Arrived at Faversham, UK and after a night in the local we proudly took delivery of our new toy. We're having trouble coming up with a name for her, so would appreciate your suggestions in the comments at the very bottom of the page (while you're there tick the box that says " Notify me of new posts via email."). The winner receives a week for 2 in the 'Athenian Suite' (east wing).
At first I couldn't figure out why Dubai seemed so familiar seeing it was our first visit. One giant shopping palace after the next with each one trying to do it better by having some ridiculous attraction, such as a ski slope in one and an ice-rink in another. Do people really come to the desert for winter sports?.....or is it just a matter of "because we can".
With the heat & canyons of Arizona and Utah behind us we climbed up onto the Colorado Plateau and was instantly amazed at the transformation of landscape and milder temperatures. Debbie had researched a place called “Hanging Lakes” which was described as the most popular hike in all of the national parks in the USA. What she didn’t tell me was that it was a 2.5 miles round trip over a 1000 feet of elevation, basically as steep as you can get without needing climbing gear….and over very rocky & rough terrain. However, as you can see it was worth it, even though neither of us could move the next morning. The AirBnB we got in Aspen was about 3 mile out of town and looked out over a serene lake. Aspen itself was very upmarket and was the first Main Street I’ve ever seen where the dress shops were outnumbered by Art Galleries. There is a lovely park sanctuary in Aspen that serves as a tribute to John Denver. As you stroll through the gardens the rocks have the lyrics to his songs engraved in them…..I think the fire department may still be a […]
Having left Las Vegas in Nevada we kept criss-crossing the Utah-Arizona border for the next 10 days visiting various national parks along the way. Inside the parks naturally there is beauty to be found but outside the terrain ranges from bland to surreal, come to think of it that description fits the towns as well. First up was Zion National Park followed by Lake Powell & Glen Canyon Highlights here were Horseshoe Bend and a cruise on the Lake & Antelope Canyon where the waterway was so narrow I didn’t think the boat would be able to turn around. As well as the waterways above, Antelope Canyon has what is called ‘slot canyons’ which are crevices in the ground that you descend into. The first image is of our Navajo guide taking the image you see at the top of the article. In the 2nd image she is throwing sand to make the suns rays stand out as in the next shot. Later in the canyon we came upon another sunbeam and Deb excitedly bent down to grab some sand, but before I could say she […]
It was late morning by the time we climbed in to our rental car at Las Vegas airport. Check-in at the Monte Carlo wasn’t until 4:00pm which meant only one thing…..OUTLET CENTRE! Deb somehow managed to purchase about 300 items in 4 hours and surprisingly, none of them were shoes, while I walked away with 2 tops. In this “Disneyland for adults” it is easy to forget about the outside world and immerse yourself in everything that is on offer. Even without the gambling and nightclubs there is so much to see and do that you constantly feel like a kid in a lolly shop. You don’t need to go to a show (‘tho we certainly did that), you can be constantly entertained just walking around the streets or many arcades linking the major hotels. Yes I know it is all fake but how can you pass by the ‘Chrysler Building’, ‘Eiffel Tower’ & the ‘Pyramids’ in just a few blocks and not be mesmerised. How can they be fake when they are real functioning buildings that anyone can stay, dine or just walk around in? Add to this the crowds, buskers, hustlers, heat & neon and you have an […]
Originally we were only coming to Dallas because Qantas made us go that way to Las Vegas from Philly. So we thought well if we’re going through anyway let’s make it 3 days as there’s probably lots to do…….we were wrong. Arriving Saturday we were couchsurfing once again and our host Phyllis kindly picked us up from the airport and her husband, Tim, cooked dinner for us that night. Next day being Sunday there was hardly anything open and when we caught the bus into town we were the only 2 passengers for 30 minutes. Mr. Google had already told me about Fair Park which was the original site of the 1936 World Fair. Today it is the largest collection of Art Deco buildings on one site in the world and is still used for exhibitions, etc. Additionally there is a theme park at the rear. The spooky thing was the park and all the rides were open and all the staff were there, just no public! As Deb & I walked around the site we only managed to see 3 elderly Japanese tourists going into the amusement park section, we had this massive site to ourselves. […]
Toronto decided to be no kinder with the weather but then this visit was less about sight-seeing and more about Debbie meeting her Canadian cousins. We did get a little sunshine the day we visited Kensington markets which very much reminded me of Paddington in Sydney when the hippies still lived there before it became trendy. Full of 2nd hand clothes stores and organic food outlets, it was very colourful. Another great site for tourists is the old distillery district which is a very large old brewery that has been converted to shops & restaurants. Later on we caught a show at Second City, the famous improv club, which had us both wetting ourselves in more ways than one. The cousins were all very warm & hospitable and it was good to see Deb surrounded by her kin for a change as she is usually surrounded by my large family and I think she liked the role reversal while we were there. Arlene & Mike had us for dinner on the first night and Arlene was also able to spend some time with us later in the week and show us […]
We arrived in Montreal at the same time as the Formula 1 Grand Prix and the cold, wet weather. The F1 street parties & displays were trying to brighten up the city but for us it was too miserable so we did a $5 tour of Notre Dame Basilica (above). Our Montreal CS hosts Harold & Ansy kindly showed us around Mount Royale and the St Josephs Cathedral there. In this small chapel you can see displayed the many crutches left by the believers who were ‘cured’ after their visit. If it were me I’d keep the crutch & ask for next weeks lotto numbers. I couldn’t shoot the main chapel as there was a mass in progress at the time of our visit, but try to imagine bigger statues and many, many, many more crutches. Visiting Atwater markets was a mouth-watering experience and although I wanted to buy a pastry for later, Deb assured me that I would be happier & fitter if I resisted. It was later that afternoon during our visit to the Olympic site that I realised that not all rules apply to everyone equally. […]
Took awhile to get used to driving on the wrong side of the road but we eventually made it to the New England coast and our first stop in a quaint seaside village called Mystic, evidently the scene of a long forgotten (by everyone except the Pizza Shop) Julia Roberts movie. They had the weirdest looking draw-bridge I’ve ever seen with an interesting implementation of counter-weights. Next it was the infamous Newport (Americas Cup) but as we just stopped long enough for an ice-cream we didn’t see much: Finally arriving at Cape Cod we were guests of Robert & Penny who are on-line friends of mine from a photography site. They made us most welcome and Robert was very generous with his time and showed us around the cape, including a trip to Provincetown. I found the local architecture fascinating Further north we stopped in Salem, famous for the witch trials, and did a small tour during which Deb was able to get her broom serviced. Again, very distinctive local architecture. A little further north we stopped for lunch at the beach. This is the poorer end of the Hamptons. Finally […]
Our nephew & his beautiful wife, Marcus & Ilyse, greeted us at the train station and after settling in our bags at their place took us for a drive to South Street, Philadelphia. One of the first things you notice driving around are the incredible murals that adorn every conceivable space in the city. Honestly, I could do a post just on the murals but this is just one that took my eye. Now prior to us arriving in Philly (just like a local, heh) I had heard from a number of different sources that the local gastronomic delight called ‘cheesesteaks’ is a must for any visitor. Marcus promptly told me that all the cheesesteak hype centres around two warring establishments named Pat & Genos across from each other and it is the tourist ‘thing’ to buy half a cheesesteak from each vendor and decide which camp they reside in. For those in the know the locals actually go to a 3rd guy called Tony Lukes which Marcus promised to do later in the week but for now he wanted to take me to a Sports Bar called ‘Chickies & Pete’. Now before I proceed in order to prove I […]