Today, it was sunny, thankfully. I decided the previous day I would do a Free Walking Tour. I have taken a few free walking tours in different cities, the first one being in Berlin some years ago. I found it to be highly informative, a great to way to see the city (vs being on a bus) and also a great way to meet people and make some new friends.
The tour started in the Financial District. Our guide was Derrick. A great guy, knows his city inside -out. I’m not going to go into details, but we visited the Federal Building, made our way to the area around the new World Trade Centre (not the memorial), visited Little Italy, Chinatown, Washington Square, Greenwich Village, Soho Cast Iron District. Along the way we stopped at a cafe near Wall Street for coffee. I had a delicious hot chocolate and almond croissant. We had lunch in Little Italy, Pomodoros. Dessert at Rice to Riches. Cheesecake from Eileens.
I loved the contrast between Little Italy and Chinatown which is separated by a street. It’s amazing! A couple Chinese men that worked or owned one of the shops said ‘Welcome to Chinatown’. It was unusal, perhaps they knew Derrick. Even the older Chinese people in the community park who were playing Chinese Checkers seemed reasonably friendly which I found unusual but cool nonetheless.
Washington square was sooo busy, full of energy and life and different people. Soho was fun and weird – full of arty trendy wealthy people.
The tour ended in Chelsea bordering the meat packing district. At the end of the tour, you can tip the guide whatever amount you feel like.
I made some friends on the tour who were from Montreal, Vanessa (food and travel blogger) and Gabrielle. I met up with the Gabemeister at Chelsea Market. It was soo good to see him after so many years. We and the french canadians ended up chilling at the high line park, hoping for a beautiful sunset (which didn’t happen because the clouds moved in). Later Gabe and I went to Greenwich Village. We got some chilli hummus, brie, baguettes and some kettle chips from Gourmet Garage, sat on a bench and feasted! Gabe’s lovely ladyfriend CC joined us and we headed to Fat Cat. Had some beers while we waited for a ping pong table. By this time it was about 11pm. I had been walking since 9am and was exhausted! I called it a night at midnight and took a train back to Arti’s apartment. The fun in the city for most people was just starting up as I headed back to pack for the next day and sleep a few hours.
I’m so glad for all the people I’ve met along the way.