• XPLORid

I want to be in America!

On March 20 Linda tested positive for Covid-19. We could not embark the Queen Mary 2. Five weeks later we are overwhelmed with class and luxury while boarding this ocean liner. We are ready for the Transatlantic Crossing.

All the staff, welcoming us on board, is amazing. Our stateroom is perfect. Within 7 days we will arrive in New York. From our balcony on the left side of the ship we are able to see the Statue of Liberty.


Go with the flow

For us being on the Queen Mary 2 is just a way to cross the Atlantic.

We would not be on the QM2 if we could have found a sailing boat or freighter.

But as always we go with the flow and we enjoy this once in a lifetime experience to the fullest.

“Tomorrow is formal”

Dining in restaurant Britannia is like going to a star restaurant. All the staff is standing in line when we enter. The food is very tasteful.


There are two gala evenings. We skip the first one because we only have cycling outfits. In stead we are having our own party while enjoying the small bottle of sparkling wine on our balcony.

We really prefer having diner in the restaurant in stead of going to the buffet, so we sneak in at the second gala evening wearing the best we got. We are in our black cycling vests and trousers with our socks in sandals. Nobody is appalled to it.


To balance the amount of food we go to the gym 1 hour twice a day. This will keep us fit.

Rough seas

On the fourth day of our crossing the seas are rough. We hardly notice this on the ship. Every day at noon there is a message from the Captain. Now we know why we couldn’t find a ship to Halifax.

When sailing to NY at this time of the year the route needs to be more to the south to avoid ice bergs.

Land in sight

The day before we will disembark we spot some sea gulls. We are getting close to the shore. New York here we come! Time flew by very quickly. Quicker than we imagined. Will we do this again? If we can’t find a sailing boat or freighter it’s certainly a very good option.

Verrazzano-Narrows Bridge


Slow travel

Getting on an airline we wouldn’t have seen the Statue of Liberty. Now we have seen this symbol of freedom next to the skyline of Manhattan. Especially during sunrise this is magical.


We disembark with our loaded bicycles in Brooklyn early in the morning. Still an entire day left to do some sightseeing in Brooklyn and Manhattan. We aren’t tired at all. On the ship we could gradually adjust to the new time zone.

Queensboro Bridge


New York

Every skyscraper and bridge surrounded by trees is almost like art. We enjoy the architecture and the vibrancy of The Big Apple. Imposing houses with beautiful steps and fire escapes at the front. We see many large and colorful billboards trying to sell you everything you don’t need.

Empire State Building


Cycling through Central Park is fun. It’s Sunday and the weather is very nice, all New Yorkers are outside.

Mr Blue Sky and Mrs Sunshine are in the spotlight.

We are having some nice conversations with passers-by. Sometimes they invite us to come over or stay for the night.

New friends

So do Matt & Stacey. We are having a wonderful evening. Talking on and on, it feels like we have been friends for a long time. All of the Warmshowers hosts are very kind and special as well. Thank you Matt & Stacey, Meighan, Peter & Florence, Malcolm, Mike, Taylor & Eve, Jack & Beth, Nancy & Tim, Steve & Elaine and Gérard for the best first days in the USA. We will always remember you.

Mixed cultures and classes

From Brooklyn we cycle all the way to the Louis Armstrong’s house and the Unisphere in Queens. The latter is dedicated to man’s aspiration toward peace through mutual understanding and symbolising his achievements in an expanding universe. To get there we have to go through various neighbourhoods. American, Chinese, Spanish and Portuguese languages are everywhere.

Manhattan Bridge

Louis Armstrong House

Unisphere


Sightseeing Manhattan by subway

We go to the Top of the Rock at the Rockefeller Center and to The Edge at Hudson yard. The latter offers a new view. This one really gives you the experience of standing on the edge of a skyscraper.


Ground zero

American games

We also want to feel what a baseball game is all about. We take the subway to the stadium of the New York Mets.

This world underground is an experience itself.

Next time we would like to see a game with more action. We will visit a basketball game.


Broadway

A visit to NYC isn’t complete without going to a broadway show. After MJ the Musical we have another look at Times Square. This time in the dark. It is still crowded. People everywhere. It’s nice to be here and have a little glimpse of what’s going on in the city that never sleeps.

Times Square

Heading North towards Canada

We are on the East Coast Greenway going North. Soon after leaving New York City we enter a new state: Connecticut. Each state has its own slogan. New York State is the Empire State and Connecticut is the Constitution State.

Almost every day we have several people shouting to us on the side of the road.

“Where’re ya going?” “What’re ya doing?”

A lot of them agree on our lifestyle. “You better live your life now, because it is short and you never know how long it will last”. XPLORid today because yesterday is gone and tomorrow is never promised.

Lunch

Supermarkets are scarce. You see hundreds of take aways and some small deli’s, but a real supermarket is hard to find. The cycling trails don’t make things easier. The trails are really nice, natural and quiet though.


When we do find a supermarket we can’t find any benches to have a short break to rest and have some lunch. The first time we ring the door at an American house to ask if we can sit and eat on the porch, a lady says:

“Ofcourse, go and enjoy yourselves”.

We notice houses are huge in the USA. In Connecticut there’s even a law to keep them as big as they are. Splitting them isn’t allowed and the land around it has to be a certain size.


How one thing leads to another

One of our Warmshowers’ hosts says we should get off the trail a little bit to visit the Willimantic Food Coop for lunch. This organic shop looks great.


While Ben is waiting outside people come by and talk to him about our adventure. So does Nancy. She offers us to stay at her house another 20 km down the road. It’s on our route. We don’t even have to knock on doors to ask for a place to stay.

Being invited to stay for the night. This is awesome!

Wildlife

It’s striking how much wildlife we‘ve already seen so far. Squirrels, chipmunks, turtles, beavers, birds of prey, snakes. The birds are pretty too: fire red and yellow singing beautifully.

Hello Massachusetts - The spirit of Amerika

Just before Boston we enter our third state in the USA. We are having a short break in Newton. We can stay in the apartment of Ben’s high school friend Gérard. It feels like we are in Maastricht again. Under the pillow Ben finds a shirt of his favorite hometown soccer team MVV. The sjattepieke onesie is a bit too small for Linda. But oooh so cute.



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