Wednesday, June 24, 2009

First Trip to the Big Apple

My usual vacations include a State or National Park, and this one was no exception. I was not aware that the Statue of Liberty is considered a National Park. She was a gift to us from France and has become an international icon for freedom and liberty. I officially became an American Citizen on January 29, 2009 and seeing her for the first time took my breath away.

My wife and I stayed at the Courtyard Marriott in Manhattan. There were a few visits to Times Square and other important places in New York. We made our way to The Empire State Building, Radio Music Hall, Rockefeller Plaza, Central Park, and a few others. There are so many things to see in the city and it is difficult to make everything in only 4 days. We got in pretty late on Thursday night, but did manage to make it to FAO Schwartz, the Apple Store and Times Square. We turned in for the night after that and got ready for whatever the Big Apple had in store for us.

Friday was a pretty busy day and we tried to pack in as much as possible. Learning the ticketing process for the subway was not too difficult and with the help of travel books, it made it easier to get around. The books include countless maps of the subway system, which definitely came in handy. We made it to the Metropolitan Museum of Art and the Guggenheim, enjoying the art the city had to offer.

Along the way we found ourselves in Central Park and the Central Park Zoo. A bicycle tour through Central Park was nice and relaxing. The tour included great information about Central Park and its fame in movies and tv shows. If you follow me on Twitter you may have seen my tweet about never having been to a zoo. That is no longer true as we visited the Central Park Zoo. This is a small zoo but it was a great new experience for me. I have the pictures to show for it!

There were two celebrity sightings on this trip, as you may have read on my Twitter updates. The first sighting was in Central Park. Steve Carell was sporting black sweats and a purple shirt with his running shoes. Jogging through Central Park is a very popular NY activity that sometimes includes one’s dog. The second sighting was at Katz’s Deli that is in the lower eastside. While we enjoyed our dinner, Ms. Sherri Shepherd came in and sat right behind us. We did not say anything to either one of them and just went on our way.

This will not be our last vacation and we may make it back to New York some day. Overall it was a very enjoyable trip but tiring nonetheless. New York is a great city but not for everybody. We got somewhat used to the fast walking and having to be somewhere at all times. Most vacations are a bit tiring at points but if you have been infected by the Travel Bug, nothing holds you back. I look forward to more trips and sharing my experiences with everybody by posting photos, and keeping up on the blogs.

Photos are on Flickr.

-Luis Tobon

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