Towards the end of 2018, I began to feel incredibly burnt out and decided that I needed a mini getaway. Being in Australia means that I am too far to dash off to Europe or the US, but it also means being very close to Asia. I've been to Hong Kong before (well, technically anyway), but that was only for a stopover and I never had the chance to actually see the city. When I saw that flights were on sale for Hong Kong, I thought, why not? A couple of weeks later, I became lost amongst the craziness of HK — whether it was the density of the buildings, hectic nature of the city or the humid (almost unbearable) weather. Below are some of my favourite snaps from my trip.
Japan is the one country that I could never get sick of. Late in February, I had the chance to visit again, this time staying in Kyoto. Below are some of my favourite snaps from the trip.
After approximately 27 hours of flying (and a stopover in Hong Kong), all my wildest dreams came true, and I was finally in New York City.
Living in Australia means most countries are well out of reach — it's the reason why Aussies are likely to travel to Asia (not that there's anything wrong with that, Asia is damn awesome). New York is approximately 17000km away from home, yet it couldn't feel more like home.
Below is my guide to the city that E. B. White once called "The Capital of the World".
Unfortunately, as I mentioned earlier, getting to NYC is a marathon effort. Though most Aussies go the Qantas route with a stopover in Los Angeles, I chose another way as I needed a round ticket that included return from Europe. I flew Cathay Pacific, with a short stopover in Hong Kong.
I didn't use the subway once the entire time I was in NYC, I know, crazy right? However, I did live off Uber. One afternoon, my phone died and the traffic was crazy, and I walked from Battery Park to Midtown, yes, I'm crazy, but it was a great workout.
Where to Stay:
I stayed in Midtown, which I regretted after 2 hours of being in NYC. Yes, Times Square is in a walkable distance, but so are the crowds and the noise. I recommend areas such as NoLita, East Village or Chelsea. Next time I go back, I will probably base myself in Brooklyn since I spent a lot of time there during my last trip.
I'm not going to lie; this is where most of my money went towards. Here's some of my favourite restaurants.
Cafe MUD – 307 E 9th St, East Village (link)
The coffee is what dreams are made of, so is the brunch. It's been six months since I was there and I'm still craving their coffee beans.
Atrium DUMBO - 15 Main St, Brooklyn (link)
This one was kind of pricey, I'm not going to lie, but it was so damn good.
One Girl Cookies - 33 Main St, Brooklyn (link)
These are some of the best cookies in town, coffee is meh, but them cookies, though.
OddFellows Ice Cream Co - 175 Kent Ave, Brooklyn (link)
I know it's in the name, but the flavours are truly odd, in the best possible way of course. Homemade ice cream always wins.
Billy's Bakery - 184 9th Ave, Chelsea (link)
You can find cupcakes everywhere in NYC, but Billy's Bakery provides some yummy choices.
Of course, there's the obvious one's that every tourist need to do. The Empire State Building was still once of my highlights, and even though I'm terrified of heights, it was truly beautiful. I highly recommend that you do this as early as possible, so you're not stuck in a queue. I went at 9 am, and it only took me around 15 min to get to the top. Another landmark you can't miss is the Statue of Liberty. The ferry to Liberty Island is a lot of fun too. Honestly, I wasn't all that excited about seeing it, but once I caught a glimpse of the statue, I was in awe of its beauty. Climbing the Brooklyn Bridge is also a must, just be sure to bring some water for you.
An attraction that is a hidden gem (especially if you're a booklover) is The Morgan Library & Museum. It's heaven. Not only is it the most beautiful library I've ever seen, but it also contains first edition Jane Austen and Walt Whitman, a Gutenberg Bible, and lots of other bookish treasures.
Central Park is a challenge and a little overwhelming. Saying that I was there in the middle of Summer so it was stinking hot and the last place I wanted to be in was a park. It was truly beautiful though.
The best thing about NYC is that there are things happening every day, so you don't need to limit yourself to the typical attractions. Always keep on the lookout for something that is going on. Some of my random highlights included seeing Beyonce at Citi Field, being front row in the audience at Steven Colbert, and a random improv show that was playing Off-Broadway.
Don't make the mistake of buying Broadway tickets before you hit NYC, enter lotteries or buy them discounted from the ticket box in Times Square — unless you're planning to see Hamilton, then prepare to sell a kidney on the black market to get a ticket.
For me, it was all about Strand Bookstore in East Village. It's without argument the best bookstore I've ever been to in my whole life. Strand is what bookstores should look like. I also thought Chelsea Market was incredible, especially if you love food. There is also a bookstore in the market called Posman Books. In there, I found a comic book about the Beat Generation, and I intend on loving it forever.
As a whole (and it's probably a generalisation, apologies), I didn't find NYC Shop Assistants all that friendly, perhaps it's just the craziness of the city. Don't be too offended by it, I think it's the norm of the area.
If you like busy and crazy, look no further than NYC.
Check out some of my snaps below:
Below are some of my favourite snaps from my trip to wonderful Iceland this year. Visiting Iceland was a dream come true and was the most magical place I've ever seen