Sunday 4th May
It was time to go back to NZ, our plane leaves at 8pm tonight.
This morning we went to the exploratorium which was a hands on science museum where we spent 3 hours there, it was very cool. Then we went back to meet Trevor, Dad’s friend. Dad and I went with Trevor to just drive around basically and mum went shopping. We didn’t do much today, when we got to the airport we checked in and waited in the Koru club lounge before we boarded. We hopped on the plane and flew back to New Zealand (Auckland), we had a couple of hours still to wait for our flight to Wellington so we we went to the Koru club again and also saw my Auntie Linda who lives in Auckland and chatted with her. Then headed of to Wellington, and that is the end of my journey.
Saturday 3rd May
Today we were going to bike over the Golden Gate Bridge, the most internationally recognised bridge in the United States. We walked to fisherman’s warf again to get the bikes and then biked to the Golden Gate Bridge and over we go! It was an amazing view but when we went round the tall towers it was really windy, on the first tower I had to get off my bike to get round. Half way along we had a photo to prove that we went across, when we got to the other side we had to bike down a super steep hill to get to Sausalito, a little town in a bay over the Golden Gate Bridge. From there we had lunch walked around and got our bikes to wait in the bike queue for the next ferry. The queue was huge, it was so huge they needed to get another ferry in for the bikes! Finally we got back to Fisherman’s Wharf, on our way back to the hotel Mum wanted to climb the 300 odd steps to the Coits tower. This tower had 360 degree views of San Francisco. Unfortunately when we got to the top we couldn’t climb the actual tower due to reconstruction work but at least there was a view. While climbing up we saw five-six parrots hanging out in the trees it was so cool they were in the city. Back down at the bottom we started walking back to the hotel and had dinner at a bar called George’s not far from the hotel, there I had a massive pizza and I ate it all up mmmmm.
Friday 2nd May
I awoke ready to go to prison, that’s right we are going to Alcatraz, the most secured maximum security prison in America. We got the tickets for the ferry yesterday so we didn’t have to do it today. We waited in line for the ferry to come so we could get to the island. Arriving on the island we got an audio tour to tell us about the prisons history. The way it worked was we were given head phones and had a little device that would play the audio tour as we’ll as stop it. We walked around the prison looking in some of the cells, and listening to the sounds of the men talking that were in these cells on the audio tour. If you were lucky you could get furnished cells where you could paint, knit, or crochet. The audio tour described how some of the prisoners attempted to escape, some they never found and presumed drowned as the waters between Alcatraz and San Francisco were very cold and had many rips in which made it difficult to swim. Only one man escaped his name was John Paul Scott And when he reached San Francisco he lived with his brother and never committed a crime again. A number of volunteers came over on the ferry with us, they were helping protect native birds and there natural habitats many of them also planting flowers and weeding the plants. We got back to the ferry had a sandwich and took the ferry back to San Francisco. Mum had organised to go on a “hop on hop off” bus tour where it drove us around San Francisco and the tour guide explained all the sites around the city. It was a double decker bus and we were on the top. Great views but it was really, really cold driving over the Golden Gate Bridge. We were starting to get hungry so we hopped off the bus at market street and had afternoon tea there, mum and I had one of the best chocolate brownies that I’ve ever tasted and dad had apple pie. After we walked the rest of the way to the hotel. What a long but fun day.
Wednesday 30th April and Thursday 1st May
It rained and rained and rained. Our mission today was to visit Toys R Us to have a better look around, 3 floors full of toys were to be seen, I couldn’t wait as well as riding the Ferris wheel. After, me Dad and I mucked around at the apartment and waited for mum to come home from shopping. When she returned she decided that she would need to go back out into the pouring rain to purchase some new suitcases, she had done some major shopping! Two carry on’s and one large suitcase required. While doing that Dad and I went to Go Burger, next for yo our apartment, to have a burger for dinner and a banana split plus chocolate ice cream with M&M’s. Mum was wet as wet when she got back, with 3 suitcases she had completed her jobs for the day.
Today it was time to leave New York City and head for San Francisco for 3 days and then home to NZ. We took a taxi to the airport at 6am, still raining and 8 degrees ready for a 6 and a half hour flight.
Arrived at San Francisco and it was hot and humid! Great to see some sun and to put my shorts on! We had a nice walk across the shoreline to fisherman’s wharf where we saw lying on the pontoons a colony of seals bathing in the sunshine. It was great to be heading back towards home, can’t wait to see my friends.
Tuesday 29th April
Wow! We had heaps planned for today. Dad headed off a little earlier to organise the tickets for the Statue of Liberty – I was so excited! Mum and I had breakfast (super fast) and jumped on the subway. The tube was really busy as everyone was heading off to work. We were very late when we got to bowling green station, at least I knew the way to where we were boarding as Dad and I had found this the day before. We found dad in the nick of time, we were just ready to board. We walked along the ramp to the ferry and hopped on… Once we arrived at Liberty Island we went straight to the statue put our stuff in some lockers which we also had done on some rides at Orlando. We then went through security and walked out into a room located in the pedestal of the statue, it had the old torch that the statue used to hold inside. We then started walking up the 300 stairs to get to the top of the pedestal, dad had bought tickets with crown access on them so we could go further up to the crown of the Statue of Liberty! When we got up to the top of the pedestal we showed our tickets to the man standing where the stairs were to the crown and he said: where’s your wristbands? We then had to go all the way back down 300 stairs, pass through security and get wristbands! The reason why we didn’t’ get wristbands before is because there was a family in front of us talking and talking so we slipped past them originally. So we got our wristbands went all the way back through security again and back all the way up to the pedestal. Finally the man let us through and we went up to the crown! After ten steps there was a really tall, narrow spiral stair case going up, up and up… we got to the crown and looked around it wasn’t as big as I expected, it was so small that if 7 adults were in there there would be not a single space left to move. But the best part was the view, you could see a lot of New York from there, but it was quite far away, the Empire State Building AND the Rockefeller Centre looked a long way away, the cloudy day made visibility hard sometimes.
A French man built the statue and gave it to America as a celebration of winning independence from Britain. To deliver the Statue of Liberty to New York the French had to break it up into pieces and then re-build it in New York when it arrived.
The pedestal alone is roughly the height of a 10 storey building.
The statue is made of copper, and when copper is exposed to oxygen in the air, it creates a chemical reaction called oxidation, this is usually green in colour.
Once we returned from Liberty Island we walked over the Brooklyn Bridge. This bridge connects Manhattan to Brooklyn between the East river and is one of the oldest suspension bridges in America.
The day had gone very quickly and it was now raining and very cold, we just had enough time to get back home and changed ready io go to our Broadway show at Time Square “The Lion King”, there was no time for dinner.
The show was spectacular, the costumes and actors were awesome. Another late night but totally worth it.
Monday 28th April
I was up early again this morning ready to go to the Empire State Building, the tallest building in New York. We were looking at the view from a different angle today than from the Rockefeller centre because it was higher and early in the morning rather than at sunset. Thank goodness dad bought an express pass so we could pass through the hundreds of people waiting in the line to get up to the top. We got up to the top and saw an amazing view of the city, even better than the Rockefeller centre, it was 102 stories high. After that we elevated down to the bottom and we split to go our own ways. Dad went to the highline which was a board walk, but mum and I went to the Apple store near Central Park. The Apple store was a glass cube and you walked inside and went down a spiral stair case to the actual store, it was buzzing with people in there but it was AWESOME. There was probably every single apple product there, there were Apple Macs, iPods, iPads, iPad minis (like mine) and also they sold covers for iPads and iPhones. We spent so long there that we forgot about meeting dad! So we raced to the subway and jumped on the train to Washington square where dad was waiting. We walked to a place to eat because we were quite hungry. A rest was in need now so we went back to the apartment and rested there, next it was time for dinner we walked to a district called Little Italy where I had the best spaghetti and meatballs ever! Then as we were walking home we got a gelati ice cream. What a fun day it was.
Saturday 26 & Sunday 27
This morning I said Happy Birthday! to mum when I woke up, I was very excited because we were going to NYC (New York City) to relax there for four days and we were mainly going because I’ve always wanted to go and it was kind of part of the route back home. The days have flown by so fast, but anyway we went to the airport checked our bags in and went to our gate. On the way to our gate we said good bye to all our family who were all going their separate ways and left… it was a 2 hour flight to Frankfurt and 8 hours to New York, so we settled in and rested. By the time we got to New York it was really late, we picked up our bags and took a taxi to our apartment, it was on 77th Street and 2nd Ave.
We were staying in apartment 12 and it was up 3 flights of narrow stairs. Their was a bar on the ground floor, a dog on the 2nd floor, and a bicycle in the stairwell of the 1st floor. The stairwell was smelly, from the bar downstairs and I had to hold my nose when I went up and down..it was disgusting. The music from the bar was beating throughout the apartment block and the noise of the busy road outside and Police sirens going off was further noise, still I was able to sleep, yawwwwwn.
I woke up in our apartment and got ready to go somewhere, we thought we’d go to Times Square to look around there, of course since it was quite far away we had to take the Subway. So we went down the Subway purchased 3 tickets that we had to use to get through the turn stiles. When we arrived at Times Square we walked up the steps and saw heaps of advertising signs all over the place we saw the famous 26 red steps and also the ball that they drop on New Year’s Eve. As well as that, Mum and I went in to Toys R Us, the biggest toy shop in the whole entire world! It had a Ferris wheel, a huge dinosaur that roars and moves and a life sized barbie dolls house. It was amazing in there, even though we didn’t get to see all of it. Then dad stood in line for two hours so we could get tickets to the Lion King it wasn’t the Lion King movie it was people acting the movie called a Broadway show! Mum and I and got tickets from the information centre then told dad he didn’t have to stand in line anymore. Next stop the M&M world, there were three levels selling stuff like t-shirts, mugs, M&M dispensers, and of course M&Ms. You could make your own M&Ms as well and that’s what I did, we walked to a sign on the floor saying step one step one was to order them. You could write on them and put clip arts on them. I put two clip arts and two writing M&M’s. I chose one saying James, one saying Minecraft, one with a Apple on it (because New York is the big Apple) and one saying I love New York. It was cool there, I also had a photo with a blue M&M.
We took the subway again to go to the Rockefeller centre where there was an ice skating rink outside and a Nintendo world shop. The Nintendo world you could play heaps of games there, I played Mario Cart, Disney Infinity and Donkey Kong. The LEGO shop was next on the list, it was super cool! We then got tickets to the Rockefeller centre observation deck, it is one of the tallest buildings in New York and Dad had booked us to see the view at sunset. It is known as the “Top of the Rock” and it was an amazing view of New York. It was a really clear night and we could see the Statue of Liberty and Central Park, I didn’t know how enormous Central Park was. All the cars and people looked so small. It was getting cold and late now so we found a place for dinner that looked out on to the ice skating rink, I was very tired and Mum said I had trouble keeping my eyes open on the way home on the subway trains.
Sunday 20th Monday 21st
We woke up in our new resort and was ready and excited to go to Mount Etna. We knew it was a long drive there probably the longest drive yet! On the way we stopped of at a restaurant to have lunch. After lunch we slumped back into the car and drove the rest of the way. We stayed the night and had dinner at a town called Taormina for the night and also split up to find dinner.
We walked down the steps to breakfast and filled ourselves up for the drive. When we got to Mount Etna it was surprisingly warm! But when we got up to the craters the wind was howling. There were two craters directly next to each other with a thin path in the middle. We all went up together but only Dad and I went on the thin path and had a photo, Mum was too scared, it wasn’t windy at all on that path! At the end of the day we had a good time and drove home to rest.
Friday 18 Saturday 19th
Woke up ready to go on a long drive to Putten to look at where my Grandfather and Grandmothers ashes got scattered. My Grandfathers ashes were scattered in a forest where he worked and half of my Grandmothers ashes head been scattered in the same place. The other half of my Grandmothers ashes were scattered on Papamoa beach which was her favourite beach. After that we slept the night and had another celebration in a new hotel and the next day we were going to fly of to Sicily, Italy.
I woke up tired but exited we were going to Sicily via Rome, we drove to the airport and got on our flight to Rome. When we arrived we had to wait another two hours or so till our flight was ready. We hopped on the plane and did a little switch around with seats so me and Carston could sit together. On the plane we drew some pictures and also relaxed. When our flight had arrived I was so surprised that the flight only took 45 minutes, but it was a long drive to our resort it was named Berlinger resort we got there late and slept.
Wednesday 16th Thursday 17th
My Great Aunt Marjike and Uncle Wim were both turning 80 years old this year and have been married for 55 years! This is why we were in the Netherlands, to celebrate this special event. Today was going to be a big surprise for them. Twenty-two family members had flown from New Zealand to celebrate with them. Wim was crying with happiness, and both Marjike and Wim could not believe their eyes.
It was a very special day for all of us.
We got up early hopped into the rental car with Uncle Rick and drove to Den Bosch to go to Saint John Cathedral and to a restaurant and have lunch with my great Aunt Theodore and Dad. The Cathedral was amazing and it was huge! There were stained glass windows in every corner of the church, they were awesome. On the floor of the church people that died a long time ago were buried and it was written on the floor of the church. Some of these people died 475 years before Christ.
On the way to the restaurant we saw a barge moving through the canals, the bridges are raised and water levels changed to allow these barges to move through the canals. It was incredible how such a large barge can move through such a small opening.
After lunch we zoomed off to the Keukenhof gardens where there were 700 + varieties of tulips, Mum and Dad thought the gardens were really wonderful and I thought they were cool.