USA & Canada Trip 2018 – days 59-60 – Central Park, Williamsburg, flight to Florida

The first part of our day consisted of a long drive back to NYC. The road was nice and scenic, well, at least we reached Manhattan. It’s unbelievable how fast everything changes, how vast becomes dense and peaceful becomes hectic. It was a nightmare driving through the city. We finally reached the hotel we had booked in Queens, unloaded our suitcases and took the subway to Central Park. We walked around the park, which we hadn’t done on our previous visit to the city.

IMG_20180928_175636.jpg

IMG_20180928_180217.jpg

The park was really nice, and we got to see some brides and grooms shooting wedding photos.

IMG_20180928_180822.jpg

 

 

At some point the sun set, and we walked through the park at night, watching the city’s lights.

 

We then took the subway to Carmine’s in the northern part of Manhattan, where we met Neta, my friend who had moved to NYC a few weeks earlier. It was fun meeting her again, yet the dishes at Carmine’s were even bigger than the last times we were there. We couldn’t even finish half of the main dish.

MVIMG_20180928_215658 (1).jpg

The next day was surprisingly fun. We expected to basically waste some time before our flight to Florida, but Williamsburg turned out to be a really cool neighborhood. We first drove to the farmers market that takes place every Saturday. It’s not as big and impressive as the one in Burlington, but it was cool to see.

MVIMG_20180929_113459 (1).jpg

We then walked around the neighborhood and looked at some interesting stores. Neta especially liked an enormous place filled with vintage items.

IMG_20180929_115814.jpg

IMG_20180929_120057.jpg

We walked to a new urban park called Domino Park, where they had actually created a small sand court with volleyball. People were getting tanned in the sun.

IMG_20180929_131932.jpg

IMG_20180929_133032.jpg

We went to another market and had some Sushi.

IMG_20180929_140323.jpg

We then got… Well… Yes, ice cream. Again. And it was DELICIOUS!

IMG_20180929_144508.jpg

After that we calmly walked back towards the car and started our journey towards JFK. When we arrived at the airport I was shocked to find out we were charged 277$ by the car rental company. I believe I know what happened… On the first day of our New England tour when I came to take the rented car, Neta was at Michal’s packing, so I was told she needs to arrive at some other Alamo station and show her driving license so she can drive. We did that in Boston, and apparently they charged us for an additional driver (even though Neta had already been included!). I very clearly made sure with the woman who told me Neta should show her ID that we would not be charged for it. That got me pissed. I wrote Alamo an email, and I hope they will solve it soon. We shall see.

 

Next stop – Fort Lauderdale, Florida!

 

Advertisements
Categories: traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA & Canada Trip 2018 – days 57-58 – Tughannock Falls, Ithaca Area, Watkings Glen

We woke up early and drove Yarin and Eliav to the airport. Once more, we had the quite unpleasant experience of crossing the border into the United States. The people there always make me feel as if I’m guilty of something.

Since Yarin and Eliav left, the blue skies left with them, and we had grey clouds and pouring rain again.

IMG_20180926_141324.jpg

We stopped at a local Walmart store. I haven’t been to one in years, and it was Neta’s first time. God, how big is that store. It really has everything, even rifles.

WhatsApp Image 2018-09-26 at 19.18.40.jpeg

WhatsApp Image 2018-09-26 at 19.25.59.jpeg

Neta, trying on a mask we found in Walmart

We stopped at Tughannock Falls. First for a viewpoint, and then for a short trail (1.2 miles in each direction). We started walking the trail when suddenly the rain got SOOOOO hard. I walked back to the car to get our umbrella. I got there completely soaked, and of course the rain just stopped a minute afterwards. We continued walking, holding the closed umbrella. The waterfall itself was really pretty though.

IMG_20180926_150126.jpg

View from the top

IMG_20180926_152526.jpg

Smaller falls along the trail

IMG_20180926_161047.jpg

We wrote to Eliav and Yarin about the awful weather we were having since they had gone, and they replied that they were having a sunny day in NYC. Some people are just lucky.

IMG_20180926_160224.jpg

I have no idea how the back side of my pants remained dry

We then went just across the street to Taughannock State Park, which would probably be nicer in a sunny day. From there we went to a local winery, Ports of New York, where we again tasted four different wines, and also bought ourselves a bottle. Since we didn’t have an opener, the owner actually made a special cap for us (apparently it’s illegal to just hand us an open bottle). Oh well.

IMG_20180926_180913.jpg

IMG_20180926_180937 (1).jpg

It was quite late when we arrived in Ithaca. We made ourselves dinner using the cheese we had bought in the farmers market in Burlington and the wine we’ve just purchased.

 

The next day featured the most beautiful trail we had in New England in my opinion – Watkins Glen. It wasn’t hard, despite having lots of stairs, and it featured plenty of waterfalls along a gorgeous gorge.

IMG_20180927_114109.jpg

MVIMG_20180927_115227.jpg

00014IMG_00014_BURST20180927115245_COVER.jpg

IMG_20180927_122215_1.jpg

IMG_20180927_122637.jpg

IMG_20180927_123011.jpg

IMG_20180927_123511.jpg

 

Neta and I also started using the “motion” feature of my cellphone, meaning that we automatically get a short video for every picture we take.

 

We then had lunch at an Italian restaurant, followed by… Well, ice cream at Ben & Jerry’s. I’m so glad that we walk a lot in this trip, given the amount of Ben & Jerry’s I’ve consumed. Oh, they had their own Ben & Jerry’s car!

MVIMG_20180927_152449.jpg

IMG_20180927_153311.jpg

MVIMG_20180927_153542.jpg

We then drove to Buttermilk Falls State Park, featuring a nice circular trail (Gorge Trail and Rim Trail), though it wasn’t as beautiful as Watkins Glen.

IMG_20180927_164625.jpg

PANO_20180927_165113.jpg

MVIMG_20180927_170949.jpg

From there we drove to Ithaca Falls – a genuinely impressive fall, only 5 minutes away from the parking lot.

MVIMG_20180927_182107.jpg

MVIMG_20180927_182248_exported_stabilized_5194412386038931953.gif

We bought some more groceries at a coorperative that belongs to local students, and made ourselves dinner. Tomorrow we’ll head back towards NYC.

Categories: traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA & Canada Trip 2018 – days 55-56 – Thousand Islands, Niagara Falls

We woke up early and went to the Thousand Islands, where we took a tour by boat (2 Nations Tour by Uncle Sam Boat Tours). The islands are beautiful, and we got to learn a lot about their history, the relation to the sauce and some cool stories. Most of them are actually privately owned by millionaires who just decided that they want an island. How crazy is that?

IMG_20180924_100631.jpg

IMG_20180924_101132.jpg

IMG_20180924_102610.jpg

We then drove all the way to the Niagara Falls, crossing the border to Canada. As we arrived quite late we didn’t get to look around much. Rather, we went to do some grocery shopping and made ourselves dinner. Finally, real salad!

 

On the next morning we took a boat to the falls. Honestly, they aren’t as incredible as I had thought, given how famous they are. Yet, the strong flow is impressive, and it got us completely wet!

IMG_20180925_105445_1.jpg

IMG_20180925_110158.jpg

IMG_20180925_110217.jpg

IMG_20180925_110435.jpg

IMG_20180925_114822.jpg

We then drove to an adjacent town called Niagara on the Lake, where we took a wine tour at a local winery (Peller Estates Winery). It was awesome! We tasted four different wines, and the last one (ice wine) was really special – they only make it from grapes that they pick up when it’s -10 degrees (Celsius). They had us taste it in a room that had -10 degrees. It was freezing, and the wine was really delicious. Also, the winery is just beautiful.

 

IMG_20180925_155539.jpg

IMG_20180925_155733.jpg

IMG_20180925_162719.jpg

IMG_20180925_162726.jpg

IMG_20180925_162745.jpg

After the tour we walked a bit along Lake Ontario and saw lots of squirrels.

IMG_20180925_181736.jpg

Afterwards, we went again to do some grocery shopping. Yarin cooked for us amazing fish, and I was again responsible for the salad.

IMG_20180925_215633.jpg

IMG_20180925_215659.jpg

We went for a night walk to see the falls at night, when they are laminated.

IMG_20180925_231818.jpg

We then walked a bit in the town of Niagara Falls, that seems as if someone took it straight out of the 90s. Really old, and somewhat broken signs welcomed us as we walked through the streets, pretty much on our own.

Categories: traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA & Canada Trip 2018 – days 53-54 – Burlington, Lake Placid, Mount Baker

Our Saturday started by attending a wonderful farmers market in Burlington, which takes place every Saturday. It was huge and had so many interesting things! And so many tastings! We could have satisfied our hunger with tastings only, but we bought some really cool things – delicious cheese for later, and some things to eat there. Neta tried a special honey-lemonade.

IMG_20180922_105108.jpg

IMG_20180922_105114.jpg

IMG_20180922_115846.jpg

We then got a message from our friends, Eliav and Yarin, saying that they had landed. We left the farmers market to pick them up. It was really cool seeing them again after so long. We then went back to show them the market, and let them explore it while we were getting some surprisingly good coffee nearby.

IMG_20180922_133843.jpg

It felt as if Yarin and Eliav brought the sun with them. We had had some rainy and cloudy days in a row, but that day had just perfect blue skies. Apparently, Eliav and Yarin had been having good weather for a while now.

 

We then started driving through small islands of Champlain Lake. We got to see little farms alongside the water.

IMG_20180922_155934.jpg

At some point we did a short walk on one of the islands as well.

IMG_20180922_171716.jpg

IMG_20180922_171716.jpg

IMG_20180922_183242.jpg

On the next day we drove west, towards Lake Placid, a nice town surrounding Mirror Lake. We walked around the lake and found some enormous sunflowers.

IMG_20180923_131954.jpg

IMG_20180923_132218.jpg

IMG_20180923_133935.jpg

We were really hungry and went eating BBQ for lunch. Then, we went to an adjacent Ben & Jerry’s place. It’s pretty cool they have their own Gelateries in the States, I don’t think I’ve ever seen one in Israel or Europe.

IMG_20180923_160313.jpg

 

We then drove to Moody Pond, where the trail to Mount Baker starts. It was pretty steep but quite short, and from the top we got to see beautiful views of the valley.

IMG_20180923_174216.jpg

IMG_20180923_175154.jpg

PANO_20180923_180427.jpg

IMG_20180923_180739.jpg

IMG_20180923_180956.jpg

IMG_20180923_181629.jpg

We then drove for another ~3 hours to Calcium, where we spent the night.

 

Categories: traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA & Canada Trip 2018 – days 50-52 – New Hampshire and Vermont

We started by going to Diana’s Bath trail, a short ~40 minutes trail (~20 minutes each direction) leading to nice ponds with small waterfalls.

IMG_20180919_103840.jpg

IMG_20180919_105442.jpg

We then went on to Glen Ellis Falls, another short trail leading to waterfalls.

IMG_20180919_121144.jpg

IMG_20180919_121313.jpg

We then went to Pinkham Notch visitor center, where they told us that we should drive to Mount Washington (the highest peak around), and that we would get to see a lot. Personally, I wouldn’t recommend going there. It costed 40$ to go up by car, and most of the time we couldn’t see anything due to the clouds.

IMG_20180919_132127.jpg

We drove all the way to the top, where we couldn’t really see much… Due to the clouds.

IMG_20180919_133851.jpg

IMG_20180919_140952.jpg

It was cool to see a restoration of a house that used to be sort of a hotel a long time ago.

We then walked the Lost Pond Trail.

IMG_20180919_150305.jpg

IMG_20180919_153734.jpg

We went back to the hotel quite early, and actually got to watch TV(!), which we hadn’t done a for a long time. Some rest isn’t too bad after 50 days of traveling 🙂

On the next day we drove through the Kancamagus highway, which is supposed to be THE great highway for viewing foliage during autumn. Well, after talking to locals – it seems that: (a) it’s really hard to foresee when the foliage will actually occur and the time differs every year; (b) last year there wasn’t really foliage as the weather was “crazy”, and they thought that this year would be the same. If you plan on going to New England – great. Don’t expect the beautiful foliage Google shows, though.

We first went to the Lower Falls, which are located just 5 minutes walk from the parking lot.

IMG_20180920_110520.jpg

We then went to see Rocky Gorge.

IMG_20180920_115744.jpg

IMG_20180920_120402.jpg

Very close to the gorge, there is a beautiful pond.

IMG_20180920_120849.jpg

We then walked the short and easy Lovequist Loop Trail. It is not found on Google Maps or any local map we could find, but after crossing the bridge from Rocky Gorge to the pond above one can see the relevant signs.

IMG_20180920_121145.jpg

IMG_20180920_122156.jpg

Many mushrooms accompanied us along the way.

IMG_20180920_122329.jpg

IMG_20180920_123605.jpg

IMG_20180920_123957.jpg

IMG_20180920_125832.jpg

We continued to Sabbaday Falls. An easy trail leads to the falls that create small ponds in different layers.

IMG_20180920_145328.jpg

IMG_20180920_145811.jpg

Neta is there!

IMG_20180920_150004.jpg

We did get to spot a few autumn-looking-trees along the way.

IMG_20180920_152406.jpg

IMG_20180920_152910.jpg

We also had some nice viewpoints through Kancamagus highway.

IMG_20180920_154437.jpg

IMG_20180920_154550.jpg

As the forecast showed tomorrow would rain, we decided to do another trail – Flume Gorge.

IMG_20180920_165440.jpg

IMG_20180920_165843.jpg

IMG_20180920_170207.jpg

IMG_20180920_171551.jpg

IMG_20180920_173622.jpg

On our 52nd day we drove to Vermont. The views changed and we saw many farms, cows, horses and isolated homes.

We stopped at Morse Farm, where they make Maple syrup. We had a short self-guided tour and some tastings. It was really cool! We also bought maple-popcorn.

IMG_20180921_161107.jpg

IMG_20180921_162756.jpg

IMG_20180921_163025.jpg

IMG_20180921_163712.jpg

IMG_20180921_164652.jpg

IMG_20180921_165316.jpg

From there we went to Ben & Jerry’s factory in Vermont. We also took the tour and learned about how the company started, as well as how they make ice cream. We also tasted a special flavor they save for the tours only.

IMG_20180921_172852.jpg

We then went to the Flavor Graveyard – where they have tombstones for flavors that “died” – that is, aren’t made any more.

IMG_20180921_181556.jpg

IMG_20180921_181807.jpg

IMG_20180921_181934.jpg

What an awesome idea! They actually turned “failures” into something amusing that people can enjoy. Some of the flavors actually sounded terrible (as in, why would anyone think they would succeed?) while some sounded amazing and it was too bad they were ‘dead’ already.

IMG_20180921_182248.jpg

IMG_20180921_182440.jpg

On the next day we are supposed to meet my friends Yarin and Eliav, who will join us for a few days 🙂

Categories: traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA & Canada Trip 2018 – days 47-49 – Boston

On our 47th day Neta stayed at Michal’s to pack our things while I started the journey to Newark, in order to pick up our rented car. After getting to Port Authority I took another bus to Newark, and the rest of the way was surprisingly easy. I then drove back to Michal’s, where we had lunch and said goodbye to Michal and her awesome family.

We then drove towards Boston, stopping at Mistick Village, which apparently had a garlic festival!

IMG_20180916_165510.jpg

Neta also had a dessert that amazed her – a banana in hot chocolate sauce.

IMG_20180916_182003.jpg

IMG_20180916_182127.jpg

From there we drove to Sommerville, a town near Boston where my friend Daniel lives. We met Daniel and went out for dinner. It was awesome to see him again. Daniel studied linguistics in Tel Aviv University, as I did. We never took a course together but we were TAs in parallel so we got to meet, and he is a really cool guy. Daniel is now a PhD student at MIT.

The next day we also met Mor, another linguistics student from Tel Aviv who came to Boston with her husband, whose brother had moved to live in Boston. Daniel took us a to a short tour around MIT. We saw the linguistics department where he studies.

IMG_20180917_105717.jpg

IMG_20180917_112740.jpg

We then did a self-guided tour around Harvard University. As the university is integrated within Cambridge, we also got to see some nice places not directly related to the university, such as a store dedicated to Harry Potter.

IMG_20180917_121655.jpg

IMG_20180917_130620.jpg

Harvard looks really nice, the campus consists of red buildings on a green grass.

IMG_20180917_132902.jpg

After touring Harvard, we went together with Mor and her husband Adi and walked the Freedom Trail. It’s unbelievingly convenient to walk as the entire route is marked by red stripes on the floor. As our last stop, we reached Boston Common and Public Garden. In my opinion, they are really cool urban parks.

IMG_20180917_182425.jpg

IMG_20180917_182509.jpg

IMG_20180917_183108.jpg

On that day we had really good weather. The next day was a completely different story, with thunderstorms and heavy rain. I started by walking to where I had parked my car the other day. I had actually parked it in Medford, an adjacent town, as it’s pretty much impossible to park in Sommerville or Cambridge if you’re not a resident. I walked there in heavy rain, got to the car and drove back to pick up Neta.

We drove downtown, and took a tour in Massachusetts State House. It’s an impressive building and we got to hear about the way things have been and still are managed in Massachusetts.

IMG_20180918_134545.jpg

IMG_20180918_141707.jpg

We then had lunch at a nice Irish restaurant, Emmet’s. It was really good! Afterwards we went to meet Daniel at Render Coffee, a place that I found while looking for the best coffee in Boston. The place is nice and we had fun with Daniel, but the coffee was rather disappointing.

IMG_20180918_164444.jpg

We then left Boston and drove North towards North Conway.

All in all, we found Boston to be a very pleasant city! The atmosphere is really positive there, and it’s not crowded – especially when compared to NYC. I guess that as a tourist there isn’t that much to do there for more than two days, but we had a really good time.

Categories: traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA & Canada Trip 2018 – some thoughts after 46 days – why I appreciate Tel Aviv even more

One of the cool things about traveling is that it gives you perspective. It might be about your own life as you see the way others live their lives, about your habits once you get away from them for a while, or about other things. This time, I got a perspective about our hometown.

We’ve had an amazing time so far. 46 days filled with experiences, views, nature and cities.

PANO_20180827_162210

Yet, this trip makes me appreciate Tel Aviv even more.

NYC was a bit exhausting for us. The daily bus rides were tough, but even when we were there – it felt crowded and unwelcoming. But it’s not just NYC.

IMG_20180909_131356

Tel Aviv has amazing food. High variety and high quality. We miss it a lot.

Tel Aviv has amazing beaches. When we went to California, the beaches were really beautiful, but the ocean turned out to be cold.

The weather in Tel Aviv is (pretty) constant. I haven’t appreciated it enough. We cancelled our visits to Yosemite and Glacier National Parks due to fires, we lost a few days in the Canadian Rockies due to the smoke (and weren’t sure we would see anything at all), and we keep checking the ever-changing forecast on a daily basis. In Tel Aviv it’s almost always sunny. Perhaps it’s hot, but at least it’s stable.

IMG_20180825_143807 (1).jpg

Smoke in the Canadian Rockies

Tel Aviv has incredible coffee. With the exception of San Francisco, it’s really hard to find good coffee in the US.

IMG_20180907_110030.jpg

Coffee in Vancouver

Cycling is pretty safe in Tel Aviv. After cycling in Europe I regarded Tel Aviv as extremely inferior. Well, perhaps compared to the Netherlands or Germany, but it’s really OK compared to North America. There’s much to improve, but there are quite lots of cycling lanes, and the terrain is flat. In most cities we’ve visited in the US and Canada, the lanes are integrated with the traffic, and it seems really dangerous.

IMG_20180907_110318 (1).jpg

I can’t wait to use my new pannier in Tel Aviv

Even the public transportation in Tel Aviv seems OK. Again, not everything is perfect – but compared to what we’ve seen in the US, I really appreciate the availability of the public transportation in our city.

Tel Aviv doesn’t have the amazing views we have seen, nor the interesting sea animals. But it’s certainly a great city.

IMG_20180831_152535.jpg

Categories: traveling | Tags: , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA & Canada Trip 2018 – Days 44-46 – NYC, Part 2

We started our 44th day by visiting Little Italy again, as we knew that the annual Feast of San Gennaro would start on that day.

IMG_20180913_122647.jpg

We then took another guided walking tour with Free Tours by Foot, this time to Greenwich Village and the Highline. We heard many interesting stories, and saw the house that was featured in Friends between scenes (though the show was filmed in California):

IMG_20180913_153718.jpg

We then walked the Highline – once a railway on top of the city, and now an urban park and walkway.

IMG_20180913_164348.jpg

IMG_20180913_165311.jpg

We then went to the amazing Carmine’s restaurant. Luckily, we could get in without waiting as we were only two. They serve huge meals that could probably be enough for 3 hungry adults. We managed to finish the entree on our own, and then ordered the famous tiramisu which we could only taste. We then took it back to Michal 🙂

IMG_20180913_180215.jpg

IMG_20180913_182557.jpg

We then went to see our last Broadway show – Aladdin. The show was really impressive, and I especially liked the Genie. The people in Broadway really know how to get the feeling of the films onto the stage. I was impressed by the delicate balance between the original movie and a more contemporary touch.

IMG_20180913_184431.jpg

We ran to the bus station and got there just in time to catch our bus to Closter.

The next day we went to get a viewpoint from Grand Zero at the World Trade Center. The view was superb, yet I couldn’t help but feel repulsed by the long wait, being surrounded with so many people all the time, the enormous gift shop and the general feeling of being inside a factory making money from our visit.

Nonetheless, the view was impressive indeed, and we gained a better understanding of the size of NYC.

IMG_20180914_130938.jpg

IMG_20180914_131631.jpg

IMG_20180914_132409.jpg

IMG_20180914_133711.jpg

Then we took a subway to DUMBO neighborhood, and walked around for a bit until we reached Brooklyn Bridge.

IMG_20180914_142018 (1).jpg

We then crossed the bridge back to Manhattan. It was a nice walk that featured nice views of the city’s skyline.

IMG_20180914_153150.jpg

IMG_20180914_153726.jpg

We went to Little Italy to get ice cream, and then took the bus back to Closter and had Shabbat dinner with Michal and her family 🙂

On the next day we went to the 5th avenue. Finally, we had clear blue skies!

IMG_20180914_153726.jpg

We went into a store that Neta had read about (MUJI), and actually found some things we wanted to buy. They had this sale where you can buy any flannel clothing you want, take a picture with it and whatever other items you like, and get 30% discount on the entire outfit. Pretty cool.

We then had lunch at a Korean restaurant. Neta had Sushi and I had an interesting dish, I’m still not 100% sure what it contained.

IMG_20180915_150133.jpg

IMG_20180915_150336.jpg

We then went to Central Park. I originally planned to attend a weekly gathering of Freestyle Frisbee players held every Thursday, but we had accidentally booked the Aladdin show to that day. We hoped that the players would also come on Saturday, but unfortunately that didn’t happen. I did get to play with my friend Neta, though. Funny enough, we hadn’t played together for years while being in Israel, and now we got to play in Central Park.

We then went to see Times Square at night. It was SOOOOOOOOOOOO crowded we couldn’t walk. It was a traffic jam consisting of humans.

IMG_20180915_203205.jpg

We then went back to Carmine’s, and this time had the Lasagna. And, yes, we couldn’t resist another delicious tiramisu.

IMG_20180915_213223.jpg

Categories: traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA & Canada Trip 2018 – Days 40-43 – NYC, Part 1

After yesterday’s long journey, we were eager to start our trip in NYC. We took the bus from Closter to Manhattan, and walked to Times Square. We visited Disney’s store on the way.

IMG_20180909_125619.jpg

As it was the eve of Rosh Hashanah (the first day of the new Jewish year), we took a picture at times square with a sign saying ‘happy new year’.

IMG_20180909_131356.jpg

We then went to NBC studios to take a tour. No photos are allowed inside, so the picture below is from the NBC store. In the tour we got to see the different studios. The Americans in our group were really excited. We didn’t really know most of the shows but it was cool to see how the shows were filmed.

IMG_20180909_150440.jpg

We then went back to Michal’s place for Rosh Hashanah’s dinner. We got to meet two more Israeli families who live next to them, and hear about their relocation experiences.

On the next day we had a rough start. We started by taking the bus to Manhattan. I have to say, the buses there make the Israeli public transportation system look awesome. You can never know when the bus will arrive. We then got to Manhattan, and soon realized we had left the umbrellas on the bus. We went back to try and find the right bus, but it was gone. I tried to talk to drivers who were there, but they were extremely reluctant to help. Most of them refused to open their door to talk to me. The ones who opened their doors just shrugged and said they didn’t know.

One driver asked me what was the number of the bus. “20”, I said. He said that 20 was the line number, he meant the one written on the bus itself. I said I didn’t know.

-“You don’t know?” he jiggled. “What was the name of your driver?”

I was really confused. I said I didn’t know.

-“You don’t know the bus number, and you don’t know who your driver was?” He laughed.

I later realized he was just enjoying making fun of me. It was the bus he was going to drive. Eventually he told me that and I found my umbrellas. We then went to the bus to Jersey Gardens, the “famous” outlets of New Jersey. We waited for a long time in the line, just to get to the end and find out that specifically on this bus they don’t accept cash, just tickets. That wasn’t the case in any other bus in NYC (not before, and not after).

I ran sooooooooooo fast to find a ticket machine, bought a ticket and got back. We got to the outlets, and were really disappointed as we couldn’t find anything there. Apparently, American shops have completely different items every season. Neta wanted to find a swimsuit, but apparently the summer had been over, so no store had any.

We then started to come back, and waited for more than an hour on the line to the bus. That wasn’t our best experience of the trip.

Once we got to Manhattan, we had a sandwich and then went to see Chicago. We LOVE musicals. And Chicago was AWESOME!

IMG_20180910_223843.jpg

IMG_20180910_224401.jpg

The next day was much better. We started by going to the impressive American Museum of Natural History, featuring exhibitions about space, animals, human cultures and more. I personally dislike museums, but I really enjoyed spending 4 hours there.

IMG_20180911_121841.jpg

IMG_20180911_125625.jpg

We then went to the new apartment of my long-time friend Neta, who had just moved to NYC a few weeks prior, to change some clothes before another Broadway play. We then had Sushi:

IMG_20180911_174738.jpg

We then went to see My Fair Lady. It was amazing, and very different from Chicago. While Chicago had a lot of SHOW-style scenes, My Fair Lady was classic. The actors were really good, and the play is brilliant.

IMG_20180911_182618.jpg

We sat so close to the stage that we could actually see the orchestra playing under the stage from our seats.

Broadway shows are definitely a great part from NYC.

On the next day we took a guided tour by Free Tours by Foot to SoHo, Little Italy and China Town. It was really cool to take a guided tour and learn a lot about the history of these neighborhoods in particular, and New York’s history in general.

IMG_20180912_151504.jpg

A house in Little Italy

IMG_20180912_153927.jpg

China Town

Our group consisted of mostly Israelis. We went together with three of them to have dinner at Aunt Jake’s – an Italian place that makes pasta. It was really good.

We then took the subway to meet Neta, my friend who moved to NYC a few weeks ago. It was really awesome to see her. We first went together to New York Public Library, an impressive building on its own.

IMG_20180912_183947.jpg

IMG_20180912_190151.jpg

IMG_20180912_192031.jpg

We then went to eat together, though we didn’t eat much as we were full from the previous meal. It was the first time that Neta and Neta met each other 🙂 And me and Neta had a lot to talk about, as we hadn’t met for a long time. I find it cool that with some people it can feel really natural and easy to be with, even though you haven’t met for years.

IMG_20180912_212028.jpg

We then got home and luckily Michal was still awake. We had a good and long talk. Then, Neta noticed a bird that got stuck between the basement’s window and some net. I crawled under a bush to rescue it, and then it flew straight into the house. That lead to an entertaining/weird experience where I was chasing the bird around, trying to make it fly away, while Neta and Michal were holding two big blankets to block its way from entering the kitchen.

IMG_20180913_002556.jpg

IMG_20180913_002801.jpg

That was definitely an interesting way to end that day.

Categories: traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

USA & Canada Trip 2018 – Days 37.5-39 – Vancouver, and flying to NYC

We arrived to Vancouver with the ferry, and stopped at our guesthouse after a short drive. We then went downtown and started walking around according to our guidebook, when I remembered that the company manufacturing a pannier I had read about is actually located in Vancouver. I Googled the name of the company and found the place. We decided to make a detour and go there.

We found the address, and it turned out to be a tall building filled with offices. We found the company’s office, but it was closed. A nice guy saw us confused around the door and asked if we were looking for Ried.

IMG_20180906_171123.jpg

“Um, maybe,” I said, “we were looking for. Two Wheel Gear”.

“Oh, Ried is probably out” he said, and offered us to come to his office and see the pannier that he owns. Apparently, Two Wheel Gear was being run by a single guy. I was impressed by the pannier, and decided to email Ried and ask if there’s a chance to meet him the next day.

We went to Nemesis, the coffee that the Batista in Victoria had recommended to us. It was really good 🙂 We then kept touring Downtown for a while, and got some views from Canada Place. We then walked a bit in China Town.

IMG_20180906_183119.jpg

View from Canada Place, Vancouver

It was getting a bit late, so we headed to NEC, a large shop that had the pannier I was interested in. I wanted to see it and maybe buy it, as I didn’t know if I’d get to meet Ried the next day. We saw the new model of the pannier (that still looked good :)), and had dinner before going to sleep.

Then, I got an email from Ried explaining that he went to an event in Vancouver and therefore wasn’t at the office, and that I am welcome to come by tomorrow. Awesome! I also remembered a blog post I read about pants that look good but are good to cycle in, and found that one of the companies, DU/ER is situated in Vancouver, and actually has a store two minutes walk away from Two Wheel Gear.

The next day we went to see Ried. It was a lot of fun. He is an awesome guy, and I got to see the different models / stages of the panniers over the years. I bought a pannier that is convertible to a backpack, and Ried gave us a discount for coming and also gave me and Neta T-shirts. It was really impressive to see how this one guy runs this operation on his own.

IMG_20180907_103819.jpg

I asked Ried about DU/ER, the pants company, and he confirmed that they were great and that he was using them all the time. He also said that they were actually running a warehouse sell in really low prices.

We then had coffee at Nemesis again, and went to the DU/ER store. I got to ask a few questions about the different models. It seemed that the prices at the warehouse sale were much lower, so we didn’t buy anything there.

IMG_20180907_110318.jpg

Nemesis coffee, and my new pannier 🙂

We then went to Stanley Park, where we walked around Seawall. Many people rent bikes there but we didn’t want to go through the process and overhead of renting them. It was a nice walk, the park is surrounded by the ocean and it was visible most of the time.

IMG_20180907_124548.jpg

We then took a bus to Granville Island Public Market. It was actually a pretty awesome market, with meat, fish, pastries, vegetables and basically all sorts of food. We had lunch and bought three different flavors of honey for the upcoming Rosh Hashanah.

IMG_20180907_153633.jpg

After walking through the entire market twice, we took a bus to the DU/ER warehouse sale. It was CRAZY. I’ve never seen such a thing. So many people squeezing in a small space, choosing pants and standing in a long line for fitting rooms. As I wasn’t sure what my size was I took a few different sizes. When my turn arrived, I figured it was only the easy part. The fitting room had four men (including me), all standing on a bunch of pants that other people had tried on before, trying out pants quickly. It was a complete mess and I wasn’t sure which pants were mine. Eventually I found the right size and then went out to get some more pants of that size. Luckily, a new box filled with the model I was looking for arrived and I got to try on a few pants. I ended up taking three pairs, and Neta took one. I hope that the pants will be as awesome as people claim they are.

We then had dinner, and drove to Seattle, WA. It wasn’t a long drive, yet it was really boring as most if it was dark and through the same road.

We arrived at our hotel and found the receptionist was behind a “night window”. That is, his room was locked and he only communicated through that window. Not so welcoming, to say the least. We had a short 2.5 hours sleep, woke up and went to the airport. We returned our car in a surprisingly efficient and fast process, went through the airport stations quickly and waited for an extra hour for the flight.

We landed in JFK, got our luggage, and started a very very long way to Closter, New Jersey. It included 3 buses. For the last one, a guy who turned out to be a homeless person asking for money had helped us to find the right ticket. I was surprised to see the mess and inefficiency of the public transport in NYC.

We finally got to Michal, my friend from Israel who hosts us for the upcoming week, and her family including her husband and four children. It was great to finally see where she lives, after talking over the phone and seeing pictures on her blog for such a long while.

This day was the end of the Canadian part of our trip, and also the end of the west coast. Next – NYC, and then the east coast.

Categories: traveling | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Blog at WordPress.com.