USA Road Trip – Day 6 – A Top Gun Kind of Day…

We awoke to beautiful sunshine and headed down for breakfast inside the hotel. The food was average but we couldn’t complain as it was free! Plus the portions were huge! I had pancakes with berries and the others had the full American.

Over breakfast we discussed what we wanted to do with the day. We had researched a few things we wanted to do in San Diego, however we had no set plan on what days we should do what and after quite a full on time in Vegas, we were hoping to fit in some relaxation at the beaches at some point too.

If you read my Vegas posts you will know our plan regarding 4 places, 4 names picked out of a hat, surprise the group with something. Well I had chosen San Diego. So I decided to put my plans into action. After breakfast we jumped into the wagon and drove down to the Harbour, as our first stop of the day was the USS Midway Museum.

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Now you may think that what I chose as the surprise sounds a bit boring, but actually the main reason I had chosen it was due to it being linked to Top Gun and who doesn’t love Top Gun? It’s one of Matt and I’s favourites!

Whilst researching San Diego back at home I quickly found out that 90% of Top Gun was filmed in the area so I thought it would be fun to visit some of the locations (if we could find them!) I’m still shocked that they don’t do a Top Gun mini bus tour or something to take fans around to all the locations, seriously why hasn’t anyone thought of this?! But I digress back to the ship…

”USS Midway was an aircraft carrier of the United States Navy, the lead ship of her class. She was the largest ship in the world until 1955. She operated for 47 years, during which time she saw action in the Vietnam War and served as the Persian Gulf flagship in 1991’s Operation Desert Storm. Decommissioned in 1992, she is now a museum ship at the USS Midway Museum, in San Diego.”

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Look at this view from the top of the ship – beautiful!

We spent a couple of hours on the ship, exploring every room and taking in all the stories. Matt and Megs even rode in a fighter jet flight simulator but mine and Fraser’s stomach’s never would have handled it!

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Not wanting to miss anymore of the sunshine, we decided to take a stroll along the harbour, which was so beautiful and picturesque taking a look at the Unconditional Surrender statue along the way.
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We popped into The Fish Market Restaurant for a drink and a cool down. It was such a lovely place and the food, especially the freshly caught seafood looked amazing however I had other ideas for our lunch spot…

Kansas City BBQ A Top Gun location with the added bonus of delicious BBQ food and sunshine.

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A couple of the iconic scenes from the film were shot here, including the Great Balls of Fire Piano and the Jukebox.

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The place was filled with memorabilia however it still had a locals vibe. After looking around inside we decided to eat outside as we wanted to enjoy the incredible weather whilst eating our delicious food.

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There were a few other locations from the film I would have liked to have found however they were quite a way from where we were, so we asked our waitress where the best beach was and she told us Coronado, so off we drove (thank goodness for sat nav!) over the bridge to Coronado Beach.

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Oh Em Gee just look at this place!

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It looked like something out of a movie scene. Picture perfect white sand, barely any other visitors, pure bliss.

We found a spot to settle in for the rest of the afternoon and chilled/napped in the sunshine.

Keen to explore a bit more of the surroundings, we walked along the waves towards the Hotel del Coronado, which was stunning.

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We found a table at the outdoor bar area on the balcony, overlooking the beach, ordered a few drinks and just breathed it all in. Oh how we wished we were staying at this hotel and waking up to this view everyday! We’ve already said numerous times that we want to go back and stay there.

The hotel has also been featured in numerous films dating back to the early 1900’s! But the most iconic is Some Like it Hot with Marilyn Monroe.

We played cards and Megs and I drank local wine before making a leisurely stroll back to the parked car, passing all the amazing houses along the way.

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Don’t you think this looks like Gru’s house from Despicable Me?

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After chilling and changing back at the hotel we decided to get a cab into the city for dinner at a little Italian restaurant. We seemed to be the only ones about, not that we were complaining as the food and service were amazing, but it just seemed a bit odd not seeing anyone else around, however what a great first day in San Diego!

Love, Chloe xx

USA Road Trip – Day 5 – Let the Driving Begin…

We all had mixed feelings about leaving Las Vegas. We had had so much fun over the past few days and had managed to fit so much in, that we didn’t really want to leave. However we also couldn’t wait to start the rest of our trip and explore new places.

We had planned on visiting the Aria Buffet for breakfast as one last Vegas treat, however the wait time for a table was roughly an hour and we just didn’t have the time to wait for that long. So instead we headed to the Aria Cafe for a quick bite to eat and then said our farewells to the strip, as we got a cab to the hire car building to prepare for the next part of the trip.

The car hire guy was so friendly and helpful and actually upgraded our car to something bigger than originally booked when he noticed how many bags we had and how big our suitcases were! So we ended up with what we called The Wagon, a huge Chevrolet Suburban – typically American and very exciting for our trip ahead.

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Suitcase Tetris! 

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Trusty Sat Nav

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Megs excited for the next adventure 

Ready to hit the road, Matt was the first to drive. Our plan was to drive the 4 hours to Palm Springs for lunch and to explore the area and then continue on the further 3 hour drive to San Diego.

We were told to follow this road for 147 miles!!

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It was so fascinating driving from Las Vegas into the middle of nowhere. We would go miles without seeing a thing apart from a few plants or a dusty track leading to somewhere else and then randomly we would see the odd hotel and we even saw a theme park, which just seemed so crazy as we had no idea who would visit.

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After a couple of hours on the road we stopped in a little town called Barstow, to get petrol and stock up on a few road trip snacks! Then Fraser took over the driving to Palm Springs.

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The views upon arriving in Palm Springs were amazing, palm tree upon palm tree and with a hazy sunshine mist it looked like we had stepped into the 1970’s. It was also really quiet, no one seemed to be about and the streets were empty.

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We had a little look around but nothing seemed to be that busy or open it was actually a little eerie. So we decided to find a place for lunch. We stumbled across a little cafe called The Sandwich Shop which as you can imagine had every style of sandwich imaginable and they were happy for you to mix and match creations and they even had all their own secret sauces.

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I opted for The French Open – Marinated Chicken, Hot Sauce and bleu cheese dressing. My favourite! We decided to sit inside and enjoy our spread, the sandwiches were delicious but huge, I could only manage half of mine!

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I’m unsure if it was just a bit out of season (Coachella was happening a few weeks after we left – if only we had planned better!) or if Palm Springs is just sleepy but it looked beautiful and I wish we had spent longer there or even just stayed for 1 night just to find out what it’s really like when it comes alive.

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The Wagon

I decided to drive to San Diego, I was a little nervous to begin with 1. because I had never driven on the wrong side of the road before and 2. because the car was so huge! I quickly got used to it though and we were soon making our way through little towns, watching the ever changing views and eventually watching the sun set.

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Tired after over 7 hours on the road, we finally arrived at Hotel Handlery.

We couldn’t wait to be greeted with a friendly smile, a big comfy bed and a nice restaurant to walk to. Unfortunately this wasn’t quite the case. I won’t go into full details but lets just say they couldn’t find us on their booking system, we had to wait around for a long time in the hotel reception and bar area which was very messy and hadn’t been tidied after a large group of people left, when we finally got keys to our rooms – the rooms were not as advertised and the service overall was just poor.

By this point it was almost 9pm, so all 4 of us went back down to reception to ask where we could walk to for dinner, they told us that nothing was in walking distance and that everything pretty much closed at 9pm! Instead of crying we laughed it off and walked over to the bar/restaurant area which was next to the reception area, only to be told that if we wanted food we needed to order it now as the kitchen closed at 9pm and that the bar would be closing shortly after. We couldn’t understand why everything closed so early but rules are rules, so we quickly ordered a few dishes to share along with 2 bottles of wine and a round of vodkas, well it had been a stressful evening after a very long journey!

We found the cleanest table we could, waited for our food and drinks to arrive, played cards and decided to forget about the events of the evening, hoping that things would look a lot better in the morning!

Love, Chloe xx

 

 

 

USA Road Trip – Day 1 – Getting There!

I couldn’t believe that the day had finally arrived to start our 2 week USA Road Trip, along with our friends Megs and Fraser.

The 4 of us had talked about going on a trip together for a while, but then one Sunday afternoon we started joking about how fun it would be to go to the Rugby Sevens in Las Vegas. Well it started off as a joke but then we may have started looking into it in some detail and realised that due to the Sevens being in March (which is very early season for Vegas) the costs weren’t actually that bad. Then the next thing you know we’re looking into a complete West Coast Road Trip and a week later we booked it! Sometimes the most spontaneous trips are the best.

The plan? Las Vegas, San Diego, Los Angeles and finally San Francisco.

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We flew from Gatwick to Las Vegas on a dreary March morning, excited to begin our trip and hopefully enjoy some warmer weather!

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Our friend took this photo of our plane taking off as she works at Gatwick!

Surprisingly the 11 hour flight went by really quickly. We ate a lot of food, we chatted about the fun things we had planned and we watched as many films as we possibly could, finally landing at 1pm Vegas time to pure blue skies and beautiful sunshine.

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I love coming into land in Vegas as you get to see the Grand Canyon, the Hoover Dam and you get a great view of the strip which makes me so excited.

We stayed at the Aria Hotel which is one of the newest hotels on the strip. It sits in the centre opposite The Planet Hollywood Hotel. I had wanted to stay here for a while as it just looked so modern and had a great location and it really didn’t disappoint. On arrival the hotel reception was immaculate, the staff were friendly and check in was a relatively quick process for Vegas standards.

We had 2 standard rooms known as Deluxe King Rooms (they were incredible so don’t be mistaken they will be basic) The receptionist managed to get us rooms next to each other on the 15th floor with a view of Planet Hollywood opposite.

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But enough about the rooms we wanted to get out and explore, so we quickly freshened up and went for a walk in the sunshine along the strip.

Taking in all the new sights we pointed out shops, bars and restaurants we wanted to visit while we were there. Then we decided to find somewhere for cocktails that was still outside and we ended up at Bubba Gumps. To be honest this wouldn’t have been our first choice but it had the perfect location with a balcony terrace overlooking the strip, directly in the sunshine and had tables available. We ordered cocktails in light up glasses (when in Vegas!) and toasted to an amazing 2 weeks ahead.

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We were enjoying our drinks and the view when Matt told us we would have to make our way back to the hotel shortly for the first surprise of the trip – It had been an idea when planning the trip that as there were 4 of us and we were visiting 4 locations (Las Vegas, San Diego, LA & San Francisco) that we should each pick a location out of the hat and then plan something in secret for that place to surprise the others with.

So first up was Matt as he had chosen Las Vegas and he didn’t disappoint with his surprise. We were being collected from our hotel and taken to Las Vegas Strip Terminal ready for a helicopter ride over the strip at night. Excited was an understatement and an amazing way to kick off the first night of the trip!

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I must admit I was a little nervous at first. I’m not scared of flying or of heights but I really don’t like sudden drops and as I was sat next to the door and all I could see was the strip below I did have a little freak out thinking we would drop out of the sky! But after I got over that thought and decided to really take in the view of the strip, it was just incredible. Completely lit up and twinkling all around you, it was just stunning.

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On the ride back to the hotel we all became really tired, I guess jet lag had finally kicked in. So we decided to grab a bite to eat at one of our favourites Blondies and then called it a night ready for tomorrows adventures!

Love, Chloe x

 

Hooray for Holiday!

So it’s 10.48 on an overcast Friday morning and I can say that in 5 hours and 10 mins I will officially be on holiday! 🙂

It’s been a while since I’ve been abroad and with all the stress of moving house (2 weeks before Xmas!) and how busy we have been since, this day has been a long time coming. Technically I have 1 more sleep ( we all still count in sleeps right? 😉 ) until we are ACTUALLY on holiday but hey once I’ve put the out of office email on, I’m already there..well in my mind anyway.

I guess I should tell you where we’re going..well we’re off to the great U.S Of A and I am beyond excited. We have been to America a few times, New York, Vegas, LA & Florida. (Vegas being my ultimate favourite!) However this time we start our trip in Chicago, home of Barack Obama, The World’s FIRST Skyscraper and one of my best friend’s, Christina!! ❤

I have known Christina for 4.5 years but it feels like I’ve known her a lifetime. When I first moved to London she totally took me under her wing and we soon realised we had a lot of the same interests; Cheese, Wine, Jo Malone and Musicals being top of the list and I really don’t know what I would have done without her. She is actually married to one of Matt’s best friend’s, Jason, which is how we got introduced, but it also meant we got to see each other pretty much all the time 🙂

Christina was born and bred in Chicago, however in her final year of uni she decided to study abroad and London was top of the list. She randomly met Jason in a queue for a nightclub almost 8 years ago and the rest as they say is history. They stayed in London until July 2014, when they decided to move back to Chicago for good. Cue lots of goodbyes and tears 😦 All I can say is, I’m very grateful for WhatsApp, Viber, Emails and Facebook, so we can still contact each other almost daily! BUT it’s not the same as seeing someone in person and so Saturday afternoon cannot come soon enough, food, bubbles and lots of hugs are already high on the list of our priorities. I’ve already pre warned Matt of the girlie squeals, hugs and non-stop talking that is bound to happen, I don’t think the same thing will happen between him and Jason.. but hey we will see! 😉

We have 6 days to explore Chicago until we jet off to New York for a long weekend. Matt has been to New York quite a few times now, however I have only been once before. We are actually going to New York for another of Matt’s good friend’s, Bruce wedding. Well it’s actually a celebration, he and his wife Erin eloped to the Caribbean on Valentines Day (how romantic!! ❤ ) so this is more of the after party..and I’m excited! Because of this reason though I don’t think we will have much time for exploring or sight seeing. Matt has a few friends he wants to catch up with and I think dinners, lunches or even brunches have already been booked for us..not that I’m complaining! So I think most of our time will be spent having fun with friends 🙂

Anywho I best be off, as 1. I’ve got work to do tut tut and 2. I have a list to write of the million things I need to remember and pack!! I’ve been a bit too relaxed about it for some reason!

I will take lots of snaps and share them with you when I’m back, promise!!

Love, Chloe xx

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