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The month of December brought a number of events, taking me on a rollercoaster of emotions with which to end the year! At the beginning of December, John and I headed off for the bright lights of New York, travelling in style on "Megabus"! A 5.30a.m. departure soon paled into distant memory as we made our way northwards taking up front position "driver" seats on the top deck, a treat I had last enjoyed as a ten year old!
After being released in central Manhattan, we made our way through the crowds only to stumble upon the iconic "Macy's"! Feeling pangs of hunger however, we diverted and found ourselves in an authentic family- run, Italian- owned diner where John did justice to a stack of blueberry pancakes with syrup, and I tucked into a delicious Mediterranean omlette with ...fries! Delicious! And all washed down with several refills of great coffee, of course.
Needless to say we "did" Macy's, a wonderful experience if only to experience the thrum of the crowds and to ride on the original 1929 escalators. The beautifully dressed windows with animated figures made us stop and longingly stare, reliving happy memories of bygone Christmas outings.
Then off we stomped to the Empire State Building, the symbol of New York which had impacted most strongly on me from childhood. Here we were, hurtling up through 82 floors to the observation balcony. With unbelievable beauty, the evening light engulfed us as the 360 degree vista transformed into a sea of mesmerizing lights, outlining the soaring lego-styled buildings.
After supper at a local tavern, we hit 5th Avenue, window shopping with a vengeance! The gargantuan tree and stunning Christmas lights of the Rockefeller Center took our breath away! Skaters were also out in force, rhythmically circumnavigating the sunken ice-rink below the Christmas Tree.
Times Square was our next destination. We marvelled at the volume of pedestrian traffic and smiled as Yellow Cab taxi drivers honked their horns at recalcitrant jay-walkers and other road users! The return route to our hotel took in Broadway and we again paid homage to Macy's as we sauntered back. And that was Day 0ne-whew!

Day Two (Saturday 8th December)
We started day two by walking around the corner from our hotel to the iconic "Flat Iron" building. This edifice is truly a unique New York landmark and a popular photo stop for visitors, (we were no exceptions to the practice!). An adjacent square afforded me the opportunity to check out New York squirrels and if I thought DC squirrels were cheeky, they have nothing on these New Yorkers which actually pose for photos!!
The next stop on our itinerary was "Grand Central Station", famed for its pivitol role as a setting in one of my all time favourite films, "Madagascar"! Sadly, the Chrysler Building, an extraordinarily beautiful example of Art Deco architecture, was closed on Saturday, but we peered longingly through the glass doors and vowed that it would be on our itinerary when we next returned.
As we made our way en route to Broadway for a matinee performance of "Nice Work If You Can Get It", starring the wonderful Matthew Broderick, we slipped into "Tiffany's", looked at the price tags and quickly slipped out!
"Nice Work If you Can Get It"- a fantastic show, 100% entertainment from beginning to end-great music, stunning choreography and plenty of humour-what more can you ask for?
...And then it was time to leave. With heavier steps, we made our way down to the Hudson River and joined the sprawl of tired, yet serenely satisfied passengers to await the arrival of our transport back to DC. We'll be back!

Only two days later we experienced a shocking and stressful event as news broke of a house fire at our residence in DC. Damage was mainly confined to one room, (laundry room-the source of the electrical fire) but the consequences of smoke and water damage resulted in our evacuation of the property and relocation to another neighbourhood. We were fortunate to be accommodated in a comfortable hotel for three weeks which took in Christmas and New Year. Not to be down-hearted, we set up a six inch Christmas tree in the hotel room and strung up our treasured selective assortment of Christmas cards sent from well-wishers.!

Amazingly. our friends, Bob and Shelley, stoically set out from Halifax, Nova Scotia accompanied by Glenn, (who was deposited in Boston) and drove down to DC to spend Christmas with us! As a diversionary tactic from our situation, it worked a treat and we thoroughly enjoyed seeing yet more of DC: sight-seeing bus tour, Air and Space Museum, National Art Gallery, and a personal tour of the Pentagon! The latter event was provided by the husband of a colleague at Annandale High School who works at the Pentagon. We felt very privileged to be given this insider's tour but I can't divulge any secrets...!
Our Christmas meal took place at "Carmine's", a long-established traditional Italian restaurant. The food was delicious: gigantic prawns for starters, chicken Italian style for main course and a Tiramisu to die for, all washed down with copious glasses of red wine! Four hours later, we rolled out, well and truly satisfied. A quick walk across Pennsylvania Avenue and we were standing in front of the National Christmas Tree with the Whitehouse behind us-a perfect end to a perfect day!
To be continued...

Next blog instalment coming to a home near you very soon!

Posted by mhwedwards 16:25 Archived in USA

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