Document Your Life #120 – From MIA to PUJ

It’s time to check out of our hotel, to say goodbye to Miami…and go home.

Our trip back goes very smoothly. When we get to the airport, a guy comes up and asks if we want to check in curbside. It’s never worked before, but we try it and voila…we’re good to go. We have to pay for all our luggage and I think he gave us a discount because we pay less than expected.

Even though we’re flying on economy, we have priority boarding with American Airlines and somehow also end up getting TSA Pre-Check so going through security is so quick and easy, we can hardly believe it or stop talking about it.

Knowing we won’t get any food on the plane and well be hungry before we’re home, we decide to look for a place to eat at the airport. We come across a nice (and quiet) wine bar & restaurant and it’s a lovely place to sit and enjoy a nice meal and wine. Anders and I share a bottle of Whispering Angel…always a pleasure.

Our flight departs on time. We watch a movie (the new Terminator), I fall asleep once or twice and before we know it, we’ve arrived.

Document Your Life #119 – Christmas Shopping in Miami

Ahh, Miami. I really like this city and the vibe. I’ve been here several times before, but this time we’re here to do the last bit of Christmas shopping.

We’re staying at the Me Miami hotel once again, but unfortunately have trouble getting a room that’s quiet and doesn’t have a lot of noise from the freeway just across from the hotel. 3rd time is a charm and we end up with a great room on the 15th floor, overlooking the swimming pool.

So, we spend 2 days in Miami doing Christmas shopping. Any hopes & dreams of a zero waste, minimalistic Christmas just aren’t going to come true…Christmas for us means A LOT of presents. And by A LOT, I mean…A LOT!

Of course, there’ll also be lots of food, wine and good times.

yesterday, we went out to Aventura Mall and I managed to find the very last Christmas gift that I was missing. I’ve already bought everything else on Amazon, which makes my life easier… but doesn’t do much for the planet. Oh, dear.

I’m not such a big fan of this particular mall, mostly because I think it’s too expensive. It’s definitely a beautiful and upscale mall…

At Aventura Mall, we had lunch at Bella Luna, which is an Italian restaurant. I noticed a man sitting with his family at the table behind us and whispered to Anders that he looked like some sports star…a celebrity. After a little while, people started coming up to him, he posed for photos and there were a lot of commotion.

We asked our waiter who the guy was, and it turned out to be the Dominican baseball player David Ortiz (Big Papi).

Nice.

Today is our second day of Christmas shopping in Miami and we’ve decided to drive north to Sawgrass Mills, which is about a 30-40 minute drive from our hotel in Miami.

This mall is so great and so…HUGE. And they have a nice variety of upscale and cheaper stores, including Bed, Bath & Beyond, Marshall’s, H&M and Target.

So, shopping here is much easier. Even though I don’t really need to buy any more Christmas presents, I end up buying a few small things plus a few things just for me.

Anders and I have lunch at a wonderful French bakery called Paul and we both have a sandwich in a baguette with turkey, bacon, lettuce & Brie with hand cut fries on the side. Unfortunately, it turns out that there’s mustard dressing on the sandwich so Anders can’t eat it.

The waiter quickly exchanges it for another without any dressing – without any problems or extra charges for the sandwich they’d already made.

This is great customer service with noting and mentioning!

Thank you.

Document Your Life #108 – A Healthy Trip?

I wonder if it’s possible to have a healthy trip this time around…? Can I keep my focus strong enough and long enough to eat mostly plant based food (not too much) and work out every day?

Let me try…

I got up this morning just after 6 AM (it was still dark outside), even though I was extremely tired and dragged myself to the hotel gym to work out. I didn’t do T25 today but just some random exercises with a 10 lbs medicine ball, some 12 lbs weights and cardio (jumping jacks, high knees, running in place, etc.). It was a good 30 min HIIT workout.

After 9 am, we walked a few blocks from our hotel and found a really nice Greek/Mediterranean café (www.eliamiami.com) that served breakfast and had lots of healthy options… I chose a green smoothie with kale, pineapple, banana and almond milk and a veggie wrap with hummus. NICE!!!!!

By the way, they serve e.g. smoothies and ice coffee in plastic cups with plastic lids and plastic straws…urgh! But they serve e.g. orange juice in a real glass jar. I really don’t understand it, but if we go again I’ll try to remember to ask them to serve my smoothie in a real glass – without the straw (which I didn’t use this time).

We boarded Royal Caribbean’s Navigator of the Seas in the afternoon and had lunch at the Windjammer Buffet. I went for the tilapia fish with veggies/salad and a little hummus. For dessert, I had a few pieces of fruit.

Note to self: I really need to eat more like this. I am convinced that it’s good for me, both short-term and in the long run.

My stomach just feels really good after these 2 meals. I’m not bloated nor do I have any stomach pains. Fantastic!

Document Your Life #107 – Traveling

So, we’re traveling … again.

It’s time for our annual Christmas trip to Florida (Miami, this time) and a cruise in the Caribbean together with Anders’ mom and sister.

We had a great flight from Punta Cana to Miami on American Airlines, watched the movie The Mummy and landed about 20 minutes ahead of schedule. We took a Super Shuttle to our hotel, which we should never have done because we ended up sitting on the bus for about 2 hours before we arrived… Yeah, that’ll be the last time we ever do that.

We invited our friend, L, to have dinner and ended up at Bubba Gump Shrimp & Co. restaurant which was fine. It’s more or less your “typical” American fast food restaurant – lots of fried options and definitely not very plant based.

I have to re-focus again tomorrow… definitely.

Document Your Life #87 – All (Good) Thing Must Come to an End

After a long trip, we’re back where we started and once again making our way home. Just like a boomerang, we will eventually come back.

We arrived early at the cruise ship harbor at Ft. Lauderdale and around 7:30 am, we were hauling our luggage and walking off the ship. That final “beep” as the security scans your sea pass card for the final time is always a little sad to hear.

We got through customs & immigration fairly smoothly and was interrogated quite thoroughly by the officer before we could enter into the good, old U.S.A. I guess, they’re always a little extra alert when they see a new passport (?). Well since we’ve renewed our passports, that has been my feeling. Every stamp sticks out like a sore thumb, I guess.

When he finally let us go, we got a taxi right away and went straight to the airport. A few hours later, we boarded the Spirit flight straight for Santo Domingo and eventually home.

Document Your Life #74 – Key West, Ernest Hemingway Home & Sloppy Joe’s

Hemingway House Key West

When I was a kid, all I wanted to be was a writer. In fact, I still do…maybe not in the same way as back then, but all I want to do is write.

Today, was a great day…where we visited the house in Key West where Ernest Hemingway lived from 1931-1939. I didn’t even realize that we were going to Key West and that this was the place – not until the last minute. So, I totally insisted that Anders and I go there and dragged him (walking) from the cruise ship harbor all the way to his house on 907 Whitehead St. Fortunately, he didn’t object and even ended up enjoying the visit.

Hemingway House Key West

We paid the US$ 14 entrance fee and hopped on the tour that had just started. Our tour guide was amazing! He had a wonderful way of speaking and brought history to life in a very lively and humorous way, making us laugh a lot.

I have to admit that I’ve never actually read or been a fan of Hemingway. I read one of his short stories when I was in school as a teenager (I can’t remember which one) and I’ve read The Old Man and the Sea, which I thought was great – but so sad. But listening to out tour guide and walking around Hemingway’s house, made me want to read everything the man had written. He wrote a lot (if not most) or his stories from a small, upstairs studio which we also saw.

37463659304_6d13cc3d20_k

In just about an hour, we got to know the man, the myth (!?) and the legend that was Ernest Hemingway – and his curse. And we got to see some of the 54 cats that live on the property and are known as the Hemingway cats.

I completely fell in love with Key West and the charming wooden houses with the front porch and some with rocking chairs. Some of the streets that we walked down seemed so romantic…like something straight out of a movie.

A lot of the Key West that we saw seemed very touristy, though. Like the streets with all the lively bars, serving drinks & food and entertaining with live music. We found Sloppy Joe’s Bar, where Hemingway would go and drink…and get drunk. I’m sure it looked a lot different back then. Today, it’s a big, open space with a stage and lots of tourists – like ourselves. We sat down and had lunch (Sloppy Joe, conch fritters and chicken wings) and I tried the Hemingway mojito. The service was very good and friendly and the live music was great.

Sloppy Joe's Bar Key West

Of course, when you’re in Key West you must have key lime pie. We walked over to a place called Key Lime Pie Co. on 511 Greene St, that had been ranked no. 4 on an online ranking that we found. But we didn’t like their key lime pie, so that was unfortunate.

Overall, I really enjoyed this 1st stop on our 14-night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise. I wasn’t expecting it to be this good, but Key West is such a charming place. I’d love to come back.

Document Your Life #73 – Celebrity Cruises 14-Night Ultimate Caribbean Cruise

We got up early and I went to the gym. It’s too bad that we’re leaving our hotel already, because we have the most amazing suite on the 14th floor and right in front of the swimming pool. We arrived last night, so there’s no time to actually use and enjoy the pool.

But I did get a great workout in at the gym, which I had all to myself.

We checked out and left around 9-9:30 am and headed north to Ft. Lauderdale. I don’t know what happened to the GPS on Anders’ phone, but it didn’t give us the right directions. Just when we thought we’d gotten lost, it turned out that we were actually really close to where we wanted to go.

We stopped at a Best Buy on the way to pick up some Sonos speakers for our villa. And we had a great breakfast at a diner just across the street from the store.

After that, we found the rental car company pretty quickly, dropped off the rental car and hopped on the courtesy shuttle, which took us to the cruise ship harbor. I think that was the fastest and easiest check-in I’ve ever experienced for a cruise ship. We were through in no time and on board the ship before we knew it.

Our room wasn’t ready yet, so we found a place to wait like 30 minutes before they let us in.

Everything looks familiar and we even recognize a lot of the staff. We should…we were, after all, just on this very ship in July when we sailed around the Greek Isles for 10 days. This time, we’re sailing around in the Caribbean and going to so many new places. During the next 2 weeks, we’ll visit:

  • Key West
  • Roatan, Honduras
  • Costa Maya, Mexico
  • Puerto Limon, Costa Rica
  • Colon, Panama
  • Cartagena, Columbia (overnight)
  • Cartagena, Columbia (Anders’ birthday)
  • Georgetown, Grand Cayman
  • Cozumel, Mexico

We have 4 days at sea in between and will return again in Ft. Lauderdale when the whole thing is over.

Of course, we have internet on board. We’ve paid for a package even though it’s crazy expensive…but we just have to have it. After all, we can’t be offline for 2 weeks as we still have do work and check out emails every day. This is one constant element that follow us on every trip we take, and we wouldn’t want it any other way.

Of course, we bought the 14-night dining package so we can have dinner every night in the specialty restaurants. Anders doesn’t want to eat in the main dining hall where the majority of the guests eat, and which is included in the price. I wouldn’t mind trying it a few times, but I do have to agree that dining in the specialty restaurants is so nice. The food is great, the service is great and there’s no rush.

So, here we are again…back on the Celebrity Reflection. We’re happy to be here and hope for a great, exciting, interesting and safe cruise around the Caribbean.

A Walk on the High Line

The High Line NYC | To Live and Travel Blog

This elevated park runs from 34th street to Gansevoort Street (below 14th street) and is absolutely amazing. This is my 2nd time exploring the High Line. My first time was a year ago when I went for an early morning run – as did several other people.

The High Line is a public park built on a historic freight rail line elevated above the streets on Manhattan’s West Side. It runs from Gansevoort Street in the Meatpacking District to West 34th Street, between 10th and 12th Avenues.

I accessed the High Line on 26th street, which is kind of in the middle, and walked towards Hudson Yards and then all the way back and down to 14th street where I got off.

I was there in September around noon and it was a lot more crowded than early in the morning, for sure. It felt like people were mostly tourists…taking pictures and walking slowly. But there were also some locals, taking a break or having lunch on one of the many benches. You can kind of separate the tourists from the locals by how fast they walk and how. I think tourists walk slower and look all over to take everything in while locals walk faster and with a more distinct sense of purpose, of going from point A to B.

Converting each section of the High Line from an out-of-use railroad trestle to a public landscape entailed not only years of planning, community input, and work by some of the city’s most inventive designers, but also more than two years of construction per section.

The High Line NYC

There were also several vendors selling snacks, beverages and souvenirs along the High Line. One thing that I didn’t see during my first visit was all the incredible artwork that’s placed along the High Line, especially below 26th street. I mean, there were some pretty phenomenal pieces. And the scenery changes a lot too. My favorite part is definitely below 26th street where you’ll find a lot more variation in the design, mini parks within the park and also larger open spaces.

The High Line NYC | To Live and Travel Blog

The High Line’s planting design is inspired by the self-seeded landscape that grew on the out-of-use elevated rail tracks during the 25 years after trains stopped running.

It’s definitely a great place to take pictures as there are some amazing views from up there.

The part above 26th street is still great to walk, because you’ll go past the Hudson Yards where they’re building several skyscrapers and you’ll get really close to the construction site…you almost feel like your part of it. I guess, you could consider it another (living and moving) piece of art. Once you reach the end of the High Line, you’ll have some great views of the Hudson River and of the subway trains parked below.

The High Line - Hudson Yards NYC

The High Line is free to enter and is open daily from 7 am till 7/10/11 pm, depending on the time of year. It’s a great place to visit and definitely a place I’ll want to come back to next time I’m in New York.

Website: www.thehighline.org  Quotes above are from the High Line website.

Danish Dogs At Great Northern Food Hall

Great Northern Food Hall NYC

I think it was in 2016 that the famous Danish chef, Claus Meyer, opened a huge food place at Grand Central Station called Great Northern Food Hall and a fine dining restaurant called Agern.

I’ve seen the online documentary on the Danish TV channel DR1 where they showed how Claus Meyer built and started this amazing food place that specializes in northern (mainly Danish) dishes and delicacies.

Meyers Bageri New York City

Being Danish ourselves and back in New York City, my husband, Anders, and I decided one that that we, of course, had to go there and get a Danish hotdog. They do serve a lot of other Danish food, e.g. smørrebrød (open-faced sandwiches), pastries, etc., etc., but we were craving a hotdog.

So, we walked all the way from our hotel on west 27th street to Grand Central Station and were quite hungry when we arrived as we hadn’t had breakfast. The Food Hall itself is so gorgeous and blends in beautifully with the ambiance of the Grand Central Station. The Food Hall is divided into different culinary sections and the entire place was quite busy. People seemed to be enjoying the food and the place.

Great Northern Food Hall NYC

We spent some time looking around. Some of the prices seemed a little expensive in my opinion, e.g. the open-faced sandwiches were US$ 6-7-8 a piece for a thick piece of rye bread with a simple topping, which honestly didn’t look that impressive. It didn’t look like a real Danish smørrebrød to me.

We found the Danish Dogs at the other side of the Vanderbilt Hall and we’re so excited. They had 4 different kinds of hotdogs or you could make your own combination. Priced at US$8 a piece, this was definitely the most expensive hotdog I’d ever eaten…and, unfortunately, not the best.

Danish hotdogs - Great Northern Food Hall NYC

Anders was so upset. He thought it was a piece of s* and a terrible and embarrassing representation of Danish food and Denmark. He was so outraged that the experience ruined the rest of the afternoon for him. It took some time to cool him off again and get him in a decent mood after that.

I get that the prices have to be more expensive when you’re in a prime location. I also get that any chef would want to put his/her own “spin” on the food they make, but when you’re dealing with a classic (Danish) “dish”, something so ingrained in our culture and in our lives…you have to tread very carefully when adding any kind of changes.

Danish hotdog at Great Northern Food Hall NYC

Of course, nobody will understand this particular case except for Danes, but you can get the picture. Danish hotdogs are (in our opinion) some of the best in the world – if not the best in the world because of the sausage. Period. So when you take something that’s seemingly so simple (it is, after all a street food in Denmark) and you change it up and make it different (maybe to make it fancier?), you can potentially fail. Especially, when you’re already trying to compete with something that’s so amazing already.

He’d also bought the world’s smallest flødebolle (chocolate covered cream puff) and when he took a bite of it and found out it was filled with mocha cream (he doesn’t like coffee!)…he was done. Just done. So was I and we left.

Flødebolle at Great Northern Food Hall NYC

I still think the Great Northern Food Hall is a nice place and I’m sure they make some other types of food that are delicious. If you’re a Dane going there with the same expectations as we did and expecting to have real Danish food as you know it from Denmark – don’t. Don’t go or go but don’t set your expectations that high.

I’m really sorry, Claus, but I just can’t write anything more positive that this.

My 2nd & 3rd Time Staying at Innside New York Nomad

Innside New York Nomad - 132 W 27th Street - New York City
Innside New York Nomad

I absolutely LOVE this hotel. My husband and I’ve stayed here 3 times within the last year and twice just this month (Sept. 2017), so by now it feels very familiar. And I like the neighborhood a lot.

It’s just as good these two times as the first time. During our 2nd visit, we stayed in a Deluxe King Room on the 9th floor, facing the street (W 27th). You really feel like you’re in the city, because you can hear the sounds from the street throughout the day and night.

Innside New York Nomad - View from Deluxe King Room 9th Floor
View from our Deluxe King Room, 9th floor

We had a few issues with the room on our 1st day – a clogged sink and a power outage. Both times, when we called to the front desk, they sent somebody immediately to fix the problems. These issues can happen anywhere, but I was really impressed with the service and how quickly someone came to our room.

In the heart of the Big Apple

Enjoy New York as if you were the star of a movie in this centrally located, modern hotel in Chelsea with suites with terraces and spectacular views of the Empire State Building. Broadway and Times Square are just a few minutes walk away.

From the hotel’s website.

During our 3rd visit, we stayed in a Queen Guestroom on the 3rd floor (just above the gym), which was slightly smaller and facing away from the street. We were looking out at another building and down on the terrace in front of the gym on the 2nd floor. This room was so nice, because it was so quiet.

Innside New York Nomad - View from Queen Guestroom 3rd Floor
View from our Queen Guestroom, 3rd floor

The staff at the hotel is really nice, and I feel like they try to help you as much and as best as they can with whatever issues, questions or requests you may have.

We missed the live music in the evenings, because we decided to go out for dinner instead. But the hotel does have a really lively bar & restaurant with an outdoor terrace and I’ve heard that it’s good.

PROs: Comfortable beds, complimentary mini bar (juices, Coca Cola and water), coffee & tea, wall-mounted (large) bottles of shampoo/conditioner/body wash, gym and complimentary WIFI.

CONs: Very little closet space and few hangers, limited space around the bathroom sink for toiletries and very few knobs in the bathroom to hang towels, etc..

Innside New York Nomad - 132 W 27th Street - New York City
The Restaurant at Innside New York Nomad with outdoor terrace

The Neighborhood: There are some good places to eat close to the hotel for “grab & go” food like at Pret A Manger, Gigi’s Café, Dr Smood or Starbucks. You can easily walk to “Curry Hill”, Mad. Sq. Eats and there’s also a Korean BBQ restaurant just down the street.

There are a couple of supermarkets nearby too, e.g. Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and The Fresh Market and a pharmacy just down the street.

The Highline is about a 10 min walk away (entrance on 26th Street & 10th Avenue).

As far as the location goes, I don’t think it can get much better. You can easily walk everywhere and we walked a lot in both directions – south to the Lower East Side (Greenwich Village, SoHo, Little Italy, Chinatown, etc.) and uptown past Madison Square Garden, Grand Central Station, to the theater district and Columbus Circle.

***

Overall, I think that the quality and location of the Innside is really good and it’s definitely my preferred hotel in New York City.

Innside New York Nomad is located on 132 West 27th Street, 10001 New York.

Document Your Life #32 – From Newark to Punta Cana on United Airlines

Flying back to the Dominican Republic

The alarms went off at 5 am and we got up to go back to Punta Cana. Our flight was at 8:42 am on United out of Newark Airport. There was a taxi parked conveniently in front of our hotel, so we grabbed it and went uptown to pick up James at his hotel on 52nd street before we headed out of the city.

I swear there was just was much activity of the streets at this time of the day as any…well, maybe not quite as much, but the streets weren’t dead or quiet.

The ride to Newark cost us just around $85 or maybe $90.

We had breakfast at the airport at a restaurant where they had iPads on every table where you’d order and pay from. Actually, all of the restaurants and bars were using this system. Apart from ordering food, you could also play games and read news from e.g. The New York Times. Pretty neat.

Our flight departed on time and we basically slept the entire way to Punta Cana or for about 3 hours.

Document Your Life #31 – NYC Food & Phantom of the Opera

Little Italy San Genaro Feast 2017It was our last day in New York City. We went back to Little Italy for the San Genaro festival and tried some of the street food (a humongous hot dog with a spicy sausage). We didn’t do much all day besides walking around Little Italy and Chinatown, then up to Greenwich Village where we had lunch (again) at Olio e Piu.

Olio e Piu in Greenwich, NYC

We went back to the hotel afterwards to relax for a few hours before going to the theater to see Phantom of the Opera.

It was a phenomenal musical. Probably…definitely one of the most spectacular shows I’ve seen with amazing costumes and stage setting. And the actors performed magnificently.

Phantom of the Opera NYC

After the show, we searched for a place to eat and ended up having a late night dinner at where we ate the most delicious, gourmet burger served with thin, crispy fries. The restaurant was almost full when we were there around 11 pm.

5 Napkins Burger NYC

I don’t understand why people eat that late…maybe most of them don’t do that normally. We don’t do that normally and I really don’t like to. In every sense of the word, New York really is the city that never sleeps.

We got back to the hotel just around midnight, packed and went to sleep for a few hours.

Document Your Life #30 – NYC San Genaro Feast & Jue Lan Club

Hurricane Maria had passed by Punta Cana during the night as a category 3 storm.

We spent the morning catching up and getting news from our team in Punta Cana. Even though this hurricane didn’t make a direct hit on Punta Cana, the effects were still worse than when hurricane Irma passed 2 weeks ago.

They told us that the wind and rain was much stronger this time.

After our properties and the area were assessed, we could conclude that once again we got lucky. Yes, there were some damages…but nothing in comparison to what we saw in e.g. Puerto Rico.

Several fallen and broken trees, knocked down street signs, fallen electricity posts… a lot of seaweed had washed ashore and everything was wet.

At our house, part of the mosquito screen had been blown off. Rain water had entered our master bedroom and the floor was a little wet (nothing serious, though). The garden had taken a beating, trees and palms were broken and it looked like a real mess.

There were minor damages in our other villas… broken trees and mosquito screens at Lake View Villa. Broken trees and windows at Villa Blanca. But that was all. The insurance should cover the costs of repair, and it shouldn’t take long to fix as it really was nothing.

Everyone was all right. No one from our team was hurt. Thank God.

We went for lunch in Little Italy and ran into the San Genaro Feast, so streets were closed and they’d put up a market with food stalls, shops, etc. The streets were packed with people. We ate at Il Cortile (again), walked around for a bit and took a cab back to our hotel.

In the late afternoon we took a much needed nap.

Around 8 pm we went out for dinner. Walked around in search of a restaurant and stopped by a few, but they were simply too crowded and too noisy.

We walked by Madison Square Eats by the Madison Square Park and the Flatiron Building.

After walking a bit more, Anders spotted some lights down a street as we were waiting in front of the old Limelight Church (it’s a gym and I’m pretty sure it was a nightclub that was in an episode of Sex & the City) for the green light to cross the street.

We walked down to take a look and discovered a wonderful, little restaurant with an outdoor courtyard and lights that looked amazing. It was a Chinese restaurant (Jue Lan Club on West 20th & 6th), and we decided to try it.

The ambiance, service and food were all very nice…and it was great to sit outside in a relatively quiet place. How people endure the noise level at some of these New York restaurants, is simply beyond me.

After dinner, we walked the 7 blocks back to our hotel…it was a nice evening out and about in the city that never sleeps

Document Your Life #29 – NYC High Line & Cats

Anders went to have lunch somewhere uptown, so I spent the day solo. After a quick brunch at a Pret A Manger on 27th street right in front of the Fashion Institute of Technology (chicken salad w/ avocado, walnuts and cranberries and a large cafe latte), I walked over to the High Line entrance on 26th street & 10th avenue.

I walked down to the Hudson Yards where they’re still busy building several skyscrapers and suddenly realized that I was standing right in front of the building where Vaynermedia is located. This was kind of funny because I’ve been (slightly) obsessed with following Gary Vee on YouTube since August.

I walked back to 26th street and continued in the other direction until 14th street. The High Line is actually such a cool place – but somewhat crowded.

I got off on 14th street, which is apparently in the Meatpacking District, walked up to 6th avenue and back to 27th street, passing a few stores on the way on 18-19th street (Payless, Marshall’s and CVS pharmacy).

I got back to the hotel around 4 pm and Anders was back too.

We left again around 5:30 pm to go to the theater. Picked up tickets for Phantom of the Opera on the way and then went to see Cats. What a great musical… let the memory live again!

After the show, we walked around to find a place to have dinner and ended up at a big and beautiful restaurant (Thalia on 50th & 8th) where we had a nice, late night dinner and a bottle of rosé.

Document Your Life #19 – Goodbye New York City

We got up around 5:45 am to get ready and head to JFK Airport. Our flight back to Punta Cana was around 9 am a non-stop flight with Jet Blue.

So, we took a taxi from the hotel and there was practically no traffic this early on a Sunday morning heading out of the city. The taxi driver was friendly and got us there in no time.

Check-in went fine.

We headed to the airport lounge, but we didn’t really like it and decided to have breakfast at a restaurant instead – knowing we wouldn’t get any food on the plane (flying coach). There was just one restaurant open and we had a very good breakfast burger (!) with egg, bacon and fries. Not bad…except for my diet (what diet?).

The flight went fine.

Actually, I was pleasantly surprised by the comfort and space on Jet Blue. And, of course, I loved that each seat had a screen in front and a selection of FREE movies, etc. I watched 27 Dresses and a few episodes of Mozart in the Jungle before I dozed off and woke up about 30 minutes before we landed.

Back in Punta Cana.

Back in the HEAT.

Back to normal.

Back to reality.

Back back to work.

Is it too soon to miss New York City?

Document Your Life #18 – NYC Little Italy & Ground Zero

It was our last day in New York City and it felt like we’d been here for ages. The first part of the week was so stressful because of Hurricane Irma and these last days felt a lot better – more enjoyable, sort of.

The sun was out again. We skipped breakfast and walked from our hotel on west 27th Street (between 6th and 7th Avenue) all the way down to Little Italy and had lunch at Sofia’s. They were just opening so we were the first customers and got a nice table on the sidewalk – in the sun.

The food was incredible and I’d definitely eat there again.

After a stroll through Chinatown (buying a pound of cherries / US$ 3), we went over to Ground Zero and had a look at the beautiful memorial park. I’d never seen it before, but I was really impressed with what they’d done…and with the new skyscrapers they were building.

We went inside the Oculus, which is the World Trade Center train station located in a completely white building that looks like an eye (hence the name). It’s such a curious building and looks completely futuristic.

Inside, there’s a mall and underneath it all is the train station. We sat down for an ice coffee at Starbucks, rested our feet and checked emails, etc., on our phones before taking a taxi back to the hotel.

In the evening, we had dinners at a Korean BBQ restaurant just down the street from our hotel. We were dying to try it, because it looked so curious. We chose a combo-plate with beef, chicken and shrimp which the waiter grilled for us on a table BBQ.

We also had rice and some different sides that we didn’t really know what were called. The food was good, but we were hoping that they’d let us grill the meats ourselves – guess it’s too much of a hazard for the restaurant.

We spent the rest of the evening packing and went to bed early to get up early the next day …and go back to Punta Cana.

Document Your Life #17 – NYC Great Northern Food Hall & Miss Saigon

Now that Hurricane Irma had passed by the Dominican Republic and left Punta Cana practically unharmed (thank you), we could finally breathe a little easier…and relax.

Just in time for the weekend, we could “sit back” and just enjoy the last few days in New York City.

We walked uptown and headed for Grand Central Station to find a little taste of our native Denmark at the Great Northern Food Hall by the Danish chef Claus Meyer. We were so excited to visit the place and had our hearts set on sinking our teeth into a delicious, real Danish hotdog… and a flødebolle (cream puff).

The place was, of course, packed and it looked great. We browsed around and saw the various food stations and the smørrebrød (open faced sandwiches), which looked delicious, although a bit expensive (US$ 7 – 8 per sandwich). In my opinion, these are not traditional smørrebrød like you’d see in Denmark. The bread is cut way too thick and there’s not enough on it. In Denmark, real quality smørrebrød is almost like an art form and the toppings are stacked much higher.

The hotdog place was someplace else (across the Vanderbilt Hall) so we went there.

They had different kinds of Danish Dogs that we could choose from. I went with a Great Dane (but without the raw onion and pickled cucumbers) and Anders decided to make his own.

The dogs were (also) US$ 7- 8 each and (unfortunately) so not worth it. Let me tell you – if you’re getting one of these, thinking you’re going to eat a real, traditional Danish hotdog exactly like the ones you’d be eating in Denmark, you’re not.

If anything, it was a testament to the fact that just because a fancy chef has come up with what I’m sure was meant to be a gourmet version of something ordinary and you add an expensive price tag on it – it doesn’t necessarily make it good.

We walked around aimlessly after that experience with a slight feeling on unease and a disappointment lurking at the bottom our our stomachs.

We made it all the way to Columbus Circle where we sat down on a bench, had a smoothie and a juice from a street vendor before we started walking back towards our hotel again and stopping by an Amish Market on the way.

In the evening Anders found a great Italian restaurant on 48th street (La Masseria) and we had a lovely dinner, sitting outside on the sidewalk where we could watch the people pass by. At one point, a black limo pulled up to the curb and we were excited to see who would come out of the car (thinking it might be a celebrity)… but it was nothing of that caliber. The passengers were 3 ladies in regular clothes (jeans, tops and sneakers) who weren’t even dressed up for the occasion.

We ended the day with Miss Saigon on Broadway, a fantastic play and performance by the cast. It was perhaps the perfect dramatic end to a dramatic day of many surprises.

Document Your Life #16 – Italian Restaurants in NYC

We woke up and Hurricane Irma had already passed Punta Cana and miraculously spared the area!

Our staff reported that they’d gotten some wind and rain, but nothing compared to what we were all fearing. The storm was very mild in Punta Cana, and we were all incredibly relieved that nothing really happened.

I feel like we dodged not just a bullet but a bomb. We were more than lucky. I am more than relieved that we were spared. This past week has undoubtedly been the most stressful week of my life…

Thank God we’re okay. All the people. All the properties. At least in Punta Cana.

We walked around the Lower East side of Manhattan today.

Went to get Anders’ MacBook fixed (screen needed to be replaced and they did it for free in a few hours).

Walked around Chinatown and Little Italy and Greenwich Village. I love these parts of the City.

We found a great little restaurant in Little Italy (Il Cortile) on Mulberry St., got a table on the sidewalk and had lunch and a bottle of wine to wash away the unease of the past week.

Afterwards, we walked some more…and then we walked some more. That’s what you end up doing a lot of in New York City.

Late in the afternoon, we stopped by another restaurant (Olio e Piú) on Greenwich Ave., in Greenwich Village that we saw last year and both thought was so beautiful. We got a table on the sidewalk and shared another bottle of wine and some food.

It was just the kind of day that required more than one.

Hotel Review: ME Miami

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The elevator takes us to the lobby and front desk on the 3rd floor of the building. As soon as we come out, it’s like stepping into a hip lounge with dimmed lights and nice background music.

The lady at the front desk is friendly and she asks us if we’d like something to drink; water, champagne… yes, champagne sounds really nice. It’s Moet, so I think it’s really nice.

TOP Indian Restaurant in NYC: Bhatti Indian Grill

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In New York City there’s a neighborhood called Curry Hill and if you want Indian food, this is the place to go. One night we went to Bhatti Indian Grill on 100 Lexington Ave (27th St.). According to a Google search, this restaurant serves authentic North Indian cuisine including kebabs & regional specialties.