Tag Archive: shopping


Short Staycation Day 2

I got up bright an early on Saturday morning to head to Banff. I didn’t quite want to get out of that comfy bed and robe though…

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I headed down to breakfast in the hotel at the Rimrock dining room. It’s such a fabulous looking room. There are photos and artifacts all over the place to look at and how about this fireplace? DSC01701

I opted for the buffet as I can never turn down a buffet but I have to say – this one was a bit disappointing. It wasn’t bad but it was great. The staff though were great and it was a nice easy start to the morning.
I took just a few snaps of the hotel lobby as I waited for the valet to bring the car around.  I again just have to say the staff there is really excellent and so nice. I really enjoyed my stay.

And it was off to Banff! I’m lucky that I’m an early riser on the weekends so I was on the road just after 7am.

I haven’t been to Banff in 12 years so I was quite excited to go. I had also never driven myself there, so an adventure though the mountains was also something interesting.
Anyway, the drive itself is great. It’s so much fun to see the mountains get bigger and bigger the closer you get. And before I knew it, I had arrived at the Park gates. It’s still a bit of a drive until you’re in Banff proper but just being in the Park is great. I got to town and did a couple loops, it was fairly quiet being so early still. It still looked mostly like a remembered it. It has mountain village charm with a bit of commercialisation. Anyway, I decided my first stop would be the famous Bow Falls.

It was perfect, it was early and quiet and still a little crisp in the air. Part of my wishes I had just sat there all day. It ended up being 29 degrees so – a towel and picnic would have made for a lovely day. But as I said, 12 whole years means you have a lot to check out!

I made a quick trip over to the Fairmont Banff Springs hotel. I had been invited to an event at the hotel and I had never been before so I was looking forward to checking out ‘the castle’. Quick shoutout to Poppy Barely for inviting me to their special event at the hotel, I mean shoes and Veuve Clicquot – two of my favouite things in one of the most beautiful settings!
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After that and a snoop through the hotel, which includes the loveliest ballroom I hope to have my wedding in one day… if I ever meet a man that will marry me… I was off on the next stop. A different view of the Banff Springs. DSC03233

Another ‘must do’ in Banff is a stop at Surprise Corner. The trail that starts from Bow Falls does go all the way up there but I hadn’t considered hiking – so I never actually packed proper shoes – so I drove up there. It’s a fantastic place to stop and take some photos.

Once I was done there, I was able to check in early to my hotel. I stayed at the Rundlestone Lodge – Pallisar hotel it’s not. It’s certainly a no frills kind of hotel but it was clean, there is a pool and a restaurant and free underground parking. I quickly changed and decided to do a walk down the main street in Banff. This is all we did the last time I was there. There are so many little shops to go in – most of the souvenir stores sell the same tack but there are also some fun pieces to find, like jewelry or art. If you go and want to check out some great art, I suggest the The Banff Gallery featuring the art of Jason Leo Bantle. It was so hard to not spend all my money on all the photos in there! I do plan to order a couple to hang on my wall at home. I wandered in and out of the shops and stopped for some lunch. It was so nice and warm and everyone seemed to be enjoying – the line up outside the ice cream shop was quite long.

After my walk I had sorta done everything I had planned on doing, which sucked in a way. I ended up getting my swim suit and heading up the mountain to the Banff Upper Hot Springs. Nothing like sitting in a 40 degree pool when it’s already 29 degrees outside.
It’s a bit smaller than some of the other hot springs but it was alright – though, like I said, not really a hot day activity. I only stayed for about a half hour or so.

There are no shortages of place to pick to eat in Banff but I couldn’t decide where to do. The biggest issue I had was my hotel was way at the end of the road and I didn’t feel like walking all that was, plus I was alone and while I believe Banff is quite safe, I don’t always feel comfortable walking alone in a place I’m unfamiliar with. I ended up at The Keg which was in a couple hotels down. The only thing that ruined my dinner was this – what I assume was mother and daughter – who were also sitting on the patio, talking as loudly as the could at each other. I can tell you pretty much everything about their lives, including the fact they had a whole jug of Sangria, which they pronounced sangree-AAAH. Two men joined them, who spoke at normal levels. The ladies ordered another jug and continued to tell all of us all about their lives.
That was pretty much the end of the night for me. I walked back to my hotel and sat on my great big king sized bed and watched TV. I mean, vacation is about catching up on rest and being a bit lazy sometimes too, right? I also wanted to go to bed early, knowing it would be a long drive to Jasper in the morning.

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Short staycation

I booked myself a long weekend to head to Calgary, Banff and Jasper.

I was supposed to be in Calgary for an event but the devastating wildfires in Fort McMurray, the event was cancelled.
I still had hotels booked and desperately needed a couple nights with a change of scenery.

I left for Calgary early Friday morning. I used to live there so, while I enjoy going back to the city and see things (and how things have changed) – it’s not overly exciting, like if you were going somewhere new.

While some might call it blasphemy for a born and raised Edmontonian to say ‘I like Calgary’, I’ll say it anyways. Their sport teams on the other hand, well…
Basically if you haven’t been there, go. It really is quite a lovely city. There is lots to do. The most famous event is obviously the Calgary Stampede but if you don’t care to visit in July or just want other things to do, some of the many things I’d check out include the Glenbow Museum, the Military Museums, Stephan AvenueCalgary Tower, and Canada Olympic Park (Calgary hosted the 1988 games). Or do as I did and take a road trip to the mountains…

It was a pretty quiet day in town for me. I headed to Chinook Mall for some shopping and a quick coffee with any old friend. But that meant I accidently found myself on Glenmore Trail at the start of rush hour. The one thing I never got use to – was driving in Calgary. Doing 100 km/h and then come to a sudden stop for no apparent reason. Anyway, I met a friend for dinner at the Blue Star Diner. I totally forgot to take a photo of what we had – I had the burger, Lacey had wings. They were really good. It’s a cute little spot, pretty unassuming but if you’re in town and want a quiet, small place for some food, put this on your list.

After dinner I finally had time to head downtown and check-in to my hotel.
I was fortunate enough to stay at the Fairmont Pallisar.
For those who may not know, there are a number of Fairmonts across Canada (and a around the world!). Many here have ties to the rail line. They’re all very swish. I’ve been to the Chateau Frontenac (great patio), and the Fairmont Hotel MacDonald is one of my favourite spots for cocktails, they also do a crackin’ high tea. I’ve been to the Pallisar twice before but never have stayed there. It met all my expectations, it was such a great stay.

The valet helped me unload my trunk before taking my car to their secure parking. Check-in was super quick and easy. I really did think as just some single person only staying one night I’d be stuck in some dumpy room in the far back corner. Turns out I was wrong.
On the 11th floor, with this as my view.

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Not bad! Once I was in my room and my bags arrived, I wished I had checked-in sooner. Heck I wish I has just skipped shopping and dinner and came to the hotel. The bed was one of the top 3 comfiest beds I’ve ever slept in. The bedding was just awesome and I was oh so tired. Plus it didn’t have any cat hair on it, which is a hazard in my house. I am also disappointed I never made it down to the pool. I packed the bathing suit with every intention but I didn’t make it, looked lovely though.

I did head out for a bit, down over to National On 8th for a couple drinks with a friend. It’s a pretty cool place, with a fantastic rooftop patio. It’s quite trendy and loud so if that’s not your scene, there are plenty of other places to go in the area. But I think it was great! The drinks were decently priced as well… we didn’t eat anything but the food looked good going by.

After a couple drinks I went back to the hotel – very excited to sleep in that cozy bed!
Maybe I’m just so used to staying in hotel in other countries but I liked that there were big fluffy facecloths in the bathroom along with the towels. The bath products were nice too – I just used the soap but took the mini lotion with me because my hands were so dry.

I said goodnight to the tower and it was lights out. DSC01698

Cuba Day 3

So after dinner last night we sat around in the court yard for a bit. It’s quite boring just sitting around to be honest. There was some music but nothing too exciting.

I came back to the room and watched an old episode of ER and went to bed. I had a bit of tummy trouble, nothing too serious but it’s never fun. Luckily it went away after a while and I was able to get some sleep. Still found it noisy though. It not just people in the room next door, it’s creaks and cracks and the fridge, the wooden doors that need to be slammed shut ect.

Today I woke up and it was bight and sunny and exciting.

After a less and ideal breakfast (I still can’t get behind the food here) we set off for Varadaro. We went to the flea market and a couple malls. It wasn’t really worth it. It was cool being driven around in the old Chevy but it was just a bunch of crap (and I do mean that in a nice way, maybe I should say tack? Some people put a lot of time and effort in to some of those goods so I’m not discounting that – but how many fridge magents and t-shirts does one need?) and women asking if I want my hair braided. I did buy a necklace for my mom (might keep it hah)

So I still need something for my dad, brother and maybe some friends. I plan on doing my Christmas shopping here. I just realized too that I didn’t take any pictures in town and now I’m a bit disappointed 😦

We came back and had lunch and then I headed to the beach. It had clouded over a bit but wasn’t bad. I fell asleep for a bit on my chair – my own snoring woke me up. There were these really annoying French people were so loud. They were playing with some ball thing that made a buzzing noise in the air. The one guy couldn’t catch a cold if you sneezed on him. The only thing worse was the LOUD Russians.

I went in the water for a bit. It was different today, lots of sediment and shells and sea weed washing up. I wonder what causes such a change from one day to another? I collected some cool shells, not too sure what I’ll do with them yet but I’ll find something.

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Beach

We watched skydivers land on the beach. They asked if I wanted to try it and I said no. Then it was time to head back to the rest of the gang who were over at the pool.

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Pool at Paradisus Princesa del Mar

We wanted to go back to our rooms for a bit before dinner and on our way we ran into our friend Mr. Happy. Well my aunt saved him some good from the buffet the day before and had it in her room. So, she (we) coaxed him to follow us and he did just that. And guess whose room he decided he wanted to stay in?

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My new friend Mr. Happy

Yup, mine. We’re pals. He ate his stolen food on the patio and then had a short bath while I showered and took a bit of a nap while I got ready for dinner. He didn’t really want to leave when I was ready to go. He seemed quite at home and happy on my bed. Poor dude. We got him to go though and he went his way and we went ours.

Off we went for dinner – though I do find it odd that the buffet doesnt open until 7pm for dinner. That seems kinda late, no? We have sat at the same table since we’ve been here and have two really great ladies taking care of us. We once again just sat around for a bit in the courtyard area. Not sure what the entertainment is tonight. Anyway, off to bed, have to get up early for Havana!

Oh yah, look at my blanket animal!

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Pillow person!

Holiday travels

Happy Monday everyone! I can’t believe it’s already December… have you started thinking about a winter getaway? I sure have but probably won’t be in the cards this year. It was so cold here over the weekend – got down to the -40’s with the wind-chill. If that doesn’t scream ‘get me to a beach’ I don’t know what does. The good news is, if you’ve been thinking about it there are some ‘Cyber Monday’ deals out there… some of them aren’t the greatest but might be worth a look depending on what you’re in the market for…

Westjet still has their Black Friday sale on – you have to travel by January 5th and there is only one ‘warm’ destination on sale. Who knows, maybe they’ll add more later today.

Air Canada is having a Cyber Monday 15% off sale.

Expedia is offering 50% off but you need to travel by the end of the month. Great if you’re looking for a last minute deal.

Redtag also has a few offers, probably your best bet for a warm destination.

There are a bunch more so I won’t list them but it’s worth browsing around today if you’re looking for something. Let me know if you find anything good and what your winter travel plans are! Stay warm 🙂

Places You Should Go – Whistler

So my last post was all about fun in the summer – hopefully you booked your The Yacht Week experience! But seeing is winter is just around the corner, I thought we’d focus on something a little more seasonal.

Whistler. Oh Whistler. It’s like a tiny fairy village full of twinkling lights and fluffy snow and and stunning mountains.

Your adventure begins as you travel the stunning Sea to Sky highway from Vancouver. The views are just ridiculous the entire way… I’m glad I wasn’t driving so I could just stare out the window and enjoy the beautiful scenery.

Depending on how fast you drive and whether you pull over to stretch those legs, breath in the beautiful mountain air and take a few snaps – it’s about a 2 hour drive from Vancouver to Whistler.

I stayed at the Pan Pacific Whistler Mountainside and I can’t recommend it enough.

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It’s a stunning hotel located right at the base of Whistler Mountain. I was a bit early for check-in so my room wasn’t ready yet. But the kind ladies at the front desk gave me a free upgrade to a ‘suite’ meaning I could check-in right then and there! How nice is that?! My suite wasn’t exactly what I was expecting … I was thinking sweeping mountain views and a great big luxurious room. Well I got the mountain view…

I’ve never been in a hotel where the bed pulled out of the wall before! haha … It was a really lovely room in actual fact, it was just smaller than I expected. I would have hated to see what my original room looked like! The Murphy bed was quite cozy and I spent quite a bit of time cuddle up in front of the gas fireplace.

The outdoor pool was wonderful as well…it was just warm enough where you could still enjoy it. I also loved their eucalyptus infused steam room. I want one in my house! There are a few upgrades the hotel could make, I’m sure that can be said about almost every hotel but the pros far outweighed the cons.

One pro? Having a pub in the hotel. It’s called Dubh Linn Gate Irish Pub and it’s great! The food is good, they have a great selection of boozy drinks and live music. Plus it’s only a short stumble back up to your room. I ate a couple times here and enjoyed it. On my last night I spent hours sitting at the bar talking to some businessmen and the handsome bartender with an Irish accent. There was just a little bit of a wobble in my step when I finally left.

There is lots to see and do in Whistler year round. I was actually told you’ll probably find more to do in the summer than in the winter. I seriously couldn’t begin to name them all so I’ll just show you a few of the things I did. I need another trip to fit more of the activities in for sure. I wasn’t there long enough! For a list of all the activities you should definitely check out their official website here. I found the site enormously helpful while planning my trip.

There are no cars allowed right in Whistler Village so you can walk from one end .. where my hotel was.. clear right on to the other. I did this many times, definitely got my exercise in. I popped to all the different hotels just to see what they’re like, all the fun shops. Some sell the usual tac, others you can find unique treasures and of course the high end goodies!

A ‘must do’ is the Peak to Peak Gondola. It’s great even if you’re not a skier, you can head up the mountains, check out the views and have something to eat. I’m not a huge fan of heights. I don’t mind them but I do tend to get that fluttery heart, sweating palms thing going. So I was quite proud of myself for not having an absolute panic attack. I had my moments.. but I survived. Luckily once you start going up and you’re mesmerized by the view, you kinda forget your scared.

I was pretty excited to see the bear. Also glad I was too far away for him to get me.

And then… you get to the top.  I had lunch in the chalet and check out the neat little Olympic display before heading across on the Peak to Peak over to Blackcomb Mountain. It was a little less foggy over that way, could see right down to the village and even the bob sled/luge track from the Olympics.

Soon it was time to come back down. I enjoyed my trip but also wanted to get back to earth 😉 and put some dry socks on. I saw another bear – or maybe it was the same fella… either way. Those bikers sure hit the breaks when they came around the corner. And then I ran into a more friendly mama and baby bear in town. Cute eh?


I also visited the very quaint and very unique Whistler museum. I learned all about the area, how it was founded, the wildlife that call the area home. Tons of cool things to see and do. It is quite small and I was the only one in there. It was a real treat. Definitely worth checking out.

The favourite thing I did in Whistler.. I sadly didn’t take pictures of. I went to the Scandinave Spa . Just thinking about it now makes me want to cry. I want to go back to bad! It’s an amazing, amazing experience.
The hotel drove me up to the spa which is nestled in the side of a mountain. Of course. I was dropped off in a parking lot and then literally walked through the woods on a little path until the spa appeared before me. It was magical.
It’s peaceful from the moment you arrive. I was checked and taken downstairs for my massage. You know how most places play soothing music in the background while you’re having your treatment? Yah – they had a window open and I listened to the gentle sounds of real live birds, the breeze rustling the leaves and a babbling brook. Heaven.
After a blissful hour – it was time to head to the Scandinavian Baths… *gently weeps* … it’s a hot/cold/warm experience said to be incredibly good for your health. You first relax in a nice warm tub, then jump into a cold pool and then find youself back into a warming station. The website I gave above explains the experiences so much better than what I just said haha. And its not just hot tubs and cold tubs, there are different stations to try. My favourite was the dry sauna. I could have stayed in there all day long. I started to go a little stir crazy though. You can’t talk in the baths. Like at all. Me not talk? I think that was harder than trying to psych myself into jumping into the cold water! I only briefly saw one other woman while I was there so at least I wasn’t really tempted to talk to anyone. It was just me and the birds and the beautiful view of the trees and mountain fog that sat on top of us. It seriously was heaven… the whole entire day. I cannot wait to head back to Scandinave … I so wish it was closer!

I fear I have rambled on far too long now. I will add, if you’re a foodie, Whistler also has some truly amazing and award winning restaurants. I’m not going to mention and by name as I didn’t take any photos from any of them. But every meal I ate was exceptional and the service was also great. Except for the really, really creepy waiter at the steakhouse.

I highly recommend a trip to Whistler even if it’s just for the day. Winter or summer. Just go. Lots to do, lots to see. Things are a little expensive but hey that’s all a part of travelling.

 

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Bye Whistler!

 

Blah! This is so long over due and I feel really bad.

Nothing really overly exciting happened in Vegas this year. Thank goodness! I wasn’t escorted out of any pools this time. In actual fact we’re going to wrap up the trip in one swoop here.

We got in on Sunday morning and went straight to the hotel. We were put on the 51st floor of Planet Hollywood. I’ve never stayed at PH before but I’ve always enjoyed their casino. The room was alright. The hotel itself is in desperate need of upgrading. There are chips in all the furniture, the doors to the bathroom didn’t close properly, the paint touch-ups looked terrible ect. The best part about the room…? The view.

 

The View

The View

 

 

Our first day/night was pretty laid back. We walked around the hotel a bit and then down to almost the Flamingo before coming back. Other than that we just chilled and went to P.F Changs for dinner. I had never been. And I won’t go back. It wasn’t very good and two of us ended up getting quite sick after eating it. It was not fun!

The next day I was up bright and early to head down to the pool. This is all I wanted. I had been thinking about it for months. Alllllll I wanted to was to roast by the pool in the hot sun and relax. No shenanigans this time. I don’t think I’ve ever been so disappointed with a pool in my life. You’d think with all the space they have – they’d do something with it. There are two small pools on either side. One is 21+ the other is the ‘family’ pool. I swear the entire pool/deck area is smaller than my condo and they cram as many chairs as possible around it. Oh and the chairs … are old and dirty and falling apart. Yet they have acres of room on the lower level of nothing but chairs … nowhere near the pool. It seems incredibly dumb to me. Anyway I found a chair that wasn’t too bad and got cozy. It wasn’t too busy just let but it was still quite early. I was enjoying myself but then I noticed what appeared to be smoke drifting across from the one side. After taking a breath in, I realized this wasn’t smoke at all, instead it was a vent coming from one of the kitchens and it smelled disgusting. Soon this heavy cloud of greasy bleh hung over us.

 

 

 

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Before the ‘bleh’

 

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‘Sittin’ pretty in sun tan city, got the best view in the world … spendin’ my days, catchin these rays…. ‘

 

After a few hours I got too warm and decided it was time to go inside and do other things. I ended up just walking around the Miracle Mile shops and hanging out. It was quite dull. I did have lunch at Pinks the hot dog place. I was so excited to finally go – the last time I stopped by they were closed. Anyway, it was terrible. I’ve cooked better hot dogs in my microwave.

We all met up a few hours later and went to Gordon Ramsay’s BurGR for dinner. It was AMAZING! Totally made up for the awful dinner the night before. And it was totally worth the wait for a table.  The burgers, the fries, onion rings… everything was tremendous! And I love the fact that every one in the restaurant has a role and does it well. Their uniforms are all stamped with the GR, including the jeans. A table is never left unattended for long. And there are no salt and pepper shakers on the tables. Because as GR himself might say, if it’s cooked properly, you don’t need it.

Hot dog at BurGR

Hot dog at BurGR

BurGR

BurGR

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

After we ate we went on a walk down the strip all the way to MGM and back. It was hot and there were a lot of strange people – even more than usual – out. No matter how many times you go to Vegas, you’ll always see something new that amazes you. Good, bad or otherwise.

Day three was an early one. We rented an SUV and headed out of Vegas to a little town call Primm. It’s less than an hours drive away and has an outlet mall. And that’s about it. We wanted to go some place new for shopping this time and we figured this might be a fun time. The drive there was a quiet one, two of us were still recovering from our P.F. Changs experience. We got to Primm just before the mall opened and went to the McDonalds in the parking lot. It was the most unusual McDonalds I’d ever been in. There was hardly any seating and you had to take a number and wait for your food. All I wanted was a hashbrown.
The outlet mall in Primm is connected to one of the hotels. The seemed a bit run down and dirty. The mall was alright but definitely not as good as the other outlets. I bought a few things but I really didn’t find any outstanding deals. Do you know what I did find though? A cockroach in Banana Republic. Do you know how much strength it took to internalize the scream? It was all I could do to not freak out. Ick.
I ended up being the only one who bought anything. We thought we’d check out a few of the other hotels in Primm. We went over to Buffalo Bills – it’s quite the place. Not nearly as run down as the other one. It has a roller coaster that runs along the outside and there is a log ride inside. It’s pretty neat. I found a restaurant named after me even! haha For some reason I can only find these two phone pictures I took. Sorry they’re so small.

 

 


We drove back to Vegas and went to the ‘indoor’ mall. It’s changed a lot over the years. It was quite busy as well. I bought a few more things but I was getting tired and I just wanted to go back to the hotel. Unfortunately … this wasn’t going to happen for quite sometime, much to my disappointment. We continued our road trip to find a place called Sam’s Town. It’s another resort just south east of the strip. I REALLY didn’t want to go but I didn’t have much of a choice.  I ended up having a pretty good time. It’s a really cool place! They have a ‘show’ with robotic animals and music and lights that plays in the lobby area, which is one of the most impressive lobbies I’ve ever seen. But their little show is one of the best I’ve seen in Vegas. We did a bit of shopping in the Sheplers Western Wear store before having dinner at T.G.I.Friday’s. I treated myself to a donut from Dunkin’ Donuts – a very American style donut to boot. After giving their casino a few of our dollars, we decided to head back to PH. In conclusion though, if you are going to Vegas and don’t want to stay on the strip .. I’d definitely consider Sam’s Town.

 

 

We got back to PH and unloaded all of our shopping. Then we headed down to the casino for some drinking and gambling! The whole plan was to get a little tipsy and enjoy ourselves and that’s just what we did. We ended up winning a few hundred dollars and had a great time. We were quite drunk toward the end of the night. My uncle got hit on by a hooker as he was sitting all alone. It was just after midnight and officially his birthday so we all thought that was quite funny… happy birthday! ha!

Wednesday no one else was quite well enough to get up and go to the pool, so I went alone. And it sucked. Again, the pool was a disaster and I found a somewhat manageable chair. But again the smell came up and there were kids splashing about. I found two cuties playing with a ruby ball and was going to ask if I could join them but it was so frickin cold on the deck, the last thing I wanted to do was go in to the freezing cold water. I gave up after about an hour. I went and had a quick shower and then decided to do one last round at the Miracle Mile – just to see if there was anything I wanted to buy last minute. The woman running the hair straightener stand cornered me and ended up doing my hair. I was not a fan of this but I couldn’t let her do one side and not the other … that’d look ridiculous. After that I made the excuse that I was meeting people for lunch and had to go. I ended up at La Salsa Cantina for some chips, salsa, a margarita and world cup soccer. I got bored and soon moved on. I walked around outside the hotel to warm up, debated getting one of those really, really big slushy drinks. In all time trips to Vegas, I’ve still never had one. I walked around the casino, did some gambling, watched the rest of the soccer game and then I went and napped. My crew was no where to be found so I didn’t want to venture too far with out them.

Eventually we all ended up back together. We went back to La Salsa for dinner, because that’s where the birthday boy wanted to go. He also wanted to go back to The Mirage to the Carnegie Deli for birthday cake. We had been two trips ago and loved their food. So we hopped in a cab and off we went. We even convinced the cab driver to sing happy birthday!! haha that was too funny.
After our cake we spent some time in the casino. I’ve always had luck at The Mirage and I did again that night. But the birthday boy was the big winner. After that we figured we better leave before our luck ran out. We walked back down to Bellagio and check out the garden feature they had. Their themes are always so nice. Then we watched the fountain show and cross over to the Flamingo. They’ve redone the Flamingo and the hotel beside it. It’s now called The Quad, it used to be the Imperial Palace. Behind it is The Linq which is that big Ferris Wheel. In between The Quad and The Flamingo is a new walk area that is fantastic. It’s full of awesome looking pubs and restaurants. I could have spent my entire holiday just down there. Of course given the crowd I was with, we didn’t get to go in to any of these places. I was bummed 😦

At this point I was also ready to come home. I’m used to being alone all the time so it’s hard to not only be travelling with other people, sharing a room, constantly around hoards of stranger and it being hot… it makes a girl a little psycho after awhile and I didn’t hide that at all… I was getting pissy and everyone was made aware. And of course when someone asks you why you’re in a grump mood, that only makes you more grumpy! Oh and to another end – why do people bring their kids to Vegas? WHY???? The side walks are crowded enough as it is, then you have a family and their two push chairs and one kid that’s walking. It drives me nuts!! In my little rant I said that the strip should be 21 plus only. I’m sure there are lots of people who agree and disagree with me. Anyway, the group wanted to keep walking after that, I went to the hotel and drank alone. That was nice.

Thursday came around and it was time to bid adieu to Las Vegas once again. I spent most of the day in the room watching TV. I didn’t want to get all sun screened up and sit at the pool only to have to come and shower, or be greasy on the plane. I think I could have stayed longer after that bit of a break from all the people and noise.  Oh well.  There is always next year.

 

 

See ya later Vegas

See ya later Vegas

It was an early start to the day, I went down to The Roasted Bean in Aria for a muffin and tea for breakfast. We all had to meet in the lobby to head to the outlet mall. I of course was the first one there and waiting for everyone else. I was looking forward to shopping, I love shopping and I love the outlet mall! Before I could get everyone organized and pick a meeting time and place – the gang dispersed.
Several hours and several hundred dollars later, we all found ourselves at the food court. I was done and ready to go back to the hotel but others were not. Me and my partner in crime for the trip we loaded up with everyone else’s shopping bags and went back.

It was finally time to hit the pool! The pools at Aria a great, instead of one big one, there are a couple smaller ones and there was never a problem getting a chair. We sat there for hours in the sun, me with one gigantic cup of sangria. This is all I wanted, in a lounger, hot sun, with a drink in my hand. Our poolside fun came to an abrupt end when got a message from home about some serious stuff happening at work. I suppose it was for the best anyways because it was time to go get ready for our night out.

We hopped a cab and just as we turned the corner onto the strip, it started pouring. People were running for cover as gigantic rain drops beat down on them. We laughed.
Dinner was at BLT Burger in The Mirage, that’s where I had stayed last year but I never ate at this place. In fact I don’t remember it at all but it was so good!! I was the only one who ate absolutely everything on my plate. I felt like such a cow as we walked down to the theatre to see ‘Love’ the Beatles Cirque du Soleil show. I have never been to one but I love the Beatles so I was looking forward to it. Our seats were really good, I thought it would be a little more … Spectacular… But I enjoyed it. I met up with a friend from home who was also at the show and we all walked over to Casino Royale. If you like cheap beer and don’t mind a smaller, crowded casino, this is a good place. We downed our dollar beers and played the slots. I felt so totally disgusting though that I left and went back to the hotel. I hung out alone for the rest of the evening and was super bored. I sat in the casino for awhile, I wanted a ginger ale and it was cheaper to get one down there. However I waited nearly and hour for the waitress to come back with it. I told the rest of them to let me know where they were and I’d come meet them later. That never happened and they ended up having a really super fun night, I’m so pissed that I missed it. Thanks guys.

Ahh what wonders nearly 10 hours of sleep will do. I wouldn’t say I’ve been sleeping well… I keep waking up in the middle of the night…but finally slept for more than 5 hours. Had breakfast again in the hotel – mmm potato cakes! I wanted to go to Covet Garden/Jubilee Market but didn’t really know what time things got going on Sunday. It’s only a 5 minute walk from the hotel so I went over there – it was closed still, vendors were just getting set up. I kept going up the street, I didn’t realize just how many cool shops, restaurants, pubs and little side streets there are in this area! I went as far as Shaftesbury Avenue before turning around. One of the places to scratch off my list was right around the corner, Neal’s Yard. There isn’t much there – but it’s pretty impressive to see the colourful courtyard in person.

After a bit of browsing at the market, I headed toward Buckingham Palace. I love sitting on the Queen Victoria statue and watching people. The best part about that area on Sundays… The Mall is closed to traffic so you can walk, run or cycle right down the middle of the road. I took some pictures, one of myself standing in the street. A group of older women started laughing at me. Clearly they’ve never been on vacation alone and haven’t mastered the art of the selfie like I have. Anyway, there were so many people – that is something I’ve noticed this trip, a lot more tourists than the last one. Granted I was in London two weeks earlier but I still wasn’t expecting such a big difference. I should have double checked what time it was as I ended up smack dab in the middle of the march from St. James’s to Buckingham Palace for the Changing of the Guard. To avoid the throngs people, I cut through St. James’s Park, up to Horse Guards Parade and down Whitehall. Not quite as busy until I got up to Parliament but I just love to hear Big Ben gong the time. It was then just over to Westminster Abbey, my all time favourite attraction in London. Being Sunday it was closed for tours but that didn’t stop people from gathering outside and taking pictures. I just kept on my merry little way until I got to the other side of St. Jame’s Park and walked along Birdcage Walk – it’s such a lovely street to wander down. The beautiful big trees, shading the sidewalk with their green leaves, the gorgeous, old houses and of course the great park.

Not really knowing where I wanted to go, I walked toward the Royal Mews. The actual Palace was closed for tours (it’s only open for a few weeks every summer) and I had done the Queen’s Gallery last time. I ended up in the gift shop and that’s where my ‘tour’ ended haha! I fully intended on doing the Mews tour but after all that shopping I just wanted to put my bags down. The Mall wasn’t quite as busy on my walk back which was nice. I got to take my time and enjoy the sunshine.

After a brief break in my room, I went back up to Covet Garden but this time it was to shop in some of the great stores in the area. I love shopping and I especially love shopping in stores I don’t get at home! LK Bennett, Whistles, Hobbs, Topshop … I could go on! They have the perfect blend of higher end and more affordable stores.

It was so hot outside! It was great, I kinda wish I stayed in the park but the air conditioning in the stores was a welcome break. I also needed something to eat before I continued on my adventure. The Sussex in Covet Garden looked like a very cute spot to stop in. Had myself a big pint of whatever the speciality on tap was, I love trying new beers, again especially things I know I can’t get at home. I also ordered nachos. Now anyone that knows me, knows how much I love a big, heaping plate of ooey, gooey nachos. So you can imagine my disappointment when I saw what came out of the kitchen. It’s a good thing I like jalapeños and cheese.

After my odd lunch and shopping excursion I went back to my hotel to get freshened up. I had to head up to Bloomsbury for a pub date. I’ve had the wonderful privilege of meeting some great people on Trip Advisor London Forums. Once a month they hold a pub meet and anyone who is London can join in for a pint and meet fellow travelers. I met the group last time and was looking forward to seeing them again. The usual meeting spot is The Lamb on Conduit Street, which has become one of my favourite pubs in the city. It was nice to see some folks again and meet some new people on their travels. There was me, an American, a German, a Czech and then the locals. We had some drinks and dinner…my outstanding choice of food continued…I ordered fish and chips, how can you go wrong? My fish came back with scales still on it.

I got a little tired of the noise and people we’re starting to leave so I did too. It was a nice night so I thought I’d walk a bit and then grab a cab or something. It’s an area I’m not familiar with so I enjoyed seeing a new neighbourhood. But I ended up getting a little turned around though and while I wouldn’t say lost, I would say in an area where there seemed to be no taxis and no other people. I have a pretty good sense of direction so I eventually ended up what seemed like a kinda major road. Do you think a cab would stop for me? I started to panic a little lol. Finally, I managed to wave one down! It turns out I was headed in the right direction, if I had just kept going I would have been back in ‘my area’ but I was incredibly grateful to be back in my safe little room. And VERY excited for day five!

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