Saturday, 24 May 2014

Squirrels and Chipmunks

The antics of our local squirrels and chipmunks never cease to amaze us - the squirrels especially are very agile when it comes to balancing and working out new ways of eating from the 'squirrel proof' feeders..

Look - no hands!

While we were having lunch today outside on the decking, several chipmunks were running along the fence and around us.  David and Lauren managed to get some good close ups of these tiny and fast little creatures..

This last picture was taken as one of them popped his head out of his burrow, just a few inches from the wall of the house.

Friday, 23 May 2014

Shopping at Leesburg

David was at work this morning but once we had picked him up we headed for Leesburg and, in particular, the 'Outlet Mall', for a sunny afternoon of retail therapy..

Several items were purchased to remind Lauren and James of their time in the US..

.. and quite a few other items too!

Thursday, 22 May 2014

Final Day in New York

The view from the window of our room on the 23rd floor was straight down to Seventh Avenue - always busy with taxis and commuters around the entrance to Penn Street Station and Madison Square Gardens.

Today and yesterday graduands from New York University and their families were gathered for their degree ceremonies in Madison Square Gardens. Although the above pic doesn't show the bright purple and black gowns, it must have been quite a sight when the huge stadium was full.

After breakfast we set off to Downtown Manhattan on the tube to visit the 9/11 Memorial.  We had tickets also for the museum, which opened to the public yesterday.

Each of the memorials, which cover the 'footprint' of the two towers, has been made into an enormous water-lined monument and the noise of the water pouring down was almost the only sound,

apart from a few noises from nearby construction sites.  

The numbers of people visiting the site and reading the names inscribed around each memorial increased during the morning but everyone was very quiet and contemplative.  Inside the memorial museum it was also very quiet.

Wednesday, 21 May 2014

Sightseeing in New York

This morning dawned cloudy but at least not wet as forecast and so we were able to walk to Pier 79 to catch the water taxi for the tour down the Hudson River, around Lower Manhattan to Brooklyn Bridge and then out to the Statue of Liberty.

On our second trip around we made a couple of stops, firstly to visit 66 Perry Street in the West Village, home of Carrie Bradshaw in 'Sex in the City'.  Lauren and James posed for a photo.

Our second stop was in Brooklyn where we had some lunch and someone very kindly took a photo for us.

Our last trip of the day was to the Empire State Building at the end of the afternoon, where we were very surprised to find that there was no queue.

As you may imagine, we took rather more photos than this but it has been a long day ...,

Tuesday, 20 May 2014

New York, by train

An early start this morning to catch the bus and metro to Union Station where we caught the Amtrak train to New York. It was quite spacious and comfortable although a few mechanical issues caused us to be a little late arriving at Penn Station.  Our hotel is close by.

After lunch we headed to Macy's, noting the sunny view of the Empire State Building on our way.  It is strange to be here in such warm weather when it was so cold and snowy last time.

We did a little shopping in Macy's and later headed for Times Square, which was very busy indeed.

We visited the largest Toys R Us shop in the world, complete with its 70 foot Ferris wheel.

Other oversized attractions in this huge toy shop..

Outside, Times Square was as colourful as it was busy.

Monday, 19 May 2014

Sightseeing in Washington DC

It was sunny and warm this morning and we set off via the Park and Ride and Metro to the centre of Washington with a view to seeing some of the main sights.
We started at the Lincoln Memorial..

It was, as usual, quite busy, as this view back towards the reflecting pool and the Washington monument shows..

We then walked to the Vietnam wall, a simple marble memorial wall on which are inscribed the names of all those who lost their lives in Vietnam during the years 1959 to 1968, some 58,000 names in all.

At the centre of the National Mall is the WWII memorial and each star represents 100 fallen soldiers, hundreds of thousands in all.

From this memorial we walked towards the White House, passing the Washington monument en route.  It is now re-opened following the earthquake damage in 2011.

We joined the throngs of people taking pictures of the White House from one side..

.. and the other.

Warm, weary and footsore we set off for lunch and then home.