is that is sails right past The Statue of Liberty. It was super windy and cold but we got a good look of Lady Liberty.
4. Watching The Book Of Mormon
I had the joy of seeing The Book of Mormon when I lived in London. I bought Mitch tickets for his birthday two years ago, but alas, we couldn’t go due to a series of unfortunate events. We didn’t book any theatre tickets in advance for New York as I figured we could just get day seats for something when we’re there.
We tried for the Hamilton lottery every day without any luck. I said to Mitch that we should try for Book Of Mormon, knowing how much he really wanted to see it. We tried the first night with no luck, but the next time I suggested we try for the matinee. We went down, stood outside in the cold, my heart beating as they read out all the names. Sure enough, about the 10th name they called was mine. Woohoo! I went inside and joined the queue. What was weird was the fact that Mitch’s name got called straight afterwards. It was meant to be. Gotta’ be in it to win it people! I always recommend theatre lotteries if you can do them.
5. Eating All the Pizza
By the time we had arrived in New York, had found our lovely friend who we were staying with, and had a long catch up with her, it was quite late and we were hungry. Hunting for food at 11 pm is actually quite easy in New York so we ended up in a proper Italian run pizzeria. We sat there, ate the pizza, and listened to the Christmas songs that were playing on the radio. It was a great moment. The rest of the trip involved eating a lot more pizza. This is why I came back to Bristol with my “USA weight”, as I like to call it.
6. Standing in Times Square
When I first moved to London, I hated it. Once I got through the hate phase, I loved it. I mean, it’s a love-hate relationship with London. I’ve been to a lot of places in the world and people know London, and they think it’s amazing that I used to live there. I never fully appreciated it when I lived in London but, occasionally, I did. I often would have loved to have gone into the middle of Picadilly Circus and shouted a big “Yayyyyyyyyyyy”.
Although we never shouted, there was a soft “wow” that came out of both mine and Mitch’s mouth when we were stood in Times Square. We were surrounded by so much: adverts, crowds, people dressed in costumes, wafts of different foods, lights, taxis, people speaking every kind of language. It engulfs you and you can’t help but get caught up in it.