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“All roads lead to Rome” so it’s a bit strange that I have arrived in the “Eternal City” on just three occasions, I must be a poor navigator ….
Few other cities can offer tourists access to just as many historical sights at a comfortable distance.Rome is the capital of Italy, located in the Lazio region along the west coast of Italy. The city has two international airports, Fiumicino and Ciampino. Rome is easily accessible by metro and tram. Most of the sights are to be found within walking distance so in the span of a weekend you won’t have any problem finding time to visit the most famous sites.
When my father celebrated his 60th birthday I gave him a trip to Rome as a present. We had planned to explore the city and attend a match in the Italian Football League, Serie A. Unfortunately there had been large-scale riots during the AS Roma team’s games just before our journey, so the game we had intended to watch was moved to another city. But after all it was a fun weekend with many experiences when exploring the sights of the city.
We arrived by bus to the Roma Termini station and there we took part in the classic tourist game of being scammed by a taxi driver… We made a long detour to get to the Piazza di Santa Maria Maggiore and of course had to pay a much too high fare. But nevertheless we had reached our destination and finally my father had the opportunity to experience Rome.
We joined a guided bus tour going to various sights and made stops where we were toured by a competent guide telling us all about the sites. For instance we visited the grand Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II located at the Piazza Venezia. The monument was inaugurated in 1911 and was the result of a competition for the design of a National Monument in the capital.
The grand Monument of Vittorio Emanuele II.
The bus tour continued past several triumphal arches, Circus Maximus and eventually stopped at the highlight of the tour, the Colosseum. This magnificent amphitheatre was constructed in 70-80 AD and had a capacity of up to 87.000 spectators. Executions, animals fighting, gladiator games and drama were part of the “entertainment” people could experience in the Colosseum. When there was a shortage of iron in the city girders and clamps were removed from the Colosseum to be melted and used as weapons. This resulted in the collapse of large segments in earthquakes.
Daniel and me by the Colosseum.
The next stop of the guided tour was the Roman Forum, an exciting square with temples, columns and ruins. In the old times the buildings were decorated with marble and they must have been a grand sight for the visitors of that time. After that we visited the Basilica of St. Paul, lavishly ornamented with mosaics. The Pantheon with its beautiful dome was visited, ice-cream was enjoyed in the Piazza Navona and a football jersey was acquired in the AS Roma Store in the Piazza Colonna. At the side of the beautiful Trevi Fountain people were throwing coins into the water wishing a return visit to the city. The fountain is also famous from Fellini’s film La Dolce Vita with Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni wading in the water. In the Spanish Steps (Scalinata della Santissima Trinità dei Monti) young people sat enjoying the spring evening while I was running along searching for the best camera angles.
Naturally we also visited the Vatican City, and in St. Peter’s Square we stood in the company of thousands of other visitors listening to Pope John Paul II making a speech. St. Peter’s Basilica is an enormous and immensely impressive building with hundreds of colonnades and sculptures. A good piece of advice is getting tickets in advance to skip the long queues to enter the church.
Pope John Paul II.
Travelling by metro we experienced the work of the pickpockets. I noticed a man groping for my dad’s wallet which he had in the inside pocket of his jacket so I told him to watch out. As we were getting out two other men stood in the doorway so my dad had to force his way past them. Having reached the platform my dad felt in his jacket and obviously the wallet was gone. He gazed into the the carriage and there was the pickpocket with the wallet in his hands! My dad decidedly walked straight ahead to the man and snatched back his wallet and then he stepped back onto the platform and the doors of the carriage closed. Even though we had been cautious they had managed to trick us and we felt furious and offended. Luckily everything turned out well but it was not OK being deceived.
The best dinner that weekend we had at the Gioia Mia, at 34, Via degli Avigonesi.
My second visit to Rome contained music, sports and culture. I had never watched Bruce Springsteen perform outside Sweden and I knew he had dedicated fans in Italy so me and my buddy Daniel booked a 25-hour trip to Rome. I had got to know a number of Italian fans during the concerts in Stockholm, and they helped me with tickets for the concert in Rome. Me and Daniel checked in at the Dei Mille Hotel, situated at 7 Via dei Mille, approximately 150 metres from the Roma Termini Station. We went by metro to the Colosseum to inhale some culture and get some compulsory pictures and then we went by taxi to the Stadio Olimpico where the concert was to take place. In the area next to the stadium there were several swim arenas and the World Aquatics Championships were going on.
During the Olympics I Beijing I got to know Alicia who is the goalkeeper of the Australian Water Polo team. Now we were lucky enough to know that Australia was to meet Canada that afternoon so in a couple of hours I could combine watching Alicia playing in the World Championships with Springsteen performing in the Stadio Olimpico!
It was not easy finding our way among all the arenas but finally we were in the right place and could join in the cheering from the stands as the announcer presented the teams and Alicia’s name was read. It was incredibly hot and we were dripping with perspiration. We had bought white straw hats to protect ourselves and looked like first-rate tourists! Our first live water polo game ended 6-6 and afterwards Alicia came up to us in the stands for a couple of minutes of chatting, a happy reunion.
With a great appetite for food we sat down outside the Stadio Olimpico and ordered something to eat. I was looking forward to the juicy hamburger I had ordered, but something went wrong and I got sausage and bread instead …. Daniel laughed heartily while enjoying his big pizza … My Italian friend Barbara appeared with our tickets and she helped us getting into the mosh pit right in front of the stage, a good friend!
Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band entered the stage and opened with the classic “Badlands”, the community singing rang out and the Italian fans were just as good as we had anticipated.Springsteen’s mom and aunt were there and the cheering knew no end as the ladies entered the stage to dance with Bruce at 1:20 AM! After a show of nearly three hours we happily left the arena. We had been listening to many favourite songs and we were very happy with the concert. What a day!
Bruce Springsteen at the Stadio Olimpico.
I have made two visits to the fine Stadio Olimpico arena. In 2009 I was lucky enough to win a trip to the Champions League Final in Rome between Barcelona and Manchester United. We were a party of 30 included in the journey and there I got to know a number of friends whom I keep in touch with even today.
At 2:00 AM I returned home from a wild weekend in Liverpool and at 6:00 AM I rose from bed and got to the Stockholm-Arlanda airport. There I was met by the other travellers but also by a TV team recording a feature of the airport. They had heard of my trip and wanted to make an interview before departure. I had not wholly recovered from the Liverpool adventure so this was a shaky start of the day …
A couple of hours later we checked in at a hotel in Rome and the visit started with dinner, where I was lucky enough to be seated at the same table as a Swedish journalist and also Henrik Strömblad who was to be the commentator in Swedish television. Discussing sports events with those neighbours at table was interesting.
I had time for some short sightseeing and of course the first stop was another visit to the Colosseum. There you could have your picture taken together with the Champions League Trophy and a great number of fans were there.
The Champions League Trophy at Colosseum.
At the Trevi Fountain there was a huge crowd of Barcelona fans and their singing reverberated in the alleys.
Barcelona fans at Fontana di Trevi.
When it was time for the game to start we went by tram to the arena and it was a wonder no-one fainted inside the carriage, it was unbelievably hot and perspiration was dripping down our backs. We had a firm grasp of our longed-for tickets and I had goose pimples along my arms as I took my seat in one corner of the arena. Spirits were high and the fans of the two teams were singing their chants long before kick-off. Sitting beside me were two Barcelona fans who had come all the way from Mexico to watch the game. A few hours later they were crying with happiness … Barcelona totally outclassed Manchester United and easily won by 2-0. I was happy, having experienced my first Champions League Final and after the match I could watch the Manchester players in low spirits walking into their hotel, for our hotel was just next to it.
Champions League Final 2009.
Rome is certainly a city worth seeing and I recommend a visit – if you haven’t already been there.
Bring walk-friendly shoes and have your camera ready :)
You’ll hear from me,
Popular hotels to book in Rome:
Small hotel in a contemporary urban style with a perfect location on a quiet side street off Via Veneto – known from the movie La Dolce Vita with Anita Ekberg and Marcello Mastroianni.
Popular and centrally located hotel with e.g. Piazza Navona, Spanish Steps and shopping around the corner.
Located in Rome’s historic centre, just opposite of Porta Maggiore Square.
Family run hotel with a great tradition (Ibsen wrote Brand here) and a good location between Via Veneto, Piazza di Spagna and Fontana di Trevi.
In the centre of Rome, close to Via Veneto.
Located in an 17th century building a few meters from Piazza Barberini and a few minutes walk from the Trevi Fountain in central Rome.
Family run Daisy is something as unique as apartments in the most centric parts of Rome.
Now wait a minute, was that a herd of goats in the pasture ground with we just passed outside the football stadium in Liechtenstein? Or was it a gang of dressed up hooligans?…..
Me and my friends love attending various events and we preferably combine them with visiting new cities and countries. This has resulted in many sports and music journeys all over the world and I look forward to the pleasure of eventually writing my memoirs ;) My watchword is: “In Heaven I intend to be a Teller, not a Listener”. And if you plan is having a bunch of good stories for Heaven, you can’t very well sit at home on your coach, you have to gather in a number of memorable experiences, and some of them I let my readers share here in Zleeping Hotels’ travel blog.
We habitually follow the Swedish National football team and when it was decided that they were to meet Liechtenstein in the qualifying games for the UEFA Euro 2016 in France we felt like going to watch the away game. It finally turned out that we were ten football fans who had made up our minds to go to the Principality of Liechtenstein.
Liechtenstein is bordered by Switzerland and Austria, and Vaduz, the capital, has approximately 5,000 inhabitants. The city’s football arena, Rheinpark Stadion has a capacity of just over 6,000 spectators. (Plus an unknown number of goats grazing outside …) The city is surrounded by beautiful mountains and I guess those were the Alps where the ski racers Hanni and Andreas Wenzel were practising in the late seventies when they were greatly successful in the World Cup.
In Switzerland with the mountain tops of Lichtenstein in the background.
The Match-day started with our leaving Stockholm in the morning to go by air to Zurich in Switzerland. At the airport two rented cars were waiting and we set out on our trip in a beautiful landscape. The valleys were blazing in autumn colours and the impressive mountains had steep rocks and misty peaks. As we were passing the Walensee Lake our cameras almost got overheated with shots from inside the car, not even one picture was good …. certainly we ought to have taken the time for a short tourist stop but all of us wanted to hurry to the end destination.
There are beautiful views from the road between Zurich and Vaduz.
After a one-hour drive we reached Sevelen, a neighbouring city of Vaduz, but on the Swiss side of the border. After a hasty check in at our accommodation we rejoined at the Bahnhof restaurant where we had very tasty schnitzels. The sun was shining and the surrounding mountains formed the background setting. Onto our tables there appeared small schnapps out of the restaurant’s own plastic containers …… -We are not in a Scout Camp!! We tested schnapps of various colours and they didn’t have a nice taste, but they made a good start of the preparation of the evening’s match that was to take place some mile east of Sevelen.
Nice lunch in Sevelen at restaurant Bahnhof.
We arrived in Vaduz, the capital of Liechtenstein after a short taxi ride. On a hilltop above us was the handsome Vaduz Castle, the residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein, Hans Adam II.
Vaduz Castle, the residence of the Prince of Liechtenstein.
The small streets were swarming with Swedish fans who had begun warming up for the game. In a square the was a big party tent where the official gathering took place. There was a tremendous atmosphere with hundreds of fans performing classic hits in the community singing. The restaurants in front of the square must have had the best afternoon of the year as the fans in yellow jerseys kept eating and drinking for several hours in the sun. The start of the game was approaching, so it was time for the traditional march towards the arena. The supporters paraded through Vaduz and the cheers re-echoed from the house fronts. Just before reaching the Rheinpark Stadion we passed the field with the goats, not a frequent feature in our supporter parades …
Swedish supporters gathering before the game.
The goats outside Rheinpark.
In front of 4,740 spectators the National Anthems were played and the the qualifying game was due. After some initial problems of finding positions Sweden totally took over the game and in the 19th minute Marcus Berg scored 1-0 for the yellow Swedes. Zlatan Ibrahimovic missed a penalty kick in the end of the first half and at half-time the score was still 0-1. In the Swedish part of the stands we were not particularly happy about the outcome, but our spirits rose in the 56th minute as Zlatan with a hard right footed shot scored 2-0, which also was the final score. This was not a match going down in history as an enjoyable, entertaining game, but everything else related to it was great fun as usual. And I found some palm trees I Vaduz, a fine city …
Liechtenstein – Sweden 0-2.
The day after the game we drove back to Zurich and checked in at the Basilea Hotel. We took the opportunity of staying one whole day in the largest city of Switzerland. Celebrating victory had now transformed into celebrating the birthday of one member of the party. In the pedestrian area of Niederdorfstrasse we found the Vallocaia restaurant, where we drank Petri’s health and sang for him on his birthday. Some of us found our way to the Bahnhofstrasse shopping area, and there a pair of Swiss Army Knives were purchased, one real and one made of chocolate ….
Niederdorfstrasse in Zurich.
Exhausted from all shopping we sat down in an open-air café along the river Limmat that runs through the city. All sightseeing we had time for was our walking around in the city center, no sightseeing bus this time …
The river Limmat in Zurich.
In the evening celebrating Petri continued and we found time for visiting many nice pubs with dancing and roars of laughter. In the Niederdorfstrasse there were plenty of cosy bars and the night was concluded with Champagne at the Big Ben pub to celebrate our luck in horse racing betting that day ..
Fagged out football fans afterwards returned to Sweden carrying another marvellous adventure in our luggage. Many laughters, beautiful sights, a game victory and pleasant company. Everybody was very happy with the trip and we will be observed again when Sweden is out in Europe playing qualifying games for the next championship. As I said, combining events with visiting new cities is a fine travel concept :)
Popular hotels to book in Zurich:
Crowne Plaza Zurich
Hotel amenities include restaurants, bar, swimming pool, business centre and gym.
Best Western Montana
This hotel is in a central location, within a short walking distance from the shopping street Bahnhofstrasse and the Central station.
Pool topped tower in suburban Zurich.
NH Zurich Airport
NH Airport hotel is conveniently located close to the airport and 12 km from centre of Zurich.
Popular hotels to book in Vaduz:
Small Relais & Chateaux hotel surrounded by its own grounds located in Vaduz, the capital of the principality of Liechtenstein, with views over the Rhine valley, the Swiss Alps and the Castle of Vaduz.
As the sightseeing coach is crossing the Brooklyn Bridge in the heat of the July night with Manhattan’s skyline glittering in the dark and the guide singing “New York, New Yooooooork” then I feel at my best. Or sensing the skin of my arm getting goose pimples all over as I sit in a bar decorated for Christmas in SoHo humming along in The Pouges’s “Fairytale of New York”. I love the city that has so much to offer, and the best thing is that after all my visits there I still have many things to see and experience, so – I’ll be back!
The Big Apple is situated at the mouth of the Hudson River on the US East Coast. The city consists of five boroughs: Queens, Brooklyn, the Bronx, Staten Island and Manhattan. From the three major airports John F Kennedy, LaGuardia and Newark Liberty you have easy access to Manhattan by bus, train or subway.
From the pier in Brooklyn there is a great view over Manhattan.
For a long time I had dreamt of visiting New York and in 1998 me and my buddies Magnus and Mattias went to see The City That Never Sleeps. We joined an organized NHL tour and in December we landed in a New York decked out for Christmas. We stayed at the Pennsylvania Hotel, a stone’s throw away from the classic Madison Square Garden arena.
Empire State Building and Madison Square Garden.
The very first night it was already time for the first NHL game of the trip and I remember several members of the tour party having difficulties in keeping their eyes open on account of the jet-lag. I for one had no problem with fatigue, as I was eager with expectation of watching “The Great One”, Wayne Gretzky! What an experience to watch New York Rangers in Madison Square Garden, and the fact that they met Colorado with the Swedish star Peter Forsberg didn’t make it any worse. Forsberg scored and settled the game with Colorado winning 2-1. After the match we went to the player entrance where our travel agency had arranged for us to meet the players Peter Forsberg, Ulf Samuelsson, Niklas Sundström and Joe Sakic. Afterwards Peter Forsberg visited us at our hotel so I just had to run off and buy a 216-dollar Colorado jersey which Peter autographed ….
In between the games we had time for some sightseeing in the city, radiant with Christmas illumination. At Rockefeller Center we visited the famous ice skating rink and the tall Christmas tree, of course.
A visit to the famous ice skating rink at Rockefeller Plaza, is a must.
Just like King Kong we climbed to the top of the Empire State Building, possibly a Tourist Trap, but actually one is obliged to get up there when first visiting the city, the views are magnificent :)
View from Empire State Building.
We paid a visit to the bar on the 107th floor of the World Trade Center and rushed through Chinatown, Central Park and Harlem. This was a short weekend trip that made us want more, and even then I knew that I would return to NY. The trip was concluded with an NHL game in New Jersey: New Jersey Devils vs Colorado. The Devils won by 5-3 and everybody was in high spirits in the Continental Airlines Arena.
Central Park is a popular place for New Yorkers to work out, see a concert or just relax.
One of the great dreams I have nourished is watching Bruce Springsteen in the neighbourhood of his home in New jersey. I thought that dream would never come true, but in 2009 he was to perform several nights at Giants Stadium and I seized the opportunity! Me and my friend Anna booked the journey together but it almost came to an end before it started …. Anna went by air from Gothenburg via Brussels and I was to go from Stockholm. As I was queuing at Arlanda airport a lady checked my ticket with a small gadget, she looked hesitant. After a while she returned and told me that my booking was not to be found in the list of passengers …… My travel agency had changed my booking from another flight, and somewhere something had failed. I was given a standby ticket and had to wait until all other passengers finished boarding to see if there would be a vacant seat in the booked up aircraft. There I was standing with my and Anna’s tickets for two shows …… At last I was told there was a seat for me, a good start of the journey …. I was immensely relieved when I met Anna in New York and we could check in at the Pennsylvania Hotel. The hotel is located next to Penn Station and from there we went by train to Meadowlands in NewJersey. The Giants Stadium arena was to be demolished and Springsteen’s concerts were the last to be performed there.
We entered the arena, and what an overwhelming feeling to gaze at the big grandstands from the field down below. We advanced all the way to the edge of the stage where I met Elena, an Italian girl I had encountered at the concerts in Stockholm and Rome. Sometimes it’s a small world. Soon the time of waiting was over. When E Street Band entered the stage a deafening cheering arose, and finally Springsteen and his perpetual companion Clarence Clemons appeared. The first song was “Wrecking Ball”, a new song written for the occasion describing Giants Stadium history and the fact that the arena was on the point of being demolished: “Let me see what you got, give me your best shot, bring on your wrecking ball”. The whole album “Born to Run” was played in a row and many of my favourite songs were performed. Yet another dream had been fulfilled and the show was brought to a close with great fireworks.
We had places in the first row during Bruce Springsteens concert at Giants Stadium.
The second day of our trip started with a visit in the Empire State Building, and afterwards we returned to Giants Stadium to get good seats for the last concert in the arena. Standing in the queue we met Tom who had watched more than 200 Springsteen concerts, there we had met our match …. I also met my Italian friends Rob and Veronica whom I had got to know during concerts in Stockholm and Rome. As we took our seats in front of the stage we happened to sit beside the legendary basketball player Pat Riley, and many people wanted to have pictures taken in his company that night :)
In the course of this evening the band played the entire Born in the USA album. Nothing could have been more awesome for me. In 1985 I bought that cassette tape, the first time I encountered Springsteen, and 24 years later when he stroke the first notes of “Born in the USA”, in the USA, in New Jersey, it was such a grand moment that the goose pimples spread all over my body. For 3 hours and 20 minutes the band showered classic songs plus some new ones upon us. That was the last I saw of Clarence Clemons in E Street Band, he passed away in consequence of a stroke in 2011.
In 2014 U2, the rock band, launched their tour schedule for 2015 and I noticed that they were going to perform eight nights in New York that summer. I had never been in New York in the summer and I was also dreaming of going to New Jersey to visit Springsteen’s neighbourhood in Asbury Park so I booked a flight and bought tickets for one of U2′s nights in Madison Square Garden. Unfortunately I didn’t find anyone able/willing to come along with me so in June I was still doubtful whether I could go, but then I made up my mind that this was to be an outstanding week and planning began moving. I spent many hours in front of my computer and arranged a fantastic week in the US. To begin with I rented a room in an apartment for a couple of days, and then I went up to Boston to see a friend of mine who is a scientist at Harvard. Well there I also had time to attend the best concert of that summer, Taylor Swift in the Gillette Stadium. Finally my journey came to an end in New York City with accommodation at the fine Empire Hotel.
The cosy roof top bar at Empire Hotel.
I started my trip by ticking off an item of my Bucket List, watching baseball at Yankee Stadium. The Yankees played against Baltimore and even though I was not familiar with the rules it was still an experience to watch a game live. I didn’t watch the whole game since my jet-lag said it was time to go home and sleep, but all the same I think the home team was leading the game when I left the arena :)
Baseball at Yankee Stadium.
Day two commenced with a journey by train down to Belmar in New Jersey where I headed for the seafront and encountered a long sandy beach with beautiful small houses along the boardwalk. I made yet another dream come true, visiting Springsteen’s New Jersey. It was 32 degrees centigrade as I was walking the 2½ miles from Belmar to Asbury Park with the Springsteen album “The River” in my earphones. In Asbury Park I entered the iconic Stone Pony Bar where Bruce has appeared many times over the years. The walls of the venue were filled with pictures from concerts and parties, and in a way it felt like entering The Cavern in Liverpool where the Beatles have performed so many times.
The Stone Pony, a classic bar in Asbury Park where Springsteen has performed many times throughout the years.
I walked along the Asbury Boulevard till I reached the next classic bar, The Wonder Bar. There Springsteen had given a concert only four days earlier and I met a security guard who showed me photos of the concerts in his mobile phone. The crowd outside had been in a turmoil as the venue is small and there were many fans outside wanting to get a glimpse of Bruce at the windows. He dedicated one of the songs to the fans cheering outside.
This was a fine day in Asbury and I got a nasty sunburn lying on a park bench indulging myself in the atmosphere.
With train it is possible to travel down to New Jerseys wonderful beaches, here Asbury Park.
Moreover I had time to meet my friend Michael who lives in Belmar before it was time to catch the return train to New York City. There I went to Times Square, one of many favourite spots in New York. I love all neon signs and the throng of people there. There is a small platform with red steps in the square where you can sit enjoying everything with free Wi-Fi provided if you feel like connecting to send a photo home on the internet.
Once can sit for hours at Times Square, just looking at all the people passing by and all the neon signs.
Later I walked southwards and halted in the intersection of Broadway and W 34th Street. In the light of the sunset I could watch the Empire State Building, the Flatiron Building and the Freedom Tower (One World Trade Center). This was a good start of my journey and even at that time I felt that I had taken the right decision to make the trip even though I travelled alone.
After that I spent some days in Boston before I was back in NYC and checked in at the Empire Hotel. I immediately made my way to the swimming pool on the 13th floor and met a marvellous view in the sunset. The skyscrapers were glowing in the evening light and I felt myself being welcomed by my favourite city. A long evening walk followed, where I ticked off a number of sights like Times Square (once more) the beautiful St. Patrick’s Cathedral, Radio City Music Hall, Lincoln Center, Columbus Circle and much to my delight I found some palm trees at Rockefeller Center :)
It is possible to find palm trees in New York! Here are some at Rockefeller Center.
Having ascended the Empire State Building a couple of times I now chose going up to the Top of the Rock in Rockefeller Center. From the 67th to the 70th floor you get enchanting views of the city. I was there at night and the city, illuminated by street lightning and neon signs presented an awesome sight. To enjoy the night lightning even more I joined a bus tour through the city after nightfall. It was a magical sensation crossing the Brooklyn Bridge and watching Manhattan’s skyline at night!!
Manhattan skyline, seen from Brooklyn.
Naturally I took my time to go on a sightseeing tour by Hop-on Hop-off bus, as you know I do so in all cities ;) The New York tour is comprehensive, all the time you recognize the environment from movies and TV series and the guides onboard are good at giving details about various neighbourhoods and sights. I hopped off at several stops, the first one was Ground Zero where the two Twin Towers stood before the terrorist attack in 2001. Surrounding the two memorial sites where the towers were standing is a wall bearing the names of those killed in the attack. I saw some people placing white roses on some of the names and asked why. It turned out that the victims are given a white rose on their birthdays.
I went on to the sightseeing boat included in the tour ticket and finally saw the Statue of Liberty at close range. In the blazing sunshine I also got some good pictures of Manhattan’s skyscrapers from the boat.
Go for a sightseeing boat trip and see the Statue of Liberty from the water!
After my visiting the squirrels in Battery Park time had come for one of the highlights of the trip, a helicopter ride above Manhattan. Actually I had been up in a police helicopter before so it wasn’t the first time I took off in such an aircraft but obviously I felt giddy as we rounded the Statue of Liberty and then went north above the Hudson River. My camera worked hard while we were passing Downtown, Midtown and Uptown. When we reached the Yankee Stadium area we turned back southwards and after a 15-minute flight we landed safely again.
If you have time go for a helicopter tour in New York!
I have always had a weakness for the Brooklyn Bridge, in a way it’s the symbol of New York for me. This time I crossed the bridge on foot from Brooklyn to Manhattan. The July heat made me suffer and I was dripping with perspiration but who cared as I ticked off yet another item of my Bucket List :)
To walk over the Brooklyn Bridge should be on everybodies to-do-list!
All in a sweat I headed for the subway but there conditions were no better. In Boston they had fans in the subway stations, but I couldn’t see any of them in New York, it was dreadfully hot before you could enter the cars having air conditioning. At Columbus Circle I got out and took a walk in Central Park where people were lying in the sun, playing games or performing physical exercise with skyscrapers hovering above the treetops of the park as a background.
I went to the famous Loeb Boathouse restaurant and watched all the people drifting on the lake in rented rowboats. This is a very cosy site and I can imagine the magic there at night. Bethesda Terrace is another beautiful site where you can go down to the water and watch the turtles swimming around. At Strawberry Fields there is a mosaic on the ground with the word “Imagine”, a tribute to John Lennon. Of course a singer was sitting there playing the song Imagine with the tourists joining in singing. A short walk from there is the street door where Lennon was murdered an shot dead in 1980 at 1, W72nd Street. Now I had just one item left on my To Do List, to visit the American Museum of Natural History. I didn’t have much time and that was the only occasion when my planning of the trip had failed. I was totally lost in the museum and had difficulties in finding my way out to get back to the hotel ….
The last night of my trip was the date of the U2 concert in Madison Square Garden. They featured an open stage and I sat beside it on the short side. I knew the show was going to start when Patti Smith’s “People have the Power” reverberated in the loudspeakers and when it was faded out U2 entered the stage and cheering knew no bounds. Just like in Los Angeles the show opened with “The Miracle (Of Joey Malone)” and the fans caught on and joined the singing. It was a good start but just like in LA the show lost speed as they played the songs of the latest album. The fans in the seating area sat down to stand up again when the classic songs were played. “One” concluded the show, and Bono made the audience join in a beautiful community singing. It was a super sensation sitting beside the stage, watching the crowd standing in front of it.
U2 performing in the legendary Madison Square Garden.
Still another incredible journey was coming to an end. I was exhausted after an intense trip packed with new experiences and sensations. The summer heat had made me tired, too, since I am used to going swimming when its above 30 degrees centigrade, not running around in tourist attractions hahaha :) On the last day I checked out from my room and spent the rest of the day beside the hotel’s swimming pool, a happy ending of my trip.
New York hints:
-Buy tickets for sights at home in advance, you’ll avoid queues and often get a better price.
-Take a Hop-on Hop-off bus tour the first day.
-Have a helicopter ride if you have the time.
-Enjoy the atmosphere in Times Square.
-Watch Manhattan’s skyline from Brooklyn and take a walk back across the Brooklyn Bridge.
-Watch the views from the Empire State Building or Rockefeller Center.
-Have brunch in the 230 Fifth Rooftop Bar.
You’ll hear from me,
Popular hotels to book in New York:
This is a well-known hotel located in the heart of New York, one block from Times Square.
The hotel is located in the heart of midtown Manhattan, conveniently situated on Seventh Avenue between 32nd and 33rd Street, directly across from Madison Square Garden and Amtrak’s Penn Station.
Well known hotel in a great location in Midtown next to Grand Central Station, within a short walking distance from Times Square.
Hotel with an indoor swimming pool located within walking distance from Broadway, Times Square and Central Park.
Great location on 46th Street and 100 meters from Broadway and Times Square. Stylish lobby with sitting area, lounge with DJ in evening and Internet corner.