We know we need to leave America, both for financial reasons and the fact we’ve been here long enough. Due to only minor changes between the UK and Europe over the months, I was running out of imaginative ideas.
Leading up to three days between Thursday the 20th, I thought I had an ace up my sleeve in the form of Portugal. This was a perfect plan as it would allow a 10 day stay there to then come back to the UK without needing to self-isolate and follow those infuriating rules and believe me, they are infuriating. Sampling policies in 7 countries make that an informed opinion.
There are five boroughs within New York City and you’ll have heard of most, if not all. Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, The Bronx and Staten Island.
The main tourist area is, of course, Manhattan but we wanted to at least venture out to another borough so we rolled a dice, not literally, and went to Brooklyn. We’re glad we did as that one day ended up being our most picturesque single day, probably in all of our time in the US.
10 days into our New York experience and we can understand why people claim it’s their ‘favourite city in the World’. In fact, at least four people reached out to me on my social media feed to wish us a good time and to specifically point out the aforementioned.
Despite how many people I know that have been here, not one has ever explained to me the origin of New York’s name. Specifically, that New York was named by the British to honor the Duke of York, the brother of England's King Charles II.
It was a pleasant five-hour bus journey from DC to NYC and we were dropped off right in the centre - or “midtown” as I now know it to be. I’m talking right next to Madison Square garden so we picked accommodation close by at reasonable rates.
We stayed in midtown Manhattan for the next couple of days and Vivian manages to get us a room with a view of the Empire State building for a good price. The rate doubles on the weekend - that’s how the American hospitality system works. It sucks, believe me.
We find ourselves in some disbelief that we’re in ‘DC’. You know, the city that holds the official residence of the President, the US Capitol building that was stormed by crazy Trump followers just months ago, the Lincoln memorial, plenty of well-known US government agencies, and of course, endless movie footage over the years. And as a bonus, we discovered Arlington County.
Like Philadelphia, we’ve enjoyed 3 nights and 2 full days here so let’s take a closer look at Washington starting with some trivia.
So we’re excited to be here but goodness me it’s cold. Just a two-hour flight north of Orlando and the temperature has plummeted to near-freezing temperature. Now I appreciate that I might get a few scoffs when I describe near-freezing as 14 degrees but you have to remember we’ve averaged 30 degrees for the last 5 months so this temp drop really did hit us. In fact, we soon after resorted to jogging bottoms and a fleece! That felt weird.
You guys aren’t gonna believe how significant Philadelphia is in American history and not in a dull way. More on that later, first a quick tale of human kindness at its purest.
So it happened, folks, a surprise trip for her to the Universal Resort for our final day in Florida. Booking last minute, as per the nature of our trip, cost more than it would just several days later so that really sucked. I thought we would end up at Universal Studios but instead, we ended up at the park next to it known as Universal’s Islands of Adventure, essentially a large theme park. Admittedly the separation (or expansion as they would put it) started over 20 years ago so my rant is a little belated. That’s when Universal Studios Florida became the Universal Orlando Resort and when the cash rocketed further, I’d imagine.
Orlando is an excellent base to venture out and visit places, however, I’ve had to concede that we won’t be seeing the extended places we had wished to and for once, the cost was secondary. You see, some months back I lost my driver's license ID card. This hasn’t proved to be a problem, until now. Despite having a passport and a colour photocopy of my driver’s license, this isn’t sufficient to get us a rental car. So with profound sadness, we’ve had to write off the Kennedy Space Centre, Tampa, Daytona Beach (and Speedway), St Augustine, Savannah, and other non-touristy cities on route. Then there’s the freedom and convenience a car would bring for just 3 or 4 days but alas, it wasn’t meant to be.
We’ve landed in tourist Florida and Miami of all places! If we were better prepared and researched like we normally are, we likely would have not come here. I say that as if there’s an abundance of choices for countries to visit. There really isn’t. I had a friend guess that we were off to Venezuela as it's a neighbouring country to Colombia, blissfully unaware that international flights have been blocked there for some time.