Archive for December, 2007
Although we had the best intentions of starting the day early, neither of us could get out of bed before 10am.. We finished packing up at the New York Helmsley, and caught a cab over to the Rockefeller Plaza Hotel. Wow. Although it was small, it was a beautiful hotel! Much more than I was expecting – especially for the low rate we paid! I almost wish we’d arranged to stay at that hotel for our entire time in New York!
We had a very late breakfast at the “Red Flame” (great reviews on TripAdvisor..), and while I enjoyed the waffle more at “The Comfort Diner”, Nick preferred the “Red Flame” omelette! We were seated straight away, and while you definitely don’t go there for the service (which wasn’t bad, just very to the point), the food was hot, delicious, and came out quickly!
I was falling asleep half way through my waffle, so we headed back to the hotel for yet *more* sleep. I got a few hours sleep, before we headed out for dinner at some pizza joint in Times Square. It was okay *shrug*
There was enough time to pop back to the hotel for a quick nap before seeing “The Color Purple” on Broadway, so that’s exactly what we did.. I would definitely recommend the show! It was fabulous! The sets were amazing, as were the costumes, and the actors were cast perfectly for their roles. If we hadn’t been so sick, we probably would have enjoyed it more!
… In the nine years that I have known Nick, I don’t think I’ve ever seen him so sick. And I haven’t been this sick since I got bronchitis for my Year 12 exams when I was 17. It’s horrible. I’m having terrible night sweats, so having very disrupted sleep, plus we both have a terrible cough, and we’re all congested and just… Yuck. Despite the “freezing” cold (they’re actually predicting rain tomorrow!), I’m constantly hot, and have to *make* myself wear a jacket, because I’m sure I’ll wind up even sicker if I don’t!
But we are enjoying ourselves.. The city is fabulous! I love it! And I could so see myself living here…
First stop – The Comfort Diner. I’d performed a quick search on TripAdvisor.com, before heading out – and this place came highly recommended. And the reviews weren’t wrong. We waited about ten minutes for a table, but after we were seated, the service and the food came fast!
Nick had the egg white omelette, and I had the red, white and blue waffle. It was so good! I’ve had plenty of waffles in my time, but this one beat them all *hands down*! It was so soft and sweet, and it melted in my mouth – and this was all before I’d even put the maple syrup on!
We then took a quick trip further uptown to Tiffany & Co. to have my ring adjusted. It was slightly too big, and I needed to have it taken down half a size. To our shock they could have it done by that afternoon! *falls over*
After a quick stop in at the NBA Store to pick up a Knicks jersey for Sunday’s game, we decided to head back to the hotel. I’d taken a bit of a turn, and was feeling dizzy, and nauseous, and needed to just sleep. But after a couple of hours sleep, I was feeling better and ready to go again!
We picked up my ring from Tiffany’s (and I felt much better to have it back on my finger!), and after spending a little more money in there (Christmas ornaments, nothing too interesting!) – we headed in to FAO Schwarz! This is the place where Tom Hanks played the giant piano in the movie “Big” (many moons ago), and it was huge! We also spent some time in the Apple store, which was equally huge, but so crowded! So we legged it further downtown for dinner!
I’d read great reviews about “Ellen’s Stardust Diner” on Broadway, where the waiters actually sing and dance, and although we had to wait about an hour to be seated, it was great!
The food was fabulous (Nick had a burger, I had a chicken pot pie), and the cocktails were delicious (I had a mudslide – so good!)! The service was quick, and the singing was entertaining – I didn’t want to leave! But we were too stuffed for dessert, so we walked down Broadway to the M&M store (again – huge!!), and then to Toys R Us.
OMG. There was a *ferris wheel* in the store! It was awesome! We bought a few DVD’s and Nintendo DS games, all which were so much cheaper than we’d pay in Australia! By the time we’d had our turn on the ferris wheel, it was late… and now we’re back at the hotel room, packing and getting ready for bed.
We spent the first 3.5 hours hopping on and off a bus, doing the ‘Sex & the City’ Tour! It was fabulous, darling! Our tour guide was great – very amusing, and full of interesting facts and information…
We had cupcakes from ‘Magnolia Bakery’, sat on Carrie’s stoop, and had Cosmo’s in Steve and Aidan’s bar – “Scout”. We drove all around the city, looking at places where SATC had been filmed, and watched clips from the TV series. I loved it. I think Nick even got a kick out of it!
Nick got his own back on me though – we went to the see WWE: ECW Live and Smackdown in New Jersey that night (his birthday present from me). Sure, I used to watch WWE on cable with my Dad and brother when I was younger (back in early highschool), but that was on TV, and it’s been a while! … But I guess, it wasn’t *that* bad! It was even a little entertaining! And the girls were pretty hot *shrug* And watching big guys smack each other with chairs was a little amusing…
After catching the bus back to New York City, it was time for bed.
The ring is from Tiffany & Co. and it’s absolutely beautiful. It’s a platinum band, with a diamond that is neither too small nor too big. It’s understated and it suits my finger perfectly, and I *love* it.
I think the weather decided to get it’s own back on me, for being so bold as to say that I was hot the previous day, as when we woke up it was cold and miserable! However, we bundled up, ordered hot coffee, and braved our way down to Central Park!
We started the day with a horse and carriage ride through Central Park. All the reviews that I’d read on TripAdvisor.com had advised not to waste your money, and said what a rip off and how horrible it was, but our experience couldn’t have been further from the truth! We got there at about 10am, and there was a long line up of carriages – all asking us to take a ride. I passed about 5 of them, before I set my eyes on the horse and carriage that I wanted to ride, and the driver was a lovely Irish guy, who turned back every now and then to point things out, or ask us how we were doing! I’d do it again in a heartbeat! I’d probably recommend to get there nice and early though – because it means that you can pick your carriage, whereas if you arrive later when it’s busier, it works on a line system — and while not getting your desired carriage isn’t the end of the world, you could wind up with a dodgy driver who will cut your ride short, but charge you extra!
We walked around the park a little, taking lots of photo’s, and looking at the squirrels! They were everywhere! And while they may be “rats with cuter outfits” (Carrie Bradshaw), they were so cute! I couldn’t get enough of them! One even came right up near my shoe…
We stopped for lunch at the Boathouse… and while I’ve read so many raving reviews about the restaurant, I’d have to say that it was average – at best. The location was fabulous, however the service was only polite when they delivered the check (and no, that doesn’t make me forget the crappy service, and want to tip big), the staff kept bumping my chair (and didn’t bother to apologise), and the food certainly wasn’t spectacular – especially given the prices they charged! … But full, warm and refuelled, we were ready to continue walking.
Nick dragged me around, looking for ‘Strawberry Fields’ to see the “Imagine” tribute (to John Lennon).. When we finally found it… Wow. It was beautiful. And very moving. … We’d planned to go ice-skating at Wollman Rink afterwards, or ride the Carousel (hehehe), but by that time I was cold and worn out, and ready to head back to the hotel! Plus, we had the ballet to get ready for!
Nick had arranged a stretch limo to drive us around before and after the ballet as a surprise! And a surprise it was! The driver was really nice, and showed us around a little, before dropping us at the Lincoln Theater to see “The Nutcracker”. It was A M A Z I N G. Unfortunately we weren’t allowed to take any photo’s (even without flash), but WOW. Definitely recommend it!
Our driver picked us up after the ballet, and drove us around a little before we could get in to Serendipity3 (where the movie “Serendipity”, which I LOVE! had a scene filmed!)… It was fabulous! It was warm, and while the guy on the door was pretentious and obnoxious, the staff inside were fast, helpful, and friendly enough to take a photo!
The food was SUPER filling, and delicious, and at a very fair price! Nick had a massive burger, while I had a shepherd’s pie, and both were SO good! We were stuffed, but still ordered dessert – there was no way we could come all the way from Australia, and not try their signature “frrrrrozen hot chocolate”! Nick had some crazy ‘blackforest on broadway sundae’ (which involved cake, icecream and chocolate fudge), while I tried my hand at the frozen drink. SO, SO good! Worth the 1.5 hour wait to get inside!! But neither of us could finish either dessert, so we paid the bill, tipped our 20%, and caught a cab back to the hotel to call home and sleep (it was cold and raining!).
As we were on the ice after midnight Xmas Eve, Xmas Day technically started with ice skating at Rockefeller Center… After we were all kicked out, Nick and I headed back down 5th Avenue, and across to E42nd Street to our hotel, and call home. Or at least tried to!
I think today was the first day that I actually really felt homesick. Christmas is always a fairly big thing in our house, so it was a little hard to think of them celebrating on the other side of the world without me! … but it was really good to talk to them first thing Xmas morning (7am) when they called back!
I went back to sleep until 11am, but I’m pretty sure Nick was up and sitting on the internet all that time! After getting ready to, we walked 40 odd blocks (4.5km) down to THOR restaurant for lunch. The food was good, although the service was so-so *shrug* .. and oh my goodness – we’ve got the news on, and just heard that there was some fatal shooting at one of the parks we walked past today. Now I know why there was NYPD cars lining the street *shudders* … but apparently there will be snow over the next few days..
We walked back uptown (another 4.5km), and checked in at Cibo, just around the corner from us, to see if they could fit us in for Christmas Dinner! And they could! .. It wasn’t feeling very much like Xmas for me, so I was glad that we could have a proper Xmas dinner! We went back 2 hours later, after walking down around Rockefeller Center, at 4pm, and wow! Great food, great drinks, great service!! I had the ‘soup of butternut squash, hazelnut, apple and roasted seckel pear’, which I wasn’t too sure about when ordering, as an appetizer – and it was SO good! Nick had the salad, and liked it just as much… For mains we both had ‘roasted organic amish turkey, sweet potato puree,
brussel sprouts cranberry chutney, chestnut stuffing, mashed potatoes and giblet gravy’ and even the brussel sprouts were delicious (Mum, you’d be proud – I ate them *all*)!! .. Dessert was my favourite – ‘pumpkin pie with fresh chantilly cream’ (which tasted NOTHING like pumpkin – it was SO good!), and ‘flourless chocolate souflee with van
illa bean icecream’! ‘ Very nice! .. Oh! And there was Listerine in the bathroom!
We went back to the hotel for a “quick rest”, which wound up making us 15 minutes late to our show that night – but I’m glad we made it in the end! We watched “Radio City’s Christmas Spectacular – 75th Anniversary Celebration”, starring theRockettes, and WOW! There were fireworks inside and everything!
Just found out that it was between 0 and 6 degrees Celsius today, and I have to say – I was hot! At one stage I was walking around in a light knit dress, tights/leggings and ballet flats! And earlier jeans and a cashmere sweater.. I think I must be sick. Or crazy.It’s now just after 11pm, and Nick and I are about to tuck into some icecream…
Woke up at the obscene time of 2:45am, to allow us time to finish packing and get organised to be downstairs to be picked up by our driver (!! … in a black lincoln town car) at 4am.
I’d crashed the night before as I was so sick, so it was a bit of mad rush for me — lucky Nick was mostly packed, and had room in his suitcase for me!
The lines at LAX were long… and the security was tight – we even had to take off our shoes and put them through the x-ray machine! .. but the flight was uneventful, and I managed to sleep most of the way!
Arrived at JFK at about 2:30pm, and were picked up by another driver (again – a black lincoln town car… I felt like Carrie in SATC when driving with Mr. Big, or Rory in Gilmore Girls when driving with Logan!), and were taken to our hotel (The New York Helmsley – very nice!) in record time.
Dumped our luggage, and hiked down to 34th St – Macy’s. I wanted to see the *real* Santa! I’ve always loved the movie “Miracle on 34th St”, and there was no way I could be in NYC on Xmas Eve (the last day that Santa was in town) and not get a photo! … The line to the “North Pole” was pretty horrendous, and it took well over an hour – but it was totally worth it *grin*
We then hiked back up to our hotel, and relaxed for a little while, before it was time to head to Rockefeller Center for dinner…
Oh my goodness! There was so many people!! It was such a pain trying to get around R.Center to get to our restaurant – The Rock Center Cafe – but we finally made it, and.. Wow! We were rinkside! And the food was great!
I enjoyed a Passionfruit Mojito, and jeez… I asked for only half a shot of rum, and I’m pretty sure they wound up putting double! … Now I know I may look like a lightweight, but I can drink. It’s in my blood, I’m sure. However having not eaten since dinner the *previous* day, I was toasted after only half the cocktail! My pasta (yum!) managed to soak it up, as did dessert (chocolate pudding!), and we were ready to try our hands (or rather, feet) at ice skating!
It took us about an hour to finally get down to the ice, but it was well worth it! I was a little slow to begin with, but it was kind of like rollerblading.. Nick was hilarious to watch, but he eventually found his feet… so long as he was holding on to the rail *giggle* It was really crowded though, so we’re going to go back again tomorrow (or rather, later today, as it’s after midnight!) and hope that it’s a little quieter!
One thing that we’ve noticed is that it’s not nearly as cold as we had expected! I’m not even wearing my big heavy coat! Just my white ski jacket that I bought in LA, a pair of tights/leggings under my jeans, a singlet under a long sleeved top, and then a scarf and gloves – which I put on and take off because I keep getting too hot! Even outdoors! I’m not sure if it’s that I’m sick, or if I’ve just acclimatised quickly to the weather *shrug*
Anyhow… It’s after 1am Christmas morning here, and I think it’s time for sleep for me.. Hopefully after a nice long nap I’ll be refreshed, and this darn chest cold will be gone. That’s all I want for Xmas! *nods*
PS. Our mobile phones don’t appear to have any reception in New York, so we’d like to wish all of our loved ones & friends a very Merry Christmas!!! xoxo … If you need to contact us just e-mail or facebook us, or just leave a comment on this blog!
Love to all
We spent the morning at Universal Studios, and it has to be said… I wasn’t all that impressed.
The Terminator 3D show was awesome, as was the Jurassic Park and The Mummy ride, but other than that…. I got bored very quickly. It could have been that I was sick, or maybe it was that we’d made the mistake of spending time at Disneyland first – and let’s face it – nothing can measure up to that! Needless to say, after a couple of hours at the “Park”, we’d seen everything, and were more than ready to go.
But not before Nick had experienced a “Churros Sundae” from Ben & Jerry!
We spent about two hours looking at all the stars, and then some time in a Disney store that sold “floats” (ie spiders).. I’d been craving one for weeks, so it seemed like a good spot to stop!
He drove us past the Hollywood sign & Paramount Pictures, to the Farmers Market, through Beverley Hills, up and down Rodeo Drive, before finally dropping us back at the DoubleTree Guest Suites at Santa Monica two hours later… It was fun!
I probably would have enjoyed it more if I hadn’t of been so sick though… and Nick probably would have enjoyed it more too! We’re both wishing we had’ve had more time in LA, so we’ll definitely be back again!
Saturday signified the end of Disneyland, and the start of Santa Monica. We had our last character buffet breakfast at the Disneyland Hotel, and it was the best buffet we’ve had yet! There was pizza and icecream involved *gasp* Of course there was also plenty of fruit and a little cereal, but I couldn’t help myself when it came to the chocolate soft serve. The pizza was Nick *giggle*
We then made our way to Santa Monica! … For the first time we were able to wear short sleeved shirts, shorts, and thongs! It had been so cold in Anaheim… although there was a quick stop made back to the hotel (DoubleTree Guest Suites) in the evening, as it got pretty cold pretty fast!
We had lunch in the Third Street Promenade at the Cafe Crepe.. and yum! They were much better than any crepe I’ve had before, and they actually got my order right! The cafe was filled to the brim, and it seemed more of a local hangout, rather than a tourist trap, and it was filled with booth seats and huge paintings on the wall…
After the aforementioned pitstop to change into warmer clothes, we went to the Santa Monica Pier! If anybody watches Sunrise on Ch7 in the morning – Nelson is always situated in front of the Pier (when he’s talking about Hollywood), and you can see the ferris wheel etc in the background.. That’s where we were!
The sunset was pretty amazing also, but once it started to set, it disappeared fairly fast.. And it wasn’t even 5pm!
We had dinner at Bubba Gump Shrimp Co. on the Pier, and it was… okay. Very heavy more than anything, and I’m at the stage where I just want a home cooked meal! I’m craving broccoli and beans carrot and tomato… and fruit. Lots of fruit! .. But back to Bubba Gump! I had something that involved shrimp (duh!), rice, and jack cheese (?!)! ….. The restaurant is based on the movie “Forrest Gump”, and I have to say – it has been done really well!
Right now, I just want to go to bed. I left Australia with a slight cough, and while the husky voice was kind of cute to begin with, now the constant hacking is downright annoying, and I’ve had to blow my tap, I mean nose, so often that it’s red raw! I thought I’d brave the cold, and that if I powered on I’d be okay…. but now I’m wishing I had of taken it a little easier…
So that’s all from me for tonight!
… Ever since I saw Free Willy when I was 8, killer whales have been my favourite animal. I used to dream that they were swimming around in the pool in my backyard. And that was long before we even had a pool!
Friday was… … Words cannot explain how great Friday was. We caught an early morning bus out to SeaWorld at San Diego, and were just in time for the dolphin show. It was really good – but Nick and I were both waiting for it to be midday – our time to “Dine with Shamu”…
While Shamu (who played “Willy” has since passed *bawls*), SeaWorld has pretty heavily marketed any experience with the killer whales as an experience with “Shamu”.. They mostly referred to the whales as “Shamu’s”, instead of killer whales/orca’s, which I guess I thought was a bit odd… However I suppose it’s been pretty cleverly marketed towards young children! “Shamu” is a lot easier to remember and chant, that’s for sure!
I cannot believe just how close we were seated next the whales at our “lunch with Shamu”! I could have leaned right over the rope and touched them! There was 4 different killer whales that had access to the tank that we were seated next to, and it really was the highlight of my trip. While I know that there will be plenty more experiences to come – nothing will ever touch me the way being that close to a killer whale did. I actually cried when I first saw “Corky” up close (but then I also cried when we left Disneyland the night before also, so…. … and then again at the following two “Shamu” shows! … I’m a tad emotional at the moment!)! … And “Shamu” put on quite a nice spread! I was too excited to eat a whole lot (and it was buffet..), but there was a lot of different foods, and Nick was quite impressed!
After our lunch, we went next door to “Shamu Stadium” to watch “Believe” – which aims to really connect to the audience, and make you think of ‘that one moment, when something happens that changes your life completely…’ I cried. It was beautiful.
Hmm what else… I held a star fish! A live one! .. And I pet a bat ray – which is like a sting ray, but they like shallow waters.. and I’m assuming they don’t sting, as they didn’t have barbs on them. The one that I was patting stopped in front of me, and when I stopped patting it to convince Nick to touch it, it got all stroppy and started splashing around on the surface of the water (when they usually hung around the bottom)! It was so bizarre! I’m used to my little puppers making me pat her when I stop, and I’m getting used to my Mum’s lizard wanting attention – but it was so bizarre to see the bat ray acting the way it was!
And… I got to feed *and* touch a dolphin! It was amazing! You couldn’t wipe the smile off my face after that!
We also hung out with some polar bears and a walrus (on the other side of the glass, of course!), and played around in a couple of exhibits!
.. We were mostly killing time for the second “Shamu” show – a Christmas special! .. and yes, I cried.
There isn’t a whole lot from Nick in this entry, I guess because the day was mostly *my* thing. He loved dining right next to the killer whales, and he loved all the exhibits, and walking around, and the “wet” rollercoaster that we went on.. but really, I think I probably got the most out of the day. And I can’t wait to come back again.