To all our loyal fans the time had come for us to say goodbye, this will be our last blog as we arrive home on Sunday morning!
We arrived in L.A ready to be greeted by the shuttle service supplied by our hostel. After going through customs, baggage claim and all that fun stuff which we have now become pros at. We proceed outside, we were told to wait by the benches outside. After 20 minutes of walking around to find the benches (with our backpacks on) we realised we had walked past them about 20 times. I was about to sit down when a man got out of his red convertible and said don't sit there I thought he was joking so I sat down, he then said, 'i thought you wanted a lift?' It turns out he was our shuttle ride to the hostel! After loading all our bags in, they only just about fitted as the car was so small. We squeezed in and was ready to cruise L.A, the wind in our hair! The guy showed us a few things as we drove to the hostel one being where Danny had the car race in the film Greece! Once in our hostel which turned out just to be a house full of locals we explored L.A, we went to Venice beach that evening and the following day we went to Hollywood Blvd to see the hand prints and to do a city tour including some celeb houses! We made friends with a local guy in our hostel who made us a necklace each and then offered us drugs - wherever we go this seems to happen!
For those that didn't know we booked a trip in America which went from L.A to New York, its our last country and after some research, this trip looked like the best option for us. The night before the tour was arranged to start we had to meet at a hotel for an introduction. The meeting was at this really nice hotel which Contiki (the company who runs the tour) advised us to stay at. The hotel was so expensive so instead we stayed in Venice beach which by public transport was two hours away! After arriving at the hotel we turned up to find that everyone was dressed up, only a few people had been travelling as long as we had and for a lot of people this was there holiday. We even tried to wear our best clothes but we still looked like tramps in comparison! After the meeting which was just to write our names on a sheet of paper we went back to the hostel worrying about what a state we would look on the trip. We also had to get a early night at we had to get up at 5am as it was bags to coach at 7.30am. We were both so worried about missing the coach neither of us could sleep! After the long trek to the bus stop we were on our way to the hotel, once we got there, there was even enough time to get a coffee!
The tour begins.....First stop VEGAS BABY!!
On our tour bus there was 51 people all around the same age as contiki only take 18-35 yr olds. Camille was our tour manager and Richard was our bus driver. Camille was so funny and kept us entertained through out, she knew so much history about the country and the places we went to. She would always give us loads of information and when we were entering a city or a state she would play music that originated from that area or was about the place and sometimes we would watch a film either about the place we were visiting or if it was set there. There was loads of days where we would just be on the coach driving to our next destination, so that's when she would put a movie on for us or set us a game or quiz to play! On the way to Vegas to get to know everyone we had to do speed dating, where one person out of the two sitting next to each other would move around the bus. This was really fun but neither of us could remember any ones names!
When we arrived at our hotel room in Vegas i think the whole strip heard us screaming, this room was no Fijian bure! It had two, yes TWO double beds in and a huge bathroom with a ..wait for it.. full length mirror it was pure heaven - we didn't want leave the room! After we heard you can drink in the street going from casino to casino and that the drinks were cheap it was fairly easy to vacate the room! Las Vegas is a place Stephanie and I have always wanted to go and we always said we would make sure we were over 21 so we could enjoy it properly! Our first night We had an included dinner which meant we would get taken to a specific restaurant and the meal is already paid for. Afterwards we went to our first club it was on a roof top bar at the top of one of the hotels it was amazing and the views were incredible. It was a very swanky club to be in so we had to try and blend in, this didn't exactly happen one because all 51 of us had our cameras out taking picture (spot the tourists!), two because we didn't have very nice dresses and we had flip flops on and three because every time we had a sip of our drinks we would put our glasses together and all shout VEGAS BABY!! Needless to say we didn't blend in too well in that club, so it was onwards and upwards to the Playboy club! We had a fantastic night dancing but felt very inadequate next to everyone, so tomorrows job was to hit the shops! The next day we went to most of the major hotels, it was amazing Vegas is a different world it is just a playground for adults - well over 21s! We also did do a spot of shopping and got ourselves a pair of heels- the were a bargin! So this night we got all dressed up and before we met our group we thought it was about time to do some gambling and our best bet would be blackjack so we found the table with the lowest minum bet. We had set ourselves a limit which was $40, $20 each. Stephanie went first and I sat next to her she was doing well to start with and then she started getting quite excited. The waitress came over to ask if we wanted a drink (there free if you gamble) so i turned round to order my drink, when i turned back to the table i managed to see the last of the chips being swiped away - Stephanie had gotten over excited and spent my allowance as well as her own! At least I thought I had my free drink coming, but I had to tip her and then Stephanie some how drank it all she said she needed to drown her sorrows after losing! I think I'm the one who lost out - I didn't even get ago on the slots as we had run out of change!
We had another dinner booked for us which we were meeting our group at. It wasn't that far away but somehow we managed to get lost - let me remind you we both had new very high shoes on. By the time we got to the restaurant I was ready to kill myself with the damn shoes, they hurt that much, Stephanie was also having trouble with hers and nearly tripped up on a few occasions! After the meal we went back to the hotel put our flip flops on and hit a different club at a different hotel! (This is what not wearing heels in 11months has done to us!) Camille had set these clubs up for us which we all went as a group, in Vegas girls get in free and in a club there will always be more girls then guys. This is because if a guy sees a club full of girls his gonna come in and spend his money! They also give the girls free drinks so that night we were sipping on free vodka all night dancing up a storm! The night was so good we didn't sleep we got back to our room at 7am and bags to coach was at 7.45am - WE LOVE VEGAS!
Next stop....Grand Canyon.
As two people had gotten so drunk in Vegas they had over slept and missed the bus, it doesn't wait for no one! The only way to catch up with us was for them to get a $1,700 limo ride, a few days later they missed the bus and got a $300 taxi ride!
The Grand Canyon was amazing it is true that photos don't do it justice! We went for a hike on one of the days and also walked round the rim for a bit. It was a lovely day and the views are just incredible. We also went on another walk later in the day to watch the sunset which was beautiful! By this time we had made some really good friends there was eight of us, two Aussie girls, Bec and Ash and four girls from England, sisters Lucy and Grace and friends from Uni Sarah and Scarlett. Throughout the trip we have had so much fun with these girls, its been really nice to be in a group of girls again!
Iv just decided i wont tell you all the stops just the major ones otherwise this blog will go on for days!
Next stop ...TEXAS!
For another included dinner we went to a place called The Big Texan which a couple of boys took the Steak challenge they had to each a 70oz steak, a side salad and a jacket potato! - The didn't finish it, I would have loved to have had a go apart from the fact that if you don't complete the challenge it you have to pay for it -$75!
The next place was Dallas, which we loved we learnt all about JFK and went to the museum there.We also went to a restaurant called Gators they put on karaoke for us and we had a couple drinks which eventually lead to a few more and then the dancing on the bar began! The following day we explored Dallas and went out that evening had a few pre drinks and didn't get much sleep, bags to coach was early the next morning! I was not well that day!
We absolutely loved Memphis we got to go to Graceland and learn more about Elvis - we didn't realise how good looking he was in his early days - got a few postcards! Memphis is famous for its Rock n Roll, Blues and Jazz. We got to hear all these type of music down Beale Street there was so many live bands they were incredible. We also went to see Sun Studios! We went out one of the nights but got stopped in our tracks by some Fire Fighters they said they loved our accents and wanted pictures with us, of course we had to oblige! We even got to have a picture up in the Fire Engine with the helmets on! It was clearly a busy night for them!
After Memphis we travelled to New Orleans which was amazing the music there was also incredible. There was people playing in the streets everywhere. On our first night we got takeaway with the girls and then we met up with the rest of our group for a night of dancing, the heels made an appearance again with less crippling effects! The next day we tried the local food such as Gumbo and a few other dishes, we also checked out the local museum and the markets. We loved New Orleans defiantly one of our favourite places however it was really humid. We also want to go back here especially for the Mardi Gras!
Our Next main stop... Florida
While in Orlando we had a whole apartment to ourselves with a kitchen inside, it was amazing although we never actually used the kitchen it was lovely to look at! While in Florida we went to Disney Land we wasn't going to go, but at the last minute we changed our minds. We had a really great day with the other girls and going on the rides, but we were exhausted it was such a hot day!
After two nights in Orlando we headed to Miami stopping to have a trolley tour of the everglades. Everyone hated this tour on our group except Stephanie and I, we were loving it, it was really hot, but it was really informative. At one point we got to stop to either walk to a view point or walk a short trail. We decided to walk the trail - we were the only ones! We had been walking for 5 minutes when I spotted something on the bank Stephanie was in front and had walked past it, I half whispered half shouted for her to get back and come over to were I was! I then showed her, it was a huge alligator half on the bank the rest of its body in the water it looked like a huge log. I bent down to film it and take some photos, it didn't move but was just staring looking at us blinking, we then got really freaked out and ran back! During the last part of the tour our guide told us if your in front of a alligator don't bend down you have to appear big and strong! Stephanie and I just looked at each other, she could of told us this before I was getting up close bending down trying to get different angles of the thing! After escaping death by the jaws of an alligator it was time for Miami!!
While in Miami we spent our free day on the beach and in the sea which was amazing it would be one of the last times to top up our tans so we took full advantage! That night we got all glamed up ready for our private party cruise, which was a lovely boat and great D.J, free alcohol and great views of the city - what more could we ask for? Good looking sailors aboard? - well we cant have everything! The night was amazing we had such a great time with everyone, we then moved on to a very happening club in Miami which we cant actually remember the name of, however we can name the celebs that hang out there - the cast from Jersey Shore! After we came back from the club we had a pool party which was quite dangerous as we were highly intoxicated and it was thundering and lightning - but as you know from our earlier alligator story we like to live dangerously!
After a night in Cocoa Beach we stopped at the Kennedy Space centre and met an Astronaut he was really interesting, we also got to have a cheeky photo with him! Our next stop was Savannah where we had a trolley tour, it such a pretty place. On one of our nights we went to a gay bar with really cheap drinks and the Queen of all drag queens Miss Gaga, she shook her booty for us while we shoved dollar bills down her corset - a good night had by all!
Washington D.C was our next stop and it is memorials and museum galore! It was such a lovely place and most of the museums were free and so interesting. We managed to bet our personal best and stay in one museum for four hours!While we were on the coach going to visit Arlington Cemetery the police stopped and blocked the road as the President was driving past as he was giving a talk at the Pentagon as it was September 11th. Later on that day while we where still on the coach a policeman on his motorbike did the same again and blocked off the road, this time we were right at the front of the traffic and again the President drove past, we couldn't believe our luck we were all very excited and screamed we had our cameras ready to try and get a good picture of him! Washington was defiantly one of our favourite places.
Our final destination was New York, most of the group all went for the last meal. It was really sad to say good bye to some people, but a lot of us met up again for Sarah's and then Becs 21st birthday. During our five nights in NY we did all the major tourist sights and hit the major shopping spots! One evening we managed to get cheap theatre tickets so we went to see Mary Poppins it was such a good show, the singing was amazing and the production of the show was incredible. While in NY we have stayed in a hostel and shared a room with Bec and Ash its not the same as the hotels we have become accustomed to however we had a great time with our favourite Aussie girls!
We had the best time on our America trip and met some amazing people. We are both really pleased we decided to travel America Contiki style as we have see some amazing sights which we will never forget!
We are now about to leave to go to the airport homeward bound!
We would just like to thank everyone we have met travelling you have made our year!
We would also like to say a big thank you to our loyal fans back home who are devoted to this blog! Thanks again and please donate genurously for our next travelling trip! We have had the most amazing year with so many memories.
Stay safe, peace out! See you in the U.K! xxxxxxx