On the hunt for the perfect day/backpack!

 

Yesterday I shared with you a post about my new backpack for my upcoming trip. Today I wanted to cover my daypack choice. I have laboured over this like it is my job. I currently have a very trusty and loved Blackwolf 25L Tempo pack which goes with me everywhere. I also have a gorgeous Manfrotto Windsor camera/laptop bag which I love.

Now is also a great time to make it clear that I love bags. Not handbags, but bags, backpacks, travel bags, camera bags. Bags. Totally nuts for them. My Husband would light up like a Christmas tree if I told him he could give most of them away (he cannot, by the way).

However, I need another in-between daypack. Something which is easy to grab and go and is weather-resistant and secure, without needing to pull out the backpack-raincoat.

A new company, Livingstone Brand based in Calgary, Alberta (think Bannf, Lake Louise and Watertons) have recently confirmed that their new bags will soon become available on the market and have offered several bloggers the opportunity to purchase one with a discount to share our findings of the bag and its ability. I have been in contact with Livingstone Brand and have found out that they have a dedicated focus on ‘giving back’ to the National Parks across the globe. With the launch of their back pack they have in turn  launched the Packs for Parks Campaign.

Through this campaign a portion of all sales of each and every backpack, will be dedicated to your favourite National Park. I had to know more about this and honestly, I am blown away by such a unique and dedicated idea.

So in addition to my heart exploding with all of the good-feels (who doesn’t love National Parks?!), it was important to know that the bag was in-fact functional.

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The Livingstone Alberta Pack (25L) is the perfect daypack sixe. It comes in at less than half a pound and only 7 inches long – for those of us playing along in Australia it weighs less than 300grams and under 18cm long when reduced.

It is durable, made with both tear/water-resistant nylon, YKK zippers and is for all weather conditions. The zipper lining is also water resistant. It comes with breathable mesh straps, to relieve any shoulder/back stress and stays at a comfortable temperature.

Aside from this, this amazing daypack comes with a lifetime warranty against all manufacture defects.

I hope to get this bag by mid-late August 2018 and will trial it hopefully before we head off on our next adventure and if possible, will take it along with us as we head off on our five week adventure!

I’ve ordered the above bag and am beyond excited to get a hold of it and test it out, watch this space!

Is there a day pack you swear-by? Does it give you the warm and fuzzy feeling to purchase items that have a cause behind them?

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

 

Dear Captain Planet Generation…we are failing

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Captain Planet….if you grew up in the 90’s you would remember him and the Planeteers (Kwame, Wheeler, Linka, Gi & Ma-Ti anybody?). These guys were the reason six year old me understood environmental disasters & devastating destruction long before I ever learnt it in school! We were the generation they were after, they were talking to us – we were going to be the ones to turn it all around.

Except…Did you know that since 1993, we have lost an area of ‘unspoilt’ places twice the size of Alaska? Or that humans have destroyed a tenth of Earth’s remaining wilderness in the last 25 years?

With ecosystems being lost there is no ability to reverse the damage and although there is still approximately 30m sq. km of wilderness across the globe, that only equates to 23% of the world’s land mass. In saying that a large portion of this is Australia’s deserts and western woodlands.

For those of us in Australia, our environmental movement really hit its peak in the eighties and the Australian Labor Party began capitalising on national conservation and soil conservation.

We are incredibly fortunate in that Australia has over 6000 Landcare and Coastcare groups nationwide. We are respectful of climate change, sustainability, animal protection and of course environmental care as a whole.

As we continue to experience the effects of the damage we have caused to our beautiful planet, a sustainable economy is more important than ever. We need to live within our means and try to use natural assets rather than depleting them and work to bring pollution to a level that our environment can actually handle, rather than damage it beyond repair.

Sadly, Australia is surprisingly one of the lease sustainable countries in the world. The AEGN confirmed that we as a nation have an ecological footprint which is 2.8 times the work average & our carbon emissions are four times the world average.

So how do we, as Generation Y try to give back to the environment which is home? How do we respect and care for all of the beautiful places which has given us land, rain, clean water, incredible ecosystems, animals, fresh air and healthy oceans (AEGN, 2018)?

Our oceans have the highest marine biodiversity in the world and our native plants and animals are found only here, in Australia. Along without carbon footprint and carbon emissions we have the highest rate of animal extinction and our extreme and dangerous weather events are increasing each year. Whilst there is natural attrition, we humans are responsible for almost all of the damage.

The AEGN is working hard to provide marine sanctuaries, to stop large-scale land clearing, to set up wind and solar farms and provide education around climate change, to protect biodiversity and restore land and to advocate for the proper use and protection of our fresh water supplies. We rely on grants and groups to get this done. So how can you help? Well, have a look at the following tips which I either follow or will begin following and see how you go. I would also love to hear what you do, let’s be the generation Captain Planet thought we would be and step up to the challenge of protecting Earth for the next generation.

  • Walk & bike to local destinations, rather than taking your car
  • Use a refillable water bottle and avoid buying/using plastic water bottles. Did you know that there are 370 million bottles going to waste every year & that these will take over 400 years to break down (ProAcqua, 2014). Australia’s use of bottled water generates 60,000 tonnes of greenhouse gas emissions every year!
  • Dry your clothes using a clothes-horse or clothesline instead of using your dryer (these bad boys are one of the biggest energy-sucking appliances in your home).
  • Use a keep-cup for your coffee (it is estimated that Australians use 1 billion disposable coffee cups each year. That’s 2.7 million paper cups thrown out every day! (University of Melbourne, 2018).
  • Use reusable bags when you do your groceries (Greenpeace found that Australians use over 9.7 billion single-use plastic bags annually) (Greenpeace, 2017).
  • Use cold water for your washing machine
  • Unplug your electronics at night to stop them using electricity
  • Use digital documents and avoid print-outs
  • RECYCLE, recycle, recycle (the average Australian produces 1.5 tonnes of waste per year and much of this is avoidable!) (Greenpeace, 2014).
  • Buy products with the Energy Rating which is high, this is a mandatory scheme for most appliances and the higher the star-rating the better the appliance (Australian Government, 2013).
  • Adopt a water conservation strategy (fix your taps, use a water-saving shower head, keep your tap water in a bottle in the fridge, use your washing machine when you have a full load and on cold, install a water tank, don’t overwater your lawn etc.,) (Nature Australia, 2018).

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see! Please note, I have not been paid any sponsorships at all for this post. I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

To follow OURSEQld on Instagram click here – Our SE Qld

To follow me on Facebook – you can do so here – Courtney Gaye Travels FB

If you are a Pinterest fan – you can find me here – Courtney Gaye Pinterest

x C x

A Celebration of Women – International Women’s Day

 

Today is International Women’s Day (IWD), and it is celebrated on 8 March every year commemorating the movement for women’s rights. First observed on 28 February in New York the year 1909, it was confirmed at the 1910 International Women’s Conference that 8 March would become an ‘International Women’s Day’.

Each year there is a different UN theme, this year it is The Time is Now: Rural and urban activists transforming women’s lives. IWD is an official holiday in several parts of the world, including Afghanistan, Armenia, Cambodia, China, Russia and Turkmenistan. Countries such as Croatia, Romania, Bosnia and Chile celebrate the day, although it is not a public holiday.

team-motivation-teamwork-together-53958.jpegThis years campaign is heavily focussed on #PressforProgress – on global activism for equality for women – heavily fuelled by movements such as #MeToo and #TimesUp (amongst others). The world is aiming for gender parity and shockingly, the World Economic Forum’s 2017 Global Gender Gap Report findings suggest that gender parity is over 200 years away!

#PressforProgress is a call for us all to motivate and unite each other, our friends and colleagues, our communities to act, think and be gender inclusive For more – read here.

There is no denying that the last year has been tumultuous in terms of the struggle for women’s rights. You only need to observe the inauguration of Donald Trump, the fallout of the Harvey Weinstein scandal, the rise of #MeToo & #TimesUp campaigns to understand the significance of this years IWD.

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A little snapshot of the IWD which I have found really interesting is below:

  • In 1010, Clara Zetkin became the first person to table to idea of an International Women’s Day
  • Later in 1910, 100 women from 17 different countries gathered to formally establish IWD and in 1011 when this occurred, more than a million people rallied in Austria, Denmark, Germany and Switzerland for women’s voting rights
  • It was officially declared by the UN in 1975.

So why do we need to keep celebrating it now? Surely women’s rights have improved? Could this really be as prevalent as it was 108 years ago? The answer is yes. We continuously need to mark this event because although huge progress has been made, much more needs to be done.

pexels-photo-567633.jpegThe income of female workers worldwide is predicted to continue lagging behind males for another 70 years and it has also been suggested that the gender pay gap will not fully close until 2186.

One in three girls in the developing world is married off before her 18th birthday and more than 140 million girls and women alive today have undergone some form of female genital mutilation. Two thirds of the 774 million illiterate people in the world are female and only 7.8% countries in the world have a female head of government.

For me, being a feminist means respect and an aim for equality – at the core of it it is the struggle to end oppression. I am fortunate enough to live where I do, be in an equal and loving relationship and hold both a Degree and a well-paying job. In 10 countries, women are legally bound to obey their husbands and only 76 countries have legislation that directly targets domestic violence; with just 57 of them including sexual abuse.

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This year I have donated to the UN Women National Commission of Australia – Link is here.

  • $48 you can help provide food for a woman living in a shelter for a month.
  • $98 can deliver a young woman’s leadership program.
  • $156 can ensure women have access to legal services.
  • $456 can provide financial and literacy and business training for three women to create sustainable enterprises.
  • $873 can support a safe hour to protect women from domestic violence.

IMG_8750This International Women’s Day, let’s continue to empower each other and work together to ensure women are safe from violence and have choice and opportunity.

Happy International Women’s Day!What do you wish you could change for women in today’s world? I would like to see everyone in this world have access to mental health care.

Some of the beautiful ladies in my life, at my Hen’s Night ❤❤❤.

Thank you so much for reading, I hope you enjoyed this post. If you did, please ‘like’ or share the post so I can see!

Please note, I am not paid any sponsorships at all, I only ever talk about my own personal experiences and adventures, places and locations which I love and think you will too!

To follow me on Instagram click here – courtneygaye_travels

x C x

A love for travel <3

One of the most amazing things to occur after you have been planning and saving for a trip after many months/years is when you arrive at your destination. You are no longer glued to that photo somebody else took and which you downloaded or screen-shotted many moons ago. You are there. Finally.

And you know what? Nothing is more beautiful than that moment. I say this a lot, but honestly the most breathtaking moment I have ever had whilst travelling was when I was in South America and I saw Machu Picchu. Anyone who knows me, will vouch for the fact that I am rarely without words, but Peru…Peru silenced me. I had planned the trip for almost two years with my girlfriend Jemma and to finally be there was just amazing.

The first time I knew I wanted to explore the world, I was not quite six years old. I had the most vivid dream. I was exploring waterfalls and caves with my Dad, I think we were in Africa or Asia (or whatever combination my brain had concocted at such a young age). When I was telling Dad about our adventure and he told me I had just been dreaming, I actually thought he was having me on. How could I have dreamt something so detailed? Also, how was I going to deal with the disappointment that I had not been there?

I became obsessed. I WAS going to travel the world. One day. When I was six we went on our first overseas family holiday, to Bali. I have really lovely memories of this trip. Catching the plane with my family, coming across people who neither spoke English or Anindilyakwa, as was spoken on Groote Eylandt where we lived. It was one of the most exciting weeks of my little life – so many beautiful things to see and smell and taste, people to meet. Amazing!

I came home with braids in my heart, a hundred new stories to tell the kids at school and a burning desire to travel. Being a mining brat, I had the ability to see a fair bit of the top end and east coast of Australia, because we typically moved every two years for Dad’s job. I used to pour over and harbour any travel articles I could get a hold of and I wished for a subscription to the National Geographic magazine for years and years.

Then puberty happened. High school. Jobs. Wagging School to go to the beach. Parties. The usual. Sure enough, by the time I was 17 I had planned my next big adventure, I was going to live in London and work in a pub, like nearly every third or fourth Aussie at the time. I went to uni instead.

Then I dreamed of teaching English in Japan, which then changed to working in a ski field in Canada, then back to possibly landing a job in the UK. Then I changed jobs, changed degrees and decided to travel on leave instead.

I must have planned three or four big trips which never came to fruition. I always had friends with the best of intentions, but when it came down to the crunch, they just were not willing to part with ever spare dollar to save it for a holiday. My friends didn’t want to wear the same clothes all year, miss out on parties and dye their own hair. Which was completely fine, my dreams didn’t need to be my friends dreams!

Eventually at 23 I decided to bite the bullet and just go away on my own. I had my sights set on South America. My Mum gave me a firm and resounding “NO” to her 23 year old daughter running off overseas on her own. So instead, at the pleading of Mum/Friends/Employer, I booked myself onto an arranged Contiki tour instead.

This would turn out to be one of the best decisions I ever made, I met some amazing people, experienced the high of travel I had been seeking and knew that every sacrifice I had made in the past was worth it :).

I am pretty sure I would have had Dad over my shoulder (who had since passed), carrying me along my journey – remembering the five year old who animatedly “remembered” an international adventure all those years ago xx

When did you know you had fallen in love with travel?

x C x

Our 2018 European Adventure

Hello everyone!

First of all, a massive thank you to you all for your continued support and interest in my page. This page was started many years ago, as a form of a travel diary. A place to share my past adventures and connect with other like-minded bloggers.

In October of last year, I decided to start a separate instagram page Courtney Gaye Travels. This was my little space to share photographs and moments from my past travels. I am really pleased with the way it has gone. I have connected with some amazing people, found some incredible accounts and have had the amazing opportunity to find this incredible community of people with whom I have been able to seek inspiration from.

IMG_9206At the moment my page mostly shares older posts and photographs, however I am hoping this will continue to develop and to grow. I love sharing and connecting with others.

I am a proud Brisbane girl, I have lived here for over half my life and I cannot see myself living anywhere else. I was married on my beloved Brisbane River in 2016, work in the Brisbane CBD and try to spend as much time as possible exploring all that this beautiful city has to offer.

My Husband and I met when we were both away for a weekend, we took our first overseas trip together in 2014 and became engaged in New York City. We spent the first six months of our relationship findings pictures of places we wanted to explore and sending them to each other, slowly but surely building our bucket list.

This year we will be ticking off quite a few of these bucket list destinations, during our European adventure. I have decided that I would really like to share these adventures with everyone.

I hope to hear from you on this platform, or through instagram and even via email. I have a facebook page as well, if that is more to your liking. Either way, I am here to connect with people and I am so excited to see your journeys and learn from each and every one of you.

Thank you for your follow, see you out there :).

Courtney Gaye

x

San Francisco – the end of our West to East Coast holiday <3

Newly engaged and with frozen ears, noses and toes it was time to say goodbye to beautiful New York City and head back to San Francisco. We had a further two nights booked back in the Golden City, before we were to start our long journey back to Brisbane.

With only two nights left and after a day of travel flying from NYC to SanFran, we made our way to our hotel in the longest possible way. Accidentally I had misread the map on my phone. We had caught a public bus towards our accomodation but got off the bus far too early. I then thought it was only a few minutes to our hotel, walking. We took the opportunity to stretch our legs after the flight…but we forgot about the hills (how could anyone forget about SanFran’s beautiful hills?!). Poor G ended up pushing our suitcases up over hills until we found our hotel. Anyway…

Rather than stay downtown, we decided to stay in the Mirena District and booked the relatively inexpensive Marina Inn. With only 7 minutes to walk to Fisherman’s Wharf, free Wi-Fi, free continental breakfast and cute rooms, at $250 for two nights, it was the perfect space. It is listed as only 2/3-stars, so I am convinced the hotel ratings in USA are less generous than here in Australia, because the hotel was clean, comfortable and nice!

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Like with all holidays, by the time you get to the last few days you are exhausted and going home is bittersweet. We managed to find some delicious sandwiches, snacks and a few drinks and had them back in our hotel room and I somehow roped G into watching KUWTK with me.

The most noticeable thing was the temperature difference! I was laughing at the fact that only one week before, I had been head to toe in winter woolies and then after NYC, we were in singlets and thongs (flip-flops, not knickers).

On our last full day in SanFran, we decided to head back to Fisherman’s Wharf. We wanted to go back to Ghirardelli and buy some chocolates for our parents (yum!). We also decided to hunt down Lombard St and it was so worth the beautiful walk. The weather was gorgeous! We even finished our day with Clam Chowder at and also had a wander through Boudin’s Bakery. Boudin’s Bakery is a must-see, and their delicious traditional New-England style clam chowder served in a sourdough bowl – yum! DSC03191We made it back down to Pier 39, had ice-cream, bought a tonne of lollies to take home and bought gifts for our loved ones. Our last day was very relaxing, we were soaking up the newly-engaged bliss and walking around San-Fran’s beautiful streets and enjoying the weather.

Soon enough, our journey was over. It was time to head home. We had shared such an amazing holiday. We had planned this trip with one another for around a year, had worked really hard, saving every dollar we had for our experience. It was so worth it, and then some. SanFran & NYC will always be two of my favourite American cities and was so magical being able to experience it with the love of my life and to come home even more committed to one another!

It was time to go home and start saving for the next adventure, and to start Wedding planning!

Thank you for reading!

x C x

 

MEET ME IN NEW YORK <3 (NYC, PART 3)

 

With only five days in New York, over the New Years period during winter, it is not possible to see as much as you would like. However, our last couple of days in New York, were…magical! This post is a little bit longer, but I promise it’s worth a read til the end 🙂 <3.

We made sure to check out the Rockefeller Centre, to visit the large Christmas tree and also watch tourists on the beautiful ice rink at Rockefeller Centre. This gorgeous ice rink, formally known as a ‘skating pond’ came to creation in 1936 and can take up to 150 people at a time. We were happy just watching the skaters and enjoying our Starbucks creations and looking at the tree!

Speaking of Starbucks, now I know it’s commercial, however you have to forgive me. I am an Australian, Starbucks has always seemed like this iconic American thing – also there seems to be one on every block?! I was a big fan of the Pumpkin Spice (G HATED it) and the Peppermint Mocha and G liked the Gingerbread Latte.

After the tree and our caffeine injection, we decided to make our way down to catch the subway from Rockefeller Centre down to Brooklyn Bridge, we didn’t have enough time to walk across the entire bridge, but did walk about a third of the way out! What a view! So beautiful and so many people, thankfully we are quite tall so were always able to get photos without too many people in the background (where we could). I also twisted (kidding!) G’s arm into eating a cheesy, delicious street vendor while we were there.

After Brooklyn Bridge, we explored the Trinity Church, which is amazing – did you know the oldest grave there dates back to 1681 (a child, Richard Churcher whose gravestone is the oldest carved gravestone in New York City)? Also, it was the tallest structure in the United States until 1869, can you believe that?! As a comparison, our country first had colonies established in 1788. Trinity Church has these beautiful big bronze doors dating back to 1893. I recommend having a walk around the graveyard, see the dates on them and the craftsmanship on this hand-carved headstones.

We had a quick look around Wall Street, tried to get a decent photo with the Bull (fail), saw another Christmas tree (win!) and made our way back uptown to Times Square. We did stop at a coffee shop which had an amazing selection of goodies. I had a delicious red velvet cupcake (my favourite) and G had a cannoli.

We had bought tickets to Lion King on Broadway and it was honestly the best $300 we could have spent. We were seated up in the Mezzanine of the Minskoff Theatre. The show is unforgettable, visually stunning and I could feel the beat of the drums up from my heels, through to my chest. Such beautiful performances and powerful voices! The set design, costume design, orchestrations and music director are to be applauded.

On our second last day in NYC, we decided to try out the Staten Island Ferry, so we could see the lady in the water herself. It was very cold and very windy and fortunately as we came out of the subway and made our way to the ferry terminal – it SNOWED!!!!  Visibility was poor but the ferry ride was fun and we were just able to make our the Statue of Liberty. Who cares, we had been snowed on! (mass excitement ensued).

One of my girlfriends from high school, had been living in Connecticut when we went on our trip and she drove in to take us to Dinosaur Bar-B-Que in Brooklyn. Oh my goodness- American’s know how to BBQ, well done you guys! I think G had an out of body experience with the food. It was amazing! My friend also spoiled us with a bag filled with American treats, who knew chocolate covered potato chips existed?!

Although we were sad our amazing time in NYC was coming to an end, our very last day in New York, was very special indeed!

G and I had planned to go to Serendipity 3 on 225 E 60th Street – we had both heard all about the frozen hot chocolates at this old-school and movie famous dessert destination. Serendipity looks like the inside of something out of Enid Blyton’s Magic Faraway Tree lands – colourful, sparkly, and jam-packed with pretty artefacts and the smell of delicious food. We actually made our way there relatively early, as we had heard about the lines. we both ordered burgers and fries and we both ordered frozen hot chocolates – I had wanted to split mine with G – he had told me to bugger off :).

This amazing drink/meal/chocolate dream has been a favourite for over 50 years. It has 3 ounces of chocolate (milk or dark), hot chocolate mix, sugar, milk, and ice, whipped cream and chocolate shavings. Delicious! Far too much food for one morning, but delicious. In our sugar high, we wandered back towards Central Park for a wander, to try and walk off the sugar!

G wanted to go back to the little hut we had been in a couple of days before hand, overlooking the lake and Bow Bridge. As it was our last day and there was still so much to see, I was a little frustrated about going somewhere we had already seen. Still, G was persistent. So we went back to the little shack and sat down and after looking across at Bow Bridge and turning back around, I found my wonderful boyfriend, on one knee and a gorgeous diamond ring in hand! How he managed to keep this a secret for our entire trip is beyond me!

The proposal was only slightly interrupted by the Russian woman near us screaming abuse into her mobile phone, which I happen to think added to the experience :).

We went and ordered a celebratory margherita pizza and a bottle of champagne from John’s of Times Square, a cute little 1929 village pizzeria in midtown at 260 W 44th Street.

It was overwhelmingly romantic, super cute, very us and a really nice moment between the two of us. Proposed to in Central Park, on our amazing holiday – what more could a girl want?

New York, you are beautiful and I am so blessed to have had so many amazing experiences with you there by my side!

Thanks for reading!

x

Meet me in New York <3 (NYC, Part 2)

Our first day in New York started with an express trip to the Empire State Building – absolutely freezing, but the view was incredible. They were banning selfie sticks (imagine the velocity they call fall from the top down onto some unsuspecting pedestrian?!) and I awkwardly took one out of G’s backpack (which he didn’t know I had packed – cue a lecture on what I am, and am NOT to pack in HIS bag 😉 ). I think the tickets start from around $49 per adult – we would have been up the top before 9am and there was already a pretty big line!We could only be out on the platform for maybe a maximum 2 minutes, I thought my ears were going to freeze right off! I am always completely amazed at how quickly those elevators get to the top.

A dream of mine since I was as young as I can remember, was to see the Radio City Rockette’s, in particular the Christmas Spectacular – I think I had first seen it on tv when I was around 8 or 9 years old. The show itself has been running since around 1933 and has developed many times over the years. It is a NYC Christmas tradition, but I didn’t want to miss out on the show just because Christmas had passed, so we saw one of the last shows. Tickets start from around $60 and it is so worth it – you will not see form like this anywhere else, the Rockette’s were not so much as a nano-second out of time with one another!

Each year, over five million people visit St Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City, with more than one million prayer candles lit each year. The doors of this absolutely breathtaking cathedral opened in 1879 and breathtaking is truly, the most apt description for it. G is Catholic, I am Anglican and I never went through communion, so whenever I have gone into a church, I have just walked straight in. G on the other hand has a little more class (and training thanks to Catholic Schooling and Faith) so he knows to bless himself, it was new to me and I apologised to him. Is it technically blasphemy to stroll on into a church taking photos if you don’t know the rules?!

The Grand Central Terminal had managed to evade me on my previous few trips to NYC (that seems ridiculous I know that I could not find it) – this time however, G managed to hunt it down and we were absolutely blown away. We even caught a train from the lower concourse. It is at 42nd Street and Park Avenue and is one of the world’s most visited tourist attractions with close to 22 million visitors alone in 2013. Grand Central has 44 platforms, however the number of tracks along the platforms is over 100, not all still in use. Built in 1903, this AMAZING landmark designed in the Beaux-Arts style is a must-see when you are in New York! It is beautiful and absolutely easy to get swept up in the romance of it all!

Being late December/early January the hours of daylight were very short, so we really did not have too much time out and about before it was dark in the afternoons/evenings pretty quickly and freezing!

We woke up on one of our mornings and decided it was the perfect day to go on an adventure to the American Museum of Natural History, so woke up and went and found a coffee shop, ate our eggs and toast and black coffee (my poor boyfriend aka ‘now Husband’) was really struggling with black coffee – saturating each steaming hot mug with creamer and sugar any chance he got it. I am convinced he does not actually like the taste of coffee itself.

Two tickets to the Museum would typically cost around $50USD for the both of us, luckily we had purchased the New York Pass and the museum was included in on this. We caught the subway to 81st Street as this has a direct subway entrance to the museum – which is a saving grace when the temperature is sitting around -7 °C – 1 °C! We spent a few hours at the Museum, let’s be honest – how can anyone spend less than an hour in the dinosaur hall? When you are up close and personal with the T-Rex – it is breathtaking! I can only think of one dinosaur found in Australia (only because the name is amazing) – the Muttaburrasaurus – and it hardly invokes fear like the T-Rex does!

The AMNH was founded in 1869 and is renowned for its exhibitions and scientific collections (Night at the Museum, anyone?). There are so many different wonderful exhibitions with the birds and reptiles, amphibians, earth and planetary sciences, fossil, human origins and cultural and mammal halls all permanent fixtures.

Thanks for reading – to be continued!

x

New York, New York <3 (Part 1)

NYC

Oh New York – you will always have a piece of my heart. With a population of over 8.5 million people alone, the 5 boroughs of New York City is the most populous city in the United States. Fun fact – Brisbane has 2.3 million people and we account for 19% of our entire countries population. So, that’s a fun little comparison for you!

We made our way to New York after our San Fran stay – getting there 30 December 2014, enough time to settle-in for our New Years Eve. Our journey from the West Coast to the East Coast ate up most of the day, the time difference is a killer, especially in winter since the hours of daylight are decreased.

We landed in the evening and had booked a shuttle service to our hotel (great on price but really, if yours is the last hotel on the trip can take you an hour and a half to get to your destination). Once we got to our hotel and checked in, we went for a very quick walk outside just to see where we were staying and its location to Times Square and it was -5 (23 Fahrenheit) degrees. We are from Queensland. We had come from 35+ (95 Fahrenheit) degrees back home!

central parkMy boyfriend (now Husband) realised our holiday had taken a different turn when I refused to every take off my thermals and gloves, at one point my feet were so cold and sore from my fashionable (but not comfortable) boots, so on one of our days he leant me his sneakers for the day just so we could get around.

Our hotel booked for the week was Row NYC which is on 8th avenue, I think we stayed in a superior room – we could oversee West 45th street and the Lion King sign from our room. The bed was comfy, the bathroom a good size and you couldn’t beat the location. Considering the time of year we were there, I think we had a really good price for 7 nights – it was around $2,000 if I remember correctly – we did book out well in advance though. Our first day in NYC, we did an express whip-around the city, trying to see as much as we could given it was the day before New Years Eve. We made it up the Empire State Building, absolutely nearly lost my face it was so cold! Such a fantastic view though, you really cannot go past it.

rockefellerOn our second day it was New Years Eve, we headed off bright and early and made our way to the Rockefeller Centre (my favourite building in NYC), to see the gorgeous Christmas tree and the view from the top. If you only had time to visit either Empire State or Rockefeller, I think I would choose Rockefeller every time. I think the view is better and you can see the Empire State building – if you can do both though, definitely do!

We also did a quick visit to Central Park and walked the avenue (so pretty), saw Strawberry Fields and also sat in a little cute shack along West Drive, across from Bow Bridge in the park – the lake had frozen over in parts and it was so pretty. I had been to NYC twice before, once in Spring and once in Autumn, seeing it in winter was completely different and offered its own kind of beauty.

We had booked our New Years Eve with the Beer Authority in Times Square – we had a pretty good 5 hour package with food and drink and close enough to the action that we would not feel as though we had missed out. The five hour admission was open-bar and the food was excellent. The music was brilliant as were the decorations and the midnight toast and watching a live feed of the ball-drop was half the excitement! The only difficulty we had was actually getting to that side of Times Square, we had been in the city and started heading back to our hotel room around lunchtime and the crowds in Times Square already were INSANE! When we were ready to head to our party venue, my Husband had to grab onto both my hands and drag me through the crowds.

alice in the parkAt the end of the night and after countless champagne’s, navigating back through the crowds of a million people and the left-overs of the 1 tonne of confetti which was thrown out at midnight – it was hilarious. There were so many people, neither of us have ever seen that many people in one location. It must have taken us over an hour to get from the reception area of our hotel back up to our room. It was worth every $, every sub-0 temperature and every trodden-on toe. What a fantastic night, crossed off the bucket-list. New Years Eve in New York City.

The next day we had planned on exploring the upper-east side of New York but thanks to our champagne hangovers, we slept in well past lunchtime and then we only had a couple of hours of sunlight to get around. So we chose wisely and went to the Metropolitan Museum of Art (just for the stairs from Gossip Girl – so I could get a photo for my best friend 🙂 ). We then ducked back through Central Park, visited Alice in the Park and then made our way back to the hotel.

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