Couchsurfing New York City and Salsa Dancing

After my 2-day whirlwind walking tour of Philadelphia, it was time to catch a $10 Boltbus to New York City!  Upon my arrival, I knew to take the N train from Penn Station and what stop to get off of, but I didn’t even have the address of my Couchsurfing host…Maria.  She was picking me up at the train station at 9:00pm, so I had to have faith and trust.  It was a short drive to her family’s home in Brooklyn, where she is staying temporarily.  They are Italian and although her father is a Chef, her mother made some outstanding meals!  And she has a to-die-for Cappuccino maker!

I did most everything on my own in New York, but one evening, Maria and I went out Salsa dancing and to a neighborhood bar.  This is Maria…


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Philadelphia and New York City…Here I Come!

I can’t believe I’m leaving in 10 days for Philadelphia (2 days/3 nights) and New York City (almost 4 days/4 nights) on a jet plane!!  Frontier Airlines had a special for $32 round trip flying out of Columbus, Ohio.  I’ll have to drive from Cincinnati, but from my house it’s only about an hour and 40 minutes.  Parking at the airport is only $4 a day!  I’ve been around the world…but never to these two Cities.  I’ll be Couchsurfing with a lady in each City and they’re really cool!  They’re both about 40 years old, beautiful, and fun!

I’m in the process of researching.  I’ll fly into Trenton, NJ which is about 40 minutes from Philly and a little over an hour from NYC by train.  I’ll have to pack in a lot in a short period of time (especially for NYC)…but I’m thinking for Philadelphia of doing a 3 mile self-guided walking tour called The Constitutional Walking Tour and it includes 33 sites such as The National Constitution Center – Liberty Bell Museum and 13 other non-constitutional sites.  I’d also like to make it to the Museum of Art – Longwood Gardens – Boathouse Row – Magic Gardens – South Street.

And for New York City–possibly the free Staten Island Ferry (if it’s not too cold) – from Battery Park you can take the free Downtown Connection bus to South Street Seaport – walk across Brooklyn Bridge – Ground Zero – Chinatown – Little Italy – Washington Square Park – Greenwich Village – Highline – Chelsea Market – Midtown to include — Times Square (a 1.5 mile walk along 42nd street to see architecture such as The Candler Bldg., W. R. Grace Bldg. – New York Public Library, Grand Central Station, and the Chrysler Building) – Rockefeller Center – Radio City Music Hall – Museum of Modern Art – St. Patrick’s Cathedral – Central Park – Brooklyn (possibly the Apollo Theater and Lennox Lounge in Harlem and/or some sites in Queens).

I’m not planning on going up to the top of the Empire State Building because I’ve read that it’s less crowded to go up the Rockefeller Bldg. and that way you have a view of the Empire State Bldg.  I won’t be able to go in the Statue of Liberty due to repairs.

I thought about renting a bicycle in NYC.

If anyone has any “must see or dos” please let me know.  Of course, the ladies I’m staying with are locals and will be able to give me lots of good information.

One of the ladies does pole dancing in a studio to keep in shape and wants me to join her…I’ll be so busy, you’ll have to wait until I return for a recap!

Oh…the people I’ll meet, the places I’ll go, and the things I’ll do!

Sunsets at Pier 60

Clearwater, Florida has a daily festival on their pier and surrounding area called, “The Sunsets at Pier 60.  I had to jump for joy from the beauty!

The Hilton was glowing…

I noticed this girl and asked if I could take her photo because her hair was pretty.  She seemed surprised and quickly said “Yes”!  Her name was Ebony and we told her she should be a model, but she said she has MS and couldn’t wear high heels.  I told her upon leaving, that she was beautiful!  It feels good to make other people feel good!

This drummer was using empty buckets as drums and was very talented!

Walking back to the car, I told Zully this palm tree looked almost like fireworks going off from the lighting…

When we got back to Zully’s condo, we had pizza delivered and it was sooo good!  Another great day! 🙂

Tybee Island, Savannah, Georgia

My second and final day in Savannah was spent taking a drive to Tybee Island with Sonya (my Couchsurfing host).

Located approximately 30 minutes by car from Savannah, with lots of shops and restaurants, it’s a great spot to spend the day!

As soon as we walked onto the beach, there were lots of birds!  Seagulls and Black Skimmers!  I started running alongside them so they would fly for our photos…

We walked onto the pier…

And under the pier…

It was a windy 60 degree day.  Here’s Sonya…

After leaving the beach, we stopped at some shops that had interesting items…

On the way home, our next stop was the grocery where I purchased ingredients for the dinner I was preparing!

Sonya and her husband Graham had booked an evening carriage ride in Savannah, so we had a nice tour of Downtown after dinner.  It was a little chilly, but they had blankets.  I had seen much of what we saw during my self-guided walking tour, but the Tour Guide had some interesting tid bits to share.  I didn’t know that most of Historic Downtown Savannah is built on top of a grave yard!  Unfortunately, none of my photos came out…it’s difficult to take night photos when you’re moving!

I hope you’ll keep following my adventures as I travel to the Pensacola/Destin/Panama City Beach area tomorrow!

Savannah in a Day

I left Alexa’s (my Couchsurfing host) at 7am to drive the 2 1/2 hours from Charleston, S.C. to Savannah, Georgia.  I parked at the Visitors’ Center (it’s free for the first hour and only $1 for each additional hour), spoke with a very nice lady about Savannah and started walking on my self-guided tour.  Before arriving, I was wondering how it would compare to Charleston.  Both are walking cities…if you don’t mind walking for a few hours.

This is the first photo I took at the Savannah College of Art and Design.  They own over 80 buildings in Savannah!

I walked about a mile down Martin Luther King, Jr. Blvd. to the Savannah River and turned right.  There are restaurants and shops lining the River and it extends about 10 blocks.

The weather started out in the 50’s and cloudy, but warmed up to the 60’s with some sun.  You can see the river in this shot…

This is the WWII Monument, “A World Apart“, symbolizing a world divided by war.

The steel globe is overlaid with bronze oceans and copper continents. The pathway lists the 527 Chatham County residents killed during the war.

This is the Waving Girl Monument…

I couldn’t resist asking if I could take a photo of the barbershop…(they looked at me oddly)!

A puddle of water…:)

Savannah has a variety of types of architecture.  In comparison to Charleston, the City seemed a bit run down, but still beautiful!  Historic Downtown Savannah has 22 beautiful squares with a statue or fountain and benches for sitting.

The Cathedral of St. John is massive and spectacular!  I’m not posting a photo because it’s difficult to take a photo to do it justice!  There are quite a few Churches in Savannah, but I’ll just post this one…

The Oak trees with the Spanish Moss hanging down are beautiful and are everywhere!

This stairwell caught my eye…

I drove to the home of my Couchsurfing host–Sonya, her husband Graham, and 16 yr. old son–Val.  Sonya is from Bulgaria and full of life!  We spent a couple of hours looking at her photos from Bulgaria and Belgium.  She was in the Bulgarian Army for 17 years and has only been in Savannah for two months.  Her husband is still in the Army and is leaving for Afghanistan after Thanksgiving.  I was in the Army years ago…so we all have something is common!

She made Chicken and stuffing for dinner.  Tomorrow Sonya and I are going to Tybee Island and she made a reservation for all of us to go on a carriage ride in Downtown Savannah in the evening!

See you then!

Fun Activities in Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston is known not only for their historic architecture in Downtown, but also their picturesque beaches!  The next two photos are from last night.  I posted so many photos yesterday, I thought I’d save a couple of them for today!

Since Alexa was driving, I was able to take a photo while crossing the Arthur Ravenel, Jr. Bridge at sunset!

As we were driving across another bridge, I asked if we could stop because the view was breathtaking…

Sunday morning we went to Yoga!  It wasn’t quite what I expected.  The instructor was a lovely lady and she gave us a good workout, but she had very strong views on not killing anything, including animals for the purpose of eating them.  During most of the 1 hour and 45 minute session, she either lectured or played tapes loudly espousing the negative karma associated with doing so!  I still enjoyed it…because I’m learning how to take what I want from situations and leave the rest.  I told Alexa I was in the mood for Steak and Shrimp after we exited the building (hee, hee)!  Actually, I was a vegetarian for about six months a few years ago.  Who knows, I may try it again!

We stopped at Harris Teeter, a local grocery store and purchased produce for a nice luncheon salad.  And we picked out a juicy roasted chicken and asparagus for dinner!  After lunch we drove to Sullivans Island…about 15 minutes from her condo and took a three-mile walk along the beach.  Here are some of the photos from our jaunt.

How did they come up with a fine of $1040?

We both loved the foot prints in the sand.  Not sure why they look raised, but we like it!

Here’s Alexa…I asked her to stand for a reflection shot…

She pointed out all of the birds surrounding a shrimping boat…

There were also a pod of Dolphins very close to the shore, frolicking in the water, that we enjoyed watching!  I don’t have a photo though!

After leaving the Island, we stopped at a Red Box and picked up the movie “Magic Mike”!  We both had heard a lot of positive reviews, but after watching it, felt it was a bit cheesy, although we did appreciate their physiques!

It was a nice Sunday and tomorrow I leave for Savannah!  I’ve really enjoyed my time here in Charleston and with Alexa!  I’m trying to play matchmaker, because she’s single, beautiful, intelligent, and personable!

Charleston at first glance

I arrived in Charleston from Asheville, N.C. shortly after noon on November 2nd and stopped at the Visitor’s Center to pick up maps and information.  Finding a reasonably priced place to park can be a challenge.  Luckily, Alexa, the Couchsurfing girl I’m staying with told me about free parking at the Battery, located right on the waterfront.  I began walking from there and was so excited to begin exploring all of the beautiful architecture and landscaping!

Here are some of the treasures I found…

Paths are so intriguing…you never know where they’ll lead…similar to life!

I absolutely LOVE all of the pink hues in Charleston…

This photo is interesting to me because it’s a building with dead vines, a lit lamp, a reflection in the window and in the background to the left…a tree!

The gray, white, and black make a nice combo…

There were lots of large homes to take photos of…but more often than not…I was drawn to other buildings…

The Crape (or Crepe) Myrtle tree is found everywhere in Charleston.  They remind me of camouflage!

If you haven’t figured it out yet…I really like vines growing on buildings!

I love this outdoor lamp!

As I was walking along, a man in a suit saw my camera and commented that there was a lot to photograph in Charleston.  I agreed with him and asked if he was in real estate.  He said no, I’m an Attorney, but please don’t hold it against me.  He sounded just like Forest Gump.  When I showed him my walking tour and my next stop, he said he could walk with me part of the way, to show me where it was.  Like they say, people in the South are extra friendly!

I believe this first church is St. Philip’s Church…it had a nice cemetery!  Charleston is known as the “Holy City” because there are so many churches.  I’m told by Alexa that there are no buildings in Historic Downtown Charleston that are taller than the church spires, by City ordinance!

I had a self-guided walking tour map with me, but mainly referred to it for directions.  I’m not a big history buff, so for me it was more about taking photographs.

Alexa wasn’t getting home from her 2nd job as a dance instructor until 9pm, but I headed to her place to go through my photos, eat some soup for an early dinner and rest.  The combination of driving, walking a lot, and sleeping in unfamiliar surroundings contributed to me feeling tired!

I’ll be taking another long hike through the streets of Charleston tomorrow…see you then!

Couchsurfing Cape Town

If you’ve never heard of Couchsurfing before… based on my first experience… it’s a wonderful way to learn about a new place.  I stayed with a couple named Odette and Neal in Cape Town, Africa and they were so hospitable!

Neal and Odette

They picked me up at the airport and I even had my own bedroom in their lovely home!

Odette and Neal’s place

They enlisted their neighbor…Keith…to take me hiking to the top of Table Mountain—Amazing!

Indiavestner Trail–Table Mountain, Cape Town

Taking Cable Car down from top of Table Mountain

I ate wonderful home cooked meals with them and they even took me shopping!  I took them out to dine at a sushi restaurant as a token for their kindness.

A fellow blogger, Rory Alexander, met up with us while we were dining.  He has three blogs and I would link to them, but my link isn’t working correctly right now.  He’s an unbelievable photographer!

I’m definitely a fan of Couchsurfing now!