Three Weeks in North America

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Merica

After a six hour flight from Iceland we touched down in New York, New York after almost nine months out of the country. Over the next three weeks we visited friends and family in New York, Ohio, Pennsylvania, and Florida. First up on our Eastern North America Tour was a visit to my good friend Jamie in Brooklyn, NY. Our initial stay in NY was brief since the three of us hopped on a train to Montreal, Canada the day after we landed.

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Colorful fall foliage in the Hudson River Valley and along Lake Champlain on the train ride from NY to Montreal

 

The train ride from New York to Montreal is gorgeous, especially in the fall. We were lucky that the US experienced an Indian Summer and the leaves were just starting to change as we headed towards the Canadian border at the end of November. For a glimpse at our ride check out Dan’s video above.

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Montreal is the largest city in Quebec Province and the second largest city in all of Canada. The city is often referred to the Paris of Canada due in part to the fact that French is the official language. Montreal is actually situated on an island in the middle of the Saint Lawrence River.

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View from the top of Parc du Mont-Royal

On a marvelously sunny day, we walked to the Parc du Mont-Royal. This immense park resides on a hill which offers an incredible view of the city at the top. From the top we could see the Saint Lawrence River, the skyscrapers of downtown, and the old Olympic Stadium.

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Olympic Stadium, built as the main venue for the 1976 Summer Olympics

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Meet Michel! Our Airbnb rental came with this cuddly fellow.

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This is poutine – a Canadian speciality consisting of french fries, gravy, and cheese curds. There are many variations and we sampled a few different kinds.

Since the weather was so nice, we spent most of our three days in Montreal walking the city. One of my favorite spots was the Jean-Talon Market, a large open-air market full of fresh fall veggies, fruits and of course maple flavored treats. Quebec is deliciously famous for its maple syrup and maple inspired candies and butter.

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Jean-Talon Market

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Montreal is renowned for its street art

Our train ride back to New York was underwhelming since in fact it didn’t really happen. Instead we waited six hours at the train station in Montreal for a train that never came. We were instead bussed to Albany where we finally boarded a train to NYC where we arrived in the middle of the night. Not quite what we expected – you got to love Amtrak…

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New York City from the Brooklyn Bridge

Back in New York City I was stoked that Jaime had the day off and played tour guide for us. Having lived almost seven years in NYC we were surprised and excited to hear that Jaime had never walked across the Brooklyn Bridge. So of course this was first on our list! Our walk concluded with pizza and a ride on the carousel.

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Walking the Brooklyn Bridge

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Some of the most delicious pizza at Juliana’s Pizza

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Jaime and I couldn’t resist riding the carousel near the Brooklyn Bridge

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Yes, this happened and yes, it was worth it

 

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The Brooklyn Bridge and East River

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The High Line is a park built on the elevated platform of the now defunct spur of the West Side Line of the New York Central Railroad. Trees, flowers and plants line the 1.5 mile long trail providing a peaceful place to walk in the busy city.

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Scenes from the High Line

 

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Art and foliage along the High Line

From New York we flew to Ohio to visit Dan’s family. Dan’s mom organized a family reunion where Dan got to share pictures and stories from our trip so far. Unfortunately we did not take many photos in Ohio. In fact I only have one, pictured below, of Dan and a shaggy parasol mushroom we found growing under the Ledges by his mom’s house. We ate the cap for lunch on grilled cheese sandwiches…and it was delicious!

 

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Dan proudly displaying the shaggy parasol mushroom we found (and ate) in Ohio.

From Ohio we caught a bus to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania to visit our friends Jim and Molly where we went hiking and mushroom hunting in McConnell’s Mill State Park.

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Hiking in McConnell’s Mill State Park

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Jim with a beautiful reishi mushroom

From Pittsburgh, we flew to Sarasota, Florida, to visit my family before heading to South America. In Florida we broke out the shorts and t-shirts and went on a multitude of bike rides where we encountered gators and tons of birds.

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A curious gator near my dad’s place

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Birds of Southern Florida

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The golf course near my dad’s place had a flock of sand hill cranes. They are huge!

On one of our last days in Sarasota, my dad’s good friend Rick (aka Rico) took us boating around the keys outside of Sarasota. Thanks Rico!

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Gordo and Rico enjoying boat life in Florida

Our flight to Chile was out of Miami. On our way down through the Everglades we stopped at Shark Valley to bike a 15 mile loop. We didn’t encounter any sharks but we encountered  TONS of alligators as they lay by the trail sunning themselves or peering at us from the shallow water. Several gators had babies that would chirp for their mothers as we rode by.

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A vulture on top of a viewing platform at Shark Valley

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Turtles swimming in the shallow waters in Shark Valley

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Gators!

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Baby alligators

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We spent two days exploring Miami by bike, car, and foot with my dear family friend Ted before jetting off to our next adventure. Punta Arenas, Chile and Patagonia here we come!

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