San Francisco Highs at Coit Tower

San Francisco Highs at Coit Tower

coit-tower-san-francisco

Spiking the San Francisco skyline and perched on top of Telegraph Hill is an odd-looking concrete tower. The Coit Tower. Shaped like the nozzle of a fire hose, the column stands at 210 ft and can be seen from many parts of the city. Head up to the top of the tower in its Art Deco elevator and you’ll get to take in the 360 degree views. Famous San Francisco landmarks like Alcatraz, Lombard Street and the Golden Gate Bridge can be spotted from its windows. On the ground floor are a series of colourful 1930s murals depicting detailed aspects of San Francisco working life at the time. (more…)

Crete – Why you should go to Rethymno

Crete – Why you should go to Rethymno

The Old Town Rethymno tables and chairs in a shady alleywayThe Old Town Rethymno

Greek Island holidays were top of the list for family getaways when the kids were young. I have memories of sunny, cloud-free days spent exploring Rhodes old town, dipping into warm turquoise seas around Corfu and of sleek dolphins slip-streaming the boat during a trip from Skiathos. But that was a long time ago. Too long ago, and a day excursion to Mykonos and Delos during a cruise last year got me thinking that it’s time I gave the Greek Islands some proper attention again.

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What to See and do in Lisbon

What to See and do in Lisbon

Miradouro da Senhora do Monte

Lisbon’s highest viewpoint

Lisbon, Portugal is a city of seven hills, fabulous street art, trundling trams, melancholy Fado music, and Pastéis de Belém, delicious little custard tarts which were so good I couldn’t resist eating them for breakfast. There’s a lot of things to love in the city and I’ll show you some of it here in my tips for visiting Lisbon. But for some reason Portugal’s capital city didn’t quite cut it for me. We found lots of gems but for all the Lisbon loveliness there were some downsides. So, for what to see and do in Lisbon read on…

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My Top Five New York Views

My Top Five New York Views

New York City sightseeing knows no bounds and you could spend weeks in the city and still not see and do everything you’d like to. But there are some iconic New York views and landmarks that would be top of my sightseeing list no matter how many times I’ve seen them before. I went back to New York at the end of last year and re-visited my favourite sights and discovered some new ones which I know I’ll head back to on my next visit. Let me share my top five iconic New York views.

Read more: How to spend five days in New York

Brooklyn Bridge

Brooklyn Bridge is a New York City icon and celebrated its 100th birthday two years ago.  This picture is taken from the East River during a Hop On Hop Off cruise which gives some fabulous views of the bridge with the Financial District and One World Trade Center building in the background. The bridge is also a perfect vantage point for great views of the city and to walk across it is a New York ‘must do’.

Brooklyn-Bridge

New York’s Iconic Brooklyn Bridge

Central Park

The Mall is an avenue of trees which line Central Park’s widest pathway and is the only straight line inside the park’s boundaries. The quadruple row of American elms continues for a quarter of a mile and is the most important horticultural feature in the park. We saw it in autumn with it’s warm foliage but I’d like to see it in summer when the dense leaves form a canopy over the pathway.

Where: Mid-Park from 66th to 72nd Streets

Mall-central-park-trees

The Mall, Central Park

Downtown New York – from the water

The first time I took a photo of this view was nearly 19 years ago and the twin Trade Towers dominated Manhattan Island. Now it’s a different skyline but still one of my favourite views of New York City. Again this photo is taken from the Hop On Hop Off boat cruise but you’d get a similar view from the Staten Island Ferry which is a free service so good news if you’re on a budget.

Downtown-new-york

Downtown New York

Grand Central Terminal

This time we’re heading indoors for a view over the concourse at New York’s Grand Central Terminal – you’re not supposed to call it a station. There’s a real buzz going on here and the people watching potential is paramount. Don’t forget to look up to the blue and green cathedral-like ceiling which is decorated in gold with constellations and zodiac signs. I like this building, built in 1913, as much for the atmosphere as the view over the concourse which conjures up images of iconic train journeys and the romance of early travel.

Where: 89 East 42nd Street

Nearest Subways: 4/5/6, 7 and S (42nd Street Shuttle) to Grand Central

grand-central-station-new-york

Grand Central Station

New York Skyline at Night

Finally, what’s a post of favourite views without a pretty night-time shot of the city lit up in all its glory? New York at night is spectacular and I was torn between choosing a view looking down on the city from high up and the shot below. This view of Manhattan Bridge won because I love the way the lights reflect in the water of the East River – double the twinkle!

Manhattan-bridge-night

Manhattan Bridge

A Hotel with New York Views

We stayed at the 4* Novotel Times Square New York which has fabulous New York views of Times Square. You can sit in the bar, restaurant or outdoor terrace for breathtaking views of buzzing Times Square and the city lights. Food and service are both excellent. The Novotel’s sleek, contemporary style is so New York and its in a prime location which is perfect for walking up to Central Park or downtown to Times Square. The Metro is nearby for exploring further afield. A hotel I’d definitely recommend and one I’d stay in again when I return to New York City.

Which is your favourite New York City view?

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New-York-Views

New York Views

 

Beyond Vegas: A Visit to the Valley of Fire

Beyond Vegas: A Visit to the Valley of Fire

Valley-of-Fire-Nevada

Valley of Fire, Nevada

The Valley of Fire is Nevada’s very first State Park. Named in 1935 to reflect its firy sandstone formations and petrified sand dunes it suits its name perfectly.  A tour of The Valley of Fire, set in the wild beauty of the Mojave Desert, offers a dramatic and refreshing contrast to the city.

So, when the bright lights and craziness of Las Vegas have burnt you out; when you’re done with the bells and whistles of the casinos and the neon lights of The Strip are indelibly etched into your mind’s eye it’s time to strike out and see a different side of Nevada with Pink Jeep Tours.

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Vegas Kitsch and the Neon Boneyard

Vegas Kitsch and the Neon Boneyard

welcome-to-las-vegas-sign

The neon signs of Vegas have illuminated the dark skies of the dusty Mojave Desert for decades. Glimmering, shimmering and beckoning they seduced weary travellers into hotels, motels, bars and casinos and became iconic symbols of the city.

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