A couple of months ago, I think, my dad asked me how things were progressing with university and I had to laugh; he then said: "Do you still want to go to New York? I'm paying."
Admittedly, when I'd said I wanted to go to New York, it was because I thought it was one of the jumbo jet routes, and I've always dearly wanted to travel in the "bubble" of a 747 - but I wasn't about to turn down a free holiday.
Anyway; we didn't do much straight away, but after I established that delays at uni had caused me to miss the deadline to apply for student finance, we began to bounce ideas back-and-forth about where we might like to go, and what we might like to do over there - first, I pitched a few days in NYC, followed by Amtrak to Washington DC and a flight home from Dulles. He returned with scrapping DC because "there's nothing to do there except see the White House", and instead suggested flying to Boston, staying a few days there, maybe going to see Harvard U, and then using Amtrak to get to NYC for a few days before flying home from JFK.
I agreed, it seemed like a nice idea... but then had a brainwave. I say brainwave; it was a real "what's the worst that could happen?" attempt that I didn't expect him to go for, mostly because it involves spending an entire day
on a train - albeit the most scenic rail route in the US and Canada
, but still, 13 hours! - not to mention the fact it costs more than the other suggestions we'd each floated.
But, to my absolute delight, it turned out he harboured a secret desire to go to one of the places I'd thought of, and I was proved wrong.
So, on September 21st, we leave Manchester for London (I'm choosing not to think about the environmental effects of that - train times don't fit nicely with check-in times, and and navigating across London with luggage in the peak of freshers season will be even more hellish than at any other time...), where we connect to a flight to Toronto, arriving mid-afternoon local time.
(I did just get excited a moment ago, Googling for which routes BA does
fly with a 747, and found that they do in fact sometimes uses 747s
on the London-Toronto route - but our specific flight, and all others the same day, are actually in 777s. I assume they use 747s in the off-season, which we're missing by a few weeks. Oh well!)
The next day is left open, and we'll likely go for a walking tour and hopefully split up in the afternoon to do some exploring on our own, as we've previously found we holiday best that way.
On Wednesday 23rd, we're catching the train to Niagara Falls for a day, taking a boat trip through the Falls themselves, exploring the towns in both countries, and walking over Rainbow Bridge (because how could I not?).
Thursday, we catch the Amtrak Maple Leaf train to NYC, and stay in Manhattan for five days, before flying from JFK back to London on September 29th, and then back to Manchester the morning of the 30th.
I am so ridiculously excited
already. The hostels are booked, the flights and train journeys are paid for, travel authorisations and insurance bought. I'm going to try and hold off writing out a wishlist of all the things I simply must do until at least September, but...