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Trip 2017 Travels 2017 Travels   All of my trips in 2017. 1. Kennett Square - January (Waypoint 1) 2. Las... Walter Ch (US)
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2017 Travels

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All of my trips in 2017.

1. Kennett Square - January (Waypoint 1)
2. Las Vegas - May (Waypoint 2-6)
3. New Jersey - May (Waypoint 7)
4. New York - June (Waypoint 8)
5. Baltimore/ Washington DC - August (Waypoint 9-14)
6. Central Pennsylvania - September (Waypoint 15-16)
7. New Jersey - September (Waypoint 17-18)
8. Boston - September (Waypoint 19-25)
9. New York - December (Waypoint 26)

  • 01Jan 2017

    1 Seeing Christmas Garden to Start New Year 01/01/2017 USA —

    Kennett Square, USA

    Description

    The start of 2017, as I would spend most of the day at home. When sunset was approaching, my mom wanted to go to Longwood Gardens, mainly to check out the Christmas displays there. I was very open to the idea, and did consider going earlier. And with the weather being moderate, as it was not as cold as it would normally be at this time of year, it seemed like a very good time to go.

    We would drive all the way to the town of Kennett Square, in the Brandywine Valley area. Not too far from the Brandywine Battlefield. Arrived at Longwood Gardens, where the parking lot was already filled up, which was not really surprising. After parking, we went to the visitor center, where we had to pay for tickets. We went through the building, and out through the other side, to enter the garden.

    I have been to Longwood Gardens a bunch of times, most of them being for Christmas visits. I can't remember the last time I was there in the daytime, but it was must have been when I was a kid, back in the 1980's. A botanical garden, consisting of plants both outside and inside. But since I was only going to focus on the Christmas part, there is no review of it, at least this time from me.

    Starting with a fountain show, set to the music of Christmas tunes. With its changing color pattern, it was really nice to see. But tricky to photograph, which would be the common theme of this visit.

    My mom and I would walk around the outdoor area, seeing the Christmas lights throughout the area. And they were really nice to look at. The lights on a bunch of trees, and the variety of colors on them. We would come to the Peirce-du Pont House, which has a Christmas tree. We just walked through it quickly, then back out. Then came to a treehouse, which I went up and down in. Then came to a model train set, which I always like looking at.

    We would come to the Conservatory, and went inside, to see more Christmas displays. There were a variety of trees to see. I would walk through it faster than I wanted to, since I was with my mom. Plus I did have issues with photography, as I can never remember whether to take photos with flash or not. Always a tricky thing to do, as I won't know how they really turned out until I get home, to a regular computer.

    Walked through the entire Conservatory, seeing a variety of plants, plus Christmas displays. Then back out, to see a little bit more. Then we left Longwood Gardens, and headed back home.

    It may be after Christmas, but I am glad to have gone and see these displays, with my mom. And that will be it, with visiting Christmas sites. I am sure to resume doing this next Christmas season.

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  • 02May 2017

    2 Start of Unexpected Trip 05/02/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    A trip that I did would plan to the last minute, as my grandmother was visiting from Korea. And we had to decide where we wanted to go. My mom decided that Las Vegas would be the place. So we did all the necessary things for the trip, like airline tickets and hotels. My mom and grandmom would leave the day before than me.

    I have only been to Las Vegas once before, in 2005. And that visit was only for 1 to 2 hours. But I never really had a burning desire to return to the city, even if it is one of the most-visited cities in the US (if not the world). So I did not expect much on this trip, as I would be with my family. And not get to see as much as I would, if traveling alone.

    Leaving home, I drove to the nearest train station. By this time, it was the late afternoon. Then rode the train to the airport. I had already checked in online, so I went to the security line. After going through that, I waited at the gate, until it was boarding time.

    I got on the plane, as I would fly with Spirit Airlines. A non-stop flight, it was the cheapest one that I could find. I had the window seat, all the way in the back of the plane. While better than the middle seat, it can be difficult to ask people to get up, if needing to use the bathroom. Especially if these people don't even get up once.

    The plane took off, leaving Philly. Also, I decided not to pay for carryon, so I had to put my backpack underneath the seat in front of me. So not as much legroom, making it tight for 5 hours.

    As the plane approached the Vegas area, I could see the bright lights in the Strip. I am surprised to see the Strip being located very close to the airport. The plane landed, and took some time to get to a gate. Then waited to get out of the plane, as I could smell the jet fuel. I was the last one to get off the plane. Seeing the slot machines in the gate area, a reminder that I am in Las Vegas.

    As much as I wanted to see more of the airport, I had a bus to catch. I went to Level Zero, where I waited and caught the bus, taking me into town. The stops were being announced at first, then stopped. As a result, I missed my stop. And the signs were hard to see in the dark. Reaching the end of the line, I asked for directions from the bus driver, as I had no more $1 bills. And walked to the hostel, as I would see a tall building in the distance, the Stratosphere.

    A bit of a walk, I came to the back side of the hostel, which was fenced off. Then walked around a block, to get to the Hostel Cat. Passed by a bunch of a wedding chapels, motels and more. I arrived at the hostel, and went inside, to check in.

    The hostel consists of a series of buildings. One of them has the reception desk, lounge and kitchen in it. And another has a bunch of smaller buildings, which are the rooms. Each room door is decorated to a country’s flag. And the dorm buildings has some art of cartoon characters on them. Kind of nice to look at.

    After checking in, I went to the room, and got a top bunk bed. It felt hot in the room, even with the air-conditioner on. I unpacked a little and took a shower. Then went to sleep.

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  • 03May 2017

    3 Meeting With Family on the Strip 05/03/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    It was not easy to sleep at the hostel, since the bed was not comfortable. Plus I had a snorer in the room, making it harder to go back to sleep. After some time, I had to get up, and start packing up. Then went out, to get some breakfast. There was the diner option, but I chose to get some snacks at a nearby Walgreen's.

    So I walked to the Walgreen's, needing to buy some other things. I bought a candy bar there, and a chocolate pie from the nearby 7-Eleven. Then headed back, to eat my breakfast there. The candy bar was okay, but the chocolate pie was so bland. A very sweet breakfast, in a not good way. Plus I was feeling sticky, due to the sunscreen and heat.

    Back to the room, I finished up packing, taking my time. Then to the front desk, where I checked out. And got to chat a bit with the girl there. Then went out, to the bus stop. I had no place reserved that night, as I thought about staying at the same place as my mom and grandmom was.

    The bus stop was in the sunlight, which became unbearable. When calling for arrival times, and finally getting on, I waited in the shade, which was across the street. When I saw a bus coming, I came back, and hopped on. I paid for 24-hour pass, costing $8. It took me into the Strip, the most famous part of Las Vegas.

    Not surprisingly, it hit traffic once in the Strip. I got off at the Monte Carlo, where my family was staying. I called my mom, to meet up at some spot. After some confusion, I would meet her at the other entrance, away from the main street. Then went up to their room, where I met up with my grandmother.

    After a little while, we went back down, to the casino floor, with all the slot machines and other things. Then went to a all-you-can-eat buffet, for lunch. Then went inside, to eat as much as we can. And drinks are included, which are becoming more rare these days. The food selection was really good. I ended up being stuffed, as I ate and drank as much as I can. After the meal, we went out, to sit down for a bit on the chairs, outside of the entrance.

    We then walked over to the Bellagio Casino. A bit of a walk, especially in this weather, plus the hassle of going up and down to access the bridge, since there was no way to cross the street directly. We would go inside some buildings, hoping to take a cooler route. One of them being the Cosmopolitan of Las Vegas. Looked around for a bit, before coming back out on the main street, Las Vegas Boulevard.

    We would encounter some showgirls, who my grandmother wanted to pose with. But it was ripoff, as they would tell us that it costs $20 for the photo. How disappointing, as I expected the cost was just to tip them. Then we walked to the Bellagio, approaching the fountain. Walked along it, until we got inside the casino.

    We sat down for a bit. And I decided to call the same hostel, to reserve a bed. After getting through the annoying automated menu, I was able to get a bed. After that was all done, I went to the Bellagio Conservatory & Botanical Gardens. A small walkthrough through a garden, set to a different theme throughout the year. I went through it quickly, and something to do indoors that is free.

    After seeing the gardens, I sat down with my family for a bit, just looking around. Then we went back to the Monte Carlo, going back by bus. Once we got there, we rested for a bit. After resting, we went back out, as we would be going to the Luxor for a show.

    Passed by a few casinos, and ended up passing the option to take the tram, walking all the way to the Luxor. Once we got there, my mom would get the tickets for the Blue Man Group, the show that we would be seeing. Since we got there really early, we just sat around, mainly to relax and look around. Then I walked around, to see the casino area. And after talking with my mom, I decided to spend the following night at one of the casinos.

    The Luxor is a casino, set to the theme of ancient Egypt, with its displays. The casino is actually inside the pyramid, with some statues and obelisks around the place. Nice to look like, even if they are not actual artifacts. There were options for museum exhibitions, but I did not visit them, since they were pricey and photography was not allowed.

    When the time came, I had to check my bag at the bell desk, since bags are not allowed in the theater. After doing that, I went inside the theater, to watch the show, "Blue Man Group".

    Basically, there is not really any story, as it is about 3 blue men, who do all kinds of crazy and messy tricks. And they don’t speak at all, but the look on their faces pretty much says it all, with all the craziness that they get themselves involved in. And they are really entertaining and funny to watch. Set to rock music, that can be really loud for some people. But I think it does add to the show.

    After the show, we went back out, and took the bus back towards the Monte Carlo. After getting off the bus, we stopped by a food court, to get some dinner. It was fried rice with chicken mushroom at the Panda Express. Then back to the Monte Carlo, where my mom and grandmom went back to their room. And I took the bus back to the hostel.

    Once back at the hostel, I had to check in again, and got placed in a different room. But this time, I had the room all to myself, which was great. So I can spread all my things around, and not worry about waking up others. But this won't last long. I took a shower and recharged my devices. Then went to sleep.

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  • 04May 2017

    4 Zoo, Aquarium and Show 05/04/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    Getting up, I did have the room all to myself. I had to get ready, and make another trip to Walgreen's, to buy some things. After getting those things, I returned to the hostel, to finish up packing. I still had some time left on my 24-hour pass, so I had to check out before that. Once I did that, I walked to the bus stop. But then, saw a bus coming, so I had to run to the stop, so I don't miss it. I was able to get on the Deuce bus, which took me to the Strip.

    I sat in the front again, looking around, until I arrived at the Monte Carlo. Then went inside, to check in. Unfortunately, I had to stand in line, since I was not able to use the mobile check-in. It took a while, but I was able to check in at the front desk. After getting my keys, I went to the room, and got settled. This was a huge upgrade for me, as I don't get to stay in such places at these, very often. I know that I will enjoy my stay there.

    I would meet up with my mom first. And we went to the food court to meet with my grandma. I did not know that the casino had a food court inside. They were waiting for me, and have not eaten anything yet. Neither did I, and we all went to the same buffet for lunch. And got stuffed.

    After lunch, we went outside to the entrance area. There were some chairs outside, where we sat for a while to relax. And posed for photos at one of these special effect painting or something. One of them looked like, a person would get attacked by a scorpion. Hard to describe in words. After having fun with this, we went back inside.

    My mom and grandma played some slots, picking the $1 one. And got back only 15 cents. After this, we parted ways, as they went back to their room. And I went out to see one of the sites, as I had a couple hours. Coming out of the other entrance, I would see T-Mobile Arena, as well as the New York, New York (NY, NY) with its rollercoaster.

    I tried to go a different way, hoping it would be shortcut. But it was not, just took the same amount of time, as if I walked along Las Vegas Blvd. I went up to the crossing bridge, to the Excalibur Hotel & Casino. And to the tram, which I decided to ride it, to save time. Hopped on the express one, which took me all the way to Mandalay Bay. Passing the by the Luxor, I realized that I made a mistake for skipping it the day before. It would have saved me and my family a lot of trouble, as it was also free to ride.

    Arriving at the Mandalay Bay, I walked through its casino floor, passing by slot machines and shops. It seemed to take forever, to get to the Shark Reef Aquarium at Mandalay Bay. But once I got there, I paid for admission, and entered the aquarium.

    Going up the escalator, I would start the first of 2 parts of this attraction. This one is the main aquarium, with all the marine life on display. Starting with the part under a greenhouse dome, looking like an ancient temple. Then going "inside" the temple itself. And finally, inside a shipwreck. After seeing the aquarium, I went back out, and headed to the second part, Polar Journeys. More about all this, and more photos, in the aquarium blog.

    After coming out of Polar Journey, I would see a group of photos, of different animals, on the wall. This was part of a series called "PhotoArk", presented by National Geographic. Really nice to see. Then I looked out the window, seeing the swimming pools, which looked like a mini-water park. Then started to head back.

    Walked all the way back to the tram, then rode it back to Excalibur. Then walked to NY, NY, going inside it, hoping to take a more comfortable route. I came to the casino floor, and got confused, as I ended up going around in a circle. I followed signs to T-Mobile Arena, but that helped a little. I was led outside to a side street, where I could see the arena. Then just walked towards it, leading me back to the Monte Carlo.

    I went back to the room, washed up and rested with the time remaining left. Alarm was set, so I don't oversleep. When waking up, I got ready and headed out. I met with mom and grandma, and we tried to figure out how to get a taxi. We were heading to another show.

    We got a taxi, with the driver being from Ethiopia. We talked, as he took another route to the Mirage, the casino that we were going to. Turned out, the cost would have been the same as the bus, but less stressful, and probably took less time.

    Once at the Mirage, we went inside, and looked at the aquarium, behind the front desk. It was nice to look at. Then we continued on, to a greenhouse dome, with the water and rainforest trees. Looked around for a bit, which was also nice to see and pass through. Then went to the ticket office, where my mom stood in line to get the tickets. My grandma and me waited around the slot machines.

    After a little while, my mom got the tickets. I wanted to visit the zoo, but they did not, so we agreed to meet back at the theater area. So I walked all the way through the Mirage, and came outside. And to the Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat.

    This zoo was outdoors, and I did not have any sunscreen on me. So I hope this is shaded. Paid admission to enter, and with a short amount of time, I would have to see as much as I can.

    I came to the dolphin pool. First to see, was the underwater view of the dolphins swimming. The only indoor part. Then back out, to go to the Siegfried & Roy's Secret Garden, where I went to one side to see the white tigers. Then back to the dolphin pool, for a keeper talk. Then back to the Secret Garden, to see white lions and leopards. Then headed back out, as I was finished seeing this place. More about the zoo, along with more zoo photos, in the zoo blog.

    I went back inside, to the Love Theater, as I would be watching the show, "The Beatles Love", from Cirque du Soleil (the company that produces these shows). I did not see either of my family members in the ticket office area, so I went in the theater, to my seat. I would see them shortly after. Then the show itself started.

    The performances are very impressive to watch, to a point where you find yourself asking at times, how do they do that? The choreography is just awesome to watch, and seeing the variety of circus acts and stunts are just amazing to watch. All set of the songs of the Beatles, which do not feel out of the place in this show, and in fact, adds to it. Even though I am not a Beatles fan.

    After the show, we left the theater, and tried to get a cab back to the Monte Carlo. Went one way, then had to stand in line for a taxi. Once we got one, we rode back to our casino. Once there, we went to the food court, for a quick dinner. We all had a slice of pizza, which was good.

    After dinner, we all went back to our respective rooms. The only night that I get to enjoy in a Vegas casino. It has been a very good day.

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  • 05May 2017

    5 Solo Day on the Strip 05/05/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    I got up really early, as both my mom and grandmother were checking out this day, and heading back home. So after getting ready quickly, I would go to their room, and then help them to find their shuttle bus. My mom told me that she already checked out. So that saves that trouble, as lines for checking out tend to be long and very slow.

    Once at the casino floor, we went out, and just waited until the airport shuttle bus came. Once we confirm that it was the correct one, they go on the shuttle. Then I went back to my room, and slept some more. I would stay at this casino until around check out time, since it costs so much money for me.

    A few hours later, I was awake, and went to the casino floor, trying to decide what to eat for breakfast. After walking around the food court and not finding anything appealing, I just decided to eat the all-you-can-eat breakfast buffet. Only $1 less than the lunch one, but I love to eat breakfast buffets, even if it is unbelievably unhealthy. So I went there, and ate away. And yes, I really enjoyed it very much! And was very full.

    After breakfast, I went back to the room, and relaxed a bit. I could hardly move around after eating so much. But my time in the room came to an end, as it was about check out time. I had to pack up everything, and then left the room. And used the Express Checkout, which was a small computer box. That saved me the trouble of standing in line, as it was very quick. But I was sad, as my time at the casino has come to an end. I left the Monte Carlo, and took the bus to go to my next place to sleep.

    I would go to the downtown area, getting off at Fremont Street. Then walked on that street, which was a long walk, as I passed by old motels. And mostly in direct sunlight. I arrived at the Las Vegas Hostel, and tried to check in. But not surprising, I would have to wait some hours to do that. So I put my backpack in storage, and looked around the hostel. This does look like a good hostel, but just not in a good location, being far from everything else.

    I looked at some brochures and used the computer there, deciding what to do next. But with limited time left, I had to narrow my focus. Also, I tried to print out my boarding passes but no luck. But I was able to check in, online. That should buy me some time at the airport, as I had an early morning flight, and likely not to get much sleep.

    I walked to a bus stop, going a different way. Then got on the Deuce bus, and stopped by the Hostel Cat from earlier. I took their key by mistake, and decided to stop by, to return it. This hostel had no room left, which is why I had to book with another hostel. Too bad, as this hostel has a much better location.

    Back out, I hopped on the bus, and got off to go to a McDonald's. I thought they would have $1 drink promotion, but turned out this McDonald's did not. So I ended up paying almost $2. After getting a refill, I went to the nearby Circus Circus Hotel & Casino, to visit Adventuredome.

    Adventuredome is an amusement park inside a glass dome. Walking around, it reminds me of the Mall of America. I came to an arcade area, and saw some old games. Played some of them, then left the place. Leaving Adventuredome, I went to McDonald's to get another refill. Then to the bus, taking it to the main part of the Strip.

    I stopped by the Excalibur, to use their restroom. Then looked around this casino, as it does have its own arcade. Strange to see in this day in age. I did not play any games, and left the Excalibur. I took the bus, going to the famous welcome sign.

    The sign that says "Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas", I used to think that it was part of a hotel. But it is located on a median, in the middle of the street, much to my surprise. Still, I had to make sure that I seen it on this trip, after seeing it on photos for some time. Turns out, it is located next the airfield of the airport. I would see some planes taking off.

    Afterwards, I went to see some of the casinos along the way, both outside and inside, for the architecture of them. Starting from Mandalay Bay, which has Asian architecture around the entrance. I rode the tram to the Excalibur. Then went inside NY, NY. Along the way, I would stop and make a list of things that I wanted to see before leaving LV, and cross check with times. After looking it over, I resumed seeing more of the Strip. Leaving NY, NY, I went to the MGM Grand.

    Then left quickly, to go to the Bellagio, for the fountain show. Then picked a spot, and waited for the Bellagio Fountain Music Show to start. Or whatever the exact name it is. It puts on a nice water display, set to music. And each show does have different music. And if at night, there is a light show as well. The nighttime one is the better one, but still worth a watch.

    After the fountain show, I would see some costumed characters pass by, some with their masks off. Then went to Caesars Palace, looking around. at the ancient Roman architecture. Then to the Mirage, for the volcano show. Walked around, to get a good view. Fire and smoke coming out of it, set to a musical drum number. Plus fire around the volcano as well. It is a good show, with very nice special effects. Better to watch it from the street side.

    Looked around some more, then went inside the Venetian. I remember visiting this place in 2005, and had to see it again. I went to see the canal, which has gandolas floating on it. A replica of Venice, even including St. Mark's Square. Looked around more, then went back out. I went to see the fountains near the Wynn casino, for the fountain show. This show seems to run continuously throughout the evening hours. I stood around for about 20 minutes, and it did not seem to end. Also, the part with the light show, is a lot more colorful, as the colors do change along the way. Makes it more colorful to see. A nice show to watch, and worth seeing if you happen to be in the immediate area. And that is more likely the case, with the Wynn being next to the Venetian.

    Afterwards, I rode the bus, going to my last site of this night, the Stratosphere. Then went inside it, and rode the elevator to the observation deck at the top. Looked at the city at night, first indoors. And got to see someone jump off, to bungie-jump, which was really something. Then went outside, for the outdoor views. While the nighttime views are nice, I feel like I was missing out since I could not see the surrounding area. So I should remember to make these visits at least 1 hour before sunset.

    After seeing this place, I went back down. And quickly went out, catching the bus just on time. I rode to Fremont Street, where there was a light show in progress. But I had no time to see it. I had to start walking to the hostel, as it was getting late. But then, a bus came along, and I got on that bus, getting me to the hostel faster. This saved me some time, which I needed, in hopes to get as much sleep as possible.

    Arriving at the hostel, I was able to get to my room for the night. Then quickly organized my clothes, in a way to save time for the next morning. Then took a quick shower. After all that, I went to sleep, knowing that I would not get much of it, due to the early morning flight.

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  • 06May 2017

    6 Leaving Las Vegas 05/06/2017 USA —

    Las Vegas, USA

    Description

    I was able to get up on time, with help from my cell phone. Then got ready quickly, and packed up. Luckily, the preparation from earlier, proved helpful. After that, I left the room, going to the reception desk, to check out and let them know of a few issues that they need to address. Like a leaky faucet, which is a much bigger deal in the desert. I got directions to the nearest stop to a bus line that took me to the airport.

    Leaving the hostel, I walked to the bus stop, which was about 15 minutes away. In a residential neighborhood, around 4 AM. I got to a gas station, and got some bottled water at the store there. I was very thirsty. Then waited until the bus came, and I was not alone at the stop. When the bus came, I hopped on, and rode it to the airport.

    Once at the airport, I did go in, and quickly skimmed through the museum part. The displays told the history of McCarran International Airport. I did not stay long, as I had to get in line for security, which was long. I was able to get through it, then took a tram to the terminal. Then proceeded to my gate, where I waited around, until boarding time.

    When that time came, I got on the plane, and had the window seat. The plane took off, leaving Las Vegas. Looking out, I could see the surrounding mountains, and the city. I would going to Minneapolis first, for a 4-hour layover.

    Once the plane arrived at the gate in Minneapolis, I got off, and went to the next gate, just to see where it was. Then went to a food court, to get something to eat, as I have not eaten anything this day. I got myself some Chinese food, chicken with rice. It was pretty good. And I got a text, saying that my flight back home, is delayed. I would find out later, it was due to just falling behind schedule.

    Along the way, I ran into someone, who I knew from college. I did not get to talk much, since he had somewhere to go. Then waited at the gate, until boarding time. When I got on the Delta flight, I would have the middle seat. At least with Delta, it does not cost extra to store luggage in the overhead.

    The plane took off, leaving the Twin Cities, and heading back to Philly. Once it arrived there, I took the train, which then, took me back home. The trip to Las Vegas was over.

    I did not expect much from this trip, but much to my surprise, I ended up having a very good time. And it has been a while since I traveled somewhere by airplane. I am sure that I will return to Vegas, as there are a bunch of day trip options that I am very interested in.

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  • 30May 2017

    7 Second Try In Trenton 05/30/2017 USA —

    Trenton, USA

    Description

    With nothing to do, I decided to make another day trip to Trenton, in hopes to visit another state capitol building, and see a minor league baseball game. It was a very late start, plus really cold and rained a little at times. When stopping by a place to eat lunch, I realized that I forgotten my jacket. This was trouble, as I would outside during half of this time. Not sure how much I could endure. I could have bought another one, but decided not to.

    Arriving into Trenton, I parked at the same place as before, and walked to the New Jersey State House. I got there on time, and went inside. I had to go through security, then waited until the tour began.

    I was the only one on this guided tour, which was led by a guy. He showed me different parts of the New Jersey State House, and just like that, the tour was over. I did not have any questions to ask, which is part of the reason why the tour was short. Plus it would go through some extensive renovations, which would partially explain why some of its windows were boarded up.

    After the tour, I went across the street, to look around the World War II Memorial. This monument has 2 walls on each side, with one side having images from the European and African side of the war. And the other having the Asian Pacific side. There are 2 different timelines on the walls, with one of them being for the entire world. And the other being for New Jersey, as what was happening in the state during that time. And some sculptures there as well.

    Not surprisingly, there were very few visitors, as the weather was not really good. From the memorial, I went to the Old Barracks Museum, and would finish up seeing that place. I had a voucher, that allowed me to see the museum part, without having to pay admission again. So I would see the rest of it. And after seeing the museum part, plus a short film, I went back towards the car.

    I got back to the car, and napped for a little while, as there was a lot of time to kill. I was planning to go to a baseball game at Arm & Hammer Park, which is the home of the Trenton Thunder, an affiliate of the Yankees.

    When waking up, I planned to walk, but decided to drive there. But when arriving there, I decided not go to the game, as I don't think I could endure the cold weather during the entire game, without a jacket. So I left Trenton, stopping by a few places, then went back home.

    So I got to visit my 2nd state capitol building. I still have a long way to go on this quest, to visit every state capitol building. And do plan to return to Trenton, to watch a minor league baseball game.

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  • 16Jun 2017

    8 Central to Meeting a TBer 06/16/2017 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    When learning that a TBer will be in NY for a few days, I decided to take a trip there. I also decided to spend the night there, which I don't often do. I would only bring along a day pack, putting as many things as possible. This would be a good thing in the long run.

    I arrived into NY by Greyhound bus. Hard to believe, as I really don't like traveling with them. Plus they tend to be the more expensive option. But not this time, which is why I rode with them. Arriving into Port Authority bus station, I went to the subway, riding it to my hostel. I would be staying at the Jazz on the Park hostel.

    I was not able to check in, so I went out, carrying my day pack. Being only a block from Central Park, I decided to explore it. Starting from 103rd St, I pretty much walked almost the entire length of the park, going from south to north.

    Central Park is a large urban park, that was established in 1857, by architect Frederick Law Olmsted. It was created, to give a place for New Yorkers, a nice place to enjoy and relax. I have been here a few times before, but this time, I decided to take a closer look at the park.

    I had a bunch of places in mind, to visit within the park. I did not get to see everything, as the park is huge. But I started to feel tired and worned out. Plus I needed to get back to the hostel, to rest up for a bit. So I headed towards Columbus Circle, around 59th St. Getting there was a challenge, as the trails are not always straight within the park. Plus it was very humid, though I'm glad that it was cloudy.

    When getting to Columbus Circle, I got on the subway, and rode back to the hostel. Then I was able to check in. After doing that, I had to go up 5 floors of steps, to get to my dorm room. Then I unpacked, showered and rested for a bit. After resting, I went downstairs to the lounge, where I charged my devices at one of the computers there. That was mainly due to the fact that I forgotten to bring the plug part. So I could only re-charge through a USB port.

    After 30 minutes, I headed out, this time taking the subway, mainly for my sore feet. I arrived around 81st St, then walked to Central Park, to the Metropolitan Museum of Art. More known as the Met, I have been there a couple times before. I decided to make a short visit, as it was open late on Fridays. I went in, and paid $3 as my suggested admission.

    Main reason for coming here, was to see the original painting, "Washington Crossing the Delaware" by Emanuel Leutze, after seeing replicas elsewhere. Well, it was worth it, as the painting is a lot bigger than I thought. Then I went to the nearby rooms, to look at more American art. And they were nice to look at. Then went to see some Egyptian art, as there was so much more to see. But with time running out, I had to leave. With so much to see, I have to make a return visit, and more likely, write up a new review for this place.

    Leaving the museum, I walked to Columbus Circle again. There was no nearby subway station, so I decided to walk, despite my feet hurting so much. I figure, it would save some time in the long run. I walked through the park, to get to Columbus Circle. That was the meeting spot to meet up with Mira.

    This was my 2nd time meeting Mira (mnmira), as we have met back in 2014 at the Kuala Lumpur meetup. She was reaching the end of her trip, making stops in NY, as she has traveled to Central America. This time, she was with her friend, Daniel, who is a local.

    We walked around a bit in the nearby area, looking for a place to get some dinner. Stopped by a few places, until we decided to get our meal from a food truck. After getting our food, we went back to Columbus Circle, to eat and hang out there. It was a very fun time.

    Unfortunately, when getting back up, after hanging out, my left foot was in so much pain, to the point where I was limping. Not sure how this happened. Probably from so much walking, which I decided to do, to get some exercise.

    From Columbus Circle, we inside a nearby shopping mall, for some photos. Then had to part ways, as Mira and Daniel were planning to meet Daniel's brother. I headed back to the hostel, which was made a lot harder due to my bad foot. Made worse by going up the 5 floors, as there was no elevator. Once back in the room, I went to sleep.

    The next day, would end up being a complete wash. My foot was still in pain, so I stayed in the hostel until around checkout time. After that time passed, I went out, hoping to visit the Central Park Zoo. But by the time I reached the area, it started to rain really hard. So I decided to visit the American Museum of Natural History, but the line was so long, even in the rain. At this point, I just gave up, and went to the bus station, waiting (and dozing off) there until it was time to board.

    Getting on the Greyhound bus, I rode back to Philly. It was a very good day trip, getting to see Mira again, and see a little more of NY. I am sure that I will visit again this year.

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  • 22Aug 2017

    9 A's and O's on Last Minute Trip 08/22/2017 USA —

    Baltimore, USA

    Description

    I was not sure where to go first, and waited too long until around the last minute. I decided to go to Baltimore and Washington DC. This would be almost a repeat of the 2008 trip. That was the very first blog that I written on TravBuddy, a very short time after joining the site.

    After finishing packing in my home, my mom gave me a ride to the train station. As she had to go somewhere that day, I would be going to the bus stop area, really early. Once at the station, I rode the train into Philly, to the 30th Street station. Then just waited around, until the time came to go back outside, to the Megabus stop.

    Well, it turned out that there was a backup of people, as the last bus did not come. I tried to get on one bus, but no luck. Luckily, another one came 30 minutes later, and I got on that one. As it was very hot and humid, I got on it quickly. Then finally on my to Baltimore. The bus ride took around 90 minutes, I think.

    Once we got there, I got off, at a strip mall. Turned out, the Megabus stop in Baltimore, was about an hour away from downtown, if relying on public transportation. And completely out in the sun. I walked around for a bit, until I came to a Burger King, where I would eat lunch. Then went to look for the bus stop.

    I tried to follow directions that I written, from the hostel's web site. Well, I came to a bus sign, but it did not have the bus number that I was looking for. I kept walking along the street, but still no luck. Tried to look it up on my phone, but the Maryland Transit site was not showing up at all. So I had to go inside an AMC Theater, to ask about buses to downtown. The guy in there, told me which ones. Turns out the hostel web site is either completely wrong, or just outdated.

    So I went to a bus stop, and did not wait long for a bus to come. I hopped on one, and rode it to downtown. As I followed along on Google Maps, I got off, when near the area. Then walked to the HI Baltimore Hostel.

    I went inside, to check in. This place does look like it was converted from a home. The rooms look very nice, and very wide open. I would meet an Australian guy named Jeff, who was riding his bike across the US. He was heading to Philly next. And met another guy from Estonia. I unpacked and showered for a bit. Then got some things, then headed back out, into the hot and humid weather.

    I walked to the Baltimore Visitor Center, which took me about 20 minutes. Not fun at all, and I forgot to re-apply sunscreen. I hoped to buy a zoo ticket at the visitor center, which would allow me to ride the free shuttle to the zoo. Well, once I got there, shortly before closing, it turned out the zoo shuttles only run on Saturdays. And they don't sell tickets there. But the walk was not a complete waste.

    I walked around the harbor area for a little bit, but decided to head towards the ballpark area. So I walked all the way, not feeling good at all. I arrived at the Babe Ruth Birthplace and Museum, as it was open late on Orioles home games.

    This place was the birthplace of George Herman "Babe" Ruth Jr. More commonly known as Babe Ruth, or just the Babe, he is considered one of the best baseball players of all time.The building is both a home and a museum on Babe Ruth. More of a museum though, as only 2 rooms have actually been preserved with period furniture. The rest of it, have displays, in relation to the life of Babe Ruth, including items that he owned. And of course, the things that marked the big moments in his baseball career. Definitely worth seeing for baseball fans.

    After seeing his place, I walked towards Oriole Park at Camden Yards. There were a few stalls that was selling food, but I was not sure if allowed in the ballpark this time. I was allowed back in 2008. I decided not to buy anything, as I walked towards the entrance.

    I came upon Eutaw Street, where there was a statue of Babe Ruth, and a sculpture of numbers. These are jersey numbers that were retired by the Baltimore Orioles. After looking around, I entered into Oriole Park at Camden Yards.

    This was where my baseball quest started back in 2008, as I decided to see every Major League Baseball stadium. While the quest is still not completed, I decided to re-visit some of the ones that I have been to, as I felt like I did not really get a good look before. At this point, I have visited and photographed 20 so far, as well as review them here on TB.

    Well, there were some other features, that either were not there in 2008, or I just missed them. So I looked at them along Eutaw Street. They would include the Orioles Hall of Fame, with all the plaques of the noteworthy players that have played for the Orioles. And the Maryland Athletic Hall of Fame, which acknowledges the different athletes from the state of Maryland.

    Anyway, I went up to my seat, and looked around for a bit. Just a strange feeling, being back at this place after 9 years. I would watch a game between the Baltimore Orioles and Oakland Athletics. So it is the O's vs. A's. Both teams were out of the playoff picture, as they are near the bottom of their respective divisions. But that did not mean that this would be a boring game to watch.

    The game had a bunch of home runs, starting with the A's hitting 2 of them in the 1st inning, then another one in the 5th inning, as they jumped to a 5-0 lead. But the O's did fight back, hitting a 2-run homer in the 6th, and scored 2 more in the 8th inning. But the A's hit their 3rd home run of the game, in the 9th inning, to close out the scoring. The Athletics beat the Orioles, 6-4.

    I would look around for a bit, then headed out of the stadium. I passed by the building, which used to be the Maryland Sports Museum. I decided to walk back to the hostel. Made a stop at a 7-Eleven, to get a Big Gulp, to cool off a bit from the humidity.

    I arrived back to the hostel. And to my room, where I took care of a few things. Then finally went to sleep.

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  • 23Aug 2017

    10 TB on Capitol Hill, Then National Mall 08/23/2017 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA

    Description

    Started the day with the hostel breakfast, which included pancakes. I had to make them, then ate a few. Then back to the room for a little while, as I was not too much of a hurry. I had to pack up and get ready. Stayed until it was time to check out. But I will return to the hostel in 2 days.

    Leaving the hostel, the weather felt a lot more tolerable, as it was not humid. But still hot. I walked to the nearby bus stop, to catch the the Charm City Circulator, which was a free bus. A short wait, and short ride to Penn Station. Once there, I hurried to the ticket counter, to buy a ticket for a MARC train, to Washington DC. Turns out, there was one leaving in a few minutes. I got the ticket, and ran to the platform. I did make it onto the train, which left shortly after.

    When I arrived at Union Station, I walked to the Metro, when I realized that I forgotten to bring the Smartrip Card from my last trip. So I had to pay $2 more to get another, plus the possible fare amount. Then rode the Metro to the convention center. I went to a nearby Subway, but decided to check in at the same hostel from before, Duo Housing Hostel.

    I checked in, and left my backpack there. Then back out, and stopped by a 7-Eleven, to get a cheap lunch. I ate the lunch, which was only a hot dog. Then to the Metro, which I took to get to Capitol Hill, where I would meet up with a TBer.

    Arrived, I walked to one of the buildings there, where I would finally meet up with Andrew (Andy99). We went inside it, where he worked. Then to a cafe, where we hung out for a little while. We parted ways, when he had to go back to work.

    I left this building, and stopped by another, to pick up a map, and figure out where to go next. Then back out, walking to the National Mall, as I decided to visit the museums there. I would get on the Circulator, to save some time and energy, towards the National Museum of American History. Then went inside, to see more of it.

    I did visit in 2016, as well as in previous visits to DC. But I wanted to see more, as there are still a lot more to see. Starting with the updated parts of the "First Ladies" and "The American Presidency: A Glorious Burden", with both Donald and Melania Trimp being added. Looking at the photo of Donald Trump, I could see some people laugh and point out on how he looks like a curmudgeon.

    Plus there was a display of Martha Washington's dress, which was in the main showcase this time. Then went to see a few more exhibitions, which were the following... "The Value of Money", "American Enterprise" and "Many Voices, One Nation". Plus the display of the Woolworth lunch counter from the Greensboro sit-ins in 1960.

    This museum was closing up, so time to head out. And to the only museum that was open late. But first, I was craving for some ice cream. I went inside the museum first, but the cafe was closed. So back out, at one of those stalls, getting an ice cream sandwich. After enjoying that, back inside the museum, which was the National Air and Space Museum.

    I am not sure if I ever been to this one before. As with the others, I had to pick and choose which exhibitions to see. Starting with "Looking at Earth", where I would spend some time, resting my sore feet. Once I resumed, I would see the "Space Race", followed by "Explore the Universe". Then to "Moving Beyond Earth". After that, I went to the second floor, where I would see "Time and Navigation". And finally, the one on the Wright Brothers.

    As I was walking through the Wright Brothers exhibition, it occurred to me, that I owe it to these 2 guys, for traveling to be more possible. So who are the Wright Brothers? They are Wilbur and Orville Wright, 2 brothers who invented a flying machine that allowed a person to fly possible. Basically, the very first airplane. From there, it would only get bigger and better. And what a legacy that they left, which is continously felt to this day. With me, the possibility of traveling and seeing the world.

    Closing time came, and I went back down, to head out. I would see a few more things along the way, near the entrance. Then exited, walking to the Metro. I hopped on the wrong side, which took me to the Virginia side. So I had to turn around, and back to DC. Then back to the hostel.

    As I got to the hostel, and to my room, there was a little mixup with the assigned beds. The girl on staff, was able to straighten it out. Then unpacked some more, and got a cheap pizza from the grocery store next door. It was a very cheap dinner. Then used the computer, as I tried to figure out what to do the next day.

    After showering, and making sure that my phone was charged, I went to sleep.

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  • 24Aug 2017

    11 Returning to Home of GW 08/24/2017 USA —

    Mt Vernon, USA

    Description

    Started the day with pancake breakfasts, which I remember this hostel, always serving. And yes, I enjoyed it very much. Then back to the room, to take care of some things. I would get ready, and had to pack up, as I made 2 different reservations at this place. Remember that part about this being a last-minute trip? So I would be in a different room.

    After getting the things needed and to do, I went out, to the Metro. Added more money to the Smartrip Card, then got on the Metro, as I was taking a day trip to Mount Vernon in Virginia. Crossing over the Potomac River, I was in Virginia, and arrived at Huntington station. Then went to a nearby 7-Eleven, to get some soda. Then back to the station, to catch the bus to Mount Vernon.

    I arrived there, and went inside the Ford Orientation Center, which is where my visit to Mt. Vernon begins. Looked around for a bit, and then watched the introduction film. Then went outside, to see the estate grounds.

    In addition to seeing the mansion itself, I would see the different gardens, and other buildings. I may have missed most of these buildings when I visited back in 2008. Like where the servants stayed, as well as the different buildings where the slaves stayed. I tried to see as much as I can, before the mansion tour.

    Speaking of which, that was the huge difference between my previous visit in 2008, and this one. The mansion can only be seen on a guided tour now. Back then, people just get in line and walk through it. Now, I had to pick a time for a tour.

    When the guided tour started, I find out that the guide is from Philly. And even talked some football for a little bit. But he had to focus on the tour itself, as he showed us the grounds, and how GW made sure that the estate was symmetrical. That meant, that it has to be same on both sides. For example, if there is a garden on one side, then there has to be a garden on the other side as well.

    We went inside the mansion, and were shown the different rooms. Well, one thing that did not change from my last visit, is that photography inside the mansion is still not allowed. Still, it was nice to see the rooms again, as well as the view at the back of the mansion. Plus chairs to sit on, where one can enjoy the views of the Potomac River.

    After the tour ended, I looked around the estate some more, but not everything, as it is huge. And I was feeling hot and my feet were sore. Plus time was running out, as I wanted enough time to go inside the museum part.

    After seeing the grounds, I went inside the Donald W. Reynolds Museum & Education Center. Started with the Education Center part, which was about the life of George Washington. And then, the Museum part, which has temporary exhibitions. This one, was about slavery on Mount Vernon. This part did not allow photography at all. But I thought this part was a very interesting one, as it did some profiles on some of the slaves. Plus artifacts that now belong to the descendents of the slaves. Plus learning how GW himself would change his views and start to hate slavery.

    Leaving the museum, I thought the entire place would close down. But as it turned out, the museum and education center would close one hour later than the estate. So I went through the Education Center again, and watched some of the films. Stayed around until closing time was approached.

    I would leave Mount Vernon, and hopped on the bus, taking me to the Metro. Then the Metro back to DC.

    Once back at the hostel, I would end up letting in someone, who I did wonder, was actually staying at the hostel. Turns out that person was.

    Also, I was in a different room. I would pick up a cheap dinner from the grocery store, and eat it in the kitchen at the hostel. Plus get to meet a woman from LA, as well as a few other people.

    Took care of a few other things, before going to sleep.

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  • 25Aug 2017

    12 Seeing the White House 08/25/2017 USA —

    Fort Lesley J. McNair, Washington, USA

    Description

    I started the day with the pancake breakfast at the hostel. Then had to get ready and pack up, as I would be leaving DC later on. And did get to meet a guy from Iowa, as well as a bunch of people from Europe. After packing up, I got only the necessary things, and put my backpack in storage. Then headed out.

    I wanted to visit one more attraction before leaving DC. Leaving the hostel, I walked to Lafayette Square, which has a bunch of statues. After going through it, I came upon the White House. The White House is the official home and workplace of the US President and their family.

    This was not my first time seeing it, as I have seen it in past trips. But this time, the street directly in front of it, was closed off. So I could only see it from across the street. And I would not go inside it, since that required advanced reservations, which I did not have.

    Afterwards, I walked to the nearby White House Visitor Center, which is a visitor center and museum on the White House. I went inside, and looked around. Not a substitute for visiting the White House itself. It has a bunch of displays, of items that have been used over the years in the history of the place. And descriptions on the history and what it is like living in the White House. And the different things that happen within the White House. Worth a look, to give a good idea of what it is like inside.

    After seeing this place, I walked towards back to the hostel, stopping by a couple places along the way. Once I got back to the hostel, I packed up the rest of my things into my backpack. Then headed back out, to the Metro. Then rode it to Union Station.

    At the station, I tried to buy 2 different tickets. The first being the MARC train ticket, which I did buy, to go back to Baltimore. The second would have been a Greyhound ticket, to return home in Philly. But it was not possible to buy a ticket from Baltimore to Philly at that station, since I am in DC. Either I would have to be in Baltimore, or buy it online. Oh well, I was hoping, just to get it out of the way.

    After all this, I went to the MARC train, and hopped on it. And with just enough time, as the train would leave Union Station a short time after. Leaving Washington DC, I was heading back to Baltimore.

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  • 25Aug 2017

    13 Seeing the Aquarium and Inner Harbor 08/25/2017 USA —

    Baltimore, USA

    Description

    Arriving back into Baltimore at Penn Station, I went to the bus stop for the free Charm City Circulator. But after looking at the arrival times, I decided to walk part of the way, then take the Light Rail towards the hostel. Then walked to the hostel itself, where I checked in. And turns out the girl at the front desk, is from Philly as well.

    I went to the room, unpacking and dropping my things there. Then I went to the computer, to buy the Greyhound ticket, to get back home the next day. I learned that it would be free taco dinner night, but I already had plans, going to the National Aquarium. A short time later, I left the hostel, and walked through downtown.

    I made a couple stops, to get a Subway sandwich, and a large $1 drink at 7-Eleven. Then walked to the Inner Harbor area, where I got to the National Aquarium. There was a line, and turns out that it was timed entry only. And since each time entry has a limited number, I would have to wait 90 minutes until I can enter the aquarium. So I went to eat my sandwich first, as my dinner. Then looked around.

    The area does look nice, and a good place to hang out for a bit around the waterfront. I considered going inside the Top of the World Level building, with a trip to the top. But with a limited time frame, I did not want to rush through it. So I had to pass on it. Also, there is a steel beam from the World Trade Center of New York, which was a memorial to the Maryland people that died on 9/11.

    I just walked around some more, and even went inside the bookstore there. Then back out, and just sat around until my time came. I went to the line, and waited until I finally got inside the National Aquarium.

    I would start this visit with a walk to the other part of the building, to Dolphin Discovery. This was an amphitheater with a large water tank. And where the dolphin talks take place, and get to see some dolphins do some of their tricks. There used to be a dolphin show, but that ended a few years ago. After the talks, I went to see the underwater view of the dolphins.

    I went to see the rest of the place, as I would have a total of 3 hours to see it. As some parts would close earlier than others, I start off with those parts, just to get it out of the way. Like the Australia: Wild Extremes part, which closes about an hour early. Then to the multi-level part, where I would see different sections on each level, with the top one being an aviary. And ended the visit, with Shark Alley, that can be seen as I was going down.

    Closing time came, and time for me to go. I did fill out a survey about the place before leaving. More about the aquarium, and more photos, in the aquarium blog.

    I went to the Circulator stop, where I waited for some time, until the bus came. When I got on it, I rode it to the hostel. Once there, I did check if there were any leftovers from the taco night, there were some taco shells and salsa sauce, among other food that past costumers have left behind. So I would end up eating pasta with salsa sauce. It was okay, as I did not eat much of it. I also used the computer to check on some things, after struggling to figure out where the power button was.

    Back to the room, where I would take care of a few things, before going to sleep.

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  • 26Aug 2017

    14 Zoo and Greyhound 08/26/2017 USA —

    Baltimore, USA

    Description

    Started the day with a quick breakfast in the kitchen. Then back to the room, to pack up and check out shortly after. I would leave my backpack at the front desk, as I wanted to do one more thing before going back home, which is the zoo.

    Leaving the hostel, I went to a 7-Eleven, to get some drinks. Then to the subway, which I rode to get to the Maryland Zoo in Baltimore. Arriving at the stop, I had to walk a block, going up and down a hill and through a park. I got to the zoo entrance, and used a coupon from the hostel, to get a discount for admission. Then entered the zoo.

    There was only 1 animal near the entrance, which was the black-tailed prairie dogs. Then took a shuttle tram, to the other part of the zoo. I could have walked, but it was hilly and a bit long. Plus I wanted to save the walking for the actual part, as my feet will get sore.

    Arriving at the other side, I started out with seeing the feeding of the African penguins. I arrived, just as the feeding began, which is always nice to see.

    Afterwards, I went through African Journey, which had a boardwalk in one part of the area. I walked all the way to the other side, where the elephants and giraffes were. It was mostly under the shade, which was good for me. Not many animals to see. I headed back the other way, and went to the next part of the zoo.

    I would look around the Maryland Wilderness, starting with the March Aviary, seeing a bunch of North American birds. After that, I walked around the rest of the Maryland Wilderness, seeing North American animals. As the name would indicate, this part is more locally focused.

    Finally, the Polar Bear Watch, which has polar bears and a few other animals found in the cold regions of the world. There was a replica of a tundra buggy.

    After all this, I went through the Penguin Education Center, which has some underwater views of the penguins. And that completed my visit to this zoo. I will admit, I did hurry up a bit, as I do have a bus to catch later on. More about this zoo, and more zoo photos, in the zoo blog.

    Taking the shuttle back to the entrance, and leaving the zoo. Then took the subway back to downtown. I walked to the hostel, and got my backpack there. Then walked to a bus stop, a few blocks away.

    I got to the bus stop, and sent a text to get the times of the next one. The next one would have been about 20 minutes away, but a bus ended up coming only a few minutes later. I got on it quickly, and rode it to the Greyhound station. This goes to show, don't depend on the bus schedules online, too much.

    When I got to Greyhound station, I would learn shortly after, that my bus would arrive about 1 and 1/2 hour late. Disappointing, but not surprising. And when asking about it, the guy answered as if he could not be bothered at all. So I got some nachos with cheese, as my lunch.

    When the bus did come, I was able to get on it. And was one of the lucky ones, as the bus was almost full already. As a result, many people were turned away. Typical of Greyhound, to be very messy. The only thing that Greyhound is better than Megabus, is that you can wait indoors with Greyhound. A huge deal, when it is very hot outside.

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  • 05Sep 2017

    15 Visiting President's Grave 09/05/2017 USA —

    Lancaster, USA

    Description

    As I have recently added 2 more quests in my travels, I decided to re-visit a couple of places. One of them was visiting the burial sites of the US Presidents, and taking a photo with me in them. I know that sounds kind of morbid. But I also learned that I was not alone in this quest.

    I have visited George Washington's tomb recently, and have been to a couple others. But those couple others, not a photo with me in them. Probably the OCD (Obsessively-Compulsive Disorder) in me, as I tend to insist on doing certain things in a certain way. One of those was the tomb of James Buchanan, which I visited before. Luckily, it is still only beginning of this quest.

    So I left home, and drove out to Lancaster. I decided to take some back roads, following Google Maps, and pass through some farmlands. And stopped by a McDonald's for lunch.

    When arriving at Woodward Hill Cemetery in Lancaster, I walked to Buchanan's tomb. And took multiple photos, using a selfie stick. Not easy to do, with the sun glare on the phone screen, which can make it tricky. I am still learning to use the cheap selfie stick, as sometimes, I find myself being the only person at some places. There was no one else there, to take a photo for me.

    After taking the photos, I left the cemetery. And that is one thing done, on this day trip. Back in the car, I drove on to Harrisburg.

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  • 05Sep 2017

    16 State Capitol and Civil War 09/05/2017 USA —

    Harrisburg, USA

    Description

    As I arrived into Harrisburg, I drove to the Pennsylvania State Capitol building, which I have visited earlier. I would make a quick visit, and get a stamp for my Capitol Collection book.

    This book is like the NPS Passport book, but with capitol buildings. I would learn of this book, from Bill (Zagnut66), after saying that I may consider adding another quest. I thought it was sold in gift shops, but turns out, they have to be bought online. In case anyone is wondering, it is this web site... The Capitol Collection.

    Arriving there, I made a very quick visit, and got my first stamp in the book. Then came back out, as I only paid for a very short time for parking. That accomplished my 2nd goal for the day. But I also had another attraction in mind.

    Leaving the Captiol area, I drove to the National Civil War Museum. It would have been quite a distance, if I walked there. And then, going up a hill. I learned that there were no buses that went to this museum. So good thing that I came by car, as I have considered coming to Harrisburg another way.

    I would enter into the museum, and looked around. I had a little less than 2 hours to see this place. And hoped to see it all, as I have been meaning to visit this place.

    But I would not see it all, as there is a lot to see in this place. The museum was all about the American Civil War, which happened from 1861 to 1865. It went in chronological order, from the beginning to the end. And there were a couple temporary exhibitions, with one of them being on Reconstruction, which was about civil rights after the war. The other being about honoring the war veterans of the Civil War.

    I ran out of time, and was not able to see everything, and skimmed through the temporary exhibitions. But I really did like this museum, as it would give a more balanced view of the war, telling both sides of the story.

    When exiting the building, I saw that it was raining very hard. At first, I tried to wait it out. But realizing that it was not going to stop anytime soon, I had to venture into the rain. Then drive through it.

    I made a couple stops, one of them at a Sam's Club. Then a quick stop at Chocolate Town in Hershey, to get some fresh chocolate bars. I arrived there, about 5 minutes before closing. I ran inside the shop, and bought a few bars. Then back out, and started to head home.I would drive most of the way in the rain. But luckily, it would later stop, as I did make it back home.

    It was a fun day trip, and one that I wanted to do, just to make sure I did things in a certain way. Now, I do plan to do a similar one for New Jersey.

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  • 07Sep 2017

    17 Returning For a Quick Visit 09/07/2017 USA —

    Trenton, USA

    Description

    After making a capitol re-visit with Pennsylvania, I decided to do the same with New Jersey, to get that stamp in my Capitol Collection book. So a return trip to Trenton, followed by a trip to Princeton. So it won't be the only reason for this trip.

    Leaving my home, I drove towards Trenton, making a few stops along the way. Then I crossed into New Jersey, and back in Trenton, for the 3rd time. This time, I would look for parking much closer to the New Jersey State House, which I did. And happen to park by a broken parking meter, the very old one. I could not tell at first that it was broken. But a woman told me, as she would tell me that she normally parked there, for "free".

    I could see that the renovation work of the New Jersey State House has started, with its main entrance closed off. So I would go to the State House Annex, which is a connecting building. Never knew about this, until sometime after my last visit. It took a little while to find the correct entrance, but I was able to find it. I went inside, and had to go through security a couple times.

    I got directed to the Welcome Center, which is a small, interactive museum on New Jersey. I got my stamp there, and looked around for a bit. It was very short. Then I left, and was able to exit by a back door, being accompanied by one of the guards.

    I was at the Plaza, overseeing the river on one side, and the fountain called "Confluence". Then went back to the car. I waited for a bit, thinking that I would hold the spot for the woman from before. But after a little while, I just left.

    Leaving Trenton, I would be heading to the town of Princeton.

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  • 07Sep 2017

    18 Visiting One of Oldest College Town 09/07/2017 USA —

    Princeton, USA

    Description

    Coming from Trenton, I arrived into the town of Princeton. As I passed through the campus of the same name, I arrived at the Princeton Cemetery. I was able to find some temporary free parking, in a residential neighborhood.

    One of the oldest cemeteries in the US, Princeton Cemetery is the final resting place of a bunch of people with a local connection, like Paul Tulane (a local who helped establish Tulane University in New Orleans). But I had in mind, to visit 2 of them. One of them being the burial site of Grover Cleveland, which does not really stand out at all. And no signs pointing the way.

    Grover Cleveland was the 22nd and 24th President of the US, and the only one to serve 2 nonconsecutive terms (1885-1889, 1893-1897). Hence, this is why he gets counted twice. He is buried next to his wife Frances, and daughter Ruth (sometimes called "Baby Ruth"). Cleveland is the only one to get married while President. To represent his 2 Presidencies, I would pose on each side of his tomb. Not easy to do, as I was the only visitor there. And had to use another grave stone, to place the camera on a timer. Plus the sun did make it more difficult.

    Next, I went to see the grave site of Aaron Burr, which was more harder to find. But with help of the background in photos on the internet, I was able to find it. Burr was Vice-President under Thomas Jefferson, and more known for killing Alexander Hamilton in a duel.

    Afterwards, I left the cemetery, and back to the car. Then drove around, hoping to find a closer parking spot. But I ended up parking on the same street again, across from the cemetery. Then walked to the campus of Princeton University.

    Princeton University is one of the oldest colleges in the US, and an Ivy League school. Walking around the campus, the architecture of the buildings looked really nice. While I did not really plan on it, I am glad to take a brief stroll around the campus. And made a stop at the University Chapel, which is a Gothic church. Really nice to look at. Then walked around some more, before coming to the Princeton University Art Museum. More about visiting this place in the review here.

    I entered the museum, as I am a huge sucker for this type of museum, anywhere in the world. I started on the bottom floor, which has ancient art from all over the world. Then the other floors, which has different types of art from different time periods. As I was going through this place, it does remind me of my past travels to Europe, with the different art that I was seeing.

    One of the sections was a temporary exhibitions called "Transient Effects", which was art on the different things in space. One of them was about past solar eclipses in the US, which I don't doubt, would be put in place to tie in with the recent solar eclipse that happened across the US, this past August. As there were no photographs back then, instead there were paintings of it. Plus paintings of surfaces on other planets as well.

    I was on a time limit, as I had only 2 hours of free parking, before I had to move. So I went to see as much as I can, before having to leave. Then walked back to the car, and had to drive away.

    I would make one more stop, which was Westland Mansion. This was the home of Grover Cleveland. He lived there after his 2nd term as President, and died there. Now, it is a private residence, so I could not go in. And probably why it was not easy to find, as there was no historical marker. So I could only see it from the sidewalk.

    After seeing it, I would leave Princeton, and start heading back home. I had to deal with traffic, but was able to get home before it got too late.

    This was a nice day trip, on a nice day. I got to see a little bit more of New Jersey, and got to visit another resting spot of a US President. I set out to do what I wanted to do on this day trip. I would be traveling somewhere a few days after this, visiting Boston. But that will be in a different blog.

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  • 11Sep 2017

    19 The Start of My Third Visit 09/11/2017 USA —

    Everett, USA

    Description

    As I wanted to visit another stadium before the end of the baseball regular season, I decided to take a short trip to Boston. Kind of a last minute trip, as I had a hard time making up my mind. This would be my third visit to that city, as I got to visit in 1998 and 2005. And even visited Fenway Park, but sadly, no photos from the 2005 trip.

    After packing up in the morning, I would take the train to the airport. Then went straight to security, as I had already checked in online. After that, I just hung out at the food court for a bit. I ate some food that I packed along. Then went to the gate, where it seems like so different, with a lot more outlets to charge your devices. And that is exactly what I did, until boarding time came.

    I got on the American Airlines flight, which was very short. Leaving Philly, I arrived about one hour later at Logan Airport in Boston. After getting off the plane, I went to the curb, where I got on the bus that took me to the nearest subway stop.

    I got a Charlie weekly pass, for unlimited rides on the subways and buses. Not sure where the Charlie name came from, but that is what they are called. Then went to the platform, where I hopped on the subway, more locally known as the T.

    I would arrive into the town of Everett, which is a city north of Boston. Then took one of the buses, but got off too early. So I had to walk the rest of the way, to the Backpackers Hostel & Pub.

    I checked in, as I decided at the last minute, to stay at this place the entire time, even if it is out of the way. Originally, I was going to stay in 2 different hostels, but decided to eliminate the hassle of switching. Even if the other hostel was at a much better location. Plus this one was cheaper, even if it is out of the way. Besides, this place did look very promising. I looked around the place, and got my things to take for the day.

    When heading out, it just happened that the woman from the front desk, was leaving at the same time. And asked if anyone needs a ride to the station. So I was able to get a ride to the subway station with her, as she was nice enough to give a ride in her own car.

    Arrived at the station, I went to hop on the subway. And rode it into Boston.

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  • 11Sep 2017

    20 On a Trail to Cheers and Skywalk 09/11/2017 USA —

    Boston, USA

    Description

    Arriving in Boston in the late afternoon, I went to the visitor center in Boston Common. I picked up a map, as I would do the Black Heritage Trail first. Then walked through Boston Common, which is the oldest public park in the US. I plan to see more of it later on.

    I went to the starting point of the Black Heritage Trail, which is at the Robert Gould Shaw Memorial. Across the street from the Massachusetts State House, which I would visit on another day.

    From the Memorial, I would follow the Black Heritage Trail on the map, taking me into the Beacon Hill neighborhood. As I walked around, it did feel like being back in time, with the architecture of the buildings. And it does feel more peaceful, being away from the busy streets only a few blocks away. If not for the cars that ruin the illusion, it would definitely look like being in a time warp. I would visit the different sites along the Black Heritage Trail, taking me through some back streets. The list of sites are the following...

    1. Robert Gould Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial
    2. George Middleton House
    3. Phillips School
    4. John J. Smith House
    5. Charles Street Meeting House
    6. Lewis and Harriet Hayden House
    7. John Coburn House
    8-12. Smith Court Residences
    13. Abiel Smith School
    14. African Meeting House

    The African Meeting House, which has a museum inside. But it was closed by the time I got there. So I would have to come back the next day to visit it. Most of the others are private residences. But this was worth walking, as I got to see a nice looking neighborhood.

    Leaving the Beacon Hill area, I would come back to Boston Common, to look at some of the structures throughout the park. One of them being the Boston Massacre Memorial, and I did walk to some of the others.

    Built in 1634, it started out as a grazing ground for livestock. And a place where Puritans would hang anyone who would oppose them. Also, as a training ground for the British Army during the Revolution. It has seen its share of American history, even before the birth of America itself. I would look at the various things around the park, like the Boston Massacre Monument. And where the 2 different trails start, the Black Heritage Trail and the Freedom Trail. And the only place where the 2 trails do overlap for a little bit, at the Robert Gould Shaw/54th Regiment Memorial.

    Leaving Boston Common, I made a stop at the Cheers bar, the place where everybody knows your name. Yes, that same bar from the TV show of the same name. Downstairs is very different, but it does have a little photo gallery on the TV show. And the ground level does have a bar that looks more like the one from the TV show, along with a gift shop. I know it is a typical tourist trap, but I don't care. I just had to stop by, as I have seen every episode of the TV show a long time ago.

    After all that, I would walk to the T, and take the Green Line to the Prudential Center, in another part of the city. This is a shopping mall, which I have visited in previous visits. I wanted to eat some clam chowder soup at the food court. But disappointed to see the food court completely gone. Too bad, as it would have become a Boston thing for me. I did look at some other eating options, but passed on them. Instead, just a quick snack at a Dunkin' Donuts. Then went to the Skywalk Observatory.

    Riding to the top of the Prudential Tower (or The Pru), I came to the observation deck. Then walked around it a bunch of times, as I wanted to get views of Boston at different times of day. First would be at the daytime. Second was at sunset. And the last being at nighttime. I made sure that I came to the observation deck an hour before sunset time, as I did look it up beforehand, hoping to get multiple different views. And did see some of the other features as well, like some short films on Boston, and some displays. All were interesting enough to see.

    I have divided the photos into 2 parts, with the first part being the sets of 4 different viewing areas at different times. And the second part being random shots that did not fit with the first part. The photos of the display boards serve as the divider between the 2 parts.

    Leaving the Pru, as I went back down to ground level. Then took the T back to Everett. Once there, I called the front desk at the hostel, to get a ride. Waited until a car came, and the guy said the hostel name to signal to me. Then rode in the car, which belonged to the guy working at the hostel.

    Back at the hostel, I went to take a shower. And back to the room, to relax for the rest of the night, before going to sleep.

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  • 12Sep 2017

    21 Freedom to the Ballpark 09/12/2017 USA —

    Boston, USA

    Description

    Getting up early enough, and went to get a quick breakfast. Very basic, as I just had toast. Then rested some more, before I got ready for the day. Got the necessary things, then took the shuttle to the station. I hopped on the subway, going to Boston Common. Then walked through Beacon Hill, to the Museum of African American History.

    I went inside, and toured around the museum building, which used to be the Abiel Smith School. This used to be a school that was built in 1835.After that, I joined a guided tour, to see the African Meeting House. This was built in 1806, and the oldest black church still standing in the US. Looked around that place, then headed out. This would complete the Black Heritage Trail for me. .

    I went to a CVS, to get some bottled water, as I was very thirsty. Then to a nearby library, to look around. I think that I was at this same place in 2005. Afterwards, I went out, walking up and down through Beacon Hill. Then to the next site, the Massachusetts State House. This is when I start following the Freedom Trail.

    I would look at one side, then went to the main entrance, across from Boston Common. I went in, and toured around the State House. I was able to see most of it, except for the Senate chamber, which was closed off due to renovation work being done. More about this place in the state capitols blog.

    After seeing this place, I added another capitol building to my list, by getting the stamp in my Capitol Collection book. Coming back out, I would get some lunch at a McDonald's.

    After eating, I resumed following the Freedom Trail, which is a red-brick line or painted red line throughout the city. I went to the nearby Park Street Church. But it was closed for the day, and currently being renovated as well. So I skipped it, and went to the Granary Burying Ground next to it. Dating back to 1660, it is basically a collection of gravestones, which may or may not mark the actual burying sites of the individuals. And it has not always been well-maintained over the years, until recently. Some of the notable people buried at this place include Samuel Adams, Paul Revere, John Hancock and all the victims of the Boston Massacre.

    Afterwards, I went to the King's Chapel and Burying Ground. Established in 1686 as the first Anglican Church in New England, it is still an active church today. It is also a museum, with description cards on the history of the religion in Boston, as well as on some of the people who attended here to worship.

    Continuing on, I passed by the Benjamin Franklin statue and the Old Corner Bookstore (which is now a Chipotle restaurant). Then to the Old South Meeting House. Built in 1729 as a Puritan church. Also, it is notable as the gathering place of Samuel Adams and the colonists, to protest the tax on tea in December 1773. From there, they would go to Boston Harbor to dump tea, known as the Boston Tea Party. It has been a meeting place for other protests and discuss issues throughout history.

    Afterwards, I would see the Boston Irish Famine Memorial, which is not part of the Freedom Trail. Then resumed following the trail to the Old State House. I went in, but decided to save it for another day, as it was about to close in less than 20 minutes, and I did not want to rush through it.

    Continuing on, I came to the Boston Massacre site. Then went to Faneuil Hall. I went in, with only 20 minutes to see this place. I would overhear a ranger talk, as I looked around. I ran out of time, as I was only able to see the main hall. And not see the museum part.

    I went to the visitor center in another part of the building, and went downstairs to sit down for a bit. Then back out, to the nearby Quincy Market. This was a food court, with a variety of interesting food options. But I just decided on getting New England clam chowder, which tasted really good. I had to finish fast, as I would be going to a baseball game next.

    I would be heading to the Red Sox game, arriving in the Kenmore neighborhood. Then walked to the ballpark, as I crossed the David Ortiz Bridge, named after one of the Red Sox recent greatest players. Walked along the Lansdowne Street, which has become a pedestrian street on game day. Took a quick look, then entered Fenway Park.

    This was not my first time at this ballpark, as I did get to see a game here in 2005. This was after their 1st World Series championship in 86 years. Since then, they have won 2 more World Series titles, and their curse is now an afterthought.

    After entering, I would see the handprints of some of the great Red Sox players. Then walked the concourse to see some of the displays along the way. Like a museum, as this ballpark has so much baseball history, going back over 100 years. But I did not have enough time to see it, as I wanted to be in my seat before the start of the game.

    I got to my seat, and immediately see a huge problem with watching a game at Fenway Park. It was the columns in the lower level, which can partially block your view of the field. Sitting in my seat, I would be watching a game between the Boston Red Sox and the Oakland Athletics. The Red Sox are first in their division, while the Athletics (or A's) are last in theirs. The Red Sox are playing to make the playoffs this season. The A's started the scoring in the 1st inning, with 1 run. But that would be it, as the Red Sox exploded for a lot of runs. That would include a couple 2-run home runs by Mookie Betts. The Red Sox beat the A's, 11-1. Not much of a game.

    Afterwards, I wanted to get closer to the field for more photos, so I did that. After a little while, the ballpark closed, and I had to leave. As I was heading out, I saw that there is a lot more displays to see, and wondered if I should take a tour or go to another ballpark. I will decide later, as I walking back to the subway.

    I rode to the Government Center area, then had to walk to the Old State House, as the T made a stop and ended that line before the one that I planned to get off at, to change lines. Then hopped onto another subway, taking me to Wellington station.

    Arriving at 11:30pm, I would have to walk back, as the hostel shuttle stopped running at 10 PM. First part was very dark, that I had to use my cell phone as a flashlight. There were some tripping dangers on the street, partly due to the construction being done.

    I was able to arrive back at the hostel. And then, saw that there was leftover pizza, which the hostel staff allowed me to eat some. And I did that. I also took a shower and just realized for a bit. Then to sleep.

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  • 13Sep 2017

    22 Seeing Animals, History and Baseball 09/13/2017 USA —

    Boston, USA

    Description

    Getting up kind of early, I would eat the breakfast, which was basic. And then got ready. I decided to go to another Red Sox game, so I went to the computer to buy the ticket, and upload photos onto TB, which can be risky on a public computer.

    Then came the difficulty of printing, as I had to e-mail the listing to the front desk. This is where things can get annoyingly difficult. But made easier when I was allowed to go behind the desk, to access the ticket and print it. Very nice of them to let me do this.

    I just missed the shuttle, so I decided to walk part of the way to the station. But was able to catch a bus, which then, got caught in traffic. Made even worse when the bus was trailing a slow driver, who was barely moving and annoyed the bus driver big-time. Arrived at the station, and I caught the subway to go into the city.

    Got to the waterfront area, as I was going to the New England Aquarium. It did look nice, but I headed right for the entrance, and used my pass for admission.

    Started with the harbor seals, which were outside. Then went inside the building to look around. I would see the African penguins right away, as they were being fed at the moment. Interesting area, as there were multiple species of penguins around the huge cylinder tank.

    But I went to a different part of the building, to see the touch tank with the rays. And downstairs to see different species of sharks that I never even knew about. Or that they could be so small.

    Back to the main area with the huge cylinder tank, called the Giant Ocean Tank, I went up on a winding trail to the top of it, for the Keeper Talk there. I would see where divers would go inside the tank, and see the feeding of some of the animals in there. It was interesting to see.

    Afterwards, I went to see a few tanks, but decided to go all the way back down, and work my way up. And detour to go outside to see a few seals there. And back inside, to see the different tanks, representing the different regions with the different marine life, from around the world. Too numerous to mention here or in the review. But definitely more about visiting part and more photos in the aquarium blog.

    After seeing the place, I went to the cafe, and had some of that New England clam chowder as a quick lunch. And the views from the cafe were nice. After eating, I left and walked to the Old State House.

    I used my pass to enter that site as well. I would tour around the main exhibition, "From Colony to Commonwealth". Then went to the other floors, to see the displays there as well. When coming to the last room, which was the Royal Governor's Council Chamber, I could not take much photos of it, since there was a guided tour already in progress. This attraction was early short, as I was able to see it within an hour.

    Built in 1713, this was where Massachusetts was ruled from, during the colonial era. Next to the site where the Boston Massacre took place. And this was where the Declaration of Independence was first read publicly, after the signing. The main exhibition is “From Colony to Commonwealth”, which is about the events within Boston (and Massachusetts for that matter) that led to the American Revolution. And a bunch of interactive exhibits.

    From there, I would ride the T, going to the different part of the city, as I went south on the Orange Line. Then I would ride the bus, taking me to Franklin Park. And to the Franklin Park Zoo. Paid admission, and entered the zoo.

    Starting from one end of the zoo, on the main trail, at the Serengeti Crossing section. Seeing a few animals there, I went across the main trail to other side, which has the Children's Zoo and Franklin Farm, which has a bunch of birds and farm animals. Then made a stop at a cafe, to get an ice cream snack.

    Coming back out, I continued on, going through Kalahari Kingdom/Tiger Tales part, seeing tigers and African animals. Then walked at the back end, along a trail that took me to the Tropical Forest building. Walking through the building, the highlight was seeing the family of gorillas, from different viewing points.

    When coming back out, I backtracked on the main trail to see the giraffes. Then walked to see some Australian animals. And go through a flight cage and the Bird's World building, to see different types of birds. Then saw a few more animals before leaving the zoo. More about visiting the zoo and more zoo photos in the zoo blog.

    I walked to the bus stop, and took the bus to the nearest T station. Then hopped on the subway, heading to Fenway Park. Once I got there, I walked across the David Ortiz Bridge, and decided to walk about the outside of the ballpark. Getting to Yawkey Way, which is a pedestrian street that requires a game ticket to enter. So I entered into the ballpark and got a Xander Bogaerts Gnome figurine.

    Walked and looked around Yawey Way, then went inside the ballpark. I went to my seat, which was in the outfield area. My plan was to watch a few innings, then see the displays in the concourse. I would be sitting near a bunch of kids, with one of them asking who I was rooting for.

    I watched the Boston Red Sox play the Oakland A's for 3 innings. And turns out, that was when most of the scoring was done. This game was the opposite of the previous game, with the A's jumping to a 4-0 lead in the 1st inning. The Red Sox scored a run in their 1st, but the A's scored more in the 3rd inning. By the end of 3 innings, the A's were leading 6-2. By then, I would get up, and walk around the concourse.

    And good thing, because there seemed to be so much to see around the place. I guess this should not surprise me, as this is a ballpark that is over 100 years old. There was a display of all the different bobblehead toys over the years, and the World War II display called "Fenway and the Greatest Generation".

    Plus a bunch of ticket booths, with each one representing the different times when the Red Sox made it to the World Series, win or lose. The booths have a bunch of memorabilia in them. And a bunch of other things to see.

    I would go up to the Green Monster seats, but since I did not have a special ticket, I was not able to walk through that area. So after walking around most of the concourse, I would leave the ballpark. And go to the nearest Popeye's, for dinner. I would check the progress of the game along the way, as I enjoyed Popeye's chicken.

    After dinner, I decided to head back to the hostel. I rode the subway to Everett, then had to call the hostel front desk, to have someone give me a ride back. By the time I was back inside the hostel, the game was still not over, being in the 9th inning. The Red Sox ended up losing the game. Just glad that I made it back early, as I did not want to go through the dark from the train station to the hostel.

    Took a shower, and got ready for bed. I did hang around a bit, using the computer and watching the TV there. After taking care of some things, before going to sleep. I had more one day of the trip.

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  • 14Sep 2017

    23 Seeing More of the Freedom Trail 09/14/2017 USA —

    Boston, USA

    Description

    Starting the morning with breakfast, then getting ready and had to pack up. This was my last day of the trip. I stayed around, until check out time approached. When it did, I returned the key card, and put my backpack in storage. Then took the shuttle to the subway station.

    I arrived at around Boston Common, and made another stop at the Park Street Church. Turned out, it was closed for the season. So I followed the trail, straying off a bit, to cut through a CVS Pharmacy, and to a McDonald's for lunch. Then ate it there, as I was not really in a hurry. After lunch, I was on the Freedom Trail, passing by Faneuil Hall, which would open late, I assume. Then towards the North End neighborhood.

    I remember in my 1998 trip, I followed the Freedom Trail, going under a major highway, which was elevated, through a bridge, with construction happening. And now, that elevated roadway is gone, as that highway has been re-routed elsewhere. In its place, is the Rose Fitzgerald Kennedy Greenway. This is a public park, with water jet fountains, and a lot of green. It does look a lot nicer, as I did look around the area.

    Continuing on, I walked the trail to the next site, the Paul Revere House. And seeing the nearby North Square, and the surrounding North End. It does look and feel Italian, as this was Boston's Little Italy. Then entered the Paul Revere House, which was the former home of the patriot of the American Revolution.

    This attraction consists of 2 parts, with the first being the actual home of Revere, consisting of rooms with period furniture, with each one telling the story on Revere’s life and his role in the Revolution. Photography is not allowed in the home. The second part is the Education and Visitor Center, which gets into the Midnight Ride from actual accounts from Revere, along with the impact of the Midnight Ride. Not only on American history, but in popular culture as well. Photography is allowed in this part. I was able to see both within 1 hour, as it was very short.

    After seeing the house, I continued to walk through the North End. Stopped by a 7-Eleven, to get some bottled water. And another stop at a small church, St. Stephen's Church. This one dated back to 1804, back when the North End was mostly Irish. Looked around for a bit, then back out.

    I came to the equestrian statue of Paul Revere, then passed by a little war memorial. Then came to the Old North Church. This place is most well-known for its role in the Midnight Ride.

    What is the Midnight Ride? This was where Paul Revere, William Dawes and others, would ride on horsebacks, and go into the towns of Lexington and Concord (both which are around 20 miles northwest of Boston), along with other towns, to warn the people on the movement of British troops. That was only after seeing the signal from the Old North Church, which were either 1 or 2 lanterns that were hung at its steeple. This event became more famous by the poem, "The Midnight Ride of Paul Revere" by Henry Wadsworth Longfellow, which has the line "one if by land, and two if by sea". The lantern signal told how the British troops were arriving into Charlestown (town across the river).

    I went inside to look around the Old North Church, which told the story of the Midnight Ride. After that, I did take a crypt tour, which took me to the 2nd floor of the church. After that, to the underground level, to the crypts themselves. While I did have a very good tour guide, who did a great job, the places that was shown, ended up being underwhelming.

    After seeing the Old North Church, I followed the trail to the next site, Copp's Hill Burying Ground. Looked around that place for a little bit. Dating back to 1659, this is Boston’s second oldest cemetery, with King’s Chapel Burying Ground being the oldest. This was where a bunch of people from the North End have been buried. Most notable is probably Robert Newman, who was the one that hung the lanterns at the steeple of the Old North Church. Compared to the other ones, this one is nothing special, as it does not have any of the big names of history. But still, it is free and can be seen very quickly.

    Back on the Freedom Trail, I followed it towards the Charlestown Bridge. I debated whether to go back to Fanueil Hall, or just continue into the Charlestown area. I tried to call Fanueil Hall, but it kept going to a menu. And I was not able to reach an actual human. So I just decided to continue into Charlestown, by crossing the Charlestown Bridge.

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  • 14Sep 2017

    24 Seeing Ships in Charlestown 09/14/2017 USA —

    Boston, USA

    Description

    Arriving into the Charlestown, which I assume, is part of the city of Boston. I reached a point of the Freedom Trail, where it splits into 2. I would follow the way that most guidebooks tend to follow, which is going to the USS Constitution from the bridge.

    And oh boy, it was a longer walk than I thought. As I was running short on time, as all the sites will be closing in a short time, it was a matter of trying to squeeze everything in. I arrived at the Charlestown Navy Yard, and went through security to go inside the Charlestown Navy Yard Visitor Center.

    First, I took a quick look around the place. Second, I went to the desk, to ask staff about what there is to see at this site. And finally, I had to decide to just stay here the whole time, or try to squeeze both the USS Constitution and the Bunker Hill Monument, within 2 hours. When seeing that there was quite a few things to see at the Charlestown Navy Yard, and the fact that I was already there, I decided to just stick to this site. And skip the Bunker Hill Monument.

    I would leave the visitor center, going to the ship, the USS Cassin Young. I came to this one first, since it was closing first. I got on board, and looked around. Going from one end to another, and seeing different rooms. A warship (or destroyer) of the US Navy that was built and launched in 1943. Named after the Captain for his heroism at Pearl Harbor in 1941, and later killed at a battle in 1942. The ship has seen action in the Pacific during World War II, and later served during the Korean War. It was retired in the 1960’s, and got restored to its World War II appearance at this Navy Yard.

    After seeing this ship, I went to see the USS Boston memorial, and see the North End across the river. I could see the Old North Church in the distance. Then went back to the visitor center, to see the museum part. This was a good place to pick up some information on visiting the Navy Yard. And a small museum, that tells the history of the Charlestown Navy Yard, and its key role in helping America to build a navy. Built in 1801, it was key to help build the USS Constitution and other ships, to help protect American merchant ships in the seas, against other nations.

    After seeing the museum, I was back outside, to the main ship, the USS Constitution. I got on board, and looked around. There was a tour already in progress, as I walked from one end to another, on 2 levels. Dated back to 1797, as it was one of the first ships of the US Navy. It would first see action in 1801, in a war against Barbary pirates from North Africa. And fought against the British in the War of 1812. It was from this war, that it earned its nickname “Old Ironsides”, as cannonballs just seemingly bounce off it with no effect. It has be involved in other wars, before retiring in 1881.

    After seeing this ship, I headed to the USS Constitution Museum. Near the museum is the Dry Dock, where ships got repaired. Not only for the USS Constitution, but other ships as well. Then I went inside the museum. I do think that both the ship and museum complement each other. There are artifacts and good descriptions telling the war stories. Plus interactive exhibits on the top floor.

    After seeing the museum, which just closed up, as I was leaving. Then looked around the Navy Yard a little bit more. After that, I left the place, and resumed on the Freedom Trail.

    I walked through the Charlestown neighborhood, until I was in view of the final site, the Bunker Hill Monument. By this time, it was closed. But I wanted to finish walking the trail on this trip. Obviously, I will have to come back on another trip to visit this site. After a quick look, I went to the nearest T station.

    Along the way, it started to rain. I would hurry to the station, but luckily it was not pouring. Once at the station, I rode back to Wellington station, and called the front desk to get a ride. I would have to wait for a bit, and worried that I would miss my train later on. But my ride to come, and I was able to get back to the hostel.

    I would take a quick shower, and getting my backpack to pack my things in it. Then had to get a ride back to the station. So far, it has been good timing. I would ride the subway, going to South Station.

    I just waited around, eating the rest of the snacks that I had. Then got on the train. It left Boston, as I would take an overnight train back to Philly.

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  • 15Sep 2017

    25 Returning Home By Train 09/15/2017 USA —

    Philadelphia, USA

    Description

    This has to be the first time that I took an overnight train back home. I did sleep for a bit, but kind of hard to do for 2 reasons. One, is that the seats are not comfortable to sleep on. And two, I had to make sure that I did not miss my stop, as Philadelphia was not the end of the line.

    I did look at Google Maps at times, to see how far along I was. Going through New England, and passing through Penn Station in NY. I arrived at 30th Street Station in Philly. It was weird to arrive back this way, instead of flying back.

    I would get a donut as a quick breakfast, before taking the SEPTA train to go back home. When it arrived, I was finally heading back home.

    The trip is over, and I was able to add to my current baseball stadium count this season. Mainly ones that I visited and photographed. But now, I am returning home, as I learned that one of my cats was not well. Hopefully, things will be better. And I will be traveling again soon enough, as I am sure that I will be returning to see more of New England.

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  • 19Dec 2017

    26 Animals, Art and Christmas 12/19/2017 USA —

    Manhattan, New York, USA

    Description

    Planning this at the last minute, I would make that Christmas trip to New York. I just could not make up my mind, as my interet was elsewhere. Plus, this would be the first trip since the loss of my black cat, Billy. About a month ago.

    After getting ready and going to the Greyhound station, I would take the bus to New York. No point going through this part, as it is the same process. I will say, that I am surprised that a Greyhound bus arrived in NY on time.

    After arriving, I realized that I forgot to bring along a previous MetroCard, so I had to pay $1 extra for a new one. Then decided to re-visit Grant's Tomb. Mainly so that I can take photos of all the burial sites of the Presidents, with me in them. I have been to this one before, but not with me in this photo. You can read about this visit in the previous entry.

    I arrived at Columbia University by subway. Then took a detour, as I just remembered that part of "Ghostbusters" was filmed there. The 1984 version, not the 2016 one. So I walked to the square, to look around. This area, with the Alma Mater sculpture, was shown after the title of the movie was shown. Then I walked around, looking at the different buildings.

    I did go inside one of them, for a quick look. Then walked around the campus for a bit, visiting a few more places from the movie. After that, I would eat the sandwiches that I packed, as my lunch.

    I walked to the General Grant National Memorial, and found that the site was closed on Mondays. A major bummer, as I basically came there for nothing. A waste of money and time. So I just went back to the subway, and rode it to Central Park. Getting off at Columbus Circle, I walked through the park. I would walk through Columbus Circle Christmas Market, and saw the Wollman Rink. Then walked to the Central Park Zoo.

    I was finally visiting a zoo in New York, which has a bunch. But never got around to visiting any of them. Since it was a nice day, this was a good time to visit the place. I would pay admission, and finally enter my 1st zoo in the Big Apple.

    Starting in the pool area, which has sea lions. I got kind of close, but it was enough out of reach, so no one can touch the pool. I would see them swimming around, and get close look of the sea lions.

    After that, I went to the Penguins & Sea Birds building, which has penguins and an owl. Then came out, and walked up some steps, into the Temperate Territory area. This has the snow leopards, which gathered quite a crowd. They did act like a household cat.

    Then walked the rest of it, seeing animals like red pandas and black swans. Next, I went inside the Tropic Zone building, which has aviaries and some tropical animals.

    After walking through this building, I was back out. And would leave this part of the zoo, and see the Delacorte Clock. Then I head to the Tisch Children's Zoo. Included on the same ticket, but I had to scan it, to enter.

    This part of the zoo, is mainly domestics and farm animals. I would see sheep, goats and a bunch of birds. I went through it rather quickly. And I was done seeing the Central Park Zoo. More about this zoo and more photos in the zoo blog.

    From the zoo, I walked to the Metropolitan Museum of Art, as I wanted to see more of it. When I got there, I paid $3 for suggested admission. I would see more of the Egyptian collection, including the Temple of Dendur again. When I was there, I sat down for a bit, to relax my feet. Then went to see the temple again.

    I would also see the American wing, as if I entered into a mansion. This has a series of rooms, with period furniture from different time periods, in different styles. Wow, that was a mouthful. But they were really nice to see.

    After a while, I headed out, passing by so many exhibitions that I could not see. Coming back out, it was getting dark. I thought about getting something to eat, but decided to pass.

    It was time for the Christmas displays, and hoped to see all of them. I started with Bloomingdale's, set to the theme of "The Greatest Holiday". Based on the movie "The Greatest Showman", which I have not seen. But the display of windows was a nice set. Then I went inside the store for a bit.

    Coming back out, I went to a couple stores that I did not see last year. I would make a brief stop at Louis Vuitton. Only 1 window, I think, and the photo did not come out well. After that, I went to Barneys New York, set to the theme of "Haas for the Holidays". This set just seemed really "out there".

    Next, I came to a store that I did see last year, Bergdorf Goodman. The theme was "To New York, With Love", with each window set to a different New York attraction. Very nice one, and probably the best one so far.

    After seeing this one, I walked down 5th Avenue, stopping by Tiffany & Co. These windows has silver figures, which looked nice. But hard to photograph, as I tried both, with flash and no flash. Not much of a theme, but I liked it.

    I continued on, making a brief stop in St. Patrick's Church. Then proceeded to Saks Fifth Avenue, set to the theme of "Once Upon a Holiday". This was celebrating Disney's "Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs", released 80 years ago. Told the story of the movie, which was very nice to see.

    But it was unbelievably crowded, like a Disney park. Taking good photos of the displays was tricky, as I was hearing music from the movie. And this had to be the last one, as I wanted to catch the bus and not get back home too late.

    So I passed through Rockefeller Center, going to the subway. I went to Greyhound, and got in line, and find out that it was late. No surprise there, and I had to stand the whole thing. When I finally got on the bus, I went back to Philly. And this ended the trip.

    It was awesome to visit New York during Christmas season. Just unfortunate that I did not get to see all of it. But hopefully, I will get to see the rest of it on another day.

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