Category Archives: North America

There’s More to Philly Than Cheesesteaks…

Before I travelled to the United States, a family friend told me that I must go to Philadelphia and try a Philly cheesesteak, as it was the best food he had had whilst there. I promised I would as I wanted to go to Philadelphia anyway, given its historical importance in the American Revolution, where the elite white revolutionaries (Founding Fathers) created the liberal political ideals of the newly-created nation of the United States. Yet I wondered how good the Philly cheesesteak would be and whether Philadelphia would be a good tourist destination.

I arrived in Philadelphia on a sunny afternoon, and headed for the tourist district, where I Continue reading

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Still Feeling the Cold? Count Yourself Lucky you Weren’t in New York for the Big Freeze

Getting off the plane after leaving Europe for the first time, I was met with a cold blast of air like nothing I’d felt before, as temperatures of below -19°C hit New York in February of last year. It was so cold that I now feel grateful for the ‘cold’ temperature of 1°C I might get here in Bristol.

Funnily enough, New York was drastically colder than my visit to Moscow the preceding February, where quite the opposite occurred — a ‘heat wave’, with (wait for it) temperatures of up to 6°C!

If you think weather forecasts in the UK are dramatic, take a look at American TV. Broadcasts of the people of Boston trapped in snowed-in houses, followed by an escaped convict turning himself in. Reports on the risk of the cold to homeless people and general health warnings permeated every television channel and newspaper headline in the country.

Staying in the heart of Midtown, a road away from the Empire State Building, Continue reading

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How Not to Road Trip California: Part Two

This entry is part 1 of 1 in the series How Not to Road Trip California

Exhausted from spending so many hours in the car the day before, we slept heavily, and the 7am alarm we had planned was a distant memory. We eventually woke up at about 9am, and packed our things in a hurry before heading into town to grab a quick breakfast before we hit the road again. We had considered skipping breakfast for the sake of getting going sooner, and it was a good thing we decided against this plan of action Continue reading

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Canyonlands National Park: A Visitor’s Guide

Most tourists to Utah will visit and enjoy Arches National Park but fewer visit, or even know of, its neighbouring national park — Canyonlands. Situated only half an hour’s drive from Arches on the other side of the US-191 that leads to Moab, Canyonlands is often overlooked for its neighbour, which is a crime since the variety of vistas and experiences possible makes Arches look like a nursery.

Canyonlands National Park is technically split into four — Island in the Sky, the Needles, The Maze, and The Rivers. Each could be considered a separate park in its own right Continue reading

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Seattle: A Wish List

Seattle, in the scenic Pacific Northwest of the United States, is a city I have yet to explore and one I would be eager to visit in 2017. The popular American sitcom Frasier, which aired from 1993-2004, was set in Seattle, and Starbucks was founded in the city in 1971. Historically, Seattle was also a haven for counterculture, where environmental protection was a particularly important issue, ensuring that Seattle is a city filled with parks, along with artistic and cultural exhibits.

The iconic Space Needle, with its revolving SkyCity restaurant, overlooks downtown Seattle, Elliot Bay, as well as the nearby Olympic and Cascade mountains, Mount Rainer and Mount Baker and is one of the city’s most well known attractions. Not far away is the Experience Music Project Museum, otherwise known as the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) with a current exhibit, Wild Blue Angel: Hendrix Abroad, 1966-1970, on Jimi Hendrix — the deceased American guitarist and part of the counterculture, who was born in Seattle. There is also an exhibit called Taking Punk to the Masses about Nirvanaa former, popular American rock band who performed from the late 1980s to the mid 1990s, and who formed in Aberdeen, Washington.

Another interesting sight is the Market Theater Gum Wall in Post Alley, downtown Seattle. It has been covered with used chewing gum since the mid 1990s when theatre workers first stuck gum to the wall, with coins in the gum bubbles. Seattle’s Gum wall was declared a tourist attraction in the late 1990s.

Market Theatre Gum Wall © Flickr

Obviously it would be impossible to forget about sport, so I would also be interested in seeing the Seattle Thunderbirds — an ice hockey team who play in the ShoWare Center, in Kent, Washington, south of Seattle — and the Seattle Storm, a basketball team based in the Key Arena, an entertainment complex for gigs, ice shows, circuses and sporting events in the north downtown area of Seattle. Basketball is the one major American sport I have yet to see live in the United States, so it would be exciting to watch.

As Seattle is surrounded by water, it has plenty of good seafood restaurants, such as Salty’s on Alki Beach in south west Seattle. The Seatown Seabar and Rotisserie, which specialises in salmon, is near Pike Place Market in downtown Seattle, which is also a very popular tourist attraction, with food from across Washington state including local favourites like clam chowder. These independent, specialist shops, as well as bars and theatres, help to give Seattle a great nightlife.

The array of parks and the scenery which surrounds Seattle gives the city a unique aesthetic appeal and beauty, especially in the spring, where one can enjoy numerous outdoor activities like hiking or cycling on the trails, skiing in the Cascade Mountains or canoeing from the South Lake Union dock. In the summer, given Seattle’s cultural attractions, the city has fantastic music festivals and there is also plenty of high-quality ice cream available in Seattle’s Molly Moon’s Homemade Ice-cream and Bluebird Ice-cream shops. But even if I can only visit in the damp autumn or chilly winter, I think it’s clear there will still be plenty to explore.

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