Spys are us

Fact – there are more spys in Washington DC than in any other city in the world. Now how would  someone actually know this? Aren’t spys supposed to be secretive and unknown? Well whatever – Washington claims to have numerous spys and today we went to the international spy museum. It covered the history of spy craft right back to ancient  times. It was a fun museum with lots of interactive stuff to do. We even crawled through vents a

bove some of the exhibit rooms! That was pretty fun but odd! We had cover names assigned upon entry and  were  to remember our cover stories throughout our time there. There was a lot of interesting history intermingled with fun activities such as defusing bombs – not real ones thank goodness. It took me three trys to diffuse my bomb without blowing up myself and who knows what else! We broke codes and our observations skills were tested. All in all it was quite entertaining!

The rest of the day was spent on our hop on and off trolly and we’ve now seen just about every site there is to be seen in Washington. It’s been a very busy couple of days!

 

 

This is my cover - don't tell anyone please

This is my cover – don’t tell anyone please

The Capitol.

The Capitol.

The national everything

What to do on a warm sunny day in the US capital? Here’s a few suggestions. Depart one’s apartment at 9 (or just before) which is very civilized and grab the sub way downtown. The Washington subways are ultra modern and very pleasant compared the New York subways. Grab one of those hop-on hop-off trolley tours. Hop off at the White House and walk the entire perimeter which is quite a distance as one isn’t allowed too close. Hop back on the trolly and off again at the National air and space museum. Try out a fighter plane flight simulator and get well and truly nauseated from several upside down air manuovers. Be proud not to have crashed the thing. Eat your heart out Tom Cruise! Continue exploring the museum and end the visit by actually touching a real moon rock. Very cool.  Have a picnic lunch from a food stand. Walk a little more and hop back on the trolly. Go to Arlington cemetary and walk along the pathways to visit President Kennedy’s grave then continue walking up to the tomb of the unknown soldier and watch the changing of the guard. Walk back to the bus and take it to the Lincoln memorial. Do some more walking around and climb all those step to see the enormous statue within and have a marvellous view across the reflecting pool to the Washington monument and the Capital building. Down all the steps and walk over to the National Vietnam memorial. Continue walking down the National Mall past the Washington monument to the National American History museum. Walk around in there for an hour or so checking out all sorts of fabulous exhibits including the original Stars and Stripes flag. Amaze yourself by singing the American national anthem – just because it seems like an appropriate thing to do at the moment. Leave that museum and walk a block to the National Natural Hisorty museum and walk around in there for an hour or so. See the Hope Diamond and a host of stuffed animals and gems and lord knows what all. Then realize it is almost 6pmand that 9 hours of hard core touristing has created a significant state of exhaustion. Head home on the subway, stopping for a pub dinner near ones apartment. Pop into a local store for a bottle of wine and climb up the three flights of stairs to ones little abode and colapse. Oh yes! What a day!

 

The white house

The white house

The view from the Lincoln monument across the reflecting pool to the Washington monument and the Capitol beyond.

The view from the Lincoln monument across the reflecting pool to the Washington monument and the Capitol beyond.

 

Kerri having a presidential moment at the Nationa American History museum

Kerri having a presidential moment at the Nationa American History museum

Washington, D.C. better late than never

Kim and Anne enjoying a beer on the train to Washington

Kim and Anne enjoying a beer on the train to Washington

We did the hail a cab thing this  morning and it worked like a charm. Just like in the movies! At Penn station chaos reigned. But we were forewarned so took evasive action and enlisted the services of a red cap person who became our personal assistant and got us to our train and seated before the masses. There was a two hour delay with our train so we got into Washington later than we’d hoped. The taxi to our apartment was quick and we are just a 15 minute walk from the zoo so we still had time to get there and see the pandas. Oh my they are so very cute! I took lots of video but it seems video can’t be added to this blog so you’ll jut have to take my word for it. After the zoo we found an sports bar with no less than 20 big tv screens. A Bit noisy but tastey food. And now here we are on floor three of a walk up brownstone. It’s a really nice place and the location is perfect.  Good night from the spy capital of the world and stand by for clandestine reports from the Capitol.

Last day in the big apple

How fast can time rush by? Seems hard to believe that we’ve been here for a week and that today was our last in the big apple. We figure we’ve taken a pretty big bite out of it! This morning we hung out in the apartment because it was really pouring and we had no definite plan until our third Broadway show – Pippin – in the afternoon. At noon we headed out walking in the rain to an enormous church called Saint John the Divine. A very plain church but it had the most interesting display of two enormous Phoenix made out of scraps of building materials. That sounds hideous but they were very beautiful. The fact that one of them had a head made of a cement mixer just didn’t seem plausible when viewing the overall spectacular effect. We caught the subway down to Times Square for our last time, then into the theatre for a very disappointing, weak, uninspired lack-lustre performance. Perhaps we are getting spoiled, but seriously – don’t waste your time or money on Pippin. There was some great acrobatics and the tunes were catchy but the story line was outstandingly lame. We exited to find sun shining once again! So after a quick recee of Penn Station so we know the lay of the land for tomorrow, we headed to Central Park for ice cream and a wander. We wandered until dark then caught a bus home to our corner tavern. The place was rocking, we had a delicious dinner and a great beer we’ve discovered – Shock Top – sort of citrusy and served with a slice of orange. Now we are sorting ourselves out for a morning departure. Next stop Washington DC. Sorry no pictures this evening as I went and packed my picture downloading “thingy” – tomorrow.

Good night from the big apple. And for those of you who are wondering….. Yes I loved it here. This city took me by surprise – I anticipated coping with its noise and rush and general mayhem but have been pleasantly surprised by a clean, friendly, easy to navigate city. Thank you New York for being so much fun! Thank you Kerri for inviting me to share your dream vacation! Thank you Anne for being the chief planner and subway guru.

The sublime and the ridiculous

After a couple of cooler cloudy days, today was blue sky and warm sunshine. Lovely. We began our day with a visit to the Metrapolitan Museum of Art. It is massive and we only saw a tiny segment of the treasures. But we all enjoyed – Kerri coped well and liked the European palace room recreations the best – as did Anne. The rooms were very realistic, beautifully finished and decorated. One could almost believe we were no longer in New York! We also spent some time absorbing various impressionist paintings. Quite a collection of Monets, a couple of Van Goghs, some Renoir and I even located a Turner! Fabulous. We followed this cultural blast with a food cart lunch. Our most expensive lunch yet but it was a 5th avenue food cart so I guess that accounts for a $7 hot dog. Now it was a stupendous Italian sausage with all sorts of delicious fixings and we ate outside the museum so there were excellent  people watching opportunities as well. Then off to Times Square. Kerri was on a mission, the Hershey’s chocolate store, Toys R Us to ride the inside Ferris wheel. Then FAO Schwartz toy store to play the huge on the floor key board. As we were proceeding through Times Square there was more opportunity to observe the naked folks and this time I’m including pictures. So if anyone is sensitive about nakedness just turn this off now. We checked out Trump Tower – well one of them as try has several dotted around town. It’s highly over rated but does have a nice public washroom hidden in the basement. Next we took the cable car over to Rosevelt Island where we went for a peaceful riverside walk before beers, dinner and finally retuning to our apartment via cable car, subway and foot. We’ve been on our feet for about 8 hours today and are all a bit leg weary!  Good night from New York.

The met is so huge it spans two full blocks! It's a beautiful art gallery.

The met is so huge it spans two full blocks! It’s a beautiful art gallery.

Kerri playing "Mary had a Little Lamb"

Kerri playing “Mary had a Little Lamb”

The naked cowboy has being doing this for several years. He makes his living being naked in Times Square. Living the American Dream I guess.

The naked cowboy has being doing this for several years. He makes his living being naked in Times Square. Living the American Dream I guess.

Where a coffee is a “caw-fee”

There are so many crazy accents here! New Yorkers seem to know which side of the river they live on based on these accents!

Today we walked across the Brooklyn bridge and had a “caw-fee” on the far side before walking back and then walking through China town up to the Tenament museum. The museum is a real tenement building. Small group tours are taken through a couple of the abandoned apartments. The stories of the long ago inhabitants have been researched and while we visit the tiny rooms visitors are given a glimpse into their difficult immigrant lives from about 1870 through to the 1930s. A well worth while tour. We popped home before heading out again to see the Broadway show Cinderella. The stage sets and changes very clever. The costuming delightful. With some close to magical costume changes for Cinderella – on stage rags to gown in the blink of an eye. Really not sure how they did it! Three times in three different situations. The fairy god mother’s part very well sung and acted. Cinderella and the step mum pretty good. The prince quite poor giving an uninspired performance. But overall we had an enjoyable evening and the theatre itself was eye candy.

 

Anne and Kerri crossing the Brooklyn bridge.

Anne and Kerri crossing the Brooklyn bridge.

At the theatre for Cinderella

At the theatre for Cinderella

Some parts of New York seem European

Some parts of New York seem European

Little things I forgot to tell you..

You’ve been getting a day by day play but I’ve forgotten to mention a few things.

When we visited Central Park we stopped at the Bathesda Fountain. I’m madly taking pictures when suddenly I notice a fully clothed fellow in the fountain. His back is to us and he is in the middle where water falling upon him.  He is washing his private bits. Yes having good old scrub down! Once finished with his allusions he begins collecting coins people have tossed into the water. The guy has standards though and seems to be tossing the forgien denominations out onto the ground.

Today on the subway we saw a fellow with a bowler hat and bow tie, pin striped suit – very sharp, especially the loud blue and white striped socks. This fellow was busy chatting away to himself. We figured he was rehearsing a presentation of some kind. This afternoon there was another very peculiar fellow with enormous 1980s glasses and he was having a full-on two sided conversation with himself. It was fastinating. Kerri figures the second guy was schizophrenic. I agree. Kerri has just told me there are a lot of those people in New York. Well maybe so. But I must say we have met a great many kind, helpful people here!

Last night at the Apollo, I forgot to tell you about the best act. It was at intermission when a few people came from the audience to dance. There were some young women all dancing the same dance up on stage when grandma Moses joined them. She looked just like a bag lady gangster and must have been well into her 80s. There she was just a swinging in time with the rest. And boy did she have the rhythm and the moves. She was awesome! Most people were out of their seats for the intermission but those of us who saw her gave her the resounding round of applause she well deserved. For me it was the highlight of the evening.

We’ve had amazing luck with meals out. We seem to fall upon local eateries which are so fantastic. As Anne says,  “this is authentic New York, there’s not a tourist in sight.” Today after walking the Brooklyn Bridge (the fist way) we discovered a fabulous NYPD  coffee (that’s said “cawffee”) and pizza place. By lunch time we were in China town and Anne had to learn Chinese  to order lunch!

We’re grabbing a bite to eat at our apartment before heading off to see Cinderella.

When a is for amateur and aweful

Just need to tell you that while I’m happy to have visited the famous Apollo Theatre, and that it is a pretty fabulous old place, the “performances” last night were for the large part aweful. I’d have thought there would have been some sort of screening process, prerequisites or something to protect the public from such lack of talent, but apparently not. There was one woman who sang really well. She won – no contest really considering who she was up against. Our pre show dinner at our local Harlem tavern however was excellent and we plan on returning in a couple of nights.

And here’s a shot of the bakery we visited yesterday….

Within Carlo's bakery the treats are varied and we sampled several. All were delicious!

Within Carlo’s bakery the treats are varied and we sampled several. All were delicious!

Drizzle and dazzle

A low cloud cooler day of drizzle but our fun wasn’t dampened. We began with a visit to 34th street and Macy’s – of  “Miracle on 34th Street” fame. A “must” on Kerri’s to dos in New York. So she was thrilled and me – well I was bedazzled by the dazzle of Macy’s and shopped at the 50% off rack. Then off we went to Hoboken of Carlo’s bakery fame.  He’s the Cake boss of a tv show I’ve never watched but I gather from my travel companions is famous. Anyway in we went to check out the goodies and out we came appropriately armed with more delectable delights! Yummy. Back in Manhattan we hopped on our free cruise as part of our hop-on hop-off bus ticket. Well worth while. Up close and personal with lady liberty and various bridges plus the sky line. This was followed by Lunch at a delicious cheap spot recommended by a local NYPD woman. Yes we’d done all that before lunch! Then out to the Bronx – just so we can say – with honesty – that we’ve been in all five Bureaus of greater New York. Tonight we’re out for dinner at our local pub then off the Amateur Night at the Apollo. So as you can see another full busy day!

 

One of Kerri's favourite movies is Miracle on 34th Street

One of Kerri’s favourite movies is Miracle on 34th Street

Trying on clothes in Macy's who needs a changing room!

Trying on clothes in Macy’s who needs a changing room!