All posts by kimmo95

3# New York, taking a bike through Central Park

On our last day in New York, we wanted to get a change to see Central Park in its entirety, so we rented some bicycles to have a nice trip though the park. However, it appeared that you are only allowed on the bicycle lane running though Central Park in a circle.  In order to see some of the statues, bridges or the nature of park you have to get of your bicycle and still have to do quite a walk.

After a few hours in the park, we brought our bicycles back a bit disappointed in the limitations for bikes in the park.

In the evening, we went to Times Square in order to see Wicked. I already heard a lot about the musical and I was really looking forward to it. The musical was totally awesome and we definitely had a great time, definitely a recommendation.

Times Square_new

2# New York, a panoramic view

Our second day we got up bright-and-early for another fun-filled day, with the Rockefeller center on our schedule early in the morning. Seeing Central Park from this height certainly offered a nice perspective. Rockefeller_fam_new

 Tip; when visiting the Rockefeller Centre or the Empire State Building, you are waiting in line longer than you are actually admiring the view even with pre-paid tickets. While, the view from Brooklyn bridge is just as spectacular, without the lines and the fees.

After the Rockefeller we went into the centre of Brooklyn for a guided Graffiti Tour concerning the Bushwick Collective. These pieces of art are definitely amazing and to think that they are a part of the ever-changing street view is a pity. None of these works are permanent and every year or two a new work will be put in that same place. But maybe that’s the point and therefore its transiency becomes a part of its charm.

We made our way back to Manhattan by crossing the Brooklyn bridge, which offered a view just as nice as the Rockefeller centre, minus the waiting and the costs. You get to see the city getting closer while walking across the bridge.

After having a quick look at Wall Street, we decided to grab a bite at China Town. China town actually proved to be hard to find due to our expectations regarding the neighbourhood. We expected a similar atmosphere and decorations as in London, however when being compared, the neighbourhood wasn’t exactly striking. With only a few lanterns indicating you are in the right neighbourhood.

1# New York, everything gets bigger except my luggage

This year I followed the course “New York in 21th Century Literature” at the University and naturally I could not wait to see all the places mentioned in our curriculum with my own eyes. However, in order to get there a ten hour flight and a six hour time difference had to be abridged first and we reached New York without any trouble (so we thought).

Once we saw my luggage we know something had gone wrong. My luggage was only held together by ribbons and half the size it was when we started off and soon we discovered that the only thing missing in my suitcase was a purple bag. The bad thing, that purple bag contained all my clothes for the next six months. Since we could not do much about the lost luggage we decided not to let it bring us down and enjoy the rest of our stay (now a week later I still don’t have my clothes).

The next day we got up bright and early, ready to set upon our adventure. We started with a stroll along 5th avenue enjoying the marvellous views along the road, from the green landscapes offered by central park to the skyscrapers on the other side of the road, the combination of the two offering a wonderful contrast.

DSC00855_newCentral Park_1_new

Skyline_NYC_1_new

One of those places I could not wait to see was the MoMA, although I am not a fan of Modern Art, I really wanted to see Van Gogh’s “Starry Night” and have to admit that the museum was not my cup of tea. Therefore,  my only interest lay in the fifth floor where paintings from Van Gogh, Dalí and Money could be found.

MoMa_new.jpg

When stolling further down the avenue I found the Public Library, a place I can imagine myself to be entire days. The architecture is great and the decoration in the reading rooms is magical.

TIP: When visiting New York, I certainly recommend you take a peek inside the public library, the readingrooms are to die for.

Public Library_1_new

Next we took a boat trip along the monuments by Circle Lines. The guide was excellent and told us a lot about the history of New York and it’s monuments. Allowing us great views of the Manhattan Skyline, the Statue of Liberty and Brooklyn Bridge. Three locations that were pretty high up my list. The Statue of Liberty represents New York to a certain extent, it is the first thing people saw arriving by boat, welcoming them to the new continent. The New York skylines aren’t any less famous and although, during my visit I only saw them during the day, I can clearly imagine the magnificent view the glow of the city must give at night.

TIP: When planning a visit to New York certainly take a look at the New York Adventure Pass and other combination passes. These tickets do not only provide discounts but also allow you to skip the lines since you already paid in advance.

We continued our tour be taking the highline in the direction of Soho. The highline, as it name suggest stretches out several meters above ground and consists of the old railroad. Nowadays this railroad is converted into a green path through the city with several idyllic relaxing zones and a great view of the city.

Dancing on the train_Jazz

To end up in Greenwich Village, which was a bit of a disappointment in my opinion. The name indicates a quite and rustique neighbourhood while in reality we entered an area with few restaurants and dense traffic. Totally exhausted from a long day of walking around we decided to go back to our hotel. Our street really reminded me of the brownstone in Breakfast at Tiffany’s (at least how I imagined it would look like).

A year past, a new attempt

Hi everyone,

A year has passed, obviously I haven’t reached my goals and I have to admit my blog has become quiet over time. However I haven’t given up on my reading list and will keep on trying to finish it.

So here I am, attempt 2. And determined not to fail again. As of this week I will be posting again. Why now? My next adventure is about to start. After a lot of administrative red tape I finally depart and I am going to Puerto Rico for half a year on an exchange programme. Interested in my opinion about the island and it’s surroundings? Then I encourage you to take a look at my newest posts every now and then.

Finally, I will be starting a new section. Since I am passionate about cooking and love to share my recipes, I will start a recipes section sharing my favourite recipes with all the foodies out there.

 

What I love about Malaga

Malaga, my Erasmus city and definitely one of my favourite places. Why? I can go on endlessly about how great Malaga is. However, I am going to try to be concise and restrict myself to my personal top 8 of things that make Malaga so great.

1.  Big city, small and picturesque city centre

Malaga is one of the biggest cities in Spain, the 6th to be exact. But wandering through the city centre you don’t get the impression that Malaga is this big. The city centre is small, with two rather large main streets. The number of restaurants and bars and the fact that the entire centre is practically car free contribute even further to the coziness of the city centre.

dsc04171

2. Clean

Malaga is a rather clean city compared to other Spanish cities. Every night all garbage is collected and the streets are cleaned with sea water. Leaving Malaga clean and shining in the morning after all the partygoers finally go home.

3.      Central location (everything is close going from sea to snow)

Malaga has a quite central location in Andalusia and from here you can easily travel around. Most important however for a sports fan like me; Malaga is right at the sea and a quick swim is always possible, during winter Sierra Nevada and its ski slopes are only two hours away and for the walkers among us be sure to visit El Chorro or El Torcal.

4.      The nicest people

During my stay in Malaga I met the nicest people. Always happy to get to know you and lend a helping hand. However, being able to speak Spanish helps a lot. Not everyone speaks English and if they do, they really appreciate your effort, it changes they entire demeanour.

 

5.      The splendid weather

Malaga actually has the second best climate of Spain next to Marbella. The sun shines nearly every day and the temperature rarely goes below 10°C. Quite a difference from rainy Belgium where weather forecasts are almost the other way around.

6.      The surrounding nature

Malaga is surrounded by splendid nature; with forests, mountains, beach settings, … . It is always nice to hike through the woods or the mountains or walk along the beach for a few hours.

dsc06046

7.      Cultural abundance

As capital of the province “Malaga”, Malaga City is the cultural centre of the province, clearly noticeable by the number of museums that overcrowd Malaga. Malaga is literally filled with museums and historical monuments too much to just sum up. As home of Picasso we can naturally find the house of Picasso and the museum of Picasso here but these are not the only interesting museums. Be sure to see the CAC (Centro de Arte Contemporaneo de Malaga) and the Museo Carmen Tyssen Malaga.

8.      The cultural history of the south of Spain

And last but not least. The cultural history of Andalusia, the land of three cultures. The south of Spain has been ruled by the Moors for a long period and this leaves it’s trails, contributing to a mingling of three cultures: Jewish, Islamic and Christian still visible today. The unique architecture and decorations are simply magical. The amount of craftsmanship needed for such detailed work, only imagine.

DSC05063.JPG

If you are curious about the several locations I so lovingly mentioned, be sure to follow my blog the next weeks as I will blog more about wonderful Andalusia.

But what do you think of Malaga? Do you agree with me or was the city a total disappointment?

 

Terceira: enjoying nature

Terceira; like most of the Azorian Islands is very green and ideal for a nice walk. We followed one of the trails in the “Reserva Forestal” near one the old volcanoes: Pico de Gaspar . Along the trail we got magnificent views, changing environments and a trail that varied in difficulty as well. One moment you are walking around the meadows, the next you are walking in the woods or climbing on the rocky underground. And although it is quite steep we found that the detour to the top of the volcano was quite fulfilling as well. The crater itself may be a bit of a let-down, the panorama is certainly worth the climb.

The most beautiful spot on the island is definitely Algar do Carvao. This cave with its open crater is wonderful to see and certainly left an impression. But the “Gruta do Natal” is definitely worth the trip as well and a lot of fun. The tour is organized with a great deal of information about lava streams and tunnels.

 

 

Terceira: Angra do Heroismo

The next and last isle we visited was Terceira. This island is a lot smaller than Ponta Delgada but it doesn’t mean there is less to do. We started our trip at Angra do Heroismo.

Since our hotel was connected with the local diving centre and we just received or licence in San Miguel the first thing on our mind was diving again. Again, we weren’t disappointed and the diving sights were awesome. Although I prefer the dives we did in Ponta Delgada, the local reef is certainly a nice dive. We saw a variation of fishes with the most impressive one certainly being the giant bream at the bow of the shipwreck.