Our Top of the Rocks experience

I think you can't leave a city without admiring its lights above a higher place. Especially when we're talking about New York! Before we actually went up to the tower, there was a brief introduction about the building of Rockefeller Center with some comment clips. I immediately got a flashback of a history lesson in middle school. I remembered this black and white photo where a group of lads were casually sitting on a steel pipe high above New York City having lunch.  Apparently, the workers also used to take naps there between working hours. Good to know not all the history lessons were useless!

But back to our experience. We intended to go up to the tower during daytime, but despite our fairly early reservation, we got tickets for 6 pm - and by that time it would be dark. There are a few upsides and downsides for visiting Top of the Rocks when it's dark.

+ The lights look awesome. 
It's almost impossible to get a great photo of you with the lights of New York

Okay, I guess if you're a professional photographer taking photos up there would be a piece of cake. But for us, it was a struggle trying to adjust perfect amount of light and contrast while focusing on our faces. In the end, it wasn't worth the effort. I saw others were experiencing the same problem, desperately trying to add light to their faces with the help of their phone. I don't know if they succeeded better than us.

Then, my little brother came to me and told me they found a cool room on the lower deck. He called it "the gaming room" because it kept making beeping noises just like a Nintendo. On top of that, it had white walls with flashing lights in blue, red, green and yellow. Seemingly, a Finnish guy overheard us while marveling the room and asked if we wanted a picture over there. I don't know why but none of us responded to him. After I realized he had asked again and was waiting for an answer, I quickly said "Yeah, that would be nice" and handed my camera to him. It was just super weird to hear Finnish in that state of mind, especially when it was a stranger talking to you. So, here's a happy family portrait taken in the weird room by a random Finnish guy, who made us speechless simply by talking to us in our native language.


Christmas at Rockefeller center

New York was full of Christmas lights. They even had the famous tree lightning at Rockefeller center when we were there, however we didn't go there because it was totally crowded up to few blocks away from the tree. But we still got to enjoy the great atmosphere with people ice skating, singing Christmas carols and ringing bells while raising money for the salvation army. There was also a light show which was reflected on one of the walls near the tree. Just a tad different than in our little city where I come from.

Anyway, Merry Christmas everyone and enjoy the holidays!


Chicago musical & great dining at Times Square

On our fourth evening in New York, we went to see the Chicago musical. I've always been interested in theater and performing arts, so it was really exciting to see a legendary show in one of the most famous places in the world - Broadway. We didn't book tickets for the first nights just so that we wouldn't doze off during the show... Now that would have been a shame, to miss half of a show you've paid for!

I've got no pictures of the show since photographing was prohibited, which was, of course, comprehensible. Sadly, I have to say the show didn't fully meet my expectations. I had imagined the hall and stage huge, but they were quite small, after all. The first row was only about one meter away from the stage! I think that tells a lot.

But it certainly wasn't the size of the theater that left me feeling empty. I was a bit disappointed with the simple plot, which contained absolutely no turning points or excitement. I expected a bit more glamour. The performance was lacking props too! To be honest, there wasn't any set pieces if we don't count the actors' costumes and a few chairs. A bit too minimalist for  me. But I do praise the actors; they were talented and sang extremely well. The dancing was spectacular also, of course. I'm afraid all these things didn't make up for the dull story - if ever there was one. I think it would have been better to see a Disney musical, such as Aladdin, on Broadway but I this wasn't exactly waste of time either.

Just a New Yorker police on a horse in the middle of Times Square!

After doing some serious shopping, we went dining in a colourful restaurant called Planet Hollywood. It's famous for its decoration which includes authentic set pieces from different movies. For example. there were big aeroplanes hanging above us and a costume from Hangover 3 in a showcase. My brother and I had classic American hamburgers at this place: a ridiculously huge steak with some cheese, bacon and onions. And to finish it off, I ordered an Oreo milkshake for dessert. I had been looking for a good old American milkshake the whole of our trip, so I was more than pleased to get this. It must have been one of the best milkshakes I've tried!


Times Square - the heart of NYC

A jungle of lights. That's what Times Square is. On our first day in New York we casually walked through Times Square during daytime and I was amazed of all the skyscrapers and the quantity of advertisements. I would not have believed the difference of the atmosphere by night if I had not seen it with my own eyes. The dark sky contrasted the millions of flashing lights and it seemed as if more people were going out. Ticket sellers and dressed up Disney characters would bother (or amuse, however you take it) you everywhere you went, but it was part of the fun. There would have been something for everyone. Also Toys’R’Us was open until 1 AM or 2 AM, I’m not sure, but until some ungodly hour anyway.

Compared to London and Paris, New York was different. It lacked old traditional buildings, but instead it had tons of new ones which were simply made of black windows. Just like in the movies!  At Times Square we shopped, ate and saw a musical.I'll tell about a restaurant and Broadway show in the next post just to keep this one short and sweet. By the way, I've been thinking whether I should write in Finnish also. It's hard because I know the majority of you (my followers) are Finns and I would be able to express myself much more freely (and more quickly, for that matter) I would continue in English as well, because this is such a great way to maintain my language skills and because I know people from different countries either read my blog or at least visit it regularly. It would be a shame if they didn't understand anything!

What do you think: would it be good, bad or insignificant if I wrote in two languages? Or should I stick to either of them: Finnish or English?

Have a great day everyone!


A suitcase blunder & our hotel in NYC

view from our 25th floor hotel room
Hey guys! I got back home safely from New York and had a great time in the Big Apple. Now I'm just dying to tell about all the stuff we did over there! One week was sufficient for visiting the greatest attractions and experiencing the hustle and bustle of New York. There were so much people everywhere that I'm more than happy to be home right now.

Our trip, however, didn't start as smoothly as it could have had. When we went to the baggage reclaim, I realised my suitcase was missing the address tag. It was also locked, and I haven't been locking my baggage for a while. Why? Because the lock of my previous suitcase had to be broken in order to open the whole bag. It wasn't a very pleasant way to start off my holiday!

Our bathroom at Hotel Beacon
Anyway, as I was saying, the suitcase I was holding in my hands wasn't at all mine. I felt an unwanted sting inside of me; I was exhausted of all the travelling and only wanted to get to the hotel with my stuff and snuggle on the sofa. We reported the staff about our missing luggage and I left the airport empty-handed. When we finally got into a taxi, I felt so tired with my bloating stomach and a rocking in my head that I didn't care about my disappeared luggage anymore. If I got my bag back by next evening, I would be more than happy. And after buying a little bit of food, everything would be lovely for a while.

happy people? yes, just somewhat jet lag
Amazingly, when we were about to head towards the super market, someone called my father. It was none other than the guy himself who had accidentally taken my bag. I was so relieved when I heard he could bring my suitcase to our hotel straight away! And much to the guys dismay, it took him days to get his own luggage at the airport. This is why it's so important to have your name and address on your suitcase but on the other hand, also checking the suitcase twice to make sure it's really yours isn't a bad idea either! I think I'll buy one of those colourful tags which say MY BAG to avoid these kinds of mix-ups from now on.

I'll get to the actual sightseeing, food and other stuff in the next posts. Be right back!