Ever since me and friend back from back at Swansea university decided that a year abroad was an adventure we wanted to undertake, we always said how fun would it be to be able to say yeah, we spent Christmas day and New Years Eve in New York city. So around November we decided why not do it ? So we got to planning where we would visit on our wonderful Christmas journey. The four cities we decided upon where Boston, New York, Philadelphia and Washington. And each of the cities where wonderful in their own wee ways.
As he was doing his year abroad down in California we decided the best place to meet up would be in New York and travel to each city from there. So we spent the first two days of our journey exploring New York, getting lost a countless amount of times I may add. We walked around Central park for over an hour to find the Zoo to finally discover that we had walked past it several times, then later that night we spent our an hour to find a cinema to watch the new Star Wars movie to finally get there to discover it had been sold out. So the first day was a mix of bad luck and amazing sightseeing. Below is a picture of a Seal who sat there posing for selfies for a good five minutes.
On the first day we went to the Rockefeller observation deck and the views of the city where spectacular, with the empire state building in background as you can see from the picture above.
Our first journey was to visit Boston, with me being Irish and my friend studying history we both had interests in visiting the city. While there we did the Boston freedom Trail which was about the American revolution against the British. Below is a picture of our tour guide dressed in the attire of that time.
Next on my list in Boston was to see the Celtics play. With having an interest in basketball and the Celtics being the team I support it was perfect timing that they were playing at home the weekend I was there. They certainly point on a good performance beating the Minnesota Timberwolves by 20 points.
Of course we couldn’t go all the way to Boston and not visit the famous Boston Red Sox stadium, Fenway Park, the oldest stadium in baseball. It was really interesting to see the history associated with this old famous stadium, including the fact that they still have the original green wooden seats in the stands from when the stadium was originally built, but I must say they are incredibly uncomfortable.
Next on our list was back to New York to spend Christmas there. We decided to spend the morning/afternoon cycling around central park which was a ton of fun. There was a surprising amount of people with the park actually being busier than any other day we had been there. In terms of weather it was nothing like what we expected, we thought it was going to be cold and snowy yet it was the complete opposite, it was 22 degrees and a little bit sunny, it felt weird walking around on christmas day with just a T-shirt on. We cycled the entire length of the park stopping on the way to see all the interesting areas hoping that we might see a celebrity but unfortunately we had no luck on that front. It took us around 2 hours and it was totally worth it, I would recommend it to anyone.
Next on our travel itinerary was Philadelphia. Here we decided to see our first NFL game and it didn’t disappoint in the slightest. We had got fortunate that this game was a decider game to see who would clinch top spot in the division, The Philadelphia Eagles vs The Washington Redskins. Unfortunately the Eagles didn’t live up to their expectations set on them and they were convincingly beaten but the atmosphere was still amazing and totally worth it.
Next we went to see Independence Hall and the Liberty Bell to learn a bit about the history of the United States, which was incredibly interesting. All historical museums in the United States are free to the public which being a student is amazing.
In my first year at Swansea University, during the second semester, a group of Americans came for their year abroad and we became really good friends, so you can only imagine our excitement when we found out that one of the girls was actually working in Washington and that two of the other girls when they found out we would be going there, had made plans to come up and visit us, we hadn’t seen them in around one and a half years. It made the whole Washington experience 100x better.
They showed us around Washington going to lots of the famous sites, such as the White House, Washington Monument, Lincoln Memorial, National Mall and the United States Capitol Building. Washington was by far one of the best cities I have visited.
The last leg of our Christmas adventure was back to New York to spend New Years Eve at Times Square, and I must say, it was one of the best experiences of my life, it’s one of those events you always see on TV every year and think wow I wish I could be there for that, and now to be able to say, yeah actually I’ve done it is a pretty cool thing to tell people.
For our last day we went to visit the Empire State Building because you simply can’t come all the way to New York and not do the most touristy thing there is. And it’s safe to say, it didn’t disappoint in the slightest, the views from the top were simply spectacular, bare in mind we did have to queue up for nearly an hour to get it, but it was 100% worth it. We got there just in time to see the city in full light and to see it just as the sun was beginning to set.
And there ends my Christmas adventure, it was by far one of the best experiences of my life, and I couldn’t have picked a better person than one of my best friends from back in Swansea to do it on, without being on a year abroad it wouldn’t have been possible.