Las Vegas, America

Standard
Las Vegas, America

Abnormal is one word that completely sums up the city of Las Vegas.  It’s asif you’re in a whole new world!

This is unless you believe that rollercoasters towering on top of buildings, canals complete with gondolas, or exploding volcanoes every 30 minutes are normal. This is just everyday life for the locals of Las Vegas and it has also been described as a “Disneyland for Adults” by others. This unique city has been crowned with the name “Sin City” for one very obvious reason – gambling. I am almost certain that there is no building in Las Vegas without a casino. In fact, I was stunned that McDonald’s was completed without one!!!

Perhaps the main reason tourists “hit the strip” is to explore its many hotels. I have never seen hotels used as attractions but once again, everything about Las Vegas is abnormal. The Venetian includes two running canals complete with gondolas and accompanying gondoliers to serenade you throughout your ride. The Luxor is home to an incredible IMAX theatre. The Bellagio boasts the world’s largest chocolate fountain. The Mirage holds the key to the Secret Garden (complete with dolphins, lions, leopards and tigers) as well as an exploding volcano. The hotel, Paris, showcases an Eiffel Tower a third of the size of the actual monument.

I’m sure that anyone who has visited Las Vegas will agree with me when I say that you have not taken advantage of the city until you have seen the Grand Canyon. The vast majority of tourists who visit the Grand Canyon do it by car or bus. Why not fly? Papillon Helicopter Tours have a lot to offer, and is what I personally recommend. The tour I completed included a free limousine ride. It picks you up at your hotel then drops you off at the terminal facility for check-in. This is followed by a safety talk before boarding the aircraft. Flying over the Hoover Dam is magical, but is nothing compared to the Grand Canyon itself. The helicopter dives in for a 4,000 foot descent and before you know it, you are safely standing on the bottom of the Canyon. It really is like the saying ‘flying into a postcard’! Here, a light picnic (a basket for each passenger), is awaiting you. Whilst nibbling on these refreshments, cute chipmunks surround you as well as blossoming cacti. This is also the time when you are able to explore the Canyon by foot. On the flight back, you will travel over the world famous strip and be treated to fantastic photo opportunities. Once again, the limo will return you back to your hotel. This is an outstanding opportunity to make a memory. Flying into the bed of the Grand Canyon was certainly the highlight of my visit to Las Vegas.

May the Travel-Bug be with you…

Places to visit and things to do:

Hotels

The Venetian = http://www.venetian.com
The Luxor = http://www.luxor.com
Bellagio = http://www.bellagio.com
The Mirage = http://www.mirage.com
Paris. = http://www.parislasvegas.com/casinos/paris-las-vegas/hotel-casino/property-home.shtml

Papillon Helicopter (+ limo) tour = http://www.papillon.com/popris/show_package.aspx?package_id=125&lang=en-US

Advertisements

San Francisco, America

Standard
San Francisco, America

With it’s distinctive landscape and architecture, it’s no wonder tourists are naturally drawn to the city of San Francisco.

Perhaps one of the most visited attractions in San Fransico, lives in the sea.  The jagged form of Alcatraz Island, slowly appears wrapped in a deep sea of fog, as the boat nears what is commonly known as “The Rock”.   Pouring rain and fierce winds certainly made my experience on Alcatraz scarier, but did not at all affect the educational portion of the tour.  Whilst on the island, I was given a head set to wear.  These were a great idea, as instead of following a large tour group, I was able to gain knowledge about Alcatraz at my own pace. 

Back on the mainland, a sleepy bayside community, called Sausilito, lies tucked away over the Golden Gate Bridge. Unlike the city, Sausilito is crammed with boutiques, window shops and secluded fishing wharves.  Being only 10 minutes over the Golden Gate Bridge, Sausilito is a great escape from the noises of the city!

Sprawled throughout San Francisco are many cafes and restaurants.  The Rain Forest Cafe is my personal favourite.  This restaurant is best suited  for families with children.  Most other restaurants in the city just serve spectacular food, but The Rain Forest Cafe makes what could be a boring dining experience, extremely fun!  Instead of waiters and waitresses, my food was served to me by ‘Ranger David’.  The waiters’ outfits include khaki shirts and black pants.  Each kid’s meal comes with a gift pack containing a ruler, activity book, wallet and pencils, all with the Rain Forest Cafe symbol printed on it.  Complete with a souvenir shop (due to its great success), moving animals and half-hourly thunder storms, The Rain Forest Cafe is certainly one of San Francisco’s hot spots for a spectacular dining experience.

The beyond steep hills make it difficult to discover San Francisco by foot.  Therefore, I relied mostly on tour buses to make my way around.  This is a great way to see the city, as it ensures that you see everything and don’t waste time visiting non-worthy attractions.  San Francisco City Sightseeing Tours offers to take you to many different places.  I rode two of these tours, the Golden Gate and Sausilito Tour and The Night Loop.  The Golden Gate and Sausilito tour stops at Sausilito, the Presidio, Ghirradeli Square, the Palace of Fine Arts and of course, the Golden Gate Bridge.  The trip across the famous monument stops at both sides for fantastic photo oppurtunities. 

The Night Loop stops at China Town, Embarcadero, The Bay Bridge, Union Square and Alamo Square.  Alamo Sqaure is home to ‘The Painted Ladies’ of ‘Postcard Row’.  The yellow ‘Painted Lady’ is in fact from Full House, a popular 90s TV series starring the young Olsen twins.  Both tours are worthwhile, however if neither interest you, there are also many other tours available. 

May the Travel-Bug be with you……

Places to go and things to do:

Alcatraz Island=https://www.alcatraztrips.com/index2.asp?source=google&gclid=CMmfqL7olbECFedMpgod6S6UhA
The Rain Forest Cafe=http://www.rainforestcafe.com/
Sausilito=http://www.ci.sausalito.ca.us/
City Sightseeing Tours=http://www.city-sightseeing.us/allloopstour.html

Bruges, Belgium

Standard
Bruges, Belgium

Bruges is knwon as Belgium’s medievil city for four reasons beginning with C, canals, chocolate, cobble stones and carriages. Chocolate shops can be found in every direction. Many tourists lurk around the Market Square. This is where you can hop onto a horse-drawn carriage and ride along the cobblestone roads, or explore Bruges’ famous Bell Tower.

To look at Bruges from a different perspective, why not take a half-hour boat ride down the canals, where you are treated to jaw-dropping scenery and historical buildings almost completely covered in ivy. The oldest bridge in Bruges (located at the western end of Spaase Loskaai), which dates back to 1391, is also included on the tour. This bridge was originally built by the monks in their nearby monastery to make the town easily accessible.

Bikes are another form of transport to see the city. They are available for hire and are inexpensive. Riding these bikes out to the windmills is a must-do whilst in Bruges. As they are on the outskirts of the city there is no crowd, just the bike, the windmills, and you. There are four windmills in total. They were built from the late 1700s to the late 1800s, however, most of them were rebuilt in the 1990s. Two of these windmills are still used for grinding flour and are available for tourists to climb for a small fee (2 Euros).

The Chocolate Museum (Choco-Story) is one of Bruges’ main attractions. This museum represents what Bruges is most famous for, chocolate! Here, you can learn about the process of making Belgian chocolate, talk about chocolate with experts, and even taste the chocolate yourself.

Places to Visit and Things To Do:

The Chocolate Museum (Choco-Story): http://www.choco-story.be/ENG/index.htm
Bruges Bike Rental (Niklaas Desparsstraat 17, Bruges) : http://www.brugesbikerental.be/
Horse Drawn Carriage Rides & Bell Tower – Markt (Market Sqaure)

May the Travel-Bug be with you………