Bright Lights, Big City – New York

This week Natalie Schlager will be taking us to the magic city of New York. Natalie is an american girl from the state of Minnesota. She has always enjoyed travelling and last year, in the summer of 2014, to celebrate her graduation from high school, her parents took her to New York. It has always been a dream of hers to visit the city so she was beyond excited for finally having the chance of doing so. She now considers the big apple one of the best places she has ever been to and here she shares her unforgettable days discovering New York with us!

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New York City skyline

She chose the City Club Hotel to stay with her parents. It is in a great central location and only two blocks away from Times Square.

There were countless places to eat within walking distance, as well as things to do just as close. This cute little hotel was “once a stately private political club” (cityclubhotel.com), which I thought was so cool, as a history-lover! The building was small but not cramped, and the service was excellent, always willing to answer any questions, give directions (and shortcuts!), and take care of anything else we needed.

The best food they found while walking around New York was not at fancy restaurants. The best food was found in the street from the street vendors she thought.

One thing that I recall in particular was a small bag of nuts that were covered in sugar and cinnamon and broiled to a tasty crunch. We liked them so much that we went to the vendor the following day as we had to get more to snack on, as well as to take back home to share with some friends!

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Ice Cream food truck

The Red Flame Diner goes as a suggestion to have your breakfast. It is a more traditional place and a fun restaurant with Natalie promises you great food.

I will always remember eating here because this is where we first experienced the “New-Yorker” stereotype with one of the servers. A fun memory, for sure!

As things to see while in New York the city has a huge variety of places visit and sightseeing!

One thing that my family and I really enjoyed was visiting Ellis Island. We took a ferry there, which was a fun experience within itself! Having an interest in history, our visit to Ellis Island was absolutely fantastic. I definitely hope to visit again someday. Another fun place we visited was Madame Tussaud’s Wax Museum. It’s not everyday that you bump into someone, turn around to apologize, and realize it’s Johnny Depp… but just a wax figure version of him, unfortunately, ha!

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Musicals are a must go as while in New York as Broadway is world wide known for amazing amazing shows all year long. Natalie and her family had the opportunity to see not only but three musicals! They went to If/Then, Hedwig and the Angry Inch and Matilda. They did not only the show but they also had the exciting chance to meet Idina after the performance of If/Then at the stage door as well as Neil Patrick Harris at Hedwig stage door. As to her favourite she could not decide and she says she loved them all!

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We, of course, had to visit Central Park, as well. We took a lovely horse-drawn carriage ride through the park. It was the perfect way to spend a beautiful afternoon!

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Grand Central Station is also a very famous place to visit while at New York and one Natalie affirms it is definitely Grand and with a lot of beauty and character.

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A more emotional place they visited was Ground Zero. They ended up not going to the museum because there was too big of a line but they did get to visit the structures of water surrounded by the names of the victims.

This was a very interesting place. New York City is very loud and busy, but in this one place, it was so quiet it was eerie. This was a very interesting and sobering place to have visited. I do recommend that anyone visiting the city goes there.

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There are many good ways of getting around the city such as cabs galore or the the subway which they found fairly easy to navigate. If you choose a central hotel walking is also a good option.

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New York, USA – take a note

The famous city of New York in the United States of America is one of the world’s most desired and famous places to visit. Home to some of the most unforgettable Hollywood movies, the city of New York is the most populated city of the country and also one of the most populated cities of the entire world. Usually called city of New York to make the distinction from the state it belongs to which is New York. It is divided in 5 different boroughs – Manhattan, Queens, Brooklyn, Staten Island and the Bronx.

In Manhattan there are many skyscrapers which makes the place famous for its skyline as it has also been home to many of the tallest buildings in the world, including the twin towers.  Manhattan is also the administrative and financial center of the city.

Queens is the largest boroughs of the city by area and the place with the most ethnically diverse not only in the United but also the most ethnically diverse urban area in the world. Population wise the biggest borough is Brooklyn with 2,621,793 habitants.

Religion wise Christianity is the one with most followers with a percentage of 59%, being 33% of those Catholicism. It is followed by Judaism, with approximately 1.1 million Jews over half living in Brooklyn.

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“Always having wanted to visit the city, I was ecstatic to finally have the chance to spend a few days there! There was so much to do and see, and we unfortunately didn’t get to do all of it, but I guess that is a good reason to go back soon, right?”

Natalie Schlager

Country:United States of America

Capital: (united states capital) Washington D.C. ; (state of New York capital)

Largest City: (united states largest city) New York 8,491,079 habitants

Official language: American English

Currency: Dollar (£1 =1.54 USD)

Population: 8,491,079 habitants

Total area: 1,214 km2

President: Barack H. Obama (2009)

You decide where we are going next!

It’s your turn now to choose which place would you like to see featured next on A Map For Sunday! To do so simply thick below the one you prefer or add a new suggestion!

The voting will go on for 1 week, so make sure you give us your vote before then!

Happy travels!

The mystic New Orleans, Louisiana

Filipa Alexendra is a 21-year-old studying in England who went to do an year placement in the U.S.A. During her placement she had the chance to visit many places in the United States but New Orleans was the one she fancied the most.

Street bands play all around the city, they play mostly jazz and blues.
Street bands play all around the city, they play mostly jazz and blues.

In this vibrant city Filipa found her favourite place to eat – Acme Oyster House. New Orleans is all about seafood and oysters mostly, and Acme is the best one to eat these! It is a very small place and usually you will find a big queue to be seated, but it’s worth the waiting. Her suggestion to order are the seafood soup and charged grilled oysters.

View from Filipa's hotel (Marriott downtown) to the Mississippi river
View from Filipa’s hotel (Marriott downtown) to the Mississippi river.

Her fabulous view from the 35th floor of her hotel Mariott downtown room was what Filipa named as the best sightseeing as she could see the whole city from there! Filipa strongly advises Mariott New Orleans downtown hotel to stay at.

“Not the cheapest, but was not crazily expensive, really nice rooms and pool, huge breakfast buffet.”

Some must sees are the St . Louis Cathedral on Jackson square and Garden district.

St . Louis Cathedral
St . Louis Cathedral

Garden district is also very beautiful, with the old and sophisticated houses.

Garden District
Garden District

New Orleans is full of night life and Filipa specifically recommends – Bourbon street, a street full of bars with mostly live music, where you can also drink outside.

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Bourbon street, main street of bars and nightlife.

The city is fairly easy to visit by simple walking since the must sees are all close to each other. Since most streets do not allow cars, renting a bike is a suggestion Filipa makes.

French quarter streets (a neighbourhood full of French influences on buildings and food)
French quarter streets – a neighbourhood full of French influences on the buildings and the food.

All over the city can be found interesting little patios which sometimes are simple patios or other times are used for a specific propose. The one shown below for instance was being used as an art gallery.

Art gallery in a patio.
Art gallery in a patio.

“New Orleans is the witchcraft city, you can actually feel the energy in this city, and it’s very mysterious, with plenty of voodoo and witchcraft shops and people reading palms and cards on their little stands on the street.”

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Handmade art and craft market at night – there are buckets with chalk around the place so people can write on the floor.
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A poem written by a street man on a typing machine.

New Orleans, Lousiana, USA – take a note

New Orleans is an american city located in the state of Louisiana and it is the largest city of this state. It is considered to be one of the world’s most fascinating cities – here you will find a unique mixture of culture, food and music. It is also one of America’s most culturally and historically-rich destinations.

New Orleans has many major attractions. The famous French Quarter and Bourbon Street’s notorious night life are just two examples. There is also the St. Charles Avenue, home to many famous must sees such as the historic Pontchartrain Hotel and the 19th century mansions.

As listed in recent travel guides, New Orleans is one of the top ten most visited cities in the United States.

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“New Orleans is the witchcraft city, you can actually feel the energy in this city, and it’s very mysterious, with plenty of voodoo and witchcraft shops and people reading palms and cards on their little stands on the street .”

Filipa Alexandra

Country:United States of America

Capital: (united states capitol) Washington D.C. ; (state of Louisiana capitol) Baton Rouge

Largest City: (united states largest city) New York 8,491,079 habitants ; (Louisiana largest city) New Orleans, 343,829 habitants

Official language: American English

Currency: Dollar (£1 =1.54 USD)

Population: 378.715 habitants

Total area: 907 km²

President: Barack H. Obama (2009)

Discovering the natural beauty of Ålesund, Norway

This week post is about  a young couple’s trip to the natural beauty of Norway. For four days Vanessa and Alex, went on a Easter break to discover Ålesund in Norway, place that both agreed as being the most beautiful they have ever seen. They have chosen Alesund, knowing that it is a quiet fishermen town, as they were hoping to see some northern lights (even though April is too late) and the Fjords!So here are their suggestions!

Middle of Geiranger Fjord 2

We did not work on a plan in advance, and were not aware that during Easter time everything is closed in Norway… So, we arrived on Friday afternoon and we were surprised that even the tourism office was closed (the whole weekend). This made the beginning of our journey  a bit more difficult, as we did not have information about where to go and how to move around the area. We had to rely on the internet to plan our trip.

We checked at the hotel “Radisson Blue” and we were very happy with our choice. We had an amazing view from the window of our bedroom as you can see below.This was not very expensive and everything was nice and clean. Downstairs where the lounge was and the living space, everything was very charming and the big windows to the mountains and the sea view were stunning.

View from the hotel

Our aim was to go on a boat in the middle of the famous Norwegian Fjords! Yet, this was not possible during this weekend. We quickly realise that we had no way to move around as the bus were not working or very few, boats very conditioned and not going to all the usual locations available. We found ourselves stuck in the bedroom without options! However, we managed to rent the last car from AVIS, 5 min before the store closes and that was our lucky!

Ferry at Magerholm

We stayed there from 3rd of April and we left on the 6th of April, just a long weekend.

It is an amazing place if you want to be closer to nature, breath pure air and enjoy sceneries that you cannot see anywhere else.

The actual centre of the city is very beautiful and calm. When you walk close to the sea, you see the fisher’s man on their boats with all the catch of the day to sell. They are very friendly and approachable and talk about their lives a little bit.

First day

  • Checked in Radisson, sea view, really good location to walk in town centre;

Hotel Terrasse

  • Go for a walk in the town, Alesund beautiful and quiet, surrounded by water and majestic mountains.

Alesund town center

  • Shop a little bit, but they do not have too many products… and it is expensive

Alesund houses

Alesund street

  • First restaurant, “Egon Alesund”, large choice, Menu/speak any languages, best value, large portion, very good typical fish soup, nice quiet and wood decoration: Our favourite!

Egon restaurant

Fresh fish and chips

Second Day

  • Amazing breakfast at the hotel! They had everything!! Every day we had available some of the best fresh fish in town. Special attention for the amazing smoked salmon!
  • Quick walk through the town centre, Fishers’ boat arrival with fresh fish and sea food

Alesund port

  • 1pm we picked the car and started the road trip.
  • In the fjord area, the main transport is boat, so there are not too many bridges or tunnels. So when you are driving, you need to take Ferry boats to cross fjords. They are not too expensive and there is a lot to take during a day trip. This really adds something to the adventure! (Ferry boats operate from early in the morning until 11pm all year)

Ferry station at Linge

  • With the car during a one long afternoon we managed to go down the south, drive along the fjords, going up and down mountains and valleys, sometimes full of snow which was amazing. Landscapes varied from very white, bright, ice to a mix between blue, white, green when the road opens on the fjords.

Between Stranda and Hellesylt

End of Geiranger Fjord

  • Maybe the benefit of all tourist activities being close during Easter weekend is that we could enjoy any places alone, quiet. And be alone on the road.
  • Our aim was to do a loop around the Geiranger Fjord and pass by the bottom of it.
  • We drove on the tourist mountain road which was really challenging and once you passed the top of the mountain, the view opens on the end of Geiranger Fjord… Breathtaking….

Middle of Geiranger Fjord

  • Here is the map for the itinerary!

Map

  • We finished our trip and were back at night in Alesund(around 10pm)

View From Alesund

  • Last restaurant serving food –» Egon !! Fish soup and chips!

Third day

  • Going to the island that we can see from our hotel room, on the west of Alesund: Godoya.

From Godoya hike-Alnes village

  • Driving through Hovland, Valderoya until the bottom of Godoya. Passing on long and amazingly designed bridges or under water tunnel, which makes the trip really amusing.
  • Park the car and walk along the north coast of the island and until the top of the mountain Godoya to find snow and a lake!
  • Then going down in direction to Alnes!
  • Do not cross someone’s garden even though it looks all open and seems alright… Norwegian do not like at all (believe me, we have tried!)
  • Be careful closing the gates behind you to make sur the sheep do not escape.

Close the Gate

  • Alnes is a really quiet and nice remote place, houses have different colours…

Alnes village

  • Back to Alesund and expensive restaurant, Norwegian dish… Fish basically.

Fourth day

  • The Hotel can book a shuttle for you to go to the airport (same price as the bus from town centre)
  • The last morning, we decided to go to the top of Alesud to have an amazing panoramic view.
  • We rushed it a little bit to make it to the top and be back on time at the hotel for the shuttle, but it was worth it! The hike was not too hard (Norwegians do it running…)

Alesund from the top

 

 

I hope you like it! J

Vanessa & Alex

Ålesund, Norway – take a note

Ålesund is a town in Møre og Romsdal county, in Norway. It is part of the famous district of Sunnmøre, and the center of the Ålesund Region. It is a sea port and it is also the principal shipping town of the Sunnmøre district. It is also famous for its unique concentration of Art Nouveau architecture.

In the past 13 months the highest temperature was 30.0 °C on the 2nd of July 2015 and the lowest was  -4°C on Christmas day, the 25th of December 2014.

Alesund port
Alesund port

It is an amazing place if you want to be closer to nature, breath pure air and enjoy sceneries that you cannot see anywhere else.

The actual centre of the city is very beautiful and calm. When you walk close to the sea, you see the fisher’s man on their boats with all the catch of the day to sell. They are very friendly and approachable and talk about their lives a little bit.

Vanessa & Alex

Vanessa and Alex beautiful journey in Ålesund will be posted tomorrow so keep an eye for an amazing 4 day trip suggestion of what to do and see in Ålesund, Norway.

Country: Norway

Capital: Oslo

Largest City: Oslo, 915,000 habitants

Official languageNorwegian

Currency: Norwegian krone (£1 = 12.4 NOK)

Population: 45.033 habitants

Total area: 98,78 km²

Sovereign: King Harald V (1991)

Prime Minister: Erna Solberg (2013)

Along the Stuart Highway to Uluru, AU

Niklas Keller is a young German who is passionate about travelling the world. After finishing his high school, Niklas decided to take a GAP year to Australia where he volunteered and travelled for an year! During that year he had the chance to visit Uluru where we went on a exploring trip!

Uluru

This is about a car and camping trio in the Northern Territory, Australia’s least dense populated state or Territory. The NT has an area four times as large as Germany but only has about 180 000 inhabitants. 120 000 of these live in Darwin and it’s surrounds at the North Coast, where we started our trip.

Darwin NT’s capital is a very modern but also remote city and Australia’s smallest capital.

This article however focuses on the Stuart Highway. A street that cuts the continent in half connecting Darwin to Adelaide in South Australia.

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If you start from Darwin you have to take on about 1500 kilometres to get to Alice Springs, the famous desert town. If you continue south for a few hundred k’s you get to a turn off to the west, which takes you along another 400 kilometres directly to Uluru. So basically fi you start in Darwin you only need to do one turn to get to Uluru!

Driving through bushfires

Along this drive are a lot of beautiful, funny, creepy, weird and most of all fun things to see!

Remote funny places

I have selected just a few of them to show you.

out in the dessert

remote farms

First of all, don’t be surprised if you find yourself driving through a bush fire. In certain times of the year there a fires laid on purpose to burn old wood and other fuel laying around so that they don’t feed one of the bigger fires during the fire season.

Another thing you will most likely encounter are kangaroos, wallabies and other animals crossing the road, so always watch out and have two people sitting in front that always watch out, seriously that is important, you will see a lot of animals that did not make it and they have a certain size, they are a danger for you too!

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Kangaroo crossing the road

Wallaby

One of the most beautiful nights we had was the night at the devils marbles. A giant field of  big round rocks randomly laying around in the desert. Like most nights we camped at a national park public camp site. They usually don’t have more facilities than a toilet, but they are cheap and most times in the middle of nature, apart from wild camping, you can’t get closer to nature when staying out in the country.

Camping at night

One of the best things about the dessert are the stars, which you can see exceptionally clear and bright since there is no light pollution and almost no moisture in the air. Time your trip with a new moon and you are set for one of the best night skies you have ever seen!

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While on your drive take time to stop every now and then and just enjoy how far away you are from everything! The best way to do this is just to take one of the many dirt roads and see where it takes you, but always mind your cars abilities, it can get VERY rough! We tried to find an old gold mine, but we could not and found ourselves in the middle of nowhere.

Morning athmosphere

One of the best and most famous highlights other than Uluru is Kings Canyon, which is between Alice Springs and Uluru. There you can do a 3-hour walk, which takes you around the rim of a beautiful canyon. Watch out for little lizards and other things!

Random Gorge

Kings Canyon

When you finally make it to Uluru,  it is important that you take time just to appreciate how massive this one solid rock really is! Like an iceberg there is only about 1/8 of it visible from above the surface.

Sunset at Uluru

Around Uluru there are a lot of interesting places and things to do. Make sure that you do the Mala Walk, where a ranger tells you about it’s significance for nature and the local people. Also there is a cultural centre where you can learn a lot about local and regional indigenous culture! You can also do a walk around Uluru and always keep an eye open for cool little places and indigenous wall paintings!

exciting corners at uluru

devils marbles

Lizard

near Uluru

When around Uluru you have to watch the sunset and also to get up for sunrise! These are just magic and also Katja Tutja, a rock formation about 50 k’s north of Uluru, is definitely worth the drive at sunset.

Sunrise

The drive through the Northern Territory with the rewarding destination Uluru is a great adventure! It does take a lot of effort to get there in the first place and also the driving when you are there is a lot of work, but it’s an absolutely magnificent experience and you will see a lot of things you just can not see in Europe.

morning athmosphere

gumtree forrest at uluru

P.S.: When you are at Uluru: Pleeeeeease don’t climb it! I know it looks ridiculously tempting, but it’s actually quite dangerous and more important, one of the most offending things you can do to the indigenous people of the region.

By: Niklas Keller

Northern Territory, Australia – take a note

The Northern Territory  is a Federal territory of Australia. It is known to be the place where nature is strongly represented with landscapes that will make you fall in love just like some of the most recognisable natural icons in Australia that you will find there. The Northern Territory contains hundreds of rare species of flora, native wildlife and, the very famous, crocodiles.

Emu

@photocredit: Niklas Keller

There are 52 national parks and nature conservation reserves, while the outback offers vast wide-open spaces and pioneering journeys. Niklas Keller, a German traveller who took a GAP year in Australia, adventured himself in one of those journeys. In Uluru, Northern Territory he experienced an unforgettable experience between man and nature.

“The drive through the Northern Territory with the rewarding destination Uluru is a great adventure! It does take a lot of effort to get there in the first place and also the driving when you are there is a lot of work, but it’s an absolutely magnificent experience and you will see a lot of things you just can not see in Europe.”

Niklas Keller

Niklas incredible adventure with tips and suggestions will be out tomorrow so keep an eye!

Country: Australia

Capital: Camberra

Largest City: Sydney, 4.543 million

Official language: English

Currency: Australian dollar (£1 = 2.13 AUD )

Population: 13,35 million

Total area: 13,572 km2

Sovereign: Queen Elizabeth II (1952)

Prime Minister: Malcolm Turnbull

Tokyo, an unforgettable experience

Claudia Canovai is a young Italian girl who is passionate for travelling. She has visited many different continents and cities but the one place she wanted to talk about was Tokyo where she did a semester abroad of university. She studies literature in Rome, Italy but decided to adventure herself for some months and went study in Japan! During this adventure that she truly loved she also got the chance to do some tourism in Tokyo, a city who made her fall in love!

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While visiting Tokyo, what she enjoyed seeing the most and she truly recommends everyone to visit is Meguro River during sakura season, as well as Ueno park, in Taito. Sakura season is the period of cherry blossoms in Japan which is truly magical as the trees turn pink.

claudia tokyo

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When your belly starts asking for food the place she says is a must try is 35 steps bistro. It’s an izakaya in the heart of shibuya which is one of the most popular neighbourhoods of Tokyo.

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Roppongi and Shibuya are considered the most famous night out places. There are amazing clubs and bars open all night long. The streets are always incredibly full of people walking and dancing and having fun. You can meet anyone from Japanese to foreigners, from business man to crazy people dressed up as manga characters or baby dolls. The life of this two places gets crazy at night.

When asked about interesting and curious things she found she Tokyo she said right away “I could talk forever”. In Harajuku people go out dressed in the most different ways. Shibuya crossing is the most crowded crossing of the world!

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In Roppongi hills there is a huge statue of a spider which is kinda scary . Love hotels are a peculiarity of Japanese culture. lovers go there and pay only for the time they need. And the rooms are decorated with different themes such as under the sea, hello kitty, into the jungle etc.

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“Tokyo is a city that surprised and that I definitely want to go back to! Especially the surroundings have a lot of magical natural beauty that makes you fall in love with the Japanese culture. I look forward to go back someday!”

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