Saturday, November 28, 2009

The Last Walk

My mother has taught me much about traveling.

Rolling my clothes to pack, using Ziploc bags for odds and ends (I think she owns stocks in Ziploc) . . .

Writing down my first impressions of a new place right away because you only have first impressions once.

And taking a last walk.

No matter where in the world I have traveled, I always take a 'last walk' the day before I leave.  A leisurely stroll to take in a place that has meant something to me.  My mum taught me this and told me about her last night in Moscow after living there for two years.  It was a snowy evening and no one was around when she walked through the Red Square for the last time.  Try it next time you go somewhere, it's that walk that will stick with you the most.

I can remember being in the ocean in Thailand at sunset the evening before I left back to Canada.  Or Kyoto by the river under a full moon.  Edinburgh's Royal Mile with a soft rain and the castle all lit up.  London when the lights of Big Ben and the House of Commons turn off just after midnight.  And of course, New York City and the magic it leaves on your memory.

Obviously, I leave NYC often and now that it is my half-home, I probably don't have to do the last walk because I know I will be coming back.  But it's still nice.

Last year I did it around Bryant Park, it was snowing and skaters where twirling under the tree.  The Chrysler Building sparkled as taxi cabs honked along 42nd Street.  Manhattan is so cozy on winter nights leading to Christmas.

On Tuesday, I had an entire 'last day'.

It started at the Met.  Oh the Met, how I love thee.  The late afternoon fall light made the Met glow and the trees in Central Park were still clinging to the last of the golden leaves.  This place always makes me happy.  I got lost in the Watteau exhibit.  Sadly, I don't really know about art.  All I know is how it makes me feel.  I loved this exhibit because it's about theatre and music.  I had the accompanying music (which the Met should do for everything I think because it really takes you to that place) which magically brought the paintings alive.  I stood there for so long, listening to the music and almost seeing the painted flute player dancing a bit with his tune.

Then down to Bloomingdales for a frozen yogurt.  A friend of mine had heard about this magical yogurt at Forty Carrots which is on the seventh floor of Bloomies.  I thought this meant yogurt you eat for breakfast, but nope, it's the frozen variety.  Now that I have told you about it, you will notice girls prancing around Bloomingdales with a massive bowl of this stuff.  That is because it is AMAZING.


I had plain and chocolate with NO toppings!  No toppings! I always have toppings but this frozen yogurt is so good you don't need it.

I also checked out the Bloomies windows - one of the highlights of a New York Christmas.  My favorite were the glittering dancing bears.

Something sweet and magical about them.  Like being lost in a happy, glittering candyland for adults.  That's what the third floor of Bloomingdales feels like anyways, it's full of pretty dresses.

Then down to Grand Central to stroll past the Christmas market and finally over to Rockerfeller for one last glance at the ice rink.  The tree will be lit on December 2nd and the star is on display at our level until the big day.

And that was it.  A perfect afternoon in an almost perfect city.  It's starting to feel as if I am leaving
home.  Which means it must be becoming home.

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