So since I last updated this we’ve whipped through a few cities for sure! After Savannah we flew up to New York (via Newark, New Jersey- so much cheaper!). We were booked in one night in a hostel and then spent the rest of the 5 or so days staying with Marianne’s uncle & aunt in Brooklyn which was lovely. I was blown away by New York from the start. You fly in and see the skyline and it all just looks so proper and exactly how it’s meant to look. I don’t really know how to describe it much better than that other than I spent the whole time picturing myself in any number of tv show/movie/musical that I’ve seen. We went for some extremely delicious ramen the second we arrived – we were in the Broadway neighbourhood so lots of massive buildings and sparking things and zero sightings of Andrew Rannells (very sad). We then wandered around Manhattan a bit in midtown – checking out the sights – the Rockefeller building, Grand Central Station and the like. All just like how it looks in Gossip Girl! Marianne’s twin arrived that night and we went out for dinner in Little Italy. The next few days: we moved to Brooklyn which is just lovely. We were near Prospect Park and the area was so nice – lots of cute restaurants and shops everywhere and it didn’t feel quiet, just relaxed! We also checked out Williamsburg and went to a street food market – got some extremely tasty Vietnamese Bao buns which were very delish. Also swung by the Highline, which is the old railroad that goes along the west side of Manhattan which was a fab little walk.
I mean I could go on about how cool the shops down Bleecker St are and the jazz club Dylan took us to that was underneath this busy restaurant and invisible if you didn’t know it was there. We met up with more UNC students in Greenwich village in the park on NYU graduation day and there was a quartet just doing their thing in a park corner. There was the time Lydia and I got the wrong subway back to Brooklyn and ended up walking through the streets of Brooklyn for 45 minutes past grotty storage unit buildings and deserted warehouses to the fancy gentrified sections which still felt pretty cool with their edgy bars. We visited the 9/11 memorial and I wasn’t prepared for quite how impressive – and I can’t find quite the right word for it – possibly overwhelming they are; two huge sunken fountains with a smaller fountain in the middle that you can’t see the bottom of – somehow making it even more affecting. We walked over the Williamsburg bridge, got the ferry to Staten Island and visited the statue of the girl facing off the bull on Wall St. There was dinner in a Thai place and saying goodbye to a whole load of wonderful amazing UNC international students in Times Square. And on the last night we went up the Empire State building where the view was genuinely phenomenal. It’s hard to not feel like you’re in a movie when all that scenery is just laid out in front of you. It’s also eerily quiet up there in a way that you don’t anticipate which makes it so atmospheric. It’s cliche but it was the perfect end to the New York trip.
So, next stop: San Francisco. Our flight was at an appalling 6am from New Jersey which meant an hour of sleep and then a quite bizarrely surreal day (although the plane was fab – we had a plethora of movie and tv choices it was all quite exciting). San Francisco was chilly when we arrived, checked into our hostel (quite a weird one- a recording studio downstairs and pub carpets everywhere else) and were reunited with Zack. We went for a strange little diner for breakfast – everything comes with potatoes! It soon warmed up as we explored a bit – we walked down to the great little waterfront which is very old and beautiful. It has an old boathouse and a cute little wooden piers – I have never seen so many small men all fishing all at once. We stopped off at the very touristy spot where you can watch a (tragic) magic show or buy some (extortionately expensive) fudge. It was weird- they even had a fish and chip shop that did legit fish and chips, it smelt a bit like home!
So we had an early night the first night (after some tasty Indian food – mixing it up from the deep fried anything back in Carolina, how I miss it). Our first day we spent in the Chinatown district – the Asian history in San Francisco and the US in general is so interesting – we went to the Asian Historical Soc museum which told us some more about the ban on Chinese immigrants coming into the US and their detention for months and months at a time at Angel Island just out in the bay.
Afterwards we headed out to look around some more- there is an Italian neighbourhood that felt very classy and fancy and then we walked up the ludicrously steep hill to the Coit Tower. It’s not an impressive tower itself but it’s in such a cute position on the top of a little hill right on the corner of the San Fran bay. Also from there we could walk down the steps that go through this very leafy area with lots of tropical plants and animals with hidden cottages and cute flowers everywhere.
We ended the day walking back along the pier and getting a bus back to the hostel (which felt so hairy when it stopped right at the top if these silly steep hills, it was a relief to know that the buses are all attached to a wire in the air like a tram!).
Next day we headed out to the Mission district which is the cool part of town. It suddenly felt like we were in Mexico or at least a little bit – Zack had found this place which is meant to do the best Mexican food in town so that’s where we beelined and yes, had incredibly tasty burritos in a very very busy place which was quite the hubbub. After that we walked through really cool streets with lots of cute cute houses to the Mission park which is the park on the hill that you often see in the movies – it has an amazing view of the bay and it was very relaxed. We then walked up to see more beautiful houses and then went to the ‘crookedest street in the world’ and yes I can confirm- very crookedy. It’s got 7 hairpin turns and is very very very steep – again back at it with the lovely views!
That was our last full day in San Fran- the next day we rented our car and drove to LA! I’m so behind on my blog so I’m going to jump ahead now and do a separate post in the future about the roadtrip and the Grand Canyon!