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Bucket List 2
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My Bucket List

Everyone has a bucket list.  I know I do.  Well, at least everyone talks about their bucket list but I wonder how many people have actually written their bucket list.  I know I hadn’t until late last year.  Sick of talking about it I decided it was time to write it down.

To make it easier on myself I am reposting my bucket list.  It was originally here but given I’m going to continue to refer to it it’s best if it’s a post all on its own.  I’ve also updated it ticking New York for Christmas and Miami off the list.

1.  Machu Picchu, Peru

Ever since I climbed the Great Wall of China I’ve been drawn to the Natural Wonders of the World and Machu Picchu is on top of my bucket list by a long shot.  Now I just have to find time in the holiday calendar to lock it in.

2.  Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park—two of five amazing National Parks

It’s a case of careful what you say out loud with Utah being high on my bucket list of USA.  We were wine tasting in the Napa at the start of the year and a comment was made about drinking in Utah (being a Mormon state and all).  My comment was about not going to Utah so it didn’t matter.  I didn’t realise it had such incredibly beautiful landscape that I’m totally drawn to.

√3.  Miami, Florida.

Pink Flamingoes & Pink Champagne sounds more like a line from Hotel California but it screams Miami to me.  Except for the fact that Mr H has his own Don Johnson suit and the theme for his 40th was Miami Vice I had no real desire to head to Miami.  But lately it’s been sneaking its way into top of mind and I think I’m sold.  The home of art deco, great food, art and architecture Miami has made its way to my top 5.

South Beach

The Art Deco District in South Beach is sensory overload–especially if you love Art Deco

4.   Route 66 in Arizona

After seeing photos from a friend that recently rode a Harley down Route 66 I’m hooked.  Like a cross between a trip down memory lane and something out of the movies the scenery looks spectacular and it’s a part of pop culture I want to get on board.

5.   Boston
Everyone I know that’s been to Boston falls in love with it.  I’m completely drawn to the charm of Boston and can’t wait to check it out.  I just can’t decide between visiting a friend for Christmas or going in the summer.

While I’m in the ‘hood I’m pretty keen to drive around and see Cape Cod (I’ve already been and loved it) and Martha’s Vineyard and further afield in Massachusetts to connect with America’s history.  I think this part of America is worth exploring.

√6.   New York
When I first went to New York I hated it.  Then I went back for work and loved it.  Now the kids are keen to for a White Christmas.  Apparently there’s nothing like New York in the winter and especially around Christmas.  I’d love to make their dreams come true.  Just have to get around braving the cold first.

NYC for Xmas

There’s nothing quite like New York at Christmas time (even if it doesn’t snow)

7.   Seattle
I’m not really sure what the attraction is (apart from visiting a really good friend who lives there) but I’ve always been attracted to Seattle—a trip up the Space Needle and a visit of the Boeing Factory and it’s high on our list.  Sometimes you just want to visit somewhere just because.

8.   Washington DC
The nation’s capital.  I loved Washington DC when I first went and I’d love to take the kids—one of those must-do destinations.

9.   Niagara Falls
I’ve temporarily forgotten about Niagara Falls which is precisely why I decided it was time to get this bucket list down on paper.  Another natural wonder I think it’s a must-see.

10.  Alaska
I’d love to visit Alaska the problem is I don’t know how to tackle it.  There are many options to cruise to Alaska but given cruising isn’t our thing.  Either way I need to work out how to get us to see it.

11.   Chicago
My dream is to do a mother-son weekend in Chicago and do a Ferris Bueller tour of the city.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  Now I just have to convince my teenage son as somehow he doesn’t think it would be fun as I do.

12.   Texas
No real reason, just to see the big hair, big cars and guns!

13.   New Orleans
I’m torn as to whether I really want to do New Orleans—I think I want to, I used to think I wanted to but it’s not high enough on the list that I’ll make it here.  Also not the sort of place to go with kids—much more fun if I could leave them at home.  Let’s see how we go getting here but it’s on the list nonetheless.

14.  Southern States
I’ve been to Atlanta but I wouldn’t mind exploring some other Southern cities/states like Savannah and South Carolina.  There’s something quite intriguing about the South.

15.  Carribean
I thought I wanted to go here desperately but most of the resorts do nothing for me.  My re-thinking is if I’m going to do the Carribean I should sail around.  Just need to get hold of some of my fellow 90210ers bank accounts to do it the way I’d like to do it.

My further-afield bucket list

16.  Angkor Wat, Cambodia
We had a glorious trip planned here before we were due to leave Shanghai but we cancelled it instead going back to Wales to be with my Dad.  We were lucky we got to say good bye to him but the trip home ended up being a sad, sad time for me and we haven’t made it back to Angkor Wat yet.

17.  Africa on Safari & Victoria Falls
Continuing my affinity with the natural wonders of the world I can think of no better holiday than glamping on Safari.  Victoria Falls has captivated us so this is high on our list.

18.  Greece
Our Australian friends from LA are moving to Greece next month and we’re dying to go and visit them.  It’s fortunate I’m yet to hit Greece because it’s always best to visit a place when locals can show you around.

19.  Champagne (in France not bathe in a sea of Champagne)
I think this is pretty self-explanatory!

20.  Northern Lights (from Sweden)
One of those natural phenomena’s that need to be seen to be believed.

21.  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Absolutely.

22.  Marrakech, Morocco
The colours, food and markets … love to visit Morocco.

23.  Dead Sea and Egypt
This is on my daughter’s wishlist but I agree.  And, I’ve always wanted to cruise the Nile and see the Pyramids in Egypt.

24.  India
I’d live there given half a chance.  Mr H on the other hand doesn’t want a bar of it.  I’d still like to visit and see the Tag Mahal for myself.

25.  Ayer’s Rock/Uluru
It’s not really at the bottom of the list but realistically it’ll take a while for us to see this natural wonder in our own backyard, a sad indictment that when it’s in your own backyard you never really get around to seeing it.

Tick: Places I can proudly say I’ve ticked off my list

1.   Paris

Paris was my first bucket-list place before I even knew what a bucket list was.  It remains my favourite city in the whole wide world.

2.   Copenhagen

I never thought I’d make it to this part of Europe until a friend suggested we go to visit them a few summers (July not December) ago.  The flight we needed to take would take us to Copenhagen before we caught a train across to Sweden.  My dream became a reality. Copenhagen gave Paris a run for its money in the favourite city stakes.

3.   Stockholm

My daughter had the biggest meltdown of all times in Stockholm and the restaurant I wanted to go to was closed for summer when we went but I still absolutely loved Stockholm.  I’m so grateful we got to visit and enjoy this amazingly stylish city.

4.   Climb the Great Wall of China

Another pinch me moment when, for my 40th birthday, I climbed the Great Wall of China with two friends.  Visiting China was never something I thought I would do let alone live there.  This is a must-do.  (But set your expectations: there are hundreds doing the same thing and there are hawkers as you set off and as you return.)  It remains one of the best things I’ve ever done.

5.   Palawan, the Philippines

One of our families’ favourite holiday destinations.  Each time we visit another resort we compare it to El Nido in Palawan and it’s pretty hard to reach the standard, beauty and hospitality of this part of the world.  Can’t wait to go back.

6.   Lijiang

Gourmet Traveller did a piece on this amazingly idyllic and beautiful town 10 months before we made our way there.  With high expectations it still managed to exceed them.  This is one beautiful town.  The stop at Stone Wall City and the trip up to Shangri-la breathtaking.  One of our best China holidays.  I’m so glad we went when we did too: ahead of the tourist pack.

7.   Harbin, China

What was supposed to be the most amazing experience of our lives was possibly the worst holiday.  Ever.  Really.  Ever.  An ice town with snow and ice sculptures 30 storeys high Harbin is one of those “only in China” experiences.  The ice festival is positively beautiful and should seriously be a natural/manmade (you know what I mean?!) wonder of the world.  But it lacks the American packaging–that white box–to turn the experience from awe inspiring to the happiest place on earth.

Harbin

One of the amazing snow sculptures on show at Harbin, China

8.   London

With a Welsh dad I’ve been lucky enough to visit London many times.  I have always loved it–from a little girl to a young adult to a mother–and I’ll keep wanting to go back to get my London fix.

9.   The Grand Canyon

I’d always loved the thought of the Grand Canyon but just never imagined us going simply because it wasn’t high enough on the list.  So to take a helicopter from Las Vegas (another place I never thought I’d get to) and land there was one of those pinch me moments.  I don’t think I’m quite done though: I think I still want to drive out to the South Rim and admire its sheer magnitude.  This is covered in my driving Route 66 bucket list item.

10.   Yosemite National Park

The blog post says it all.  Lucky people.

Places that weren’t on my bucket list that I just fell in love with

1.   Shanghai

I didn’t want to live in Shanghai; why couldn’t it be Singapore or Hong Kong?  Why China?  Because it was meant to be.  Shanghai is Hong Kong on steroids with some of the best restaurants in the world, great Clubs, fabulous shopping and a history and culture that’s truly fascinating.  What an amazing time and how super lucky we were to live here.

2.   Hong Kong

My logic?  Why do you need to visit Hong Kong (a city that wants to be New York or London) when you can have the real thing?  I couldn’t be more wrong.  Hong Kong has its own beat and it’s a good one.  The food is amazing!

What’s on your bucket list?  Love some extra inspiration from you.  Share with me on Facebook or here in the comments section.

Happy travelling!

xx It Started in LA xx

 

Posts

Happy Thanksgiving!

“Gobble, gobble.”  That’s what the (very helpful and friendly) lady at the Post Office said to me last Friday as I posted a package for a friend.  Thankfully I heard her say it to a couple of customers before me so I wasn’t as taken aback as when I first heard it–I think I would have (rudely) laughed in her face.  This is my second Thanksgiving in America but the first time I’ve heard that.

“Gobble. Gobble.”  I feel like I’m doing a cameo for Sesame Street.

As everyone firms up plans for Thanksgiving the supermarkets are filled with cans of pumpkin and turkeys.  Signs saying “It’s baking season” with pre-prepared pie crusts, pie fillings, creams and marshmallows are lined up in prominent positions.  At upmarket supermarket Gelsons they even have thanksgiving-inspired cakes—turkeys, corn-on-the-cobs and pumpkins.  Yes, I’m serious.

turkey

This turkey is a cake in drag–and he/she (?) is sitting on a pumpkin | It Started in LA

 

Told you.

Thanksgiving is America’s only four-day weekend so it’s their longest holiday in the year.  Yep, it’s big: bigger than Christmas and Easter.  So it’s no surprise that Thanksgiving is the most popular time of the year to travel and most chaotic for airports and the roads.  Last year we stayed home but this year we’re braving the roads and doing a quick roadtrip.

My thought was to head up to Sedona in Arizona.  This was one of our friend’s favourite places when he travelled on a Harley down Route 66.  It works well because one of our friends lives in Chandler, Arizona and we’ve been wanting to visit them for sometime.  So I got on Google maps trying to research our drive.  And the strangest thing happened …

Do you know there is no Route 66 marked on Google Maps?  Is it just me?  I can see Route 60, route 95 and Route 93 but no Route 66.  OK I know the whole story with Route 66 (I’ve watched Cars) is that it became obsolete because of the interstates and “progress” but hey Google Maps wouldn’t you mark it so those who want to do a little pilgrimage can?  Isn’t that, like, a no-brainer?  I realise there are parts of Route 66 that are near impossible to find now but get with the program Google.  This is 2014, the Internet is not a new concept—make it easy for us to find.

So, I bought Lonely Planet’s USA Best Trips: 7 Amazing Road Trips (Sampler edition for Kindle) and it didn’t even mention the “mother road”.  Hang on?  Isn’t Route 66 supposed to be legendary?  Bucket lists around the world are built on cruising Route 66 aren’t they?

I finally got around to buying Lonely Planet’s USA.  There are a couple of pages on it and it sounds like a lot of work & planning is required to successfully complete this roadtrip.  But love a good challenge … it’s just not going to be on the busiest weekend of the year.

Instead, we’re going to spend Thanksgiving with friends in Palm Springs then head up just outside Phoenix Arizona to spend a night with our friends from Shanghai in Chandler.  Can’t wait!

Pretty Little Liars

On Friday night the kids and I had dinner with some good friends we met here from Australia who are moving to Greece.  We went to their hotel (the Mondrian) to check out the scene and have dessert.  There was a private function on in the Skybar so we sat in the lobby/bar area to order food and drinks.

A few groovy people were walking into the private party.  We all agreed there’d be some good people watching to be had and we were in the prime position.

We were right.  Ashley Benson (Hanna) and Tyler Blackburn (Caleb) from Pretty Little Liars walked in.  The girls took a look did a retake then got very excited.  Then Shay Mitchell (Emily) came in and the girls thought things were looking up (my son wasn’t sharing their love!).  Not long after Troian Bellisario (Spencer) and Brendan Robertson (Lucas) walked in. Chad Lowe (Byron) walked past and said hi and they also saw Lesley Fera (Veronica).  Bonanza!

One of the girls and I went to the toilet and there was a chalkboard.  They had written on it something about the PLL cast and she got so so excited.  Obviously she ran out to tell everyone so there was an immediate party in the toilets.  Photo opportunity!

A big burly security guard seemed to follow the girls into toilets but surely he wouldn’t.  He lingered for a while and I just knew he had a problem.  Eventually he came up to us addressing my girlfriend and said, “The girls can’t act like that.”

“I’m sorry … what?”

“The girls can’t act like that squealing and giggling.  If they continue we’ll have to ask you to go back to your room.”

“I’m sorry … what?”

Very unlike me I shut my mouth.  If I wasn’t with my friend I would have let rip.  I told the girls to keep it cool but given they were guests in the hotel we had every right to be there and it’s not like they tried to crash the party (like we had been planning).

That was the first time I’d felt like because he didn’t know who we were (ie. we weren’t celebrities) we were second-rate citizens.  Not a great way to treat one of your guests who is occupying one of your suites Mondrian Hotel.  Shame on you.

Bucket lists

All this talk of bucket lists got me thinking about mine.  I talk about my bucket list all the time but I’ve realised I don’t actually physically have one.  Do you?  Sure, like many others I’ve got a Pinterest board that says “Bucket List” but it’s totally random.  So, I thought I’d put some work and energy into creating one.  For now it’s USA-centric with a sprinkling of destinations I’ve had on my list before our move to LA.  I also imagine it’s an ever-changing list but here’s take one.

  1. Machu Picchu, Peru
    Ever since I climbed the Great Wall of China I’ve been drawn to the Natural Wonders of the World and Machu Picchu is on top of my bucket list by a long shot.  Now I just have to find time in the holiday calendar to lock it in.
  1. Bryce Canyon, Zion National Park—two of five amazing National Parks
    It’s a case of careful what you say out loud with Utah being high on my bucket list of USA.  We were wine tasting in the Napa at the start of the year and a comment was made about drinking in Utah (being a Mormon state and all).  I didn’t realise it had such incredibly beautiful landscape that I’m totally drawn to.
  1. Miami, Florida.
    Pink Flamingoes & Pink Champagne sounds more like a line from Hotel California but it screams Miami to me.  Except for the fact that Mr H has his own Don Johnson suit and the theme for his 40th was Miami Vice I had no real desire to head to Miami.  But lately it’s been sneaking its way into top of mind and I think I’m sold.  The home of art deco, great food, art and architecture Miami has made its way to my top 5.
  1. Route 66 in Arizona
    After seeing photos from a friend that recently rode a Harley down Route 66 I’m hooked.  Like a cross between a trip down memory lane and something out of the movies the scenery looks spectacular and it’s a part of pop culture I want to get on board.
  1. Boston
    Everyone I know that’s been to Boston falls in love with it.  I’m completely drawn to the charm of Boston and can’t wait to check it out.  I just can’t decide between visiting a friend for Christmas or going in the summer.

    While I’m in the ‘hood I’m pretty keen to drive around and see Cape Cod (I’ve already been and loved it) and Martha’s Vineyard.  I think this part of America is worth exploring.

  1. New York
    When I first went to New York I hated it.  Then I went back for work and loved it.  Now the kids are keen to for a White Christmas.  Apparently there’s nothing like New York in the winter and especially around Christmas.  I’d love to make their dreams come true.  Just have to get around braving the cold first.
  1. Seattle
    I’m not really sure what the attraction is (apart from visiting a really good friend who lives there) but I’ve always been attracted to Seattle—a trip up the Space Needle and a visit of the Boeing Factory and it’s high on our list.
  1. Washington DC
    The nation’s capital.  I loved Washington DC when I first went and I’d love to take the kids—one of those must-do destinations.
  1. Niagara Falls
    I’ve temporarily forgotten about Niagara Falls which is precisely why I decided it was time to get this bucket list down on paper.  Another natural wonder I think it’s a must-see.

10.  Alaska
I’d love to visit Alaska the problem is I don’t know how to tackle it.  There are many options to cruise to Alaska but given cruising isn’t our thing.  Either way I need to work out how to get us to see it.

11.  Chicago
My dream is to do a mother-son weekend in Chicago and do a Ferris Bueller tour of the city.  Wouldn’t that be fun?  Now I just have to convince my teenage son as somehow he doesn’t think it would be fun as I do.

12.  Texas
No real reason, just to see the big hair, big cars and guns!

13.  New Orleans
I’m torn as to whether I really want to do New Orleans—I think I want to, I used to think I wanted to but it’s not high enough on the list that I’ll make it here.  Also not the sort of place to go with kids—much more fun if I could leave them at home.  Let’s see how we go getting here but it’s on the list nonetheless.

14.  Southern States
I’ve been to Atlanta but I wouldn’t mind exploring some other Southern cities/states like Savannah and South Carolina.  There’s something quite intriguing about the South.

15.  Carribean
I thought I wanted to go here desperately but most of the resorts do nothing for me.  My re-thinking is if I’m going to do the Carribean I should sail around.  Just need to get hold of some of my fellow 90210ers bank accounts to do it the way I’d like to do it.

My further-afield bucket list

16.  Angkor Wat, Cambodia
We had a glorious trip planned here before we were due to leave Shanghai but we cancelled it instead going back to Wales to be with my Dad.  We were lucky we got to say good bye to him but the trip home ended up being a sad, sad time for me and we haven’t made it back to Angkor Wat yet.

17.  Africa on Safari & Victoria Falls
Continuing my affinity with the natural wonders of the world I can think of no better holiday than glamping on Safari.  Victoria Falls has captivated us so this is high on our list.

18.  Greece
Our Australian friends from LA are moving to Greece next month and we’re dying to go and visit them.  It’s fortunate I’m yet to hit Greece because it’s always best to visit a place when locals can show you around.

19.  Champagne
I think this is pretty self-explanatory!

20.  Northern Lights (from Sweden)
One of those natural phenomena’s that need to be seen to be believed.

21.  Rio de Janeiro, Brazil
Absolutely.

22.  Marrakech, Morocco
The colours, food and markets … love to visit Morocco.

23.  Dead Sea and Egypt
This is on my daughter’s wishlist but I agree.  And, I’ve always wanted to cruise the Nile and see the Pyramids in Egypt.

24.  India
I’d live there given half a chance.  Mr H on the other hand doesn’t want a bar of it.  I’d still like to visit and see the Tag Mahal for myself.

25.  Ayer’s Rock/Uluru
It’s not really at the bottom of the list but realistically it’ll take a while for us to see this natural wonder in our own backyard, a sad indictment that when it’s in your own backyard you never really get around to seeing it.

 

Phew!  That took a while but I’m so happy to have it.  Now I look forward to taking some of these holidays.

What’s on your bucket list?  Love some extra inspiration from you.  Share with me on Facebook or here in the comments section.

Happy Thanksgiving. Gobble Gobble.

xx It Started in LA xx

Driving Yosemite
Posts, Travelog

Yosemite: a natural wonder of the world in my books

I’ve climbed the Great Wall of China, I’ve seen the Great Barrier Reef, I’m desperate to do Macchu Picchu and Victoria Falls and I’ve flown over the Grand Canyon.

And now I can say I’ve soaked up all that Yosemite National Park had to give me and in my book it is one of the Natural Wonders of the World.

Majestic, spectacular, mind-blowing, stunning, breathtaking phenomenal … it left us speechless and in awe.

I’ve said it a few times now: I never wanted to live in the US, I certainly wanted to travel the US more extensively than I had but it wasn’t far enough up my bucket list to imagine that I’d get to see the amazing things I’m having the opportunity to do.  So forgive me if I indulge for a few more minutes as to how lucky I am to get the chance to visit Yosemite and to experience it not only with my family but with our close friends visiting from Australia.

No, this post isn’t about you reading about me gloating at having been to and admired Yosemite but about sharing it with you–more importantly how to conquer Yosemite yourself.

Many of my fabulous new LA friends haven’t been to Yosemite and I hope I can encourage them all to visit as it’s so well worth it.

When to go?

Well the materials say Yosemite is good to enjoy in every season and I’m sure it is.  Winter is the quietest month and summer its busiest.  For now I can only give you first-hand experience for summer.

Where to stay?

When I did my research the resounding advice was to stay in the Park.  The downside apparently was you had to bring everything in because there are no shops in the park.  That makes sense from Australian logic but when we got there we found supplies at a couple of the shops inside the park, enough I’m thinking to get you through.  Also, there are restaurants in the park so even if you’re camping you can book at the Majestic Yosemite Hotel (formerly known as the Ahawanee) for example for dinner and drinks.

Book early (full stop AND exclamation mark)

If you’re planning to go in summer and want to stay in Yosemite try to book between 6-12 months in advance.  There are first-come-first-serve campsites but you’ll have to join the queue early to guarantee yourself a spot.

I tried to book around five months in advance for two families and found no room at the Inn.  There was a last-minute cancellation for a very basic cottage but decided against it.  Instead we rented an RV (caravan truth be told) that was delivered and set-up at our campsite for us and managed to book a spot at nearby Oakhurst.  It’s about an hour/hour and a half drive but it’s a pretty one and we didn’t find it much of a hassle.  It also puts you at the main entrance (South Entrance) that’s open all year round.

RV

There were nine in an RV

Getting there

Here’s a link to help with driving directions.  Our entire trip started in LA direct to Yosemite (about a five-hour drive) then a couple of days later continued to Vegas via Mammoth and Death Valley (which was spectacular).

This drive on the way out (through Tioga Road–Highway 120 East entrance) is closed through winter because of its high elevation and snow.  We saw the last snow on the ground  on our way out that’ll give you an idea of how much snow there must be in winter.  It is a spectacular vision and different again from Glacier Point and the Valley floor.

To us, this drive out this far gate made us feel even more in awe of Yosemite and its changing face–the park just keeps on giving.  (NOTE: If you’re going to do this drive it gets cold so bring a hoodie/jumper/sweats or whatever it takes in whatever version of English you speak).

East Gate

The East Gate provides a different aspect of Yosemite well worth the drive

 

Other places to stay

We loved Bass Lake.  It’s around a 1.5 hour-drive to Yosemite Valley but it doesn’t feel like it.  There are some gorgeous houses and a decent-looking resort there.  We had the added bonus of hiring a boat and going donuting and wakeboarding (& champagning of course) which the kids just loved.

Bass Lake

Nearby Bass Lake was a pleasant surprise and a welcome find

 

Fish Camp is only a few kms from the South Entrance and while small had a number of accommodation options.  I wish I’d have known about this when I was booking.  I can’t tell you whether we would have secured accommodation here when Yosemite was booked out but I would have at least tried had I known about it.

Likewise Oakhurst (where we ended up) had heaps of accommodation offers and while hysterical ending up where we did I did look at the Best Western green with envy.  Again, I didn’t really know to look here for other options–yes, quite ill-informed going in I agree but you live and learn.

A note re booking early.  I was really peeved to find out that a couple having a drink at a table next to us at the Ahawanee only booked their room the night before and when we enquired there was one room free.  How could this be?  Hopefully it was due to last-minute cancellations and a lot of luck on their part.  The hotel couldn’t give me an explanation–they naturally danced around that question!

 What to see?

What isn’t there to see?  We’re not big hikers so doing all the trails and hikes was not for us.  That doesn’t mean to say it’s not for you.  We spent a whole day driving (and walking & eating) around Yosemite then the second morning driving through the South Entrance to the East Entrance to Mammoth and onto Death Valley.  (I can’t recommend this highly enough).

What did we see and did we think it was enough time?

  • Glacier’s Peak
Glacier Point

Glacier Point Selfie #155 | It Started in LA

 

  • Tunnel view on your way down to Yosemite Valley (takes your breath away). You know you’ve come to it because you literally drive through a long tunnel and when you come out: kapow.  Simply stunning it takes your breath away.
Tunnel view

Exit from a tunnel only to be knocked out by the most incredible view–kapow

 

  • Yosemite Valley covering some waterfalls, Half Dome and El Capitan.
Yosemite

Yosemite Valley: simply breathtaking | It Started in LA

 

I felt like it was enough (as in I didn’t feel like we missed out on anything not that we were bored).  As I said at the start I felt in awe, soaked it all in and the kids even managed time to play in the icy cold (and extremely pure) creeks.  I didn’t feel rushed and I felt like I got a sense of the place.

One of the best decisions we made was to valet park at the Ahwanee Hotel and have a drink and lunch there.  It was poles apart from our RV at the Trailer Park and the hotel is just gorgeous.  I managed to take a peak at the cabins and while lovely they were pretty basic so I’m not sure whether you need to spend the big bucks to stay here.

Ahawanee Hotel

Even if you don’t stay at the Ahawanee Hotel you can still eat or drink here

 

But then again I have nothing to compare it to (except the RV of course) but will let you know if I go back and try to stay at one of the hotels or lodgings.

Here’s a link to a great article I found on spending a day at Yosemite.  (It pretty much gives a little more detail of what I just said.)

My verdict

It was busy but it didn’t feel like it was over-crowded or compromised with lots of activity.  We got parks at each vantage point, managed a table for lunch and wandered around freely.

Others might not agree with me though.  When we got out of the car I was so excited and started saying to our group (who, OK, were not in close, close proximity to me), “Oh my god, this is amazing,” or words to that effect.  He (apparently) said something like it was until I spoilt his recording of the serenity.  Had I have known he said that I would have charged him money for my voiceover (or had him delete me if he didn’t cough up–either that or put him in touch with my agent and lawyer).  I didn’t realise we were in a museum or library.  Some people take life waaay too seriously.

The only time we felt it was overwhelmingly busy was when we were due to leave–there was a bit of a traffic jam.  We parked the car and sat by a creek near Curry Village to let the traffic subside.  It didn’t take long and we drove out of the park back to the Trailer Park.

Curry Creek

The Crystal clear waters at Curry Creek, Yosemite

 

The drive didn’t seem to take long at all and remember we had two cars and five kids so I reckon that’s saying something.

I would go again in a heartbeat.  Next time I’ll try to stay at a hotel in the park.  I’ve also added a trip to Mammoth on my list and I’d like to check out Lake Tahoe further north.

Do what you can but just do it.  Especially if you live in California you have no excuse not to visit Yosemite–a natural wonder right on your door step.  And if you don’t–what a great excuse to come to California.  But just remember:

xx It Started in LA xx

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