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New York: Rediscovering America

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I have just returned from a trip to the United States.  I must say, it was full of surprises. New York and Washington are absolutely fantastic cities, filled with great energy, life and extraordinary monuments and events that offer sublime experiences. Corina, as my trusted companion, has been planner and guide for this journey to rediscover America.

After 16 hours of travel, the journey on the new continent began with Shake Shack. The burger was my first encounter with the American culture. And it was truly a tasty one.

Shake Shack

Night had covered the Big Apple as and when we had finished our Shackburgers. The next stop took us to a place where light prevailed. Night turned to day and the business titans’ ads engulfed me as if swimming against the tides. I drowned in New York. Having currents and life guards, Times Square filled me with awe. It is wonderful. Time flew by as we watched the crowds flow through the city’s busy streets. And then it hit me. New York never sleeps. Really. No matter how many times you hear this, you really never realize it until you are there. Seeing it. Hearing it. Smelling it.

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Jet lag kicked in and we had about 3-4 hours of sleep. We hit the road. Waking up at 5 am, we assaulted Central Park. It was huge. Waking up early was the way to explore the mesmerizing grounds without fear of the burning heat. Our bicycle guide took to telling us of the extravagant Manhattan lifestyle. How movie stars get rejected from buildings because landlords vote on who can buy property. How it costs 3000 bucks to put one’s name on the park’s benches for a year. And other jaw-dropping New York stories.

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The Metropolitan Museum was incredible. Yes, I do tend to throw big words around. However, this really was amazing. I enjoy Japanese warfare and history. Beautiful Japanese armor and swords were on display. Some of the most beautiful pieces I’ve ever seen. The museum also had a grand collection of tournament armors and beautifully crafted rapiers and hand guns.

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Guggenheim was an experience. The building is a masterpiece. I wasn’t intrigued by the current monoly-nagy exhibition. I felt that the museum was scarce in terms of art. What I did recognize when entering one of the rooms was a sculpture by Brancusi. Although I didn’t understand its placement in the museum, I’m glad it was there. I’m glad I saw how a piece of Romania is stored in the heart of New York.

Brancusi

The Museum of Natural History didn’t feel as great as it should. Am I the only one who expects Night at the Museum to start playing out when you go in? But, no, Gum Gum didn’t speak.

Tall. Giant. T-Rex. Jurassic Park seemed to play in my head as I followed the developments of dinosaur history.

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We also got to see the old lady. She’s still holding up well. Still a beacon of light and a symbol of the American Dream.

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Washington was a furnace. I debated whether going for a day or not. The trip would have been hard with so much distance to travel. All went well though. Arriving in Washington we crossed directly on the set of Billions (if you’re not watching, you need to).

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Then we made our way to the Capitol. It was absolutely amazing. I couldn’t wait to see the Apotheosis of Washington but it was closed for restoration. Across the park we continued to the Washington Memorial, Smithsonian Castle, White House and Lincoln Memorial. I felt my feet melt at the end of it all.

Capitol

I enjoyed New York a lot. The culture is so different from Europe. Probably the best service and most friendly people I’ve come across as a tourist. When you reach the U.S. you feel like you are a guest in the country. I wonder why attitudes are so different in Europe.

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