While traveling, you should be prepared to anything… even facts that can alter the way of perceiving reality. During the last two days, our travel underwent some jolts: the early plan of moving from Washington to Chicago, has been replaced by the more adventurous decision to follow the road towards Denver, in Colorado, with another guy known at the hostel. Well, after two days we are in the countryside, in the heart of the Appalachian mountains. It’s hard to tell you how we got here, but we found a beautiful place, where America shows its original face, its wild nature, its “on the road” spirit. That’s the warm and humid region around Lexington, in Virginia. Now our trip follows the lazy and slow rhythms of the South.
In this small city we found very nice people, ready to give us their help and friendship. Thanks to Chris and Patty, indeed. If a day you will be travelling in the nearby, do not forget to make a stop at Sweet Things (106W Washington St, Lexington), their delicious ice cream is waiting for you!
We are seated in front of the heart of the world, the White House… a sense of unexpected subjection comes transmitted to us from the largeness of the monuments that glorify the American history. It’s a pleasant day, the temperature is quite warm.
This evening we had a fantastic Ethiopian dinner, obviously accompanying it with some good reggae. We need a short parenthesis about food in order to say that, unexpectedly, in the United States we are eating good plates, from the classic Thai to the less diffused Afghan cuisine, until the common chicken of the Kentucky.
Once again we are walking towards the bus station, with our backpacks on the shoulders… and without a destination, but some ideas. Certainly we will keep with us the joy of a week full of surprises. The last night in Philadelphia gave us another good concert of the Sonic Youth… Well, the tickets were sold out, but listening to them under the stars, outside the concert hall, seemed to us amazing. In Philadelphia we met a lot of friends, particularly in the hostel we felt as at home from the first day. We found nice people to talk about travels, Americas and about life in general. The atmosphere of this city is so pleasant and friendly that sometimes the perception was to be in a small town. We suggest to try finding a bed in the Bank Street Hostel!
Time is going on, we are in the travel…
We left New York with a good feeling, it showed us a lot, even if we spent there just a week. During the short journey, which took us from NYC to Philadelphia, we came in touch with a reality that the isolation of Manhattan hides carefully between the high skyscrapers… The endless metropolitan suburbs show their hard face, aged by the time and the negligence. Beside the huge highway, an agricultural territory develops, where fields and woods are interrupted by small villages or isolated ranches. It is a landscape completely different from the city and the modernity of the financial centers. The hostel we found here in Philadelphia is nice and friendly, in general the entire city appears more friendly than NYC. Obviously this same familiarity helps to show the clashing contrasts of our society: near luxurious bars and hotels survives a multitude of homelesses, “apparently” ignored by the other people. Our system makes the rest and who can’t follow the fast dynamics of our lifestyle, will live in the marginalization.
The nightlife of Philadelphia has excited us from the first day. Yesterday night we have been so lucky to take part to the concert of Cat Power. A nice guy gave us one of the two tickets, and the rest has been an intense performance: a warm voice and good arrangements.
Walking through the numberless streets around Greenwich village, Chelsea and West village neighborhoods, we found a lot of strange shops, bars and live music halls. There, Manhattan shows another face, forgetting its incredible agitation, the buildings get lower and seem more ancient. The traffic diminish and the numerous small parks fill up with young boys playing basketball. It is so pleasant to drink a cold beer, resting under the enormous trees and being observed by the unflagging squirrels… And it is already a red sunset. Going home we walked along the banks of the Hudson river in the Riverside park. As any other day, millions of people passed under our eyes, numberless colors and features. New York is really cosmopolitan: how many emigrants came to the big apple, looking for any kind of dreams?
Just a suggestion for backpackers: Mount Royal hostel (W 94st, 351 Manhattan), price to be negotiated. This hotel is situated in a beautiful zone, near Central park and the subway.
Finally, the American sun! And with it a renewed desire to see, discover and travel… We are knowing a lot of people, who are leading us to more and more interesting surprises. We are understanding that New York is actually a complex city, that requires a lot of time to be visited. On Monday we spent the whole day walking between Times square and Central park. This is such a big park that seems quite simple to loose yourself in there. We knew a guy in the subway, who suggested us to visit Brooklyn city. We spent the afternoon there, looking for alternative pubs and lounges, we had a good time. We haven’t seen so many artists on the road us expected, but we saw some unforgettable performances: above all a break dance show in Central Park.
It is the second day, here in Manhattan. We are still very tired, because of the jet lag. This full of lights America can’t stop itself: shops always opened, continuous traffic, people who eat at anytime. Maybe, exactly how we were thinking about it… and then lights, lights, lights. There is often a typically British fog, but a smiling sun is shining this morning. Yesterday we have been walking a lot, always with a look towards the sky (it is so impressing to watch at the buildings: you can’t even see the top of them). I don’t usually love modern things, but the skyline of Manhattan is something unique. We thought New York was a city with more social contrasts and differences, but it’s too early to understand it. People are very good, it is so simple to start speaking with anyone, from the homeless of central park to the merchant of Chinatown.