25 May 2007

American Diary Part 8 - Chicago day 2

May 25th & 26th Slept really well in a soft bed at the Hostel, no-one snored! Enjoyed a really good breakfast of muffins, coffee, banana and honey nut loops. Then fulled fuelled I set off on foot again to try and view the city from up in the sky. The hostel have special discounts on tickets so for $19 I had both the Sears Tower and John Hancock Towers to enjoy. Walking first to the post office within the financial district (very stunning with impressive architecture, USA flags, marble and limestone) I posted some items back home to lighten my luggage, then walked on to the SEARS TOWER. Luckily today has been calm so the Skydeck was open. At the top, I had an amazing view of the whole city - and it was just like the scene in Ferris Bueller! I even stood on the blue rail and leaned my head against the glass! (no-one was looking). The Tower used to be the tallest in the world before the Petronas Towers in Malaysia, and now a tower in Tai Pei which has the highest inhabited floor, however, the Sears tower has the highest antennas! Sears Tower is 1730 feet to the tip of the antennas. However, it was a bit crowded so after some photos and a quick souvenir shop, I headed down to street level. By now it was 11am and time for my Starbucks fix! Today I mostly had a Skinny Tall Latte and a pannini. Then off to walk the 'Magnificent Mile', so named because it is Magnificent and a mile long! It takes you up the city through the main sky scrapers and over the River - I was aiming for the Hancock Tower. This is the 4th tallest in the USA, after the SEARS Tower, Empire State and the AON building also in Chicago. It was a much better view! I got to see all the buildings and North out over almost 50 miles and 4 states of the USA. Both the SEARS and HANCOCK towers are the same age as me - born in 1970! After that I strolled back down the Magnificent Mile to the Hostel enjoying the sun and the changing architectural styles of the buildings, the water works used to be housed in 'castle like' building and a very lovely church nestles amongst the tallest buildings in the city covered in vines. I sat with a cold drink at the shiny BEAN and watched people taking pics of themselves in the reflections, then passed the waterfalls nearby and got wet as the wind blew the spray over me.. oh well! I'm meeting the group at the baseball game tonight, so will update the blog later. Bye for now! I love Chicago! *********************** May 26th morning - after the ballgame - I am sat in the Public Library in Chicago just 2 mins from the Hostel and the most beautiful building. It is in red stone with very ornate and imposing steel dragons and other gargoyles on each corner of the building, it's very gothic. There are over 130 computers here, set out in rows and I feel like I'm in a scene from Big Brother (the book not the reality show)in complete silence, processing data like lab rats! Anyway, I get one hour free in here to use email and internet so here is an update on the ball game before we leave Chicago in a couple of hours. The Chicago White Sox are not a bad team, they won the World Series (only America competes so I don't see how it can be a *world* series!)in 2005 and last night played a team from Tampa in Florida who were not supposedly that good. Of course we all supported the home team, and arrived at the 'US Cellular Field' via the subway at around 5.30pm. This area of Chicago is several miles away from the skyline but you get an amazing view. We were all given free baseball hats with the team logo, and 'Miller Lite' on the back (official beer to the stadium) Once inside, we climbed the stairs to our level (almost at the very top to our - cheap but good - seats) and wandered around the interior looking for something to eat, maybe some souvenirs and just soaking up the pre-game excitement. I bought some Nachos which nearly blew my head off and a ht chocolate to keep warm. By 7pm the game was underway after the usual frenzy whipping that to introduce the teams. We had agreat view of the pitch right above the 'plate' (technical term) The game was a little tricky to follow but it was fun - many strange and mysterious goings on between the umpires, pitcher (bowler) and catcher (wicket keeper) and lots and lots of cheering and shouting from the crowds as they consumed more and more beer. It reminded me of a 20:20 cricket game with music, video, games and prizes to keep the crowds entertained, also it was a 70's themed night which added to the fun as they played classic tracks from the disco/rock/funk era. I was freezing! the wind blew across the pitch and I didn't have a coat or jacket. Despite this, it was fun, and I would go again. Our tour leader Dan tried to explain what was going on, but the funniest thing was a guy behind us who was bellowing down to the players every word of encouragement, criticism, abuse, sarcasm and frustration he could muster under the influence of many (and I mean many, cos we saw how many he drank) bottles of beer! He was harmless and very entertaining. The game was even, with some very fast pitching (up to 94 mph) and some great hits into the crowds along with a few catches. It ended up 4-4 with just a few pitches left and the Sox looked as if they were heading for a rather lacklustre draw after some mediochre late pitching . However, a Japanese Sox player stepped up and hit a beauty allowing another sox player on 3rd to make it to 4th base and claim a victory 5-4. The stadium erupted with fireworks and cheering - it was great! As we left, the city at night was clearly visible all lit up with the Sears and Hancock towers sporting pink antennae and lots of other sparkly lights across the skyline - surely one of the best city views in the world? It rained heavily as we left, so we waited inside for the crowds to go and luckily the trains ran on time so before long I was back at the hostel and into bed to get warm! So that was my Chicago experience! The next 2 days will take us across Illinois, camping along the Mississipi river tonight near to Milwakee, then onto South Dakota and the Badlands - the American Prairie with the Black Mountains & Mt Rushmore, then into Wyoming and down to Yellowstone, Utah and across to San Francisco arriving there around the 9th June. We will therefore be leaving the big cities behind us for a while and I may not have the opportunity for blogging before we get to San Francisco. The USA has an image of having the best of everything, but Internet Cafes are not part of that image! There is plenty of WIFI but no good unless you have your own pc. I continue to be amazed and pleasantly surprised by the way of life here in the USA. People are friendly & happy, service is good everywhere, there is little evidence of trouble on the streets (granted I have not visited the rough areas), and the cities are extremely clean and well looked after. Best of all, the loos are of a high standard everywhere!!! Kx

American Diary Part 7 - CHICAGO Illinois

MAY 24th Happy Birthday MUM! Leaving the Toledo area we drove across I90 on the northern tip of Indiana state and into Illinois to arrive at Chicago around 12noon. We had to put our watches back on hour and gained some time, so before entering the city we stopped at the Baseball stadium for the Chicago white sox to buy tickets for the game tomorrow - should be fun!. Dan dropped us off in the hostel (not bad for $40 per night) and after dumping my bags I headed off alone to explore the city. One of my fave films (remember the bus ride to Boston) is Ferris Bueller's day Off. Set in this city, he plays truant from school and has fun in the city - including a baseball game and the Sears tower - I hope to do both although the city is different now than it was some 25 years ago, they have a new stadium for a start. I walked the street towards the start of Millenium Park and stopped for a Starbucks then wandered through the park which gies wonderful views of the skyline and has a few interesting sculptures to look at - the best is the BEAN or cloud city which is a mettalic bean shape as big as a house which reflects the city and you and twisted and wonderful ways. With the sun shining and the wind blowing warm across the city it was the perfect day for a walk. I continued through a lovely garden of lavender and down to the large waterfall then over the busy main shoreline road to see the marina of yachts and powerboats on Lake Michigan, then left along the shore path for 2 miles to the Navy Pier. This is an area of tacky attractions and fast food so not for me, instead I took a boat trip into the city along the Chicago river with a commentary on the buildings and architecture of this wonderful vertical city. The SEARS Tower is the tallest in the USA and after pizza with Nicole we walked in the fading daylight to the tower hoping for a night view of th city from the top floor only to find it closed due to hight wind. I will try again tomorrow. My other plan is to walk several miles to the John Hancock tower which also has fine views albeit from the 3rd highest tower in the city. Chicago is not what I expected from seeing Ferris Bueller and episodes of ER! The 'L' train runs around the loop of downtown and is a unique feature of the city, the streets are clean and friendly and the whole place has a nice atmosphere. I am saddened to think that our cities and towns in the UK are generally dirty, crowded and poorly maintained with miserable people and surly employees. I am loving the cities of America, and indeed the back roads!

American Diary Part 6 -Cleveland OHIO

MAY 23rd Left Niagara early morning with a brief coffee stop at the local gas station. On the subject of gas - I am staggered by the volume of cars, giant trucks (road trains) giant motorhomes (land yachts) and other gas guzzling vehicles on the highway. With all that petrol being consumed, it's clear that the USA has a major decision to make if it is serious about reducing emissions..... smaller cars maybe? Heading north on I90 (the main interstate for the first half of our trek) we crossed into Pensylvania, then OHIO to reach CLEVELAND on the shores of Lake Eerie. Famous for not much really, this ciry has the ROCK AND ROLL HALL OF FAME which deserved at least 4 hours of our time and I thought it was great! highlights for me included seeing the costume worn by David Bowie in his Ashes to Ashes tour and the stage set for the Pink Floyd concert THE WALL including the giant puppets of the headmaster and the wall itself. There were lots of other things, not least the architecture and the setting along the shore of the lake, the hot weather (30 degrees) and the display of giant guitars at the entrance which made this stop worthwhile. The shoreline was deserted and calm with the lake waters stretching far away like the ocean. Back together in the bus and continuing on across OHIO state (largely agricultural with farms, crops and livestock) I watched the scenery unfold as we passed loads of typical American barn style farms in sienna coloured timber and white picket fences. Late in the evening we arrived at our campsite near to TOLEDO in OHIO, another nice site in the trees and good facilities. Supper was chilli tacos from Nicole and Min - we now have 2 nights in a hostel in Chicago so my next cooking duty is not until Saturday.

American Diary part 5 - Finger Lakes & Niagara

MAY 21st We left camp early and on the road by 8am North across parts of Pensylvania and back into New York state through small towns suck as Binghampton and Lisle to reach the Finger Lakes near to Ithica - home to Cornell University one of the IVY League. The scenery here is much like parts of central Europe with rolling hills covered in forest broken by rivers and towns dotted amongst the valleys along the interstate. Homes are very pretty made of timber and not unlike those in Maine. Ithaca looks to be a lovely place but we didn't visit, instead we headed to the shoreline of Lake Cayuga (one of 11 lakes formed by glaciers) to set up camp and hike up to the Taughannok Falls, a cascading waterfall as high as Niagara but much less water. It is all very pretty and quiet (summer kicks of on May 26th) so we had a barbecue on the shoreline (bit chilly) with Paul and Marijke cooking for the 2nd night. The facilities on the KOA (kamp america) sites are good generally. May 22nd Travelling across the region known at the MID ATLANTIC states we stayed in NY state to reach the famous tourist spot of NIAGARA FALLS.. At this point you are no doubt hoping for a photo.. I have plenty but cannot load them onto this PC so you'll have to wait! Niagara is a confused town with an identity crisis - half Vegas, half Lanzarote it has a natural feature which draws a crowd but little else for me. If you like the Canaries then you wil *love* this place (for the trashy amusements, nightlife and souvenirs)s. As a group we crossed into Canada for the afternoon to get the best views of the 3 falls aboard the Maid of the Mist (wearing a stupid plastic souvenir rain poncho). American Falls in the highest, then Bridal Veil falls and finally the Horseshow Falls - the most spectacular. I was glad we had crossed the border - it was well worth it, but the falls did not take my breath away as I had hoped. They are amazing but the tourist trap around it takes the majesty away and it just looks bigger than it actually is on the postcards! I then paid an extra $12 for the "Journey Behind the Falls" and another plastic poncho only to find that the 'journey' was a 'wasted' one...... If you go there, don't bother with this. Leaving Canada walking across Rainbow Bridge I then wandered around Goat Island on the USA side of the Falls and was rewarded with some incredible close up views of the water rushing over the gorge and the best viewpoint at Terrapin Point - worth the 30 minute walk. I also recommend the Observation Deck which for $1 allows you to stand out over the gorge and look down at the boats below. By 5pm we were back in the bus and off to find a grocery store before making camp at the local Niagara KOA - a nice spot with grass, a fishing pond and great showers! Supper was pasta with sausage from our German friends Chris and Nick. This camping lark is easy!

American Diary Part 4 - Leaving New York

Since my last entry I have travelled across 3 more states and arrived in Chicago. Before I tell you about my first day in the Windy City, here's an update on the past few days. Sunday 20th May I spent a sunny Sunday in New York wandering through Central Park along with joggers and charity walkers and browsed some shops before joining the Suntrek tour group in the Jazz on the Park Hostel around the corner from my swanky hotel. I have been really impressed with New York which is a pleasant and easy city to walk around - I'll definitely be back. Highlights of Central Park included - The reservoir named after Jacqueline Onassis Kennedy with a surrounding jogging track and excellent views of the city skyline. The Cleopatra's needle nestling amongst trees on the East side. Belvedere castle - a tiny but perfectlt positioned fantasy castle on a high piece of ground in the park with turrets, balconies and stairways that disney would be proud of, with a pond below filled with turtles swimming around! Shakespeare's Garden - a gorgeous floral display alive with spring colour and footpaths winding up a small hill. The sheep meadow, a spacious green area where animals grazed centuries ago, now used for picnics, concerts, ball games and general relaxing. The stony outcrops which appear through the park offering vantage points for photos or simply lying in the sun. The various stone bridges, the Lake, the trees and wildlife. I must have walked over 6 miles that day and with most of the roads blocked for the AIDS charity walk, I had to find my way back to the hostel on foot, so was tired, hot and thirsty when I got there! I saw no trouble in New york, felt perfectly at ease the whole time and will go back when I get the chance. By 2pm I had met some members of the tour and by 3pm we were all together, 7 travellers and 2 tour guide: Me 36 from England, Dan the tour leader about 25-28, Nicole 20 from Adelaide, Min 22 from Korea, Chris 19 from Stuttgart and his friend Nick also 19 from Stuttgart and Mariajka and Paul a couple in their 50's from Winchester in England. Our transport is a 13 seater mini van with all our gear loaded on the roof, so once our bags were stowed we left the city bound for our first night of camping. Crossing the George Washington bridge we entered New Jersey briefly then back into New York state for the 3 hour drive north on I87 and I84 arriving at a small place called PLATTEKIL for the night. As a group we share duties on trek and I have been assigned to shopping duties with Nicole. So armed with the group's money I went into the supermarket and bought loads of cheap food for breakfast, lunches and dinner. Each of us will share cooking duties, but for the first night I made Spag bog with Nicole and it was fine! We each have a tent which is easy to put up,after 4 days I can manage it in under 12 minutes! So far the weather has been fine so no wet and windy episodes with a fly sheet and tent pegs! This is ourdaily routine... driving... shopping... tent building and eating.. sleeping... tent destroying and driving! Amid all the driving we stop for coffee and some sight-seeing. So our first night was simply a lesson in tenting then some food and sleep. The Trek adventure had begun!

20 May 2007

American Diary part 3 - NEW YORK NEW YORK!

May 19th NEW YORK! I woke early and was out the door by 8.30am. the bell hop (getting with the NY lingo) told me about a breafast bar nearby which I walked to. It turned out to be the NY equivalent of a greasy spoon, but with few empty seats I thought it must be ok. The service was slow, but eventually I ordered a banana porridge and toast with hosue coffee. Around me, people were eating eggs over easy, bacon, home fries and pancakes with maple syrup (although probably not pure syrup that I've been used to in Maine!) Maybe tomorrow I'll order the full works.... After that, I hailed a cab and headed into the big apple to join my bus tour. www.newyorkpartyshuttle.com takes you around the city for 5 hours. It was easy to find, on Broadway and by 10am we wre moving. Along the route we stopped at: John Lennon's hotel apartment and the place he was assasinated, along with the strawberry fields memorial in Central Park, along Broadway passing the theatres, into the park itself where Saturday people were jogging, pushing prams, horse riding, taking kids to the zoo or just strolling. We were shown landmarks on the route mostly without stopping - Grand Central Station, various apartment blocks and sites used for movies and TV shows (Will and Grace, Seinfeld etc), the Empire State, Rockerfeller centre, Little Italy, Chinatown, Camden Street, Tiffanys etc We had lunch on our own in Pier 17 on the south of Manhattan (I had a Subway sandwich and peanut butter cookie)before taking the Staten Island ferry (free) across the bay past The Statue of Liberty before coming back. It was a chance for photos. Back on the bus, we did stop at Ground Zero (a very solemn place) for a few moments of reflection. I know some friends of mine have been here and know what it is like. they have begun work on the Freedom Tower and the whole area is a gaping chasm with construction vehicles and workers. the perimiter is a memorial to those killed with a timeline of the events on 9/11 with photos which truly make you feel humbled by the actions of those who tried to save lives that day. Across the street is the church of St Pauls used on that day to shelter the workers and provide food and water, it was undamaged. One poignant site is the damaged skyscraper on the southern end which is being removed floor by floor and clearly shows the scars of that day. Another nice touch is the prescence of the golden globe which survived with some damage and will be incorporated into the final memorial tower. After this sombre moment, we lightened the mood with a stroll through Wall Street - home to some of New York's Most stunning architecture and symbols of financial might. After my trip to Boston I saw the place where George Washington took the oath as first president of the USA. The tour continued around the waterfront before taking us back to Broadway. I wanted to go back to some of these places so tipped the guide and set off on foot. First stop TIMES SQUARE - like Picadilly on acid! the use of technology here is amazing, buildings have movies running on the outside walls with neon, lights, sound, music... amazing, gawdy, overpowering, impressive! I can only imagine Vegas or Hong Kong and Bangkok to be any better. There was a public demo going on in the middle - something to do with Iraq. quite strange to have something so serious alongside all that frivolous display of marketing! Walking away from Times Square I found my way to the Rockerfeller Centre and rode to the top floor for some great views of the city - despite the rain! Hungry again (5pm) I stopped for Pizza and a sit down, then back on the street I wandered in the general direction of Grand Central Station and found it! (New York is pretty easy for walking).. This was a real discovery1 the station is stunning! The architecture and lighting really impressed me, and of course it's been used in so many films! In need of coffee I found myself in Starbucks on 36th and Madison and wrote some more postcards. Then onto the empire state at dusk for a brilliant finish to my day - I was there for almost 2 hours and saw the view change from rain to darkness with all the street lights and sounds from below. Fabulous! I bought some goodies up there too - baseball cap and tshirt (Hannah - I've spent some money!) At 9pm I came back down to the street and caught a cab back to the hotel. so here I am in Jazz Hostel - upper West side writing my blog. Tomorrow I catch my tour and begin the trek across america. I may have more time in NY before we leave, so I plan to walk through Central Park and visit the Natural History Museum. More blogging when I can! That's all from NY! (sorry no photos)

American diary - Part 2 Last night in Maine

May 17th and 18th After a wonderful 2 days in the Acadia National Park and then a stay in Boston , I returned to Yarmouth and the home of the Klepinger family until May 18th. My second day in Boston included a walk through the parks again, the New England Aquarium and Isabella Gardner art museum - after that I walked from Fenway back to the Prudential Centre and strolled and browsed the shops without buying. I can't seem to summon any will to buy souvenirs! The bus ride back to Yarmouth was crowded and we enjoyed a screening of GREASE to pass the time. Hannah collected me from Portland bus station and we caught the end of Matthew's baseball game in Yarmouth (the team lost) before shopping at Hannafords for fresh lobster and steamers! Back at the house Roly dog was tormented by the lobster (not sure he knew what it was) whils I tried my best to hold it without dropping it each time it moved! I didn't have the heart to plunge it into boiling water so I let Hannag do it! but I did have the stomach to eat it afterwards and it was perfect - my first truly fresh lobster, no frills! I did manage to send it's claw flyig across the kitchen (slippery little sucker!). Friday was my last day in Maine, and with everyone out of the house it was a chance to pack and reshuffle my bags. I then took Hannah's car to the local park with roly for a rain soaked walk along the river. At noon I collected Hannah from her place of work, and we had a final girlie afternoon in Portland at the art museum (much better then the Farnsworth in Rockland) and shopped a little before goodbyes and at 5pm I was all alone at the airport. Once inside I was told my flight was *cancelled* but no time for panic as they put me on a Delta flight into La Guardia at 6.30pm. However - NY traffic control were being tricksy and the flight didn't leave till 8pm, landing in NY at 10pm. This was my first 'change of plan' moment in my otherwise flawless itinerary and it really didn;t matter. With time to kill I trawled the shops and bought a souvenir! Yes I actually bought something! I am even wearing it now - a blue t shirt which reads: "the way life should be... MAINE" with a lobster on it! La Guardia is closer to Manhattan than Newark so the cab was cheaper! My hotel "Astor on the Park" is in the Upper West Side faces Central Park and is in a swanky area. Apparently this is where rock stars, sports stars and film directors live.... so, at 11pm I was tired and wanted nothing but sleep which is what I did in a very comfy bed with 4 soft and squishy pillows. I drifted to sleep thinking of shingle houses on the coast of Maine.... maybe I should buy a lottery ticket!

17 May 2007

American Diary - Part 1

MAINE and MASSACHUSETTS On May 12th I arrived safely in the USA on a very comfortable Continental airlines flight into New York then connected to Portland in Maine to be met by Hannah and Arne Klepinger from Yarmouth who kindly offered to be my hosts during this first week of my US tour. If you remember, I met Hannah in 1999 on holiday in Porlock, Somerset. Straight from the airport we dined at Cape Elizabeth at the Lobster Shack, right on the coast with Cornwall some 3000 miles East. My lobster roll was to die for! Slightly jet lagged it was an early night for me once we arrived at the Klepinger home - a pretty pale yellow New England style wooden home set in a wooded street. Sunday was Mother's Day in the US, and the kids (Matthew 11 and Larua 14) both gave their Mom a card and attempted some chores in the garden! Hannah and I set off in the convertible Chevrolet to head up the coast for a 2 day road trip Thelma and Louise style around Mount Desert Island. The journey was very pretty passing amazing scenery and traditional houses just made for the landscape. Lunch was at Belfast, my first taste of 'Steamers' boiled clams and hot butter followed by fried clams - I was clammed up afer that! Arriving on MDI (the island) we found a room overloking the bay at the Wonder Vew Inn - it reminded me of the summer camp in Dirty Dancing! We then spent 2 wonderful days eating great food (traditional Maine fare, lumberjack breakfasts and carbohydrate packed lunches) and exploring the awesome scenery of the Acadia National Park on foot and in the car with the roof down of course! We did do approximately 7 miles of walking too.... including around Jordan Pond (sadly the restaurant was closed so no chanc to eat 'popovers' a kind of filled yorkshire pudding) and along a hiking trail where the carriages go. The park resembles our Lake District, but has more trees and a sense of wildness that we don't have in the UK. We saw unusual birds, deer and evidence of Beavers - I even saw a hummingbird in Hannah's garden before we left. It's a park for the outdoors and activity. It was too early in the season to take advantage of the many things to do, like carriage driving, cycling, climbing, whale watching etc. So instead we made sure that our stomachs experienced the best food, and made the most of the convertible by cruising the quiet roads all around the island. My favourite spot being Otter Cliffs, looking out across the ocean watching the sea birds and lobster boats. I will be going back there again one day. When I do, I'll revisit 'Jeannie's breakfast bar' for a Great Maine Breakfast! On the way home, we called in at Camden to see the clippers in the harbour and had a dose of culture in a museum at Rockland exhibiting Maine artists (good) and some Andy Warhol (crap in my opinion) and had one last meal at (famous in Maine) Moody's diner! Back at the house in Yarmouth Mathew was involved in a school concert, so I went along and it was great! the 4th & 5th grade performed as a band and also sang, and it wasn't at all bad! It was fun to see high school life for real. With Hannah and Arne back at work and the kids at school, I decided to head south to Boston for 2 days of sightseeing. I was there in 2004 with BMC sofware but didn't get chance to explore. On the internet in Hannah's kitchen I booked a Ducktour ride and called to reserve a room a the swanky Park Plaza hotel on arlington street (whci is where I am typing this from!)I took the bus from Portland (watching Ferris Bueller's Day Off on the way - one of my fave films) and jumped on the subway or 'T' to get to my hotel. Once my bags were dumped, I walked into the Boston (Bawston) sunshine, strolled through the public garden and Boston Common to join up with a guided history tour along part of the Freedom Trail. As you will all know, Boston is the home of the 'tea party' which sparked the war of independence and led to the creation of the USA as an independent state. Being British here is a little awkward, but you are treated with good humour (just don't mention taxes). The tour was great and ended at Fanueil Hall, which gave me chance to visit the home of the Massachussets arm of the Ancient and Honorable Artillery Company - the oldest army regiment in the world. The HAC had it's hadquarters in London at Armoury House where I have been several times as a guest and enjoyed their hospitality. Boston is closely linked in it's history to the British and unlike the rest of the USA has buildings and locations which date back to the 17th century. For this reason it attracts people from all over America. I took the rest of the Freedom Trail my myself, ending up at the site of the Bunker Hill battle between the British and the Bostonians. The tower which marks the spot has 294 steps and I managed them all! The views were worth it happily. It was at this point that the weather changed dramatically and I sheltered in a doorway on a street of very attractive houses down from Bunker Hill. I managed to get a taxi to stop for me and made it in time to join the Duck Tour at 5pm. These amphibous vehicles take you on a tour of the city then drive into the Charles River for a dfferent view. Despite the very torrential rain and lightening, it was fun (if a little cold) and the driver was full of tales and stories to keep us entertained. So, wet and tired I returned to my 'swanky' hotel. I have one more day in Boston to visit some museums and maybe the aquarium, then back to Maine to say goodbye to the Klepingers and on to New York! (PS: apologies for any bad spelling, this hotel keyboard is bad!)

10 May 2007

Leaving for North America

It's Thursday evening on the 10th May and I'm a little bit tipsy from a Gin & Tonic! Thanks to our Queen (Gawd bless 'er) our American cousins are warmed up to receive their next high profile British visitor - My bags are packed and tomorrow I say goodbye to Kipper, my parents and Devon for 2 months of travelling across America. My bags are full of all sorts of kit - probably too much stuff - being the type of person to 'over pack' it's been hard to limit myself. I'm prepared for hot weather, rain, cold nights, hiking, riding, rafting, boating, swimming and spending hours on a bus! I'll keep in touch via this blog, so check back regularly for updates. Today we learned that by the time I get back Tony Blair will no longer be Prime Minister. You may like to know that on the 27th June when he leaves office I shall be on a horse in Montana, and you may well hear me 'Yeehah' in celebration from across the pond! I'm not sure Gordon Brown is going tobe any better, so while the UK sorts itself out and William Haig gets his act together to challenge for Prime Minister (he will be back I'm sure) I plan to spend a very short time in England before going to Australia and New Zealand - I may even stay there long enough for a Tory government to take over! So, in the meantime, keep smiling, keep reading my blog and I'll do my best to entertain you from across the Atlantic. Have a nice day! K