Week Two of spring break saw us take a trip to the lovely seaside village of Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific Coast of Mexico. This part of Mexico is sort of like what Fiji is to Australia – lots of resorts along the beach that serve all the food you can eat for one inclusive price as well as lots of poolside and evening entertainment – FUN! It think we were the only Australian’s at the entire resort which made us a real novelty!
We stayed at the Rui Jalisco – the rooms were clean and neat and big enough for our family of 5. The food was plentiful but dare I say as is the case in most of these mass produced hotels very ordinary – there were 5 restaurants to choose from so we did not have lack of choice but you did have to visit various restaurants to find the “good” things. Alcohol was also part of this package so you had access to the bar 24/7 – I suspect they make the alcohol different in Mexico as it was incredibly watered down and I think we only saw one intoxicated person the entire stay!
The entertainment team was fantastic and had everyone involved in various games from square aerobics to zumba to bingo to beach soccer and volley ball. The Mexican Pool Party that they held one afternoon in the main pool was so much fun – bubbles and floaties! What more could you ask for (see the photo below) Every evening there was a different themed show and every night was “excellente”. The kids really had a ball and were involved in lots of different things.
Apart from plenty of relaxing, swimming, reading and of course eating, we did leave the hotel on two occasions to do some activities. Our first outing involved a trip to a small local village to see how they live, meet the locals and play with a piñata before heading to a rodeo with traditional mexican games, horse riding, bull riding, dinner and dancing with the mariachi band.
Our 2nd outing was to celebrate Sofia’s 11th Birthday at the local water park where we swam with the dolphins – an amazing experience that the girls will remember for ever.
We really did love our time in Mexico – the girls have voted it better than Fiji or Bali (I am still stuck on Bali as one of my favourite places in the world). A big dose of Vitamin D was definitely needed after a Canadian winter and this place did the trick!
Time for the bright lights and scorching heat of Las Vegas – one of our favourite stops on our trip!
So our journey began after leaving the Grand Canyon on a Sunday morning. It happened to be Indiana’s birthday this day as well so we had a quick present giving ceremony in our room before we hit the road. We headed straight out of Tusayan back down the highway we first arrived on and made our first stop for breakfast at the town of Williams which is a great traditional spot on Route 66 – lots of old time nostalgia to look at which I thought was very cool!
We then continued back along the freeway to visit the Hoover Dam. The temperatures once again were scorching and in the high 40’s so we our visit was short but just enough to see the amazing engineering feat that the dam is. To get a sense of how high the water needed to be to open the dam gates was quite impressive and again to see the layers of the earth and marvel at just how long it has taken to create what we now see.
After a few more hours driving we arrived in the hustling and bustling Las Vegas and headed straight to our hotel, The Cosmopolitan which was right in the centre of The Las Vegas Boulevarde Strip.
From the very moment you arrive you get the sense of glitz and glam – the kids were suitably impressed to say the least. We arrived right on 4pm which proved to make life busier as this is check in time for all guests! I failed to read the notes our travel agent had made on our itinerary saying that we had special lounge check-in which would get us around the crowds so we lined up with what seemed to be hundreds of other people and an hour later we made it to the check in desk (will not forget to check the itinerary again!).
The size and number of guests that these hotels accomodate is quite amazing but we were pretty excited with the room we were given which was a 2 bedroom suite on the 54th floor (there are 60 floors in total) with sweeping views of the entire city. Out one side we were looking over the Bellagio Hotel and it’s beautiful fountain. In another direction we looked to the Sands Hotel and the mountains surrounding Las Vegas and to the other side we could see the hotels and airport on the other end of the strip – yes our suite was that big that it took up the entire end of the building! Spoilt indeed – we kind of didn’t want to leave and go back to sharing one room.
The added bonuses that came with the room were also pretty good – a $100 spa credit plus a choice of complimentary daily buffet breakfast for two or a $75 daily room service credit! I used the spa voucher and put it towards a fantastic massage – the massage was $160 (plus that tip – oh that tip which I still don’t understand!!!) but it was pretty special and an experience in itself! We used our $75 room service credit to order lunch for all of us each day.
The weather was around 44 degrees each day during our stay so we made the most of using this time to relax by the pool each morning before heading back to the room for our special room service lunch – we did feel like we were living the life!
One afternoon we took a trip to the Vegas North outlet shopping centre. I wasn’t that impressed as we have great shopping here in Australia now so there was not a lot that we couldn’t get here and the prices were not really that great for what is essentially old stock. Our dollar is not super fantastic at the moment so really we weren’t gaining much. We did pick up some clothes for the kids and a few other things that caught our eye but nothing to write home about!
We had 3 nights in Vegas and each was spent a little different. Our first evening was Indi’s birthday so we stayed in our hotel and had dinner at Holsteins at the The Cosmopolitan – they made her feel extra special and went out of their way to help us celebrate her birthday – such fun and a great meal for all of us! On our second night we went for a walk along the strip to look a the other hotels and shops – it was still so hot and with the distance between each hotel being a reasonable walk we probably didn’t achieve that much but we still had fun. The highlight of the evening was a visit to the Tiffany Store where the staff treated the girls beautifully and offered to show them and allow them to try on lots of jewellery. We didn’t purchase this time but I am sure it has planted a seed!
On our last evening we went to a show that I had booked prior to leaving Australia. Our choice was Cirque Du Soleil’s “O” which was just out of this world! I would highly recommend it to anyone – we were all mesmerised. Having never been to a Cirque performance before, the excitement of seeing this one in Vegas was wonderful!
The other highlight of our time in Vegas was how the hotel spoilt our birthday girl by delivering the most impressive birthday cake to our room. As I have spent many years in the party industry I know how much time and effort, not to mention cost goes into creating these beautiful cakes, so when they delivered one to us free of charge I was gob smacked – so special!
We had a wonderful few days in Vegas and used it as some down time after a really busy week and a half of sightseeing, walking and driving. It gave us a refresh for the next part of our journey and the luxury of the hotel made it just that much more special!
As always here is our short movie of all we got up to in Las Vegas.
I posted a few pictures from our recent trip to Canberra here and today I have a few from our day in the NSW snowfields that we also enjoyed during our school holiday road trip! It was the first time the girls had seen snow and they were very excited. No skiing this time, just some tobogganing and sightseeing at lovely Perisher. The week we visited had not been so great for snow fall but it was still picture perfect for us.
We took a trip to our nations capital during our recent school holidays – such a change for us as we always head somewhere warm at this time of year! Canberra in winter I must say was just fantastic! We really did have a wonderful time and visited all the great attractions that Canberra has to offer. The girls loved Questacon, we all loved the Australian Institute of Sport and it was wonderful to look around our amazing Parliament House. We also walked around the War Memorial and The Australian Mint as well as spent the morning at the Art Gallery. We visited Cockington Green Gardens which I visited as a school girl and did the drive by of the lovely embassies.
We discovered the amazing food scene that the ACT has to offer as well. So much to choose from and worth just going to a weekend to discover for yourself. Our favourites were Ona on the Lawns in Manuka, The Cupping Room in the city and Penny University in Griffith. We will definitely be heading back to discover more soon.
So after what has been the most amazing winter here in Sydney the weather has finally cracked and the rain is coming down by the bucket load! As I sit here huddled in front of my fire watching the weather around me I keep thinking back to our amazing trip to Bali in July and thought today would be the perfect day to share some sun, fun and happiness with you.
I know I said it in my post a few months ago after our April trip to Bali but it really is the one place in the world I feel very connected to the world. The constant warm days, the friendly people and the wonderful vibe I get every time I am in Bali makes me desperate to spend more than a just a few weeks at a time there. I am still working on Mr A and hope that sometime in my future we can even a few months living the Bali life – switching off from the pace of life at home and just enjoying each others company.
This trip to Bali was a little different than others as we were staying at my lovely friends Rowe’s villa. Rowe is an Aussie photographer living in Bali with her family while her daughter Audrey attends the amazing Green School (such an amazing school – even just to visit). We spent our first day with Rowe, Danny and Audrey before they headed home to Australia for a few weeks – it was a lot more like living in Bali than being in a resort with loads of other families – I just loved it and it gave me even more of a taste for it.
So here are 20 of my favourite photos from our recent trip away (somehow I decided on these out of over 1,000) – I think I will have to do another post soon to share some more fun photos.
Would love to know where you love travelling to? Is there somewhere in the world that you feel really connected to?