My girlfriend's brother picked us up at JFK and we drove straight through the whole of NYC to his apartment in New Jersey. That was really cool, riding through Brooklyn and Queens, crossing the Queensboro Bridge and all the Avenues, watching the towering façades running through the car's roof window. Upon our arrival in the Garden State we rested in Hamilton Park and enjoyed the awesome view of the whole of Manhattan right from the southern tip up to The Bronx while getting to terms with the 30+ degrees.
Today then we went out for a quick morning walk around Suburbia. We were surprised by the amount of wildlife around here, does grasing in backyards, squirrels practically all over, raccoons, cicadas, birds and whatnot. Even saw a vulture feeding on a small deer's corpse right on the middle of the road. The houses all look the same, the villas all rock the same fake stone-but-actually-wood walls and look like they've been spewn out by a 3D printer. Nice yards and front lawns but surprisingly few people outside. No bike lanes whatsoever, everything only reachable and doable by car.
Today we went down to Nyack, enjoyed a nice breakfast and drove down to Liberty State Park opposite of Manhattan's skyline. It looks amazing, but it's like being in a movie at the same time, a bit like watching a painted ,staged scenery. Hearing everybody around you speaking like you only know it from movies and music only adds to that experience.
I'm enjoying it very much so far and I'm all the more looking forward to moving over to Brooklyn tomorrow where we'll spend the next five days.
At least nothing went missing for once and I rock a freshly trimmed dual boot.
It was Pentecost and Norwegian Constitution Day which gave us a long weekend to leave the city and explore the Northern end of this country. We flew to Tromsø where a rented T4 awaited us. Our plan was to drive down to Lofoten, right to its eastern tip at the village of Å before heading back to check out the world's northermost larger city.
On our way we crossed countless islands, islets, bridges, sounds, fjords, tunnels and passes, traveled the Vesterålen archipelago, drove along two of Norway's esteemed tourist routes, were greeted by lots of reindeer, watched an otter being chased off by seagulls teaming up with a magpie, spotted two elks, a seal and an eagle. And of course endless amounts of cod hung out to dry - that smell, though :O All the islands display incredible landscapes changing from each angle. It's like passing through different micro climates with every corner taken. Think sandy crescent-shaped beaches with azure, crystal clear waters in front of rugged, sharp-toothed mountain cliffs and stormy rain pouring over the harsh Atlantic ocean in the background - all in one view. Of course that's also what makes the region a tourist favourite, but we didn't feel there were too many people underway and always could find a sweet spot to spend the night by ourselves. We were in luck with the weather and enjoyed totally fantastic weather mixed up with the odd short shower every twenty minutes. Only one day was completely grey but that gave us some time to drive some more and even make a quick detour up into the highlands of nearby Finland, totally worth it.
Tromsø then was not that spectacular in itself. The city is distributed over several shores and features a underground road system to help people cope. We arrived in midst the celebrations for Norway's 202nd year of independence from Denmark with folks roaming the streets in the traditional clothes called bunad and an endless train of students of all ages progressing through the inner city. That was interesting and also funny to see so many Norwegians at the same time :D
These are now my new favourite parts of Norway.