Location: Anaheim lA, USA
On Tuesday we took a great bus tour of Hollywood, downtown LA, Sunset Strip and Beverly Hills. The Walk of Fame was not what I expected. In fact Hollywood itself is very old looking and a bit dowdy. We stopped at the Farmers Market for lunch at Johnny Rockets and Phil bought some Nike flip-flops in Rodeo Drive where the rich and famous shop! After a stop at Venice Beach on the Pacific we headed home. The 8 lane highways a a sight to behold, 4 and 5 tiers high you get a magnificent but scary view of LA. 13 mil people live in LA.
Today we were heading down to Mexico but 2 people told us we should not go...the taxi driver on the way to the train and then a stranger in San Diego..so we thought better of it and either shopped or toured SD. I was surprised to note that 84% of SD water is imported as they live in a desert. 3 mil people live there. The bridge was amazing. We traveled over it during our city sights tour. It is almost 300 ft high and was built so navy ships could fit under it. The Spanish influence is very noticable and the buildings in the Old Town were beautiful. California is vast and very different in each city. The AMTRAK service was very good...on time and very good. Day of shopping at Outlets at Orange tomorrow. See how much we can spend!!!
Location: Anaheim Los Angeles , USA
I can't believe it is a week since we left New York. On our lt day in NY we spent the day in the rain getting the last bit of shopping in with Jess. Our flight to Washington DC was on time arriving at the Holiday Inn. We had all been battling a bad chesty cough and cold, but Hannah and Dylan came down with it seriously in DC. Poor Dylan did not get out of the hotel at all. Phil and I and Hannah did manage to see the White House and walk around. The weather was nice and we fitted what we could into the 2 days we had. We celebrated Phils 56th birthday at a nice Indian place, although we didn't make it a big night as the kaufs were all coughing!!! A very neat and tidy city with wide roads and an unrushed feeling. We arrived in Anaheim on Saturday to sun and a lovely RCI resort...Dolphins Cove. We have eaten mostly everything that comes with fries. Monday we went to a great theme park, Knotts Berry Farm, the first theme park in LA. It was great. Kids loved the rides, Jeanette scared herself to death on the high swings and Phil got dizzy on the upside down roller coaster....I went on the horse and cart, the train and eventually was brave enough to go on a horse on the carousel by myself! We filled the day there and had lots of fun.
Location: Washington DC, USA
Arrived by train to Washington DC at 2 pm. Weather hot and sunny , about 29C. Will take a little while to get used to the heat. Staying at the Holiday Inn white House which is very nice and central. We all have a cough now!!! Our last day in NY was spent with Jess which was great but the weather was very bad...t all day but e still managed some shopping in china town and soho and pizza. We fought the subway with jess's help and used it today to get to Penn Station. someone must tell NY about installing escalators as it was pretty hard with all the bass up and down the stairs!! We will be exploring Washington tomorrow.
Location: New York, USA
Another warm but drizzly day in the Big Apple...what a busy and interesting place. We are the kings and queens of hop on hop off day trippers. The only way to go to see most things in a short time. We cruised the Hudson River on mothers day, saw the Statue of Liberty, Time Square and a night tour over the Brooklyn Bridge.
8.4 mil people live in NY city, 1.6 in Manhattan but up to 6 mil on any working day as people travel in to work here. Central park by rickshaw for Hannah and I as I have this horrible cold, but very interesting tour. Phil, Dylan and Sophie hired bikes and did it the hard way! Saw Strawberry Fields...John lennon's memorial and the house where he was gunned down. President Obama is here today...not to see us... But for a fundraising event. Politics here is very interesting!!! NY is quite expensive and finding something not fried is a challenge. We meet our niece, Jessica tonight for dinner before she heads home on her summer break from ST Francis college where she has a scholarship.The Salisbury Hotel is very close to everything...and once you get used to the grid ( the way the streets and avenues run)you really can't get lost. You need a couple of weeks to truly do NY justice and a 6 week boot camp to follow. We have seen a movie set in the street and Sesame Street filming in Central Park. Lots of horn blowing, erratic driving and hundreds of police cars. Just like an episode of CSI.
Location: New York, USA
Arrived safe and sound in New York in fact 20 mins early at 11.05am. Hotel Salisbury is vey central although I feel like I am in the street... A bit noisy!! But you can feel the atmosphere. Had lunch at the Brooklyn diner..large hotdog for Dylan and big bill for Phil!!
Us girls are a bit tired with the 5 hour time difference but the boys are exploring the town this evening. It is hot here especially compared to 9 degrees, rain and fog we have had in Dublin. It w fining up today there as we left. Hope to do a bus tour, Hudson river cruise tomorrow... Meet up with Jess and her mum, Epi on Monday.
This city has a great warm feel including the weather...28 tomorrow. There is much to see in 3 days.have a nasty cough and cold but nearly everyone has had it now... Must be my turn. Onto the very powerful cough mixture here..don't recognize any ingredients and they don't sell panadol in the US.
I can feel a big diet coming on for Phil and I ..lots of fried anything you can think of here.
Location: Dublin, Ireland
Can't believe we have had 3 nights in Dublin already! We did our usual hop on hop off bus tour of the city of Bath on Sunday 6th. It was so good I did it twice! We all visited the Roman Baths before going our own way. The kaufs went to Sally Lunns medieval kitchen, Bath Abbey and the bus tour again. Dinner at a little Paris restaurant. We just couldn't wait to 9 pm to get into Jamie Olivers. The drive to Heathrow was wet but we managed Stonehenge and Highclere Castle where Downton Abbey was filmed and got the second series ready to watch when I have a minute spare. Gloria helped to get us to Heathrow but after 3 times around the same roundabout (and a near divorce) we finally made it to the Holiday Inn. A great pub meal was had just up the road and entertainment as we watched a group of young Korean girls drink more Guiness than you could poke a stick at!
We arrived on time to Dublin on Tuesday and Phil, Dylan and Gloria found the stay-Dublin apartments first time! Good little spot close to everything especially the oldest pub in Ireland The Brazen Head established in 1198. We love pub eating and drinking you can see. We met Mick at the bar and a wonderful Irish band playing and singing at the Brazen Head oldest pub in Ireland, until we had to take the kids home at 10.30. Great Irish stew and beef and Guiness pie! Oh and Guiness! We enjoyed the next night at the Arlington Hotel for their famous dinner and Irish singing and dancing night. Sophie was thrilled when they asked if there were any badgers there...her surname is Badger!! Then they sang a song about Van Diemans land...thought it was made just for us.
Yesterday was another hop on and hop off bus tour. This time in Dublin, though.Cold and a little wet (what's new!!!!) we visited ST Patrick's cathedral ( boring as bat ....) but then we have seen the best already.
A wonderful day in Waterford today. Interesting tour and Phil loved the museum (wasn't keen to see the crystal). Jeanette not well today so the Herman family didn't come with us. Hannah and I are shopping tomorrow after I do the last chutes with Phil and Dylan early. I have had enough driving for a while..I have driven 3 miles so far. The it is an early 4am start to get to airport for 9am flight to New York.
Location: Bath, England
Arrived in Bath about 4pm today after stopping in Coventry for a light lunch. What a magnificent town Bath is. Almost Istanbul, Paris, Rome , Venice and midlands in one place. We are staying at the Hilton in a lovely room. We had drinks at the Bell hotel - a wonderful little English pub. After a pint of pear cider I had enough... Then we wondered onto the Coeur de Lion the smallest pub in somewhere and had a nice meal. Cold but not wet...yet!! We are doing a quick city bus tour first and then walk to see the sights. Until tomorrow....
Location: Oakham, UK
Today we head for Bath. It is fining up here but due to be sleeting and cold in Bath at 9 degrees!
We have visited some wonderful stately homes - Burghley House and Grimsthorpe Castle where Henry the 8th and others have visited. So much history. We went to Corby yesterday - an industrial town but with a modern shopping centre. A big change from the many small old villages we have seen. Whitwell showed that Rutland Water would be wonderful in summer.
We will miss the quaint villages...we do wonder though, what do people do there for entertainment? Certainly owing a dog is a must!!!
Our apartment has been fab. For all photos see Phils Facebook page as I can't download from the iPad to this blog. Helena's gps has been great except when there is a new road or roundabout. I have promised not to help with directions today as the air in the car can get quite frosty! And it is going to be cold enough outside today. Anyway off to Bath now!
Location: Oakham, Rutland, England
It has been cold, foggy wet and windy since arriving in UK but the villages around Oakham are very pretty and full of history. Sunday we relaxed as it was too wet to do much. Monday 30th I went with Jeanette, Chris and Sophie to Oakham for the day while the rest went to Nottingham. We ate in our lodge. Yesterday was a BIG day out driving around villages. We toured through Whitwell, Empingham, to a fantastic village Stamford where we had a late morning tea at The George Hotel dated back to 947 AD.It was a regular stop for royalty of the 17th and 18th centuries. Late lunch was in Oundle at a quaint pub and then we toured to Fotheringhay where Mary Queen of Scots was beheaded. We visited many beautiful old building including the Norman church of Saint Mary and All Saints built around 16th century. Full of interesting people, places and history you really need 3weeks to explore it fully.
Phil and Dylan have left for Peterborough and Hannah and I are off to Oakham to explore more of the museum and village today and then to have our hair cut and a facial! Meeting up with the others for dinner.
Location: Oakham, UK
Left London today by train to Peterborough and onto Rutland by hire car staying at Barnsdale Hall hotel and country club. It is wonderful. Pools spas and large unit. Phil and I have a night alone in the hotel while the kids stay with Jeanette and Chris and Sophie at the apartment. A chance to relax, have a massage and look around oakham Nottingham Leeds and York. It is cold wet and windy so fingers crossed it improves. Need an op shop for a woolly jumper.
Location: London , England
We arrived on time on time with all bags arriving with us. Lufthansa was wonderful finding our lost bag in Paris and again sorting Sophie's boarding pass to London. The Travelodge in kings cross is a great location and close to great food and drinks. We went to madam tussaud's which was fab. The 4 D superheroes movie and black cab ride through England's history added to the fun. We toured London on the double-decker big tour and a trip up the Thames ! Yes and all in one day. Off to Rutland tomorrow or a week in Oakham. I hope a chance to relax...we are exhausted and think that the Eiffel tower was lovely in venice... More as we travel the uk...
Location: Paris, France
Wet cold and windy in Paris . Have been here for 4 nights. 2 broken brollies but have been to the top if the Eiffel tower. Museums, art and shopping!!! Off to London to see.... Tomorrow. Hope all bags come with us this time.
Location: Venice, Italy
Arrived yesterday afternoon to rain in Venice . Staying at Monestary stays and enjoying the atmosphere. Had a fabulous time in S Marco piazza and the grand canal and jumping the queues ! Love Venice had a fee gondola ride. Off to Paris tomorrow.....
Location: Rome, Italy
We have been very busy in Rome seeing more of the city today including the Vatican. Yesterday was a very wet but interesting day at Pompeii with Pete and Loreen although train travel is not as easy as you think when you get off at the wrong stop and no one speaks english. We took the fast train to Naples at 300kms at one stage!
Florence was a full day on Tuesday but still wet. We visited the museum of s.Maria of fiore and phil Hannah Dylan and Loreen climbed the 414 steps to the to the top of the bell tower while Pete and I enjoyed a coffee.
Sunday we saw more of Rome with the highlights being the Trevi fountain and Spanish Steps where we had a lovely lunch and Hannah Dylan Sophie and Jeanette had wonderful portraits done. The capuccin monks cript was fascinating with lots of uses for dead men's bones! Tea at Domus Australia where we chatted to Sr. Sue on her way back to Australia.
Pete and Loreen left today for hong kong
Location: Roma, Italy
We arrived in Rome on friday night on time. Transfers there waiting and accommodation great. Yesterday we went to Colesseum and found our way about booking fast trains to Florence tomorrow and Pompeii Tuesday . We are exploring Roma today meeting Pete and Loreen at termini. Trams and trains are great here and we are situated just in the first suburb out of city. Easy to get around.
Location: Istanbul , Europe
Some are off to to Topkapi palace and I am off for the turkish bath at last! Then leaving this beautiful city will be hard. Pat flies to Melbourne today Pete Loreen and the rest of us go to Rome
Location: Istanbul, Europe
Phil Dylan and co are off to Gallipoli. We are just listening to prayers at 5.25 am. Hannah, Sophie and Jeannette, Chris and I are doing a Bospherus river cruise this afternoon. We have seen Aya Sofya, the Blue Mosque, the Grand Bazaar. Istanbul is a magnificent place so much more so than we expected. I am hoping to have a Turkish bath today Pete had one yesterday and was very impressed.
The river cruise was wonderful. Some Istanbul facts:
2600 yrs old
Only city to be on two continents -Asia and Europe
Most expensive house on Asian side 100,000000 us dollars!
Ran out ot time for the Turkish bath that will be tomorrow before we head to Rome
Location: Istanbul, Europe
We have arrived in Istanbul feeling a little tired after a 12 hour flight. Our accommodation is fabulous Sultan House.When we arrived someone who looked like Loreen came down the stairs to meet us and it WAS Loreen!! The lift door opened and out popped Pete Well this was too much for all of us in fact we thought we were hallucinating ! Phil said all that was left was for Pat to appear and laughed! Well guess what? Yes, you are right Pat was here too . Now all three brothers, Dylan and Loreen head off together to Gallipoli tomorrow. what a surprise!!
We were out and about to get some Turkish delight when Jeanette got a close up of the cobblestones but that is her story to tell!
We were lucky enough to sit in the Blue mosque for prayers.
We have been in Singapore since early yesterday morning - 6am in fact!
Some amazing new buildings and lots of shopping places. We all enjoyed a great time at the Night Safari at the zoo. Off to some more shops, Clarkes Quay and Raffles for high tea and a Singapore Sling. Well almost! Hannah didn't see much of Raffles except for s close up of the garden but that is her story to tell.
Then another midnight flight - arriving in Istanbul at 6.30am. We are all very tired but once the night flight is over we will be fine. It's hot and humid but wonderful in Singapore!
Just 20 hours before the "big trip" and we are packing all into 4 carry-ons and 1 medium sized suitcase between the 4 of us!
Our first destination will be Singapore - arriving there about 6am 8th April 2012.
Getting excited - only 6 days and 16 hours to go. Packing starts in earnest tomorrow!