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Vicki’s Travel Diary

Wednesday, 09 Nov 2011

Location: New York, USA

MapI survived the train journey to New York and got here on Monday evening, since when my feet have hardly touched the ground!
My last day in LA was spent in the downtown area and the Plaza at El Pueblo Los Angeles, which was near Union Station. It was a good day to leave LA as it rained quite a lot! I had a personal tour of the plaza, which is the oldest part of the city. The guy that took me round was very good and made the history very interesting, especially about why LA came to be such an important place, considering that there is no natural harbour. It rained very heavily at lunch time so I went into a Mexican restaurant on Olvera Street - a Mexican part of the area.
After a walk round downtown, including seeing locations used in Blade Runner, it was back to the station and onto the train for my 4 day/3 night journey to New York.
It actually wasn't too bad! On the train to Chicago the people on the coach were quite sociable, especially one guy who was a fighter and gym manager - very entertaining! I was lucky not to have anyone sitting next to me every night, so could sleep across 2 seats. Ear plugs and an eye mask (and half a bottle of wine) ensured reasonable nights' sleep and I was woken up by the tannoy anouncing breakfast every morning! I was very disappointed to sleep through Flagstaff, which, apparently was covered in snow.
I arrived in New York a bit tired, and looking forward to a shower. Also a bit apprehensive about city life after all that open space. But by the time I arrived at the hostel I was feeling so much better! There must be something about New York that gives it such a good feeling. A woman on the subway volunteered help to find the right platform and I was offered a seat on the train. The hostel is really good and there was a welcome evening going on, with free drinks. (But my first priority was the shower!) There was then a comedy evening, which wasn't that funny, so I joined the pub crawl. This turned out to be a very entertaining night, and I crept into my dorm (10 people) at about 3am.
Yesterday was fantastic. I went on Jerry's Grand Tour, which cost $10 and lasted 13 hours! Jerry is retired and lives in New York. He took us to loads of places, including Brooklyn Heights and Brooklyn Bridge, Ground Zero, Wall Street, the Statten Island ferry (saw the statue of liberty at sunset), Chinatown, a gallery of Peter Lik photos, dinner in East Village, Grand Central Station and Times Square. We got back about midnight, after a really good day. It was great seeing some of the places which are made so familiar in films and the TV. I am beginning to understand why people say they love New York!
Today was spent planning the rest of my trip. I needed to book places to stay and rail tickets - no more making it up as I go along. So by 2.30 this afternoon I was ready for a walk in Central Park, which is 7 minutes from the hostel. The autumn colours are great and I got a really good view of the Manhatten skyline at sunset.
So the plan for the rest of my trip:
I'm going to Niagara Falls on Friday, then back to New York on Sunday for 3 nights. Then I'm going to Baltimore, Washington DC and Boston. Will be back in New York on 27 November for 4 nights before flying home on 1 December. I can't believe there's only 3 weeks left! But at least it's all planned now, so I can relax and enjoy it without any more planning or wondering where my next bed will be. There's still lots to do in New York, but I've got 7 days to do as much as possible.
I'll try to download some photos when I next find a suitable computer.