August 27, 2016

So, onward and forward! The moss doesn’t grow under our feet – lol! After two days in Philly we ventured south to Washington DC.  Well, not actually Washington, but Alexandria VA. About 8 miles south of DC.  Here we stayed for two nights in a Walmart parking lot. No one bothered us.  In fact no one cared one way or another that we were there.  And we were across the street from a bus stop, and a short ride to the subway.  So we visited DC by night the first day and then went back today to visit some of the iconic monuments.
Last night we walked through what is called the National Mall. It is not a mall at all, rather it is a park about 4 blocks wide and stretching about 16 blocks.  It is the epicenter of the nation’s capital!

On 17th street we saw the Capital Building with the reflecting pool in front.


and on 1st was the Washington Monument, and in between the park was lined with museums  and art galleries, all closed of course because of the hour, an most of them being Smithsonian. 

North of the Washington Monument is where the White House is.  We walked around its perimeter today.  An impressing building!! Didn't see the president though - 

To one side of the White House is the US Treasury


and to the other is the Eisenhower Executive Office Building.

Huge buildings!!

On the  walk through Potomac Park to the Lincoln Memorial  is the Vietnam Veterans Memorial.  

It honors the men and women who served in the US Armed Forces in Vietnam.

Potomac Park

Potomac Park is a beautiful park that lines both sides of the Reflection Pool.  

Reflection Pool

At one end of the pool is The Washington Monument and at the other end is Lincoln Memorial.

The Lincoln Memorial

The Lincoln Memorial statue is 19 feet tall from head to foot. 

Last but not least, we visited 'The Castle" which is the visitor welcome center for the Smithsonian Institute. This world renowned museum and research complex consists of 19 museums and galleries and a zoo! This castle is home to the tomb of James Smithson, a British Scientist, who donated most of his wealth to the United States of America to found,  in his name in Washington, DC an establishment for the "increase and diffusion of knowledge".

August 25, 2016

Arrived in Philadelphia yesterday morning after a short 90 minute, pretty uneventful drive from New York.  Here we wanted to catch up with our friend Ron Lyttle and meet his lady Mary. But being a Wednesday, both were working so we just ventured out on our own for the day. We drove the car into the old Historic district, only to discover that parking was $4.00 for a half hour and the prices got higher the closer we got to the historic district. We did find a free 2 hour parking zone, but it was quite a hike.  Oh well a little walking never hurt anyone! We visited the Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia.

This is what 1.3 million dollars looks like!

From there we went over to see the Liberty Bell.

Then the Legislative Building. This was a good tour. We learned a lot about the history of the United States.

This morning we got a call from Ron and he had taken the day off, so we were thrilled to be able to spend the day with him and have our own personal tour guide.  He suggested we take a bus up to City Hall to meet him  (we were literally at the other end of the city) because of course that’s how most people get around (there is very little parking and what there is is very expensive) . We witnessed that yesterday!  So off we go, no idea where we are going, but there were buses going by all the time (we were parked at Walmart).  Talked to a gentleman at the bus stop and he gave us some instruction, but the bus he suggested wasn’t coming, and wasn’t coming – so a young lady sitting there gave us another alternative. We hopped the bus she was taking, and we would transfer to the L down the road. We didn’t  have any tokens, and the bus driver doesn't take cash, so he just waved us through.  When we got to the transfer station we would have to buy tokens.  But as we were leaving the bus, the driver handed us two transfer papers!!  WOW that was unexpected!. Thank You Philly….
Philadelphia - the city of brotherly love!

We met up with Ron and he toured us around the city. We went to the Reading Market. I could see spending a lot of time at this place, it has everything!! And the best donuts you’ll ever eat! (sorry Timmy’s).

And we had an original Philly Cheese Steak sandwich. They make it with cheese whiz (they just call it whiz). I think I prefer provalone or muenster!

Michel posed with 'the Thinker' in front of the Rodin Museum

We walked up to see the steps that “Rocky” runs up and down and get a picture with his statue. Ron has actually met Sylvester Stallone on a couple of occasions, and says he’s a great guy!  And of course he’s a legend here in Philladelphia!

Anyway we had a nice long walk today, and it was pretty warm outside, so we ended up in a nice bar on the main floor of the apartment building Ron and Mary live in. We had a couple of beers (wine for me thank you!)  

We had a great supper up on the terrace of Ron and Mary's apartment. What a lovely terrace it is too! And what a great time we had!

And at the end of the evening they sent us home in an Uber car! Thank you so much for the great day Ron.  It was wonderful to meet Mary, she’s a great gal. 

August 23, 2016 (7)

Our last day and night in New York! We didn't do anything during the day, we needed a little down time, but in the late afternoon we boarded the subway for the last time into Times Square.  We hung out and walked about.  We never saw a Broadway show. Not that we didn't think about it, in fact we even got in line for discount tickets, but there wasn't anything that we really wanted to see and the price for third rate shows was up there around $100 each. That is okay, we just couldn't see going to a show just to say we'd been there! 

We ate dinner at the Shake Shack, known for the best burgers in New York.

We shopped a little for a souvenir of our time here. 

We really enjoyed our week although we were much busier than I'm used to being. We were thankful that we bought the New York City Pass. Even though it was a little pricey, we would never have done all that we did without it. At $30 a head entry to everything it would have been way too expensive!!
Pictures taken from our shoreline in Jersey City looking at the Manhattan skyline.

Bye for now everyone! More later....thanks for reading.

August 23, 2016 (6)

Today is our last day to use our New York City Pass. 
Everything we have done in these past days was included in the pass. 

Today we took the New York Water Taxi (all-day pass) to visit the
Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. This water taxi ride was a 90 minute narrated tour. We only took it up to Pier 86, which is home to the legendary aircraft carrier Intrepid, the space shuttle Enterprise, the world's fastest jets and a guided missile submarine.
We caught our water taxi back to Battery Park thinking we could get the last sail on the schooner, but unfortunately they were sold out so we just carried on.  At the mall across from the Transportation Hub  (where we catch our subway) a local group were raising money for 'Clean Water' in Africa.  Someone was donating $1.00 for every person who took the challenge.  These 5 gallon pails were filled with water and each person had to carry two of them. It was a small challenge, but the jugs were heavy!! 

We caught our subway train for home earlier than usual, and I have to say I was bagged!! But Michel went back out in the evening. He drove the car to Coney Island. He's heard about Coney Island and being as close as we were to it, he had to check it out. Besides, this too was in the New York City Pass book.  So he enjoyed a few hours and rode on all the rides along with all the kids.  

August 23, 2016 (5)

No more Big Bus to get us around, we had to make our way around on our own. That was okay though, we got pretty used to the subway system. We took the subway from Jersey to the World Trade Center again and we hung out at Battery Park for the day, and did stuff in that that area.  

As we were walking to Battery Park we passed the "Good Luck Bull" in the Financial District - we had seen it on the Big Bus but never got this close in the previous days!  It was so crowded, there was no getting a clean picture! I guess everyone wants to rub that bull!!

We had planned on doing two sailing tours but couldn't work them both into the same day. We visited the Skyscraper Museum then caught the 2:00 Clipper City Tall Ship 

The wind was good so all the sails we up as we sailed around Manhattan Harbour.  There was a full bar for those who wanted a drink and plenty of room to move around.

We sailed around the Statue of Liberty for another photo opportunity and enjoyed the views from the ocean.

August 23, 2016 (4)

Today was the last day of our Big Bus Tour so we took advantage. We were from one end of New York to the other. Took the subway from Jersey to the World Trade Center then took a ferry from Battery Park to visit the Statue of Liberty National Monument. 

Back on the Big Bus a few hours later, we got off at the High Line - Chelsea Meatpacking district.  Here we walked along New York's only elevated park. The High Line is a 1.45 mile-long linear park built on an elevated section of unused Railway. 

Last, but not least for today, we headed back to Times Square to visit Radio City Music Hall.  No performances playing at this time, but we did get an inside tour and a visit with one of the Rockettes!! Radio City is the largest indoor theater in the world and more than 300 million people have enjoyed movies, concerts, stage shows and special events in this venue. 

August 23, 2016 (3)

This day was a long one. Second day of Big Bus Tour. We took the subway again into Times Square this time to catch the ‘Green Line Tour’ (14 stops on this one) which was the museum district.  

On our walk to catch the bus we passed by Madam Tussaud’s Wax Museum, which was in the New York Pass Book, so we did this before hopping the bus. So we had a little fun with it!! 

We rode the bus all the way around getting off at Central Park. Here we rented bikes and rode around the park and through it to visit the Metropolitan Museum of Art before returning the bikes.


Another iconic landmark - Top of the Rock – Rockefeller Centre give you panoramic views from the 70th floor observation deck.

The Night Tour on the Big Bus didn't stop anywhere along the way. It was a loop that took us through Times Square and Union Square; through Chinatown and Little Italy, over the Manhattan Bridge and all the way back to Times Square. A 90 minute tour of the lights of Manhattan!!

Today being the long day that it was, we hung out for a while and took in a Comedy Show. There were 5 or 6 comedians performing at LOL Times Square Comedy Club and for the most part they were pretty good. We had a few laughs and enjoyed a beverage (had to buy two each, that was part of the entry). Didn't get home until 2 am - we haven't been out that late in ages!!