Sailing into the Manhattan harbour might very well be the most impressive way to first see New York. Under a beaming sun, we cruised underneath the Verrazano-Narrows-Bridge and past the statue of liberty. The entire way, we had a fantastic view of New York’s skyline. Up till this point we only knew it from movies, tv or the internet. It took a while to fully internalise that buildings like the One World Trade Center or the Empire State Building actually exist. This was an almost surreal experience.
Overwhelmed by the Big Apple
Since we had only one full day before we had to take a train to Niagara Falls, we decided to explore the area around our hotel. This proved harder than we had anticipated; Midtown Manhattan, it seems, is bursting out of its seams with people. I had sever seen this many people crammed so close together – safe for maybe at a festival. I don’t think there was a single moment where we couldn’t hear a single siren or car horn. Another thing we had to get used to, is that, because of all the buildings, you often can’t see the sky unless you specifically look for it. To get over the shock, we treated ourselves to a burger and some fries at a real New York burger chain, called Shake Shack, and put up our tired feet in the surprisingly calm Bryant Park.
The penultimate scheduled stop of our cruise was Boston. A city which immediately captured Rik and me. We started exploring from the center and made our way over the Commonwealth Avenue. On our way to our goal – the Mapparium, a three-story-tall, stained glass, inverted globe depicting the earth – we encountered many charming little corners of Boston.
The Mapparium was very impressive both optically and acoustically. Unfortunately, the visit left us with a bit of a sour taste since it was located in the Mary Baker Eddy Library. In case you are unfamiliar with that name – as we were – Mary Baker Eddy founded «Christian Science». Followers of Christian Science strongly believe that prayer can heal all kinds of illnesses and actively discourage fellow believers to stay clear of any modern medicine. So, any money you spend going to the Mapparium goes towards religious nuts.
We had a significantly less trouble parting from our money when we spent a few bucks on a ride in a paddle-powered swan boat in Boston’s public garden. What made it even better was the saxophone player playing the Star Wars theme song on a nearby bridge.
After a nice stroll along the Charles River we decided to top off our day in Boston with a brief visit to the Faneuil Hall Marketplace. We found it to be a beautiful building, but very much geared to tourists. Safe to say we didn’t buy any food there. For that, we made our way back to the ship where we could enjoy Boston’s beautiful skyline.
Crossing the Atlantic by ship – twice
For the first time ever my boyfriend Rik and I will be travelling for almost two month this summer. As you can see on the map above we’ll fly to Iceland first and spend a few days in the capital Reykjavik. There we will board the cruise ship Oceania Insignia which will take us to Greenland and Canada before disembarking in New York.
As I dislike driving and Rik does not have a license we’ll be using the train to get to Niagara Falls (Ontario), Toronto, Ottawa, Montreal and Québec. From there we’ll fly back to New York and after a week we’ll join the last true ocean liner, the Queen Mary 2 to cross the Atlantic.