Today was the final day of Contiki 😥
Everyone boarded the bus one last morning with all their bags and we all sung the morning song one last time.
The morning on the bus was spent sleeping for me.
We stopped in Philadelphia for a look around and some lunch just before 12pm.
A little Philadelphia information for you:
It’s the largest city in the U.S. state of Pennsylvania and the fifth-most-populous in the United States.
They have apparently like one and a half million people living there.
Philadelphia played a major role in the American Revolution as a meeting place for the Founding Fathers of the United States.
There’s a few ‘history’ type things to see there but we only really went and saw The Liberty Bell which is an icon symbol of American independence.
The bell was commissioned from the London firm of Lester and Pack (today the Whitechapel Bell Foundry) in 1752, and was cast with the lettering “Proclaim LIBERTY throughout all the land unto all the inhabitants thereof,” a Biblical reference from the Book of Leviticus
After seeing the bell, we went and got some street food. The others got one of the iconic Philly Cheese Steaks – a long roll with thin pieces of steak and melted cheese – but I ended up getting a falafel sandwich from a street cart. (Very vegetarian of me I know)
I’m a bit funny about eating meat in America let alone on the side of the road haha.
Once back on the bus (and me with my magnet I have to get in every state) we headed off to NYC.
I got a bit of shut eye on the bus then before I knew it we could see the New York City skyline. Eeek!
My phone was about to die so I had it on charge on the bus (so didn’t take any photos) not that they would have been very good coming from the bus window anyways.
However – to give you an idea, I’ve attached a picture above from Mr Google.
Anyone who knows me knows that New York City has been the one very place I’ve dreamed about visiting since I was young. I used to talk about going there “one day” for soo many years so this was such a big moment for me.
When our driver eventually maneuvered the coach to the hotel we were finishing at, we all unloaded our bags for the final time and started to say our goodbyes.
Reflecting back on the past month. I’ve had so much fun with this bunch of people on my Contiki! I thought our driver Ricky was fantastic. He always got us everywhere on time, if not earlier and obviously got us everywhere safely.
Our tour manager was awesome as well. Blake always went out of his way to make sure everyone was okay and knew info about all the places we went to so it wasn’t all just drinking at cool bars and getting drunk. We actually saw so many historic places.
I’ll probably write a different blog on my overall Contiki experience when I get home.
Edit: Check out my Contiki Vs. TopDeck Blog Here
Once I’d said my goodbyes, I got my bag on my back (I’ve been wheeling it around this whole time) and pondered about getting a Taxi or catching an Uber to my Hostel.
I decided I was gonna get the Subway instead to really do the whole New York experience.
And i’m glad I did!
The Subway was really easy to use when you have Google maps as it tells you exactly what station to get on at and where to walk.
I bought a unlimited metro card for the whole week and hopped onto the next train.
I was the only obvious tourist on the train with my big bag but no one really took any notice, there was a guy busking on the train though which was pretty cool.
I got off at 103 street and walked up the road to my hostel. Which was super easy to find! Signing in was quick and the reception people where pretty helpful.
The rooms here are pretty basic but they’re clean and tidy and you have your own locker.
I’m rooming with 3 other girls who I’ve barely talked to because they’re always out exploring.
(The people will probably change like 5 times this week though as new people come and go all the time)
It feels weird being by myself again and having to go up to people and talk to them compared to having instant friends on my Contiki.
When I eventually got settled in my room, I went in search of Central Park. I obviously didn’t read my Google maps very well and ended up at a park that I thought was the beginning of Central Park but was actually a park called Riverside Park. Ahh!
And here I was wondering why the Houston River was like right there in front of me.
Turns out I just looked at my map wrong and walked in the opposite direction.
There were so many people out for a run that I ended up running as well.
Can you see all the good-looking shirtless guys above? Hahaha.
I called my best friend Michelle on the way back to my hostel through Facebook Messenger. I didn’t really know my way back to the hostel but I just kept walking and figured it out in the end. (And got myself a fresh smoothie on the way)
On Monday Nights the hostel has a big band play live outside and free alcohol (which is beer and red wine – my 2 hated beverages haha)
It’s more of a night where you can meet all the new people and there’s a $7 BBQ which I ate.
I ended up sitting with a group of Aussies/British people and then heading out to a pub with lots of other people from the Hostel.
One of the guys from Australia pre-drunk a little bit with me before we left and then we all took the subway to this bar called Jacks Dilemma.
Jacks Dilemma turned into Sarah ‘s Dilemma when she was bought too many drinks and shots from Auzzie, NZ and British. Auzzie ended up having to take me home (no idea what time, but it was after we lost at beer pong) and I had far too many shots.
I’m gutted my first experience in a NYC cab was the driver pulling over so I could spew on the road haha.
(Again, sorry mother)
On a nicer note, I woke up this morning feeling alllll good!