Where have I B …. een?

Bouncing between Boston, the Big Apple and Balmain!

It’s B.. een ages since my last post and time has swept me along and distracted me from getting here.  My old enemy procrastination temporarily overtook me once more – I am fighting it tooth and nail and now am winning the battle again!   With my “I’m determined to get this out” head forging the way… at last, I bring you word of my time in Boston and the Big Apple … following on from the last post, and more recently Balmain.

Arriving in Boston from Toronto we checked into the Omni Parker on School Street.  This is the oldest continuously operating hotel in the USA.  Charles Dickens once stayed here, holding court in the Last Hurrah Bar which became a famous literary hangout for the likes of Longfellow, Hawthorn and Emerson.  JFK proposed to Jackie here too!!  Ho Chi Minh an Malcolm X both worked here!!  Enough, enough … that’s enough of the ‘claims to fame’ for this boarding house!!!

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Two Days in Boston saw me revisiting the cobbled streets of Beacon Hill, mooching the town centre, wandering the Common and checking out Newbury Street, where we stayed before.   A new experience was traveling out to Brookline, the suburb of Boston where JFK was born and raised for his early years.  I love visiting the suburbs when traveling, getting a taste for the areas outside the normal city destinations,  and this one didn’t disappoint.

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Early the next morning we set off to the train station and at 6am it was “all aboard” and we set off down the track to New York City, rolling into Penn Street Station four hours later.

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For the finale of the trip we had booked into The Standard Hotel in Chelsea.  This choice was made because of its exciting location … not only right next to Chelsea Market but straddling the end of the High Line.  The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 11th Avenues.  There is never a dull moment when you walk this beautiful stretch of parkland.  The views from this elevation are fab and there are various artworks to enjoy and quirky points of interest along the way.  It is one of my favourite places to visit in New York – I highly recommend it.  The hotel however, was a disappointment – it was way too “look at me” for my liking … I wouldn’t stay there again.  The 30ish hours spent in New York saw us walking, walking walking … from Chelsea to Soho to Greewich, enjoying all the sites and yumminess along the way.  Saturday was return to Brooklyn day.  I love Brooklyn and especially funky Williamsburg.  So groovy, so chilled, quirky and yumilicious.  We found St Balmain coffee shop, which was an absolute bonus as it is run by Aussies and therefore served fantastic coffee … of which we had been sorely deprived!!

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Talking of Balmain, following a fantastic trip to Europe and the States, celebrating my 50th along the way, our return to Oz saw Paul’s big 5 0 looming on the horizon.  Ideas started to formulate for celebrating this one.   Destination? … Balmain, Sydney – in the guise of Japan!  Ryokan Gojyuan is a small traditional Japanese style guest house, on Darling Street,  offering bed and breakfast.  This was a treasure of a place.  Stepping over the threshold from Darling Street and closing the wooden door behind them, the guest finds themselves transported.  The layout and decor of this traditional sandstone cottage has been utterly transformed into an authentic Japanese Inn.  The attention to detail is exquisite.  Traditional Japanese breakfast was served and it was totally delicious and kept me full until dinner!   The owner of Ryokan Gojyuan, Linda, is passionate about all things Japanese and I loved hearing all about her vision, the process involved and seeing and experiencing her dream come true …. she is inspirational.

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So from Boston tea parties through bites of big apples to miso, rice and origami, I bid you

“Sayonara” – (Good-bye)!

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