From the Windy City to the Motor City: Chicago, Detroit & Buffalo

25.09. – 03.10.2019

The Chicago Riverwalk – the 1st photo I took back on US-American soil

I’ve always wanted to visit Chicago but it was never “on the way” while living / traveling (in) the South, the East Coast and the West Coast of the United States. Thus, this time, it was! 🙂 I fell in love with this city the first time I saw the river walk – in the middle of the night. Maan, my host, welcomed me in his amazing apartment Downtown with the best view ever and convinced me to stay for a week. Thanks for your hospitality! 🙂

I had a wonderful time there – went on motor and sailing boat trips on lake and river, got to know great people, discovered downtown, the parks, and the shopping district. The weather was mostly on my side, too. The sun was out and it was almost as tropical as in Mexico. 🙂 But of course, there were also some rainy days which I used to chill, work, swim, and to visit the planetarium, the aquarium, the Museum of Contemporary Art, and the Chicago History Museum. Very recommendable!

Well, the day came that I had to move on. Having arrived in Detroit in the early morning, I discovered the whole city on foot, looking at the nice university buildings, the stadiums, and the many theaters downtown. Afterwards, I crossed over to Windsor, Canada, through the tunnel but came back to the USA a couple of hours later.

View of Detroit from Windsor, Canada

Now, Buffalo is a city very close to the Niagara Falls. I stayed with a wonderful person there – Ahmad. He welcomed me to his home, went on sightseeing trips with me, and just spent his free time with me. That’s another thing I love about traveling the world – those very welcoming, hospitable people everywhere! 🙂 I definitely recommend everyone to try couchsurfing – its an incredible way to get to know the real culture of a country by living and spending time with (very lovely and hospitable) locals!

Indian Summer in New England

20. – 25.10.2019

So here I was – New England. The region in the Northeast of the United States with a lot of history dating back to colonial times and places already established before the American Revolution in the 17th century. It consists of 6 States with astonishing landscapes. In order to get a glimpse of it, I went on a short road trip through all of them and will provide you with some fun facts regarding these.

Head over heels enjoying this amazing autumn time in New England

Coming from Montréal, the first US-State you enter usually is Vermont. Fun facts: Vermont is not only the largest producer of maple syrup in the USA (more than 500,000 gallons per year) but also has the highest ratio of dairy cows to people (1 cow for every 3.8 people). In this state, I visited Burlington – the biggest city there and location of the University.

The pedestrian zone in Burlington, Vermont

Now, we are in Maine. The Pine Tree State accounts for 99% of the blueberries and 90% of the whole country’s lobster supply. And maaaan, how delicious was that lobster roll at the Lobster Shak at Two Lights near Portland!

Portland Head Light lighthouse

The next destination was New Hampshire. The Granite State was not only the first of the thirteen colonies to declare its independence from England but also the place where the first potato was planted in 1719. Portsmouth is a town with many old colonial houses which makes you feel like walking through an open air museum.

Portsmouth – a typical New England town

Massachusetts is the state I stayed in longest while in New England. The Bay State is the place where important inventions such as volleyball, the birth control pill, and the sewing machine originated from. Moreover, it also has some interesting places such as Springfield where the first basketball game took place and where autumn is still very typically celebrated with pumpkins and scarecrows.

Another distinct town in Massachusetts is Salem. This is where the famous witch trials took place in 1692 when 19 people were executed by hanging as a result of false accusations. Nowadays, much of the city’s cultural identity still reflects this. There are many witch museums, police cars with witch logos, an athletic team called “The Witches”, and much more. A great place to explore – especially around Halloween.

Boston is not only the largest city in New England but also the location where several key events of the American revolution, such as the infamous Boston Tea Party and the Boston Massacre, took place. It is a very tourist-friendly city with the “Freedom Trail” – a red line you just have to follow in order to pass by all important sights. And, of course, also two of the best universities worldwide are located here and worth a visit: the Harvard University and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT). During my time in Boston, I also had the honor to stay with Jacky – a host that not only introduced me to painting but also cooked one of the best chicken-dishes and a great non-guacamole guacamole (insider). 😉

On our way down South, we passed through Rhode Island. The Ocean State is not only known for making fine jewelry and silverware but also for having hosted the first circus – in 1774. Newport is famous for its majestic old manors along the coastline – an impressive sight.

So the last New England State, we had to pay a visit to was Connecticut. The Constitution State is home to the first hamburger (1895), Polaroid camera (1934), helicopter (1939), and color television (1948). The little town of Mystic there is widely known for the Hollywood movie “Mystic Pizza” that was filmed in this place.

Halloween in New York City & a Roadtrip across the States

26.10. – 03.11.2019

Watching the sunset from my bed in a high rise building in Manhattan

Some might be asking why I went back to New York City again since I’ve been living there a couple of years ago. Well, it was a lucky coincidence that I got a ride there and then one of the most amazing apartments in whole Midtown Manhattan – thanks so much, Herta! 🙂 I had a great time there again with a feeling like being back home, meeting old friends again, going back to those places I’ve been before and visiting the ones that are new like the vessel, the high line, and the September 11 Memorial.

I also was in NYC at a very special time of the year – Halloween. During that time, the city is full of trick-or-treaters, haunted houses, costume parties, and parades. The most famous one is the Village Parade which everyone can take part in. It was a crazy party all night long and here are some of my favorite costumes as seen in the streets of Manhattan:

And I also went to Washington, D.C. again because my road trip across the States should start from there. This time, other than a couple of years ago, I was lucky with blue skies and sunny weather. Thus, I had a blast visiting the mall, all those memorials dedicated to the most important people in US-American history, and the Arlington cemetery.

After more than 10 hours of driving straight through, we arrived in Nashville in the very early morning and had a little rest before taking a sunrise walk through the capital of Tennessee.

The next stop was Memphis – home of the Blues and, of course, Elvis. A couple of years ago I’d already been to Graceland (a must-see when in this area) and his tiny birthplace in Tupelo but this time I revisited Beale Street and the Mississippi River where memories of the “Memphis in May”-festival 2005 came alive.

Howdy, y’all Texans!

03. – 07.11.2019

As I literally found out on the way, one of my friends I went to high school with in Mississippi 15 years ago now lives with her family in Fort Worth. So I was able to stay with Sarah, play with her kids (The most adorable ones ever!), and was shown around town by this lovely family. Thank you so much, y’all – I’ll definitely come back around for a visit! 🙂

We also went to Dallas together in order to see where John F. Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, and to check out the city from high above in the Reunion Tower. Then I had to wave goodbye to this adorable family and move on…

San Antonio is one of the most-see places in the Lone Star State. Not only are there the missions – with the Alamo as the most famous one – but also the beautiful River Walk. Moreover, there are nice parks and at night even a pretty awesome light show at the cathedral explaining the history of the state. Oh, and my lovely host Joel not only showed me around the city but also took me to an all-you-can-eat pizza buffet – soooo yummy! 🙂

Austin is the capital of Texas and, thus, also location of the capitol building. Furthermore, it’s where the food trucks originated and hundreds of bats fly out from beneath a bridge each night (with almost as many spectators). There are also some lovely parks along the river, a booming nightlife district, and a really cool graffiti place. Oh, and delicious burritos like the ones I had with Erwin, my couch surfing host.

Other than the astronauts, I didn’t have to say “Houston, we’ve had a problem.” since I didn’t. Ken picked me up, we went to all the museums since it was raining cats and dogs and it was museum-free-Thursday (Yay, lucky us!), and then I had a very (VERY) delicious, healthy dinner cooked by Ken before leaving the Lone Star State.

Party Time in New Orleans & Miami Beach

08. – 13.11.2019

Being a world-renowned city for its creole cuisine, it’s Southern houses, and the distinct music scene, I had to pay New Orleans a visit. I just loved walking the streets starring in awe at the French and Spanish Creole architecture in the French Quarter.

The most famous street in New Orleans is the Bourbon Street where you can find tons of bars and clubs. It is one of the very few places in the United States where it is allowed to drink alcohol in public. I’ll definitely have to come back here for Mardi Gras at some point in the future. 🙂

Fort Lauderdale is also called the “Venice of America” because of all the canals you can stroll along or discover by boat. Furthermore, there are beautiful beaches and the Las Olas Boulevard where everyone goes who wants to show off their expensive car. Oh, and don’t miss the new Hard Rock Hotel closeby – it even features a fantastic (and free) light show every night!

Miami is THE hipster place to be! Exclusive Bulgari, Versace, and Cartier stores for shopaholics in the Design District, colorful graffiti and cool bars in Wynwood, as well as Cuban art, lifestyle, and food in Calle Ocho. A very unique, diverse city!

Oh yeah, I did have a hell of a time in Miami Beach – and one of the craziest days of my travel so far! 🙂 I was hosted by Mack in his really cool apartment in a high rise building directly at the beach, offered a jet ski cruise by Gurchai, and invited to a party on his motorboat by Ly. It was an awesome day with delicious BBQ, a lot of booze, crazy lovely people, a bonfire on beer can island, and a sleepover at the beach. Of course, we had a fresh coconut from the palm tree for breakfast! 🙂

And when it was time to say goodbye, my new, very awesome friend Nicole took me to the airport and waved me off – hope to see you soon, girl! :-*