von Lena & Rico

Up high! (part 2)

In the evening Rico was frustrated and dying from boredom. I chose the way better option in taking a small nap.

Rico, however, ran to the front desk and asked whether something finally happened and the case was there. Nope – of course not. Rico again on the phone. This time he had another person on the other side. He asked where the case is and mentioned the name of our hotel. BUT the good man probably did not want to talk with him and hung up. He tried his luck again. Meanwhile the part on the other side got really annoyed. The guy was like „where or from whom did you get this number?“. Well – now Rico thought he was in the wrong movie and the guy wanted to kid him. Rico was like „From Singapore Airlines!“ (who else?). The guy searched on his computer and then said „between 22 and 1:30 your luggage will arrive“. Before Rico could say something the guy hung up again. Now Rico was really mad, not because he did not have his bag but because he got hung up x times and none of their promises came true! Typical case for: Rico will write a complaint to Singapore Airlines.

He dashed back to me and let go of all his anger and then we headed out: ready for high up part 2 of our journey! From our Empire State Building ticket we still had the second „ride“ for the same day but at night. We definitely did not want to miss the lights of New York at night 😉  So off to the subway…

… and here the next hassle showed up. Therefore a brief excursion in the Metro of the metropolitan New York:

First of all we took the wrong ticket. Because Rico and I always pay $5.50 per person per ride. In the meantime we found out that it is way cheaper to buy a 7 days pass.

Next up: the information distribution at subway stations in New York is super modest. You can only guess how the system works. Then you freeze to death in the train, because the air con is every time set to arctic mode! Result: what is cold in here is super hot outside! Because the tunnels of the subway are way warmer and stuffy than the air outside. Currently we have about 29-32°C in New York. Since it is much warmer in the subway, you can imagine that we have here at least 35-40°C. Really creepy!

And if you have to wait now, then the air is torturous. Plus, you will need to wait for the subway every time! We intend to never rant about the HVV in Hamburg ever again, well because compared to that New York it is way better. In New York you have:

  • no scoreboard for the current operation status of the subway
  • no timetables
  • no rate information
  • no line plans

But the worst: the delays. You hear nothing about it – the train simply won’t come. And that happened on our way to the Empire State Building. There should be some construction going on … well somewhere dunno where.

Nevertheless, we made it :-) And now we will let the pictures speak.

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When you’re already out at night in New York then you should make it right. So off to famous time square – something like the Kiez of New York. We tried to look for a place to drink cocktails at night. Unfortunately it did not work: at the Hard Rock Café we were formally kicked out, because the bar wanted to close… in an Irish pun the waiter let us down … many other bars: closed. Anyway … have a look at the time square in 3D.

All the places in New York started to close and we were also kinda tired so we decided to go home… So we thought….

We went to the closest subway station. The App said: There’s a train coming. We agreed, there were lots of trains … but all in the wrong direction! Then a construction train passed us, several workers walked along the tracks and then nothing happened. Only more and more people joined to wait for the next train and the heat was getting unbearable. After a perceived eternity: we decided to walk home and lose the money for the tickets.

The walking was a stupid idea – we were close to 1.5h on the road and have arrived dead at the hotel. Now it was already 2:30 AM and in the middle of the night.

But Rico’s bag had arrived :-) So the world turned out to be a bit better despite our  steaming feet.

Up high (part 1)

Tuesday we wanted to give it a try: to go quite high over the rooftops of the „Big Apple“, as the Americans affectionately call their New York. So we decided to „climb up“ the Empire State Building. Thanks to the New York CityPass we were allowed to go up two times  :-) So guess who went up as one of the first people in the morning?

After the airport-like security check Rico needed to leave his harmonicas and entrust them to the officers. We then used the chance to borrow the equipment for a free audio tour. They whispered many interesting things about the Empire State Building in our ears! So much that you cannot remember it all. Some things we still remember are the facts that the building was pulled up in a few months (the people from our Elbphilharmonie should take it as a good example and hurry up with their constructions), there were places to grab some food and restrooms for the workers on 4 floors, the rivets were used red-hot and the whole thing weighs many thousands tons. Oh, yes: and the audio guide always highlighted how admirable the Americans are and what great things they have achieved… Well, now you know the most important facts and we are going up to the 86th floor!

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view to the south (Manhattan Downtown)


view to the west (down)


view to the north ( in direction to Central Park)



the terrace (86th floor)

The moment it turned out to be very crowded we decided to go back on the streets – and there it was: Macy’s! Macy’s is a huge department store with everything you could wish for. (Keep in mind: Rico still did not have his luggage and needed at least some clothes.)

There were special discounts: up to 65% and since we are tourists we received an extra discount for 10 %. In our CityPass we found yet another voucher with 15%. We gave it a try. Our wish is to one day go to the cashier and get money back without paying anything. In the country with unlimited opportunities this should be possible, right? 😉

For lunch we went to one of the many Subway-restaurants in New York. Yummy and favorable compared to food from other restaurants with waitresses. Afterwards we hurried back home to see whether Rico’s bag had arrived – Singapore Airlines told us that the luggage would arrive approximately between 1 and 3 pm at the hotel. We were at the hotel and at some point Rico’s phone rang. A confused voice told him that his bag arrived in New York and gave him a tracking and telephone number.

What now followed was chilling, sleeping, a mixture of frustration, boredom, sleeping, blogging, nibbling sweets… So he grabbed the phone and called the number. After some ranging someone took the call. Rico needed to give out the name of the hotel and address. But then they told him that his luggage would arrive between 7 and 9 pm. Wow… how long shall we wait this time? He hung up and the game stated from anew … boredom, sleeping, nibbling sweets, chilling, frustration …

You can find out how it goes on in part 2 :-)

Sun, Water and… Runners!

Next to the first troubles, there were of course beautiful moments on Monday night too.  We decided to visit Central Park. It is only within a stone’s throw from our hotel – the Park 79 hotel. On the map you will have a small overview.

Karte Park 79

We took the advantage and walked to and around one of the bigger lakes (you can see a part of it on the map in the upper part). It is called: „Jacqueline Kennedy Onassis Reservoir“ and you are not allowed to swim there. Why we do not know, but we guess that it has something to do with the drinking water supply in New York. Nevertheless it is very beautiful perfect for photos.


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Well, we walked around the entire lake and you know we were by no means alone! Half of New York runs and dashes around the lakes and all in the same direction! When we were there they ran counter clockwise. Some were very fast and sportiv, some panting and steaming, some chatting with co-runners, some listening to music and others fully equipped with heart rate monitors, water bottle and all that stuff Pro racers need.

But it’s funny: in the middle of this metropolis there is suddenly a quiet and green place – just like that. We definitely enjoyed it!


You only want to provoke me

Ok, in fact I’m a totally friendly person who won’t hurt somebody. But can’t the other do so as well?

Well, yesterday we arrived successfully in New York. Earlier than expected and fully relaxed by the quite A380. But now: the immigration!

We went to the officer and Lena started. She got her visa weeks ago in the US embassy cause she wanna stay here longer. With that visa it should be really easy to immigrate. The current laws allow to immigrate 30 days before the studies will start. But these laws were totally unknown to the officer and he got worked up over why Lena did not immigrate with ESTA… What an idiot. In my thoughts, I was looking for the telephone number of the travel cancellation insurance. I believed that we should go back right now. But anyways, it worked and Lena and I came though the control and the only thing was to get our luggage and to get to the hotel.

Ha, not a bit of it! No luggage! My luggage was still in Frankfurt with all my personal things… It didn’t start well. That wasn’t happen to me any time before! Well, I went to the some guys who should/could help. But it looked like they were only trainees: They had more questions about the process than I had. I filled such a strange form, got 80$ cash and went without any luggage.

Somehow, we reached our hotel with the public transport. During that time, I used of course my smart phone to search the railway schedule and other useful information. But anytime the killer: A SMS by Vodafone that I have reached my limit of 50€ + tax for mobile data usage abroad…

Eh.. noooo!?! I had set up a special option at Vodafone to avoid such trouble. The known EasyTravel Flat allows to phone, write SMS and to surf abroad and as well in the US. But far from it! Weeks ago, I change my mobile phone contract and the above mentioned option does not work with my new contract. But during the contract formation, it was ensured that the combination of new contract + EasyTravel will be possible. But it isn’t.

I called just afterwards with my cell phone provider Vodafone. The kind support activated a special temporary solution for me. But I’m not satisfied until now and I wrote an angry mail to Vodafone that they should fix the issue. In my opinion, I’m a victim of deception. A well-known remedy to push such problems. Status: open!

While I’m writing here: my luggage did not arrive until now. The only consolation is: with the 80$ we were able to buy the railway ticket, water to drink and strawberries for nibbling. That’s good or isn’t? :-)

New York we are coming

Monday 24th August 2015 3 AM: our alarm clock rang. It was time to get to Hamburg Airport. Thanks to the Morning-Shuttle-Service from my mom, we reached our Terminal at 4:15. Thank you once again for the ride! Unfortunately there was no ground staff yet at Terminal 1. Even the machine for the luggage drop-off did not work and greeted us with the following message „This machine will be available for you again shortly.“ Small tip for everyone: Do not stress yourself! Lufthasa starts their business at 4:30 AM.

The baggage handling was otherwise smooth. Only my backpack was waved out at the security check. The suspects were our ICE candies 😀 We went for a small shopping tour through the Heinemann Duty Free and bought thanks to my membercard and a voucher 2x chocolate and 1x gummy bears for only 1.30 €. And as a thank you we received vouchers for two hot drinks in the Marché.

Our Boarding of flight LH001 to Frankfurt started at 5:30 AM and our A321 took off at 6:00 AM. The culinary higlights of our flight was a granola chocolate bar. The flight time to Frankfurt should only be 45 minutes according to our flight captain and this was actually the case. So we ended upt 30 minutes before the scheduled Arrival in Frankfurt. Accordingly, our gate was still occupied.

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The boarding for our flight SQ26 to New York should start at 7:40. We had no stress and were able to enjoy the long way to our boarding gate. And while we were coming across some gates, one of the latest planes from Airbus suddenly appeared – the A350XWB.

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But now to our A380. There she stood: graceful and large but not easy to photograph.

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We wanted to sit down, but suddenly there was a loudspeaker announcement and some names were called out. That you all know for sure from airports and well one barely listens. So the voice called out: „Mr. Schwarzbach […] Mrs. Stendel […]“. We look at each other: What? We? Have we done something wrong? Are our seats overbooked? So again we took all our belongings and went to the Counter.

All clear! Since we had checked in with Lufthansa, our travel dates were missing in the Singapore Airlines database. Despite the so-called code-sharing, the data exchange between the airlines does seemingly not always run smoothly. Our data has been supplemented and while we wanted to sit again the real boarding began. To our astonishment, it went really, really fast. Before 8:40 o’clock, the staff had locked the doors. I had it particularly „great“ – I got Mr. stinkyas the hottest seat neighbour you could possibly want on a long-haul flight. Luckily the aircon was able to distribute the fragrance of the friendly-looking gentlemen in the remaining space of the cabin. 😀

Short after the A380 took off. You could describe it as simply huge and super quite! Rico had fun observing the wings and the aerodynamic effects. The A380 is just awesome! During the flight we were well treated by the cabin crew. It was literally an eating event. Singapore Airlines has spoiled us with two tasty menus (brunch and dinner), snacks, ice cream and drinks.

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On this flight too, we broke through the space and time continuum. Instead of the planned 11:10 AM, we landed at 10:30 AM in New York! Good performance, but what followed was not so nice…

Let’s rock it!

Hello everybody,

Maybe some of you know how it feels like, when your vacation is approaching and you have loads of things to do in advance and then time for the actual packing is short.

Same happened to us: Our bags were filled by the last minute and here and there you try to finish the remaining work, which needs to be done. Well either way, what you cannot do today will be done after many weeks 😀

This morning we had the opportunity to do something extra sprecial: reserving our seats in the airplanes. Oh, yes, you do not know when we will take off tomorrow. We will fly at 6 AM with Lufthansa from Hamburg to Frankfurt International Airport! And there he or she (I prefer she :-) ) awaits us: Our beloved A380 from Singapore Airlines. That will be an awesome flight!

Back to the seat reservation: Nowadays you book your flights online. The good part: the tickets are often cheaper and it is an extremly comfortable and easygoing way of booking! The disadvantage: the moment something does not work you must use your creativity to find a way out. This morning (24 hours before departure) the seat reservation was unlocked for the customers of the crane company for flight LH001. We pulled out our smartphones and started the reservation process. That worked fairly well for the domestic flight. Now the thrilling part occured: the flight to New York… Here the system told us that the huge A380 is almost fully booked and we would have had to sit three rows apart from each other :-O For us it was completely unacceptable! So I tried to call the colleagues from Lufthansa to ask for a solution. After some time of ringing someone took my call. He stated that he could not do a thing for us and kindly forwarded us to Singapore Airlines. He was nice enough to give us the phone number of Singapore Airlines.

Next up: we tried to call Singapore Airlines. A nice electronical voice informed us that we would be calling out of office hours and highlighted that a following number should only be dialed in case of emergency. Sure this was an emergency – ‚cause we wanna do Selfies in the A380 together and not over 5 seat rows! 😀 So I decided to chance it. With success! Now, we will sit abreast at the window and can enjoy the flight fully relaxed, do Selfies, kiss, sleep, eat, bore, watch films, chill, bore again, look outside, slander about the folks, bore again and with some luck reach our destination.  But about this, we will report tomorrow.

In that way: welcome to our small blog. Stay tuned – it pays!