New York Dream Vacation

An overview of sites to see in New York while on vacation.

Being a native New Yorker, actually I live a few miles away but have been there enough, I feel more than qualified to give you the perfect New York vacation. I am planning this for a period of one week. Hit all these spots and you’ll pretty much get the cream of the crop of what New York has to offer. And don’t let anyone tell you different. New York IS the greatest city in the world.

I recommend starting with the site actually surrounding the city. If you’ve never been on the New York ferry then you have to take the ferry ride and see the Statue Of Liberty. If you’ve only seen it in photos then you truly have no idea how magnificent it really is. As you approach it is one of the most breathtaking sites in existence. I still remember my first ferry ride at age 7 and seeing the lovely lady for the first time. It is an experience I will never forget.

And there is Ellis Island. From 1892 to 1924 12 million immigrants entered New York through Ellis Island. You can also see Ellis Island from the same ferry ride.

Working your way into the mainland, no vacation is complete without seeing the Empire State Building, which is now the tallest building in New York with the tragic destruction of the World Trade Center. The building was completed in 1931 and since that time over 110 million people have made their way to the top. Last year’s total was over 3.5 million people alone. From the top of the building you can see the entire city of New York and beyond. It is truly a magnificent view.

From this point you can just about turn in any direction and run into a historical landmark. There are so many places to go in Manhattan that you can’t really see them all, even in a week. So continuing on from The Empire State Building I would next go to see The United Nations. The UN was established in 1945 and has been attempting to keep world peace ever since. Not an easy job. I was there once. I will never forget it.

No trip to New York would be complete without a trip to Broadway and 7th avenue where you can literally see theaters lined up side by side. Anyone who can’t find entertainment on Broadway is simply blind or not looking. I suggest you check your pulse.

While on the subject of entertainment you’d be crazy not to visit Radio City Music Hall, which was built in 1932, if for no other reason than to see the Rockettes. Let me tell you, they DO have the greatest legs on this planet. If I could afford it I’d see them every night.

For the best in dining and shopping you better take a trip down to Chinatown, which is inhabited by 150,000 Chinese people in just 2 square miles. This is the largest Chinese population in the Western hemisphere.

The heart of the financial district is the New York Stock Exchange. Seeing them ring the opening bell on TV is nothing like watching them do it in person. The entire world literally watches the New York Stock Exchange to know how the world of finance is doing. Talk about power.

Then of course is Rockefeller Center with it’s legendary Christmas tree. Obviously you want to go there around Christmas and New Years. There is also great shopping in Rockefeller Center. This place alone can be a whole tour.

Finally the last must see place is the World Trade Center Memorial. Talk about getting all choked up. This is one monument I wish was never made necessary. What happened there was simply unspeakable but the work that went into honoring the memory of those who died that day is truly inspiring.

After that, if you have time, go and take the tour through NBC studios to see how shows are made. Then go to Lincoln Center and watch an opera. Take a walk through Central Park, just not at night. And if you want the best deli in the world you MUST go to Deli City in mid town Manhattan.

Honestly, there is way too much in New York to see to list here. My suggestion is if after seeing all of the above you have some time left, go find a tour agency. They’ll let you know if there is anything you missed that you should see.

Yes, New York truly IS the greatest city in the world.

Castles Along The Rhine

The Rhine River is one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions. This famous river has been at the heart of German history for centuries, dating back to at least Roman times. In fact the river marked the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire.

The Rhine River is one of Germany’s most popular tourist attractions. This famous river has been at the heart of German history for centuries, dating back to at least Roman times. In fact the river marked the eastern frontier of the Roman Empire.

Julius Caesar himself conquered the areas of Europe to the south and west of the Rhine, and the Germanic tribes retained control of the lands to the north of the river.

When the Roman Empire collapsed in about 400 AD the Germans flooded across the river and created a succession of states which would later become the Holy Roman Empire and eventually modern day Germany.

Picturesque feudal castles guard the gorge

The Rhine is hundreds of miles long, flowing north from Switzerland through Germany and the Netherlands to the North Sea, but it is the 35 mile stretch between Bingen and Koblenz that is the destination of thousands of tourists every year. Along this narrow section of the gorge there are more castles than in any other river valley in the world.

Many of these castles are in ruins, but some have been restored as hotels and are open for tours. The castles stand like sentinels on the cliffs above both sides of the river creating the perfect environment for stunningly picturesque boat tours.

The castles are an unmistakable and unique feature of the mid-Rhine landscape. They were built by feudal overloards, to protect their lands from marauders who travelled up and down the river.

One of the most famous spots along this section of the river is the Lorelei Rock at St. Goarshausen. This is the deepest and narrowest points on the Rhine and is the inspiration for a famous German legend. As the story goes, a nymph lived in the Lorelei rock high above the Rhine. She is said to have lured fishermen to their destruction with her singing until she was overcome with love and plunged to her own death. A bronze statue of the nymph overlooks the river.

As you travel along the river, you see quaint, colorful villages that cater especially to tourists. The most popular are St. Goar and Bacharach, each with its own castle open for touring. And of course there are unlimited opportunities for sampling the German cuisine and exquisite Rhine wine.

In the heart of wine country

Most of Germany’s vineyards are located in the Rhine valley. At Bingen, the Nahe river flows into the Rhine and along its banks are some of the most perfect south facing vineyards. North of Bingen the wine growing region is called the Mittelrhein. It is a magical place with vineyards growing among the fairy tale castles and snuggled into the overhanging rock face.

All of the German wine regions along the Rhine produce distinctive styles of wine, but in general Rhine wine is fuller and richer than Mosel wines. As in the Mosel, the primary grape is the Reisling, but there are other varieties of grapes too. The German wine research facility at Geisenheim has created many new hybrids such as Ehrenfelser, Scheurebe, and Kerner, offering visitors a wide variety of different tastes.

The best way to see this area

There are several ways to see this scenic area along the Rhine. Several river cruise companies offer tours along the most spectacular part of the gorge. It takes about two hours to cruise from St. Goar to Bacharach, and most visitors agree this is the best way to get the maximum castle exposure.

But it’s not the only way. There is also a train that runs between the villages in the area, and you can stop at numerous points along the way to sample the local culture. Tourists can also drive the highway along the banks of the river. Or the more adverturous can ride a bicycle along the many trails, and hop on a ferry at various points to cross over to the other side of the river.