The original dates for my orientation days were between August 7th to 10th. But because of the challenges with my flight, I arrived with my group two days later than planned, see my earlier blog for that story. CIEE wanted us to enjoy the one day we had as much as possible. So they organized a private bus tour for our group with our own personal tour guide. In the end, we had our own private tour through New York City.
It was great! It was warm and sunny. We met each other at 8 am. I was still tired but so happy that we finally made it. Our first activity was going to Planet Hollywood and eat breakfast. I got out of the bus and saw the lights of the restaurant. The first thing I noticed when I went inside was music. It was Ariana Grande. When we were allowed to go to the buffet, one of my first thoughts was: "It is going to be very hard as a vegetarian here". Nearly everything they offered was meat, like bacon, sausages etc. They also offered eggs and cereals, but in at the first moment I only saw meat.
After breakfast we walked to Times Square. It was two streets down. It was so amazing. All the gigantic TV screens and lots of people. It looked just like the pictures you find on the internet. But the biggest difference was that this was real, and I was standing in the middle.
From there, we drove to the apartment of John Lennon (a singer from the Beatles). We didn't go inside, but saw it from the outside. Next to his flat was Central Park and we visited Strawberry Field (named after a song of the Beatles). It was a very pretty place! There was also a man playing guitar. He invited us to play music with him, gave some of us small instruments, and the rest of the group clapped with their hands and danced. It was so fun and I felt so welcome!
We walked a long time through Central Park. We have seen a lot of different sights. Our tour guide told us a lot of interesting stories about all of them. When we left Central Park we passed by some food trucks. It surprised me that there were so many. Afterwards, we drove to Grand Central Station. It was a very beautiful train station.
Now we are coming to a point, where I was most excited about, The Statue of Liberty. We got on the ferry and the sun was shining and it was so hot. We were on the part of the ferry without a roof, but I bought a cap before. The ferry was shaking and we listened to a voice, which was explaining about all the sights we passed. I come closer to The Stature of Liberty. First, I saw her from the back, and than from the front. I can remember that I did imagined her taller, but it was still so gorgeous. I mean , once you are in New York you definitely want to see the symbol that everyone has at least heard about.
At the end, we visited a mall for 2 hours and drove back to the hotel. I went to sleep exhausted, but ready to meet my host family the next day.