Tuesday, June 28, 2011

Day 4,5,6 & 7 - New York

My plan was to update this blog every other day or so but since good wifi is still really hard to find I waited until we left New York to update again. When you're in a place like New York you cant really afford to waste 2 hours uploading pictures to a blog.

It's been a few pretty hectic days we're we have ventured even further into the monster that is Manhattan. Timeline is a little blurry so bare with me if my recap isn't really in the right order. Also you will notice the complete lack of tourist stuff like visiting the empire state building and such stuff. We did that a few years ago. If you're interested about that stuff it'll find it's way to this blog in the future.

So thursday night we finally made it out to another of the 5 boroughs, Brooklyn. We took the L-train to Bedford Ave right in the heart of Williamsburg. Right after getting of the train I knew we would like this. Leaving the madness of Manhattan you are met by a calm yet vibrant neighborhood. Similar to Haight/Ashbury in SF or the Mississipi area in Portland. Second hand shops, record stores, vegan cafes and all the hipsters you could dream of! We met up with C at the Surf bar which is a typical tiki-bar in just that same style you'll find all around the world. Lots of knick knacks hanging from the ceiling and the bar but I'd say the Surf bar has done it really well. Drinks in a place like this are never a taste sensation, rather a feast for the eye and for awhile you almost feel like you're on a beach somewhere in the pacific. They do shake up a pretty decent Mojito as well and we tried both the regular and the frozen one.

We spent the rest of the night with some of C's friends in Williamsburg at their house, a real nice group of Swedes living and working in New York. After that we were pretty knackered and headed back to Manhattan to sleep. However in the taxi on the way home we felt we could squeeze in one more bar so we had the cab driver drop us off in the village. We found a bar called Off the wagon and on their top floor they had beer pong tables! How awesome is that. Definetly something we need to learn.
Next day we headed back to Williamsburg for some shopping. Brooklyn is famous for it's second hand shopping and we were not dissapointed. We had lunch in an all vegan/asian restaurant that we think was called Wild Ginger. Awesome menu. M had the tofu salad and i went for a udon soup and a side of seitan skewers. It was soooo good. We felt like we wanted to eat our way through their whole menu.
Next up was Swedish midsummer in battery park. Midsummer in Sweden usually means either going out of town for a midsummers meal with friends or family or staying in town and everything is closed. On midsummer you also eat potatoes and sill which is raw pickled fish washed down with spiced snaps. We actually brought miniature bottles of snaps with us and all the sudden we were every swedes best friend in battery park. It was an awesome midsummer celebration that beats most things I've seen in Sweden. It was also fun to see traditional Swedish food next to american dishes like mac and cheese.

We did another stop at Le Bain(roof bar earlier mentioned) and then we headed to Gun bar. Gun bar played awesome music mostly where you mix to different songs together and it was a great evening. Gun bar as far as i can collect is just as Le Bain in the meat packing district within walking distance between the two. 

Next morning (saturday) we did the first really tourist thing. We headed to central park! We've done it before but we love it so much we decided to do it again. We rented the rowboats at rowboat lake which i can recommend strongly to anyone in N.Y. 32 dollars for an hour of which you get 20 back upon returning the boat. It's just so amazing to be on this gorgeous lake with skyscrapers all around you.

After that we did some last minute shopping before heading back to the hostel. Last night out was mostly the ladies night out since I had to stay sober. M & C aren't gonna see each other for a good while so they got to have a last binge.

Last day in New York we checked out from the hostel and locked our luggage in security boxes before heading down to fifth for the pride parade. Just the night before we learned that gay marriage was just legalized in New York so the atmosphere was just mad! Both me and M are strong believers in equal rights for all so we were really touched by how emotional this was for a group so long without basic human rights. 

Right now we're in Philly and we're heading out for a night on town! I hope i can update more often now but good wifi is hard to find in the U.S. Remember people, you don't choose who you love! No matter what sex or etnicity! 

Thursday, June 23, 2011

Day 2,3 & 4- New York

Right now we are sitting in the common room in our hostel eating salad from whole foods market. It's one of M's favorite places for food and they have an amazing selection of organic products, fresh fruit, pastries and anything you can think of food wise. You can find them in most bigger towns in the U.S. They also have a salad bar where you pick whatever you want and then pay for the weight. I had a big healthy salad so now I feel justified to pig out on chocolate crepes and strawberries. The last days have been amazing! We've been shopping and bar hopping 24/7 and we'll never grow sick of it!  So I'm gonna try my best to recap what's happend so far.

Tuesday started with us going on a shopping frenzy. We hit Sephora which is where M buys all her make up cause prices are really low compared to Sweden. I waited outside at first because it usually takes a good while but after getting bored I went in the store and ended up buying products for hundred dollars myself. We shopped our way down fifth avenue and finally went up with one of  M's best friends C, who lives in New York at Cafe Gitane. Cafe Gitane is a french/morrocan cafe in nolita which is what they call the area north of little Italy. The area has a trendy hipster feeling to it and I kinda like that. Food was amazing and not at all expensive.

We moved on to one of C's favorite bars Sweet and Vicious in the same area. They serve frozen margaritas in jars and they have a really neat indoor patio where we spent the afternoon. Later that night we went home to C in lower east side for Mojitos on her balcony. (updated with picture below)

After battling it out on Spotify we left for one of the trendiest bars in New York,  Le Bain! Located in the meat packing district on the 18th floor with a roof bar as well, Le Bain is an over the top experience with jacuzzis and an indoor swimming pool. We sat on the roof drinking cocktails and enjoying the Manhattan skyline and myself I ended up trying out the indoor pool while hundred of yuppies were dancing around the pool. Again i managed to let them now I work as a bartender in Sweden and at the end of the night they were serving us free beer.  Pictures might find it's way to this blog later on!(just updated)

The night ended at Jane Hotel which is a huge hotel/nightclub that reminds me a lot of Berns in Stockholm.

Next day we did more shopping and then headed back to Sweet and vicious for more margaritas! We then took a stroll down to china town and picked up some food to bring back to the hostel. Taxis are so cheap in New York compared to Stockholm so we took the luxury to get a cab ride all the way back. After eating and having a few beer at the hostel we took another taxi to a bar called Lucky strike.
C joined us after awhile and we did some bar hopping before taking a cab to the Lit Lounge. By now things were a little bit blurry but I do remember dancing to dub step in their basement. Another great night in the city! For now i have to hit the shower since we're leaving for a show in Williamsburg in an hour. I will probably write more about this when we get back to Sweden and add adresses and websites but for now I wanna see as much as i can while were here so look in in a few days again and I'll hopefully write some more. Tomorrow we are celebrating Swedish midsummer in battery bark! 

Tuesday, June 21, 2011

New york day 1

Having my very first Starbuckscoffe in New York for this trip. The jet lag always make me wake up early the first week or so, so I'm on the mission to get coffee and some free wifi. We flew in yesterday with Finnair and their service was great! We finally got our vegetarian food(which we always order but never get with other airlines), seats next to each other and great friendly staff. We arrived at JFK 3:30 in the afternoon and decided to leg it to security as soon as we got off the plane. Good choice we realized because only a few minutes after we arrived in line the cue behind us got really packed. Security went really smooth and when we came out all our bags were lined up next to the conveyor belt ready to go. At least thats what we thought. I have these really ugly camouflage suitcases but I have them for a reason! My eyesight is not that good and I can still spot them as soon as they hit the belt. Mimmi however had bought a new bag on the last trip which is plain black and now three bags sat next to the belt in a small group. My 2 bags and a identical black one. Unfortunately we only learned this after arriving on manhattan when my phone rang. JFK handled it so good though! They sent a delivery car to pick up the bag we "stole" and switched it for our bag for the neat little sum of 45 dollars!

Only bad thing was we had to sit around the hostel for 4 hours waiting for it. When life gives you lemons what to do? We bought a crate of bud lime and sat in the patio at the hostel in the evening sun. we met a poor guy from Miami who had got arrested for drinking out of a bottle on the street outside the bar he was in. The poor little dude had to wait until a judge was available to get out. He ended up sharing a cell with 30 random weirdos for 2 nights until he got out and lost his phone and credit cards while in there. poor bastard. A reminder for people traveling here to take laws serious. It's nothing like europe.

After receiving the bag we were still in a party mood so we hit the village for one of those epic new york nights where you hit random bars and just see where the night takes you. We befriended some bartenders in some bar i can't even remember but they gave us some good spots to check out for the rest of the week. Nothing much to tell right now because now it's time to start exploring. For today a shopping frenzy on broad way is planned. In the words of the late Mr Marley "Sun is shining, living is easy!"

Monday, June 20, 2011

Shangri la

And so finally we found proof of it's existence. This mythological starbucks, the only one existing in Sweden is located inside security by terminal 5 gate 10 and the only way to reach it is to have a ticket outside Sweden. Just my luck! Anyways, boarding soon and calling a small latte tall sounds just as stupid in Swedish. Love the coffee though. Next stop Helsinki.

Posted by ShoZu

Sunday, June 19, 2011

Packing frenzy

So tomorrow we are leaving. Trying out the Shozu app for iphone to see if i can get it to work for my blog. If you can read this i guess it works!

Posted by ShoZu

Friday, June 17, 2011

Friday night beer sampling 2

So my first year at university is finally coming to an end. Exams and essays have taken all my time lately so the blog has been put on hold, but now it's time to kick start the blogging again for our upcoming road trip! On monday the adventure begins and hopefully you will be able to follow our adventure right here. For today I'm sampling a never tried before summer ale and an old favorite.

Brooklyn Summer Ale 4,5%

Earlier today while sorting last minute details for our trip I swung by Systembolaget(the only legal place to buy strong alcohol in Sweden)to pick up some wine for the weekend. I was pleasantly surprised to see a new product from the Brooklyn Brewery, the Brooklyn Summer Ale. Seeing that in the next week we will visit the brewery I thought it would be fitting to try it out. I really like some of their other products like the Brooklyn Lager and the Brooklyn East India Pale Ale so expectations were high. It has a nice pale amber color however the taste proves to be a big disappointment. It is really bland. I believe summer ales should have a nice hoppy bitterness to them but there's nothing here. I get a vague bready flavor that disappears before i can try to describe it, almost like someone took a good tasting beer and mixed it ot with water. I think the only nice thing I can say about this beer is that it comes in a neat bottle.

7 Giraffes Extraordinary Ale 5,1%

We sold this gem in the bar i work at awhile ago and we could hardly keep it in stock before it sold out. An exciting concoction of 7 types of malted barley, various hops, elderberry flowers and lemon zest brewed at Williams Bros Brewery in Scotland. I really like this beer even though i remembered it of packing more of a punch. Might be my taste buds aren't working as they should today and if so maybe I misjudged the earlier beer but even so the difference in taste between these two is astronomical. Rather low in alcohol it still carries the flavors and the elderberry flowers bring a wonderful subtle bitterness that stays for long in your mouth. Cant say that I can taste the lemon zest but there is a crispness in the taste that might derive from that. This is what you want in a summer ale. Refreshing and weak enough so you can drink a few without getting to round under your feet(my favorite swedish expression that translates really bad).

With that I leave you for now and hopefully some of you will follow our journey the next month. Our route can be found in an earlier entry in this blog.

“Adventure is a path. Real adventure – self-determined, self-motivated, often risky – forces you to have firsthand encounters with the world. The world the way it is, not the way you imagine it. Your body will collide with the earth and you will bear witness. In this way you will be compelled to grapple with the limitless kindness and bottomless cruelty of humankind – and perhaps realize that you yourself are capable of both. This will change you. Nothing will ever again be black-and-white.” – Mark Jenkins