On my recent trip to Boston I needed to make an extra leg through Munich. Initially nothing to be happy about, but it turned out that the flight took an unusual route way north of the general course. It took us above Iceland and Greenland, a course generally only followed by flights to the US west coast.
Pretty exciting for everyone having a window seat on the righthand (northern) side of the plane including me. Instead of a several hour lasting sunset we were accompanied by the spectacular aurora borealis for about four hours. Inflight entertainment deluxe.
The photo quality isn’t quite what I wanted it to be. I needed to shoot with high ISO since I had only one hand available; with the other one I held a blanket to diminish the cabin light and thus the reflections in the airplane window.
Newburyport is a New England style, small coastal town which I think is perfectly suited for a semi-lazy Sunday afternoon. It’s located on the North Shore just about an hour out of Boston. So we picked it for a romantic half-day getaway. Once there, starving, we were lucky to find the local pub Grog Restaurant and rewarded us with a tasty late lunch. Great menu, large selection of beers on tab, delicious food and friendly service; the only downside was we were in line for a table about an hour.
All beefed up we headed out (just a few minutes drive) to the northern end of Plum Island to walk off the meal. First time walking on a beach with a hat and gloves. Still freezing! The setting sun is just not powerful enough to cope with the chilly ocean breeze.
Once back in town we enjoyed window shopping at Water Street and The Tannery Marketplace where one could buy plenty of home made souvenirs at dozens tiny local shops. It got pretty late and unfortunately the Starbucks on Market Square already closed down; would have been a perfect end to that day. Warming up with a hot beverage and hanging out there with a book for an hour or two…
Ride home was pretty easy–U.S. Route 1 runs directly through Newburyport! Tobin Bridge gave us a nice little treat shortly before we arrived home.
We just spent a great weekend in New York City. Well, everything was great except how it ended. We needed to rush out much earlier than planned since it was announced that all public transit will shut down late afternoon Sunday due to Hurricane Sandy.
Anyway, here’s a few exciting (and interesting) things you should put on your list when visiting NYC; well not all of this…
Just when we arrived later Friday evening, Microsoft did a big roadshow pretty much all over Time Square due to their GA of Windows 8. Tons of booths. And you were convinced why you should have a surface. Of course.
One thing I really recommend is visiting the Empire State Building at night. It’s open until 2am and there is no line and no crowd if you go up late. This was my second time up and I find it very impressive to listen to the sound of the city below even at the late hour. I could stay up there for several hours. There is not much to going all the way up to the 102nd floor other than crossing it from your bucket list. There is no difference in the view and you probably hurt your head in the tiny room.
Visiting the Wall Street Bull (which is actually located on Broadway) is touristy thing you shouldn’t miss. I couldn’t find it the first time and ran out of time so I was happy doing it this time.
Sort of around the corner is the 9/11 Memorial which I highly recommend visiting. Admission is for free but you need to make your reservation at least a day prior to your planned visit. Unfortunately, we didn’t know about that but randomly found out you could tours with the 9/11 Tribute Center which happened to have two leftover tickets for the next upcoming tour. We didn’t know how lucky we were at this point. The tours are led by people who have a personal connection to the 9/11 attacks. Firemen, people working in the towers or living across the street. You very much will be moved having that whole additional dimension added while walking that ground.
The remainder of the day we spent with walking up the rest of Broadway up to Time Square. Only do that with a really comfortable pair of shoes. But it’s rewarding. You only really embrace a city by walking it.
Always a good place for breakfast, lunch or dinner is Ellens Stardust Diner located on Broadway at 51st. Enjoy your food while listen to Broadway youngsters. Be prepared to throw some bucks in their bucket to honor their performance. Food is delicious.
Sunday was pretty lazy except a visit at the Museum of Modern Arts. Probably worth seeing but we both agreed that we’ve done more exciting things. If you want you can easily spend an entire day there.
As I said, we needed to rush out much earlier than scheduled. There was a substantial chaos at the Port Authority and the Greyhound folks were quite challenged with handling the crowd. All bus lines pretty much ran all buses available as soon as they got filled until the last seat regardless the schedule. Anyway, we got out.
AEC currently hosts an exhibition of night photos taken by photographers all over the world. All photographers are a member of TWAN, an organization built around the passion for the night sky and photography. Visit their website and of course take the chance and visit the exhibition–here’s a preview: flickr.
I share their idea of shooting the night sky but hadn’t too much opportunity so far; above is one of few photos I took (Wahweap/Page, AZ).
The last of numerous highlights at my south-west trip I decided to be the musical Wicked. I actually never planned to see it. Also I was very skeptical about this production. Anyway, I recognized it is played at the Orpheum Theatre so I just tried my luck. Fortunately, there were some tickets left at the box office.
The stage design and the music where just awesome! I purchased the cast album and the souvenir book during the intermission. Now it is your turn to discover the untold story of the witches of Oz!
Spaceflight is something really fascinating for me ever since childhood. So we decided to drive down to Cape Canaveral for the Space Shuttle Launch STS-119, scheduled for Wednesday, March 11th. Around 30 minutes before we arrived we saw on a highway information panel that the shuttle launch was canceled. What a bad luck!
Anyway, after we checked in at our motel, we drove over to the place in Titusville where we were supposed to watch the shuttle launch. We just arrived in time for an awesome moonrise! After great dinner and some walk in Titusville we headed back to our motel.
Next day we spent pretty much at the Kennedy Space Center. We started our tour at the Rocket Park and got right afterwards on the bus tour to the Shuttle Launch Pads, the Saturn V Center and the ISS Assembly Buildings. We also did the shuttle launch simulator and had a look at the shuttle model at Shuttle Plaza.
Late afternoon program was hanging out on Cocoa Beach. After dinner (and some Starbucks coffee) we started our way back to Atlanta. Basically we drove 1150 miles for a three-minute-thing that didn’t happen. But it was a great trip! We had fun and I am impressed by spaceflight more than ever!
We ended up watching the Shuttle launch this evening on NASA TV.
The last thing on my amazing journey over Christmas was to visit the Udvar-Hazy Center of the Air and Space Museum at Dulles International Airport. The reason because I wished so much to go there was that the Space Shuttle prototype Enterprise is exhibited there. NASA used this shuttle to test whether it is airworthy or not as the shuttle is optimized for space and not air operation.
Other planes exhibited there are the Concorde, the “Black Bird” and several planes from World War II.
This afternoon my host mum took me to Lancaster in order to introduce me to the Amish People. We took a tour at the Amish farm and house, located little bit outside of Lancaster. Later, we drove along Old Philadelphia Pike, stopping at the Kitchen Kettle Village in Intercourse, have a look at the map. Unfortunately, I left the memory card of my camera in the card reader. No photos of the Amish. Very sad.