Thursday, 6 December 2018

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave

I suffered with a huge amount of 'holiday anxiety' ahead of my trip to New York. I had been there two times before. Once for 'fat camp' in the Adirondacks, and the other, a mere one day spell at the end of my three week cross-country road trip. I now had seven days to see it all - See it like I saw it in the movies growing up. I travelled there with my brother and we made ourselves an itinerary, which didn't look like much on paper... until we got there. While I had a completely dazzling time in New York over Thanksgiving week, I am still recovering from my fatigue. I tried so desperately to account for my 'big tourist trip', complete with high expenses (Thank you CityPass for helping up save as much as we could!), that we crammed in too much - which resulted in beginning each day with tired eyes and ending with sore, aching feet.

To avoid similar exhaustion, I have compiled a list of things you must do and see while in New York, and others you can forego. Honestly, taking it easy is the best way to maximise your trip in the beautiful chaos that is the Big Apple.

DEFINITELY DO! 

Top Of The Rock and The Empire State are the ultimate viewpoints for looking out over New York's dazzling, dizzying and famous skyline. Top Of The Rock was the first place we visited upon arrival, and while it was buzzing with tourists, there was still plenty of opportunities for us get some amazing pictures. We visited The Empire State on Thanksgiving evening - which also happened to be one of the coldest days of the year so far. The winds at the top were stronger than what I had experienced while I climbing Mount Snowdon earlier this year. I couldn't stay outside for too long, and the struggle to get a nice picture was near to impossible. But with the city lit up in lights - the 'wow' factor was undeniable.

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
Top Of The Rock
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
Empire State Building
Times Square was smaller than what my brother had expected - but he was truly astonished at the bright lights and the hypnotising digital billboards. The place is no let down... and it's no joke. We went on a Monday night and managed to enjoy it in the way it should. However, there were many other nights we would walk through Times Square, and my anxiety spiralled out of control. Definitely consider the best time to go for maximum fulfilment, but on the whole, Times Square is best enjoyed amongst others. 

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave

9/11 Museum and Memorial was my absolute highlight. I knew it would be emotional, but I didn't realise how choked up I would get. The museum is executed in such a clever, thought-provoking and hard-hitting manner that really showcases the true horrors of September 11th, 2001. The magnitude of the tragedy and loss of life continued to hit me from start to finish. This is something you cannot rush and need to set aside 2-3 hours for. The memorial commemorating the people who had lost their lives was just beautiful and touching. The only thing which made me uncomfortable was people taking selfies at the memorial. I truly don't think it's the place for it.

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave

The Met and American Museum of Natural History were two museums which really blew my mind. They offered endless rooms of exhibitions, artefacts, historical and geographical presentations from around the world. You could really spend a whole day at each museum. It's a great place to go for solo travellers as well. Another museum which deserves an honourable mention is the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum - which is of course, a niche offering.

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
The Metropolitan Museum of Art
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
American Museum of Natural History
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
Intrepid Sea, Air & Space Museum
Central Park is simply perfect. Miles and miles of lush greenery, with historical landmarks and magical picture spots. We hired bikes to beat the tourist crowds at the entrance and made our way around the park in the crisp, clean air. My first bit of peace and serenity while being in New York.

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave

Statue of Liberty is one of those things that just needs to be done if you're coming to New York for the first time. You can book your ferry in advance. We didn't, and had to queue two hours in the big freeze - but it was worth it. Don't feel obliged to stop off at Liberty Island, as the short ride over gives you ample time to get those iconic snaps of Lady Liberty.

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave


Brooklyn is one area of New York which I wanted to explore more - but our time was cut short. For a fleeting visit to the popular borough, definitely walk the length of the Brooklyn Bridge during the afternoon, hit up the iconic Dumbo neighbourhood during sunset, and then reward yourself with the best pizza you'll ever have in your life - at Grimaldi's.

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave

Honourable mentions: Definitely try to fit in an NBA game. Even if you're not a sports fan, I can guarantee you'll love it. Also, take in a Broadway show. We saw School Of Rock and it was epic! Speaking of Broadway, make sure to eat at Ellen's Stardust Diner, where there are singing waitstaff who are aspiring stage stars. 


SKIP IF YOU DON'T HAVE TIME!
New York Public Library and Grand Central are usually absolute musts for any tourist. The library is just grandeur, class and elegance at it's finest, while the train station puts my usual London Victoria to shame. However, due to the general 'in, take one quick snap and get out' aspect to these two places, I wouldn't go out of my way to cater for them. If you're pressed for time, maybe visit one over the other.

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
New York Public Library 
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
Grand Central Station
Another famous New York landmark which is also a quick 'in and out' situation, but you don't actually go 'in and out' of, is the Flatiron Building. Undeniably huge on social media, with many a creative photoshoot surrounding it, I no doubt, wanted a similar picture. But it wasn't quite executed in the manner I had hoped. If you're passing by and see it, that's great - But again, don't go out of your way to see it.



New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave

Wall Street and New York Stock Exchange is another niche area of interest, which my brother was all about. If it weren't for him, I most probably would have over-looked it. He wanted to go to Wall Street since our trip was booked, and I'm sure like-minded business focused people would love to take a picture with the iconic Charging Bull statue.

While the Guggenheim Museum is an incredible piece of architecture, going inside didn't really serve me any real purpose. This is a museum for art buffs, who want to stop and admire each offering. It wasn't for me. I found The Museum Of Modern Art of the same ilk, nothing really tickled my fancy - and I deemed other museums more exciting.  Another niche offering is the Museum Of Sex. Unless you have a burning desire to learn about the history of sexual revolution, I would most definitely give this one a miss. If you want that cheeky chuckle (like I did), it's probably best to stick with Pornhub.

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
Guggenheim 
New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave
Museum Of Sex
The first place of recommendation on everyone's lips was the High Line Park. So obviously we went with high expectations. However, while I appreciated the concept of a linear park built on a disused railway track above Manhattan's West Side, it proved undeniably lacklustre (I'm sorry!!!). Me and my brother both agreed it was a pointless walk, with no real place to stop and take nice photos. What was nice though, was the nearby stroll in the Chelsea markets.

New York Seven Day Itinerary - What To See & What To Leave

WHAT ARE YOUR FAVOURITE PLACES IN NEW YORK?

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Wednesday, 24 October 2018

Fat Camp in the Adirondacks, New York - Ten Years On

Fat Camp in New York
I remember looking at the other girls in confusion as they wailed and pleaded to be sent home a mere one week in. They missed home, didn't like the idea of a structured daily routine and instead, wanted to spend their summer with friends. In stark contrast, I had spent months planning and prepping to be there. There were long talks, powerpoint presentations and flat out begging directed at my then happily married, yet strict, parents. After a long hard slog, they finally agreed to send me across the pond to New York and pay for me to attend, yes, 'Fat Camp', where I was to begin a promised summer of transformation, a decade ago.
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Sunday, 9 September 2018

Top 5 Things To Do in Slovenia For A Solo Traveller

Top 5 Things To Do in Slovenia For A Solo Traveller - Ljubljana, Lake Bled and Triglav National Park

From it's quaint, small city charm, to its endless miles of lush green terrain, complete with magnificent waterfalls and scenic hiking trails, Slovenia is a solid choice for those wishing for an action packed, adrenaline-fulled getaway. Yet its humble approach to tourism and wanderlust leaves it flying under the radar for many - me included. Struggling to find the perfect getaway for myself (no beaches, no lounging around etc.), I stumbled across the stunning South European country, and my streak of indecisiveness was broken, prompting me to immediately book flights and hotels. And the whim paid off. As a huge advocate of solo travel, I can't recommend Slovenia enough. You will never find yourself at a loss of things to do, and the pleasantly busy aspect to your trip, will have you not having a care in the world as you saunter into eateries for a lovely meal to collect your thoughts.

I spent five days in Slovenia and from city life to the sun-soaked, fresh air of nature, I have listed the top 5 things for you to do in Slovenia. Enjoy, and any questions, please feel free to ask!
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Tuesday, 26 June 2018

Ischia, Italy: An Idyllic Rest and Relaxation Getaway


The last time I had a 'rest and relaxation' beach holiday was... well, never. Making up for my embarrassingly lazy and unfulfilling lifestyle during childhood, my twenties have been all about hurtling myself down a series of accomplished, active breaks. And while I have embarked on many family holidays in the scorching sun as a child, we would always be that Muslim family who would stick out like a sore thump on the beach.
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Tuesday, 17 April 2018

Trekking Mount Snowdon, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

Hiking Mount Snowdon, Snowdonia National Park, Wales

My hiking inexperience really showed when I decided to hike Mount Snowdon in Wales a week before I went and nonchalantly thought I could do it in my Nikes.

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Sunday, 4 February 2018

Lake Lugano : Hiking in Stunning Switzerland

Hiking in Gorgeous Lake Lugano, Switzerland
Often referred to as the 'sunny side of Switzerland', Lugano was a no
-brainer for a trip full of awe-inspiring standalone mountains staggered around the glistening waters of a meandering, scenic lake. I wanted a getaway that would offer me the chance to scale these mountains, breathe in the fresh air and challenge my wavering fitness skills. While me and my brother admired the serene, sunset views during out first day, we were fully aware of the mammoth Monte Bre which lurked amongst the picturesque backdrop a short distance away. We had already decided; rather than succumbing to the lazy lifestyle of a waterfront town, we were to summit that mountain the next day.
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