Saturday, May 29, 2010

Day 36 - Sunday 23 May - Travel/Sydney/Melbourne

Now there is no mistake in the date, we left on a Friday night and got home on a Sunday morning due to a little thing called the International Date Line.

The flight was fine but Bubbles didn’t sleep much and ended up with a stiff neck, so he was grumpy and tired by the time the flight was over. Spanky on the other hand was pretty chipper. She fell asleep shortly after takeoff, woke to eat dinner, then went back to sleep and only woke when we were about 2.5hrs away from landing.

We arrived in Sydney and had our first case of having to wait a long time for our luggage. When we finally got it we quickly got though customs and headed for the transfers desk with about 45 mins before our domestic flight to Melbourne was meant to leave. There would have been more time, but V Australia/Virgin Blue in their wisdom changed our flights a week before hand and moved us to a domestic flight 45min before the one we had booked on.

After waiting for about an hour at the transfers desk, we were given seats on a different flight (funny that as our other one had already left) and headed over to the domestic terminal. We boarded our flight for our final flight of the trip.

We arrived in Melbourne at 1115am and we met by The Golfer and The Teacher who chauffeured us home. Thus ending our five week journey.

Day 35 - Friday 21 May - San Francisco

Today started off as normal and we got up and grabbed some breakfast. We finished up our packing, somehow finding the best way to pack the large amount of shoes, jeans, t-shirts, jackerts etc that we had brought. We were lucky enough to have a midday checkout, so at about 1145 we left out room and headed down. We double checked that out taxi was booked to pick us up and went out for our last little bit of shopping.

We grabbed what we needed (another jacket for Bubbles, shoes for Spanky) and headed to get some lunch. There was a soup place that Bubbles had been wanting to go to since we arrived in San Francisco but could never get there. So after our long awaited soup lunch we headed over to Walgreens.

By the time we left Walgreens we had almost left them with no Sugar Free candy, which is for Bubbles. We headed back to our hotel and grabbed the taxi to the Airport. It was the first taxi that we had taken that cost what we expected it to. It was nice not to have a nasty surprise on being dropped off.

We checked in our luggage, 2 for Bubbles and 1 for Spanky (plus she had the small suitcase carry on), and went to our gate. The flight to Los Angeles was quick and there was nice view from the window as we flew in. This was just the first of three flights that it would take to get us home.

We grabbed out luggage and walked around LAX to check in at terminal 3. We passed the luggage weight test (we sent 4 bags down the shoot and hit right on our weight limit of 64kg total) and went and grabbed some dinner in the main international terminal. We were going to get dinner on the flight but we would have to wait until about midnight local time to get it.

After some dinner, we headed to our gate and waited. It was strange to be waiting for an international flight in the same terminal as domestic flights, but the added security in the US airports makes it ok as only passengers with boarding passes are allowed past security to the actual terminal.

Day 34 - Thursday 20 May - San Francisco

This morning we got up earlyish, had breakfast and got ready for the day. We headed out to the local Walgreens (7-11) and brought a one day muni ticket so that we could go on the Cable cars, buses and trams.

We got on the Cable car at the end of Powell just before 830am. This cable car took us up Powell Street, and along Mason Street all the way to Fisherman’s wharf.

We hopped off at the end of the line, and walked over to pier 33 where we boarded a boat going out to Alcatraz Island. We had booked the 930am boat and it left right on time. We sat up the top of the boat and soaked in the views as well as some much needed sun.

We spent about 2 hours on Alcatraz, wondering around looking at all the buildings. We took the free audio tour of the main cell block and heard about what it was like for the guards and the inmates. Bubbles even spent some time in a cell, but Spanky declined the offer.

When we got back into the city it was just after noon, so we walked down to pier 1 and the Ferry building for some lunch. They had transformed the old building into a farmer market type location that fresh food and local produce to pick from. Originally this building was a Ferry terminal for everyone coming into the city for work from other areas of the bay, but when the bridges (Bay & Golden Gate) were build it was not needed very much. A freeway was build over it, but in the last major earthquake (late ‘80’s) the freeway collapsed. Instead of rebuilding the freeway over it again, they moved the freeway and redid the building up to its past grandeur.

We stopped by a chocolate store on the way back to pick up some more presents, but strangely Spanky declined some free samples.

We took a walk up Market Street and then hopped on a tram and then a bus to get us to a sports store we had found online. We finally found a place that had shoes that would fit Spanky and Bubbles got some things too. So we were much much happier than we were yesterday arvo.

We took the bus back to Union Square and headed for the hotel for a rest and to start packing.

At 530pm we headed out the front of our hotel and were picked up by Martha & Terry (it was perfect timing by all of us!). They drove us a few blocks away and we went and had dinner at this great little Italian restaurant. The food was wonderful and we all left the restaurant feeling very full. Terry took us on a bit of a drive of the city, and we headed out to the Golden Gate Park. We went to the beach as well, and saw the Pacific Ocean. On the way back to the hotel, Martha pointed out places to us, like the area her grandparents lived in, the hospital where she was born and other places she used to go to as a child.

We were all pretty tired by the time we got dropped off to the hotel (we’re sure the food helped with that), but it was great to be able to see Martha & Terry one last time before we left.

Day 33 - Wednesday 19 May - San Francisco

Today we had a bit of a sleep in and then headed for our 11am bus tour out to the Golden Gate Bridge. The tour gave good views and we stopped for about 15min on the other side of the bridge for photos. It was drizzling the whole time, but we still sat on the top level of the bus and got wet.

On the way back, we got off the bus at Lombard Street to go check out the crooked part of the street. We walked up and up and then down and down Lombard street. It is easy to see why it is called the “crookedist” street in the world.

After our picture taking, we walked a few blocks south to go find a sports store we had heard about. We looked around the store for about 30min and brought only one thing. We stopped for lunch at a Deli and then made our way to the Cable Car Museum.

After the museum, we were pretty tired from all the hill walking, so headed to the hotel for a rest.

After our rest, we went out to try to find some sneakers to buy. After lots of frustration going to all the shops in the area that sold them, we gave up and had some dinner. For some reason they only stock standard width shoes and in limited sizes, which we found strange being in the land of the giants.

We went to the 8pm show of Wicked. The show was good, we had seen it in Melbourne 2yrs ago. The theater is in a very seedy part of town, so we walked very quickly back to our hotel after it was over with some other people going the same way.

Day 32 - Tuesday 18 May - San Francisco

Today we did three hop-on hop-off bus tours.

The first one we did took us out to Golden Gate Park (this park is not near the Golden Gate Bridge). This tour took us past some of the seedier parts of the city but also gave us a good look at the different types of houses that make up the city. The most interesting of those houses had such intricate detail with the painting that they looked amazing. We went past the famous 'Painted Ladies', which are shown in many movies and TV shows.

We next did the downtown tour. This tour took us through the city and we hopped off at Fisherman’s Wharf. We went for a look around the Wharf area. We checked out Pier 39 and the seals and then walked over to Fort Mason. We got on the bus again and headed back to Union Square.

When we got back to the Square, we stopped off at the discount Ticket booth and picked up tickets for Wicked for tomorrow night at a good discount price.

After a short rest, we did the night bus tour (that was at 5pm, and it was nowhere near being dark outside, thank goodness it took us on a different route from the day tour).

We grabbed some dinner at Wolfgang Pucks Express and then headed back for the night. As a note it was still light out when we got back to the hotel after dinner. Not a very good night tour on the bus.

Day 31 - Monday 17 May - San Francisco

Today we packed up our stuff and Terry took us to our hotel in San Francisco just before lunchtime. We said goodbye and thank you to Terry, but would be seeing him and Martha later in the week before we left.

We were able check-in to our room when we got there. The room was very nice and we both thought that the upgrade in the room was well worth it for the extra space that it gave us.

Our hotel is at Union Square. Union Square is a tourist area which has lots of shops and restaurants.

We spent the arvo walking around the area looking in the shops and getting wet from the rain. We both bought some things to go with the ever expanding pile that we have accumulated.

For dinner we went to the Cheesecake Factory at the top of Macy’s. It was great! The meals were huge and we each ordered a cheesecake to take away (very very good cheesecakes. Bubbles had a low carbs one, while Spanky had a triple choc one). It was our first restaurant that we had to wait for a table to be available, which is pretty good this far into the trip. We left dinner wishing we had been to the Cheesecake Factory a few times in our trip.

Friday, May 21, 2010

Day 30 - Sunday 16th May - Sunnyvale/San Francisco, CL

Today we had a bit of a sleep in and then got ready to go a for a baseball game.

After saying goodbye to Alicia (who was going back to Uni today and having her 21st Birthday during the week), we headed off to the AT&T ballpark in San Francisco city.

We got to the stadium to find that the line into the stadium went around the street, over the bridge and half way down the wharf. (They were giving out bobble heads to the first 20,000 people through the gates) The game was San Francisco Vs. Houston, they had played the day before with a win to San Francisco.

The game was great with a win to San Francisco. We saw 4 home runs with one being a splasher (it landed in the water out of the stadium).

We headed back and Martha and Terry made us our first home cooked meal in 4 weeks. It was very good.

Day 29 - Saturday 15th May - Sunnyvale, CL

Today, the 3 girls headed off for a pedicure in the morning. While Bubbles and Terry stayed home and started to fix Bubbles’ suitcase handle (it got broken in NYC and wouldn’t go up anymore, making it a pain to carry around).

When the girls got home, we all headed out to an outlet mall about 30min away. We got to the outlets at about 1215pm, and didn’t leave until 7pm. That’s a lot of shopping time! On the way home, the boot of the car was filled with shopping bags (not all ours, some for Martha & Alicia as well!).

We went out for dinner at a make your own Mexican place, kinda like Subway only with tacos, barritos etc.

Day 28 - Friday 14th May - LV/San Jose

Today we woke up in our wonderful hotel suite.

We headed down for some breakfast at one of the many restaurants on offer. After breakfast, we went and packed up all our stuff and then checked out and put our stuff in the car.

We wandered around the hotel and went and had a look at the inside of the Lexor hotel/casino.

At about 1230pm we got into our car and took a drive down and back up the Strip. We then headed to the rental car drop off centre.

Our flight to San Jose was about an hour, and only left 10mins late.

When we got to San Jose airport we were met by Martha and Alicia. They took us back to their house, we dropped our stuff off, got changed quickly and then we all, along with Terry, headed off for dinner.

We went to a Japanese tepinyaki restaurant where we meet up with some family friends of Martha & Terry’s and also celebrated Alicia’s 21st Birthday (in 5 days).

Sunday, May 16, 2010

Day 27 - Thursday 13th May - AZ/Las Vegas

Today took us for the long trip from the Grand Canyon south rim all the way to Las Vegas. We set off at about 745am, drove out of the park and stopped at the Maccas just outside the gates. After some breakfast, we set off again (bout 815am).

The drive was long. It was fairly easy and smooth though. Mainly trucks on the highway, but everyone was following good overtaking rules.

We got to the Arizona-Nevada state boarder at about midday. We parked the car and then had a look around. The reason this was a pit stop is because the state boarder here is the Hoover Dam. Bubbles was loving it. The dam wall is huge, although we did think it looked a little smaller in length in person than it does on TV and films.

After our pit stop, we got in the car for our last driving leg of they day.

We got into Las Vegas and arrived out our hotel, Mandalay Bay at about 1pm. After we found the self car park, we went in search of the check-in desk.

Room cards in hand, we headed up to the 28th floor. Down a super long corridor, and we found our room. It was one room away from the room at the end of the corridor. We had booked a suite, and absolutely LOVED the room!! It was huge! (We had already paid for the room, but when we checked in, they did us a better deal, and halved the room price!!!)

We got changed and went down to the pool area. There is a Wave pool, 3 other pools and a lazy river. After a swim, and a rest, we went back to the room (for anther rest).

At 5pm, we went to the shops and had a look around the casino and hotel. We had dinner at a Russian restaurant where we had Beef Strog and Chicken Kiev. Both were very good (at the price we paid they should have been).

After dinner, we headed out to the Strip for a look around. We walked all the way to Treasure Island casino/hotel, then turned around and headed back. This trip took us past/to all the main hotels/casinos. We enjoyed seeing the inside of the Venetian. It was very busy out on the sidewalk, both with tourists and people trying to get you to see shows.

After spending the night walking up and down “The Strip” Bubbles can clearly see why it most commonly called “Sin City”.

Day 26 - Wednesday 12th May - Sedona/Grand Canyon

Another travel day for us off up to the Grand Canyon.

We packed up our stuff, had breakfast, checked out and had a last look around Sedona. We found a great view of the town and local area from the Sedona Airport. We were on our way by about 1030am.

From Sedona it was about 2and a bit hours to the Grand Canyon. After a seedy start for Bubbles on the first stretch of road (it was full of twist and turns and a bit steep), it was smooth driving up to the Grand Canyon National Park.

We reached the park just before 1pm, and then found our way around to our accommodation for the night. When we got there, we were told they couldn’t check us in til 4pm. So, off we headed for a walk over to the Canyon rim for our first look. It took us only a couple of minutes to get there (there is other accommodation that is actually on the rim, but we figured it wouldn’t matter if we were just a couple of minutes walk from it, and it cost less).

The view was great. We took photos, but they don’t do the view justice.

We had another try at checking in at about 230pm, and were able to. Our room was fine. Standard motel type of room, nothing special. We unloaded our stuff, then took a drive to other observation areas and the information centre.

After dinner, we walked over to the rim to see the canyon at sunset.

Day 25 - Tuesday 11th May - Sedona, AZ

Our first day in Sedona started off with a little walk down to the main street to look at the shops. Now to say that this place had a few hippy shops would be an understatement. In this area there is a number of Vortexes (you know, where everything lines up just right).

We got back and hopped into the car and headed to the Town of Old Creek, which is a town just on the outskirts. (Like the Hepburn Springs is to Daylesford) We had a look at some outlet shops and headed back to the hotel. On the way back we stopped at the observation areas to take some pictures of the mountains, which take after the name of the national park, and are coloured a deep red.

We also stopped at a church which was built into the mountain and we went to a Mexican village and had a look around and Spanky bought some beads.

Back at the hotel, we had a rest, reading our books outside in the sun near the fire pit and BBQ area. The weather is deceptive, its cold out of the sun, warm in the sun, but the wind is cold.

For dinner we went back to the Mexican Village and went to the Brewery. The beer was nice and so was the food.

Day 24 - Monday 10th May - NYC/AZ

Another Travel day for us with another early morning start and off to another destination. We were getting out of the hustle and bustle that we had experienced in Washington and New York for the quieter desert. We had, let us say, an interesting taxi ride out to the airport that left us both feeling a little bit seedy.

We flew into Phoenix, Arizona and headed out to the car rental company only to find that they didn’t have any of the cars that we had booked. We were lucky enough that one turned up after not too long. We headed out of the airport and did a quick hello and goodbye to Phoenix and headed up the highway to Sedona.

After about 2 hours of Spanky driving (Note: Spanky is doing all the driving as she is 25yrs old where as Bubbles is still only 24yrs old, so it would have cost more each day we rent a car if we wanted him to drive), with a pit stop for some food, we arrived in Sedona. This place had to have some the most breathtaking scenery that we have seen. The pictures that we took don’t do it justice.

We checked into the Hyatt and were informed that we were in the new section of the place which had rooms about 3 months old. The view off our balcony was great, we could see to the East, South and West.

We went and did our usual shop and then grabbed some take away Chinese food for dinner.

Monday, May 10, 2010

Day 23 - Sunday 9th May - NYC

Weather forecast for today: Cold, 53deg F (about 12deg C), windy.

Today we headed to the Intrepid Sea, Air and Space Museum. Along the way we saw Oprah in Times Square, she had hosted a fun run/walk for mother’s day which was for breast cancer (same as our Mothers Day walk at home).

So, it was at Bubbles request that we go see the Intrepid museum. The Intrepid is a aircraft carrier that was build in 1943 and served in WW2 through to Vietnam and was used as a main astronaut recovery vessel for NASA for the Mercury and Gemini missions.

On the flight deck (remember it is a very cold and very windy day) there is a Blackbird, a Tomcat, a Harrier Jump Jet, MiGs, and more. Spanky had to be pushed around for some of it as it was so windy and she struggled to move.

Bubbles was most excited to see the Concorde. The Concorde is the only commercial passenger aircraft capable of travelling at supersonic speeds. This one previously belonged to British Airways.

There was also a growler submarine that we walked through. It was used as a nuclear missile launching submarine that was in service for only 6 years.

After the museum, we headed over to the subway station, picking up some lunch along the way from a deli and headed downtown to the Chelsea and Meatpacking areas. We went for a walk along the Highline, which is an old trolley line that is a story above street level. The Highline has been done up with gardens and seating areas all along it. It currently runs about 10blocks, but the next 10 block stage is already underway.

On the way back to the hotel we stopped off at some shops and brought some things, then went to the hotel for a rest and pack up our stuff ready to head to Arizona tomorrow. For dinner we went a couple of doors down from the hotel to a brewery where the food and beer was good. We had our first desert of the trip here, as Bubbles liked the look of the apple crumble pie.

Day 22 - Saturday 8th May - NYC

The day started a little later today than the others. It was raining outside when we awoke, probably the first time that this has happened.

We went and hoped on the subway and made our way to Central Park. We went for a pleasant walk around about half of the park, visiting Strawberry Fields, the Jackie Kennedy Onassis Lake, the Obelisk and the Zoo.

At around lunchtime, we were feeling a bit tired so headed back to the hotel for a rest. This seems to be becoming a usual occurrence on most days in the afternoon. We picked up a couple of slices of pizza before we got to the hotel for some lunch.

For dinner we headed down the South Sea Port where there are lots of shops, restaurants and cafes and also a good view of the Brooklyn Bridge. After a subway ride back to the hotel we had decided that our “relaxing” day was not that relaxing.

Day 21 - Friday 7th May - NYC

Our day started off with a trip to the Union Square Market. It is like a farmers market with some trinkets as well. There was lots of yummy looking food, but we didn’t think that we could use a whole lot of vegetables.

We walked up Broadway to the Empire State Building. After the previous nights trip up the Rockefeller tower the Empire State Building offered up a better view of the Financial district of New York. After our cold and windy time up the top we headed down and had a look at the famous Madison Square Garden.

Our next jaunt was to a place that was like a living nightmare to Bubbles. The first Macy’s shopping centre is kind of like a cross between Myer and David Jones, but much bigger. It was 8 floors worth of twists and turns and elevators that went up but not down or down but not up. After some lunch at the Macy’s food court it was off to some more shopping. When we had finally both had enough shopping we walked back to the hotel.

After some relaxing we headed down for the nightly cheese and wine that the hotel puts on. There was the extra bonus of live music being played while we had our food. We headed off to a Belgium café for some dinner and then back to the hotel to get changed.

Off to Broadway we went to see Mary Poppins at the Old Amsterdam Theater. We had seats up on the 1st level Mezzanine in the front row just off to the right side. These turned out to be wonderful seat! But we cant really say why without spoiling the ending.

Day 20 - Thursday 6th May - NYC

This morning we got up early and headed down to the south tip of Manhattan Island, via the subway, to Battery Park. Here we lined up to pick up our tickets for our trip out to the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island.

So, off we headed on the 9am boat out to Liberty Island. Once there we found lockers to store our bag, as we were only able to bring our camera with us, as we were climbing all the way up the inside of Lady Liberty to her crown. The stairwell starts like a normal stair well that’s inside a building, but then once your up into the statue body, it’s a spiral staircase that’s very tight and steep.

Somehow, we had managed to be the third and forth people up the statue for the day! They only have a certain number of people going up every half hour, and as there is limited room at the crown viewing, they have only a few people going up every 10 minutes. The view was great, and we could touch all the copper that makes up the definition of her hair.

Heading back down, we stopped at the different viewing levels and also the museum. After a walk around the island, we headed to the boat to go over to Ellis Island.

Once on Ellis Island, we spent about 1.5-2hrs looking around at the displays. For those that don’t know, this was basically for the most part an Immigration island. Most people who immigrated here from other counties via boat had their first steps on American soil at Ellis Island.

Once we returned to Manhattan, we took a walk up Broadway to Wall Street, then onto the World Trade Centre site. There is construction going on here for new buildings and memorial areas.

Back on the Subway, and to our hotel for a rest and to get ready for dinner.

Tonight we headed over to Rockefeller Centre. We brought tickets to go up to The Top Of the Rock. And then headed to have some dinner in the middle of the Centre right where in winter they have the ice skating rink.

After dinner we headed up to Top of the Rock. We timed it right so that we got up just before sunset and were able to see the city in daylight, twighlight and in the dark. The view was great, we could see central park and took some great shots of the Empire State Building.

Day 19 - Wednesday 5th May - DC/NYC

Today was another nice and early travel day.

We were up at 550am, and at the Foggy Bottom Metro station by 650am. We took the Metro to Union Station and checked in for our train to New York City. The New York City bound train was delayed about 45min, so it was after 9am by the time we boarded.

So, off we headed to New York City. When we arrived at Penn Station at about 12.15pm, we headed to the Subway platforms, got tickets for the week and got on a train going to Times Square.

When we got to Times Square, we found our hotel, The Casablanca Hotel, and checked in (fulfilling Bubbles hope that at some place our room would be ready when we arrived). At this hotel, we are Mr & Mrs S, rather than Mr & Mrs T, which is funny when they call Bubbles Mr S!

Shortly after arriving, Brandon & Lisa joined us for a catch up. We all headed down to Little Italy for some late lunch. We had lunch at a nice Italian place with a courtyard out the back where we ate. Afterwards we headed back to the hotel as Brandon and Lisa were heading to Bali later tonight and had to go pack. It was wonderful to see them, and we wish we had had more time to catch up with them.

After a rest, we went out to Times Square to find something to eat, then had an early night as we were going to Liberty and Ellis island tomorrow morning.

Day 18 - Tuesday 4th May - Washington DC

This day started off with a sleep in, one of the few that we have had. We headed down to the Foggy Bottom train station and made our way to the Smithsonian Air and Space Museum. Upon entering we looked at the Mercury, Gemini and Apollo capsules that were on display. The Apollo capsule was the one that took Armstrong, Aldrin and Collins to the moon and back.

We walked through the different exhibits, seeing about half the museum before lunchtime

After we headed outside for some lunch we headed back into the museum to see the other half of the museum. A lot of people only visit the museum for about 2hours, but we looked at every exhibit and spent longer there.

Bubbles decided that the simulators would be some fun to go on. Spanky decided that her stomach would not handle the experience. Bubbles was put in charge of a F-14 and sent up to shoot the bad guys. It started off well with a successful hit first off but then things went a bit downhill with bubbles spending most of the time upside down.

We headed back to the room and started packing, as the next day would be an early one with us heading off to New York.

Dinner was at the Froggy Bottom Pub which was a standard pub meal for a good price.

Approx distance walked: 4km

Tuesday, May 4, 2010

Day 17 - Monday 3rd May - Washington DC

Today we had a Segway tour booked. So, at 930am we went to City Segway tours, watched a short information video and then tried out using the Segways. They are so easy to use and pretty fun too!

Just after 10am, we headed outside and started our tour. There were only 6 people in our tour, including us. We first headed over to the White House, checking out both the front and back sides, then zoomed around the Washington Monument, up the south side of the Mall, going past the Smithsonian Castle, the Air & Space Museum, and then up the Capital Building. After seeing both the front and back sides of the building, we headed past Ford’s Theater (where Lincoln was shot), had a look around the area a little more, then finished up the tour.

We covered so much distance in two hours and although we had seen a lot of the places already, it was still a great tour to do and we were able to stop along the way to take photos and the guide was informative. Using the Segway was probably the best part, with them getting up to 15 mph. We spent our time travelling on both the road and sidewalk.

We headed to the Old Postal building for some lunch, and then went to the National Achieves building. We were worried that there might be a bit of a line for here, but there wasn’t, we were very thankful for this as we really really didn’t want to wait in lines. We wondered around the exhibits, and then went to the Rotunda to see the Declaration of Independence, Constitution and Bill of Rights.

We took a rest in the Sculpture gardens across the road from the National Achieves, and then made our way back to the hotel (nice easy 3km in the humidity). After a short rest, we headed to the ‘Golden Triangle’ area for a look around the shops and find somewhere for dinner. We eat at the Elephant and Castle, nice Irish pub. It was probably the biggest meal we have had the whole trip, with Spanky unable to eat her whole meal.

Approx distance walked: 8km

Monday, May 3, 2010

Day 16 - Sunday 2nd May - Washington DC

Today our plan was to head down to the Mall early so that we could get tickets for the observation deck of the Washington Monument.

So, we were up at 7am, organized our selves, and were out the door by 8am.

We got down to the Mall and the Lincoln monument by 820 am. As it was early and a Sunday morning it was fairly quiet, mainly just joggers out and about. We went and visited the Korean War Memorial and after that, we felt that we had had enough for the day. If Bubbles was offered the option to go back to the hotel and do nothing, at this point he would have done that.

Off to the Washington Memorial we went. We got free tickets for 1pm to go up to the observation deck.

We spent some time in the Smithsonian Castle, which is an information centre. Then we headed across the Mall to the Natural History Museum. This like all Smithsonian Museums is free to go in. we where there for about 2 hours.

After some lunch (we have been making sandwiches in our kitchen in our room and bringing them with us each day) we went to wait at the Washington Monument. The observation view from the top was good, because of the humidity and cloud cover the view was a bit hazy. We probably had our biggest encounter with rude people at the monument. All we could do was laugh at them and get on with our trip.

After this we got on the hop on/hop off bus from yesterday (ticket is good for 2 days) and headed to Georgetown. We walked around the area, checking out some shops and then made our way back to the hotel, on the way stopping for some take out Thai for later for dinner.

Approx distance walked: 9km.

Day 15 - Saturday 1st May - Washington DC

Today we decided to get tickets for a Hop on/Hop off bus. So off we headed towards the White House to get tickets and hop on the bus. After some issues with roadwork, we managed to get on the bus.

Off we headed our to the outer North West area of Washington. We went past Dupont Circle, Washington National Cathedral, Embassy Row, Georgetown and Foggy Bottom (area we are staying in).

Our first hop off was at Arlington Cemetery. We spent about 1.5hrs here, checking out different sites (the JFK grave, Arlington House, Tomb of the unknown soldiers, Columbia & Challenger memorials), we decided we needed a rest and some late lunch so hopped back on the bus and got off again near the Washington Monument.

Back on the bus and our next hop off was Capital building. After checking out the Capital building, we headed over to the Old Post Office Pavilion. This building is the third tallest in Washington DC and has a bell tower observation area. We went up to the observation area and got a wonderful view of the Mall. This was free to do, and although we wanted to try to get tickets for the observation deck of the Washington Monument, we weren’t sure we would be able to.

Having had enough of walking and being out in the heat (it was over 30deg) we headed back to the hotel.

After a short rest and wash, we went to Marshall’s Bar & Grill on Pennsylvania Ave, which is just up the street from our hotel. The food was good, Spanky had a Kabob (yes, there is no spelling error there, it was called a Kabob) while Bubbles enjoyed a Lambs Shank.

Approx distance walked: 10km.