A Tale of Two Stadiums: Catch A Baseball (or Soccer) Game in NYC

New York City has its fair share of professional sports teams and there’s something for everyone here as a tourist to this great city who wants to catch an iconic team play.  There are so many sports arenas in the NYC area: Madison Square Garden (just “the Garden”, to locals), Barclay’s Center, Giants Stadium (now MetLife Stadium), Yankee Stadium, Citi Field, Red Bull Arena, Prudential Center… and a few more all call the NY Metropolitan area “home”.

Enjoying a New York Yankees or New York Mets baseball game is a great way to spend a spring, summer or fall afternoon in New York City.  For the soccer (football) enthusiast, maybe you want to catch a Red Bulls or NYCFC game instead.

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This post covers the two more iconic stadiums we have here in the City That Never Sleeps: Yankee Stadium and Citi Field.  These stadiums are home to the Yankees, Mets, and the newly inaugurated New York City Football Club.

However, going to a game can be a really expensive endeavor, and neither stadium is centrally located in Manhattan, so it’s a bit of a trek to go to each.  I’d guess that, unless you’re a die-hard sports fan, only one event like this will be part of your NYC trip.

Going to a baseball or soccer game in New York City is a true hometown experience and I would recommend even folks who do not like sports to go check out a game. The atmosphere, camaraderie, merriment and energy are contagious – you can’t help but have a good time.

Here’s a brief rundown of each stadium, how to get to each, what to expect once you’re there, and what it’s all about. Continue reading

The Ultimate Mendoza, Argentina Travel Map

I had too much fun creating my Ultimate Dublin Travel Map, and so now I present to you, the Interwebs, my dear readers, my Ultimate Mendoza, Argentina Travel Map. This is only my map of the City of Mendoza, and doesn’t cover my favorite spots in the surrounding countryside (hello, bodegas (wineries) and vineyards!) – that stuff will be coming sooner than later.

How to use this map:

View the map bigger by clicking the bracket window-looking icon in the upper-right corner, next to your photo/avatar. Save the link to your phone if you’re traveling – I think it might be handy (but that’s just me!). Use the layers to toggle between stuff that you’re looking for – I’ve grouped them in Sightseeing, Restaurants and Bars, Hotels, Shopping and Entertainment and Services & Tourism info, or Continue reading

Top 15 Reasons to Love Dublin, Ireland

Dublin, Ireland is one of my favorite cities in the world. There are several reasons for this. And, without further ado – here are my…

top 15 reasons to love Dublin, Ireland

  1. Its Size

    Population-wise, Dublin has about 527,000 inhabitants, and covers an area of about 44.4 square miles. Much of what a tourist wants to see and do is packed into only a few square miles in the city center and this results in a very accessible, walkable town.

     

    Samuel Beckett Bridge, Dublin, Ireland

    View of the Millennium Spire through the Samuel Beckett Bridge

    I’ve spent a day walking one end to the other – starting around the Grand Canal Dock at Samuel Beckett Bridge and strolling along the Liffey all the way to Phoenix Park and Kilmainham Gaol. It takes a few hours if you stop here and there to see the sights, and it may not be great if you have older folks in your group, but it’s a definite plus that you can see most of the sights on foot if you want.

  2. Ease of public transportation

    You can take public transport all around the city and skip taxi cabs all together if you like. Take the DART from the outer neighborhoods to Tara Street and you’re smack in the middle of Temple Bar, for example. Or, take the DART out of the city to Malahide or Howth and take in the beautiful sea views.

    The Luas, a relatively newer light rail system, hits the city’s shopping streets north of the river, but it doesn’t go many other places that a tourist would want to visit.  Nevertheless, DART and Luas tickets are cheap and are a great option for travelers who are solo or are in small groups (when splitting a taxi doesn’t make sense).

  3. Direct flights to Dublin from many cities

    Dublin’s status as the capitol of Ireland and a tourist destination means that it’s easy to get to from many world cities. There are direct flights daily from the U.S. cities of San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago, Philadelphia, New York and Orlando, for example.  The best airlines to get you there would be Ireland’s own Aer Lingus, or the other major carriers like Delta, American Airlines/US  Air, and even Emirates. I love Aer Lingus personally because you start getting the hospitality and flavor of Ireland the minute you step foot on the airplane.
    Continue reading

Honeymoon in Malta – A Day at the Beach in Mellieha

One of the reasons my husband and I chose Malta as one of the stops for our Honeymoon in mid to late October is that we wanted to mix up some beach time and relaxation with taking in the sights, and enjoying the food and wine that these destinations have to offer. Malta definitely did not disappoint in any of these aspects. For our beach time, we ended up in Mellieha Bay for a relaxing day of fun in the sun.

While many beaches in Malta are rocky, there are some sandy beaches. As you can see, this was one of the rarer, sandy beaches to visit. Since it was October 19, it was toward the end of beach season, so it was not as crowded as one would expect.
As with most European beaches, you can either be Brazilian about it and lie about in the sand on top of your sarong (not that there is ANYTHING wrong with that, I just personally have an aversion to sand in parts of my body that should not have sand in them), or you can pay a little bit of money and rent loungers and umbrellas. Again, Malta wins here with the fee for rental of 2 loungers and one umbrella (and a little table) for just about 15-20 Euros. I don’t remember exactly how much it was, perhaps 16? But it was very reasonable, and they set everything up for us.

There are a few places where you can do watersports, too.

We enjoyed VERY reasonably priced refreshments, including the Maltese beer – Cisk  (pronounced “Chisk”), which, admittedly, is not so delicious. It’s like the Budweiser of Malta. But, it was cheap and cold, and just what we needed. They were about 2-3 Euros each – a steal, by U.S. standards!
The food on offer at one of the many beachside grills was mainly local specialties and some Americanized fast food. Fried chicken sandwiches, hamburgers, hot dogs, onion rings, french fries… and then tuna ftiras, hobz-bizejt (tuna and tomatoes), tuna and olives… tuna on pretty much everything.  Neither one of us a huge lover of tuna, we opted for a chicken sandwich and some onion rings. Again, super cheap, and again, they hit the spot.

 

The water was warm enough to swim in and beautifully clear.

 

How many other beaches have views of beautiful monuments in the background? I mean, come on.

 

Getting there: We took the public bus from St. Julian’s, where we were staying, to the beach. It’s supposedly VERY crowded in the summer high season, and it definitely was standing room only for much of the way, but where we got on, we found seats and were able to sit for the crazy ride through half of the island to Mellieha. It was almost worth it just to see parts of the island that we wouldn’t have seen normally. The bus is very cheap (like 1.50 euros for a full day) and it was nearly door-to-door service from our hotel, the Hilton Malta at St. Julians (there will be a separate hotel review later…).

The public bus stops just at the top of the beach, as the roadside is right THERE. No crazy, tumultuous walk down cliffs, rocks and other obstacles to get your toes in the sand here.

And, as with any European trip, I had to get my hands on some European Pringles. They have some pretty crazy flavors… or flavoUrs… but, we kept it tame with some Cheese & Onion this time. Of course, I had my R+F sunscreen in tow to save my half-pale mutt skin from the Mediterranean rays.

I definitely recommend making Malta a stop on your European honeymoon if you find yourself going towards mid or late October and want to try to sneak in some beach days… and definitely make it to Mellieha if you do!

The High Line in NYC

Spring has been teasing New York City lately, and it’s kind of messed up. But on those days where it’s warm and sunny, New Yorkers flock to the High Line in Chelsea.

Sixty degrees one day, and the young female office workers ditch the tights and wear short dresses that are a little too short, a little too early. Calm down, it’s March.

The fact that the next day’s high is in the forties (or lower) snaps us all back to reality, and we realize that spring just ain’t here quite yet. Don’t worry, there will be plenty of time this spring and summer to strut your inappropriately-short-and-tight office attire around the city streets, twenty-something social media interns and fashion stylist interns. It’s just not that time yet.

However, we got a taste of spring today after we exited our boozy brunch at Fonda in Chelsea this early afternoon.  (Delicious brunch! – Will post a review next time.)

The elusive sun beat down on our hibiscus margarita-stained lips as my husband, our friend and I walked up 9th avenue and decided to stroll over down to the High Line and enjoy the brief respite from the sh*ttiest winter in recent memory.

One thing you’ll learn about most New Yorkers is that we avoid touristy things like the plague. Case in point: I hadn’t visited the Statue of Liberty until I was 26 years old and I went with a tourist I befriended during their visit to NY. So, it’s not surprising that I had never visited the High Line prior to today since its opening in 2009.

 

We entered at 23rd street and walked downtown toward the Meatpacking District and the Gansevoort Street exit.

 

 

Remember that time the sun was out? It was just a few minutes ago…

 

You can sit in these stadium-style seats and gawk at the traffic below you on Tenth Avenue. If that’s your thing.

I have to admit, it was pretty awesome. Oh, yeah… and it’s free.

I’ll be visiting again when the weather is nicer (as in, sunny and warm for more than a few hours at a time), and taking more photos then.

I love the architecture in the Meatpacking District.

After, we strolled around the Meatpacking District, wandered into AllSaints and coveted ALL THE THINGS, balking at the prices and decided we couldn’t afford ANY OF THE THINGS in good conscience, and took the Subway back home to LIC.

I want all the things.

It was a fabulous afternoon!

How do YOU like to spend a sunny day in NYC? Leave a comment and tell me!

An afternoon in Colonia, Uruguay

During another trip to Buenos Aires during Easter Week, my friends and I decided that we should make the hop over to Uruguay and see what we were missing in Colonia del Sacramento.

Turns out, not a WHOLE lot. But it was still worth a visit.

We took the Buquebus over, and made a few mistakes that I hope someone else can learn from.

TIPS FOR TAKING THE BUQUEBUS:

  1. One does not simply arrive, buy a ticket, and get on the boat within a half hour. You need to buy tickets online in advance (if you can – the website was not working when we were trying to buy them online the day before), which you can do here: http://www.buquebus.com/BQBWebV2/web/ListadoDayTours. If you don’t, you must go into the terminal in Puerto Madero and find the Buquebus Turismo (travel) agency.
  2. You also can’t book a ticket for any departure within a half hour or so. So, either show up way earlier than you intend to leave, or buy them in advance online or at the terminal.
  3. You’ll need to go through immigration and pre-clear it and customs in Argentina, so be aware.
Look at me, I’m a bullring.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

The second mistake we made was that we booked the city tour sightseeing bus that takes you on a tour of Colonia. It’s a) too long, b) not in English as promised, c) boring and d) time poorly spent. The only things we saw that were of note were the bullring and the old town.  You can actually get to the bullring by taxi or by renting a golf cart in town, and I recommend doing it that way if you really must see it. It was cool, but I’m not sure it was worth the hour or so it took to get there and back on the tour bus, when we could have spent that hour or so walking around and shopping or eating.

Pretty streets in the old town.

And the old town is where you get dropped off from the bus that you get from the ferry terminal.

COLONIA, URUGUAY PROTIP: Don’t waste your money and time on the “tour bus” and just walk the old town for the day. We wished we had more time to spend there, and unfortunately, the bus tour was so long that we didn’t have much time to explore the best part of the city.

Just a tort waiting to happen.

The city’s cobblestone streets are lined with trees and cafes, of laid-back Uruguayans drinking mate and wine and watching passersby stroll along the boulevards in search of often-overpriced “authentic” tchotchkes to gather dust in their curio cabinets for years to come.

We, however, were on another mission. We were starving. And when you’re not in Mendoza, you eat seafood. As much seafood as humanly possible.

Gates of the old town. If there’s anything I like,  it’s a good smattering of plaques.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Through all of my foodie research (including scouring TripAdvisor frantically on my iPhone while walking through said picturesque streets), we decided to try to eat at a pizza place called La Bodeguita. It looked adorable. And delicious. And we arrived 5 minutes past lunch time!!! Total bummer.As we entered the gates of the old city walls, we were immediately transported. I have no other words for the place but “cute” and “awwww”.  You just feel the history, but it’s still quaint and a happy place. There are a ton of little restaurants serving mainly the same things, but the people are happy and there’s a vibrance to the place that I just can’t describe. It almost felt like home, in a weird way.

We ended up eating at a plaza cafe called La Pulperia de Los Faroles. We had fried calamari, several pitchers of sangria and the “seafood pots”, which was like a paella. My friend got adventurous and tried these vegetarian spinach fritters, which were actually REALLY tasty. It wasn’t our first choice of a place to go, and the staff was less than attentive, but the setting was wonderful. A few groups of Candombe drummers performed nearby and we relaxed under the Uruguayan sun, spending some much-needed downtime enjoying the sights and sounds.

We had to head back to the bus terminal, after our short day of exploration and relaxation. The line was enormous (as you have to go through customs & immigration again, if I remember correctly – before you board the boat). We were all exhausted.

If I ever go back to Colonia, I will make sure that I have more than a few hours to see the old town and really get to enjoy it. There’s not much there; there are a few museums, and from what I understand, great gastronomy and nightlife. However, I’d like to go back again and see for myself. This time, I’ll do it right.

Adorable little streets full of restaurants.