Tuesday, 5 June 2012

Task 1 & 19: J'adore New York!

Task 19: Paris

Paris was definitely one of the tasks I have been most looking forward to and it seems perfect that it has been arranged for Saturday 16th June- the perfect birthday treat! I have always wanted to go back to Paris after I cycled there in 2008. Cycling to Paris was my first major charity event and my poor friend Sophie was roped into coming along with me. It was soon apparent after the first few hours on day 1 that we had not done nearly enough training and we were soon trailing the pack. After having a little cry at the side of a road in Croydon, we picked ourselves back up and continued on our journey. As we woke up on the second day in a very rainy Dieppe we were hit with overwhelming fear that we would never get to Paris. Thinking of all the people we could possibly let down we continued and by the end of day 2- cramp and potential pneumonia set in and we were not looking forward to day 3 at all- which just happened to be my 19th birthday. Fortunately the 3rd day had (some) sunshine and our spirits were lifted, age was on our side as we began to near the front of the pack and finally found some stamina! We reached our peak at the best time with day 4 being a shorter day as we made our way from Vernon to Paris. We woke up early with excitement and once again were lucky enough for sunshine. Our legs were ready to give in and covered in cuts and bruises but the end was now in sight. Cycling the last mile into Paris was magical, our 100 strong group filled Paris streets and everyone cheered as we rang our bells all the way. As soon as we reached the Eiffel tower we threw down our bikes and shared an emotional moment of celebration (and some well deserved Champagne). It was an experience I will never forget and one- at the earlier part in the challenge- I never thought I would achieve. I will always be so appreciative of my friend Sophie for agreeing (she had little choice) to complete this with me and it seems only fitting that we return together exactly 4 years later. I am sure this trip will be slightly different to our last and if anybody has any recommendations of places to visit on our 3 day visit please get in touch! Hopefully we can recreate the picture below...

June 2008- London to Paris cycle ride
Task 1: New York

As you can tell as soon as I made the my list the first task I wrote down was to go to New York. Ever since I went in June 2005 it has been my goal to return. It holds such amazing memories with my brother Oliver- whom this blog is inspired and dedicated to- and is such a beautiful city. Oliver went to New York in May 2005 after falling in love with the city on his previous holidays. He saved up all his money, sold his car and temporarily left his job to live the dream in the big apple. It was a very bold move to do all on his own. I am so so proud of him for what he achieved and when people ask me about Oliver its a story I always tell. He not only experienced the city as local, but he also allowed family and friends to share it with him and had a flurry of lodgers fly in and out throughout his stay. My cousin Charlotte and I were lucky enough to go out after I finished my GCSEs, the picture below is from the Empire State Building..

Myself and my cousin Charlotte

I will be returning to New York with my best friend Emily on the 19th October- what would of been Oliver's 30th Birthday. I cannot say how Oliver would of been celebrating if he was here but I am sure his love for the city that never sleeps would of continued to grow- who knows, I could of been going out there to celebrate with him? I am so excited to go again but I know when I am at the top of the Empire State Building again I will remember the last time I was there with fond memories and think about the amazing journey that has brought me here.

Postcard from Oliver to his Father Shaun June 2005- note the handwriting!
I would really appreciate if you could have a little look at Oliver's website www.oliverhewitt.co.uk you will be able to read all about his New York adventure and see more pictures. Once again, if you have any recommendations for places to visit it will be greatly appreciated. I want to make this a trip I will never forget.

That's another 2 tasks ticked off the list, keep reading over the next 10 days to see me finish the rest.

Thank you for reading,

Grace xx

1 comment:

  1. Do you know where Oliver's passion for New Your came from Grace ??? (according to me anyway !)

    When we went to Florida I didn't have anything to read and someone had left a book in the villa, 'Sleepers' by Lorenzo Carcaterra, I read it and loved it. Then one Friday night ages later when Oliver was staying at mine (for those who don't know, I'm Oliver's dad and he came to stay with me every Friday) I was talking to him about reading and he said he'd never read a novel, so I gave him Sleepers and he loved it. It's set in 'Hells Kitchen' which sparked Oliver's passion for going to New York. Did you know he wrote to Lorenzo Carcaterra, and chatted to him about his trip ? and some of his NY photos are of the bar the novel was set in ?
    You might know all this, or have another story, but I've enjoyed writing it, Shaun, Oliver's dad xxx