Hej duschen. Hej dricka en halvliter vatten rakt från kranen. Hej SL. Hej tvåfilig motorväg. Hej Konsum. Hej katterna! Hej mer teve än reklam (nästan). Hej tvestjärt i springan till balkongdörren och hejdå. Hej balkong.
Tonight we get on the plane back to Sweden so this is our very last and final day in the States. We came back to New York City without too much trouble. Queues for about half an hour just as we drove through Bronx, but very smooth otherwise. But... And there's always a but! As we parked the car, for the very last time, just to check into our hotel and drop the bags off, we got a feckin parking ticket. I won't even tell you how much it was because it was just a ridiculous amount of money. We'd even paid the price at the meter, but it turned out the spots were only for commercial vehicles (we kind of had a feeling we were doing something half-wrong, but decided to chance it, and there you go).
On the plus side, the car rental company didn't really complain about the dent in the car, and we didn't have to pay extra for that.
I hope our readers enjoyed the everyday ramblings of the journey. This space has been a nice place to unwind and sort through the day's events. I suppose it's also kind of like a travel diary, and unless Blogger decides to call it a day, we can look back on this and get help remembering all the stuff we've seen and done.
Thank you everyone who has commented - it really helps motivation :) And thank you everyone who's been reading and lurking.
It will take me a long time to sort out the photos, but when they're done I'll post a link to some facebook album here.
Before this blog reverts to Swedish, we'll give you a super fast top-three list-list.
Favourite places in USA: -Grand Canyon (Arizona) -Redwood forest (California) -Big Sur (California)
Worst places in USA: -El Paso (Texas) -New Jersey Turnpike (New Jersey) -Any large city interstate junction
Best hotels (based 95% on size and comfort of bed!): -Phoenix Park Hotel (Washington DC) -Treasure Island (Las Vegas) -Best Western, Eureka (California)
Worst hotels: -Quality Inn, Battle Montain (Nevada) -Econolodge, Washington DC (this inn was the first of many we dubbed 'cockroach inn') -Day's Inn, Pensacola (Florida - after this one, we called every Day's Inn we saw 'Fail Inn' and never stayed at another one)
Totally worth the money: -Ben and Jerry's ice cream factory (Vermont) - $3 for a day of a lot of queuing, but a lot of fun and ice creamy goodness! -Universal Studios (L.A.) - $70 and worth every penny -White Sands National Monument (New Mexico) - $7 and the luckiest of our random finds.
Totally not worth the money: -Disney World (Florida) - $80... Don't go here unless you have kids. -Empire State Building - $20 to go up a bloody elevator. They should pay YOU $20 to queue for 45 minutes... -New York City Map - $8 from a newsstand. We discovered later that every hotel has them for free. Our worst buy in our time here!
Right, check-out time is in half an hour and I still need to brush my teeth and pack a bag. See you back home, friends and family!
Just a quick note from Wickford, Rhode Island. We found a café here that has free WiFi, so we're not completely out of touch with the modern world, although most of the time we are!
We're staying in a lovely B&B where the bed is just a little bit too small and old, but that's the only complaint we have. The hosts are lovely and the other guests are older, but fun to talk to still. We get cooked breakfast and fresh fruit and this village is everything we hoped it to be. Right on the coast (beach is literally 2 minutes stroll down a side street from the B&B), quiet and pleasant. It's warm and sunny here, but not too hot.
Today there's a bluegrass jam in the park, so we're going to go enjoy that in a bit. Tomorrow we might go to Newport or Block Island or somewhere else in the area. Mostly we're just taking it very, very easy and enjoying ourselves :)
Quick update from White River Junction at the border of Vermont and New Hampshire.
So, we're in New England now and we can see why they call it that. The area has a sort of British feeling to it, from the rolling hills to the stone churches. Only difference is that everything is relatively new. Instead of old stone cottages, there's a lot of big, wooden, colonial mansions. We did a lot of house viewing on the road today :)
We went to the Ben and Jerry's factory outside Montpelier and to sum it up, we ate far too much ice cream. But it was a really good trip, only $3 for a guided tour and a free scoop of ice cream at the end. Mattias and I got some extra ice cream for being the most faraway guests on that particular tour! The furthest away anyone else was from was Florida.
We like it here. The temperature is pleasant and the mountain air is fresh and sweet to breathe. Hopefully we'll still have the same good feeling when we head down to Rhode Island tomorrow. Not sure if we'll have an internet connection at all for the next 5 days, and after that, we're virtually coming back!
It'll be good with a real breather after our big tour of the states. Don't be worried if you don't hear from us for a couple of days. We'll be walking along the seashore, or lapping up the sun in the B&B garden, or watching the sunset with a glass of wine and some seafood.
Today we finally swapped the corn fields for something a bit more spectacular. After spending one night in Erie on the tiny stretch of coast that Pennsylvania has onto the Great Lakes, we returned 'home' to the state of New York. The Empire State (such a modest name, eh?) stretches from New York City in the east to Lakes Erie and Ontario in the west and north. By the industrial city of Buffalo, Lake Erie's outflow gathers force as it narrows into the Niagara River and finally gushes out into Lake Ontario in the form of Niagara Falls. The lakes, river and falls also mark the border between USA and Canada.
Below is American Falls, the US part of the waterfalls.
The Great Lakes make up the worlds largest fresh water (sötvatten) area, and the water here seemed very clean and had a fantastic colour:
I promise, I didn't edit the picture one bit. It reminded me of the turquoise waters of the Mediterranean.
We walked around the park area (the oldest state park in USA) and had a look at the Horseshoe Falls, the majority of which are Canadian. Here, you were able to go right up to where the water rushes over the cliffs before falling 61 meters down into the gorge below:
Here are the American Falls again, but viewed from Goat Island, between the two waterfalls:
It was a spectacular experience, and if you're ever in NYC, take a few hours and travel up to the falls - it's really worth it!
We know we've been going on about how much we've been driving, and here we go again. Today we reached 10 000 miles on the odometer! That's 16 000 kilometers, or nearly 10 times the length of Sweden. Imagine 5 round trips from Skåne to Treriksröset and you'll get an idea of all the travelling we've done :)
We spent the afternoon and evening in the car and reached Albany, the capital of New York (that's gotta hurt, I mean... New York City is the best known US city, and not only is it not the capital of the USA, it's not even capital in it's own state!). We're not here for anything special, only spending the night in a roadside inn again. We just noticed that it's very airport-side as well (a jet may very well clip some roof tiles with the landing gear by the sounds of it). I suppose the name "Best Western Albany Airport hotel" should have tipped us off ^^
Tomorrow we head into the part of USA known as New England. We'll go up to Montpelier in Vermont where we're going to visit the Ben & Jerry's factory. If you know what it is, you're jealous by now. If not, nevermind.
Until tomorrow (or until the next internet connection)!