UNITED STATES OF AMERICA
I like visiting the US. Los Angeles is a favourite as is New York. One can’t say much about travelling here because it’s so easy. There’s buses and the metro in all your cities that are simple to work out.
When in L.A. it doesn’t matter where you stay you are going to be about 2hrs from the next thing you want to see. If you are staying not too far from LAX like I do, you will be 2-2 ½ hrs from Hollywood, Knotts Berry Farm, Disneyland and the centre of L.A. and of course if you stay over that way it works in reverse. No matter as the public transport system is good.
Hit Venus beach for some cheap shopping and fun at Santa Monica Pier. Don’t forget all the Hollywood tours but best of all for me was Universal Studios. If you want to Six Flags then be prepared for a long day. Its way north of L.A. and best way to get there is take a train from L.A. main train station and then a bus. Yes, it takes awhile.
San Francisco is another of those big cities I like to visit. If you go here then make an effort to go to Santa Cruz. It’s a small student town about 2hrs by bus south of San Fran. And this is where you will find Mystery Spot. Wow it’s fascinating and totally doesn’t make sense. All I have from there as a memento is a sticker as my camera got stolen 2months later in Barcelona before I had put them on Facebook. Damn I will have to go back. Don’t forget to get out of the city and do a wine tour.
SEATTLE is the home of Starbucks. The coffee shop I’m always on the lookout for when I can’t find any others. Microsft and Amazon started here to. Pikes Fish Market is great to have a look at and watch the guys throwing the fish around and there are plenty of souvenir shops along here. Seattle is one of the main ports for boarding to do a cruise up to Alaska so you can go and see some huge cruise liners berthed at the port.
A few miles from the centre of Seattle is the Museum of Flight. Great for those interested in flight history. On my second trips to Seattle I went here and spent 4 hrs. You can easily spend more time than that. There is something for everyone in Seattle and it’s a good place to then hop up to Vancouver or to Vancouver Island as ferries leave from here every day.
After Seattle I went into the state of Montana. There is a lot of flat land in Montana and a lot of not flat land. Actually the contrast is so different. I stayed in a small town of about 250 people and went to the Radon Mines in Basin. It hasn’t helped my health problem but I met some fantastic people who I will go visit again next year. I caught a ride on the Calgary in Canada to see my great aunty again as I did last year.(more under Canada)
New York – I do love the Big Apple to. This year on my visit they had blocked off streets in Times Square and put chairs out for everyone to sit on. It was great and seeing as I like to watch people, sitting there for 2 hours was no problem. Plenty of places close to get a coffee! I went to Ground Zero again and took another batch of photos as I did last year. (stolen camera – don’t have those anymore). You will find guys on the street selling the bus and Liberty tours and they are cheap and worth doing.
From New York I went to Williamstown in Massachusetts. You wouldn’t even know there was a University here, let alone a great Art Museum. WHY, well there are so many high trees you can see the town until you are in it. It’s a nice quiet town and I have a friend there that has a day spa. I relaxed here for a few days with Mark which I needed to do as I was still suffering from the rollercoaster ride way back in Santa Cruz!
Let’s not forget Chicago. Again do the hop-on-hop-off bus. If you go there with the intention of seeing an Oprah show and you have not booked at least 6months in advance then you will be out of luck. Don’t worry there is always the Sears Tower which is 9th highest in the world. (3 of the highest are still under construction) And go to Macys. I do love shopping here. A great hostel I found in Chicago was the HI Chicago. Has lots of computers which you can print off, full-time tourist help desk and you can sign up to go to something every night. One night I did picnic in the park and watched a movie there on a huge screen. Lots of locals came with their children and it costs nothing, only what you buy for dinner. There is a good walkway down along the lake front. Metro is easy to work out and you can take it to the airport.
Ingrids Travel Tips for the USA
1) New Zealanders and Australians can now get into the U.S. under the visa waiver programme. If heading to the states you have to apply before leaving your country and then you must update it 3 days before entering. I applied in March and then updated in April. Don’t lose your number given to you. When you get to the airport fill in the GREEN immigration form and don’t lose that either. If you go up into Vancouver from Seattle but intent to come back into the States from say Toronto then keep that piece of green paper. Don’t let Canadian immigration have it unless you are not coming back into the states. Your visa (number) is valid for 3yrs. (other countries also can enter under this programme so check before going).
2) By a day pass for the public transport system in L.A. You can use it for the buses and metro (underground) and it is valid till 3am – the next morning. Cost $5.
3) Lost or having trouble finding your way. Ask someone as most people are only too willing to help.
4) Walk the Golden Gate in San Fran.
5) Do Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz.
6) Ride the Cable Car. Don’t be put off by the long queue as it goes down pretty quick.
7) If you can’t afford to fly between cities then take a train if you can. I hate the Greyhound buses in the U.S. The ones in Mexico and Sth America leave there’s for dead. They are old, dirty and the seats recline about 2inches. The security for getting on board is ridiculous and bl…dy time consuming and annoying to say the least.
8) A cheap domestic airline is Southwest.
9) Catch a shuttle into San Fran. From the airport, no need to book, and cheapest way into the centre and right to your door.
10) In Seattle when you come out of arrivals, go right and then to the very end of the terminal. There you will find a bus to catch into the centre of the city. Tacoma Airport is some distance from the centre and the bus will drop you off at the closest point to your accomodation.
11) Do Times Square and the Statue of Liberty. Include a hop-on-hop-off bus tour and make sure to get off at Ground Zero.
12) Want to shop for clothing then go to Spanish Harlem. Get on the Metro and head the opposite end of the Manhattan Island and get off at 168th Street. I love it up here to and you can practise you Spanish as they don’t mind.
13) If you have time then get out into the lesser know places like I have. Williamstown in Massachusetts and Montana. Both places I will go again.
14) For information on other places then check out Lonely Planet. As I visit places I will add then in. Later this year I will be going to Salt Lake City.
15) Be sure to go to other places on the West Coast like Mystery Spot, Santa Cruz, Musuem of Flight in Seattle, Pikes Fish Market, Seattle.
16) If in one of the big cities and you want tickets to events for everything from sport to theatre then click the banner below.
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