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New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Gilwern, United...
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New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Hi everyone.

As promised, and as a small thank you to the masses of excellent advice I've taken from you all during the planning of our trip. Then the unfortunate cancelling and rebooking following a family death, here is our trip report from our holiday. We arrived back this morning at 11am and this is partly to keep me awake!

First, a little background. I'm Kelly, I'm 32 and I travelled with the other half who I call Mr Big, so he can keep that name. Partly due to his massive stature, ginormous hands and ridiculous feet, mostly due to my Sex and the City love!

So, here goes!

Day One - Off we go!!

We arrived at Heathrow early. We couldn't get away from the business quick enough, so everything was packed and we left for the airport by 9am for our 4pm flight. We got to the airport and the very convenient Virgin "bag drop" by 1pm and settled into holiday mode with a quick beer followed by Mr Big's first experience of Sushi. He's always managed to avoid it for the last few years but today he was up for trying new things. To my shock horror, he actually enjoyed it! Another beer followed then on to the flight.

Big had never been on a jumbo jet before, only much smaller planes when we go to France/Italy every year. I had only one experience of a jumbo jet (my last trip to New York about 10 Yeats ago, the experience was horrific but that's another story that we'll get to!). To my delight, the jumbo was named "lady Penelope" which matches the name of my car, so I was immediately thrilled and got the camera out for the first photograph of her.

We settled into our flight. I'd chosen the seats in the very back row. I knew that this would mean that we would be delayed at customs in the USA but Big is SO big that I knew he would be more comfortable for the long flight if he could stretch his feet into the aisle and put the seat back without getting in other peoples way. As it turned out, the flight was almost empty. People were laying across the five centre seats to catch a few hours before their holidays. We took advantage of the films on offer and settled down to watch a few of the latest blockbusters with popcorn and ice cream provided complimentary by virgin. It was a comfortable flight. We hit a few scary spots, and I'm not the best flyer since my last New York flight left me traumatised, but we got through the winds quickly and arrived safely and excited in Newark airport.

We got through immigration in about 20 minutes, collected our bags which were waiting and stepped outside into the air to feel how cold it really was. And to be honest, we were pleasantly surprised. New York was no colder than winter in Cardiff! We're obviously climatised to bonkers weather and snowfall so we found it perfectly tolerable.

We jumped on the air train (very easy thanks to the tips on here) then changed to the regular train to take us to Penn Station. We walked up the ramp and it's the city and looked behind us to see the Empire State Building glowing red in the moonlight.

We walled the two blocks to our hotel. The hotel Metro on 35th street and checked in with every intension of going straight back out to explore........ And then proceeded to fall fast asleep by 8pm!

We slept very well indeed. The black out blinds always confuse my body clock and we never know when it's morning but when we checked the clock it was 6am.

Wide awake and excited to explore, we put on a layer of thermals under our regular clothes and headed down to breakfast and to plan our first day in the big apple :-)

K x

Edited: 12 February 2014, 14:50
Toronto, Canada
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1. Re: New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Great start ...thanks for the trip report...I look forward to reading more.....popcorn and ice cream on your flight.....Nice touch! ......

Gilwern, United...
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2. Re: New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Day Two

We were obviously the first people to arrive for breakfast (this didn't happen again!) so we got to choose our seat and had two very lovely ladies waiting for us to great us good morning and point out where things were.

The metro offer a complimentary continental breakfast which was great. The biggest muffins and bagels of every conceivable flavour with cream cheese or jams. Then toast, yoghurt, fruit, Danish pastries and juice or coffee.

The breakfast was really yummy and no doubt saved us both time and money during our holiday.

We got out coats on and stepped out into the cold. Again, not too bad at all. This welsh weather has done us some good!

We took a stroll over to Times Square. We knew we would be buying the unlimited metro cards at some point but today we just fancied finding out own way there and exploring a little. We arrived quickly without getting lost that's to the Crumpled City map we purchased before we left. People noticed how easy it was to use, no folding, just crunch it up and shove it in your bag or pocket. Can't recommend this highly enough really.

We marvelled at the lights for a while and then decided to walk up to the Plaza hotel where we're were due to meet the bus for our Sex and the city tour (told you I was a fan!).

We stopped an route at the metro cafe for a naval with bacon and cheese which was really yummy. We didn't need a second breakfast, we were still full from the first, but we were on holiday and fancied pigging out!

From the metro cafe which was just off fifth avenue we looked at a few shops and headed to the Plaza.

I was immediately drawn to the horse and carriages as I'm a big horse lover. We went over to say hello but refused a carriage ride as we knew we would have to be on the tour bus in an hour. We walked around the fountain outside the plaza and the most beautiful horse was stood proudly. We went over to say hello and the Driver offered to take us on a short ride whist we waited for our tour bus for $40.

He took us around the lower part of Central Park and was very knowledgable about the area and buildings. He was very kind to his horse, allowing her to stop and drink, and comforting her when a lorry driver honked his horn for a little too long.

We saw the beautiful park in the fresh snow fall. We felt like we were in Narnia. We stopped for photos at the end of the ride and handed over a little extra money, as he was so cheerful. A carrot for the horse and we were on our way.

We still had a few minutes to burn so we went into the Plaza for a look around and some photos. We went down into the food court and marvelled at all the fancy cakes and breads for a few minutes before we headed to get our bus.

The bus was waiting on the sidewalk with a queue of fans waiting to get on. Thankfully we'd paid for priority boarding and seating which got us seats on the front row. We settled in and listened to our guide Staci who was knowledgable and very very funny for the whole trip.

We visited almost every sight I would associate with the show. We got to stop at the pleasure chest for a giggle, at Aiden and Steve's bar for a cosmopolitan and at the famous cupcake shop where the girls go on the show. We were dropped in the village for a "look around the shops" but I had already recognised the cobbled streets and grabbed Mr Big to come in search of 66 Perry Street. We found it in a moment, we were the only ones there. There's a polite notice on the steps not to sit, and to give a donation to help homeless dogs of we took photos which we gladly did. The street was amazing, and I'm chuffed we found it!

The tour was listed as being 2.5 hours long but it was more like 4. We had a fabulous time and laughed all day long. Got some great photos and left the bus on fifth avenue where we took in some shopping. Well, it would be rude not to show shop after that tour!

We then walked to the New York City library for a few more photos in my Blue Manolos and then found a lovely Italian pizza place close by where we ate a slice each.

Not exhausted yet by our walking (although we'd soon regret it the next day) we headed over to find "Stout" an Irish bar which had been recommended to us to watch the Wales v Ireland rugby match the following day. We know we'd probably have to purchase tickets so thought we'd go that night as kick off was an early 9am New York time the following morning.

The bar was packed and amazing. So much so we decided to stay there for a few beers and dinner before walking back to our hotel exhausted!

Our legs would hurt on day 3 :-)

K x

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3. Re: New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

What a fab start to your report Kelly - looking forward to reading the rest. Can't believe you're back already though. I love the train ride from Newark, cheap, comfy and so easy to do.

Scotland
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4. Re: New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Wow - after me taking ages to post you've only gone and thrown in another day for me to sit and read :o)

Haven't done the SATC tour but I did go for a nosey down Perry Street and then round to the Magnolia Bakery for a cupcake. The shop assistant asked me if I wanted a receipt (obviously knowing I was not a regular and probably the Scottish accent gave it away lol). I bet they're inundated with people just peering in the window have a neb though.

New York City, New...
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5. Re: New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Much awaited Trip Report :) Glad you had a great time.

Edited: 12 February 2014, 18:10
Ireland
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6. Re: New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Really enjoying your trip report, keep it coming!

Launceston...
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7. Re: New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Kelly, wonderful report so far and I have been waiting.

I also did the SATC tour with Staci on my 2nd day and had a wonderful time. When we were dropped in the "village" while everyone else on the bus went shopping I went looking for Perry Street and I also was the only one from the bus that found it, and not just Carries but the whole street is beautiful.

Doing the tour on the 2nd day was great to sit on the bus and relax but also just soak everything in and see so many buildings that were familiar and I know when we went past the Flat Iron Building, I thought to myself, yep I am in New York.I am looking forward to Day 3.

Belfast, Ireland
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8. Re: New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Kelly loving your report - sounds great so far!! Can't wait to hear more :)

Dallas, Texas
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9. Re: New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Very good start to your NYC vacation enjoying it so far.

Oslo, Norway
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10. Re: New York "The Encore" Trip Report. February 2014

Great report! Can't wait for the rest of it.

I also did the SATC tour with Staci 3 years ago. She was very funny.