In 2011, I made my very own American dream come true. I had never been to the USA before and I wanted to see as much as I could of this vast country, so I knew this required a longer stay.
So after one and a half years in my first "proper" job, I quit my job to go on my 3‑months USA adventure at the beginning of May 2011.
First stop: New York City!
For my USA trip 2011, I booked most of my travels including flights and some tours through STA Travel – a worldwide travel agency specializing in young people and backpackers. They have a lot of great tours available and also tend to be less expensive than traditional travel agencies because of their young people focus.
May was a great time to go to New York. Just look at the lovely spring flowers in Central Park! Also, it was neither too hot nor too cold. Temperatures can be very extreme in New York with very hot summers and very cold winters, so I would think spring and autumn are generally good times to be heading to New York.
3. What's there to see?
Lots! Obviously! It's New York City, baby! The culturally interested city traveller will naturally be drawn to the numerous world-class museums the city has to offer. Top of my list was the Metropolitan Museum of Art.
Within the Statue of Liberty! Or rather… within Madame Tussaud's!
#TopOfTheRock! Or: on the highest level of the Rockefeller Center! With view of the Empire State Building in the background.
4. What to do?
Chillax in Central Park!
Emark on an old-school clipper!
Plus a few other great stops. I got myself a New York Pass and made good use of all the museum entries, tours and attractions that come with it.
Have an original New York cheesecake!
When I had my very first American cheesecake (see below) I didn't like it all. It was far too sweet!! Especially when compared to the German "Käsekuchen", which is actually quite different. But then I had it again… and got totally hooked! Unfortunately… As an occasional treat though it should be okay – and a must on your first New York visit! Same as New York bagels, which taste very original here too!
5. Where to stay?
I stayed at the HI Hostel and the American Dream Hostel. Both were great. I believe the American Dream Hostel was slightly cheaper. The HI Hostel, however, had a (very extensive) offer of tours and get-togethers.
On my first night, I went to a real Harlem church and was thrown into a very lively gospel. A very different church experience than back home! And a great start to my New York stay.
I also took several walking tours and even a pub crawl and club tour that HI Hostel offers. The walking tours usually set you back a few extra dollars, although it was totally within budget (around 10 Dollars per tour).
Ever since I was a teenager I dreamed about the Brooklyn Bridge. In 2011 I got to see it with my own eyes. Hopefully, I'll be back soon…!