Τετάρτη, 13 Νοεμβρίου 2013

In New York with the Au Pair International !!! (September 24th-29th 2013)


Since the end of April, all the au pairs of Au Pair International were informed about the getaway that the agency was planning. After a short survey, the destination was chosen ----> New York, NY! The trip was scheduled to be on September 24th-27th, and if anyone wanted to, he /she could stay longer and be benefited by the chance of a weekend class at the Long Island University (LIU Post) and get 3 credits, on September 27th-29th. An au pair MUST attend classes or courses and get 6 credit hours (or 72 non-credit hours) in a year in order to complete successfully the Au Pair Program.

Anyway, I asked my host family if I could go by explaining them the opportunity of getting some credits and also visiting New York. They agreed and I started making a research for the upcoming trip. In a time of 4 months, I had booked the air-tickets, a hotel room for the first 3 nights and a New York Pass for all the sightseeing. At this point, I have to say that I was pretty lucky with my hotel reservation, because staying in New York is very expensive!! Therefore, if anyone wants to visit New York, he/she should look through websites with offers and discounts and sign up on these websites, so he/she can get better deals as far as hotel reservation, rental car, flights etc. Anyway, I got lucky, because I found a hotel at Midtown East Manhattan in a very good price! I could be in Times Square in 10 minutes on foot!!

But, let's get back to the story!!!

Tuesday, September 24th 2013

It was time for my trip to New York, but I had a difficulty.. I got sick the day before! However, after taking some medication and drinking a couple of cups of tea, I was feeling better and ready for my new adventure!

The flight lasted 5 hours and I arrived in NY at 3 pm (Eastern Time). I found my hotel easily, I checked-in and little bit later, I went to receive my New York Pass and start exploring the city.

My first stop was the Museum of Madame Tussaud. I don't know how much time I spent inside, but I took many pictures. Leaving from there and heading to the next sightseeing, I saw little bit of the Times Square and I passed through the Bryant Park, which is beautiful with all the pots of flowers, the ping pong tables on the side (ha!), the benches, the tables and chairs and the land of lawn. My next stop was the Rockefeller Center or else called the "Top of the Rock", where I went up on the 69th floor and admired the view of New York at night! I couldn't believe it! It was breathtaking and, especially, the Empire State Building ant the Chrysler Tower..

Wednesday, September 25th 2013

On that trip, I wouldn't be by myself, but also with Lisa Kempton (Director of Operations) and another au pair Ijima from Japan, who currently lives in Washington, DC.

On Wednesday, I would meet them for the first time at the Battery Park. I had to wake up early and be there at 8:30 am in order to catch up one of the first ferries toward the Statue of Liberty.[ Unfortunately, we couldn't visit the Ellis Island because of the hurricane Sandy. ] At this point, I should mention that another au pair joined us that day, Vivienne from Georgia.

Anyway, we got on the ferry and we started immediately taking pictures of New York's skyline and the Statue of Liberty; after arriving on Liberty Island, we went upstairs and we got the chance to see the statue little bit closer and the view underneath. (The tickets to the crown were already sold out! ). Getting back to the Battery Park, there was an old man playing an awkward musical instrument. Anyway, he heard us talking with different accents and asked where we are from. We answered him that we 're from Japan, Georgia and Greece and that's it (!!!!), he started playing the National Anthems of our home countries! It was very nice of him!!

 Then, we went to the Memorial 9/11, I got thrilled to walk around where the Twin Towers were collapsed by 2 airplanes on September 11th 2001. We were waiting for a long time in line, but it worth it! In the place, where the 2 towers used to be, now, there were 2 fountains with the peoples' names that got killed. Some people were letting roses in the memory of those people.

Next stops were the Highline Park, a park built on an elevated railway, the Empire State Building, where we went up on the 86th floor to see the view from the highest building in the city. We could see the whole city from all the 4 points of the horizon.

I know it seems that we didn't visit a lot of places, but we barely used the railway! We preferred to walk all the time. The truth is that the best way to explore a city is walking!!! So, after buying dinner to get some energy, we walked to Broadway Theater to watch the "Cinderella" story!

Thursday, September 26th 2013

Next day found us at Times Square wandering and getting into the stores to take a look. We got into the Hersey's Chocolate store, the Disney Store, the M&M's Store, the American Girl Store and the Lego store. It was a weird tour into the stores, but totally fun!! Plus, we got the chance to buy souvenirs for our host families.

After hanging out at Times Square, Rockefeller Center and the "famous" stores of the 5th Avenue, we arrived in Central Park. We went from the entrance on 5th Avenue or else the Upper East Side of Manhattan. From this side, it's the Zoo and little further down a sculpture of Alice in Wonderland! It was beautiful. So beautiful that a family decided to take family photos that day! :P Generally, Central Park is like another world; an "oasis" in the middle of the concrete "desert" called New York. There are many ponds, small cafes and restaurants.

Before going to Metropolitan Museum, which is in Central Park, too, we made a stop at the fountain and the stairs that were seen on the last scene of the "One Fine Day" movie (1996), staring with Michelle Pfeiffer and George Clooney.

Next stop, as I mentioned above, was the Metropolitan Museum! It's huge! It's impossible to visit all the exhibitions in a day. Therefore, we decided to visit only the Modern Art Exhibition with masterpieces by Pablo Picasso or Salvador Dali or Roy Lichtenstein. We stayed for couple of hours, but we weren't able to stay longer after so much walking. So, we went to sit and get some rest, and then  we headed to Hard Rock Cafe for dinner.

At the entrance of the Hard Rock Cafe, there was an enormous electric guitar on the ceiling, meanwhile downstairs, where the restaurant was, the walls were covered by frames of people who have visited the Hard Rock Cafe, such as the Beatles, Kurt Cobain (Nirvana) and a picture of the founders.

And just like that, another day came to an end!

Friday, September 27th 2013

The last day of the tour in New York was spent between the Chinatown, the Brooklyn Bridge , the Little Italy and the stress of catching up the last train for Long Island.

We wandered on the streets of Chinatown between the open-air market, the souvenir shops, the restaurants (the lunch was delicious!), and then on the Brooklyn Bridge with the wonderful view of the city and the Manhattan Bridge. On the way back, we passed through the Little Italy with the authentic trattorias and the stores with leather accessories.

However, it was 3 pm and we had to get our things, go to the train station and catch up the last train in order to be on time at Long Island University. Our weekend-classes were about to begin !! :P





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