Location: Las Vegas, USA
How can you leave a city like NYC and still be blown away by the next place?? Well you fly to Las Vegas - city of a zillion neon lights and temptations like free alchol and many, many forms of gambling!!
Las Vegas has been so much fun... We came with the idea of taking down 20 casinos and after 3 rollercaster of emotion filled days we managed to do just that (And we have the chips to proove it)...
The casinos and atmoshphere in Vegas are fantastic ranging from the down right cheap & seedy like "Slots of Fun" to the upmarket "Wynns" we saw them all and played them all!!! Blackjack, Spanish 21, Roulette, Slot machines, Casino War and so many more.
For those who have not yet ventured into the lure that is Las Vegas many of the casinos have themes like the "Venetian" which really is very similar to Venice of Itlay, the "Luxor" with its Egyptian pyramids them, MGM Grand with the lions on show, "New York New York" which honestly looked like New York with the Statue of Liberty & Empire State Building - not to mention a HUGE rollercoaster running through it and one of my favourite - "Paris" which in keeping with the theme had a very french feel to it including the amazing Eiffel Tower which can be seen right down "The Strip".
Everywhere you look there is something to see and something to do for everyone and there are loads of familys here. There are tons of shows, shopping, amusement parks and of course you can ride the "Deuce" which is the bus that runs up and down the strip!
So when you need a break from the seduction of the Vegas tables there is nothing better than playing a round of golf at one of the many courses around Vegas!! We picked a beautiful day to head out to Las Vegas National and play some golf. The hassle of carting our golf shoes halfway around the world was finally worth it!! ha ha got some great hire clubs and really enjoyed the game. We got paired up with a guy called Harry from Dallas and the three of us had a ball out on the course! The houses lining the course were all built in the 50's and had a real funky feel to them!! Great place to play golf.
We have been staying at "Circus Circus" which has been so much fun starting off with breakfast "Blackjack" as we head out each day to get our brains into working order. "Circus Circus" shows circus events eg flying trapeze acts etc everyday and even has its own theme park "The Adventuredome" attached to it including a very large rollercoaster!!!! Its been so amazing to see that no matter what time we leave, come home or whichever casino we walk into they are constantly full of gambling and drinking!! Its been a crazy, crazy week.
Next stage starts in the morning - we have hired a minivan and are heading off for the next 9 days to explore the USA starting with Hoover Damn and the Grand Canyon.
So until next time...
Location: New York City, USA
Start spreading the news.... New York is UNBELIEVABLY FANTASTIC!!!!
Thanks to the unsurpassable hospitality of our friends Ms Kate Alleyn & the lovely Mr James "Pappy" Ambler, no stone was left unturned as Kate and James were full of tips and tricks to make this city even more fabulous than it is just on its own.
We stayed at Kates place in Manhattans largest appartment and were given a daily run down on the places to eat, drink and see. We spent a great day on the Sunday with K&J starting off with breakfast at the diner "Coffee Shop" (extremely cool diner/bar) followed by a lovely stroll through Central Park and seeing many sights from different movies, tv shows etc! Next up was the "Met" where we headed to the rooftop bar for a drink and a great view of NYC! The evening was wrapped up at a great place James recommend which was a Cuban Cafe where we ate the BEST corn on the cob Cuban style!! Ahhh mouth waters just thinking back... Other highlights of NYC included Kate taking us on a NYC pub crawl (despite her being sick she still managed to stay out till the wee hours - what a legend!!) to check out the cool little hip and happening bars from a "locals" perspective! Was a great fun night out which included many drinks, Sloppy Joes and Duck Club for dinner, space invaders finished off with cheese, raw onion and mustard cracker chasers...
We did so many other things in NYC.... Rode the subway continuously, Statue of Liberty, walked over the Brooklyn Bridge, explored just about every precinct of NYC including Tribeca, Soho, East side and the West!! Went to the "Top of the Rock" which is the top of the Rockafeller Centre, saw some softball from afar being played in Central Park, were intrigued by all the squirrels running all over NYC, ate at Lombardi pizza which is a famous pizzeria and of course we will never forget the bagels from Murrays Bagels!!!
Another highlight of NYC was heading to Broadway with Kate & James to see Katie Holmes (Mrs Tom Cruise) in her Broadway debut play "All my Sons" with John Lithgow and Dianne Weist. Katie was spectacular and exceeded any expectations - she amazed all of us and has come a long way from little Joey Potter in Dawsons Creek. Was a great play and thanks to James (NYC Papparatzi contact) we were able to hang by the stage door after the show and try and get the stars autographs!! We managed to get John Lithgow and Patrick Wilson (2 male leads) however little Katie missed us despite our cries of "Katie please can we have a photo" (encouraged by James of course)!!! Was very exciting and just like out of a movie set!! So we got about 2m away from her but then the body guards ushered her into her big celeb car and whisked her away into the night (and probably home to Suri and Tom).
NYC also saw the start of the shopping as you can not come to NYC and not shop!! 5th Avenue was great as was Union Square... I just happened to get a photo taken with the half naked male model who lingers in the doorway at Abercrombie and Fitch!!! Strangely I have an enormous smile on in that photo... That will be one for the fridge girls!!
NYC was 10/10 for both Daniel and I. Thanks Kate and James!!!
Next Stop - Las Vegas.... Momma needs a brand new coat!!
Location: Paris, France
Bonjour!! We we arrived in the early hours via train to Paris which is a beautiful city. The temperature was extremely cold and after travelling in shorts for the majority of the trip the long pants and fleece were needed straight away!
We were only in Paris for a couple of days so launched right into the sights and sounds of the famous city. We were staying 2 blocks from the Eiffel Tower so no better place to start! The Eiffle Tower was brilliant and we went all the way to the top - nearly blown off by the winds and cold weather but the views were amazing. We also walked to the Trocadero, Arc dr Triomphe, Sacre Coer, Champs de Eleese, the Lourve, Notre Dame and also stopped by the Musee de l'Orangerie.
We walked all over Paris and used the Metro constantly - was so easy to get around!
Our friend Donald got us in touch with a friend of his from France who sent us a fantastic list of things to do and see. One of the highlights was waking to the little island of St Louis (island behind Notre Dame) and having an ice cream from the best ice cream maker in Paris called Berthillion!! Ahhh I was in heaven and even Daniel was impressed and he is more a Sorbet man!!
We had some lovely meals in Paris and because it was so cold we had many coffees and "Chocolat Chantilly" (hot chockie with whipped cream on top!!!).
We met some lovely people including a couple from Sydney who were travelling in a campervan around Europe for 7 months! Gave us many ideas for future ventures!!
Next stop.... NYC
Location: Biarritz, France
We arrived in Biarritz, France in the late afternoon and were captured right away with the beauty of Biarritz!!
From our first evening we were mesmerised by the sensational sunsets whilst watching the surfers ride their last waves for the day at Plage de la Cote Des Basques!
We hired surfboards here and got some fun waves - longboarding style!
Not too much more can be said about Biarritz except it is one of our favourite places we have stayed in so far and if you want to surf, play golf, relax, eat great food and just have a good time Biarritz is the place to do it.
Short and sweet.
Location: San Sebastian, Spain
After an interesting overnight train ride from Barcelona to San Sebastian (1st class tickets and a not so 1st class ride!!) we arrived rather exhausted and walked through the city with our packs in search of accomodation. We did not realise but the 56th International Film Festival was on so accomodation was scarce to say the least! But finally found a nice little pension for the next 4 nights.
San Sebastian was a much larger city than we both imagined and tapas bars were aplenty so we were well looked after on the food front. The weather was also much cooler at night and after weeks of hot weather was kind of nice to be able to put on a jumper in the evenings.
We spent our days on the beach in the sun surfing, jogging, reading and relaxing (all a nice preview to the new life in sunny Newcastle on our return) and our nights at the film festival watching subtittled films from Spain, France, Japan, Canada and Mexico! Was a great way to spend our time in San Sebastian - a city we will aim to come back to again in the future. The films were great to see - probably would never had the chance to see them otherwise - some a bit odd & others were just brilliant (even with the subtittles)!
Our Reviews were as follows (a 5 star rating system):
Unspoken = 1 stars *
Cosas Insignificantes = 4 stars ****
Eid Milad Laila (Lailas Birthday) = 3 stars ***
Maman Est Chez Le Coiffeur (Mummas at the hairdressers) = 5 stars *****
Bi Mong (Dream) = 2.5 stars **1/2
We also took the bus over to Bilbao where we saw the Guggenheim Museum. Fantastic building but fairly ordinary displays of artworks inside. The building was a beautiful design and even walking around the outside had so many different things to see.
Next stop Biarritz....
Location: Barcelona, Spain
Ok so what do you get when you put a Scotsman living in London, a French woman living in Barcelona and two Australians together... Excellent ingredients for a bloody fantastic time in Barcelona!!!
Daniels old friend from Scotland, Donald Cameron, flew to Barcelona to come and meet us. Donald then introduced us to his friend Karine who is French and living and working in Barcelona. We had an amazing couple of days in the city that doesn´t seem to sleep (and we got very little also!).
Barcelona is a very cool city with some of the best architecture we have ever seen thanks to the famous Gaudi - the La Spangla Familia is one of the most amazing structures (still not competed after more than 100 years of work), delicious food, friendly people and a beautiful city to look at.
Of course Barcelona was made all the more enjoyable by having Donald with us to share the experience and through Karine we were treated to a fabulous evening out in Barcelona during the Festival of the Madonna.
9pm seemed like a great time to kick off the night so we started off crusing the streets and came accross a mass of people all with fireworks but not just any fireworks.... fireworks on sticks which they would then run at the crowd... Adrenalin was racing and was truly fantastic!! People were everywhere and running around but there was a real atmosphere of excitment and everyone in the streets was having a great time. We loved the mix of excitment and sheer terror and was something I for one have never experienced before especially as Australia is rather stict on all things "fireworks"!!!
Karine then ushered us on and took us to a fabulour place for dinner called "Taller de Tapas" which was SUPERB food. We really enjoyed ourselves here and the food was first class without a doubt. After dinner we headed to the Marina for a drink and then walked through the streets and came accross a big square with a band and soon enough there were people all around us doing the salsa in the streets!! Was brilliant!! We ended up in a club Daniel and Donald had found the night before called "L´Ovella Negra" (The Black Sheep) for a couple of drinks before we finally called it a night. A night that will be remebered for a long time to come...
Something Daniel and I were keen to do whilst in Spain was to go and see a bull fight. Although bull fighting is not looked favourably on by the Barcelona government we decided to go and check it out anyway. So Donald, Daniel and I headed off to the fights and came away with mixed emotions... glad we had experienced it to see what it was all about but fairly sure that would be our last fight.
Barcelona has delivered so much more than we expected and would highly recomend to anyone thinking about coming to Spain. Without a doubt the experience was really made all the more special by having a truly top guy like Donald by our side and the local expertise of such a lovely girl like Karine. Thanks heaps guys!!
Heading off tonight to San Sebastian which we are hoping will give us some good surfing waves... so until we update again...
Location: Positano & Pompeii, Italy
Well we survived the boat trip from the Aeolian Islands up to the Amalfi Coast of Italy... there had been talk of rough seas due to some storms that had been passing through the area so were not overly sure what to expect. We were pleasantly surprised when we boarded our ferry as we had a very comfortable cabin so was like something out of "The Love Boat"!! The boat had a pool and bars and even a resturant on board so we had a great time sampling the ales, enjoying the sunset as we sailed through the islands on the way to Naples. We even passed by Stromboli which was spitting out lava from the volcano so felt like we got an island boat tour!!
We arrived into Naples fairly early so went and boarded another boat and headed off down the Amalfi Coast passing by Sorrento, Positano and then into Amafli. Beautiful to see the coast via the water.
We arrived in Positano and were not dissapointed at all.
Now for several years now one of my loveliest friends, Mirielle, had been telling me how much she adrored Positano so I have to completely agree with her!! It was such a relaxing place to stay for a few days... The views were stunning, the streets just lovely and of course the food was delicious!! (I have been very excited by food on this trip!!). Daniel had been to Positano about 10 years previously and he enjoyed himself thoroughly.
We had an interesting evening one night at dinner where we met a young American couple who had a very unique life living on the worlds biggest boat called "The World". Unbelievable lifestyle - they had been travelling the globe on this boat on and off for the past 3 years staying a few months on and off. You actually buy one of 100 houses on the ship, the boat has 300 staff and sails around to different ports on a continual basis so you can hope on and off then travel yourself and meet up with the boat at a later date... seemed a fantastic way to see the world if not a little out of our league ha ha!! But made for great dinner conversation!!
Was sad to say goodbye to Positano, we had enjoyed the sun, the water and just being in a truly beautiful spot, however we were booked on flights to Spain (yes its all just too hard) so had to make our way back up to Rome with a stop off in Pompeii.
Pompeii was great - amazing place to wander around and imagine how it all must have been. Pompeii was one of my favourite things I studied in the later years at school so was great to actually be there and see it all.
It was a great way to end our time in Italy which we both thought was a brilliant country and would love to come back again one day.
Location: Lipari - Aeolian Islands Italy, Italy
Well got to the Aeolian Islands via ferry and had some beautiful sights along the way as we passed by the different islands. The water was such a deep blue you could spot jelly fish even as the boat flew through the water.
We had full intentions of exploring a few of the other islands however had a small incident where we had worked out that I (Mitch) had been bitten back in Palermo by some insects we think were bed bugs!!! (Yes the backpackers worst nightmare) so combined with spending time in the sun at Marinella gained an unsightly rash from head to toe!! So I was feeling pretty uncomfortable by the time we arrived here and headed off to the Italian Dr!! Was interesting to say the least as actaully saw 2 people (assume they were Drs???) and they had minimal english and I had minimal italian!! But they prescribed me some drugs (mmm not sure what these were) and soon enough was feeling much better. Daniel was lucky and somehow missed out on any bites - must have something to do with his 1/16th Chinese blood!!
But apart from the above we really enjoyed our stay here. There have been inhabitants in Lipari for 6,000 years!! So we really enjoyed the archaeological museum and looking around the town, watching the kids playing soccer in the main square and just chilling out.
We went to the beach one day which was right near the pumice mines and had large rocks/pebbles on the beach front instead of sand however the water was so clear and underwater the ledge dropped right off!!
We also spent a day on a quad bike we hired which was lots of fun... few discussions regarding if we will get a Vespa or a quad bike as our 2nd vehicle in Newcastle when we return!!! Was lots of fun.
We have been staying in a great little bed and breakfast which we had our own little kitchenette so was able to make our own lunches and cook up some beautiful dinners!!! I am suddenly filled with recipee ideas since not having a kitchen for past 7 weeks so was a bit of a novelty.
This afternoon we are heading off on the overnight ferry to Naples to head to the Amalfi coast. Keen for some new sights and as always enjoying every single minute...
Until our next updates... MC & DC