Thursday, 27 June 2013

The home of 'Make Way For Ducklings'..........

Boston, Massachusetts

Boston was a great to city to visit. We stayed out of downtown, but we could catch the hotel shuttle to the 'The T' metro and ride into downtown in 15 mins. In the few days we were there we took it nice and easy - wandering through the Boston Common and Public Gardens, walking down Newbury Street (which is the Boston equivalent of 5th Ave and Chadstone Shopping Centre shops), checking out the Prudential Centre Mall, Boston Public Library and Copley Square to name a few places. We also took another Trolley tour of the city (as we did in Savannah) and heard a lot about the history of the city which I obviously didn't know much about!

The Public Garden, established in 1837, is the first public botanical garden in the United States.
It has swan boats that circle the lake in the middle of the pond, going under the suspension bridge
 crossing the lake. Robert Paget began the swan boat tradition in the 1870s
and his descendants still continue to operate the business today!
This park also has statues of ducklings in honour of the book 'Make Way for Ducklings' which is set in Boston.

In 1634 Boston Common was created as America’s first public park.
It is the oldest city park in the USA, consisting of 50 acres of land
bounded by city streets on all four sides.
Boston Public Library - I love how public library buildings in
historical US cities are so impressive.

Trinity Church - this church sits on the edge of Copley Square.

Copley Square is named for John Copley - here is his statue in the square.
The Bruins were in the Stanley Cup Finals during our visit and so
John had been decorated to show his support.
** In the Public Gardens, the 'Make Way' ducklings were also jerseyed up! :-)

Copley Square is the place where the memorial for the Boston
Marathon bombings has been located.

Probably at least a thousand pairs of shoes as well as thousands of
messages. Next year the marathon will be massive in memory of this event.

State Capitol Building of Massachusetts

John Hancock Building - the architects of the 60 storey building
made sure that at no time during the day does the sun reflect
off the glass windows into the Trinity Church next to it.
It is the tallest building in Boston.

Site of the Boston Massacre where a handful of British
soldiers fired into a shouting crowd of Bostonians, killing 5 people.
This spot is marked by a circle of paving stones seen just on the left of the photo.
Also occurring here on July 18, 1776, the citizens of Boston first heard the words of the
Declaration of Independence, read from atop this balcony.

Quincy Market was first built in the 1880s as an addition to
the already established marketplace of Faneuil Hall.

City street views........

City street views........

City street views........

City street views........

I thought this was a really cool looking spiral fire escape......

And of course - Boston is the 'location' of the TV show "Cheers". There are two such bars in Boston - the original location that they shot outside of for the show (that looks nothing like the TV show inside) and the second location near Quincy's Market (seen below) which has pieces from the Hollywood set.

More soon...... next up - New York City!!

Keep smiling,
Candice :-)

The long haul north.........

New Haven, Connecticut

Leaving Washington we planned to bypass New York and head towards Boston. However, we were not planning to get there in one day so we had to make plans for an overnight stay. We decided on New Haven and headed off by 9am. It was about a 6 hour drive according to Bing and iMaps, but on the day it turned out to be about a 9 hour drive! There was a pretty good reason for that - even though we were on interstate and parkway highways the whole way, once we got up around New York we came across Friday afternoon traffic!! Thankfully we were never were at a complete standstill for very long - a slow crawl was our slowest - but we hit around Newark airport area about 3pm and from there we got early weekend travellers off for their summer weekend getaways (and some commuters I'm sure!)

I am very thankful that we did not even attempt to use our car in New York City though - the little drive through we did around the city to bypass was slightly interesting and caused a few moments of intense concentration from me as I tried to get to where I needed to go and avoid making contact with other drivers! However we made it to New Haven safely and after a quick dinner at Chili's we turned in - just a tad tired after our big day of travelling!

The next morning we had a nice wander around the downtown area of New Haven - which if you did not know is the home of Ivy League college Yale University. We took a few pictures, but mostly just walked around in awe of the age and grandeur of the buildings. It would be pretty awesome in my opinion to live and study in these buildings! The town itself is fairly small and has a nice feel to it as well. It is not a large city - did not even feel as large as Bendigo or Wagga as we walked around.

More to come.......

Keep smiling,
Candice :-)

Sunday, 16 June 2013

This is the house of the President....... and other stories :-)

Washington DC

One of the most recognisable images from Washington DC would have to be the White House. It is an image that almost everyone in the world could name in less than 5 seconds and the building that in this season's round of movies is the most destroyed and taken over building in Washington! Lol :-) So when Ash and I were planning our trip, we decided that it would be really cool to take a tour of the White House, see inside and hear all about the history and politics that have taken place inside (and I wanted to see The West Wing live of course!!) That idea however was poopoo-ed as no foreign citizens are permitted to take tours of the most symbolic building in the Western World - despite Australia being such good friends with the US we are not on the list. So this was as close as we got our first day in town:

A great camera position in front of the White House.

The vegetable garden is just to the left of the camera view.

Arlington National Cemetery

Before we stopped at the President's house though, we arrived in town from Annapolis and drove to Arlington National Cemetery. The cemetery is the final resting place for more than 400,000 active duty service members, veterans and their families. Arlington is an active cemetery and conducts between 27 and 30 funerals each week day and between six and eight services on Saturdays - almost 7,000 services per year. More than 3 million people visit Arlington each year to pay their respects. Despite the rain that began as we started walking around, it was still a beautiful place to pay respects. We managed to view the Kennedy gravesites and the Unknown Soldier before the rain forced us to head back to the car and somewhere dry........ photos of what I saw are below:

President John F Kennedy, Jacqueline Kennedy,
their son Patrick and their unnamed stillborn daughter.
An eternal flame, lit by Jacqueline Kennedy at JFK's funeral, burns behind them.

Tomb of the Unknowns - here lies remains of US soldiers
from WW1, WW2, Korea and Vietnam.
(In 1998 the Vietnam soldier's remains were exhumed and identified by DNA testing.
It was decided the crypt that contained the remains of the Vietnam soldier would remain empty.)

One of the many views of the white tombstones
lying in stately rows on rolling green hills.
The National Mall

The National Mall is a rectangular open area national park that sits right in the middle of 'downtown' Washington DC. The Capitol Building and the Lincoln Memorial are situated on each end of the park area with the Washington Monument sitting in the middle. Ashlee and I spent a gorgeous hot morning in the sun walking one half of this area, looking at all the war memorials that Washington does so well. So different from when I was here eight years ago in March - I remember freezing in the cold wind and wearing my thick coat, scarf and gloves with not many people around. On this day it was in the low 30s (degrees Celsius - about 88 degrees Fahrenheit) and the sun had full show with no clouds. Humidity was high as well and I was sweating in my shorts and singlet - very different weather to my first visit!

The Washington Monument.
When I first saw this I had a little laugh as I just saw a new movie out ('Olympus Has Fallen')
where a plane crashes through the top half of this. Seeing it in real life gave me a nice link back to the movie :-)
In actual fact, the monument is being renovated and fixed after earthquake damage caused in 2011.

The Lincoln Memorial
There were heaps of school groups on excursions and people visiting this memorial.
A very busy place - inside was a huge crowd of people taking pictures of the statue of Lincoln (below).

The Korean War Memorial.
The soldiers are very lifelike as they stand (walking) through the paddy.

World War II Memorial.
Panoramic view showing the detail of the memorial.
Vietnam War Memorial.

Natural History Museum

One place that was a must visit was the Smithsonian Natural History Museum. It has a huge range of different exhibits that were really interesting to see - mammals, fossils, gems and mummies were some of the cool things to explore and learn about!

Smithsonian Castle - this is the information centre for all the Smithsonian Museums
Smithsonian Museum of Natural History
Looking down at the atrium entrance - and the giant elephant that greets you!
  The Mammals Exhibit had lots of taxidermy set up throughout the area........

This little guy just looked so funny!

Above our heads were these two...... took you by surprise!

Ashlee and the massive hippopotamus

The ever-Australian kangaroo :-)


Hello Blinky Bill :-)

Dingoes can be scary!!

In the Amazon Rainforest area, this guy was just hanging out......

The Ocean area was filled with information and a few live exhibits while the fossils are always cool to look at! They even had some pictures of galaxies taken with satellites.......

The coral reef - hello Dory and Nemo!!

T-Rex roars.....

Very cool picture of a far away galaxy!

And another!

The Hope Diamond....... the most famous diamond in the world!
45.5 carats of deep blue colour.

Standing in front of Tentkhonsu.......

There were these two other actual mummies in the museum as well!

 Other short photo memories of Washington DC

Standing in front of the Capitol Building (the reflection pool actually)
It is a very imposing building, even from this far away!!

Of course I had to find out where the Australian Embassy was located,
particularly as we were staying in 'Embassy Row'! It was only
four blocks away from our hotel. Not as pretty as some of
the other embassies housed in old style buildings, but
I suppose it does the job! :-)

We also visited the Old Post Office Building and went to the top floor to see the views of the city (since we couldn't go to the top of the Washington Monument as I had planned........(I'm finding this photo for you! I'll update when I do).

And with all that, we completed our Washington visit! From here we headed north east towards Boston - there would be an overnight somewhere along the way though........

More to come! Keep smiling,
Candice :-)