New York – Taking in the Big Apple – Day 2

After a good nights rest, we had direction on what we wanted to do today. So it was ……………………first stop……………………boat trip up the Hudson.

The boat was full and we went off up the Hudson. Our tour guide was an ex cop retired from New York, so he knew his stuff for sure. There was a emergency rescue boat that was built from he Iron and steel from the World Trade Centre when it was cleaned up. Thinking about that day still brings tears to my eyes.

Passing area where the Titanic was supposed to dock it had made it to New York, The new World Trade Centre 1, The old port where many of the settlers came through and the housing area for those that were suspected of being sick. Further up we past Lady Liberty but we were told we would get to her on the way back.

He pointed out Wall street from the boat. The reason it is called wall street is in the days of the early dutch settlers, they built a wall to protect themselves from the wilderness and what ever lurked there. The remnants of the wall still stand there today. A bit further and the hudson makes a hook turn and during the 1800’s when there was a lot of activity in the port with sailors, there was of course the “ladies of the night”. Some worked on the port and some towards to hook on the river where the other boats docked. So this is where the name comes from…………………if you worked on the hook side , they called them the “hookers”.

Coming back towards The Statue of Liberty, Dad was so excited that he decided that he wanted and upfront and centre look at her and he went below deck to the front of the boat. Just before we got there though, he pointed out a round white building which is a maintenance building ………………….it is famous for being the Head Quarters for Men In Black.

Getting to Lady Liberty, she is a sight for sure. There are 3 of her in existence.One in the harbour of NYC, one in Paris and one in Capitol Hill. Coming  back we decided to go to the Empire Estate building.

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New York – The city that Never Sleeps – Day 1

Driving the shortish distance from Phili to New York we were so excited about seeing the city. Before we knew it there was the skyline. I was so excited and just couldn’t wait to get into the city. Our last few days we staying in New Jersey in a place called Weehawken. We got to see the most famous skyline of New York from the street up the road from us. we took the quick stroll there and it was …………………..WOW!!!!!!!!!!!! We all stood there and couldn’t believe how stunning it was with the Hudson below.

We all got geared up to take the ferry across to NYC and we said our goodbyes to Andrew as he had to go back to work. Once on the ferry we decided that we need to get the presents buying out of the way and Andre & I had to buy a new carry on suitecase as we had bought so much stuff that we had no where to put it ūüôā

Got the bus into 42nd street and 5th Avenue, first stop Macy’s. 9 stories of shop with everything you can think of. Designer wear, jewelry, sunglasses, bags etc. It was massive!!! We got our case, Mom got her stuff and we decided to see what tours we could do. By this time is was peak hour and the flood of people finishing work leaving to make there way home. We decided to go and eat and wait it out.

After dinner, we got a taxi for the others to go home and Andre & I went to explore a bit. We ended up in the Iconic Times Square. We just stood there and watched everyone and everything for  few min. I cannot explain the atmosphere, you will have to look at the pictures for that. We went into the Disney shop to get a few things and then got a taxi home.

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Gettysburg – The battle for freedom

We arrived to a colder part of the country and  we changed time zones in Washingtong. The Old Mink Farm is in a national Park. We as the family stayed in a big log / Wood cabin in the middle of the woods. Checking in and resting for the night we had our very first braai, we so missed that !

Gettysburg is a very interesting place, the entire town is one big memorial to that terrible battle between the Confederate soldiers & the union soldiers for the freedom of the Slaves to make the USA one free country. This was of course one of many battles they had over the next 2 years afterwards.

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There is the most stunning painting called the cyclorama. It was fully restored and I must say one of the most fantastic painting depicting the battle. It  was painted in the early 1800 by a french artist  Paul Philippoteaux to paint it. It is 115 meters in circumference and 13 meters high. It survived rain, fire,leaks and rot before it was restored. It is magnificent to look at!

This was one place that is so filled with history. We heard about General Lee when we went to Arlington cemetery, his house stands at Arlington and when the war broke out he had to make a choice of where he wanted to be with. He chose the Confederates and President Lincoln took his house from him. After the war, the property was turned into the Cemetery.

Our digs was in the middle of no where and in the woods. We had a very quite 2 days with wine, Braai and family time. Next stop…………Philadelphia

 

Philadelphia – In the ball park

This was one very short stop over. We got to Phili and I wasn’t feeling too well due to all the pollen in the air and it was making me sick. So I opted to take a time out and rest in the room and sleep

The others went to the ball game. It was flippen cold and the wind was howling! Andre took time do find out how the game work and watched eagerly. Mom got given a nice big hat which Dad ended up wearing to show it off. Good laugh!

Phili’s beat Washington and they all came back home. We had dinner in the bar downstairs which was terrible ūüôĀ Everyone went to bed and Andre & I stayed on for a bit for another drink. Is Sunday night at early 22h00 when all the tables get moved around and they start a salsa class. Bit strange we thought but afterwards the music was turned up and people poured in for some “dirty dancing”. Sunday night………………next day work……………..mmmm a bit strange!

Off to bed……………….next stop…………………..New York!

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New York New York, the town that never sleeps Day 1 & 2

We arrived mid afternoon Monday 5th May. This is the final adventure for the entire family. We have accommodation on the other side of the island, New Jersey side with a beautiful view of the Manhatten sky line.  we would have to take pictures there later.

We had to say our goodbyes to Andrew as we were about to board the ferry to the Island of New York to start the adventure. On arriving in the Big Apple you are blown away it is truly fantastic. After getting off the ferry on the otherside there were busses to take us to the to several destinations midtown. We opted 5th Avenue baby. Macey’s department store was massive with some 9 floors of shopping

Washington day 3 & 4

It’s was all about catch up after the first 2 days if rain. We booked the bus tour of the capital. Capital Hill was under renovations but that didn’t stop us from doing the tour. Under the rotunda which is the centre of the building is an un used grave that was supposed to be for ¬†President Washington, after his term he went back to farming and died before the capital Hill building was completed. The senate asked the family if they could move his remains to the crypt but the refused. ¬†The rotunda had so many beautiful paintings depicting times in history. We got to go into the old House of Representatives ¬†and heard how the sound travels in that room.

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We got. We got on the bus and went to the Jefferson mamorial, Roosevelt mamorial park, Korean  mamorial.  The Lincoln mamorial was one that I would never see and it was as impressive as it looks on TV. Sitting in that massive chair and looking down the long reflection pool and the  obelisk  called the Washington monument. At the Vietnam mamorial where we searched for Wissler, Goddard & Stone surnames.  We found several of them.

Then it was the whitehouse, Arlington cemetery, the pentagon. At the pentagon you can clearly see the section that was rebuilt because of 9/11.  Getting back to Union station we took at  at look the restoration process, there was damage to the roof because of the earth quake in 2011. Union station was built in 1905 and it a stunning structure indeed.

Packing up and leaving today we opted to go toMadam Taussauds for a bit, which was awesome. So life like!!! Wouldn’t want to be left in there at night.

Last stop was the fantastic war memorial Iwo Jima that commemorated the US marine corp.

Now we are in the national park for the next 2 days and it’s off to Gettysburg battle site tomorrow.