Contiki Big Apple Explorer Day 1

New York Travel Blog

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waiting in line at battery park. the world trade centre memorial

We checked out at 8am and caught a cab to the Upper West side where our hotel was located.  For the next 3 nights we would be staying at the Hotel Beacon.  We had organised a 4 day contiki tour for New York as both of us had never been to the city before and thought it was best to have some help navigating this huge city.  Plus everything was organised so that was a bonus too.

Out our began at the hotel and it was a much smaller group than our European contiki tour, there was only about 20 of us.  We met our tour manager Matt, who was a native of New York and you could tell he really loved the city. Today we were doing a driving tour of the city so we hopped on the contiki bus and headed off on our first day of sightseeing!!! Our first stop was an old cathedral on the Upper West side, which was rather impressive.

making our way closer to the statue
  We then drove through Harlem, down 5th Avenue, along Central Park until we made it to downtown Manhattan.  We stopped for lunch here, in a deli style of place with every type of sandwich and food you could think of.  I had a turkey sandwich and it was so large i couldn't even eat half of it.

After lunch we walked to the small church that was a haven to survivors and fireman/workers of the September 11 attacks.  It was really moving.  There were many photos and memorabilia.  It was quite an emotional setting.

We then hopped back on the bus and headed to Battery Park where we lined up to hop on the ferry to the Statue of liberty.

there she is
  It was really busy and on the ferry we were packed in like sardines, but as we got further out, the views of the city skyline were impressive, and the Statue of Liberty was getting bigger and bigger!  We hopped off the ferry and Matt explained the history of the place.  Many people began to listen into his speel as well, he was very good at telling stories.  Of course Bree and I took many photos because I just absolutely love the statue and it was very surreal to be there.  I felt like I was having an out of body experience!  Bree and I wanted a photo together and a girl from our tour offered take it for us.  I almost panicked when she dropped my camera before even taking a picture, but luckily I was still able to pictures, it was just hard to change the setting, from camera, video camera and preview.
views of the city
  Oh well, as long as my photos were still there I was fine!!  We went through the gift shop and bought some souveniers and then hopped back on the ferry.  We were able to see a bit more of the city ckyline now, but the sky was very foggy and hazy and unfortunately, my pictures do not do it justice.

Our next stop was Wall street and the large bull statue on the street.  We took a few more snaps and then hopped back on the bus.  Our last stop for the day was to the World Trade Centre site.  This was also emotional.  Though it did just seem like a contruction site, and you could see the trains travelling beneath it all.  Very surreal again.

On our way back to the hotel, Matt told us about his experience with September 11.

me and liberty
  Luckily he was in another city, but his father worked close by and there was a long period of time when no contact was made.  Luckily for Matt his father was safe and he did not lose anyone close to him.  It was strange hearing a first hand account of what happened.

We got back to the hotel, got ready and then headed out for dinner.  We caught the subway to Times Square and walked to our restaurant.  We didn't finish dinner until 11pm.  Matt told us everyone in New York eats late because there is so much to do in the day.  We then walked back to Times Square and had a group photo taken. We also got a chance to take some photos of ourselves, before walking to a local karaoke bar.  While there all the Aussies (including Bree and I!) got up and sang "land down under".  Everyone was cheering us and it was a great time, as well as the first time we had sang karaoke!

Bree and I didn't stay long so we caught a cab back to the hotel at about 1am and went to bed.  Another big day tomorrow! 

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waiting in line at battery park.  …
waiting in line at battery park. …
making our way closer to the statue
making our way closer to the statue
there she is
there she is
views of the city
views of the city
me and liberty
me and liberty
me and bree on the ferry back
me and bree on the ferry back
the wall street bull
the wall street bull
world trade centre site
world trade centre site
times square
times square
New York
photo by: herman_munster