Category Archives: vacation

Vegas day two


It was a lot hotter and sunnier today – and we slept in so we missed the cooler part of the day. We started out by getting on the train and riding it down the line. We walked by New York, New York and went in to get out of the sun.

Walking around inside is weird, you can’t tell what direction you are going and somehow we popped out at the Bellagio after another train ride. It’s where we wanted to go, but I still don’t know how we got from NY to there going in that direction.

The Bellagio boasts the world’s largest chocolate fountain.

We had brunch in the Conservatory restaurant, then walked around the hotel and shops.

When we went outside we were at the famous fountains (which don’t start until 3 pm) and Paris was across the street.

We went inside Paris, that Eiffel tower is so small compared to the real thing.

We continued to walk up the strip, this place reminded me of our Denver art museum, I think they stole our design.

Our next goal was the Coca-cola store and M&M world.

We cooled off with some Coke floats, then went to get some M&M’s.

Next stop – Hershey World.

Chocolate Statue of Liberty? Check!

Licorice Statue of Liberty? Check!

On our way back we stopped in the sock market and got crazy socks.

We went back to the hotel to rest before the show, a thunderstorm was rolling through cooling everything off a bit.

I colored my socks.

We ate dinner and headed to the show, we got blue (just from lights) and decorated with streamers.

That show was amazing – it was funny and sometimes gross, musical and daring and just plain fun. Pics after the show.

We took the girls back to the room and James and I set off for the Bellagio to see the fountain show – it did not disappoint!

We went back to the hotel and had drinks before retiring. We walked 8.8 miles today!


Vegas baby!


LONG DAY! We left the house at 3:15 am to go to the airport. Our flight got in Vegas at 7am.

Our hotel was doing a computer upgrade and said that we wouldn’t be checking in until 3pm. So, first we walked around the Luxor and took pics, then we headed inside to the breakfast buffet.  It was nice and cloudy outside perfect for pictures and walking around.

The girls thought the Luxor was super cool inside and out.

This is where the Blue Man group played, we saw them the second night.

After a very long and hearty breakfast, we headed to the next hotel, Mandalay Bay, through the inside mall and walkways.

We went outside the front of the hotel and caught the shuttle train back the other way.

The train stopped at Excalibur, so we checked it out.

We rode the train back to Mandalay Bay to go to the aquarium (it wasn’t open earlier.)

We were so hot and tired after this we went back to the hotel to see if we could check in early. We could! It was about 2pm, we got up to our room on the 26th floor (the elevators go up on a diagonal, so that was cool.)

Some of us rested, some of us swam. We left the hotel at 7pm to go to the Rio for dinner and the Penn and Teller show.

Dinner was okay, the Rio does not have the best dinner buffet (not that I ate dinner at another buffet, but I think the Luxor would have been better.) After dinner we headed over to the theater for the show.

You could go up on stage and inspect one of the props they were going to use.

We were listening to live jazz and Grace said, ‘Hey, isn’t that Penn?’ Yep, he was playing the bass.

The show was really, really good. Teller is very good at slight of hand and Penn, while also a magician, is a carney at heart. They told us at the start of the show that they would be taping an ending for another show, a cake for Teller celebrating 25 years of working together in Vegas (and they’ve been together for 42 years total!) So, we all had to act surprised and clap when the cake was revealed, then the crew followed everyone out into the lobby for cake.

It was at this point that Hannah lost it (notice she’s not in the pics.) She was tired (it was almost midnight) and just wanted to leave. But the rest of us got pics and autographs (Bethany isn’t in the Penn pic since she went to be with Hannah.)

I think it’s really cool that they stay after the show and talk/take pics with fans. And yes, Penn is really tall and no, Teller is not silent!

We walked 7.5 miles!

Flying home


We got to the Rome airport for our flight to Paris. There was a gate change, then we waited and waited. Turns out the plane had been hit by lightning and was being checked out. We finally boarded in Paris and ran to our gate, Hannah saw a mime finally, though it was just a picture.

They fed us so well on the Paris flight, we had a snack and supper and it was a lot of food. Our Paris flight was late and again it seemed like we might miss our connection in Detroit. We ran across the airport and lo and behold our flight was late, so we made it. It was a long day. We tried to stay up since we were flying during the day to get adjusted to the time. We got home about 11pm and talked to Joel for a bit (he had been in since Sat.) Maisy was happy to see us, Zoe was irritated. It was a wonderful trip, I can’t believe that we saw so many iconic places, walked so many miles, saw such great shows and had such awesome food.



We got a great driver who drove us to Pompeii and waited around while we explored. Note to others – buy your tickets on-line so you don’t have to wait in line and waste time that you could use to explore.

Pompeii was an ancient Roman town-city near modern Naples, in the Campania region of Italy, in the territory of the comune of Pompei. Pompeii, along with Herculaneum and many villas in the surrounding area, was mostly destroyed and buried under 4 to 6 m of volcanic ash and pumice in the eruption of Mount Vesuvius in AD 79. Researchers believe that the town was founded in the 7th or 6th century BC by the Osci or Oscans. It came under the domination of Rome in the 4th century BC, and was conquered and became a Roman colony in 80 BC after it joined an unsuccessful rebellion against the Roman Republic. By the time of its destruction, 160 years later, its population was estimated at 11,000 people, and the city had a complex water system, an amphitheatre, gymnasium, and a port. The eruption destroyed the city, killing its inhabitants and burying it under tons of ash. Evidence for the destruction originally came from a surviving letter by Pliny the Younger, who saw the eruption from a distance and described the death of his uncle Pliny the Elder, an admiral of the Roman fleet, who tried to rescue citizens. The site was lost for about 1,500 years until its initial rediscovery in 1599 and broader rediscovery almost 150 years later by Spanish engineer Rocque Joaquin de Alcubierre in 1748. The objects that lay beneath the city have been preserved for more than a millennium because of the long lack of air and moisture. These artefacts provide an extraordinarily detailed insight into the life of a city during the Pax Romana.

Mt. Vesuvius in the background.

We couldn’t believe how vibrant some of the plaster work frescoes were, it was so cool to seem them in person after seeing pictures at the lectures at the library.

After exploring for about 1.5 hours, we shopped at the vendors and then took our taxi into Napoli.  Mt. Vesuvius seen from the freeway heading back.

My silver from Pompeii.

We had our driver drop us at the best pizza in Napoli. Even the taxi driver was like, Da Michele? That’s the best pizza here!

We had a short wait, they make you wait outside (because it’s a very small place.) We found out two things in there – one, in Napoli everyone (and I mean everyone, even little kids) orders 1 pizza per person and two, you properly eat pizza with a fork and knife, who knew?

It was wash day in Napoli.

Wandering the streets.

Lots of interesting toys at this toy store.

Graffiti, again.

Back on the boat it was American night at the buffet.

At sea day


Time to relax, go down waterslides, see ice carving, go to a pamper party, shop, eat, drink, listen to music, paint, decorate cookies and more. We had a few things to do together today, but most of the time the girls were doing whatever while James and I explored the ship and sat on our balcony and chilled.

We saw dolphins frolicking while we were on the balcony.



Hannah had 3 breakfasts this morning, we did the Puzzle room escape from the Big Top, our team wasn’t very good.

We didn’t get off the boat until 12 because the boat has to turn around in port, so they left you off early (and the girls weren’t ready) or late after they got turned around.  The first thing we saw was the estate sale market place with lots of cool antiques and other things (Grace found an LPS.)

We broke down and ate at McD’s, 5,550 miles from home and we eat at McD’s.

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Wandering the main street art/cafe/performer area. The Lennon guy was the best statue person performer – ever.

Snack time!


My silver from Barcelona.