Boston

There is beginning to be a recurring theme on this trip…every city we stop in becomes our new favourite place. Boston was no different!

Day One

All of this city hopping had knackered us out so we decided to have a lazy Sunday. Our Air BNB was near a reservation and with the sun shining we took the opportunity to go on a little hike. Despite screaming several times because I had seen a snake, it was a fairly relaxing walk through the woods. If you have the opportunity to see some of the great outdoors in Boston, definitely take it. It’s totally different to the English countryside, although I’ll always have a soft spot for that.

Day Two
We started with the Freedom Trail which runs through the city and takes you to all the places of historical interest that Boston has to offer. These include the Old South Meeting House, Paul Revere’s Statue & Bunker Hill (whose monument you can climb up for free!). Cam really enjoyed this but as I was developing a stinker of a cold I was less enthusiastic. Nevertheless, it is definitely a must if you ever find yourself in Boston.

Day Three

Our third day consisted of me living out my Gilmore Girl dreams by visiting Harvard. We took a tour round the campus which is definitely the best way to see it.  For $10 you are taken round by a Harvard student which is great because you learn a lot of little university secrets and traditions as well as getting an insight into what it is really like to study there. We had a hilarious guide called Justin who was pretty much the King of Puns, making it very enjoyable. Cambridge, where Harvard is situated, is also very beautiful with quaint shops, parks and a very intellectual vibe. If you like perusing bookshops have a look in the Harvard Co-Op (nothing like the English supermarket!) which boasts four floors filled with every book imaginable. We spent too much time in there to admit.

Day Four

We started our last day by taking a stroll along Boston’s coastline, soaking up the sun and feeling the sand between our toes. We then decided to walk through Chinatown and the Theatre District and back into the centre of downtown. Luckily, the weather stayed sunny for us as we took in the city. Boston is filled with culture and history so just walking around feels like an adventure. We ate dinner in the oldest tavern in Boston, established in the 1600s! It was kind of crazy to think that whilst we stuffed our faces with veggie burgers and fries that once upon a time, revolution was planned and plotted in the very same place.

I already know I want to return to Boston and explore more of New England as it is quite breathtaking. Also, if anyone knows how I can live out my dream of being Rory Gilmore, let me know!

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Chicago

“Come and show me another city with lifted head singing so proud to be alive and coarse and strong and cunning”, Carl Sandburg

I have heard about this city in lectures, films and on TV but have never visited. I have to say that it exceeded my expectations and I felt at home there within a few hours of exploring.

We were staying in an air BNB in a predominantly Mexican neighbourhood so our first night was spent gorging ourselves on some amazing veggie fajitas. Obviously this was all in preparation for a long day of exploring!

Day 1 

After a fairly drizzly start (a recurring theme on this trip) and with a coffee in hand we headed to Millennium Park for a stereotypical picture with The Bean. We got caught up in some sort of scavenger hunt challenge whilst we were there when some French students were trying to take a selfie with as many people as possible.


We then made our way to the Chicago History Museum which is well worth a visit! We learnt a lot about the history and origins of this brilliant city and followed it with a trip to the Pancake House across the street because walking around works up a big appetite!


We also explored Old Town which is full of quirky, independent shops and has a more laid back vibe than Downtown.

Day 2

Our second day was a sunnier occasion so we took advantage of this by renting bikes and riding along the Lakefront trail. Chicago has a similar bike rental system to a Boris Bike making them a fun and inexpensive alternative to walking. Lake Michigan looked pretty breathtaking as we cycled along and it was very difficult to try to remember that it’s a lake and not an ocean!


We also ventured to the South Side on this day to the Dusable African American History Museum. Although it’s in a bit of an awkward location the museum itself was very insightful and admission was very cheap in comparison to others we have visited during our trip.
We ended our day by drinking cider on the patio of the apartment – BLISS!

Day 3

This was our last full day in Chicago and we decided to wander around & get totally lost in the city. We ended up stumbling upon Manifest: urban arts festival, which is put on by one of universities in the city. There was loads to see and do and all the artwork is done by the graduating students.


We got a caricature of us for free from one of the students who was sat outside an art supply shop – pretty cool right?


The speech bubble refers to our conversation with him about misbehaving in art class.

We ate lunch at a cool little cafe outside in sunshine and then headed back into the heart of the city for an architecture boat tour. This was my little gift to Cam as he talks about architecture in EVERY place we ever go! Unfortunately the heavens opened but with our stylish ponchos, we still thoroughly enjoyed the ride.


Unfortunately, we did not have that much time in this city but I already know I want to come back. Have any of you been to Chicago? What did you love the most?

 

 

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New York, New York: Days 3&4

New York, you have my heart. I love this city & I can’t quite believe how quickly our time here has gone. As I write this I am on a plane to our next stop, but I wanted to write a little something about the last couple of days in New York.

Day 3 

The sun finally showed its face and we got to see this city in all its Springtime glory! Our first stop was to the Natural History Museum, just off Central Park. Wandering around huge buildings looking at exhibits is kind of our thing. Call us history nerds, but we love it, and this trip was no different. Definitely worth a visit if you like that sort of thing.

We then made our way down to Rockefeller Centre to see the city from above. I have never been to the Empire State Building but I was told by several people that Top of the Rock is a better deal, with less waiting time & equally spectacular views. They weren’t wrong. The pure scale of the building was overwhelming and the view from the top was utterly breath-taking. I don’t think I really took the whole experience in as I stood in awe at the height we were at.

After Rockefeller we decided to tick something off that has been on my bucket list for a while – The Highline. If you haven’t heard of it, The Highline is a disused railway track that has been converted into a walkway filled with plants and flowers. By the time we arrived the evening light was beginning to glow and there was something very peaceful about wandering along above the roads & sidewalks in this little slice of greenery. I would definitely recommend this as its free & just a little bit beautiful.

Day 4

You can’t go to the Big Apple without seeing the lady herself, The Statue of Liberty. We took the Staten Island Ferry which is free and gives you a great view of the statue and Manhattan. Once again the sun was shining so the boat ride was very pleasant.


After heading back to Manhattan we had a little wander up Wall Street, stopping to swear at Trump Tower and making our way to George Washington’s statue where there is a free museum. Again, I really recommend this place as they house the stone where Washington was inaugurated – did you know that Washington wasn’t inaugurated in DC because I didn’t!

Of course we couldn’t leave without having a huge slice off pizza for lunch!
We rested our aching feet in Prospect Park, Brooklyn’s answer to Central Park. If you’re staying in the area it’s worth a visit, especially if the weather is good.

Our last stop was to Brighton Beach, where many of Brooklyn’s Russian and Ukrainian community resides. It was full of life and it was very interesting to see lots of Russian shops and signs in the language. The beach itself was lovely and we sat with our feet in the sand, watching the world go by.

And now we are waving goodbye to New York & hello to Chicago. This is the first of the cities we are visiting that I have never been to before so I am really looking forward to discovering all that Chicago has to offer. Until then, over and out.

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New York, New York: Days 1&2

We made it! 

Our first couple of days have been amazing, rainy, fun-filled & tiring – the only way a trip to New York can be! I was going to just do one post for New York but we have already done so much that it makes more sense to divide them up. Therefore, expect even more New York goodness soon!

Day One

Despite the downpour we were up and out early doors for our first day of exploring. Admittedly, we were a little nervous about navigating the subway system but it was very easy to use. I really recommend it to anyone travelling on a budget as you can buy a metro card very cheaply and can easily top it up.


Once we had arrived in Manhattan we battled through the rain & the wind to the Met. If you’ve ever seen Gossip Girl, the steps outside this huge art museum are where Blair and her minions sit at lunch time. The Met was very impressive with everything from Ancient Greek pottery to Monet & Van Gogh. My personal favourite was a photography exhibition of crimes and criminals in New York – even if they were a bit bloody at times!

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image source: pinterest

We then strolled through Central Park which was in full bloom & watched kids sail their toy boats on the river like that scene in Stuart Little. Once through the park we decided to head over to Times Square for some food. We ended up in La Pain Quotidien which was a little pricey but very trendy. I then dragged Cam to the Disney store and Forever 21 which he didn’t enjoy but suffered through with little complaint because he knows better than to come between me and shopping. I didn’t end up buying anything although I could have easily spent a fortune!

We then headed back to Brooklyn to make some dinner and chill out as we were both exhausted. Unfortunately, I had my first panic attack for months as well which was extremely frustrating. I was very glad to have Cam there to talk me through it. It was definitely a reminder that I’m not invincible but it didn’t take away from an amazing first day!

Day 2 

We started our day in Greenwich Village aka my favourite place in New York. It’s full of trendy shops, little bookstores and hipsters – it’s great! We stopped off for a coffee as I have become dependent on caffeine since working in London and then wandered through the streets of Soho.


Making the most of the dry weather we decided to walk across Brooklyn Bridge. The views were absolutely stunning but what we found the most interesting was when we were caught up in an anti-gun protest. It was very cool to see all of these people with banners, chanting as they walked along the bridge.


After getting momentarily lost we got to Williamsburg which I had been told was a cool place to go. I don’t know whether we just weren’t in the right area but we weren’t massively impressed. That being said, all was not lost as we had the most amazing food at Williamsburg Cafe, which was worth the trip.

Now we are relaxing after all that walking! Have you been to New York? If so, what was your favourite place? 

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Time to get away

If you’ve been reading my blog for a while you will have heard me refer to this 3 week period of my life that I have been looking forward to for a very long time. It is now only 3 days until I set off on a three week trip to some of the best cities the American East Coast has to offer.

In this post I’m going to address both my excitement for & my fears about this trip,what’s going to be happening on the blog whilst I’m away and some travel tips from this inexperienced traveler (all advice welcome!)

Are you going to be posting whilst you are away?

The short answer is: maybe. The long answer is: I really want to post whilst I am out in the States, maybe little round ups of each city and some others focused on specific things we do. However, I also don’t want to be hunched over my iPad instead of taking in everything and living in the moment so it will be a case of whether I think I can find some free time to sit down and write. It also very much depends on our wifi connection!

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source: tumblr

Are you nervous about flying again?

100%! The last time I was on a plane was at one of the lowest points in my life and the last time my dad dropped me off at an airport I was stepping into the unknown on a year abroad that triggered the aforementioned low point. That being said I know that if I can just get through those 8 hours I am going to be embarking on an amazing adventure with a super special person. In the grand scheme of things, 8 hours is nothing and I’m a lot stronger now than I have ever been.

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source: valentinadesigns.com

 

What are you most excited for?

I don’t know if I can pinpoint one thing if I am completely honest. I am really excited to spend some time in Maine as it seems to have a very cool, chilled out vibe and we are hoping to go whale watching whilst we are there. Equally, I am so excited to be going back to my favourite place, New York! The last time I went there I fell in love with the city, so I cannot wait to go back and do some more exploring.

 

Any travel tips?

  1. Ditch the suitcase – if you are travelling a lot, buy a good sized backpack instead.
  2. Don’t over-pack – take it from a serial over-packer, you don’t need all of that stuff! Even if you do find yourself at a loss without it, unless you are completely out in the sticks, the chances are you can buy it out there!
  3. Drink water on the plane rather than tea/coffee/alcohol. Your skin will thank you later.
  4. Make a playlist – if, like me, you are prone to anxiety on flights make a playlist filled with your favourite songs. Having something familiar can really help to comfort you.
  5. Explore – don’t just go to where the guidebook recommends. Ask friends who have been before and follow your nose as well. You can find some amazing places tucked away and they won’t be full of tourists!
  6. Smile – this is something I often forget to do when I’m on holiday. Unfamiliar surroundings can really freak me out and I can often let anxiety get the best of me. Smiling releases serotonin that helps combat negative thoughts, leaving you with some clear head space to take in the beautiful experience of being on holiday.
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source: pinterest

 

 

~I’ll see you soon~

 

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