Monday, 24 August 2015

California, USA 2015 | Hollywood

Our quick stopover in Hollywood began with a meal at Hard Rock Cafe and a visit to the Walk of Fame and Chinese Mann Theatre. 

We've been to LA before but decided to visit again as myself and my siblings were quite young last time. We went to a shopping centre to see the Hollywood sign in the distance and my brother visited a couple of guitar shops. 

We only had a couple of hours in Hollywood but it was a nice touristy place to visit; it is a shame that is was such a flying visit but I would love to go back to LA at some point to stay for longer.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

California, USA 2015 | Disneyland

I am a massive Disney fan and haven't been to the California park since I was about 11! I managed to schedule a day in with my family at the end of our trip. We got up really early and were lucky enough to be around for the 60th Anniversary celebrations. 
We stayed at a nearby hotel and had dinner at Cheesecake Factory (one of my favourite places to eat) and then went back to our hotel to watch the fireworks from the window, which was amazing. 

We did both parks in one day and managed to see Paint the Night, Soundsational Parade, Disneyland Forever and World of Colour in the evening. 

We began our day in California Adventure where we queued up for Radiator Springs Racers which was so worth the wait. We used fastpasses throughout the day and before we left California Adventure we went on Soarin', Grizzly River Run, California Screamin', Tower of Terror and Monsters Inc. We also watched Aladdin which was so amazing. 

We then headed over to Disneyland Park, we went on the Jungle Cruise, Big Thunder Mountain Indiana Jones Adventure, Pirates of the Caribbean, Splash Mountain, Bobsleds and Star Tours. We did some souvenir shopping and ate lunch at Village Haus Restaurant and dinner at Hungry Bear Restaurant. 

We had such a magical day and managed to get on so many rides!

Friday, 21 August 2015

Nevada, USA 2015 | Las Vegas and the Grand Canyon

Vegas was so much fun, we stayed at the Tropicana at the end of the strip near MGM. Everything is completely larger than life in Las Vegas. We explored the strip and visited different hotels and casinos. 

Our first evening was spent watching Jersey Boys at the Paris hotel which was fantastic! We ate dinner at Mon Ami Gabi where you can look out over the strip. While we were in Vegas we went on the Big Apple Coaster in the NY hotel and went shopping in a few of the malls. We watched the fountains at the Bellagio, visited Carlos's Bakery and went to Caesar's Palace to look around. 

From Vegas, we travelled to the Grand Canyon and had the most amazing pink jeep tour. We took a helicopter ride and a boat tour at the bottom of the canyon and drove round visiting different areas of the Canyon. The view was absolutely amazing and we heard some great stories from our tour guide. 

The other trip we took from Vegas was a horse riding visit at Bonnie Springs Ranch. We went on a trail on our horses and enjoyed breakfast at the ranch. 

I loved the Vegas part of our trip, I think there is just so much to see and do. It is a great experience and I would absolutely love to go back at some point. 

Thursday, 20 August 2015

California, USA 2015 | Yosemite and Death Valley

The drive from Monterey to Yosemite was quite long but Yosemite was so worth it. I would definitely suggest getting food/petrol beforehand as inside Yosemite it is really expensive. We got out at El Capitan which was massive and then we drove to look for the Tunnel view which is the postcard view of Yosemite. 

We drove out towards Bishop and stayed at the Vagabond motel on the other side of Yosemite. It had a pool - which was very welcome in the heat -  and some great places to eat nearby. 

Death Valley is not too far away from Bishop so we didn't have to head off too early. Death Valley is one of the hottest places in the world, but just so amazing to see. We began our trip with a visit to the information point where they shared a map with us and directed us to a couple of places we wanted to see like Badwater Basin and a few sites where Star Wars was filmed. Definitely enter Death Valley with lots of water in the car and a map in case GPS does not work, because it really is extremely hot!

On the way out of Death Valley we went into a ghost town which was really interesting to see - it is a town that is now abandoned and only warranted a quick trip but all the same, good to see. 

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

California, USA 2015 | Monterey and Big Sur

On our fourth day we woke up early to set off for the start of our road trip. On the way from San Francisco we visited Santa Clara as my brother is a big 49's fan. We got our rental car and drove to Big Sur and Carmel-by-the-Sea. It was a really lovely scenic drive. We drove to McWay Falls and managed to see some whales which was so amazing! 

We drove to Monterey and stayed at Motel 6 in Marina. Our first motel was actually ok! I had stayed in a motel before, but it was great value for money. 
There was a Denny's attached to our motel so we went there for breakfast before continuing our drive to Yosemite. 

Saturday, 15 August 2015

California, USA 2015 | San Francisco

In Summer 2015, alongside my family, we flew out to San Francisco and began a mini road trip around the West Coast of America. 

We arrived in San Francisco and stayed at the Da Vinci Villa Hotel. It was a great location although it did involve walking up and down lots of hills. From our hotel room we could see the Golden Gate Bridge which was amazing! The first evening we went to Pier 39 and saw the sea lions and found somewhere to eat near Fisherman's Wharf. 

During our three days in San Francisco we stayed busy with lots of sightseeing and we ate at some great places. We headed out on a City Tour which is one of my favourite ways of seeing a new city. We went over Golden Gate Bridge and visited Golden Gate Park to see the bison and to eat hot dogs! We caught the bus to the painted ladies and then to Union Sq to have a quick shop. That evening we took the night tour over bay bridge and went across the Golden Gate bridge again. We had dinner at the Ferry House Building at Gott's Roadside which I would highly recommend. 

We got up early on our next day to head to Alcatraz. We had booked out tickets in advance, this is definitely suggested at some dates sell out for particular trips. For lunch we went to Fisherman's Wharf and ate at Boudin's Bakery where they make sourdough bread. We finished off lunch with ice cream at Ghirardelli Sq. We caught a cable car up to Union Sq afterwards and completed the rest of our bus tour, taking us to Chinatown and then Lombard Street. That evening we finished with Mac n Cheese on Polk Street.