Europe – Day 1

On Thursday the 14th of July I set off for the adventure of a lifetime, travelling around England, Europe and USA solo! For those of you who know me you’ll know this is a big step for me as I’m not one to usually venture out of my comfort zone!

I have been planning to travel to Europe for 4 years but plans fall through and, well life happens. The 24 hour journey here from Australia doesn’t make it easy! Last year I finally decided I was going to make my way over this summer. I was so jealous seeing half my newsfeed filled with posts of so many people having the time of their lives travelling around Europe whilst I was stuck at home. So yes, I’m proud to say I’m now that person constantly uploading photos from my trip abroad to keep my family and friends updated, sorry not sorry! 

I landed in London around 6:30 am on Friday. After waiting for an hour to go through customs, I finally got the coverted stamp in my passport and of course it was on a page that already had a stamp, why do they do that?! I arrived at my hotel an hour and a half later and was able to check into my room early, it’s the little things in life that make you happy! I was determined to tick off as many tourist spots as I could on my short stay in London. First stop, Shake Shack at Covent Garden of course. From there I walked to Trafalgar Square, down The Mall to Buckingham Palace, up Constitution Hill to Hyde Park and then to Harrods in Knightsbridge. Going on very little sleep and trying to adjust to the time zone (Australia is 9 hours ahead of London) I couldn’t walk any further. I stopped for a refreshing green iced tea with mango at Starbucks and people watched from the 2nd floor. My last stop of the day was Sushi Samba, an amazing restaurant 38 floors high, to have cocktails with a friend I met back home. 

What an amazing first day in London! Be on the lookout for daily posts (wifi permitted) over the next 6 weeks. 

 

Shake Shack

 
 

Trafalgar Square

 
 

Buckingham Palace


 

Buckingham Palace Gardens

 
 
 

Hyde Park


 

The Serpentine at Hyde Park

 

 

Harrods


 

Sushi Samba


 

£13 cocktails at Sushi Samba


 

The view from 38 storeys high

       

New York City Murals

There is nothing I love more than wandering through my favorite city, the concrete jungle where dreams are made of! On a recent trip we set out for the day in search of some of New York City’s best murals, from SoHo and Little Italy, to Greenwich Village and Chelsea. You better be quick if you want to photograph these murals because everything can change in a New York minute (see what I did there?)

James Goldcrown’s Bleeding Hearts Love Wall in Nolita at Broome street and Mott street

Gilfnyc’s To Tehran with Love mural in Nolita at Little Cupcake Bakeshop at Prince street and Mott street

Kelsey Montague’s What Lifts You mural (EqulaityLifts) in Nolita at Kenmare and Mott street

Tristan Eaton’s Big City Dreams/Gigi Hadid portrait mural in Nolita at Broome street and Centre Market Place

Tristan Eaton’s Audrey of Mulberry mural in Nolita at Broome street and Mulberry street

Times Square VJ Day Kiss mural in Chelsea on the Highline at 25th Street and 10th Avenue

Blue mosaic red brick 1868 mural in Greenwich Village at Bleecker Street and Perry Street (excuse the construction beams)

Albert Einstein love is the answer mural in Chelsea on The Highline at 15th street and Washington street

What’s your favorite NYC mural? Let me know in the comments below.

CITY GUIDE: TOP 10 THINGS TO DO IN NEW YORK CITY

Whether you’ve never been to New York City or you’ve been 5 times, there is always something to do with each visit bringing a different experience. Here are my top 10 things to do in New York City:

Top of the Rock

  1. Instead of paying $32 USD per person to go to the main deck of the iconic Empire State Building, I recommend going to the Top of the Rock Observation Deck at the Rockefeller Center for $30 USD per person with amazing city views that includes the Empire State Building in the frame of your photos

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  1. Walk, bike ride or relax on a horse drawn carriage through Central Park

  1. Marvel at Times Square

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  1. See a theatre show on Broadway, visit a TKTS ticket booth for up to 50% off Theatre tickets

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  1. Shopping on 5th Avenue and in SoHo

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  1. Admire the stunning architecture at Grand Central Terminal

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  1. Ride the Subway

  1. See a baseball game at Yankee Stadium

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  1. Ice skating in winter

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  1. Catch the Ferry to the landmark Statue of Liberty

 

*Disclaimer: All photos are my own unless stated otherwise

Top of the Rock photo by Jessica Stein of Tuula Vintage

Broadway and Grand Central Terminal Photo by Brooke Saward of World of Wanderlust

 

New Years Eve in New York City!

It’s already New Years Day here in Australia but celebrations around the world are not over yet. This time last year we were in New York City, what better way to ring in the New Year than in New York City!

We left our hotel around 3 pm and walked up to 42nd street, just one street back from where the ball drops. As a lot of surrounding streets were already blocked off, we walked a few blocks up 5th Avenue when it started to snow. That was my first time ever seeing snow and it was magical! We soon discovered most streets were blocked off so we attempted to get a good spot by going up 8th Avenue but no luck. Instead of braving the crowds and continuing to walk further and further away from the center of Times Square, we decided to head back to our hotel and figure it out from there. Later on we walked approximately 33 blocks up 5th Avenue trying to get a vantage point to see the ball drop. Central Park was blocked off as well so we ended up opposite New York Public Library, not before almost getting stuck in a crowd of people across the street. We could see the building where the ball drops but, unfortunately, the view was obstructed. Despite below zero temperatures and not being in the heart of the celebrations in Times Square, we still had a fun night.

Now we have another reason to go back to New York City and celebrate New Years Eve like millions of other people do in Times Square!

After a lot of research and speaking from experience, here’s your ultimate guide for New Years Eve in New York City:
•Watching the Ball Drop in Times Square – get there super early if you want a great view, some people arrive at 11 am and earlier! The Times Square Alliance recommends watching from Broadway between West 43rd and West 50th Streets and on Seventh Avenue up to West 59th Street
•New Years Eve parties – there are plenty of venues hosting parties around Times Square and throughout the rest of the city. Make sure to buy your tickets in advance to secure your spot
•Fireworks in Central Park – watch the fireworks burst into the night sky in Central Park at Naumburg Bandshell
•Dinner cruise – if you want to a low key celebration then a dinner cruise is for you. Be sure to book your tickets in advance

For more information visit www.balldrop.com

No matter where in the world you’re celebrating, I hope it’s amazing.

Happy New Year!

My first time ever seeing snow!

My first time ever seeing snow!

New Years Eve in New York City!

New Years Eve in New York City!

Watching the ball drop from New York Public Library

Watching the ball drop from New York Public Library

All rugged up in below zero temperatures

All rugged up in below zero temperatures

We also had a view of the colourful Empire State Building

We also had a view of the colourful Empire State Building

If you have any recommendations for New Years Eve in New York City, please leave a comment below.

American Adventure – Reminiscing

This time last year my friend Katie and I were jet setting to America, our first stop was New York City for New Years Eve! I spontaneously quit my full time job just 9 days before we departed, with no job secured for my return. I believe everything happens for a reason and this led to me going back to studying and starting my career in travel.

Booking our holiday less than 3 months before we departed meant that time went by so quickly and before we knew it we were on our flight to New York City! We traveled to New York City, Las Vegas, Anaheim, Los Angeles, Cabo San Lucas and Miami.

This was Katie’s first ever overseas holiday and my first time traveling around the U.S. without family. It was an amazing experience for both of us with memories that we’ll cherish forever.

Where to next?

Follow me on Instagram @86thandlex and keep an eye out for more posts from our unforgettable American adventure!

So I have to admit I am guilty of tagging my Instagram photos with the hashtags #throwback and #takemeback, wishing that I could go back to that exact moment I captured and relive it!

I’d love to know where your next vacation is to. Let me know in the comments below.

New Years Day in New York City at the Empire State Building

New Years Day in New York City at the Empire State Building!

Cocktails at the Sugar Factory in Las Vegas

Cocktails at the Sugar Factory in Las Vegas

Disneyland, the happiest place on earth

Disneyland, the happiest place on earth

Watching the sunset on Santa Monica Beach

Watching the sunset on Santa Monica Beach

The sunset on our first night in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

The sunset on our first night in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico

Exploring South Beach, Miami

Exploring South Beach, Miami

Abu Dhabi and Dubai

A month ago I had the opportunity to travel to Abu Dhabi and Dubai as part of my travel course. Me and 8 other students spent two weeks exploring the many tourist attractions Abu Dhabi and Dubai have to offer. We were lucky enough to do things that any other tourists wouldn’t be able to, for example we had private tours of the amazing 3 bedroom Palace Suite at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi and the 2 bedroom Presidential Suite at the Burj Al Arab (the worlds only 7 star hotel) in Dubai!

Dubai is a popular lay over for Australian’s enroute to Europe. In my opinion Abu Dhabi is over looked and under rated. Abu Dhabi is a very cultural city that is home to Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque and Saadiyat Island Cultural District, just to name a couple of must see attractions. Dubai is in a world of its own, from the skyscraper skyline with the world’s tallest buildings to extravagant shopping malls.

I recommend adding a few extra days to your holiday and visiting both cities as they are so different. It only takes 1 and a half hours by bus to travel to and from Abu Dhabi and Dubai, so no excuses.

Here are some of the highlights of our amazing Middle Eastern adventure:

Beautiful chandelier at Etihad Towers

Beautiful chandelier at Etihad Towers in Abu Dhabi


Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi


panorama of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque

panorama of Sheikh Zayed Grand Mosque in Abu Dhabi


Infinity Mirrored Room at Abu Dhabi's Guggenheim pre-opening exhibition 'Seeing Through Light'

Infinity Mirrored Room at Abu Dhabi’s Guggenheim pre-opening exhibition ‘Seeing Through Light’ in Saadiyat Island Cultural District


The 3 Bedroom Palace Suite at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi

The 3 Bedroom Palace Suite at the Emirates Palace in Abu Dhabi


panorama of the Emirates Palace

panorama of the Emirates Palace


I rode the world's fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi

I rode the world’s fastest roller coaster at Ferrari World Abu Dhabi


Boat ride at sunset on our last night in Abu Dhabi

Boat ride at sunset on our last night in Abu Dhabi


Reflections at Al Ain Palace Museum

Reflections at Al Ain Palace Museum


View from the 3 Bedroom Grand Ski Chalet at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates

View from the 3 Bedroom Grand Ski Chalet at Kempinski Hotel Mall of the Emirates in Dubai


The Burj Khalifa from a Big Bus tour of Dubai

The Burj Khalifa from a Big Bus tour of Dubai


Blue Indigo spice at the Grand Souk in Dubai

Blue Indigo spice at the Grand Souk in Dubai


Arabian Adventures tour to Fujairah

Arabian Adventures tour to Fujairah


4WD'ing over the sand dunes on an Arabian Adventures Desert Dune Safari tour

4WD’ing over the sand dunes on an Arabian Adventures Desert Dune Safari tour


Sunset on our amazing Arabian Adventures Desert Dune Safari tour

Sunset on our amazing Arabian Adventures Desert Dune Safari tour


Once in a lifetime experience riding a camel in the middle of the desert

Once in a lifetime experience riding a camel in the middle of the desert


Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the world's only 7 star hotel

Burj Al Arab in Dubai, the world’s only 7 star hotel


The 2 Bedroom Presidential Suite at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai

The 2 Bedroom Presidential Suite at the Burj Al Arab in Dubai


Burj Al Arab in Dubai

Burj Al Arab in Dubai


The view from the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world

The view from the Burj Khalifa, the tallest building in the world

Have you visited Abu Dhabi and Dubai?

 

*Disclaimer: All photos are my own

New York, I love you!

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In honour of half my newsfeed currently travelling around America and Europe, I thought it would be the perfect time to post about my favourite city in the world! I’ve been to New York City 4 times and I love it more and more every time (if that’s even possible!). There is so much to love about one of the most amazing cities in the world; wandering through a winter wonderland in Central Park, walking the High Line in spring, shopping in SoHo and cooling down with frozen yoghurt in the summer heat, and dinner at Fatty Crab in the West Village on chilly fall nights. No matter what the season, there is always so much to do in New York City.

What is your favourite city in the world? Let me know in the comments below.

Top 10 things to do in Melbourne

Last weekend was a whirlwind twenty four hours of experiencing a taste of what Melbourne has to offer. If you only have one to two days in Melbourne, here’s the top 10 things to do:

IMG_4188Eureka Skydeck

For stunning views of the city head to the Southern Hemispheres highest viewing platform, a cool 88 levels above ground. For only $19.50 for adult general admission, you’ll have 300m high panorama views of Melbourne.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 7.52.58 pmBrunch at Centre Place or Degraves Street

The cobbled bluestone alleys of Centre Place and Degraves Street (opposite one another) are perfect for dining at hole-in-the-wall cafés.

IMG_4064Shop til you drop

The heart of Melbourne’s retail is Bourke Street Mall which is bustling with stores such as Myer, David Jones, H&M, Sportsgirl and Zara, just to name a few. The nearby Emporium Melbourne offers a range of international brands and local designers.

IMG_4076Melbourne’s Iconic Laneways

Wander through the graffiti covered laneways. Hosier Lane and Rutledge Lane are located opposite Federation Square.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 8.08.27 pmFlinders Street Station

No trip to Melbourne is complete without an obligatory Flinders Street Station photo. Flinders Street Station is one of Melbourne’s most recognizable landmarks, making it the city’s busiest railway station.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 6.38.10 pmSee a theatre show

The atmosphere on Broadway in New York City is like no other. However, Melbourne has a variety of spectacular mainstream musicals showing at many of their theaters. Disney’s landmark musical event The Lion King is currently touring Australia and will be playing at Melbourne’s historic Regent Theatre early next year.

Screen Shot 2014-08-17 at 7.10.02 pmChapel Street

Chapel Street in South Yarra is one of Melbourne’s shopping and dining precincts. For a shopping experience complete with boutiques, and lunch and cocktails at a trendy cafe, be sure to head out to Chapel Street.

IMG_4136Dinner and cocktails at Nobu

Nobu Melbourne is located at the Crown Entertainment Complex, overlooking the southern banks of the Yarra River. Nobu is one of the most popular Japanese restaurants with many locations around the world. Forget about making a reservation and dine at the bar for a more relaxed vibe. (Pictured: the Champagne Mojito)

IMG_4149N2 Extreme Gelato and Gelato Messina

This liquid nitrogen gelato shop in Fitzroy offers large portion sizes and unique flavours, vegemight gelato anyone? If, like me, you prefer more traditional flavours, Gelato Messina also in Fitzroy, wins hands down! The daily specials cater for all taste buds and keep you coming back again for more. (Pictured: Ferrero Reveal – nutella gelato with crushed hazelnut bites, rice bubble choc top and a syringe filled with warm chocolate ganache)

IMG_4071Brunetti Melbourne City Square

Brunetti is an authentic Roman Pasticceria known for it’s delicious European style sweets and desserts. My personal favourite pastry from Brunetti is the Promese D’Amore.

 

*Disclaimer: All photos are my own unless stated otherwise.

Eureka Skydeck image from Eureka Skydeck website. Regent Theatre image from Marriner Group website. Chapel Street image via Visit Melbourne website.

86th and lex

Hey! I’m Alexandra – a twenty one year old Australian who loves to travel.

For years I’ve had an incurable case of wanderlust, before it was mainstream. I was 10 when I went on my first overseas holiday that I was old enough to remember. Since then I have been obsessed with traveling the world. I am always the first person my friends look to for advice on where to go and what to do. So, I thought what better way to share my travel experiences and recommendations than to start a blog.

86th and lex is the destination for all things travel. The meaning of the name 86th and lex is my birthday, my name and my favourite place in the world, New York City.

Welcome to 86th and lex!