REVISITED: Walking Yosemite (part 2)

If you misssed Part 1 of my adventures to Yosemite in 2011, catch up here.

It figures once you have explored the valley floor over, then the only angle left to explore is the views from above.

View from Glacier Point, across the valley floor to Yosemite Falls

And so we did – although not by any dare-devil means like rock climbing, abseiling or jumping off anything, even though that seemed pretty much what everyone else has come to do (I decided I really wanted to do the rest of my trip and arrive home in one piece, not a body bag!!).

Somebody did die rock-climbing the week before we visited. And someone else had to be rescued by a helicopter….

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climbing up along Sentinal Dome: view out over Half Dome.

But back to walking to the top of the park….the breath-taking views I saw really can’t be compared to anything else I have seen in my life – you’re up higher than anywhere in Australia, looking down over something that has taken millions of years to form and is thankfully protected again human destruction (mostly).

You can (if brave and foolish enough) walk from the valley floor all the way up to the top. That’s nearly 5 miles up, and right on 1000m elevation gain. My maths skills put to the test, that’s a pretty steep gradient. Thankfully there’s another, easier option – to drive!

In the car on the way up, the landscape swiftly changes from lush and evergreen conifers to sparse and windswept. The engine worked hard, we wound on past boulders, wildflowers, and picnic spots.

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a little windswept…

The actual walk up from the road to the top of Sentinel Dome (8122ft high) is really short comparatively….a steep rock-hopping puddle jumping affair. But with the elevation came two things: wind chill and views. Standing at the top – as I said, higher than Australia – the colours are different. The contrast a little sharper, yet distances deceptive.

From here, after another rock scramble down without any mishaps we landed at the edge. Quite literally.

Glacier Point is iconic, and you won’t be disappointed – if you’re short on time while visiting at any stage, don’t cross this peak off! You might even spot a wedding party (as I did!) amongst all the day trippers…

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REVISITED: Three days spent in a paradise, Yosemite NP (Part 1)

It has been nearly two years since my trip to the States, and I still have so many unfinished posts sitting here as drafts. Bit by bit, I’m planning on whittling them down and actually releasing my stories and pictures into the web universe. Here is post number one…..

Before leaving Australia for my trip to the States, I thought I had a good idea what I was in for. I’d read the guide books, seen other people’s photos and heard their wondrous tales – even searched travel sights to absorb all the tips everyone had left; “see this” and “do that” – even read those tales of disaster that we are all grateful others had (not us!); you know, “don’t stay here unless you like bed bugs” and the like.
I was fairly sure that Yosemite was going to make the trip highlights, given that anyone who had visited still raved about their adventures. But still, nothing could prepare me for visiting Yosemite NP – almost five hours from the bustle of San Francisco………

A nice welcome from Vermont!

It’s hard to be too caught up in the fast paced life when you’re a state whose capital city boasts under 8,000 people and no McDonalds. As many on the bumper stickers proclaim “Vermont was green before it was cool”, this is not a bunch of people excited by bigger, better, faster – rather they are happy to embrace the “loca-vore” project whole-heartedly.
It was easy to see this the minute we landed in Burlington – the biggest town in the state with a population standing at ~40,000 (mostly uni students!) – the cutest, smallest international airport ever! Quiet yet efficient, it was a breath of fresh air after a three-hour stopover in NY (at JFK).

A cure for jetlag – looking out over Lake Champlain, in the heart of downtown Burlington (10 mins from the airport)


And the “Vermont experience” of local culture, food, nature only got better from there! Even at the peak time of year (yes I’ll admit, there was a bit of “leaf peeping” to be done!) you could always find somewhere to escape to…and feel a million miles away from reality, or immerse yourself in fine dining and art.
My highlights were numerous and too much detail to contain in just one (or even two) posts…I’ve broken them into categories:

  1. “Playing the Food Critic”: FOOD
  2. “Playing the Tourist”: HISTORY and SIGHTSEEING
  3. “Playing Myself”: Touring BOOKSTORES, COFFEE SPOTS and RANDOM PHOTO OPPORTUNITIES

Possibly the most memorable “food” experience took place on a wet and grey Saturday in quaint Montpelier (the capital city)…we strolled down the street towards the main shops for the weekly fresh farmers market. I stood out as tourist no matter how hard I tried to blend (not just because of the accent), mostly because I was sans gum boots. Those in the know had indeed donned waterproof footwear (and clothing!) as the rain continued to steadily fall all morning – I guess living somewhere where you experience “mud season” you need that kind of footwear!
Yet, the inclement weather didn’t dampen people’s enthusiasm…there was the school band fundraising money for a football trip, families out for their weekly grocery shop, and children happily jumping from puddle to puddle. Plus, many more sensible folk flocking into the nearby coffee spot to dry out and have a warm, friendly catch-up.
It was hard to resist the fun, and one big thing stuck with me long after I had changed into a dry pair of socks….the sense of community and caring. There was palpable sense of goodwill, people that were above all interested in doing what they could to sustain others’ livelihood. Nothing like a dose of feel-good with your morning coffee!! 

Mmm, the yummiest fresh crispy apples for breaky…an unknown variety!

What’s autumn without a pumpkin, or two (mostly gourds actually)!

My only disappointment from the morning was that I had miscalculated and eaten breakfast before I left the B’n’B….that left no room for sampling the cooked market wares – and the wood-fired pizza smelled mighty good!!

Staying in Montpelier to many native Vermonters seemed like a strange decision – numerous people made comment that “it was a nice place to visit, but who’d wanna stay there” – however the places we did visit were a mighty fine ambassadors for the state’s good taste in fresh produce, and seasonal menus cooked by some talented cooks.
Firstly, who wouldn’t want to stay in the quaint “coach-house” room at the B’n’B and be able to walk 300m (downhill!) for a fresh croissant and coffee?? Oh, did I mention that then you’re in the heart of town, plenty of options for exploring then! Bookshops – tick. Clothing and shoes shops – tick. Even a vintage second-hand store-cum-record shop!

“Vermont Fresh Network” display of produce at Shelburne Farm

And then there was this place for the most amaz-balls dinner that I can recall – simple, fresh, wholesome food. “That’s Life Soup” is the epitome of slow food – small, local, seasonal, all put together in a small family run kitchen. Candle-lit dinner of salad, soup and sandwich has never tasted better – especially with the rain bucketing down outside on a cool autumn night!! All topped off with a delicious tiramisu mousse dessert and I was one content little monkey.

But….if you want to know the way to really win me over it’s by finding the ultimate in good coffee and culture. Now, a lot of America(ns) does not know the difference between flavoured water and good coffee, but thankfully Vermont had it’s fair share of coffee connoisseurs. A trend established itself way back on the west coast (the first part of my trip) that good coffee came with a smile and prepared by bearded men**. Indeed the best coffee I enjoyed in Vermont was also make with a smile, some wonderful tips for what to explore next and of course he had the most amazing beard (and no I don’t have a photo, sadly!).

Right in the heart of Burlington’s pedestrian mall is this little street vendor who not only made a yummy brew but made his customers each feel like they were the single most important person he had served in the day. The coffee beans themselves came from a fair trade local company (go local!!) but the barista set about making me feel like i could be in New York, Paris or even Melbourne!!

Stay tuned for another installment of my adventures in the Green Mountain State. More on the sights and things to do, less on beards.

** My sincere apologies to any non-bearded baristas who make awesome coffee…it’s just that you are aesthetically less appealing!! If you have croissants then I’ll call it even…

Going for a walk, in the woods…

Time spent in a state that is covered in more trees than not (80% of Vermont is trees to be exact) certainly lends itself to plenty of walks. In fact the state’s name comes from verd monts, which translates to “green mountains”………does that give you a better idea?

With the events in August 2011 (Tropical Storm “Irene”) leaving the Green State battered, there was more brown than green – but it still made for some lovely tramping, trekking walking etc. And I was lucky enough to be there for perhaps the nicest season of all….Autumn.

Six of the most memorable walks:

1. Mt. Peg, Woodstock VT
Right in the middle of tourist-town Woodstock is an easy ~1.5 mile  climb to some pretty views over the town and valley surrounding that give you a very good perspective of the sheer green-ness of the state. If you have a spare half an hour, or need to walk off lunch it’s a nice easy stroll through the trees. I wrote at the time:

on the south side of Woodstock, off the small back streets there’s a quick walk up Mt. Peg – a little lump of a mountain that pokes up to give views across the pretty town and valleys beyond. The walk itself weaves through thick spruce trees, under a canopy of autumn colour and behind houses nestled into the side of the hill, before emerging atop for the vista. Even though the weather was cloudy, looking at trees stretching for as far as the eye can see is truly good for the soul.

View across Billings farm and Woodstock

2. The Pogue and Mt. Tom, Woodstock VT
On the opposite side of Woodstock there are some 20 miles of trails and carriage roads to explore (you can take a sleigh ride in winter – how cool!!) as part of the Marsh-Billings-Rockerfeller National Historic Park. Despite the sunny autumn weather (definitely shorts and t-shirt weather) and holiday long-weekend when I visited, the place felt empty. You are literally a stones-throw from the main street in downtown Woodstock, yet the expanse allows you to feel you are miles away from any tour bus. All up, I walked about 3.6 miles (5.75km) along a fairly easy gradient, about 1 1/2 hours with plenty of photo/vista stops to breathe it all in!

First the trail is wide and gentle, walking beneath the shade of an autumn canopy
Then it widens to a field (paddock)
And then you stumble up the last bit to be rewarded with views across the Pogue (lake)

Farther along the road/trail is Mt. Tom itself – the extra milage for a round trip to the South Peak Overlook was so worth the view! You are literally standing on the edge of the summit, staring down across the busy world below.  I think this climb would be well worth it at night-time too – imagine all those pretty lights!!

Woodstock nestled into Mt. Peg behind

3. The Pinnacle, Stowe VT
The town of Stowe is normally known for it’s exclusive, but expansive ski slopes that make it a very popular destination in winter-time. We were lucky enough to have some nice-ish autumn weather (it’s all relative, no rain or snow but still pretty cold with the howling wind!!) to explore the countryside and decided on trekking up the steep 3 mile walk up Stowe Pinnacle before lunch.

Starts out gentle enough…

Nice enough, perhaps better if the recent storms hadn’t washed it out in parts. But because of the extra altitude the leaf change was the best I would see for most of the trip.

Yes, I said steep! There were people practically running this as their morning workout!!

The views from the top were pretty special (we started the climb down the very bottom of those trees!).

 It was also my first and delicious trip that involved sampling apples straight from the tree roadside (you’ll never go back once you’ve tasted fresh picked extra flavour-some apples!!). Then, with lunch taken care of, I was lucky enough to detour on the drive home to Ben and Jerry’s factory – no way could I have come this far without tasting their ice-cream 🙂





4. Moss Glen Falls, near Stowe VT
Despite the drizzle and inclement weather, it really was a pleasant 1/4 mile hop upstream from the car to the falls, ranked in the top-10 of most popular waterfalls in New England. As nice as it was, I was quite glad to be nowhere near here when the floods happened – there was debris half-way up 30-foot trees!! A poor beaver was busy rebuilding his/her home, gnawing through thigh-sized timber on the water’s edge!!!

Short steep pitch up the slope to see the falls…glad to wear decent shoes for this!
Beautiful, powerful…nature at it’s best

We then hiked on a little further along the river, through the beautiful sodden forest – the colours all the more vibrant because of the rain…

 If one set of falls is not enough – there’s a book out there detailing where to find more!
 

5. Hubbard Park, Montpelier VT
A more “suburban” setting but even Vermont’s capital city residents (all 8,000 of them) are not going to lose out on being “close to nature”. So, I found the perfect way to shake off jetlag…a run up the nearest mountain you can find! Set in 185 acres of land just above the State House for parliament, there was more than 7 miles of trail/road to explore – it really was food for the soul running through thick dense fir and spruce, as well as the elm, birch and maple trees all changing colour. I didn’t cover the whole 7 miles, but the climb was quite descent, so certainly felt the legs the next day!

Main street of Montpelier
The trail began climbing up a road overlooking the town
Then it was straight wilderness, I didn’t see another person!
50-foot above the ground
I even found a 50-foot tower to climb – that was my stair repeats to really kill the quads!!!! Glorious views over the surrounds helped ease the burn, then beyond the tower was more trail to explore….rock-hopping over streams, dancing around wildlife (2 squirrels, 1 snake!) and under the autumn splendor of late afternoon.

View halfway up the tower

Nature at it’s best

6. Rattlesnake Point/Falls of Lana, East Middlebury, VT
Thankfully I didn’t encounter a single snake on this 5-mile climb, just a few fellow hikers, one dog and a few lizzards trying to warm up in the sun! I was warm enough pretty soon too, given the sunny weather as well as the climb up ~1500 feet!! Mostly the trail wove through the trees up along old logging tracks, past the falls to the escarpment high above. Certainly strenuous in small sections, the views at the top were well worth the effort. Given the longer distance, it was a very quiet stroll too.

Gentle stream, near the falls; most people stopped about here.
Lana Falls

But far more fun to be had – off the beaten track….
Halfway along the escarpment, the fall foliage starting to pop!
Not a bad spot to stop and have lunch ay? Check out those views…..

 All in all, The Green State was a pleasure to discover on foot…and I really only scratched at the surface. Who knows, maybe one day I will make it back to do a walk along the Appalachian Trail. What? A girl’s gotta dream big!!

Travel diary: USA 2011


I have been toying with how to combine the photos I took whilst on holiday with the memoirs scribbled in a travel diary – then voila – I remembered the blog I have. The right place to start is the beginning – leaving Australia on a coldish Saturday morning in Sydney’s spring, bound for L.A.. But the places and experiences fresh in my mind were from the last week – spent living it up in New York. So backwards I will write.

 

There is not one word I could ever rely on to fully describe New York – the things people tell you to expect are amplified by being there and finally experiencing first hand a town that dances to many different beats. Continuously.
I arrived into NY from Vermont after a short delay – meaning we landed at night-time rather than late afternoon. Stepping outside those airport doors I could feel the city thrum. At first a shock to the senses, as sounds and lights dazzle but you are quickly enticed into a world which will leave you changed forever.

Lucky me had found a cheap (by NY standards!) place to stay with someone in lower midtown (via airbnb.com) – in between the Empire State Building and Grand Central Station. The kind of place that I thought NY was all about – tall brick apartment blocks, smiling doormen (they would surely have some secret gossip to tell!!) and old slow lifts. What I got was just perfect – even had my own balcony and view over the busy street scape below.

37th Street looking west across Manhattan
Park Ave on a rainy morning

Even a view of the Empire State Building from my bedroom!

I had a full six days to pack as much of New York in as I could – and I was determined to check a few tourist things off my list (Empire State Building, Central Park, Brooklyn Bridge etc.) as well as dig up a few surprises too. But probably the one thing that I did not expect to find (perhaps my ignorance shows here) was food – amazing food. I believe one email I sent back home at the time was titled “if only writing burnt calories…”; the challenge was not to stop at every single enticing store, street vendor or restaurant I passed before lunchtime came.
I have quite a few foody highlights (the few extra kilos I bought home were worth every bite!), sadly though my camera did not attend most of them! So, here in my recount words will have to be suffice to capture the memory.

Coffee seemed to be a mission some days – I mean, there’s coffee on every street corner but some of it tastes like dirt mixed with drain water. I am a little bit of a coffee snob (proper espresso shot latte thanks, none of this percolator rubbish!), so when my guide book mentioned “voted the best coffee in Manhattan” I was there. 71 Irving St Coffee and Tea Bar didn’t disappoint  – a basement cafe tucked away in downtown (near Union Square), open early and serving delicious coffee, breakfasts and bakes goods enough to get you going in the early morning. The croissant I had was just the right combination of flaki-ness and buttery indulgence…I think after this trip I will have to expand my foodie palate and visit France for a “proper” education in baked goods.
I even hiked 15 blocks along Broadway from Central Park one afternoon in search of a little shop highly rated – but couldn’t find it! Turns out it had moved, but I did find the best choc-chip cookies – fresh and still warm from the oven – so the trip was not a total disappointment.
I accidentally located the offices of Bluebottle Coffee Co. hiding away in the Rockefeller Centre – a these guys provided my coffee highlight from San Francisco – but could not locate where they actually sold their brew…turns out you need to head to Brooklyn and (summertime) downtown for your caffeine hit from these guys, which I highly rate.

Another coffee highlight was Le Pain Quotidien – it was my refuge on a rainy afternoon as I was scampering across Central Park from The Met to Broadway. I was expecting mediocre (a bakery chain…always hit or miss) but pleasantly excited as the staff were friendly – OK maybe a little happy to finally see a customer – and served up delicious hot coffee to go with my chia muffin.
To be honest, good coffee experiences were hard work finding – unless you were flush with inside information on where to head or eons of time to sample, sample, sample some more. I was excited to head into Think Coffee on Bleecker St – an excellent barrister in Vermont has worked here for some time and it came with a few recommendations – but alas, I obviously caught an ‘off’ day (or something). They were slow with takeaways, forgot my order and the milk was too hot to help the coffee sing. Oh well, you live and learn!
The last decent cup of brew I had in New York was a complete surprise – my final day I literally stumbled into Grounded in West Village, arms laden with shopping. It had just what you need for a late afternoon pick-me-up, with inviting decor, friendly staff and a big selection of organic and/or fair trade beverages available. Yep, gets my tick of approval.

But it wasn’t all about coffee all the time – I did leave the search for caffeine behind occasionally! The first full day exploring NY I got a little teeny bit lost (it didn’t get any better – I got on the subway the next day bound for downtown Manhattan, got off halfway to Coney Island!!) but a got type of getting lost – I have coined it the “productive” type…you kind of have a sense of where you are headed for one thing, and end up doing about 5 other things on the way!
But I got lost and found Chelsea – an artsy area full of galleries, up-market boutique shops and the glorious Chelsea Markets (the closest thing I could liken it to would be South Melbourne’s markets) fresh markets that have a more cultured, up-market appeal. There were more cupcakes than carrots, cuts of meat I have never seen, home-brew kits and all the spices you could ever want or need. You can grab something for lunch and sit down to admire the action or the art and history of the space (originally the Oreo Factory). I did sample Amy’s Bread (the first of two visits) for lunch – a delicious mini-baguet filled with fresh bocconcini, basil and tomato, before finishing with a cherry-soda scone!
Near Chelsea markets is the High Line – the ultimate in urban regeneration/renewal. A disused train line converted in 2006 into green space and pedestrian walkway that keeps you off the streets and gives you better views of the Manhattan world. Also good for people watching, especially on a sunny, late summer-feel afternoon.


Green oasis…

The newest section open near 30st – and the next piece to be “beautified”

Cross-town view up above the mayhem!

The quirkiness of NY came to meet me then – in two separate incidents. I inadvertently walked down the wrong street and got sucked into cartoon mania – turns out there was a three-day comic fest in progress. I felt out of place as I wasn’t under the age of 18, or wearing any face paint, glasses, costume or carrying (x) comic book! So I got out of there….as quick as I could.
The second bizarre one was as I meandered along Bleecher St perusing shops, restaurants, bakeries etc. At one stage I was surrounded by pink-wearing Lycra clad women marching for breast cancer awareness, then on the other side of the street was the “Occupy Wall St” march on it’s way to Times Square (with full police escort and marching band!!). Certainly not a quiet Saturday afternoon in East Village!

Bleecher St. East Village. Awesome!
Even the Lycra Avon ladies walking to raise money for breast cancer got a police escort!

Seriously, I think the number of police was unbelievable!

Wall St march

Markets at Union Square, not a bad start to the weekend…
Ended up here just about every day – shops, food, markets and central to everything else (oh, and my subway line)
Seriously, could lose a few hours in this area….

One of the many memorials for 9/11…quite moving

Chinatown vibe just next door to culture and cafes of East Village

Chinatown merges with Little Italy – talk about culture clash! But it works….

A quiet Grand Central Station – I was here before 9am on a Saturday; I take it everyone else is still asleep!

Looking a little more alive late in the day – the photos don’t do justice to the amazing grandeur of the ceiling especially at night, when the “stars” sparkle!

Exploring: Brooklyn, Staten Island and Manhattan

 If there was one area in New York outside of Manhattan that I was desperate to see, it was Brooklyn. So many people I had spoken to prior to the trip raved about getting “out of Manhattan” and experiencing the art, culture and outdoors that Brooklyn is known for. And it didn’t disappoint…when I got there!!
My navigation skills hadn’t improved, and instead of ending up on a train to Brooklyn’s Prospect Park (near 8th Ave and 1st street) I got off the Subway to discover I was at 60th street! Back-tracking a fair way, I eventually discovered a green, quiet oasis – with autumn colour just starting to descend. It was such a lovely contrast to where I had left off at the start of my day – only a couple of cyclists, runners, new mums pushing strollers and dog-walkers were my company on a clear warm sunny day.

The aptly named Long Meadow at Prospect Park

Picnic house

 From the serene surrounds of the park, I wandered along the streets of Park Slope, the most desirable section of Brooklyn recognizable by the sheer number of handsome brownstones.

Dressed up with a little touch of Halloween…

More exclusive brownstones along leafy 8th Ave
I had a lovely stroll in the sunshine down the commercial heart of Park Slope: Seventh avenue – past the grocery stores, florists, cafes and dry cleaners. Then past some boutique stores, bookshops and coffee spots, a hospital and even a school! Talk about diverse!!! Of course, by this time my stomach was searching for the next stop for some sustenance, and so I stumbled into BareBurger. The best bit? You create your own burger with the type of meat (or vegie!) you want, bun or no bun – even the choice of thick chunky chips (mmmm!) and/or onion rings.
I could barely decide, but my stomach drew me to Moroccan chicken served with a salad of goat’s cheese, walnut, spinach, beetroot and chutney. Of course, couldn’t enjoy this meal without a drink….delicious dark ale (organic of course!!).

Lunch

From Seventh Ave I set off to journey back to Brooklyn Heights, near the Brooklyn Bridge.
Via Grand Army Plaza and the Triumphal Arch. Then past the Brooklyn Public Library.

The Triumphal Arch is built to recognise and commemorate efforts in the Civil War (1850’s)
Library entrance – elaborate!

 I then landed at DUMBO – the foreshore of Brooklyn Heights, littered with urban renewal and art. It would have been great to have a full day here to explore all the galleries, markets and happenings – not to mention food! River Cafe for the upscale, Bubby’s for pie, or for a sweet hit Jacques Torres Chocolate. And I haven’t even had time to mention taking a short walk up to Atlantic Avenue – the heart of Lebanese and Middle Eastern Cuisine in New York.

Now restored and exclusive DUMBO (Down Under Manhattan Bridge Overpass)
Parkland under Brooklyn Bridge, near River Cafe

 Of course, I could leave Brooklyn any other way except by walking across the Brooklyn Bridge! The walk itself is not strenuous – except to dodge all the people stopped for picture-snapping. I felt sorry for the cyclists commuting home from work and having to miss us tourists, completely unpredictable and incapable of obeying the “stick right” rule.

Upper Manhattan from afar

Downtown
Brooklyn Bridge is the oldest cable-stayed bridge

1875: New York Tower is completed

Woolworth Building from Brooklyn Bridge

 Once back on the soil of Manhattan I had the chance to wander around Downtown and explore.

Some interesting art in City Hall Park
Brooklyn Bridge from Manhattan
View of Brooklyn Heights from Manhattan

I walked back from the Bridge via South Street Seaport to Downtown Financial District. Since the “occupy wall street” folk had moved on a couple of days before, I got to [sort of] look around the famous commerce centre. I say sort of, because the security was still very tight – you only came close to getting into any of the buildings with a security pass, let along even walk down Wall street itself. Police were on every corner searching cars and even delivery guys backpacks.

A bull for Black Monday (1987)

Beautiful old architecture near Battery Park juxtaposing with skyscrapers
You could barely see the sky at times…

 So, with the sun low in the sky and weary feet I set off in the opposite direction of home…desperate to fit just a little more into my day before nightfall.
As I had not been organised enough to get myself a prized ticket to tour Ellis Island and Statue of Liberty (booked out months in advance) I took the freebie option: a ride to Staten Island upon the ferry.

Manhattan from a distance

I may not have seen the Lady herself up close or got to tour the island, but I did get a very nice ferry ride and beautiful sunset 🙂
It left me feeling pretty chuffed at how much I had fit into one single day exploring New York…A little tired maybe, but I figured the night was young – plenty to see and do!! There was enough time left to go home from some yummy dinner (courtesy of Wholefoods – wish there was one just around the corner at home home!).

The guidebooks said the lines would be more than an hour….not a person in sight!

Times Square from above!

Completed in May 1931 – taller than the Chrylser Building and Eiffel Tower – The Empire State Building has dominated the skyline of New York since – not to mention starred in many movies that we all think of as “iconic” New York.
Getting to the top at 11pm at night, the views were spectacular…New York is certainly transformed by lights at night – you can really get perspective for what more than 8 million people look like!!

Chrysler building and east mid-town, with Madison Ave on the left. My place is just down there!!
Downtown….
The Empire State Building spire – built to make it the tallest building at the time, also to prevent lightning strike damage
I got chatting to one of the attendants at the top – who couldn’t believe I had a full six weeks holiday, paid – hats off to those guys who stand there all day and night (even when it’s snowing in winter!!) making sure people don’t jump off the building!! And just like every other American I met on the trip, he was keen to visit Australia – must be our fantastic tourism ads 🙂
So, that’s the end of my epic adventure for one day. Quite a day really!

Thank goodness for a comfy bed.