Wednesday, 30 April 2008

Rocky, cheese-steak and a concise description of George Bush

Well that about sums up Philly!

A lovely , quaint and pretty small American city where the people couldn’t do more to help. People went out of their way to give advice on sites, tours and restaurant / bar recommendations. I don’t think either of us have been bought more free drinks in our lives than in the Cheese-Steak capital of the world.

The B&B we stayed in was something special - they even provided free cheese and wine from 5.30pm - 6.30pm nightly. As you can imagine like a red rag to a bull this service got exploited to the max.

More seriously it was a great way to meet other guests in the B&B and we ended up befriending 2 American couples and going out for dinner / drinks with them. After quite a few glasses of wine the conversation turned to politics and the danger flags should have gone up when the question was asked “So, what do you really think of our President?” Now what I should have said was “an interesting world leader who is perhaps misunderstood although his efforts in the middle east are noteworthy” ………….. what I did say was “he’s an idiot, a fool and possibly inbred!” Not sure we’ll hear from the lovely Americans again.

One of the highlights was without doubt running up the steps at the Museum of Art in true Rocky Balboa style. At the top of the steps whilst impressing the yanks with my nifty footwork / shadow boxing (?) a voice shouts “Andy” …………. It’s a guy that used to work in Balham branch of Halifax … he was actually really friendly given that my last encounter with him was to inform him he was sacked!!!!

On our way to Washington DC now, must remember to avoid more conversations about the President.

Sunday, 27 April 2008

Goodbye to New York..(and also, how we spent the rest of the time there..)

We are now in Philadelphia, which seems all lovely & quaint. However, lots to tell about New York as we were too busy having fun to update this blog at the time!

So, after the last entry on the Thursday; we got bored of waiting for vintage stores to open, so we got a taxi to 81st & 5th Ave to what I can only describe as shopping heaven - Consignment stores...! Consignment stores are where really rich people give their clothes that they probably only wore once to a premiere or something for a tiny fee, meaning these stores can sell designer clothes for really cheap prices. For example the Prada suit Andy bought for $425 (200 quid), would have cost about $2000...same goes for my Armani black dress - $60 (30 quid!)which would have retailed at $1000. Don't worry, we already had money to splurge thanks to the money pot we had saved up so your kind wedding donations were not used in such a frivolous way!

After dropping off the goodies back at the hotel, we got changed and went out for steak at Quality meats restaurant. It's has fantastic decor and is a very cool place to eat, though it didn't cater too well for me. I asked about veggie options and was told I could have a selection of sides on a plate, as one on its own would not be enough. When the food arrived it was obscenely huge, I must remember Americans like big portions! Andy enjoyed a 12oz fillet which was apparently the best steak he has ever eaten!

Friday began with us buying a laptop for all my writing really is much cheaper over here for electronics. As we were walking past Virgin megastores we noticed Elbow were playing and doing a signing there at 12.30pm, so we got some lunch and then went to watch them. They were excellent, and in good Northern humour.

Next was the Sex & the City tour (thank you again Bex!!) which was 3.5 hours of fun - location sightings, video clips, free flirtinis, and fab cupcakes. The guide was really funny, and so excitable. And Andy was not the only man on the tour!

We went out for food, and drinks - found a great Thai noodle bar, then went to the Back Room - a really cool prohibition style bar, with no sign to the bar and you have to walk down a dark corridor to get to it. Once inside drinks are served in tea cups, and bottles are wrapped in brown paper! We spent all night there, drinking and talking to the bouncer who was guarding a door...people kept trying to get into that secret room but he was not budging, one lady even did a dance routine which ended a cartwheel in an attempt to get in! (We later found out the bar is owned by Tim Robbins & his friends, and it's his private lounge behind the door.)

Saturday was an early start to go and watch the football (8am) - We managed to find a sports bar that was showing 3 games (Pool / Boro / W.Ham). Result! The bar itself was a good place but unfortunately was filled to the rafters with very drunk Man United fans. GRRRRR.

Now ... they say you always see someone in NYC .... and yes ... we did. Mr Big (from sex in the city) was spotted next to our hotel and then ...... thinking it wouldn't get much better than Chris Noth .................................... We only saw BRUCE SPRINGSTEEN!!!!!!!

After getting over the excitement of the star spotting we headed into the West Village and settled in a little bar with a great juke-box. Music on Saturday April 26th in Art Bar, NYC was exclusively chosen by Mr and Mrs Smith (note - They loved it!).

Thursday, 24 April 2008

New York City!

So here we are in New York City! Flight over was smooth, and Virgin premium economy was the dogs - most recommended (No, I didn't get paid for that endorsement...).

Got in early last night local time, and after checking in to our fab hotel, we decided to hit the town! Unfortunately, jet lag / time difference was difficult to fight, so after a few drinks in a great bar (possibly called the bar with no name, as it had no name) we went to get dinner - 2 New york pizza slices each!! Yum yum. We tried to fight the sleepy feeling, but another drink just pushed us over the edge, and we were in bed by our defence it was 3am UK time!

Today we woke up ridiculously early, so planned our days out then got breakfast - hitting the streets before 9am. Unfortunately no one opens up shops before 11am, so we've been walking about in the sunshine, which in New York is brilliant anyway.

We went to Yaffa Cafe (one of Andy's old New York haunts) for more breakfast, and are now in Alphabet City, waiting for some vintage stores to open, so we can go spend some cash!

Tonight we have a reservation at a restaurant called Quality Meats (I'm assured there's a veggie option, but it may turn out to be salad) and tomorrow we are on the Sex & the City tour - thank you Bex!!

Will keep you posted, all our love,


Wednesday, 23 April 2008

Day One - To The Airport

It was all going way too smoothly, the wedding had gone to plan, the travels had been booked and confirmed and then ......

We got to Heathrow and as our hotel was pretty close to the terminal we thought we'd try and check in a day early to try and get the exit door seats. Janine didn't have a problem with the online Virgin check in . . . . I however did.

Upon talking to the nice Virgin people I was asked for my passport at which point the "nice" person dissapeared into a back room talking frantically into his mobile phone. When he returned I asked what all the chatter had been about, he informed me (very politely it must be said) that I had been flagged up as a suspected terrorist!!!!!!!!!!

Apparently the authorities have a "Robert Smith" on their "Watch List" ....

Anyway, after a detailed examination of my passport they have decided that I'm not their man and I can afterall fly to The Land Of The Free.


Ps can't believe the footy result last night ...... own goal ................really!!!???

pps my old, trusty, tried and tested rucksack has split open before it even made it to the USA!!!!

Monday, 21 April 2008

What A Day - Thanks To Everyone!

Well everyone was right - the day just flew by!

Thank you to everyone for the cards, gifts and making the day so special!

We're now in Doncaster frantically trying to pack and sort our lives out so that we can get onto the train to London tomorrow.