2013 … A Dream Year

angel  004What a year!  We traveled a total of 9,448 miles in Island Girl, from Florida to Maine to Canada, then south and west reaching Arizona by the end of the year.  We visited 18 states and 4 Canadian provinces.  In October we reached a couple of milestones:  one year of fulltiming and one year of blogging.

Whew!  Here’s a month-by-month recap of our dream year:

January – visited with friends and family in Miami and Ft. Lauderdale.

February – stepped back into nature at Everglades National Park.

March – a nice long stay in Funky Key West for ocean fun and an awesome air show.

April – a busy month: first north and west to the Gulf Coast of Florida for more family time, then back east to the John F. Kennedy Space Center and the Merritt Island National Wildlife Refuge, north to St. Augustine, and north again to the Okefenokee Swamp in Georgia and the low country of South Carolina, and finally to Atlanta to see old friends.

May – visited the Smoky Mountain National Park in Tennessee, the Outer Banks of North Carolina, Washington, D.C., then ended the month in New York City and upstate New York where we visited more family and friends.

June – a quick stop in Boston and then on to beautiful Maine.

Here was our route for the first half of the year.

July – crossed the border into Canada on the 1st, and spent the month in New Brunswick and Nova Scotia.  Discovered absolutely astounding people and places.

August – visited idyllic Prince Edward Island, buggy Kouchibuguac National Park in New Brunswick, then over to Quebec to the gorgeous and oh so French Gaspé Peninsula.

September – visited the St. Lawrence River in Quebec where we saw an amazing number of whales and concluded our fantastic Canadian summer in charming Quebec City, then crossed the border back to the U.S. to enjoy the beautiful Vermont autumn.

October – continued leaf-peeping in Vermont, then began our westward journey with stops at Niagara Falls, then Cincinnati, Ohio, Louisville, Kentucky,St. Louis and Kansas City, Missouri, visiting friends and family along the way.

November – a stop in Denver, where the journey began, to get annual checkups for all and check in with friends and family.  Then south to Santa Fe, New Mexico.

December – another busy month.  Traveled around New Mexico, south to Albuquerque, then further south to the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge and Las Cruces, then crossed the border to Arizona and ended our most unforgettable year in Tucson.

And here was our route for the second half

Some things we learned:

We ran a little hot this year, with an average stay of 8 nights at our 45 stops, not complaining, it was fabulous, but we’d like to slow it down a bit this year and try staying longer in each place.

We set a goal of no more than four hours driving time between stops and for the most part kept to it; averaging 185 miles per trip, but a couple of the trips were still way too long.

denver  038We stayed too far north too late into the year, and plan to head south earlier next year to avoid frigid cold and snow (although the falling snow was beautiful).

Crossing from the east coast to the west coast really took a toll on us, we were tired puppies by the time we reached Denver, and plan to stay in the West next year.

Our planning paid off in some fabulous campsites, on the other hand, we discovered that it’s best to have a balance of planned and unplanned stops.

Re-connecting with family and friends, and making new friends along the way has been one of the most important parts of our journey.

NYE2014  002And we learned to be grateful each and every day, we are so fortunate!

We wish you all a very Happy  and Healthy New Year in 2014!

~ Brenda, Hector and Angel

Niagara Falls

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niagara  001Ever since I was a young girl, I’ve wanted to visit Niagara Falls.  And even though we lived in New York City for awhile, my family didn’t have the opportunity to take the trip at that time. Later in life, other places captured my interest, and I moved on.niagara  002

But now that we’d spent some time on the east coast, it was time to take care of this childhood wish.  So Hector and I planned a short stop in Niagara Falls on the way from Southern Vermont to Cincinnati, Ohio.niagara  028

Four Mile Creek Campground in Youngstown, New York, just north of Buffalo, was quite lovely and our site looked out over Lake Ontario.

niagara  006niagara  003niagara  007Niagara Falls is actually three waterfalls, American Falls and Bridal Veil Falls on the American side, and Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side.

Walking into the park from the parking lot on the American side, I was surprised to immediately hear the sound of the falls, and to actually see them shortly after that.  I’m used to hiking to waterfalls and had no idea what to expect.  But this area is very developed with a sidewalk along the side of the Niagara River and by the waterfall, parking lots, gift shops etc.

niagara  004In spite of the highly developed surroundings, the falls are a very impressive sight.  The sound alone makes you appreciate the power of the water tumbling down from the river.   And the rapids just above the falls are pretty impressive as well.  But at times the falls seem surreal in this “theme-park” like setting.niagara  015

niagara  010We purchased tickets for the Cave of the Winds, one of the “attractions”.  The name of the attraction refers to a cave that collapsed years ago.  The attraction now includes an elevator ride down to a series of walkways designed for a very close look and feel of the American and Bridal Veil Falls. niagara  014

The highest portion of the boardwalk is about ten feet from Bridal Veil Falls.  And since the walkways would be damaged by ice in winter they are torn down and rebuilt every season!niagara  013niagara  012

A rain poncho and rubber sandals (mandatory) are included with the entry to Cave of the Winds, but I highly recommend wearing a rain jacket underneath the poncho.  If you climb to the top walkway, it’s a very, very wet experience, so it’s also important to be mindful of camera equipment.niagara  009niagara  008

niagara  016niagara  017It was a very cloudy day but we signed up to go out on “Maid of the Mist” boat cruise anyway, a longtime tradition at Niagara Falls. niagara  040

niagara  018niagara  019niagara  020These boats cruise past the American and Bridal Veil Falls (too rocky to get too close to), and over to the Canadian side, where the boat stops for a few exhilarating minutes right in front of Horseshoe Falls.  Horseshoe Falls are known for the mist they generate, sometimes creating a cloud above the waterfall.niagara  022

It’s relatively short, but highly recommended.  And in spite of the ponchos you WILL get absolutely drenched.  So plan accordingly.niagara  021

niagara  023Maid of the Mist boats leave from both the American and Canadian side and have the same exact route, but the tickets from the American side are a little less expensive.niagara  025

While on the boat, we heard the “Miracle of Niagara” story of a boy who’d fallen off a boat above the rapids (there is literally a line way up river where the water goes from calm to rapids).   He came down the rapids and falls unprotected except for a life vest and was rescued by someone on the Maid of the Mist.  And survived.   Unbelievable.niagara  026

A tradition of people who intentionally went down the falls started in 1829 when someone who called himself “the Yankee Leapster” jumped from a high tower to the gorge below the falls and survived.  Then, in 1901, a 63 year old teacher was the first person to go over the falls in a barrel.  It was a publicity stunt and she survived.niagara  049

niagara  029niagara  050niagara  048We’d heard that the views from the bridge across to Canada and from the Canadian side were even better than the views from the American side.  So the next day, we walked over to Canada across the bridge, figuring that going through immigration and customs on foot would be much easier than doing so in a car.  Especially since we always carry a lot of “stuff” piled up in our car.

And we were right, after the approximately ¼ mile walk across the bridge, it only took a couple of minutes to get through immigration.  And there were some great views from the bridge.  Not to mention that “walking to Canada” was kind of cool.

There is a bus you can take that tours the falls and a couple of other sites, it’s one of those “hop on, hop off” affairs.  We didn’t want to pay extra for stuff we weren’t going to see, so we took the approximately one mile walk over to Horseshoe Falls.niagara  051

niagara  049niagara  044On the way, there are great views of the American and Bridal Veil Falls.  And Hector and I agreed that Horseshoe Falls were even more impressive than American Falls.   Surprisingly, the Canadian side is just as touristy (if not more so) than the American side, and we opted out of the “attractions”.  So we just walked around to different viewpoints to gawk at the falls.
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niagara  034niagara  033niagara  042niagara  041niagara  045niagara  046And we learned more about daredevil traditions.  Wire walking across the gorge began in 1859 and continued through 1896.  Then, in June, 2012, Nik Wallenda became the first person to walk across the falls in 116 years.  He walked across 1,800 feet of tightrope near the brink of Horseshoe Falls, further upstream than previous walkers.  According to Mr. Wallenda, it was the longest unsupported tightrope walk in history.  He carried his passport on his walk, and was required to present it when he reached the Canadian side of the falls. Amazing.niagara  039niagara  043niagara  038

niagara  032Walking back towards the bridge to the U.S., we stopped by the Skylon Tower to explore the possibility of riding to the top, but it got really cloudy once again, and we held off for a possible return trip that evening.  At 775 feet in height, I imagine the view must be fantastic on a clear day.  While in the tower, we succumbed to a touristy activity, having a photo taken of us “going down the falls”.

It was quite a full day but we still maintained the possibility of returning later that evening to see the falls lit up with colored lights.  And once again getting through immigration on the U.S. side of the bridge was a cinch.niagara  047

That evening it rained quite a bit, and we didn’t return to Canada.  But I finally got to see Niagara Falls and they were beautiful.

~ Brenda

The Adirondack Mountains

adirondacks  023adirondacks  002adirondacks  003adirondacks  001burlington  061adirondacks  091adirondacks  004Burlington’s location by Lake Champlain is ideal for a side trip to New York.  And, upon the recommendation of a friend (thanks, Rebecca!) we decided to take the ferry over to the Adirondack Mountains.

There are several ferries crossing the Lake to New York, but we chose the longest route, which was also the closest to Burlington.  This ferry is considered the most scenic.  But because of the cloudy, rainy weather, we waited it out for a few days, and wound up taking the ferry on the final day of its season (the other two ferries continue year-round).

We’d learned recently that there is a “sea monster” that is said by some to inhabit Lake Champlain, who’s been nicknamed Champ.  There have been hundreds of reported sightings.

The first reported sighting was in 1883 by Sheriff Nathan H. Mooney, described as a gigantic water serpent about 50 yards away.  The first sighting of the Loch Ness monster occurred 50 years later.

One theory is that Champ may be a plesiosaur (same theory as the Loch Ness monster), because both lakes have a lot of similarities; over 400 feet deep, and both formed from retreating glaciers.

Others believe that people are mistaking common species or other objects for a “monster”,  or that it’s all a hoax.  But the marketing department in Burlington has taken full advantage there are a number of cute sculptures of Champ around.

adirondacks  005adirondacks  006The ferry ride was very pleasant, although we did not see any prehistoric creatures, and we met some nice folks.

Once across we travelled some pretty country roads headed to Whiteface Mountain and Lake Placid.  It was a beautiful drive with the colors not quite at peak but still lovely.

adirondacks  009adirondacks  010adirondacks  019adirondacks  018adirondacks  017adirondacks  007adirondacks  008There is a road to drive up to the top of Whiteface Mountain and there is also a gondola that takes you to the top.  We had Angel with us, so we couldn’t do the gondola and there was a huge traffic jam at the entrance to the road to the top so we bailed.

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adirondacks  020We continued to Lake Placid, Hector and I were eager to see the town where the 1932 and 1980 Olympics were held.  Lake Placid is a very cute town.  The lake setting is quite striking and there are gorgeous homes surrounding it.  But it was pretty congested and crowded.

adirondacks  024So we continued our dirve to check out some of the Olympic sites.  Our first stop was at the ski jump ramps, which are free standing and built on top of the mountain.  The previous ski jump we saw is in Steamboat Springs, Colorado and is built into the mountainside. The ones here were even more impressive.

adirondacks  027adirondacks  028Standing next to the ski jump ramps makes you appreciate just how crazy the ski jumpers are.  Amazing!adirondacks  026adirondacks  025adirondacks  029

adirondacks  030adirondacks  021Next, we drove over to the bobsled track area and found out that they offered bobsled rides on the old Olympic track.  Not my cup of tea, but Hector was pretty excited.

We arrived there just in time to take the last ride and he signed up.  It’s pretty pricey, but a once in a lifetime experience for him.adirondacks  031



As he was transported to the top, I was feeling a bit nervous about having the responsibility of capturing a photo of the bobsled as it made it to the finish line.  I knew I’d only have a couple of seconds to take the photos. Happily, I got a couple of good shots!  That’s Hector in the middle between the driver and the brakeman.

adirondacks  034adirondacks  091 (1)Hector loved his 42.54 second ride and that made me happy.adirondacks  037adirondacks  039adirondacks  038adirondacks  032

It was time to drive back and we made it just in the nick of time for the ferry ride back.

adirondacks  042adirondacks  041adirondacks  040Although it was a very short tour of the area, we really enjoyed seeing the beautiful Adirondacks and Lake Placid up close.

And Hector got to ride the bobsled, something he’s always wanted to do.  Not bad for a quick day trip.

~ Brenda

One Year Fulltiming!


Leaving Colorado 1

Leaving Colorado 2It’s true, we’ve now passed the one-year mark since we began our journey.  It has been a rich and full experience and yet time has passed very quickly.

Before I forget, I’ll answer a question that was asked just before we left:  What if we don’t like it?  Well, we love it.  Even though the first time I woke up in Island Girl knowing that I’d be living here for a while, my first thought was – What have I done? – I quickly came to love it and have never looked back.Isl Grl Redo  004

In fact, I was surprised at how easily I adjusted, particularly to the confined quarters. Hector and I decorated our new little 400 square foot home just as we had our other homes, and we really enjoy our interior space.

And we’re also really happy with our upgrades and our custom office space.   Hector is able to work on his Apple computer (the photographer gets the big computer) in our comfy chair by the desk, while I work on our laptop on our comfy couch simultaneously.halifax

Island Girl feels downright roomy with her 39’ length, and we have plenty of storage space.

And the journey has far exceeded our expectations. We’ve spent quality time with friends and family across the country, many of whom we’d not seen in waaay too long.  And other friends have come to visit.

Along the way we’ve also met lots of different people, learned new things, and just enjoyed spending quality time together.  We’ve visited a total of 14 states, including parts of the Midwest, South and Northeast.

We’ve experienced the lovely Arkansas autumn, Buffalo National River  024the fabulous gulf coast of Florida,Henderson Beach   080

the wild and subtle beauty of the Everglades,flower  024

and the wilder side of Florida in general. Ft Myers  056

We returned to the “black” waters of the Okefenokee Swamp,Swamp 011

and to the Great Smoky Mountains.Smokies  007

We visited the Outer Banks of North Carolina, OBX  055

and spent the beginning of our summer on the breathtaking coast of Maine.Penobscot  169

keys  021We traveled to extreme opposites; in Key West, Florida, we stood at the southernmost point of the U.S.sunset  027

And months later made it to the furthest northeast state of Maine.boothbay harbor  095

We spent just under 12 weeks in Canada, where we visited four provinces and learned a ton about our neighbor to the north.

There we saw the amazing tides of the Fundy Coast,New Brunswick117

the unique rock formations and the beautiful lighthouse at Peggy’s Cove,peggy 25

and the rugged beauty of Cape Breton Island.cape breton  030cape breton  011We traveled to the southern tip of Nova Scotia, brier 50along the gorgeous landscapes of Prince Edward Island,

PEI  161

and the spectacular Gaspé Peninsula,Perce  073

where we visited its Northern Gannet colony in Ile de Bonaventure.Perce  049

We saw the whales of the St. Lawrence River,st lawrence  115

and took many walks around beautiful Québec City.quebec city  046

And Angel visited rivers, lakes, rocky and sandy beaches, forests, went boating on various boats and ferries, and even went whale watching.River Dog  006

In total, Island Girl traveled 8,534 miles this first year.

And Hector and I have grown even closer during this journey.  Living together in such tight quarters can bring out the best or the worst in couples and sometimes both.  We’ve been married for a very long time and are very comfortable spending lots of of our time together while traveling.  Even after all of that we had a few grumpy patches along the road, but ultimately found our groove.

And, interestingly, some of the working aspects of RVing helped us to strengthen our partnership.  I named a previous post about leaving and arriving at our destinations “The Departure Dance”.  And I really do believe that there is a choreography that you both create and “perform” on a regular basis.  But it’s important that the choreography feels right for both of you.

That extends to the day-to-day chores and responsibilities as well.  Learning to support each other in a way that takes into account each of your likes, dislikes, talents and skills can make the journey much more enjoyable.

Rv Repair SedaliaAnd, not surprising to any RVers out there, we’ve discovered that things tend to go wrong in the most inconvenient of times.

The first time was on the first week we were on the road, when our water inlet broke.  Another time, our refrigerator broke down on a Sunday, the day before we planned to cross the border into Canada.

The first Hector fixed himself, the second, we found someone who was able to fix it.  But we learned that when things go wrong (not if, but when), we should:

  • Stay calm
  • Ask for advice and/or help, there is a very helpful community out there
  • Be flexible
  • Have or make a plan B

footAt the same time, it’s been difficult to be away from most of our friends and family in Denver, and we really miss them.  But we can always visit and plan to soon.

And there have been other challenges along the way; minor medical issues and having to figure out which doctor to go to in unfamiliar places.  The same for finding veterinarians.

And, less critical challenges like not having access to cell phones, internet or TV (sometimes a good thing) in some places.

But right now we wouldn’t trade this lifestyle for anything else.  And we are continually learning and growing.  For me this blog has been a huge learning experience.  I’m not the most tech savvy person, and when we began this blog, we knew nothing about blogging.  But I took on the task of figuring out how to get started, and spent several frustrating weeks using the process of elimination to figure out certain aspects of the blog.

Well, we just passed the 100 post mark on the blog.  And it’s is another example of working as a team.  Hector is in charge of the photography, I write the posts.  Then we combine the two.  From organizing how to divide the subjects to creating the final product, we support each other.   Sometimes we collaborate from the beginning, other times we work independently and get together at the end. The blog is another choreography.

departures  009

When I started writing this post, Hector wrote me a little note with some numbers and fun facts from the year.  He ended the note with “i love you still”.  And I feel the same way.

And the journey continues.

~ Brenda

Heroes in Upstate New York

Swinda  005We headed to upstate New York to visit my “Titi” Suinda.  Her name is actually Fredesuinda and people in New York mostly call her “Freddy” but to me she is Titi Suinda.  Titi is used in Puerto Rico for Aunt, it’s a diminutive version (like auntie) of “Tia”- aunt.  And it really seems appropriate for Titi Suinda, who’s about 4’11” or so.  She’s part of my dad’s side of the family, which my brother used to call “the little Vegas”.  And no I did not get the tiny skinny gene.

Anyway, Titi Suinda is 94 years old and lives by herself, although her son is one town away and keeps tabs on her.  She, like quite a few other women in this family, is fierce.  Something about these tiny Vega women.

fdr  001fdr  004While visiting this area, we also continued our tour of presidential libraries by driving over to the Franklin D. Roosevelt Presidential Library.   Unfortunately, the permanent exhibit galleries of the FDR library are closed for renovation.  This is the first major renovation since the library opened in 1941 and the first complete renovation of a presidential library.

During the time of the renovation, the library is offering a new photography and multimedia exhibition, “The Roosevelts:  Public Figures, Private Lives.”   It’s the largest photography exhibition on the lives and public careers of Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt.

fdr  003fdr  002The FDR Presidential Library is part of the Franklin D. Roosevelt National Historic Site, which contains FDR’s lifelong home, the Presidential Library and Museum, an educational center, and Eleanor Roosevelt’s cottage.  This makes it the only site that contains both the Presidential library and the president’s personal residence.

fdr  005fdr  007The photography exhibit, as well as the tour of FDR’s lifelong home provide a very personal look at the lives of our only four term President, a hero to many, Eleanor Roosevelt and their fascinating partnership.  FDR took office during the Great Depression and undertook numerous efforts to revive the economy and support what he called his four freedoms.  Freedom of speech, freedom of worship, freedom from want, and freedom from fear.   Many of the results of these programs we continue to enjoy today.fdr  010fdr  008fdr  009fdr  012fdr  011fdr  014fdr  019fdr  022fdr  021fdr  020

fdr  023fdr  006fdr  018Eleanor Roosevelt’s story is an inspiring one.   Her mother, who was considered a great beauty was disappointed in Eleanor’s looks.  Eleanor was aware of this and was self-conscious as a child although her father doted on her.  In an interview in her later life, Eleanor named several people who shaped her life, saying her father “provided her love and assurance” and her mother “gave her the unattainable goal of perfection”.  A third was her headmistress and teacher at a boarding school where she gained a sense of confidence.   Eleanor Roosevelt went on to become a passionate advocate for the rights of women, racial and ethnic minorities and the poor.  A hero to many.

Swinda  001Swinda  002Swinda  003On to my visit with my Titi Suinda.  She was thoroughly entertaining, recounting stories of many of my aunts and uncles (my grandmother had 17 children, though several didn’t survive childhood), their children and their grandchildren.  We looked at old photographs and she told us some more stories, including which universities young members of the family graduated from, and what degrees they have.  With such an extensive family spread out across the U.S.  I have no idea how she remembers all of this.

I asked her how she met her husband, who passed away years ago.  With a gleam in her eye and a beautiful smile, she declared “I love to tell this story, I still love my husband so much.”  Even though Uncle Paul is no longer with us, I can see that thinking about him still brings her joy.  I love that, SO romantic.Swinda  004

Another thing I love about my Titi is that while telling me stories about so many members of our family, she only had kind words about each and every one of them.  She is my hero.

~ Brenda

Nueva York

NYC  023NYC  026Back in Florida, some RV neighbors recommended the Liberty Harbor Marina and RV Campground for our future visit to New York.  This park is located in Jersey City, just across from New York, and close to the train, ferry and the Holland Tunnel.

NYC  028NYC  029NYC  025Hector predicted that it would be a parking lot type of campground.  Also that the location would be hard to beat, especially since he didn’t want to have to drive the RV through any portion of New York City to get to a campground.

And all of his predictions were accurate.  The place was ugly, basically a gravel parking lot.  When I took Angel out for her first walk here, I found only tiny patches of grass by the fence, and they were full of construction debris.  Ugh!   I was tempted to leave.

But we stayed put and that evening we heard what sounded like fireworks.  Hector and I ran out to check it out.  And there in front of us was an elaborate fireworks show illuminating the Statue of Liberty.  It was, after all, the week before Memorial Day.  A bit of redemption for the campground.

Plus, the next day we biked to Liberty State Park, right next door!NYC  039NYC  022

Ellis Island

Ellis Island

And the next day, Hector found a path outside of the park by the marina that had nice grassy patches on each side, which was great for walking Angel.  Much better.

NYC  024

New York was the city I first came to from Puerto Rico, and I have many childhood memories of my four years here.  I love the City, and was very excited to be back.

Angel in the Big Apple

Angel in the Big Apple

But the weather on our first days here was not cooperating.  Friday and Saturday were both very rainy and cool.   Not really fun to walk around the city in a hard rain.  So, on Friday, we took a quick driving tour of the city.  And, on Saturday, we stayed in our warm RV in the morning and then went out for a matinee movie.

NYC  017NYC  019On Sunday (happily a sunny, though still cool day), we drove out to my nephew’s house in Long Island for a barbecue.  It was a great family reunion including my nephew, Ivan, his wife, Donna and two sons, Joey and Ryan, my niece, Nivea, her husband, Chris, son, Jake, daughter, Jessica and my sister-in-law, Cielo.  What a wonderful family I have.

NYC  014That day was made even more special by the fact that my sister-in-law gave me a special gift for my upcoming birthday: my (biological) mother’s wedding ring.

NYC  020My dad had given the ring to my brother, my mother’s eldest child, when she passed away, and my brother gave the ring to his wife.  After my brother passed away, my sister-in-law decided to give the ring to me.  This special gift was totally unexpected, and means so much to me since it’s the only thing that I have that belonged to my mother.   Such a meaningful gesture, one I’ll never forget.NYC  018NYC  016NYC  021

NYC  030The next day, we visited a couple of Hector’s friends, Don and Linda, in New Jersey.   As we drove to their home, Hector recalled how many times he’d driven this same road on business to his company’s headquarters.

nyc  079But this time was different, as it was a drive purely for pleasure, and there would be no more trips to headquarters on this road.  We are so grateful to be in this new chapter of our life.

We spent the next two days in New York City.  I’d made an appointment at Devachan, a salon owned by one of the curly hair gurus in the U.S.  This was an expensive place, but I’d been saving money by having Hector trim my hair (he got a lesson from my hairdresser in Denver).  And yes, sometimes you get what you pay for, nurturing service and a great cut.

Afterwards, we had lunch in Little Italy and walked around a bit but the rain persisted and we took the subway back home.

NYC  034NYC  035NYC  037NYC  038NYC  033NYC  009NYC  036NYC  032NYC  007NYC  012NYC  078NYC  006NYC  008NYC  041NYC  040NYC  031NYC  048NYC  056NYC  054The next day, we visited my beautiful friend, Ann-Gel, in Spanish Harlem, where she works.  Ann-Gel gave us a tour of the Barrio, which has fabulous murals featuring various political and community themes.  There is a rich history of work to achieve social justice in this community.  After our tour, we had lunch at La Fonda Boricua, a fabulous Puerto Rican restaurant.  Ahhh, comfort food.

NYC  044NYC  047NYC  059NYC  046NYC  057NYC  045NYC  043NYC  053NYC  042NYC  055NYC  061NYC  060NYC  058NYC  049NYC  063After lunch, Hector and I walked a bit more around Spanish Harlem, then headed for the subway back to Manhattan.

We walked around Grand Central Station, Bryant Park and Times Square.   We wound up walking a total of 15 miles in these two days!

NYC  067NYC  064NYC  073NYC  062NYC  071NYC  069NYC  072NYC  070NYC  066
NYC  076That evening, we returned to the city to see the theater production of Mamma Mia on Broadway.  A fun show, although we were never really ABBA fans.NYC  075NYC  074

NYC  004NYC  003NYC  077And of course, we enjoyed the variety of food offered both in Jersey City and New York.  In just a few days we had Puerto Rican, Middle Eastern, and Italian food, including dinner at Becco, one of the restaurants owned by Lidia Bastianich, television chef and cookbook author.

NYC  002NYC  005New York is an experience that engages all of the senses.  And it will always have special meaning for me because of my time spent here and my family ties.

~ BrendaNYC  001