Friday, 28 April 2017

My Top 5 Places in America

Over the past couple of years i've had some great opportunities to travel both America and Europe. Sometimes i've been solo, other times with friends and sometimes with people i've met on the road.
I've never not liked a place i've visited but of course I have my favourites so here they are 5 for America and 5 for Europe. I have tried to rank them in order but it's so difficult to do with these amazing places so the lists are fairly fluid with which is on top

  1. Yosemite
This is the most incredible place and so different from the other national parks I have visited. There is just so much to see you could be there for a year and still not manage it all. Yosemite is on my list for a few reasons first is the spectacular views as you can see in the photos below. 

I hiked the Mist trail all the way. This trail is made up of 2 parts the hike the Vernal falls where you can turn back or you can cary on to Nevada falls which I did. It's a pretty difficult hike at points with several areas where you are basically crawling up rocks and boulders. This is especially true when it comes to getting closer to Nevada falls where you zig zag up the cliff side and the path isn't particularly clear. However it is worth every bit of the aching legs and the sweat to get there. Another reason I love this place is Tunnel view which if you have a Mac the view from here is your default background! There's a fun fact for you. Also you cannot forget the brilliant lakes that you can swim in even if they are freezing! 

Yosemite also has a great visitors centre with restaurants, chill out rooms and very helpful rangers for when you get lost before you've even found the trail head.

My top tip for Yosemite is go to Tunnel view even if it is a bit of a drive you won't regret it!

1. Tunnel View 2 - 4. Mist Trail

 2. Grand Canyon
The second national park on my list and another essential for any visit to America. However this place is about as far from Yosemite greenery and lakes as you can get. It is a complete different type of beauty.

I was lucky enough to get to camp in the park for 2 nights and even after a visit from a skunk it was still an amazing experience. I hiked down to Skeleton point which is the furthest point down you can go in one day any further and you need a permit to be allowed to stay there over night. Due to the heat we set off at 6.30am to hike down over 2,000ft. The further down you get the hotter it gets and there are no water points on the hike meaning you have to be prepared. Down was difficult but not too bad and it was amazing  passing each check point known we where getting closer with multiple breaks for photo opportunities which you can see below.

Theres also lots of wildlife to see including snakes, birds of prey and very friendly squirrels that will get into you bags and steal food if you leave them unattended! Now hiking back up is where it gets difficult everything seems a lot steeper and a lot longer going back and you can definitely see how people get into major trouble but not being prepared and going down further than their fitness level allows.

My top tip for the Grand Canyon is to be prepared if you're hiking and there is nothing wrong with sticking to the rim to get those amazing views.

1. Skeleton Point 2 - 3. Rim 4. Enterance

3.  Chicago

Chicago was somewhere that I hadn't been too keen to go but the friends I was with where and boy am I glad they where. We stayed in an Airbnb with a crazy host; Cote, luckily most of there quirks where funny so we didn't have too many problems.

I didn't expect Chicago to be as beautiful as it is, the water front is stunning lined with bars and cafes where you can look out at the skyline. If you want an even better view of Chicago you need to get up high in the Willis (Sears) Tower to see this incredible city, it cost a little bit but definitely worth every cent and you can see that from the pictures below.

Another bonus of Chicago is it's famous deep dish pizza which is not being exaggerated at all and if an essential part of any Chicago trip in my opinion. Sport fan or not I'd also recommend going to see the red socks play baseball I'd got a taste for the game in NY but here was something else. It happened to be Elvis night so we where treated to Elvis impersonators, sky divers, flamenco dancers and much more!

We also stumbled across a great bar near a free comedy show we attended and I can honestly say that the bar tenders int hat bar made our trip. Its true when they say you should get to know the locals because these guys where amazing we had such a funny night and got so many tips as well as invited along to a party the next day. I still have Carlos one of the bar tenders on Snapchat and Facebook.

My top tip for Chicago is to go the Willis Tower and sand in the glass boxes.

1. Willis Tower 2. Water front 3. Redsox game 4. Wills Tower

4. Washington DC

This was the first place I visited in the US after working in NY so the first place that I was actually there travelling. A short bus ride got me and my friends there from NY and then we went to a great Airbnb hosted by Brett. We managed to find a deal for a hop on hop off tour which allowed us to make our way around this massive city and all it's sights pretty easily.

WE of course visited all the big sights such as the White House, Lincoln Memorial and the Jewish Museum and the parliament. Which is where we met up with a friend who was on an intrepid trek and happened to be in the city the same time as us.

The Lincoln memorial was my absolute favourite it is stunning and such an iconic place to visit and another place to get some stunning photos. While we where in Washington we also visited the zoo. This is great for travellers on a budget as it's free and has some great exhibits, It so great when city provide good free activities it make the stay seem so much better, I think anyway.

My top tip for Washington is to plan what you want to see, there so much you have to prioritise!

1 - 2. Lincoln Memorial 3. White House 4. DC Zoo

5. New York

Last but not least New York! I feel like this being on my list is a bit bias as I lived here for 3 months working with horses so I not only got to visit the city multiple times but also experience upstate New York and the suburbs. This will also hold a special place in my heart because if the people I was with. I not only made friends but also family here. Don't get me wrong there where some massive downs here but the ups out weight this massively. My time in New York really deserves its own post but I will try to do it justice here.

Firstly the people here are so friendly, they where more than happy to take us to the movies, for ice cream and on every night out and make it the best experience they could for us which allowed me to experience things that I never would have dreamed of otherwise such a ice cream at a remote farm and then a drive in movie!

There are so many places in New York that are just must sees such as Central Park, The Empire State, 9/11 memorial and museum which just for reference you need a full day to do properly it took me about 3 hours to go round the museum fairly quickly. To see everything you'd need much longer. You also can't forget about going to broadway, seeing the Yankees play , Time Square, The High Line and Little Italy. You can also not forget nights out in Hoboken which is just across the Hudson.

However the highlight for me was the view from the top of the Rockerfella centre you can see the picture below and you will see just how spectacular it is. I did this on my first day in the city and beyond glad I had an experienced friend to suggest this instead def going up the Empire State.

There is still so much to say but that'll wait for another post, and theres still so much  didn't get to do here I would have loved to go to the Natural History Museum and to Coney Island.

My top tip for New York is to prioritise going up the Rockerfella Centre and to spend as long as you possibly can here. Whatever you think is long enough add 2 more days!

1. Rockerfella Centre 2. Time Square 3. Brooklyn Waterfront 4. My NY home ❤️❤️❤️

Where is you favourite place in the USA? Is it the same as one of mine? Tell em about ti in the comments


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