Place 81 – Day 2: Orlando,FL – Florida Beach

Pancakes

Tom made pancakes this morning, as well as bacon, sausages & eggs.

We ate up and lazed about before we got ready.

Florida Beach

When in Florida, you have to go to a beach.

We went down the road and just found a beach somewhere, which was perfect as it wasn’t rammed.

We chilled at the beach for a few hours Kim and Abbie went in the sea and everyone got sufficiently brown.

We got a coffee whilst we were down there and Kim and Abbie looked in some shops.

We left all feeling very tired and headed back home.

Evening

We had a spinach, feta & beetroot salad for dinner and then Curtis watched the Leafs game.

We all slept at a decent time as we were tired and the both of us have colds, too.


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

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Place 80 – San Antonio,TX 🇺🇸 – Old Meets New

San Antonio

We actually got up on time today, got ready and drove out to San Antonio.

We had been told that it was a must see multiple times by different people, so we had to check it out.

We drove for around an hour, found some parking and went for a walk around!

We started with a walk around the river as it was the top thing to do there.

The river was beautiful. It felt very European, especially Italian. It was more of an urban river walk, than a traditional green river walk.

The city is a very interesting combination of old meets new as the majority of it is old but there are hints of new areas around. From each place we have visited in the US so far, we’ve not seen anything like it.

We walked up to the main plaza which has a cathedral on it also. The Spanish wanted to make it similar to Spain, so they made the cathedral the centre point and built a square around it, which is the Main Plaza.

We got hungry when we left this area and found a sandwich shop which we got a Banh Mi from and it was surprisingly good.

We were feeling refreshed after some food so we went to check out The Alamo which is a old military fort area from the 1700s.

The Alamo wasn’t very interesting so we left and had a brief walk down the other side of the river walk before heading to the car and driving home.

Once we got home, Curtis watched the Leafs game and Kim got some packing done. We then ate a pizza and went to get a hot chocolate from Starbucks with the hope it will make us sleep tonight!

We fly again tomorrow…it’ll be a fun time for the next week or so.


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 77 – Day 6: Las Vegas,NV – Hoover Dam & Grand Canyon

Chatting With Norwegians

We woke up this morning and had a call from Espen & Marcus, so we had a chat with them for a bit.We got ready and had breakfast after speaking with them and then were ready to go.

Hoover Dam

First on the agenda was the Hoover Dam. We drove for 1 hour from our apartment to get there and it was a pretty simple drive.We got to the dam and had to pay $10 for parking. We parked up and headed down to the dam.The sheer size of the dam is astonishing! We didn’t pay for any tours but we did walk around it a bit and got some cool photos which we think show the depth.

We walked around here for a bit and then stopped for an ice cream in the cafe, which was perfect for such a hot day!Weirdly, the Hoover Dam is in Arizona, but only just, so much so that when we left, we had to drive out of Arizona, into Nevada and then back into Arizona.

The Grand Canyon

We weren’t too sure what to expect, but we drove for 1.5 hours from the hoover dam to get to the Grand Canyon (west).We didn’t know that it was a tour in which we had to pay and then take busses buses everywhere, but it worked out well.The first place we went was where the observation deck was, but it didn’t look great, so we didn’t pay for that. We did get some cool photos of the Grand Canyon though.

Behind us from this area was a native American village, which we got to walk around which showed all the different types of buildings used.

We got back on the bus after this and went to the next section, which gave us a 360° view within the Grand Canyon, which was awesome!

We even saw the old cable car system they used to move materials whilst mining.

We left this area and got on the bus to get to the final place, which was a ranch.Unfortunately, by the time we got there, everything was closed, but it looked like an old wild west town.

Kim tried to lasso a fake bull and managed to do it when she wasn’t being filmed!

We went and saw the horses and then tried to do some horseshoe throwing, which Kim perfected on the first throw!

We left here and went back to the main area where we collected our car and drove back towards Vegas, with a stop in IKEA!

We got some Swedish meatballs, of course, and looked around the shop.

We got back home, much earlier than we have been, and ate some ice cream whilst watching TV.

We have to give the car back tomorrow!


This Time Last Year!


Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 60 & 67 – Day 6 & 1: Rotorua & Taupo 🇳🇿 – 15000ft Skydive!

We were up early to get a bit of breakfast in us before driving to Taupo. The drive from here in Rotorua to Taupo is around 1 hour, so we left with plenty of time.

We needed to be at the location for 12:00, but we got there around 11:30.

We were doing a skydive at Skydive Taupo! We decided on the 15000ft skydive and Kim booked the handheld camera for herself.

We arrived and were greeted with a very happy set of employees which made everyone calm. That being said, neither of us were really nervous.

It was us two and Tom doing the skydive today!

We all sat and went through the information and safety videos and then went and got all suited up. We had a jumpsuit and harness on, an old school pilot hat and some thin plastic goggles.

We waited for around 5/10 minutes and then it was our turn! We met our tandem masters who introduced themselves. Kim had a kiwi guy and Tom & Curtis had Germans.

We all crammed into the plane and off we went.

The climb took about 20 minutes and during that time, we had to use oxygen masks as we got too high to breath!

Eventually, it was time.

Kim was the first of the three of us to go, followed by Tom and then Curtis as he was stuck at the back of the plane.

What an amazing experience! The first fall is a shock and takes your breath away, but it was an incredible view and a surreal feeling.

We had 75 seconds of freefall followed by 4 to 5 minutes of crusing with the parachute, and we got to control the parachute too!

Once we landed, we were all super happy and super glad we did it.

We went out for a spot of lunch after. We went to a place called Dixies at which Curtis had a Cuban Sandwich and Kim had potato wedges with multiple toppings including sour cream and chilli sauce.

We then drove the 1 hour trip backto the house and just completely chilled out. Tom went for a bike ride so we waited for him to come back and then we had a similar dinner as yesterday.

Tomorrow is a chilled day, we think!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 60 – Day 3: Rotorua – Hot Tub Chillin’

Our hosts provided us with breakfast, which was very kind of them! Tom was even treated to some fish caught the day before.

We finished our breakfast and coffee, got ready, said goodbye and thank you and then got on the road.

We were driving to Rotorua, but stopped at Taupo on the way for a coffee. The McDonald’s in Taupo had a airplane as a kids play area which is awesome!

We left Taupo with our coffee and drove to Rotorua.

After arriving, we explored our large house, which can fit at least 10 people! We then went out to the shop to get food for dinner.

We relaxed for a while when we got back and then Kim made a steak salad which was delicious and beautiful!

After dinner, we jumped in the hot tub briefly, with a glass of bubbly!

We didn’t last long in the hot tub as it wasn’t that fun, so we got out and chilled.

Kim and Tom went to the supermarket to get some ice cream for dessert and then we hunkered down for the rest of the evening to relax.

We’re in Rotorua for a few days, so have some fun things planned!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 54 – Day 12: Christchurch – Banks Peninsula, Akaroa & Christchurch Centre

We only left the apartment around 12:00 as we caught up on sleep from being awake late last night.

By the time we left, the weather had improved and we got into the car with some scorching sun!

We drove to Banks Peninsula which is around 1.5 hours away from Christchurch, up in the mountains. Google Maps took us to the top of a mountain, but we got exquisite views from there!

We drove from here down to Akaroa. Akaroa is a small french inspired town due to its 10th century French colonisation. Most of the shops and roads have French names and it felt just like being in France!

We needed some food, so found a cafe and got a coffee and cake. The coffee was pretty disappointing, but it was what we needed.

We left here and went to a shop where we got some ham and cheese and then went to a French bakery and got a baguette.

We sat on a park bench overlooking the harbour eating baguette with ham and cheese.

We walked around for a brief moment and then strolled back to the car.

We drove all the way back to Christchurch and got back to the apartment, briefly, and then got back outside and walked the 20 minutes to the city centre.

In the centre, we walked down a nice street which had a few shops on it, called New Regent Street.

We had the tram go past us, also. It was a nice old style tram!

Walking on from here, we went to the Botanic Gardens and saw a lot of big and unique trees.

We left the botanic garden and on the way back home, we came to one of the most affected areas from the 2011 earthquake.

There are few buildings here now, but there still stands the Christ Church Cathedral, which is one of New Zealand’s top historic buildings. Unfortunely, the earthquake tore large holes into this cathedral and so it is cordened off, though it is part of a restoration project, which is estimated to take 7-10 years.

We got back home via the supermarket and fish and chips shop (to get more chips) and we had some leftover chinese for dinner.

We sat and watched some TV before hitting the hay, with a long drive planned for tomorrow.

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale

Place 64 & 54 – Day 2 & 11: Oamaru & Christchurch – Steampunk HQ & New Years Eve

We were up at a decent time as we had to leave the apartment at 10:00.

Curtis got some admin done in the morning before we all got ready and left.

We drove just down the road to the centre of Oamaru. In the centre, we saw a steam train and then the Steampunk HQ. This is where there is a big building with all Steampunk related items inside.

We spent a while there and saw a lot of odd and wonderful items!

There was an outside section in which we were able to mess around on things, including going inside the big bus.

Inside the bus, there was a ‘white room’. This room was a 10 minute projection of what was basically a bunch of optical illusions and music.

We left here and had a wander around the town. There were a lot of antiques and steampunk items around, which was good to kill some time.

We got back in the car and drove on towards Christchurch.

We stopped in Timaru for some food and then got back on the road to Christchurch.

We got to our apartment and relaxed, getting a chinese takeaway for dinner and watching TV.

We stayed up and watched the Auckland fireworks for the new year and then went to bed.

Happy New Year!

This time last year!

Poroporoaki!

– Mr & Mrs Hale