New York, New York

Hello again  🙂

So recently I was lucky enough to go on an incredible trip to New York City. I had been a few years before on my own but hadn’t really seen half of what I wanted to see. This time I wasn’t going on my own so it would be much more special. I also was so excited to be going to the US open tennis for the first time. Before leaving I had received a few recommendations from wonderful collegues/friends.

So the Wednesday evening I was on the plane headed for New York. It was kind of surreal to me that I was fortunate enough to be heading back to this amazing city.

Jetlagged but excited we headed out early in the morning to catch Brooklyn bridge at sunrise. We were still stuck on London time.  We made it to the bridge in perfect time and watched the sun rise over the city. It was a beautiful site to see.

 

I was then in need of coffee and breakfast. We stopped in at a lovely little diner to have some breakfast and then we got on the train to the US Open. My first stop was the shop, as I can never not buy a souvenir. So a few moments spent debating on what to allow myself to buy, we then headed to our seats. We got to see brilliant Roger Federer play and on the other big court spotted Del Potro.

 

That evening we went to a wonderful Italian place called Gelso and Grand in little Italy, where I ate far too much! A wonderful pesto pasta and some calamari. We then headed to a revolving restaurant high up in the Marriott Marquis, near Times Square. It was amazing to sit and have a drink, watching the city revolve by.

On day 2 we headed off after breakfast to the High Line gardens. These are gardens located on an old rail way line. So you are walking through a park but you are overlooking the city.

 

We then took the train to Coney Island.  We tried our luck at winning this big donut cushion. I wasn’t thinking at the time about actually getting it home. Sadly, we didn’t win,so the donut cushion was not meant to be. We had some lunch and enjoyed some time on the beach. Then had a ride on the Ferris wheel which gave a wonderful view.

 

It was then time to head back as we were going to Yankee stadium to watch the Yankees vs Red Sox play some baseball. The atmosphere was loud and brilliant. We stopped off at a lovely pizza place to end off the day.

The next day we went to a wonderful place called Sarabeths for breakfast. The pancakes and a pumpkin waffle were mouth wateringly delicious.

 

After that we spent time walking around central park seeing the John Lennon memorial, the Alice in wonderland statue and the famous bridges which have featured in many films. The bow bridge and the bridge known from the home alone film.

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We stumbled across a couple who had literally just got engaged. The newly engaged lady mentioned that the shirt she was wearing was not her favourite and now it would forever be the one she got in engaged in haha.

 

For lunch we went to a most wonderful place called Ellen’s stardust diner. The waiters all sing!!! It was truly the best thing. They even sing as they are bringing food to the tables or sorting out the bill etc. I loved every minute of it. They have amazing voices. It was like being at the theatre..

 

We then went to the Rockefeller centre to see the view from top of the rock, which was fantastic. Then I couldn’t resist going into the fabulous Christmas shop in times square. I spent some time there just browsing the beautiful Christmas goodies.  In the evening we went Top of the standard. We had wanted to go on the rooftop but it was chucking it down with rain. We sat in their cocktail lounge which was beautiful. The views of the city were just spectacular. Even the bathroom had a view…

 

The next day we went to see ground zero which I found truly moving and took a ride on the Staten Island Ferry.  We had an early dinner at a wonderful Cuban place called Victors Café. The food was fabulous. Then we saw Cats the musical on Broadway. After Cats I was surprised with drinks at this rooftop bar overlooking the bright lights of Times Square. It was an incredible way to end off the Last evening in the city.

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On the last day we went to the US open tennis again where I got to see my favourite tennis player on court Rafa Nadal. He was on top form!

 

Then It was time to head back to the airport and say goodbye. New York I truly hope to see you again… As the cliched t-shirt goes I heart NYC 🙂

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J’taime Paree

Hello, it’s me again. It’s a gorgeous and sunny day in London as I write this. So for the next installment of the travel diaries, here it goes. At the end of May we spent a weekend in beautiful Paris. I have been fortunate enough to have been to Paris before but hadn’t seen too much of it. The first time I went I ran my first ever full marathon there and the second time was when I stayed one night to see Celine Dion perform there. Also, this time would be different as I wasn’t on my own.

Started the first day off with a fresh croissant and cup of coffee. This was at a café, around the corner from our hotel. The temperature was due to be a scorching 34 degrees.

 

After breakfast, we took a lovely walk alongside the Seine. We arrived at the incredible louvre, to do some exploring. It is such a huge place but amazing to see the Venus di Milo and the famous Mona Lisa. The Italian statues are something else to see as well!

 

We went to a wonderful place called Angelica’s for some tea and cake.. Then we paid a visit to Notre dame which is such a stunning cathedral. As we were walking back we were treated to woman on the street singing opera!

 

Later that evening I was surprised with a wonderful dinner cruise along the seine. The view that you get of Eiffel tower was amazing. It having been such a hot day, loads of people were just sitting alongside the river. To top it off a Celine Dion French song, called amor existe encore, came on as we were eating dinner. It was as if they knew I was on the cruise haha…

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The next morning, we went to a church called Sacre Coeur (The sacred heart of Paris). This is in the montmarte district. On top of the steps here you get a fabulous view if the city of Paris.

 

Near there we found a place called the Hardware Societe for breakfast. This was a little gem of a place. The food, coffee and the feel of the place was brilliant. I highly recommend it.

 

We took a walk to where the famous Moulin rouge is located.  I loved the film so to see the actual place was a real highlight for me. I was waiting for Nicole Kidman and Ewan Mcgregor to pop out and sing…

 

Finally it was time to head to Roland Garros for some French open tennis. I had never been before and was super excited! On my bucket list is to visit all four grand slam tennis tournaments. So I’ve now been to Wimbledon and Roland Garros. I am halfway there. After browsing the shop we made our way on Suzanne Lenglen Court for a day of tennis on the clay courts. I loved every minute. It has a completely different atmosphere to Wimbledon. I was hoping for glimpse of Nadal, as he was practicing on one of the courts. The crowd was quite big though so I couldn’t spot him.

 

After a day of sun and tennis we headed back for some dinner. Later that evening we were booked to go to the Lido, the famous French cabaret. I was in awe of how magical it was. They had a woman swallowing swords, loads of dancing, a wonderful French singer and more. There was even this grand sparkly chandelier that came out from the bottom of the stage with dancers on. It was spectacular.

 

Soon we had reached our last day.. We went to the Eiffel tower to get a good view and to be able to get some obligatory tourist pics .

 

Then we headed off to our second day of tennis at Roland Garros. This time we were on the Phillippe-Chatrier court (Their centre court)  Nadal was due to play on the other court . we did get to see some great tennis from Novak Djokovic and a great women’s match between Brady and French hopeful Mladenovic. It was a great fight between the two of them.

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Now after a lovely fun filled weekend in paris, it was time to get the Eurostar back. We never imagined that this would be quite an eventful trip back to London. So two young guys decided they wanted to have a good time on the journey back and bought a few drinks from the bar. They were in the queue in front of me. They seemed to be on a mission. About an hour into the train journey an announcement came over saying that we would be making an unscheduled stop in Calais due to disruptive passengers. I immediately thought its those two guys from the bar as they were giving the staff hassles by going behind the bar etc. So to cut a long story short it was a wait to get them off the train. Then the French border police decided the train wasn’t secure anymore. So we had to disembark and then be rechecked onto the train. This took hours. We were to due to be in London at 21.40 UK time. We ended up finally getting into London at 4am. I got home at 5.45am. I felt so sorry for the young kids. What’s life though, without a few hiccups?

 

I fell in love with Edinburgh…

Hello! So as I’ve explored a couple of wonderful places recently, I thought I would do a little blog post on them. I also will be travelling some more this year, so this won’t be the only one. As you may have read previously, I am currently in a relationship with a lovely man. So for our first ever trip together, we traveled to the beautiful city of Edinburgh. I had heard how amazing Edinburgh was and was not disappointed. Also being the huge Harry Potter fan, the draw of seeing the Harry Potter sights was truly special for me.

 

We stayed in a hotel just near the Royal Mile. We flew out late on the Friday morning. When we landed it was all lovely and sunny. I was expecting clouds and pouring rain! We checked into to our hotel and then decided to do a open top bus tour, to get a glimpse of the sights. We braved it on upper level of the open top bus for as long as we could, but it soon became cold, even with the sun.

 

That evening we went a wonderful place for dinner called Michael Neave’s kitchen and Whisky Bar. There I had a taste of whiskey. I had only ever tried a sip before when I was younger. I thought though while in Scotland, I should give some a try.  We tried two different ones with hints of toffee and cinnamon and a delicate apple/pear flavour. I enjoyed mine so much, I had a second one haha! Now onto the food… I had a lobster and crab ravioli which was amazing. For dessert I had a sticky toffee souffle with salted caramel sauce and lemon shortbread. I was literally in food heaven.

 

 

The next morning, we took a nice walk and found the Elephant House to have some breakfast. Now for all Harry Potter fans, this is where Jo spent time writing the harry potter books. I was a little enthusiastic at being in the same café, where Jo wrote some of her amazing books. The breakfast and coffee was scrumptious! The café is also decorated with pictures of elephants. Over all the ambiance, food, coffee and service I highly recommend. It had a lovely feel to the café.

 

 

We then went to a place called Camera Obscura. Its basically a world of Illusions! All the different exhibits were really fascinating and fun! The vortex tunnel though which made me feel like I was moving sideways, did make me feel a bit queasy though.

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We then made our way to Edinburgh zoo which was truly a highlight. We saw the tiger up close and personal. When we first arrived we were told that the pandas were out much to my delight. Also got to see some very sleepy koala bears. Finally, we got our turn in the panda enclosure though it was just Yang Guang(which means sunshine) who put on a show for us. He apparently is a little less clean than Tian Tian is, we were told by the zoo staff. Tian Tian (which means sweetie) was hiding in her little home. What incredible creatures they are.

 

 

After that we had a lovely Italian dinner and on our walk back, we discovered the roads were closed off. This was due to some filming. Obviously, me being a huge film fan, I was desperate to know who was there and what was being filmed. Turns out it was the new avengers film being done there. Sadly, me being a short arse , I wasn’t able to spot anyone. It would have been lovely to spot Robert Downey(Iron man) or Chris Hemsworth(Thor) perhaps. It was fun to see though how they do the filming with all the lighting etc.

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On Sunday it was time to explore the Edinburgh Castle which was amazing. It is quite a fortress. The views from up there are fantastic.

 

We did some more walking and then found the other café where JK Rowling used to hang out called Spoon. Also a wonderful café. Loved the décor. We were there for an early lunch/;ate brunch. I went for some French toast.

 

Then it was time to start heading home. However not before I spotted two Christmas shops along the way which I had to go into. the tiny thing of it being only March wasn’t going to stop me from going in. I love Christmas! So that was Edinburgh and I look forward to a return visit.