Finishing on a high

From New York to Niagara; from Canada to California; from desert to tropical island… we finished off our year-long round-the-world gap-year in 2010 with a month in North America, visiting Canada and 3 states of the USA.

New York,

New York State,


We were in New York during the Northern Hemisphere heatwave of summer 2010 as the heat radiated off the concrete and skyscrapers, making Times Square feel like daytime at midnight. A ferry out to Liberty Island offered some relief from the stifling city. One balmy night was spent Top of the Rock with fabulous views of the city lights and the Empire State Building. We abandoned the idea of walking the 4 km through Central Park, catching the subway to Harlem instead, to enjoy the soul food and warm hospitality at Sylvia’s restaurant.

Niagara Falls,



My dream was fulfilled with a boat ride on the Maid of the Mist at Niagara Falls. Truly magnificent, it certainly lived up to all the hype. Prepare to get wet, despite the beautiful blue poncho!




If you get the chance, don’t miss the adorable town of Niagara-on-the-Lake – just 25 minutes drive from the Falls… it’s as beautiful as the streets in Disneyland, and really seems too good to be true. Picture-perfect.

(Niagara was just one day of our week in Canada – which I think deserves it’s own post… one of these days!)

Joshua Tree National Park,



We had never heard of Joshua Tree National Park before we stayed in nearby Palm Desert, but continually see it’s almost alien landscape (where the trees of Dr Seuss books grow) as the backdrop in many movies.

Joshua Tree National Park

La Quinta,



Still based in Palm Desert, we visited pretty Old Town La Quinta. With streets deserted in the searing heat, it had the air of a ghost town. Taking the Palm Springs Aerial Tramway, at 8,500 ft elevation, we enjoyed a 20 degree drop in temperature and spectacular views from the forests of Mount San Jacinto State Park.




Another dream came true when we arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii, with this glorious view from our hotel window. Just a stopover on our way to Maui, we still managed to find our way to the unassuming Helena’s for superb ribs.

Kahana Beach,



After the tourist hub-bub of Honolulu, the peace and quiet of Kahana Beach on the island of Maui was just delightful. In my first attempt at snorkeling, we even got to swim with the turtles (somewhat ungracefully, fumbling with my mask!) Much fun was had in the waves at the bigger and busier Kaanapali Beach. And I must applaud Cool Cat Cafe in Lahaina for it’s delicious burgers!

A fantastic finale to our unforgettable year overseas.

About frenchfry36

South African by birth, British by right, Australian by oath, French by choice.
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