Monday, June 13, 2011

Niagara - Washington D.C. - Philadelphia

This was Maninder's idea, but a good one.

Day 1: Niagara Falls

We started early to took the PATH to reach WTC from which we took a cab to reach Bowery Street, China Town in New York. After a few minutes of wait the third musketeers, Amit joined us. We were guided to our bus which we would use for the next three days for our trip. The trip was booked through
We got our seats and was pretty happy with the placement. We began our journey around 8:30. At around 10:00 we made a halt to get our breakfast and around 13:00 we had our lunch, McDonalds : ). I took a nap as our guide told us that we would be reaching Niagara around 4:30 in the evening.
We reached Niagara around 4:45. After disembarking we went in and waited for our turn to get in. After about 25 minutes we were able to get in and had our first view of the famed Niagara Falls. It was a site to behold. We also saw the Rainbow Bridge, this bridge is unique as it connect nations the USA and Canada. The Maid of the Mist trip was waiting for us as we reached down on the elevator. Here were were provided disposable raincoats. The ride costs $13.50. (A tip here always be on the left side of the yacht as this is from where you get best views also if possible get a waterproof camera here.) The Canadian side was very visible and we learned that the philosophy of the two nations are different on Niagara. Canada has developed the Niagara region as a bonafide tourist attraction where as the US has tried to keep the natural beauty intact. Each has it own pros and cons where I am not going to discuss here. (By the way if you are taking the Maid of the Mist ride from the Canadian side it costs $16.50 CAD). We took a lot of pictures while we waited for our turn on the ride.
Extremely excited we made our way into the yacht and took up the best position available for the natural show we were about to witness. Firstly we saw the Bridal Veil falls and it was truly amazing. But knowing a little geography I knew this was all but a trailer of the main event that is going to be the Horseshoe falls. Its called the Horseshoe as its a shape is like a horseshoe. While we neared the falls The sight was something to behold, there were the falls all around us and pouring millions of gallons of water. It was basic elements of nature creating a spectacular view and was very very imposing as we looked at it from the base of the falls. I don't have pictures to do justice to the sights I have seen.It was getting difficult to keep the camera out as it was repeatedly getting wet and my camera was not waterproof. I tried to keep it dry and take a few pictures which I have shared. All in all it was a sight I shall never forget. I plan to bring my family here to see this amazing beauty of nature.
Lastly we took some great videos and pictures from the observation tower.
As we came out our guide asked us to have lunch in about 40 minutes after which we shall head to the other attraction, Goat Island from where you can see the approach of the Niagara River which creates the falls. I have always heard that the sight from the Canadian side is better, this is where I realized why. The Niagara River approaches from the US side of the falls so you are actually looking at the same direction the river is flowing whereas in the Canadian side you see the approach of the river from the opposite direction or head-on which give a far better view. Nonetheless the view was spectacular and we waited fro the laser works to begin, but we had too little time as we need. We enjoyed for the little time we had and made the most of it to see the views that were mesmerizing us.
Check the Pictures and Videos of Niagara here.

Around 21:30 we left Niagara and were headed towards Rochester, NY which was going to our night halt. We reached Rochester around 23:00. We got a Radisson Hotel in downtown Rochester. There was some miscommunication between the Travel Agents and the Hotel, this caused us to get the rooms late which was around 23:45. Once we got the room, we immediately hit the bed out of exhaustion.

Day 2: Corning Glass Museum & Washington DC

I am an natural early riser and so woke up pretty early around 5:30. After a nice warm bath I went down to and took a walk about in the Hotel vicinity. I took some pictures and got some facts about Rochester.
Around 8:30 we started and reached the Corning city around 10:45 which was renamed due to the Corning Glass Work's headquarters located there. The company employs' almost 80% of the population in Corning. Corning is also known as Crystal City due to the works of glass that happens there. We were given around 45 minutes in the Corning Glass Museum.
The museum had displays of glass from different countries as well as different ages dating back to prehistoric as well. There were glass works made by artists for display. One which was particularly striking was a Bridal Dress made by a young girl.
We were also give a live demonstration on how glass is made and shaped into a particular model. This was especially educative and informative.
Around 12:00 we started for Washington D.C. Being told it would take good part of five to five and half hours I decided to take a nap. We got late, very late we reached Washington around 20:30. Our final stop for the day was the Lincoln Memorial where the huge sitting statue of the sixteenth President of the United States and probably the most famous one is located. It was an awe inspiring and fascinating. The memorial is reminiscent of Greek architecture, like the Temple of Diana (the God not the Princess). The hands of Abraham Lincoln says A and L, his initials. Directly opposite from here the Washington Memorial can been observed with is a Monolith. There is a law in Washington DC which forbids any other structure to tower over the Washington Memorial. This makes the Washington Memorial the tallest structure in Washington DC as far as I have seen is visible almost from every other place of interest here.
After spending around 45 minutes at the Lincoln Memorial we headed back to our hotel which this time was a Sheraton Hotel. Too tired we hit the sack early.

Day 3: Washington D.C. and Philadelphia

The last day we started early. This was also Memorial Day and due to the Memorial Day Parades few of the roads were blocked. Our first stop was the Capitol Hill. This is the Seat of Power of the most Powerful Nation on Earth (both Militarily and Economically). It is a wonderful structure which stands up to its purpose. 

Next was the White House, we were allowed to see it from afar. There was a lot of security as expected of the the Most Powerful Man on Earth. It not as big as we see it in the Hollywood movies but decent in size nonetheless. An interesting fact the White House was never know as White House but as "President's House" but became more famous as the "White House" because of the Colour of the building. During the President-ship of James Monroe the White House was set ablaze by the British Army in 1814 during the War of 1812 in the Burning of Washington. I guess currently the British Army won't even reach the shores of United States let alone Burn Washington if a war is to break out between the two. They might be busy protecting the Buckingham Palace. 
President Thomas Jefferson's Memorial was next. Thomas Jefferson was the third President of the United States of America and one of the Founding Fathers. He was one of the five who drafted USA's declaration of Independence. The Architecture is of  Beaux-Arts tradition. The view of the Potomac River is breath taking from the memorial. The memorial itself has his words inscribed in it.
Next we took a cruise along the Potomac River and got a 360 degree view of Washington. We also saw Aircrafts taking off and landing on the Ronald Reagan Washington National Airport.  
Our Last stop in Washington DC was the Air and Space Museum. This is not to be missed by aircraft enthusiast. I shall let some of my pictures talk about the Museum. 
Pictures of Washington D.C is here.

After about ninety minutes in the museum we headed for Philadelphia and reached around 14:00 PM. Philadelphia had just one stop in the Independence Visitor Center. This is the place where Declaration of Independence was announced by the United States from Britain. This place also has the famous Liberty Bell.
You can check the pictures here.

Sunday, January 16, 2011

Lonely Trip to Staten Island


This weekend 15 January 2011, is a long weekend due to Martin Luther King's Birthday on the 17 January. Was all alone at home so was looking for ideas to take a trip alone. Philadelphia or Atlantic City would have been great, I was already late for that. So took a trip to Staten Island via the Ferry.

Let home around 10 AM and reach the Ferry Terminal at around 10:35 and after a wait of around 20 minutes the ferry arrived. It was pretty cold day with the temperature hovering around 0 to -3C. The Ferry passes the Statue of Liberty so took quite a few snaps of it. It also gives you the opportunity to have a good view of the New York Skyline. The New York Harbor was also in full view. After around 20 minutes we reached Staten Island. You may like to print out the PDF they provide on the Staten Island Website. You can access it from here.

Staten Island has no tourism information desk at the ferry terminal. Luckily walking around in the St. George's area I found the New York State Library behind the Borough Council. There I took help of the librarians to find out what are the places of interest.
After looking around I found Tinsellville where there is the historic Richmond Town, which is like a preserve of the old way of living interesting. Also in my radar was the Greenbelt Conservancy. So I took bus no S74 and headed to Richmond. It looked like there was much more snow in Staten Island than mainland New York. It looked pretty all around if you ignore the slush that the snow caused. After around a 25 minute ride I reached the Richmond Historic Town. Well to be frank I was disappointed in the sense there was no visitor center even though there was a direction it was closed. What I must say the area looked splendid with all the snow around and the cottages that dotted the area. There were two churches in the vicinity but both were closed. I trekked around on my own look for sights to see. After moving around in circles for some time I found the mail town that was talked about. There was no one there but the town was beautifully decorated.

After walking in the sown a lot after around an hour, I started to feel tired. I wanted to go to the Greenbelt Conservancy but there was no available for direction, so I decided to head back to the St. George's area and explore it.

Returning to the St. George's area I trekked around for sometime. The chill has grown from the time I left home and I was also beginning to get tired. So I walked back to the ferry terminal to take the Ferry back to New York. I decided to come back in spring with more information in hand.

Standing in the front of the ferry the chill of the wind was hitting the face but the view was definitely worth it.

Back in New York, I walking passed the US Customs House by the Bowling Green and the Bull of New York. This building also houses the US Bankruptcy Court, which I guess must have been pretty busy in the last couple of years.

Reached home at around 3:45 PM. Download the pictures and started to play around with them. In the mean time Kaushik (my friend) invited me for dinner with Koraisutir Kochuri, very tempting. I had not had lunch till now so decided to have it before being picked up by Kaushik. After a small stopover at the Indian Street (don't actually know what is the name of the Street actually) reach Kaushiks home and played around with his two lovely kids. After a stuffing of Kouchuri left his home around 9:15, took the PATH to come back home and hit the bed. Not a bad way to spend the day.

Some pictures were taken. Click here to view them.
Saturday, January 8, 2011

View outside my window


Came back from Delhi on 5th January 2011. Felt heavy at heart after leaving behind my Sweet Daughter and lovely wife and the rest of my family. I was welcomed with Snow outside my apartment. O was also fleeced off the airport. My mistake I should have checked the rates before boarding a private taxi.

Anyway here are some pictures and a small video of the view outside my window.

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