New York City.

Our first view of Manhattan, was when we crossed the Tappen Zee Bridge, and got the distant view of the famous skyline. The closer we got, driving through upstate New York and New Jersey, the more sneak peaks we had until we were eventually driving through THE Lincoln Tunnel, and eventually making it onto Manhattan Island.

Our first challenge once we left the bus station, was finding our way from the Port Authority Bus Terminal, down to the World Trade Centre. Which, when you're overtired and dragging a suitcase, and have to decipher the subway - isn't the quickest or easiest thing to do. Eventually, we found the right platform, bought the right tickets and headed in the right direction.  Nothing screams out-of-towner than struggling to figure out which way to put your card in the gate and dragging your suitcase over the top rather than through an easy access gate. Our hotel, however, wasn't so easy to find, and we found ourselves walking around an entire block before finding the one small sign and a little door.

 After a quick outfit change and bag reshuffle, we headed out to explore. Number one on the Agenda - the 9/11 memorial. I've never been to a place that felt so sombre, so heartbreaking but also so beautiful. We were meant to have a view of it from our hotel room, and ended up not, which I'm kind of glad of, I think it would have just broken my heart a little more every time I looked outside. We then joined the queue and made it to the top of the One World Trade Centre. I had to hold back tears the moment we first saw the New York Skyline - that was a dream come true. We spent way too long at the top, staring out of each window at least 5 times, and taking way too many photos.

Next on the agenda was the Brooklyn Bridge. Because who hasn't dreamed of going to New York and walking across the Brooklyn Bridge. It was only 15 minutes or so walk away from our hotel. It was amazing to see the skyline from a different perspective and to see more of the city. You could tell instantly, the moment you were in Brooklyn that it was a whole different vibe. I definitely want to spend more time in Brooklyn next time I'm back in New York.  We headed back to Manhattan after some ribs and encountered our first city fire. It wasn't the nicest thing, to see smoke coming out of a high rise, but the constant scream of sirens around us assured us that everyone was doing what they could.

We ended that day with a nighttime walk around the 9/11 Memorial, and an early bed after a long day! Day 2 in NYC started with the Staten Island ferry. Because who doesn't want to be able to see as much of NYC as possible for free! We got up close with the Statue of Liberty and even spent 10 minutes walking around Staten Island. We then went for a walk through the beautiful Greenwich Village - where I think I've fallen in love enough to move there and saw the Friends Apartment! We ended up finding ourselves in Washington State Park, taking in the chess, the music and the atmosphere, before finding ourselves on 5th Avenue, and natural perused the shops, before finding the Flat Iron Building. Wandering around the city and getting lost is the best, even if it does mean you end up with an hour walk back to your hotel.

We spent the night in Newark at the airport before heading out on a two week Trek America, and returning to the city and stay in the dreamy Greenwich Village and an emergency 8pm phone charger mission.

The next morning we attempted the Subway again, sitting and waiting for 15 minutes before realising the train we wanted wasn't running on a Sunday and had a 15 block walk for breakfast at Ellen's Stardust Diner.  If you can't afford tickets to an actual Broadway show, Ellen's diner has to be the second best. Because is there anything else than servers aiming for Broadway singing and serving you.

Next up was Times Square, and the giant M'n'M's store, a huge Disney Store and the sights and sounds.

We found Grand Central Station, the Rockefeller building and the Flat Iron Building again. The sunset we spent at the top of the Empire State Building. It was so nice to see the skyline in the setting sun, and eventually once the sun had set and it was all lit up. There was no doubt that Times Square lit up the sky, and Central Park was visible in the background.  Once the fog rolled in and the city wasn't clear anymore, we headed down and over to Times Square, to get those obligatory tourist pictures in the dark.

The next morning we set out to Central Park. We cracked the Subway and headed straight to Columbus Circle and into the park. It was so easy to wander and get lost. So beautiful to see the skyline beyond the clouds.

We wandered and walked and found the meadows, the bridges and paths, and got lost before finding some amazing lookouts and viewpoints. We walked for hours, up and down the park, found the Alice in Wonderland statue, the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Belvedere Castle and wondered through the Ramble.

We had one last walk through Times Square, back through Greenwich village, back to the hotel, and then got to experience what rush hour Manhattan Island was really like, as we headed to the hotel ready to start our Trek America.


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