After almost a month of staying in hostel dorms of varying quality, I was really looking forward to Portland and getting to stay in a pretty nice hotel. Gotta love those online early-bird sales.
After a last minute change of plans I upped my reservation at Hotel Vintage Plaza from just one night to two. Best decision I’ve made all trip. This place is great.
Sure, it’s got the basics that every hotel has – but it’s the little extras that had me grinning from ear to ear (and throwing myself onto the bed) within minutes of walking into the room.
They included a stuffed animal, suggestions for local jogging routes and robes that were so ugly that they’re actually gorgeous. The winning touch, though, was the note from Laura the housekeeper. See, it’s the little things.
Without a doubt, I would recommend Hotel Vintage Plaza, and by association the other Kimpton hotels, to anyone looking to relax in a new city. A++
When I initially arrived in Seattle I asked a friend for suggestions on what to check out. The response I received was (you can kick me later):
“Well my first suggestion would be to avoid Seattle… But in the absence of that… I have no idea.
I’ve been here less than 24 hours and I really like the city, and hate Starbucks (original or otherwise).
The highlight of the day was definitely the Underground Tour I took this afternoon.
The tour was fantastic. Hands down the best tour I’ve taken on this trip, and certainly in the top 5 I’ve ever been on.
Packed full of humour, the history of the city was presented in a captivating format – starting with a talk at the Pioneer Square base location, and further talks as we worked our way through several underground passageways. The tour covered off exploding toilets, the rebuild of Seattle after the big fire, the talented ‘seamstresses’ who earned much more than men of the city in an given hour, and the profitable mischief that only prohibition can inspire.
Intrigued? You should be.
They also do an adults only tour in the evening to cover off the other fun stuff not suitable for an all-ages daytime tour. More on the ‘seamstresses’ and all that. I was tempted, and still might this evening.
Thankfully, I’m in Chicago for a little longer than just an evening – but I got to spend my first evening up Willis Tower watching the evening drawer ever closer as the starlings of snow swirled under my feet on the glass balconies of the skydeck.
I rocked up to the building just after 4pm (today being a Wednesday) and there was absolutely no line. I was extremely lucky. And as such, I was able to watch as dark descended on the city. Lights popped up slowly but surely, and the face of the city changed completely.
Chicago, you are a very beautiful city.
Though it started out murky and grey, today has turned into the sunniest, warmest day of my trip so far – not at all what I expected in Boston. Nor was it what I expected when I dressed in my super-warm merino gear.
Not having long in the city (just today and tomorrow) I wanted to see as much of it as I could on foot. Convenient since the Freedom Trail was at the top of my ‘to-do’ list in Boston.
I followed the
yellow red brick road for the 2.5 miles that wind in and around the historic streets of Boston, highlighting key places in the city’s – and nation’s – history. Starting at the Boston Common, the trail lead me past the State House, Old City Hall, and the site of the Boston Massacre before heading out to Charlestown.
In Charlestown, the trail ends at the Bunker Hill Monument in remembrance of the Battle of Bunker Hill (first major battle of the Revolutionary War).
Standing under it, the monument feels as though it’s shooting up into the sky for miles. Almost endless. That’s when one of the rangers pointed out that I could climb it if I wanted. Yes, of course!
Bad day to have skipped breakfast.
I made it to the top, wobbly-legged but heart still beating (a little too-much for my liking). The view was great, though the windows were too small for photos. It’s okay though – I’ve to ‘em right in here [points to brain]. You’ll just have to climb it too!
Note to self: get more exercise on this trip.
Making new friends in the Big Apple is easy if you just know how…
Today was an art-packed day as I visited both the Metropolitan Museum of Art (“the Met”) and the Solomon R. Guggenheim Museum. The Met was definitely the highlight, and the focus of my day. I’ll talk about the Guggenheim and the MoMA in another post.
The few people I talked to about the Met before I went recommended that I opt for MoMA instead, saying that the Met didn’t have the same quality of paintings. I’ve been to both now, and all I can say to that is – the Met is so much more than just paintings!. Yes, it only has a section for modern art, rather than an entire museum – but that’s what makes the Met the Met, and MoMA the MoMA.
If you loved the Louvre, you’ll love the Met.
I loved the Met for everything but the modern art, because I went for everything else! I’m a bit of a history nerd at times, so the European bits and pieces from the 15th – 18th centuries had my interest especially.
Ye be warned, though, if you blush at the semi-accurate replication of male genitalia then the first floor probably isn’t for you…
I really, really like shiny things…
Lions and Tigers and Bears, oh my!
If I had to choose a single word to describe the American Museum of Natural History, it would be “Beautiful“. The next on the list would be “Wow“.
The building is gorgeous, the exhibits are wonderful and the ‘Journey to the Stars‘ show was fantastic.
I can only imagine being lucky enough to visit with my dinosaur-crazed brother growing up. It would have potentially been life-changing. How lucky the kids of New York are! (Granted the admission cost for a family can be quite steep…).
My initial plan was to check out this museum in the morning, then wander through Central Park to check out the Met after lunch. I’m so glad that I did this one first, because it was after 3pm (4-5 hours after arriving) that I actually left. If you’re looking to go, but don’t want to spend a whole day wandering the halls – you’ll have to plan your trip before you get there and stick to your guns. Follow your nose and you’ll be in there for hours!
Fifth Avenue, New York from a camera phone.