To the untrained, exploring New York City at night generally entails walking along the famous Streets and Avenues to spot famous landmarks and then ending up at Times Square, stopping on your track and being dazzled by the blinding billboards.
In short, you get swarmed by tourists from all directions.
Luckily, I had my friend @mrkim85 to show me around NYC, and I got to see the city at night through a different perspective. He had the most brilliant plan for the evening: after a round of drinks at a bar in Manhattan, he would take me to dinner at an excellent restaurant in Brooklyn and we could walk back to Manhattan crossing one of the bridges and cycle 30 streets up on one of those Citibikes.
Nothing too touristy and it involved cycling and great food- there was nothing not to love about the plan.
The drinks in Manhattan was great – we went to a trendy rooftop bar on the 6th floor of The Pod 39 Hotel, sandwiched in between the skyscrapers. By the time we got there, it was already busy, full of well-dressed New Yorkers who had just finished their work. I felt embarrassingly out of place with my bright orange top and equally bright pink backpack plus my brown shoes that were close to falling apart.
My dinner at Brooklyn was excellent (I need to look up the exact name of the restaurant). I ordered a pork dish, and the meat was juicy and cooked to perfection (this is how talented I am if I were to become a food blogger. I did not even take a picture of the food). All I can say is this – I came out of the restaurant extremely happy.
Then there was the walk across the East River to get back to Manhattan. My friend suggested that we walked through Williamsburg Bridge, which was the less famous sister of the Brooklyn Bridge. It connects the Williamsburg neighbourhood of Brooklyn with the Lower East Side of Manhattan. Again, less famous means fewer (or no) tourists at all, so it was perfect.
As we were entering Salzburg by train, my mind was already firm with a conclusion: Salzburg is my favourite city in this trip.
Never mind that we are only halfway through the trip and we still have the whole of Switzerland that we haven’t seen. But how can you not declare your undying love for a place when coming in the city by train you pass through green hills and mountains studded with small cottages? Also, this was the city where the Sound of Music was filmed, a movie that I practically grew up with. So my premature conclusion was perfectly justified, really.
Immediately in my mind, I was humming the lyrics of ‘My Favourite Things’ from the Sound of Music.
Raindrops on roses and whiskers on kitten
Bright copper kettle and warm woollen mitten
Brown paper packages tied up with strings
These are a few of my favourite things…
We were greeted by sunny weather and clear blue sky, a perfect weather for us to go about the city in bikes. We had places reserved for all of us with the Frauhlein Maria Bike Tour, and check out the post card view that I snapped at the start of the tour.
Everything was perfect.
Up until the point when we saw ominous clouds approaching when we were at one of the squares.
Aaand I did it – the 50 km cycle around Singapore. Something I have dreaded and looked forward to at the same time.
Tour de Singapore has been an exhausting journey, both physically and emotionally. While the physical tiredness from having to attend weekly spinning classes in preparation was very much expected, the emotional part came as a surprise. The pressure only came in much later, closer to the race – I was growing nervous and restless, unsure about the road safety and whether I would be fit enough to complete the distance. It was amplified by the fact that one of my friends who was joining the ride with me was no longer joining. It felt like I lost a bit of emotional support. It also did not help that half of the time I was wishing I had decided to forget about this whole cycling thing and join my friend on a 3-day football charity trip to Cambodia from 14th-16th Feb. (The title of this post at one point in time was dangerously close to be “Cambodia: Of Football, Happy Pizza and Fried Tarantulas” had I chosen to go.) But I had too much of a sense of commitment in me to quit halfway as tempting as the Cambodia trip sounded.
And I’m really I happy I went through with it. It was a well-spent 5 hours of my journey and looking back at all the preparation that I had done, it was the only right thing to do, really.
(Although after hearing the exciting stories from Cambodia, I did have a sliight regret, but hey, you can’t have everything).
So read on, if you want to find out more about what happened before, during and some observations that I reflected upon completing.