May 27, 2012, by Mark
Hotlanta to Empire City
My last post saw me en-route south headed for the city of Coca-Cola and peaches, Atlanta. After an eleven and a half hour train journey with minimal sleep the Amtrak train pulled into the station in the early morning. Atlanta is not a city you would initially think to visit unless you were travelling through as it’s home to the busiest airport in the world. But idea of visiting somewhere other foreigners wouldn’t and staying with an American family was something that greatly appealed to me. I stayed in an area called Buckhead with the family of a close friend I made at UVA with the theme of the week being recovery and relaxation.
My first day recovering from the journey was spent at a lacrosse match and a delightful dinner. The following week was filled with visits to the sights of Atlanta such as a famous country house and the history centre that had a fascinating area on the civil war. The latter was also home to an exhibit on the Atlanta ’96 Olympic games that seemed fitting to explore, as I will be returning to work at the London ’12 games coming this summer. Other visits during my week down south included places such as the contemporary museum of art that featured an exhibition by urban artists, KAWS. In between being a tourist there was much relaxation and ravishing dinners in the evening that were much to my taste. My final night was spent at my second ever baseball game, following my first at UVA, we went to see the Atlanta Braves take on the Miami Marlins. With excellent seats right near the dugouts it was a fitting night to round off a splendid trip.
With my hugely overweight luggage the next day I caught a flight from the busiest airport in the world to my starting point from many months ago, New York City. I would spend my remaining time in the Big Apple before leaving the United States and heading home for the summer. Arriving in the evening I still had one last assignment to proof read and submit back to my home school in Nottingham that signalled the completion of my second year at Nottingham University, it was time to celebrate. And celebrate I did, enjoying true American food and visiting my favourite spots in New York by day and then hitting the bars and nightclubs in the evenings. My first night of freedom was spent at yet another baseball game, this time it was the world renowned New York Yankees playing the Cincinnati Reds. The stadium was a spectacle to behold in itself, as was the astronomical price of just about everything within it. The Yankees won I might add, with some wonderful home runs included.
The next day I headed to my old local, an Irish Pub on the upper eastside by the name of Kinsale Tavern. Here I met my previous roommate from my time living in New York a few years ago and together we watched Chelsea somehow defeat Bayern Munich to win the UEFA Champion league final. I spent the rest of the weekend taking advantage of the sunny weather and took a leisurely stroll across the Brooklyn Bridge to a photography festival in Brooklyn itself. Inspired by my 9/11 class I also visited the memorial that now resides at ground zero where I was quite moved by the two vast fountains that now sit where the towers I visited in 1998 once stood. To see the names of those who perished engraved around the fountains and having studied the events that took place in depth all semester made it a quite breathtaking experience.
I spent my last few days enjoying what New York had to offer although the weather took a turn for the worse. I visited my former place of work, Christies in Rockefeller Centre where it was a delight to be reunited with my former co-workers once more. I also had a private tour of the zany building home to Bloomberg news, owned by the mayor of New York at which a friend of mine is a producer. Other trips took me to the Natural History museum and to its expansive planetarium as well as my favourite place in the city, Central Park. There were also various nights out to the infamous bars and clubs of the city that never sleeps, on one occasion by chance I even bumped into two old friends from school, it really is a small world sometimes.
My time in America has now come to an end and my flight back across the Atlantic now waits for me at JFK international airport. There will likely be one final post from yours truly offering my final thoughts and conclusion on my individual experiences in the states as well as what it is to study abroad as a student from the University of Nottingham.
– Mark J Richardson