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167 days away


5 km / 3 miles since last post

60,509 km / 37,599 miles total


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First Taste Of The City

Our Route (to 13/04/2011)

First Taste Of The City

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This morning we had intended on an early-ish start to the day, but we both felt really tired when the alarm went off that we decided to switch it off and have a bit more sleep. It wouldn't have been much fun walking around Manhattan today if we were both too tired.

By the time we had got up, got showered and ready we left the hotel around midday. The first port of call was to get breakfast/lunch. After walking past many cafes and sandwich shops which had crazy long queues, we darted into Pret a Manger where we made it almost straight to the till.

We took a walk straight towards Times Square, as we needed to pick up our New York Pass cards from Planet Hollywood there. The Pass Cards we have bought are fantastic value. They cost $180 each but you can use them to get into over 55 New York attractions for free. I had a check online a couple of days ago to see what things we are likely to want to see and how much they cost, just to see if it was worth it. It turned out that even if we only see the things on our 'must see' list, it would cost us $245 each! So the pass was well worth the money.

After picking up our pass we found a place to sit for ten minutes while we ate our lunch. We found a spot right on Times Square, opposite Planet Hollywood and surrounded by all the massive screens and bright lights. The first thing that has struck me about this whole place is the number of people - I was comparing it to Tokyo, that is how busy it is! So many people everywhere, it's insane.

Times Square was an interesting place though. I was surprised that it wasn't more pedestrianised than it is, as when I have seen pictures of it I was sure it looked pedestrianised. It does have pedestrianised sections, but you still have major roads going past it.

We had a good walk around Times Square after eating our lunch, so Stu could get some pictures. As the weather today wasn't great - cloudy with spots of rain - we decided to visit an attraction nearby which would be indoors, and which is one of our New York Pass attractions. We settled on Madame Tussauds.

Madame Tussauds was actually ok. Some of the waxworks certainly look a lot more convincing than others - I thought the Salvador Dali and James Dean ones were particularly poor. On the whole though, they were pretty good. The only totally bizarre thing was a part of the attraction called 'Scream'. At the entrance a guy asked us if we wanted to be scared, and then led us through a curtain telling us not to touch anything and to keep walking. I began to be a bit concerned as it reminded me of a 'ghost ride' experience I had in Florida when I was fourteen which was the scariest thing in the world! I needn't have worried myself though as it was extremely lame. We basically walked through a dark corridor, and everytime we went past an obviously extra-dark hiding place someone jumped out and did a 'spooky' laugh. It was very poor, and I'm still not quite sure how it was supposed to fit in with the rest of the place. So, so poor.

After Madam Tussauds we took a walk to the Museum of Modern Art (MOMA) - another free entry thanks to our pass. The place looked extremely busy but it didn't take too long to queue for our tickets so we thought it would all be straight forward. Unfortunately, just as we were about to go into the main part of the mueum the lady checking the tickets told me I couldn't take my rucksack into the museum, and would have to leave it in the cloakroom. Despite the fact that I could see loads of other people happily taking their bags through, some a lot bigger than my bag, mine wasn't allowed. Rucksacks are obviously the most dangerous kind of bag!

The queue to check in bags was horrendous, so for the first half an hour of our time at the MOMA we saw nothing more than the entrance lobby and the cloakroom. Even when I finally got to check in my bag the guy at the desk told me that I could take the contents of the bag with me if I wanted - so what was the problem with the bag then? They are obviously just ticking a box here as I can't see how checking in rucksacks could stop any terror threat, as all the terrorist would need to do is carry a handbag or use a pocket! Note to self: leave the rucksack at the hotel from now on.

The MOMA was quite good, though I would say I much preferred the Art Institute of Chicago - but there were some nice pieces on display. Of particular interest for me was the extensive collection of works by Picasso, Dali's 'The Persistence of Memory', Andy Warhol's 'Campbell's Soup Cans' and 'Marilyn' prints and some interesting pieces by Yoko Ono. They also had a large collection of works by Jackson Pollock - I've realised I am not a fan.

After a good walk around the museum and seeing most of it - certainly everything we were interested in - we left a little while before the 5:30pm closing time, as there was bound to be another huge queue for the clockroom if we left then. Leaving at just gone 5pm and we got straight to the front.

we took a walk to Grand Central Station - the location of one of my favourite scenes from The Fisher King, and a very beautiful building in its own right. It's difficult to get a full picture of the building from the outside as it's so big.

It was starting to get late and our legs were aching from all the walking today. We decided to head back towards the hotel. On the way we grabbed some dinner, and we also made a brief visit to the B&H camera store as it was not far from our hotel. Stu really wanted to have a look around, although we only made it there half an hour before closing so it was quite brief. I am in no doubt that we shall return though.

We saw there was a cinema just across the road from our hotel so bought tickets to see Source Code tonight. We just had enough time to nip back to the hotel and drop off our bags, before heading back to the cinema to watch the film. It was pretty good and worth a watch - a 7 out of 10 from us.