Tuesday, April 29, 2008

Sightseeing - or not

This post got me thinking about an occasion when I failed to do some pretty basic sightseeing. As I said there, it took Reidski 20 years of living in London before he visited the Tower of London, and in the comments Darren confessed to having lived in New York for almost three years without yet seeing the Statue of Liberty.

This story also involves not seeing the Statue of Liberty. Some years ago, my friend who takes us on wonderful holidays was living in Connecticut and had sent me and some other friends tickets to go and visit her and her then husband for Thanksgiving. I had what was absolutely one of the best weeks of my life. They were very close to New York City so we went there several times as well as seeing some of 'Up State' which was just how New England always looks in the movies. I had never been to New York before and was just blown away by that wonderful city. I was so excited when I there - it was incredible. Anyway, after my first few trips into Manhattan it was noted that I had not yet seen the Statue of Liberty and so it was decreed the three women who made up our Thanksgiving group should go into town so as to show me this iconic symbol of The United States whilst the males did the child minding. (Superb arrangement.)

Now my two friends are not the earliest of risers so a lateish start was made, but never mind - Grand Central Station (- can there be a more beautiful railway station anywhere in the world? -)

was only a 45 minute train ride from where they lived. We arrived about mid morning and were headed for the station exit when Anne said "Oh, I think there is a really lovely little Christmassy market in here somewhere. Shall we have a look first?" Well we are girls - of course we had to find the lovely little Christmassy market. And it did not disappoint. Lots of completely irresistible things to touch, try on, and in the case of the others who are considerably better off than me - to buy. Our visit to the market took quite a while. We then headed once more for the station exit. "Ah", says Anne before we got on to the street; "It might be quite hard to find something to eat down by the Statue of Liberty. Shall we get something to eat here?" We readily agree this could be a good idea, and Anne says Michael Jordan has a bar there and suggests we try there. This meant nothing to me and we are led up the steps to what is Michael Jordan's bar - only we are led past the bar and into the poshest most wonderfully located restaurant I had ever seen before - or indeed since.

We had a little cocktail to start things off rather nicely, the waiter asking of my other friend in a very cute French accent "'As madam got an 'ole in her glass?" as he noted the quite extraordinarily impressive speed she had downed her first cocktail in. We had another cocktail. And we had a starter each. And we had the best steak I have ever tasted. And we had wine. And we had a dessert. And then we thought we really did need to get to the Statue of Liberty.

Only when we finally did get out of the station it was dark. So we went to Bloomingdales instead.

The men were utterly appalled when we finally got home, complete with mountains of shopping, to hear that it had taken us five hours to get out of Grand Central Station, and that it had then been too dark to go and see the Statue of Liberty - but hey - these things can happen. And it was a GREAT day out.

The men made sure that the following day they were the ones that took me into town in order to ensure I did not leave New York City without having had a glimpse of the Statue of Liberty.

Has anyone else failed to see a really obvious sightseeing spot on their travels?


Lisa Rullsenberg said...

Cloud and I 'waltzed'* around Grand Central Station on the evening we arrived in NYC last time we visited. It truly is one of the most beautiful interiors anywhere in the world: a real secular cathedral.

On the topic of not seeing the most obvious sites, we went to Amsterdam for 5 days once and didn't step foot in the redlight district, in a 'coffee-bar' (snigger, giggle, cough), or visit Ann Frank's House. We didn't feel we'd missed anything.

* I use the term loosely as neither of us can dance.

The Fatalist said...

In 2004 the Dulwich Hamlet Supporters' Team tour was to Rimini. four of us went a week early, & trvelled through the country. We went to Pisa for the afternoon, looked at the tower, but didn't go up it. But we did have a look at the Pisa football ground. And, on a wednesday afternoon, there was a Reserve Team game play off just kicking off. We were well pleased! But we never did get to climb that leaning tower...

J.J said...

Lisa - isn't it amazing!!!

I have never been to Amsterdam, but with the new Eurostar it is very much on my list of places to get to soon -
and I can understand you giving the redlight area a miss.

Fatalist - I didn't think that anyone could be more football mad than Reidski is but I reckon you quite possibly are. That is a compliment by the way!

Brom said...

When I lived in Wales a mate packed his mum and a friend off for a one day visit to London on the train for their first ever visit. Their "debrief" on returning revealed that they went to Oxford St. and spent the whole day in Selfriges and M&S!

Yorkshire Pudding said...

When in Rome, we failed to see the Sistine Chapel because the Sunday morning queue was immense and moved slower than the London Eye. The same happened to me at the Reichstag in Berlin... but I sometimes think that it is in the back streets and the mundanity of a great city that you can best hear its heartbeat.

J.J said...

Brom - sounds like a great day out to me!

YP - I think you have something there with your comment about the back streets.

Karen said...

I lived in Stirling for just over a year and never went to the castle. I went to the Wallace monument but never actually went up it as i don't like heights.

Hardly ever made the trip through to Edinburgh even though it was only an hour on train. Still never been to that castle or the underground city.

J.J said...

Karen! How did you manage that???? There isn't anything else to do in Stirling is there? :-)