4 OCTOBER 2012
AFTER THE LORD MAYOR’S SHOW
So, here I am, back at the desk after my month-long sojourn in America and elsewhere. I feel a bit like Rip Van Winkle following his 40 year sleep – do we still have paper books? Or has everything gone digital while I’ve been away?
One thing is certain. There will always be a mountain of emails to welcome you home. I counted 400, most of which were junk and got deleted straight away, but what with the washing and the ironing and the gardening and the car MoT and the fact that my Twitter account isn’t working properly (I’m having to use my wife’s iPad), it’s taken me the best part of a fortnight to catch up with affairs to the point where I can spent some time on my blog. It’s a good job I don’t suffer from jet-lag ...
So, how was America? I hear you cry. Well, thanks for asking and yes, it was great. Six nights in New York, three nights in Boston and seven nights touring New England. When time allows I’d like to go into more detail about certain aspects of the trip and my impressions of American life, but for the moment suffice it to say that as tourists we did pretty much what you’d expect. Here are just a few highlights –
Empire State Building – we went up at night when New York was all lit up and found it much more impressive than The Top of The Rock by day. Great views of The Chrysler Building which is far more architecturally appealing than the rest.
9/11 Memorial – we were impressed by how tastefully this has been done. It’s certainly discrete by our standards, never mind America’s, and inspires quiet contemplation. Over ten years on and the USA is still in a state of shock.
Dick’s Last Resort, Quincy Market, Boston – don’t go there for the food but the atmosphere is quite unique, it’s a madhouse. The only thing that compares is Il Paradiso in Walmgate. When you go, be sure to book some chairs as well as a table – the time I went, they’d run out.
The Isabella Stewart Gardner Museum, Boston – an art gallery unlike any other I’ve seen. And by then we’d been to the Met, MoMA and the Guggenheim.
Whale-watching – a morning out on a boat from Boston to visit Stellwegen Banks. Three Humpback whales, one male, one female, one calf. Fantastic.
Common Loons in full breeding plumage – if you’re not a birder this might not mean much to you, but I can assure you it’s a wonderful sight. Known as Great Northern Diver in this country, we only get to see them in their drab winter coats but in summertime they change dramatically. Check out the Native American (Indian) legend regarding their white necklace ...
And finally, Sesuit Harbor Cafe, Dennis, Cape Cod – a clam shack right on the waterfront, outside seating only. The best fried clams and lobster roll in New England – or so they say. Go early to get a parking spot.
Downsides? Well, not many, but the New York subway is about as cool and refreshing as Shanghai in August, some hotels charge as much as $30 dollars (c£20) to park your car overnight and the American authorities apparently have the right to break the locks on your suitcases and rummage round inside – as they did mine. Maybe they thought my telescope and tripod were some kind of sophisticated weaponry - as I say, the USA is still in a state of shock ...
But it’s back to reality now with a thump and the usual daily round – sleep, eat, blog, tweet – you’ve heard it all before. Which reminds me – I must fix my Twitter account ...