After writing my little guides such as the packing list or the american road-trip playlist (more links at the bottom of this post), I decided that today is when I will start writing about my adventures in the USA – trying to include everything (mostly at least) that I had the chance to experience before, during and after my own Trek America trip.
Trek America – New York
I will tell you about where we’ve stayed (hotels, hostels and campsites) and what we got up to. I think the best way to do this is by writing a separate post for each place but we’ll see how it goes as I do like to ramble on a bit..! Especially when I have as many stories to tell as I do from trek.
As you might have read in my last weeks post, we added two nights before the trek – we planned to stay in Manhattan for the first night and Newark for the second. So, I will start from the very beginning..
Tip: the suitcases you see above.. are too big. You dont need that much stuff.
Our flight was at 9:05 am so my travel buddy Rachel and I had to leave super early in order to get to the airport 3 hours before departure as recommended. Not that we mind, we both love a bit of duty-free and I don’t think I slept anyway, as leaving packing for very last minute is my speciality plus the excitement was slightly too much. Rachel on the other hand.. seemed fully rested being the complete opposite when it comes to being organised.
The big excitement hit us when we looked at the flight board and the gate number popped up.. 21. Now, Rachel has this weird/crazy/slight obsession actually when it comes to 21 – she calls it her lucky number and it always seems to appear at the strangest times, no joke! Whether it’s a plane seat, table number in the restaurant, day of our flight when she won the trip to Hollywood.. it’s weird.
I bet you didn’t expect these views of New York aka the Concrete Jungle from above the clouds? 🙂
As soon as we landed in JFK, we headed to our hotel which was a walking distance from the Penn Station, as you might have read in my previous post – we stayed at The GEM Hotel – Midtown West due to it’s location and price. Perfect for what we needed.
We literally dropped our stuff off, got ready and headed into town. As this was our second time in New York, we have already previously covered the main sightseeing must haves such as the Statue of Liberty (I recommend taking the free ferry to go past the island instead of paying for the tour if you don’t have much time). I will soon write a full New York guide which will include what we got up to during both of our visits in more detail, but for now – below is what we managed to fit in before trek! 🙂
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You cannot be in Manhattan and not pay Times Square a visit, even if you have seen it already.
It’s mental and hectic but for some reason, I love it. After breathing it all in from the famous TKTS steps and realising that the adventure has finally started, we decided to get a few ‘necessities’ from our favourite shops including Forever 21, we then headed out for food.. and get ready for this one..
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Rachel discovered this gem before out first visit in New York and this was honestly the best pizza I have ever had. In fact, it was better than the pizza I had in Italy a few weeks later – I tried to convince myself otherwise but seriously.. John’s pizza is something else.
We found that the simplest margarita with no added toppings is the best, the cheese, sauce and dough are so delicious that everything else is just unnecessary. The setting is great, plus if you’re lucky – you can get a table next to where the magic happens and watch your pizza being prepared. I would recommend visiting at lunch time so you don’t have to wait long.
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Empire State Building
The first time we visited New York, we were torn between the Empire State and the Rockefeller Centre.. we went with the latter as the views included the central park and the empire state itself = great photo opportunity. We absolutely loved it!
This time we went up the empire state and the experience was just as great, however I think the views were slightly better from the Rockefeller, it’s slightly cheaper, less busy and you don’t get the barriers on one of the levels.
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By that time it was quite late and we decided to head back to our hotel to get a good nights sleep – we had a few things planned for the following day as well as finally meeting our group, woop!
We started the day with..
We wanted the real deal – pancakes, an endless amount of maple syrup, omelette and whatever would catch our eyes. So we began the search and found a cute looking diner, then went slightly crazy and ordered a bit too much.
Oh the pancakes were goooood!
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The High Line
If you want something different, then this is perfect.
The High Line is a 1.45-mile-long linear park, transformed from abandoned train tracks – great example of sustainability and wandering through this (not so little) gem might make you forget where you are.
It’s unique and the sense of tranquility is incredible especially when looking down at the hectic New York life, the walkway goes through and between buildings, past the river and through many interesting sights.
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This stunning place needs no description. I love Central Park and even if you have time for just a very brief visit – it’s worth it.
There is so much to see and do, I’ve been there twice and still didn’t get to see the whole thing. Have a picnic or just relax while admiring the contrast between the greenery and the concrete jungle popping out from behind the trees – It’s so surreal and incredible at the same time.
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After making the most of our short time in Manhattan, it was time to start making our way into Newark where we would meet our future trek buddies.
As we created a facebook chat a few weeks before departure, we all knew where everyone is (well, most of us anyway 😉 ) this made it super easy to arrange a meet up. Both Rachel and I met up with two peeps from our soon to be group and we made our way to the next destination. If you can, I would recommend pre-ordering a car service or a mini bus etc as the taxi cost us about $100 including the extras for crossing the state line and luggage, try to share it with someone too!
It was so surreal seeing each other face to face in reality after me and Lucy where chatting on facebook for weeks or even months before already! After quickly grabbing the taxi, we tried hard to handle our excitement as we were on our way to meet the rest of the group..
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Tune in next week for more Trek Tuesday and my American Adventures! 🙂
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