It is over 2 years since I posted anything on my blog. Shameful and I tell people I am a writer! This was always going to be year where I travelled more than usual. My twins, Sophie and Jack were 21 in July and instead of presents they wanted what everyone now calls ‘experiences’. These experiences included a sporting event and a transatlantic trip. More later.
In June I travelled to my favourite Greek island, Kefalonia. I fell in love with the island long before I had a holiday here. Captain Corelli’s Mandolin by Louse de Bernieres sowed the seed and I eventually arrived for the first time in 2014. I was captivated by the stillness, the stars and the fact that there were no ‘party towns’. I longed to visit Myrtos Beach but due to landslides the road has always created a problem. This year, a week before we arrived the new road had opened. We were told the sea was often rough here but the day we went it was still and resembled a turquoise bottomed swimming pool.
Who can resist this view? Swimming in this water was one of those experiences you will never forget. The warm water, sheer cliffs rising above the sea and clear blue skies made this my vision of heaven on earth.
On my return it was the first of the 21st birthday experiences – the British Grand Prix at Silverstone with my son, Jack. I have always enjoyed F1 and although I thought the Monaco Grand Prix would be my race of choice, Jack decided he would prefer a trip to Silverstone. What an experience it was. Jack is a Ferrari fan so the weekend was a bit of a disappointment but he took Hamilton’s win in his stride.
In 2001 I was booked to go to New York to celebrate my 40th birthday. 9/11 put this trip on hold and I ended up going to Dublin instead. My daughter, Sophie, decided that she would like a trip to New York to celebrate her 21st. I, of course, had to go with her. It was a surreal experience and at times I felt overwhelmed by the noise, the height of the buildings and the fact that I had eventually achieved one of my ambitions. It was an exhausting trip. We walked, and walked and walked. Sophie will never let me forget the three mile walk to see ‘ a bit of stained glass’ at the Metropolitan Museum of Art. I love Tiffany glass but she didn’t share my joy.
It was humbling visiting the site of the World Trade Centre and listening to first hand accounts of that dreadful day. You couldn’t fail to be moved.
Everyone has asked me what was the best part of the trip. There were so many memories but one of those feel-good times was our breakfast at Ellen’s Stardust Diner. Yes it is a typical American diner but what makes this different is that the waiting staff are all entertainers. Songs from Broadway musicals and Disney films made people smile. There was audience participation and a rendition of Delilah had everyone singing. In a world that seems in turmoil this place made everyone smile.
We ate oysters at Grand Central Terminal, went to the Top of the Rock and viewed NYC from the Empire State Building at night time. A visit to Lady Liberty and Ellis Island gave fantastic views of Manhattan and a visit to New York would not have been complete without a trip on the subway. Central Park created a tranquil space for us both when we felt weary. Coffee and Banana Pudding from the Magnolia Bakery was a sweet treat. Times Square was too busy and brash for a girl from rural Northumberland and I longed for open spaces and hills.
Would I go back? Not to Central Manhattan but maybe Greenwich Village could tempt me.
So next stop on my world tour is Singapore and Australia. Watch this space.