The flight was fairly empty. We had a row of three seats between us and the row behind was empty so I tried to sleep there while Richard had our row. Needless to say everyone around us was fast asleep while we were awake! It is so annoying! We had to circle round London before heading up the Thames and into Heathrow. The airport was fairly empty and we seemed to get through to the arrivals hall quite quickly and found our taxi driver waiting. Of course we got into the car and both promptly fell asleep.
Muffin was overjoyed to see us – I peered at him through the glass front door and he barked then I could see a look of recognition come over his face and he went nutty! The house is clean and tidy and the garden is looking good. Our great thanks go to Malcolm and Margaret for looking after our house so well and taking such care of Muffin who I think, quite honestly, didn’t miss us one bit! We did a quick hand over and Malcolm and Margaret went on their way to their next house sit. Richard and I went to bed for about an hour and a half, got up and attempted to get back to reality.
Since we have been home we have been asked for our top ten highlights and we both feel that each place had its own – so here goes.
Florida – this is broken down into two parts.
Boca – I loved being able to catch up and spend time with Maggie and Eddie and also seeing Nick, Mandy and Lily again. The Everglades and Fort Lauderdale trips were great. I had wanted to go back to Houstons for dinner and wasn’t disappointed at all. Oh of course the man on Miami Beach with the wings, boots and not much else!
Key West – Helen’s Hideaway was wonderful, a great base, so near to everything and it had a lovely pool. The sunset was lovely.
Smoky Mountains – this was the first time Richard and I had time to ourselves really since March 30th when my Mother had her stroke, so it was special. Swiss Cottage was lovely and the view was great. The Great Smoky Mountain Railway was wonderful. Chimney Rock and the view. I was disappointed with the Blue Ridge Parkway as I expected more stunning scenery but a lot of it was trees either side.
Raleigh – spending time with Kathryn. The 42nd Street Oyster Bar. Kanki Japenese Steak House.
The Outer Banks – our house, Windscape. Paddling to the little island we could see from our bed. Ocracoke. The Wright Brothers Museum. Visiting the lighthouses - I love lighthouses! Spending quality time with my bestest friend J
Washington – I just loved Washington and would go back tomorrow. There is so much more still to see and I really hope I can go back again one day. The pandas at the zoo especially Bao Bao, the baby. Going up the Washington Memorial. The WWII Memorial but this is possibly because I was able to dunk my feet in the water! The Capitol Building doesn’t really rate here but that is because it is shrouded in scaffolding – hopefully WHEN I go back it will have gone.
New York – the view from our apartment. Barbara our Apple Greeter. The Statue of Liberty. My helicopter ride. The hop-on hop-off boat (operated by City Sights). Our tour of Ground Zero. 9/11 Museum. Jersey Boys. One World Trade Centre and the Empire State Building – but they only just scrape in here L One because we were so tired and the other as it was misty.
But I guess I do have one major highlight. When I stepped out onto the plinth of the Statue of Liberty my breath was taken away and tears came to my eyes. As I said at the time I had always had two cities on my bucket list, New York and Hong Kong. I love skylines and I guess this is why I chose them. I thought Hong Kong was amazing but this was gobsmacking!
I will finish The American Dream of 2015 by thanking my long suffering husband for allowing me to spend his money on a dream which was really mine – I think he just came along for the ride!