Central Park’s most wanted

On my second trip to the Big Apple in 2003 with my 2 friends Dawn and Trina we decided to get up early and go on a boat trip around Manhattan and Ellis, Staten and liberty islands. It was an extremely cold day and one of the bridges was stuck with the ice and it took a little while longer than anticipated to return to our pier.

For some odd reason we didn’t eat on the boat despite it being a long trip, so by the time we were on dry land we were starving. Trina had heard of a pub in Central Park – The Tavern on the Green. It took a nano-second to realise this was no pub, especially when the manager took the time to show us around the crystal decked restaurant and the Lulu Guiness shop!

It was all going so well, we were all tarted up and smelling lovely from the freebies in the bathroom and comfortably settled in the top bar tucking into jacket spuds and sipping on cocktails.

Therein lay the problem! Dawn vs long island ice tea! At an alarmingly fast pace she became a semi-conscious wreck vomiting in the corner. I did my best for a while mopping up the sick and staying off the radar of the staff, hoping that she would recover and we could leave with no one being the wiser. But the very same manager from earlier in the evening spotted me with a handful of napkins from the loo and stopped me for a little chat about getting my vomit covered friend out by the back door as quickly as possible. Luckily Dawn was fully recovered the next day and we had a fabulous time the rest of the holiday.

So on the final day of our North American 80th birthday adventure my mum and I decided to have a stroll around Central Park. I couldn’t resist going back to Tavern on the Green to see if there were any photos of me and my friends as a warning not to let us in under any circumstances. But I’m happy to report there was no evidence of any wanted posters and we were welcomed in with open arms…. well not quite,  but we did find a lovely spot in the garden in the glorious sunshine where we could sit and people watch all afternoon.

We had time for a turn around the part of Riverside Park that was used to film the final scene of You’ve Got Mail when Kathleen and Joe finally get it together, before heading off for our flight home.

It was a perfect end to a wonderful holiday and I’m so happy we managed to go before all of the Covid madness.


Niagara in the Fall

We had a lovely brunch and one last mooch in some shops in Toronto before getting the bus. It was a relatively short trip to Niagara, in just over an hour we were at the bus station hailing a taxi to our hotel.

The following day, after an amazing All you can eat breakfast we made our way towards the incredibly loud roar of the falls. But nothing could have prepared me for the breathtaking sight of the American and Horseshoe falls.

On the walk up to the main hub and visitor centre to get a closer look, we came across a statue of Nikola Tesla. I knew he was the inventor of alternating current (AC) electricity, but I didn’t know about his connection to this area. In 1895, along with George Westinghouse, he built the first hydroelectrical  power plant in Niagara Falls. The statue on the Canadian side was unveiled in 2006.


True to form I found myself in a tunnel, a very soggy walk down a path behind the Horseshoe falls, resulted in a very wet experience at the end out on an open platform at the foot of the falls.

But that was nowhere near as wet and wild as the boat trip right up to the mouth of the falls. I tried my very best to film the experience, but there was no way I could hold my phone and trying to keep my balance while being thrown around the boat and pelted by gallons of water. But what an experience and it was made much better because a lot of our fellow passengers were Italian and they were very animated at every thrilling moment.

As with every location on this trip we needed to get up high, so we took a ride up the Skylon Tower to have a gander at the magnificent view from above the spectacular falls.

The wonderful end to this fabulous day was the magical light show on both the falls that was just stunning.


We had a very early start in the morning to catch the 6.30am train to Manhattan.

Now for the important part for anyone staying on the Canadian side needing to travel to the American side…….

Allow more time than you think you need and make it absolutely clear that you need to cross the Rainbow bridge and the US border. This is our experience; When I booked the taxi I definitely said we needed to cross the border, but the first 2 taxi drivers refused to take us, the second driver was particularly rude and shouted abuse at me as he drove off. Thankfully the third driver was amazing, he was very friendly and incredibly patient at the border. Be prepared to be in the office for about 15 – 20 minutes being asked questions and fingerprinted. But a couple of stamps in our passports later and we were on our way to the Amtrak station with 5 minutes to spare.

Next stop The Big Apple


Montreal Marvels

Every four years a great sporting event happens and the highlight for me is the gymnastics. In 1976 I was only 9 years old but I do remember watching Nadia Comaneci get the first ever perfect 10 in the Montreal Olympic games.

Our lovely hotel was only a hop, skip and jump away from the Olympic Park, so that was our first port of call when we arrived in Montreal. After a quick pose in the Place Nadia Comaneci we made our way to the main stadium with the intention of taking the funicular to the top of the tower. The stadium boasts the highest inclined tower in the world standing at 175 metres. Just a short ride affords the most amazing panoramic view of the Olympic park, Botanical gardens and the rest of the city.

While exploring the old town we discovered the most beautiful cathedral I’ve ever seen. The Notre Dame’s interior is absolutely exquisite. I won’t be able to do it justice by describing it, so just look at these photos.

From a roof top terrace enjoying a little tipple or two we noticed a very large mound of greenery in the distance looming over the city. This is the Parc du Mont – Royal and it’s huge, it’s the site of an eroded ancient volcanic complex. The walk to the top is a steady winding incline that seems to go on and on forever. Or if feeling more energetic there are very steep woodland paths and staircases to climb. On either walks you are treated to beautiful scenery and trees galore in shades of orange, red, green and yellow. Our reward for getting to the end of the long and winding road was the amazing view from the Belvedere Kondiaronk lookout in front of the Chalet du Mont Royal. It seemed like we were on the very top of Montreal and couldn’t get any higher.

I was wrong….The highest point as it turns out is the 46th floor of the Observatoire Place Ville Maria. The floor to ceiling glass panels ensured that the 360 degree views were phenomenal. We spotted a pretty roof terrace on the 44th floor and decided to take a closer look. It was part of the restaurant and it was time for another drink, well apparently they are none too friendly in this establishment if you only want a drink.

As with Quebec be prepared to speak French or at least try.  Montreal is a fascinating city with a good metro network. As we were staying for only 4 nights we only saw a small part. Good excuse to return.

Next stop Ottawa……