Teresa Swinbourne

Joined May 2017
  • Day31

    Day 30 - San Francisco Day 2

    June 14, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 21 °C

    First up caught a tram to Lombard Street known as the "crookedest street in the world". We walked to the top a long steep climb. Obviously a great tourist attraction as it had very beautiful garden beds everywhere. The houses looked like lovely terrace homes but not sure I would want to live in on such a touristy street. Beautiful though.

    Continued walking down to the Marine and walked along the shoreline till we hit Fisherman's Wharf. It was a lovely day so Stephen and I caught a ferry to Sausalito. It was a lovely town set on a hill reminded us of the Amalfi Coast/Capri. Great liitle town with heaps of touristy shops, cafes, ice cream shops and restaurants. Walked around the town, lunch at the bakery (no pies or sausage rolls 🙁), ice creams and then the ferry home. Lots and lots of bikes on the ferry as many people ride over the Golden Gate Bridge and catch the ferry back.

    From the ferry you have great views of the Golden Gate Bridge and Alcatraz. On arriving back at Pier 39 we went to look at the sea lions. One very large sea lion gave us a private performance on the wharf. The bark sound Sea Lions make is awful.

    Back for drinks at the hotel then dinner our last dinner in USA at Fisherman's Wharf.
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  • Day30

    Day 29 - San Francisco Day 1

    June 13, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    The hotel we are staying at is very quaint it has a British eclectic theme.

    After a lovely breakfast of scambled eggs and fresh fruit we headed to Alcatraz. Just as well we had pre booked as next available tour was 10 July. Apparently numbers are restricted daily in order to try and preserve the island and buildings which are crumbling.

    There was a lot of history here that we did not know. First built with facilities for a lighthouse, a military fort to protect San Francisco Bay from invasion and as a military prison in the mid 1800s.

    It was a federal prison from 1934 to 1963 and housed some very famous and dangerous criminals including Al Capone and the Birdman.

    There were 14 break out attempts but all foiled
    except 1 in which 3 inmates broke out and swam across the bay. They were presumed drowned but their bodies were never found.

    The audio tour was amazing and just the feel of the place creepy. Cells were 5ft by 9ft and prisoners were locked up for 16hrs a day. They were fed good food because it was hoped by doing this the prisoners would not be thinking of escape.

    Oh well it was a very harsh place it seems but YOU DO THE CRIME YOU PAY THE TIME.

    After Alcatraz closed the Indians took possession in the late 60s as a land rights protest for about 19 months. Then the National Parks took it over and opened Alcatraz as a tourist attraction. It also is a reserve for several species of birds who nest at this time of the year so we saw lots of babies.

    Then Stephen and I went to Pier 39 for a great fisherman's plate (glad we got 1 serve to share between 2 it was a big meal) and a glass or two of lovely wine. We actually sat at lunch talking to another Aussie couple Helen and Jo who only live in Engadine and were heading home tonight.

    Back to our hotel to meet up with Tony and Gail for drinks in the parlor and to investigate Chinatown and Little Italy.
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  • Day29

    Day 28 - Yellowstone to San Francisco

    June 12, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 31 °C

    Today started with a 3hr drive to Cody airport. As we left before 7.30am we were hoping to see some animals on our drive through the park.

    We were not disappointed we saw a Black Bear in a clearing on a hill not long after we left. Also a Pronghorn, plenty of Bison and of course more fantastic scenery. A fitting way to end our visit to Yellowstone National Park.

    A tiny 30 seater from Cody to Salt Lake City was too rough for the hostess to serve any food or drink to us.

    Then on our last domestic flight things started to turn.
    Boarded our plane in Salt Lake City at 3pm and took off at 7.45pm (only a bit late). Delayed because of damage to the wing by a lightening strike. Turns out they fixed it with special airplane duct tape.

    Well I suppose they endured our safety only compensation of sitting on the plane for over 3hrs before we got off was that we could have a free beer or wine and not 1 but 2 packets of pretzels each.

    Arrived at our quaint hotel around 9.30pm and headed to the local diner "Lori's" for a bit of dinner and walk past the Starlight Room and up to the top of hill a long way up to Grace Cathedral before we hit the hay.

    Oh well tomorrow is another day.
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  • Day28

    Day 27 - Yellowstone National Park

    June 11, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 15 °C

    This morning Stephen and Tony set off to whitewater raft the Yellowstone River. We could see them board their raft from our balcony. They said it was a fairly easy raft ride and returned safely to our waiting arms.

    We headed off to Lamar Valley about 2pm as we wanted to stay out late to see what animals we could see as dusk fell.

    We spotted the following animals;

    Ground squirrel - cute little thing just running through the little shrubs beside a walking track.

    Striped Beaver - scurring just off the side of the road spotted by Stephen while he was driving.

    Mousse - in amongst the trees on the side of the road. Very big animal.

    Grizzly Bear and 2 cubs - way up on a hill but definitely saw the cubs playing around mum with the help of Tony's binoculars.

    The good old Bison just standing by the side of the road lazily chewing his cud.

    Osprey nest on the side of a cliff. It was very large and when you looked you could see the head of a baby bobbing up and down.

    Elk - with its velvet antlers just causally stroll across the road even stopped to scratch itself in the middle of the road.

    As we headed towards home we were a bit depressed we had not seen a black bear when on a hill suddenly there appeared a black bear and two cubs in a clearing between the pine trees.

    Our day had been very fruitful and that doesn't include tbe many Bison and Deer we saw along the way.

    It was a lot of fun but animal spotting is tiring and hungry work so back home for dinner and bed.

    PS The days are so long here 8.45 and it was still nt dark yet.

    Tomorrow San Francisco.
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  • Day27

    Day 26 - Yellowstone National Park

    June 10, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Off to see the Grand Canyon of Yellowstone National Park and the Upper and Lower falls.

    Wow wow wow. First we stop on a long winding road to see a Back Bear sunning himself on rock ledge. I couldn't have been more than 10m from him. Unbelievable.

    Next we saw some Bison locking horns in battle.
    A sight to behold.

    We drove past some fantastic rock formations including the one pictured below which looks like a log fence built around the mountain holding it up.

    As we approached the top of the mountains there was fresh snow on the trees and ground. We were about 8,500ft above sea level. We threw snowballs at each other and Stephen climbed up the hill a bit until he gell flat on his arse 😁😁

    Very very beautiful to drive through this area.

    Next stop was the Grand Canyon and falls.

    The Canyon is on a volcano. It was formed by a glacier 3,000ft high melting which formed the Canyon.

    Artists Point gave beautiful views of the waterfall and Canyon.

    The National Park was established in 1872 and is an UNSECO World Heritage Site. It is the first National Park in USA.

    As we traveled back to base we were bear spotting but no luck spotting another one today.

    After dinner we walked up to the Roosevelt Arch. Along the way we found 3 adult deer just sitting in the park. Took lots of pictures I must have been 5ft from them. They are stunning creatures wish I had those long skinny legs and ankles not too fussed about the hooves though.

    Tomorrow we are going out late bear hunting.
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  • Day26

    Day 25 - Yellowstone National Park

    June 9, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 11 °C

    First Geyser was Norris which we walked around with lots of sulphur in the air. The colours were unbelievable as sulphur oxides when the air hits it.

    Then off to the Old Faithful a very big geyser which shoots its load regularly. It was very amazing.

    Then we drove through the mountains and around Yellowstone Lake. The snow covered mountains were truly a site to behold.

    Stopped at the lake and took some very beautiful pictures even dipped our hands into the water temperature not too bad.

    Then to view some rapids which after seeing definitely counts me out for whitewater rafting down Yellowstone River.

    There are so many adjectives I could use to describe this countryside but in truth there would never be enough it is just too beautiful for words.

    Another big day tomorrow.
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  • Day25

    Day 24 - Las Vegas to Yellowstone

    June 8, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Two planes and a 3hr drive through the most picturesque mountainside I have ever seen and we arrived at our destination Gardiner the north entrance of Yellowstone National Park.

    Along the way we saw Bison, Elk, Deer, Bear with cubs and Coyotes. What a wonderful start to our adventure in Yellowstone.

    We also stop to see a Geyser

    We have a lovely cabin right on the Yellowstone River. Tony and Gail have the cabin next door. After unpacking we had drinks and pizza sitting on our balcony overlooking the river. Weather was very warm didn't even need a jacket and had thongs on.
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  • Day24

    Day 23 - Las Vegas

    June 7, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 35 °C

    Last day in Las Vegas.

    This morning we went for a walk through some of the other casinos. Mostly impressive but I did not think much of the Monte Carlo.

    Ventured up to the Miracle Mile Shops and found a great place for lunch only $4.99US and we all had something delicious. Tony ventured down to the old part of town and said he felt like a shower afterwards as it was not a very nice place but he was glad he ticked the Pawn Shop he wanted to see off his bucket list.

    Ran into the rest of the Australian Rat Pack still shopping up a storm before they go back to Paradise.

    Tonights entertainment THE RAT PACK. Here we got the first cappuccino in a real cup that actually tasted like an espresso back home.

    Fantastic show the impersonator who played Dean Martin stole the show. It was set in a small club like atmosphere.

    Loved it.

    Tomorrow off to Yellowstone. My opinion on Las Vegas crossed off the bucket list, enjoyed it but don't need to go back. 🍸🍸🍸🍸
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  • Day23

    Day 22 - Las Vegas - Grand Canyon

    June 6, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ⛅ 37 °C

    Up early, pick up by bus to a small airport.

    We all survived the plane ride. Plane only fits 21 people including pilot and co pilot. Not much room and we all had to be weighed and sit a particular seat to balance the weight of the plane.

    Grand Canyon is the 7th Wonder of the World.

    1st stop Eagle Point - named this by the Hualapai People because of the large rock formation which looks like and eagle flying. This rock formation was made be nature.

    There was a trail with the types of mud homes and teepees the Hualapai people live in.

    2nd stop Guano Point - amazing all round views of Grand Canyon and Colorado River. Photos do not do justice to this amazing view. We climbed to the top of a small rock formation and had almost 360° views. Truly a wonderful experience not to be forgotten.

    After arriving back at our hotels we all decided to split up till later. The Australian Rat Pack all met up again at the Nine Fine Irishman Pub. Stephen and I stayed till 1.30am dancing to the band and talking to a group of Celtic supporters celebrating their teams World Cup win. While the other oldies went to bed we had a blast.
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  • Day22

    Day 21 - Las Vegas

    June 5, 2017 in the United States ⋅ ☀️ 36 °C

    After a leisurely breakfast we finally all met and decided our plan of action for the day.

    As it was going to be over 40° golf was cancelled. Stephen decided to have the day to himself. Gail, Liz, Leigh and I decided to hit the South outlets. Following us were the rest of the men.

    Unfortunately we found the savings not that great. Gail and I bought a few things but Liz and Leigh win queens of shopping for the day.

    For tonights entertainment we went to see the show Las Vegas. It was about the old Vegas days with Showgirls, Wayne Newton, Sammy Davies Jnr, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Tina Turner, Elton John, Elvis, Gladys Night, Sonny and Cher, and Tom Jones.

    There was also an act called the Quibblers which did the Village People and they were very funny.

    The show was lots of fun.

    Onto dinner at a Brazilian restaurant with plenty to eat and lots of white and red sangria - delicious.

    After dinner we walked through the Miracle Mile Shops. It was pretty amazing as it felt like you were walking outside because of the blue ceiling and the lighting - Stephen thought at first it daylight.

    They had some very strange artwork for sale including a metal sculpture which to me looked like a cockroach. A short walk back to our hotel as tomorrow we are off to the Grand Canyon.
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