Thursday, June 9, 2016

NEW YORK: Our Tour of New York City

With approximately 48 hours to spend in New York City,  we set out to see as much as possible in what time we had. Although we had both been to the city before, we had never gone together. We set out to find some good food & coffee, and visit all of the tourist-y destinations within walking distance of our hotel. 

After dropping off our rental car and traversing in an Uber into Manhattan, (a great means of travel - sign up here for $20 off your first ride!) we dropped our bags off at our cute little hotel and were on our way to being tourists in one of the biggest cities in the world. We stayed at The Pod - a cute, compact, accommodation within about a mile from Central Park. The room was the tiniest hotel room we had ever shared, but we spent majority of our time walking the city. The location of the hotel allowed us to save money on transportation, as most destinations within Midtown were within walking distance. Make sure to do your research when booking a hotel in a major city: it is sometimes worth it to spend a little extra money and have easier access to the places you plan to  visit during your trip. 

Museum of Modern Art
As we are both artists, we decided our first stop was going to be the Museum of Modern Art (the MOMA). Choosing between the MOMA and the Metropolitan Museum of Art (The MET) was difficult. In the end, we chose the MOMA because of its wider array of artists that are a little more current. We recommend going early to avoid the crowds - though the museum was still pretty busy despite our early arrival.
Make sure to book tickets in advance because this place is one of the most visited sites in NYC. We came during the week so it was busy but not too bad. Getting through the crowds to view some of the more popular paintings (such as DaVinci's Starry Night) was a little bit of a pain but worth it.

Last Rites Gallery
Continuing with the art theme, we made our way to Last Rites Gallery. Last Rites Gallery is free to enter, and hosts a rotating exhibition of contemporary surrealism and dark art. This is an absolute must-see for anyone that enjoys tattoo art and culture. For us, it was incredible to see the work of these artists (which we follow on instagram) in person. You can see some of the art we saw here.

St. Patricks Cathedral
One of the most recognizable landmarks in the city, St. Patricks was built in 1879 and is a beautiful piece of Neo-Gothic architecture. Try to arrive early to beat the crowds. When it comes to photos, I find that aiming your camera upwards can provide plenty of great photos of the architecture minus the people. Shoot in manual without flash, and have patience to get the shot right.  

30 Rock & Rockefeller Center
Home of NBC, this massive building and surrounding area are full of tourists taking pictures and ice skating (in season). It's worth a stop to pay tribute to pop culture, but otherwise this isn't a place we would ordinarily seek out.

Times Square
Probably Manhattan's most famous area, Times Square is located at the junction of Broadway and Seventh Avenue, and stretching from West 42nd to West 47th Streets. While we don't really like to shop on our travels, we had to stop by this epicenter of consumerism for the sake of checking it off our tourist list.

On our final day in NYC, we spent our morning in Central Park, which you will be able to read about soon. 

You can read our other entries about New York here 

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Thursday, June 2, 2016

OREGON: The Search for the Wizard's Hat

I'm sure you've all probably seen photos of this iconic rock structure - the wizards hat. Being as I'd seen it all over Flickr, I figured it was a pretty popular spot for photographers in Oregon. On the contrary, we discovered that no one we met had any idea what we were talking about. This strange rock ended up bringing us on quite an adventure.

With a little research, we discovered that the Wizard's Hat was located on the shore of Bandon, Oregon. With the help of photography communities on Flickr, we were able to find exact coordinates which we plugged into our Google Maps. While the coordinates gave us an idea of where to find the Hat, it did not at all help us find somewhere to park. After a little driving, we were able to find a location a little further down the beach that had parking available.

Upon pulling up to the beach, we looked along the shore but didn't really spot it. We asked the other beach-goers, and no one seemed to know what we were talking about. Apparently it's not as iconic as the internet would make it seem.

We wandered down the beach until we finally found it, among several larger formations.

And so of course, we promptly got to posing in ridiculous poses along side it to celebrate.

The sky was overcast that day, and so the lighting wasn't ideal for the dramatic photographs we had seen throughout the internet. Regardless, we decided to continue exploring the beach and see what else we could find.

We were exploring between a few rock formations, when suddenly the tide started to come in. One moment I was walking along a sandy beach, and the next I found myself waist-deep in the ocean. Josh, upon the wave hitting his ankles, promptly scurried up the nearest rock to safety. Holding my camera over my head, I tried to climb up and dropped my cell phone into the wave in the process. With a little searching (read: splashing around in the water in a blind panic), I was able to find my phone and get out of the water to safety, soaked from the belly down, with my boots full of fresh Pacific Ocean water. We decided to call it a day for coastal wandering.

Lessons learned:
1. The ocean is not to be trusted
2. Samsung Galaxy phones are surprisingly durable
3. Waterproof boots are only waterproof to a certain depth

At the moment, this was terrifying. We had never seen a sneaker wave, and there was no warning. We promptly learned to be more careful while exploring the Pacific Beaches. In the end, the phone recovered, no one was hurt, and it makes a pretty funny memory.

What are some of your funniest travel memories?

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