A Travellerspoint blog

New York, New York

sunny 17 °C
View Rob and Jo's Adventures on rob_harvs's travel map.

So the evening we arrived in white plains maria drove us on to her house in Tuckahoe which is about 30mins north of manhattan. we went out for tea at mighty joes and then watched some TV back at the house. On thursday we got up and took the train from tuckahoe to Grand Central station 102_3104.jpg which is mid-town manhattan. From the station we walked down to the Empire state building102_3110.jpg where we were confronted with a 3 hour line to get to the top! we decided that that was a bit ridiculous and walked over from 102_3111.jpg to another famous street, broadway. On broadway we first came to the famous department store maceys 102_3112.jpg where they were having a flower festival for spring which was pretty impressive 102_3114.jpg it was a short walk up broadway to times square 102_3122.jpg the stereotypical scene of new york city! we took in the mayhem for a while before walking across town to the rockerfella centre and radio city 102_3124.jpg102_3134.jpg by this time it was about 2pm so we thought it might be quite good to get a cocktail in the rainbow room cocktail bar at the top of the rockerfella tower but unfortunately it was closed until 5pm! across the street from the rockerfella is St Patricks Cathedral. The day before we arrived the new archbishop of New York was sworn in to service here but no such crowds there on the thursday! 102_3125.jpg. After we had been in the cathedral and the rockerfella center we thought that maybe the queue at the empire state building had reduced in size so we walked back down there to investigate. It had! only a mere hour and a half wait! we thought that was probably the best we were going to get so we joined the back of the line 102_3139.jpg we eventually reached the top 102_3141.jpg and although it was a little crowded it was worth the wait!! the view of manhattan and the rest of new york was amazing. 102_3142.jpg 102_3162.jpg This was the end of the day so we headed back to the train and found the train bound for tuckahoe.
On Friday we got a nice lie in til about 10 to rest our legs from thursdays walking. Maria had the day off so she offered to take us out for lunch in the city...she took us to little italy! it was brilliant, its the same concept of china town but italian!102_3166.jpg it was really nice down there and the sun was out so we sat at a restaurant, alfresco style 102_3167.jpg the food was great too...especially the desert restaurant maria took us too afterwards! we then went for a walk through little italy and china town to marias favorite fake handbag shop which brought back memories of hong kong! Maria got a good louis vitton fake and jo got a really good tiffany bracelet! bargains all round! Maria had to head back at around half 3 to beat the new york rush hour, and we had arranged to meet jackie (our friend from new york we first met in Laos) after she finished work around 5.30. So we took a walk round a bit more of china town then started walking downtown past the supreme court 102_3171.jpg to ground zero where the world trade center once stood. They're actually building on the site now so we couldn't see anything there. From that block its a short hop over to wall street 102_3175.jpg where we could sling some abuse at the ones responsible for the recession! unfortunately there were alot of armed guards around the stock exchange 102_3179.jpg but it is quite an impressive street. We then walked down to battery park where the sphere is now located (the sculpture that once stood by the twin towers that they managed to salvage) 102_3183.jpg and a far off view of the statue of liberty. By this time it was time to meet jackie! we planned to head out in manhattan that night for her birthday which she was sharing a party with her friends laura and dave. We went to Queens first to lauras house so the girls could get ready then round to 3 guys', Oran, Orrin and Nour who live up the road in Astoria. They kindly offered me and Jo a bed for the night so we were all set! a few pre-drinks were had consisting of a vodka-champagne cocktail and then in the yellow cab to the bar they had hired out.102_3189.jpg It was a good night...for most people. Not especially for me, or Oran for that matter. The cocktails before we left and the double shots of tequila resulted in an unhappy mix for my stomach and it decided it didn't want to be unhappy any longer and expelled the mixture from my body...for the first time ever!! True Story!
The next day was a complete write off! all of us were a bit of a wreck and we just kicked back in Queens all day. we went out for lunch in astoria and a ben and jerrys ice cream before we had to head back to tuckahoe where a chinese take away slightly helped the hangovers.
On Sunday we met jackie at grand central for a day of touristy things so we headed straight down to the staten island ferry which with jackies local knowledge is FREE and goes right past the statue of liberty! Since you cant go up the statue anymore because of terrorist fears this was a good option! 102_3192.jpg 102_3213.jpg102_3225.jpg and on the way back we got a good view of the city 102_3227.jpg. After we got back to manhattan we went round the village which is the shopping area, fun times 102_3229.jpg. Then for our last new york activity we got the subway up to central park 102_3233.jpg and we all went on the old carousel 102_3243.jpg. We said bye to jackie and rushed to get the train back to tuckahoe where maria had made us a farewell yankee pot-roast.
In the morning we took the train and subway to Penn station at madison square gardens and caught our bus to Washington DC, our last stop!!

Posted by rob_harvs 06:41 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

Toronto, Niagara and Boston!

sunny 16 °C
View Rob and Jo's Adventures on rob_harvs's travel map.

Well we arrived in Toronto at 6am pacific time but in our time it was 3am!! so when we got in to our room at the hostel we couldn't find and couldn't get in to when we did find it, we were absolutely wiped out!! We decided that sleep was the top priority so after a few hours we went out exploring.
We headed downtown to the CN tower,102_2954.jpg and since it used to be the tallest building in the world, its still not far off, we thought we should fork out the $20 and go up to the top! the view was pretty good up there you can see the whole city102_2958.jpg and lake Ontario which is hard to believe it is a lake!! the thing is HUGE!!!! it looks like an ocean.102_2963.jpg After we walked round the city a bit more we headed back to the ghetto hostel and bought food to cook for tea. a very exciting pasta, tomato sauce and pepperoni!
The day after we got up and headed back down to the CN tower area to the Sky Dome (Rogers center) stadium to the baseball game. We picked up a hot dog each from the street vendors in true baseball style and got out of the bitter cold in to the covered, air conditioned stadium to see the Toronto Blue Jays take on the Detroit Tigers!102_2977.jpg Detroit started well scoring 2 in the second innings but the blue jays fought back with a big 5 in the 5th innings and then another in the 8th! it was too much for the tigers and it finished 3 hours after the start 6-2 blue jays!
After the game we were used to the warm so we quickly got off the streets and went down in to the 27km of underground tunnels under the city centre, with shops and restaurants etc.
We got up the following day and checked out and took the subway to the greyhound station where we took the bus to Niagara falls102_2981.jpg. we arrived around 4pm so we decided that we would see the falls the next day, so we booked in to a motel and watched a load of greys anatomy on the internet! haha. its quite nice doing nothing sometimes when you've been sightseeing every day.
So on the saturday we got up and checked out then walked down in to downtown niagara. The town is a bit of a dump to be honest, its FULL of tourist crap!! its such a trap, everything is over priced and tacky. Its so weird because once you walk down this street past all the haunted houses and rubbish wax museums the falls are right there!! and they are amazing! you see the american falls first, the least spectacular of the two but still impressive and more so from the ice formations around the base!102_2985.jpg then further down away from the town are the canadian falls (horseshoe falls) which are just brilliant.102_2997.jpg102_3034.jpg The roar of the water is deafaning.102_2986.jpg The maid of the mist, the boat that takes you out to the base of the falls was still sidelined for the winter due to the ice going over the falls. So instead of the boat we decided on going behind the falls through the tunnels which was pretty cool!102_3017.jpg 102_3032.jpg After the falls we had some time to kill before our bus so we sold out and had a round of glow in the dark crazy golf and a couple of games of pool. At 8.30 we took a coach canada bus over the border to Buffalo, NY where we bought a connecting bus to Boston. The bus took all night and went a really strange route, meaning we had to actually change bus in New York City at 7am and then we eventually arrived in boston at 11.30. Jo got plenty of sleep as usual and i got none so we were pretty tired when we got to the holiday inn we got a bargain on! we pretty much had a nothing day talking on skype and walking round the local area.
On monday we had to move to a hostel and the best option we could find was the YWCA...it was pretty terrible! old hospital beds and a TINY cupboard of a room and the bathrooms were just as bad!102_3045.jpg so naturally we didn't want to spend too much time there so we walked up to boston common102_3048.jpg and started the boston Freedom Trail.102_3063.jpg102_3053.jpg The trail goes all round bostons historically significant sights, the start of the resistance to british rule etc. We saw john hancocks grave102_3059.jpg and where they read out the declaration of independence etc.102_3066.jpg It ended up taking us about 6hrs with various detours and we got to see most of boston on foot!102_3084.jpg
On tuesday we got on the subway and headed out to cambridge and famous Harvard university. We looked around the town for an hour before we picked up a free student led tour of harvard which was really interesting! the campus is all really nice102_3099.jpg102_3092.jpg and last stop was the statue of John Harvard, or the statue of 3 lies.102_3103.jpg It has the wrong date of the founding of the uni, it states harvard as the founder of the uni which he wasn't, and infact the statue is not even john harvard because a fire destroyed all pictures of him and no-one knows what he looked like!
On wednesday we made our way back to the greyhound and took the local bus to White Plains, just outside New York City where we met Maria who is Jo's borther in laws, auntie!


Thats all for this one! more coming very soon along with the pics!!

Love Rob and Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 07:35 Archived in Canada Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

The Pacific North-West

sunny 11 °C

We're currently sat in Vancouver airport waiting for our flight as i write this, but just over a week ago we flew up to seattle from oakland.
After a night in an airport motel we caught a series of buses in to seattle and arrived at our hotel near the seattle centre. This was pretty handy as that is where the space needle is! 102_2720.jpg its quite tall but not the tallest tower we've seen... and we've seen quite alot by now. We thought that the $16 to go up was pretty over priced so we sacked it off and went for some lunch. In the afternoon we took the bus downtown and took a stroll through the famous pike place market 102_2730.jpg which is full of arts and crafts and fancy foods. We then carried on our walk down to the water front and had a look in some of the touristy shops down there and looked at the view of the mountains and of the city 102_2735.jpg as you can see from the sky the weather was a bit of a shock! it was sleet and rain most of the day!
The next day we had a well needed lie in and caught our bus to vancouver. it took us about 4 and a half hours until we reached the bus stop where we had arranged to meet my step sister Shelley and her mum, Sue and step dad, Dave. They kindly picked us up in rush hour and we went back to their place in port moody for a roast dinner and a bed for the next two nights.
They were all at work on Thursday so we took ourselves in to vancouver and had a walk around the new convention center 102_2739.jpg and canada place, then down through gas town to see the steam powered clock 102_2746.jpg it was bitterly cold that day so i invested in a woolly hat and jo invested in another hoody thing later on in the shopping center on granville street.
On friday Shelley and Sue had to work again but dave had the day off and offered to drive us up to whistler, it was a 3 hour drive but it was totally worth it!! 102_2753.jpg there was SO much snow! we had a look round the village and then we took the cable car up to the top of the mountain...i was dying to ski but we didn't have the time or the money... the view was pretty spectacular though! 102_2761.jpg102_2772.jpgDSC_0059.jpgDSC_0054.jpgDSC_0073.jpg102_2777.jpg we walked around and had a VERY cold beer. we had a really good day it was AWESOME up there! definitely a re-visit on the cards at some point.
We arrived back in vancouver and dave dropped us off at Jo's relatives, Lisa and Dave and the two daughters Amanda and Christine, down the road in Coquitlam where we had very kindly been offered a bed for the next 4 nights. All but dave had Saturday off work so they offered to take us to Stanley Park, where we walked around in the ever improving weather. Stopping off at the totem poles 102_2818.jpg and then around the head land to get the view of Burrard inlet and the mountains across the water 102_2828.jpg after a quick bite to eat we got serious and took a ride through a section of forest on the mini railway! 102_2834.jpg we saw a plastic moose and even some real life sheep!! good times. That night amanda and christine organised a night out in the burbs at roosters country nightclub/bar thingy P4040017.jpg there were quite a few of us out in the end with some of the others' friends meeting us out. It was a really good night.
We managed to get to bed shortly before 4am and then sleep off our hangovers before a big family get together with all branches of Jo's extended family coming over to the house for brunch, which was delicious! P4050147.jpg
On monday we headed out on another sightseeing trip with Amanda and we picked up shelley on the way since she had a day off work! We went first to capilano suspension bridge which is about 50m long and around 300ft above the canyon floor 102_2845.jpg102_2852.jpg and we also went over smaller rope bridges in the tree tops 102_2864.jpg. We then drove a little bit further up the road to the salmon hatchery where there were thousands of salmon fry waiting to swim back down the river, and waiting patiently for them were two of these guys 102_2875.jpg pretty massive otters! After there we drove up further still to the cleveland dam 102_2886.jpg and checked out the scenery and the dam of course. By the time we got hungry we had made our way west of vancouver to a really nice little village called Horseshoe bay. Where we got some lunch and sat on the rocks in the park watching the seals in the sea and the bald eagles in the sky...not a bad spot! 102_2898.jpg. Further on towards whistler you come to a big waterfall that was definitely worth a visit, and it helped us miss rush hour! Shannon Falls...102_2920.jpg 102_2913.jpg.
Tuesday came around really fast and after a big day on monday we took it easy with a couple of hours looking round the markets on granville island and then a picnic on the beach. Then back to amandas to pack our stuff up and very kindly a lift to the airport by the whole gang minus christine who was at the hockey! Thanks again to everyone in Vancouver...

Toronto and more to follow soon!!

Love Rob and Jo xxxxxxxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 21:32 Archived in Canada Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

San Francisco

sunny 16 °C
View Rob and Jo's Adventures on rob_harvs's travel map.

This last week has gone soooo quickly! hard to believe we only have 3 and a half weeks until we have to fly home!!
We have been pretty busy and seen most of what san fran has to offer us in the way of tourism etc... So we had to leave the fairmont and head down the street a few blocks on the cable car 102_2481.jpg to our cheaper place- the Opal.102_2483.jpg Which is still pretty nice, except for the first two nights where something in my bed was eating me alive!! apparently pest control found nothing but my itchy bites said different. Obviously we moved rooms and got money back etc!!
So we checked in to the new place and jumped on the bus down to fishermans wharf 102_2484.jpg where there is loads of stuff going on! you have all your typical tourist shops selling a whole world of rubbish and then restaurants serving the famous clam chowder served inside a big round crusty loaf and the sourdough bakery. DSCF1659.jpg theres a good walk along the marina wall to get a good view of the city and the wharf 102_2507.jpg and some of the tall ships 102_2496.jpg. We then walked up the hill to ghirardelli square the home of the famous chocolate brand, where we got some free samples and had a look around the posh shops around it! 102_2493.jpg. We also checked out the free musee mechanique where the have all the old games and photo-booths and fortune teller machines etc 102_2488.jpg. After a late night of tom foolery
102_2512.jpg we had a lie in and then headed out to the golden gate bridge! At over 2miles long its a pretty impressive bridge...apparently if you took all the wire out of the bridge it would wrap round the world 3 times!! 102_2518.jpg we had a bit of a walk over the bridge but not all the way! haha too lazy for that. 102_2522.jpg
it didn't take too long to see the bridge so to fill the afternoon we decided to try and find Mrs Doubtfires house! yes its here, in san fran! exciting times...haha. We walked all around the neighbourhood 102_2534.jpg until we ended up exactly where we started...and as it turned out right outside the house! 102_2536.jpg. Not far from the house is the "crookedest street" so we checked that out as well. We rushed back to the hotel that evening so Jo and Zoe could try to get tickets for a musical. We got to the box office just in time and they managed to get tickets for that nights performance of "Wicked".DSCF1624.jpg It is the musical of the untold story of the witches from the wizard of Oz! i think its safe to say they LOVED it!!DSCF1625.jpg while they were singing and dancing along to that i got to watch some stuff on tv that i hadn't had chance to watch in 6months...things like boxing etc.
The next day we took the bus in to town and went round a few shops before heading to Golden gate park DSCF1627.jpg which is ALOT bigger than we expected! we went through the botanical gardens DSCF1641.jpg and walked all the way to the beach near the dutch windmill they have restored DSCF1648.jpg. That night we met a couple we met first of all in San Diego, they went on to LA from there where they stayed with the bassist from the Eagles who is related by marriage to Richard. We met for tea in the Cheesecake factory which is really good!! nice huge portions!
Yesterday we went to Alcatraz. I was looking forward to the trip all week! so at 4pm we headed out on the ferry to "the Rock". DSCF1671.jpg 102_2605.jpg as you arrive its hard not to see why they though the place was escape proof! you can imagine how intimidating it would have been getting off the boat there.102_2622.jpg 102_2627.jpg we walked up past the old living quarters to the cell block where we picked up our audio tour of the prison DSCF1690.jpg it was the voices of former guards and inmates leading us round 102_2636.jpg the cells were TINY i think 8 by 9 feet...none of the luxury they get these days! 102_2637.jpg the cells in the "special case" block were worse 102_2642.jpg and then there were the solitary confinement cells 102_2650.jpg. The rec yard was the only space for exercise 102_2658.jpg and the doors on the way offer that killer view 102_2671.jpg. They tell you about the escape attempts and the one that was successful where 3 guys made fake heads for their beds 102_2683.jpg and escaped through holes they had scratched out with spoon handles 102_2684.jpg they were never caught and various theories are told about where they ended up (if they made it out of the water). The view of the city would be hard to look at if you knew you could never leave! 102_2680.jpg102_2674.jpg and the sun was setting over the golden gate bridge as we left 102_2707.jpg.
So tomorrow Zoe leaves for london and me and Jo leave for Seattle/Vancouver!
Speak to you soon!
Love Rob, Jo and Zoe xxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 15:01 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

The Grand Canyon and Vegas baby!!

sunny 15 °C
View Rob and Jo's Adventures on rob_harvs's travel map.

So we set off from San Diego later than i had hoped around 1pm using the Sat Nav we borrowed from Jo's auntie. I had looked at the route and started in that direction but no the sat nav told me we were going the wrong way...i don't like putting all my faith in something like that but Jo was all for it so we decided to follow it. So after about 5hours of driving and 250 miles to go it was blatently taking us in the opposite direction so we re-programed it and lo and behold nearly 600 miles to go. brilliant! we arrived in flagstaff at about 12.30am after a ridiculous day of driving.
The next day was better, only an hour drive to the south rim of the grand canyon...it was definitely worth the driving! "Spectacular" doesn't do it justice! 102_2259.jpg102_2247.jpg102_2239.jpg102_2238.jpg102_2226.jpg We couldn't get over the size of the place, over 277miles long!! there was also classic north american wildlife all around us... we saw Condors 102_2251.jpg and Elk but didn't manage to spot any of the 20 mountain lions that live in the park.
That night we stayed close by on the famous route 66 102_2279.jpg and on the monday we decided to head on to Las Vegas. During the week the casinos in vegas slash the prices of the hotel to try and get people in to the casino so it worked out way cheaper for us to stay in a 4 star hotel in vegas than to stay in a hostel or motel anywhere else! On the way to vegas we drove over the Hoover Dam 102_2302.jpg which was pretty impressive.
After a 4 hour drive we arrived in Vegas! 102_2453.jpg and the stratosphere hotel casino where we had booked to stay for the first 2 nights. 102_2310.jpg102_2309.jpg its a pretty good view from up there 102_2322.jpg We decided to stay 5 nights in vegas all together because of it being so cheap! We stayed the second two nights in Circus Circus 102_2457.jpg after stratosphere hiked their prices. Both of these hotels are the north end of the famous las vegas strip. 102_2423.jpg102_2426.jpg Our hotels were nice but some of these were in another world. Not only are they casinos they're shopping malls, theme parks, circus' and stadiums! The venitian102_2316.jpg has a canal that runs round the outside102_2355.jpg and through the inside of the shopping mall 102_2365.jpg All the hotels have something unique and extravagant 102_2315.jpg102_2333.jpg102_2334.jpg102_2338.jpg So looking round all these different things takes a long time. We also did a spot of gambling 102_2321.jpg we did quite well really in vegas terms. For most of the time we were up and used our winnings to buy our dinner or pay for activities, but i think we left vegas down $20 between us! Nobody ever wins! We also met some celebs there 102_2378.jpg102_2382.jpg102_2387.jpg102_2396.jpg and of course the man of the moment 102_2414.jpg did i mention this was at madam tussauds? haha. Another iconic vegas sight is the Bellagio hotel fountains, they are brilliant...kind of mesmerizing! It is timed to various songs so changes every time 102_2435.jpg102_2431.jpg
At the weekend the prices of the room increase to what you would imagine for somewhere like that so we had to leave the hotels and get back to the motels 102_2458.jpg but it was ok...no hotel but ok and still on the strip!
On Saturday morning we left vegas and started the drive to San Francisco. This time we decided to break up the drive and stop somewhere for the night. We drove for around 7hrs through changing weather, we even saw a double tornado a long way off to our right!!! we also saw tumble weeds and oil fields 102_2461.jpg to with in 150miles of san fran and stayed the night in King city. On Sunday morning i drove on to san fran with a very excited Jo as Jo's sister Zoe was arriving in to san fran for a weeks holiday! So we dropped the car off with no problems and waited for Zo at arrivals. 102_2465.jpg For Zoe's birthday Jo managed to book a VERY posh hotel very cheap way back in australia! So we all headed to the Fairmont San Francisco. 102_2472.jpg102_2473.jpg and the room is AMAZING! two bedrooms and an awesome bathroom, 2 plasma screens etc! 102_2466.jpg. So far san fran is really nice... a bit cooler than the desert but we're getting used to that, and the streets are SO steep 102_2476.jpg
Unfortunately we have to leave the fairmont today and go to a more realistic hotel :( but im sure it will still be nice!

So thats everything up to now!

Speak to you all soon, Love Rob and Jo xxxxxxxxxx

Posted by rob_harvs 10:11 Archived in USA Tagged tourist_sites Comments (0)

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