I had three rushed days in NYC, but I fit in as much as I possibly could. I didn't get to see some of the most famous sights of the city, like the Statue of Liberty (thanks Sandy), but I did get to see a city unlike any other. Many people say to me "What's there to do in New York City?", and so I complied this list:
Lights, cameras and action! New York City is full of artisans trying to make it big. At any given time there's over two dozens plays to go see in the city. In the need for a romantic play to get your mind off your broken heart? How about a mystery drama that will leave you thinking long after it's over? Or a toe-tapping play about rock and roll? Or a dramatization about war? New York has it all, and it's not that terribly expensive either!
2. 9/11 Museum and Memorial
I had the majority of a blog post dedicated to the Museum, but I unfortunately never made it to the memorial and the the memory pools that sit in the footprints of those two goliathan towers. Entering the 21st Century, and off the high of the 1990s, nobody could have been prepared for the the events of September 11th, 2001. It's a day forever stamped in our minds, and a day that plunged the United States into a decade long war, as well as reignited a religious struggle around the world. This is Ground Zero. This is where the towers fell, this is where the innocent died, this is where missing posters clung desperately on any flat surface, and this is where a city, divided by wealth, race, color and creed, was unified.
3. The High Line
You're thinking one of two things: either "You can't put that on your list. You didn't even go here!" or "What's the High Line?". While it's true I didn't get to the High Line while in New York, it was on the top of my list heading into that city. It's built on old abandoned coal tracks that used to feed into the buildings on Manhattan's Chelsea neighborhood. These tracks have been converted into overhead parks, and offer an unique view of the city. With currently 1 and a half miles to walk, the High Line is quickly growing in popularity, for photographers, lovers and joggers alike.
4. Central Park
New York is famous for their skyline, and for the lack of skyline in the city's heart. Central Park is 2 and a half miles long and a half mile wide, and is full of more than enough attractions. If you aren't crossing bridges, skating on lakes, playing Frisbee, going fishing, going to the zoo, going on a horse drawn wagon, going to outdoor performances, playing chess or just enjoying the open air, Central Park offers many more activities for one to indulge in. It is a much needed green oasis in an otherwise concrete jungle.
5. Character Restaurants and Pubs
New York fries, New York pizza, New York steak, New York cheesecake. Just thinking about the food in this city makes me hungry! Everything is better in New York, and the food lives up to this. I experienced everything from loud bars to small cramped burger joints to a Halloween themed restaurant, where people stand on tables and Dr. Frankenstein gives birth to his monster on a nightly basis. There's something for everybody in New York, even for those picky eaters!
6. Roosevelt Island
While I'm sure many islands around Manhattan belong on this list, I spent hours exploring a corner of Roosevelt Island and I didn't regret a single moment (except almost getting locked into the park with the abandoned smallpox hospital as my only company; that was scary). Although I only went to the southern part of the island, the man who first mentioned it to me, said the best place in New York is the northern part of the island. He said the architecture is unlike anything else in the world, and the streets can be navigated for hours and around every corner you will see something different. I never did get to that side of the island, so I'm going to believe him.
7. The American Museum of Natural History
Do you like Ben Stiller? What about Owen Wilson? Robin Williams? These comedic geniuses are in the "Night of the Museum" trilogy, and it all starts here at the AMNH. Although not full of living dinosaurs, troublesome cavemen and gum craving Easter Island Heads, the museum is a sprawling structure with endless sights, covering the flora and fauna of the world to the makeup of the stars above our heads. To step inside its halls are like walking through history, frozen in time. It's an experience unlike any other!
8. Grand Central Station
This century old building is one of the main intersections of the subway system in New York, and has over 750,000 people walk through its doors each day. Imagine this, almost a million people every day. Lined with gold, green and stained glass windows, somebody unfamiliar might mistake the station to be a church or temple. With its many winding staircases and dozens of tunnels, this old building has stood the test of time and has become an icon of this great city.
9. The Empire State Building
Built at a record setting pace, with a floor going up each day, the Empire State Building towers over the skyline of New York. While no longer the tallest building in the city, it can boast this statistic with pride, especially since it's over 70 years old. While old, the building is also very modernized and is leading the world in superstructure energy efficiency. This building has even been the scene for the many King Kong movies, has a museum built inside, is guarded by a very aggressive bald eagle, and is known as one of the most recognizable buildings in the world (unless you're me, in which case I got it and the Chrysler Building mixed up).
10. The People
Perhaps cliché, but the people of NYC are a unique breed, and people watching in this city is a must. You'll see everyone from inspiring hip hop artists to actors, entrepreneurs to celebrities, paper boys to shop keepers, and burger flippers to seers. New York is a thriving, bustling city that has become one of the greatest places on earth, not because of the museums or parks, but because of the people, their determination and their strength. If you get a New Yorker alone, they will praise their city to no end. Of course there are problems in New York, but the people there, who live and fight for their city, love it to no end. It is this love that makes the city glow, and that makes New York such an incredible place to be.
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And, as always, a big thank you to my sweetheart Jessica Nuttall for proof reading a countless number of my articles. I couldn't do any of this without you. I love you.
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Long before I started my blog, many, many years ago, I visited Innsbruck, Austria. I was on a Contiki trip through Europe and visited a plethora of locations such as Rome, Paris, Amsterdam, Venice, Lucerne and Innsbruck, just to name a few. It was an incredible experience and one that I think was a transformative moment in my life.
Off the record (or, on the record now, I guess), of all the places I visited, the only one I didn't like was Innsbruck. I couldn't get into it. We visited it in late March, so the weather wasn't the best. The trees didn't have any leaves on them, the grass was brown, and everything had a post-winter grey look to it. After visiting Munich and spending the night in St. Goar, my mind wasn't thinking about Innsbruck at all. Instead, I was more excited to go to Venice the next day, and the Vatican the day after that. My time in Innsbruck was uneventful, and all I wanted was to get back on the road.
That was in 2011, and now it's 2018. Has my opinion on Innsbruck changed? I would say yes. I'm more mature now and if I went back, I would better appreciate what I was seeing. As I've gotten older, I've been less impressed by the massive buildings and more enthralled by the history that created them.
Canada's 150th birthday cannot be complete without visiting the country's capital city... but which one should you visit? While Ottawa is the current capital of Canada, there have been four other capital cities, and it has changed seven times. It started in Kingston (1841 – 1844) and then moved to Montréal (1844 – 1849), believing it to be safer from the Americans. After the citizens of Montréal burnt it down, it rotated between Toronto (1849 – 1852 and 1856 – 1858) and Québec City (1852 – 1856 and 1859 – 1866). Finally, it was placed right on the border between the two provinces in Ottawa (1866 to present day). This tour ventures into each of these five cities and explores what makes them so unique.
Since the capital flip-flopped location seven times, it would be much more convenient to go through the cities geographically then historically. If we started in the West, we would start in Toronto, Ontario, Canada's biggest city. While G Adventures only mentions the CN Tower and Kensington Market, there is much more to see in this city. You could visit the 18th century Casa Loma Castle, stroll through the artistic Graffiti Alley, visit Ripley's Aquatic Aquarium, or go drink and dine in the Distillery District. Looking for more outdoorsy stuff? Check out the Toronto Islands, the famous High Park or the Toronto Zoo. You can even take a boat out onto Lake Ontario and see the city's iconic skyline!
When it comes to Saskatchewan, your next adventure can be around any corner. As you venture off the main highways, signage is scarce and directions such as "if you've passed the gate with the buffalo skulls, you've gone too far" are all too common. Communities grow smaller, people grow warmer and the list of things on your Saskatchewan Bucket List seems to only get longer.
My adventure to Leader started a few months ago when Christine over at Cruisin' Christine shared a list of Leader bus tours on Facebook. Some of the tours were in June, but one was in September. The September tour caught my eye because it was a two-day tour and I had to ask myself what we would do for two days in Leader. Leader has a three digit population, so I was perplexed on what the tour would comprise.
I was so perplexed that I decided contacted Leader Tourism and booked the tour to find out.