Well what have I been up to since starting on June 27th, I hear you ask. We did the usual touristy stuff like seeing Brooklyn Bridge, Times Square, taking the Staten Island Ferry to see the Statue of Liberty for free (it’s like you’re cattle being herded onto a boat and off).

The pleasant surprises was finding the National Museum of the American Indian on the way to Staten Island Ferry – I’d recommend this place if you’re ever nearby. Also the Met Museum of Art was fantastic, we spent half a day in the Egypt section alone and there were so many more sections.


The 9/11 memorial was interesting, the mood mostly sombre and reflective although there were of course the few weirdos posing with a grin for the camera..(not the photo above though).


One of the highlights before we left New York was meeting up with Elaine (B58 FOS office!) and her husband, Mark for lunch. The other was finding an awesome Nintendo store where you could play various games!

We ended up bussing down to Washingston D.C. instead of taking the train – tip: book your Amtrak train at least a month in advance (if you know when you’re going) because it’s not like the UK and all the cheap tickes are limited and you’ll be left to buy a $200 dollar train ticket. Fortunately the Greyhound bus was cheaper and not that bad.

So we arrived in Washington D.C. during the July 4th weekend (bad idea), it was super busy and there was also a Basque Folk Festival (place between France and Spain) going on in the National Mall (this is where all the monuments/museums are stretched out across).

Demo of Basque craft!



The Smithsonian Air & Space Museum was pretty interesting, even astronauts have to maintain their personal hygiene in space.


We saw the White House (above) and it wasn’t as impressive as it is in the movies and the marked Secret Police cars parked nearby aren’t so secret.

Embarassingly we didn’t go out on July 4th itself. Basically it sounded like my hell on earth – camp out early for fireworks and get stuck in crowds/traffic. I spent the day in the TV room in our AirBnb place (60 inch tv complete with Netlix) and researching the next part of our trip! I really did.

Some observations/tips:

  • Gaps between their toilet doors and frames. I don’t want to see someone else do their business.
  • Americans do like everything bigger and better – cars, gallon sized sodas, gallon ice cream tubs and even drugs. You can buy 500 ibuprofen pills in a pot! Seriously, I don’t think you can buy more than 32 pills at a time in the UK (well in Supermarkets, you’re restricted to a couple of packets).
  • If you buy a whole pizza, Americans call it a ‘pie’.
  • If you ever do go to a Museum, don’t go 30 minutes before closing time because they’ll boot you out early.
  • AirBnBs are pretty good (cheaper than hotels and hostels).
  • Get some cheap tasty dumplings for $1.25 in Chinatown!