Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees – the last days in New York

It is almost the end of Camp. The end of nine weeks working in a group of international women, taking care of girls from underprivileged families. What an amazing summer! We did so many things, went to New York City almost every weekend off but there was one thing left on my bucket list: Watching a baseball game.

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We were so lucky we got tickets for the Texas Rangers vs. New York Yankees game. I mean – helloo – Texas!!! It’s been two years since I’ve spent two weeks in Fort Worth but I still own my Texas Rangers hat! Fortunately the game was on our night off and our camp director allowed us to leave in the afternoon instead of after dinner. So we took the train to Penn Station and bought a Yankees T-Shirt for my friend from Austria. Afterwards we took the subway to the Bronx.

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The atmosphere was great but I have to admit, I definitely prefer American Football over Baseball. I mean the rules are quite easy to understand but to be honest- to my mind it was kind of boring after the first 90 minutes. In fact, we had to leave earlier because we needed to be back before midnight but Texas Rangers won the game, that is all that matters! I do not regret watching the game, it was a great experience but I won’t do it again.

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After the campers had left, we had to clean up the cabins and prepare the camp for the next summer. It took us a weekend to tidy everything up and in the evenings we went out to have dinner with the councillors or went to the mall.

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I love Urban Outfitters, even though the clothes do not fit me :D!
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Cheesecake Factory, I think I’ve tried at least six different cakes that summer!

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One last time having pizza with my co-councillor from Berlin at our favourite pizza place!

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Nine weeks of summer camp were officially over, I wish I could go back! But I still had two weeks of travelling left! So stay tuned :)!

 

 

American Museum of Natural History – my last weekend off in NYC

Have you watched „Night at the Museum“? I did and I therefore had to visit the American Museum of Natural History. By the way, this was the last official weekend off we had. It therefore was the last weekend I spent with my co-councilors – time went by so fast that summer!

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Before we headed to the AMNH, we went to Times Square where I bought some drumsticks at Hard Rock Cafe for my brother and we spent some time on the streets of Manhattan and also visited Central Park.

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Strolling around in Central Park

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We arrived at the American Museum of Natural History around noon and getting closer the counter, we realised that it is up to the visitor how much one wants to pay. They have a payment recommendation of $18 but the least you have to pay is $1. There were three girls in front of us who all paid only $1 and to be honest, in that situation, I considered that as pretty rude. They did not look like they were not able to pay the usual entrance fee and personally I think that if you are able to, you should pay the recommended fee, or at least a couple of dollars just to pay tribute to the museum, its staff, its donors etc.

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The famous Tyrannosaurus!

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The museum itself has many different exhibitions, the first one we visited was one about the African continent and informed visitors about wildlife and plants. I could not get this scenario of lions jumping out of the windows at night out of my head. There was also a polar/marine exhibition with a life-sized blue whale hanging from the ceiling. It was stunning!
In addition to all the wildlife on exhibition, they also informed visitors about the evolution of mankind and demographic change, it was super interesting!
Last but not least we went to the dinosaur and fossil segment and it was really breathtaking, imagining that these creatures actually existed and ran around on the planet. I can highly recommend the AMNH to EVERYBODY! Kids will love it, you will see tons of dinosaur skeletons, you will learn a lot and I promise- it will not get boring!

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Kale, Salad, Quinoa, Falafel, Avocado and more!

In the evening, before heading back to Long Island, we went to Apple Bee’s. Unfortunately we were not really into their menu and therefore went to another little salad bar/deli and got some nice salad quinoa falafel bowls. It was delicious but I sadly forgot the name of the place…For desert we went to M&Ms world and got our personal M&M colour analysed. I am green! It was a fun experience but I do not recommend buying M&Ms there, it is unbelievably expensive!

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Good night New York City!

I definitely enjoyed my last weekend in Manhattan. Now there is only one activity in NYC left that I have not already talked about- so stay tuned!

Thanks for reading!
xx, Sophie

Afternoon in Amsterdam

Hello everybody,

before we get into my little Amsterdam experience, I just want to draw your attention to my new domain. Unfortunately, someone managed to use my old domain and I had to switch to http://www.aperture-wanderlust.com – I just wanted to let you know! Sorry for the inconvenience.

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Alrighty, in June 2018 my friend and I decided to go on a road trip to Belgium and the Netherlands. On our way back to Germany we decided spend an afternoon in Amsterdam. Since it was a quite spontaneous-low budget-trip, we did not plan to stay over night and parked in a P&R parking area for only a couple of euros. The parking fee also included the ticket for public transport. From there we just took a tram to the main train station in Amsterdam.

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To be honest, I definitely need to go back because even though we have seen and admired the pretty buildings, streets and channels, we have not been to a single museum and I cannot really give you any tips or recommendations besides from just strolling around and enjoying the beauty of the city.

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However, what I really love about Amsterdam is how friendly and open people are. People talked to us on the streets, complimented us from their bikes and the atmosphere in general was really nice. As you can see, I took many pictures of the facades and channels, of course we could not miss taking some pictures of ourselves 🙂

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We finished our little side trip to this gorgeous city with some good old pasta in a nice, little restaurant. I will definitely come back!

Do you have any recommendations for my next Amsterdam trip?

Thanks for reading!
Sophie

Grand Central Station and the Metropolitan Museum of Art – Weekend off in NYC #2.2

Welcome back to New York City, it’s been waiting for you!

Today I will be sharing with you some pictures of the Grand Central Station/Terminal, Central Park and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. We decided to dedicate one weekend to different Museums in NYC and that day we went to the MET and also visited Grand Central Station.

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I guess all Germans out there will understand that I was pretty excited when I found a real bakery at Grand Central Station. Yes, they had real bread and great bread rolls that were not sweetened and did not taste like cake rather than like original bread. My friend and I bought ourselves a lunch and another bread roll with cream cheese for our „Abendbrot“ („Dinner“ in German, or if you want to translate it literally „Evening bread“). It  was  amazing !

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I really love the ceiling of Grand Central, it actually reminds me of the magic ceiling in Hogwarts…
Even though I’ve already been to Grand Central in 2015, I didn’t know that there is an apple store up the stairs. My friend unfortunately, crashed her iPhone screen the other day and bought a phone case at the store, but as far as I can remember, you really pay the price for the location.

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On our way to the Whispering gallery

Also- did you know that the Grand Central Terminal has a „Whispering gallery“ in front of the „Oyster Bar“ Restaurant? If you are directly facing one of the four corners of the gallery, you can speak to you friend who is facing another corner, even though you are meters apart from each other.

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Additionally, I just found out that there is a tennis club on the fourth floor, isn’t that crazy? However, this attraction is not really a low budget activity as far as I’ve heard…
Last but not least, did you know that as one of the largest railway stations in the world, Grand Central Terminal is actually radioactive? And that because of its granite walls the radiation levels produced by the station exceed the radiation levels that are allowed in a nuclear power plant?

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In the afternoon we decided to stroll through Central Park and then headed to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. The MET is the largest Art museum in the United States of America and it’s located on the Upper East Side, on the edge of Central Park.
At first I was really worried about the queue in front of the building but as far as I can remember we did not have to wait longer than fifteen minutes.

Correction: I confused the ticket price with the tickets in the AMNH – we paid $12.00 for a student ticket.

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Anyway, the current exhibition in summer 2018 was „Heavenly Bodies – Fashion and the catholic imagination“ and it was breathtaking.

The Costume Institute’s spring 2018 exhibition—at The Met Fifth Avenue and The Met Cloisters—features a dialogue between fashion and medieval art from The Met collection to examine fashion’s ongoing engagement with the devotional practices and traditions of Catholicism.

Looking at all these stunning robes or rather at these artworks, accompanied by impressive, classical music, created such a majestic and powerful atmosphere. It was simply amazing.

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At that time there was also an impressionism/naturalism exhibition „Public Parks, Private Gardens: Paris to Provence“including art pieces by Claude Monet, Auguste Renoir and Edouard Manet. Impressionism (19th century) is one of my favourite eras and art movements in the history of art. The MET has so many great exhibitions and if you are at least a little interested in art, you will love it. And if not, you could still enjoy the view on the Manhattan skyline and Central Park from the roof terrace on top of the building.
I will definitely come back if I get the chance to!

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Have you ever been to NYC and did you go to the MET? If yes- how did you like it?
I wish you all a great week!

Sophie

Taking the ferry to Brooklyn but ending up at IKEA – Weekend off in NYC #2.1

We started our second weekend off with a nice dinner at the Cheesecake Factory. I definitely fell in love with this restaurant, and to be honest, I think I’ve already tried at least seven of their Cheesecakes last summer. However, I had the best salad I’ve ever had with a lot of Guacamole!

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As you might have read in my previous Weekend off – Post, we usually spent our time off in NYC, since the train ride from our city in Long Island to Penn Station was only an hour long. Our goal for this weekend was to take a ferry to Brooklyn and walk the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan and to visit Ground Zero, the Statue of Liberty, Wall Street and certain Museums (I’m gonna tackle the Museum part in a separate post).
Well, it turned out that not everything went as planned…

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Ground Zero

Saturday morning, we already had breakfast at camp and arrived around eleven at Penn Station and took a subway to Ground Zero. I was in desperate need of a good black coffee (coffee at camp was usually just instant coffee which is not really delicious if you like to have your coffee black) so I went to Starbucks, ordered coffee and literally paid almost $3 for a small bottle of water.

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I was really surprised how much street art we saw around Ground Zero, I didn’t remember it to be that much from my last trip to New York City in 2015.
The World Trade Center Memorial is very impressive, I really like that they mentioned all the names of the victims of the 9/11 attack.
However, I was not completely sure if I liked that so many people took pictures in front of the memorial, especially people who made instagram stories or uploaded pictures of themselves, smiling into the camera with all the victim’s names in the background.
Personally I feel like it is not particularly respectful to take those kinds of pictures in front of a memorial that reminds us of the deaths of almost 3000 people.
What is your opinion on this topic?

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Can you spot the Statue of Liberty?

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After our stop at the World Trade Center Site, we walked down Greenwich Street to Battery Park where we were considering doing a boat tour. Unfortunately we discovered an at least 400m long queue of people waiting to buy tickets, hence we decided to skip the tour and just chilled out a bit at the boardwalk.
Admiring the Statue of Liberty, which is still always a surprise because of its small size, we took some pictures before continuing our sightseeing stroll.
I mean, honestly! As a child I always imagined it to be humongous and visible from almost any part of Lower Manhattan, consequently I was a bit disappointed when I first came to NYC but I could not help but smile about it :)!

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IKEA is always a good idea

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Already feeling a bit hungry we planned to take a taxi boat to Brooklyn and to walk the Brooklyn Bridge back to Manhattan later in the afternoon.
Accordingly, we were super pleased when we found out that we only had to wait a couple of minutes for the next ferry. The so called „New York Water Taxi“ was yellow and rather had the appearance of a speed boat like the one I took in Bali when I went to Nusa Lembongan.
As already said, we could not wait to have our late lunch and therefore were happy to finally sit down, and hopefully find a nice restaurant ASAP :D…
The ferry or the slow speed boat honked and left the dock and started to drive to the right, even though Brooklyn Bridge was to our left.
We were slightly confused but still confident that we would soon arrive at our destination.

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However, even after five minutes the ferry was still driving to the wrong direction and after having passed Governors Island we began to laugh despite growling stomaches and were open for another adventure, maybe we would eventually end up somewhere in New Jersey – nobody knows!
It took another twenty minutes till the boat approached a bay and we bursted out laughing when the ferry finally docked and spotted people waiting at the dock with big dark blue plastic bags with „IKEA“ written in bold yellow letters on it, waiting to take the Taxi Boat.

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Yes, we accidentally took a ferry to IKEA instead of a ferry to Brooklyn. I did not even know that there is actually a ferry from Manhattan to IKEA.
Anyway, we therefore still ended up doing a boat trip, even though it was not particularly the one we expected to do.

Wall Street Stock Exchange

Still very hungry, we headed back to Manhattan and took a stroll to Wall Street in order to take a subway to Brooklyn and have lunch. Of course we could not miss out on taking a picture in front of the New York Stock Exchange!

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Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass (DUMBO)

Eventually, we made it to Brooklyn but it turned out that the search for food would not be as easy as thought. The restaurants at the promenade had big queues in front of them, I guess it would have taken us at least half an hour to be seated.

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Brooklyn Bridge

We consequently decided to head to the famous „Gossip Girl Viewpoint“ first, where you can see the Manhattan Bridge from Washington Street. I had a salad at a great salad place called „Sweetgreen„, my friend hat a slice of Pizza at „Front Street Pizza“ and we stocked up on water at a small shop called Peas & Pickles.
I really enjoyed all the great salad bars in NYC since you were able to pick your own greens and stuff or enjoy one of their amazingly creative creations.

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Manhattan

After we had filled up on our energy levels, we went to the promenade where you have a great view of the Manhattan skyline.

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DUMBO was pretty great, many young people, great bars and restaurants and we met some other counsellors from camp at the boardwalk. It is amazing how you can actually meet people you know on accident in such a huge city. Also, I got a call from my friend from Germany who has also been a counsellor at another camp that summer. She told me that she had seen my snap and that she was also in the city, watching a musical on Broadway, what a coincidence!

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Donuts

We had spent another great day in Manhattan and Brooklyn and after at least ten hours of running around, we found ourselves at a Dunkin Donuts store near Penn Station and enjoyed some sweet Donuts. My absolute favourite that summer was probably the chocolate one with these kind of sprinkles which was filled with some kind of coconut cream – so delicious!

I hope you enjoyed this post, stay tuned for more USA posts!
xx, Sophie

This post is not sponsored. All restaurants, shops, places etc. mentioned in this post are my personal recommendations.

 

 

 

How I fulfilled my Dream and went to Yosemite National Park, CA

I’ve been waiting for this for years. Yosemite National Park has been one of the greatest travel destinations for me since I got in touch with the work of Ansel Adams, a landscape photographer who shot many great landscape photographs.

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Half Dome, on my way to the campground

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I think it was in 2012 when my mother told me about Ansel Adams‘ work. I was thirteen years old and became really interested in photography and cameras when she introduced me to his photographs.
It didn’t take me long to find out about the National Park in his pictures.
Big granite monoliths, rocks so high your neck will hurt the longer you watch their summit, but definitely worth it!

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Half Dome

For years, Yosemite National Park has just been an unapproachable-seeming dream, until the day my Ballet teacher wore a Shirt from Yosemite in class and I almost couldn’t believe her when she told me she went there. That was in 2016 and since then I knew:
One day I will go there, one day I will see Half Dome, El Capitan and the Tunnel View with my own eyes.

Two years later, I applied for the Camp America program, got hired as a camp counsellor and decided to travel to San Francisco and Yosemite, even if I had to do it alone.
So I booked a campground, deciding I would travel there, no matter what.

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My preparation mainly included bringing a tent, which was far too big since I was hoping I would find people in my summer camp who want to join me, and a sleeping bag.
When it turned out that nobody would join me on my little four-day-adventure, I got a bit scared, since you need to take a subway, a train and a bus to the park and my campground was not in Yosemite Valley, but a 30 minute bus drive away.
To be honest, I almost quit, since I was by myself and I had to carry everything by myself and didn’t know where to leave my luggage in San Francisco.
However, I was too committed and decided that these little travel issues would not let me wait another three years till I would come back and try again.

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So I got up at six in the morning, took the subway, took the train, took the bus, waited three hours in Yosemite Valley for the bus to take me to the camp ground and finally arrived around six at Crane Flat Gasstation.

The camp ground was a five minute walk from the gas station and when I walked down the road, I realised that this campground was not really supposed for people without a car. The ranger at the entrance was a lovely woman who was obviously amused that a 19 year old girl with only one Carry-On back pack (my tent was inside, as well as my sleeping bag so I was actually just carrying one backpack) was checking in.
She asked me if I would, at any point, have a car and I answered I wouldn’t.
Smiling, she handed me my paper hanger with my booking number, showed me on a map where my camp space was and added „You don’t need to take the map, it’s probably annoying to carry around, you will find the spot without it“ and I just thought: ‚That lady clearly understood my packing issues :D!‘

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-day of arrival-
to be continued…

 

PS: Some of these pictures where taken during the bus drive to the campground, which explains why some of them are a bit blurry and have reflections in them. Additionally, I was not able to take the pictures with my reflex camera since it broke at the beginning of the summer. I took most of the photos with a bridge camera and also used my phone.

Home again

Hello lovely readers out there,

it’s been a very long time since we’ve heard from each other but it’s a pleasure for me to announce that I’m finally back! My last post was published August 26th and a lot of things happened since then.
Actually, I can’t believe that I managed to prepare at least 14 posts to be published during my time in the United States, but I didn’t manage to write a single one since I came home in September.

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On a temple market in Bali (October 2017)

Here is a quick update, just that you know what to expect the next weeks or months.
Ten days after I returned from New York, I started my studies in Economics in a foreign country! Yes, I am lucky enough to be able to study abroad, even though I am still living at home. Ironic, isn’t it?
However, I travel 4 hours each day in order to educate myself but I love it! This is something I’ve missed the past 18 months: going to an institution where inspiringly  intelligent people share their knowledge with you.
To be honest, I really missed studying. 😀
Don’t get me wrong, travelling enriched my life and my general knowledge to such a huge extent. Taking a Gap Year was, without question, the best decision I’ve made so far in my life.
Those who know me personally, will probably confirm that I am a pretty talkative person and very interested in meeting people.
Now imagine how many different faces you see each day when you’re exploring the big cities of this world, or the great conversations you can have with inspiring people (while desperately trying to solve the common travel problems like accommodation, food or transport :D). I spend my money on memories that will always have an impact on my life.

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Me in my garden, pretending to be somewhere else.

I learned so many things about living, human behaviour, society, gratitude, standards and – about myself.
Wow, that was deep. One important lesson I’ve learned is, you can’t just leave, explore the world, come back and continue as you are used to do.
Your life will be different and it is pretty unlikely that you will be „satisfied“ with what you’ve just seen.
A very kind woman from Ireland I met in Langkawi (click) on my first evening in Malaysia told me, that once the travel bug has bitten you, you will want more!
She was right.

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Rice Terrace in Bali (October 2017)

After coming back from South East Asia and Australia, I was very happy and still so thrilled by what I’ve experienced.
However, I got used to my old life really quickly and I started working again straight away. But the „travel-bug-bite“ started itching again and three months later I was, almost unexpectedly, back on the road. Or to be more specific, on the plane to Long Island, NY.
As you may know, I worked as a camp counsellor in a Summer Camp and it was a very rewarding experience. I will certainly publish a separate review of my camp experience any time soon.

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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco – August 2018

Alright, turns out this „quick update“ is not as short as originally planned, but after not having written a single thing in two months, it feels good to be finally producing content again. Sadly, I won’t be travelling a lot the next few months, but I really hope that I will travel next summer. I am very tempted to go to South East Asia again and maybe spend some weeks in my Surf Camp in Bali.
For now, University is my priority and I still have some time to make the decision and to save some money for the next trip.
Content-wise, I still have some destinations and photographs up my sleeve that I haven’t shared with you yet- so stay tuned!

Thank you very much for reading, I wish you a lovely weekend!

Sophie

 

PS: The header picture shows the current, foggy, autumn weather in Germany. Time for cozy socks, hot tea and pumpkin soup!