We have survived colonial williamsburg.

In hindsight, perhaps we should have rested a day before more walking. Ben walked so much he rubbed his thigh raw. And I have black and blues on my things. Today was brutal.

But we saw a lot of historical stuff that was pretty neat. I learned about purple broccoli, which I totally plan on planting in my garden at some point. I thought all the actors were very good at all the things we stopped to see and do.

In the evening, we left for a super fancy asian buffet place. It had a SUSHI TRAIN. Although I don't eat sushi, I thought it was neat. They also had mongolian bbq that I tried for the first time. The place had practically everything.

After we ate, we returned to colonial williamsburg for a ghost tour. It wasn't what I was expecting, but it was still pretty neat. We visited three houses and the "ghosts" of each house told their story.

Overall, it was a good vacation. We're not sure what we'll do tomorrow before we head home. We originally planned either more magiquest or more colonial williamsburg, but both of those require a lot of walking. I'm not sure we'll be recovered at all. Maybe we'll just rest in the hotel until check out.
Another fun day!

We picked the absolute perfect day to go to busch gardens. Weather-wise, we managed to avoid all major rain. There was some slight drizzling as we walked in and as we left, but the rest of the day was perfectly dry. It was rather cloudy, but that just meant no sunburn. :)

In terms of crowds, the place was practically empty. We didn't have to wait on a single line. It was almost magical. We got to go on everything we wanted and still see every show we wanted to see. Like having our own theme park for the day!

My favorite part of the day was when we visited the aviary. A cuckoo landed on top of ben's head! It was awesome. He had another one on his shoulder too. Eventually he got sick of them and put them on my shoulder. They were so warm and fluffy!

I didn't really have a favorite ride, but I did have a favorite show. It was called Stomped and had a whole bunch of different music and dance acts with a spooky theme. My two favorites were the dancing skeletons and the drumming with knives and cleavers. The table was totally chopped up when they were done!

In the evening, the park had a huge halloween event called howl-o-scream. They set up a whole bunch of haunted houses and between each one were "scare zones" you had to make it through to get around.

The first one we went through was the Catacombs, modeled after the ones in france. I was mildly disappointed that you couldn't see any catacombs in the maze. It was too dark. But after a while I didn't care because I had to stay focused so dead people would not jump me.

The we went to Your Number Is Up: 13, which was based around 13 phobias. Each one was on a sign before you entered the house. I thought this was the best of the bunch. It had a good variety of scares and the numbered phobias were like a memory game before you entered each room.

That one also had the longest line so we made a friend on line. She kept getting really scared and grabbing onto the back of my hoodie as we went through the maze. When we finally reached room #13 (Death), she started to freak out a little. It involved going through a tight, pitch black tube. I offered her my hand so that she could finally get out. I thought she would pop my fingers off, she squeezed so tight.

The last house we went through was Dead Line, where some sort of strange gag was released into a subway system causing people to go crazy and zombify. I thought this one was the best themed of the bunch, even though it was not the scariest. The destruction in the room designs was lovely.

We skipped two of the haunted houses, Bitten (vampires) and Fear Faire (clowns). Our feet were in far too much pain to walk any further. We are now back at the hotel and very happy to be off our feet.

Tomorrow: Colonial Williamsburg!
Vacation going well. We hit no major traffic. Spent the afternoon at Magiquest. Ben and I are now Master Magi.

Then we checked into the hotel. We got a king bed which is ridiculously huge. For what we paid, the room is really nice.

Now we're just chilling and waiting for dinner to arrive. Ben has a game tonight, so we're staying in. It's ok though. It's a nice way to relax. (And tons of places have free delivery around here.)
Back from my trip! I am skipping work today because I woke up exhausted and with sore muscles. Plus it was pouring out. So it wasn't hard at all for me to curl back up in the blankets and sleep for a few more hours.

Anyway, the trip! That was almost doomed due to crazy car issues!

I got at a call at 10am that the car was ready and we were on the road by 11:30. We actually made it to Gettysburg! I was so excited! We got there just in time for a late lunch. I thought it was really neat that they sold civil war era foods in their food court. Ben got peanut soup with hard tack.
Peanut Soup and Hard Tack at Gettysburg
While he was eating it, he looked up and said, "I forgot my suit."

Read more... )
One of my friends is getting married in PA in Sept. I had wanted to go on a little weekend vacation that month to celebrate my anniversary, so I'm going to combine my plans and turn the wedding trip into a slightly longer anniversary trip. Yay!

I started making a map of all the interesting things I could do in PA. Now I'm thinking maybe I should extend the trip a bit more. :P I should be sensible though. The state isn't going anywhere and I can always return. PA isn't that far.

Originally I was thinking a day at Hershey Park, but it'll be late Sept and potentially cold. I recall the park having some fun water rides and I'd hate to have to skip them out of fear of being chilly.

So I think Philly would be the better destination. Plenty of stuff to do, plus it's a very walkable city and there's public transit. And it's historical! I tend to enjoy american revolution history. (Which makes me super annoyed with teabaggers who have made the american revolution lame.)

Many Philly options:
- Philadelphia Zoo
- Mutter Museum
- National Constitution Center, Independence Hall, and Liberty Bell Center
- Adventure Aquarium (technically not in philly, but really close by)

So I think the plan will be:

Friday - Leisurely drive up to Scranton. Potential stop at Gettysburg if we need to stretch our legs.

Saturday - Wedding festivities!

Sunday - Leisurely drive to Philly. Check into hotel and enjoy the sights.

Monday - Potential morning touristing in Philly. Leisurely drive back home.
On day 7 I woke up to the worst view ever. Home port. Sad....

Ft Lauderdale End of our vacation

By 10 we were off the ship and winding our way through customs. I liked how the customs agent really didn't care at all as long as we had all our paperwork. Good thing we are good people who tell the truth.

I took a bunch of pictures during the week of the ship, but didn't really have an appropriate place to post them. So I will post them here to erase the sadness of the two pictures above.

Pretty pictures of things around the ship )
The week went too fast and soon it was the final day of the cruise! So sad!

A busy last day )
Williamsburg is only about 3 hours away by car, so it would be a good place to go for a short vacation. Plus I enjoy historical things, which that area has a lot of.

Things to do:
- Colonial Williamsburg
- Busch Gardens
- Water Country USA
- Jamestown Settlement
- Magiquest

Previous plans:
1 Japan
2 New Orleans
3 Mediterranean Cruise
4 & 5 Disneyland & Vegas
Tulum is very far from Cozumel. It almost seemed silly that they even offered it as a tour considering the distance! But we went anyway. We are silly people. I felt like I needed to see post-classical mayan ruins to complete the set.

To Tuluuuuum! )
The next morning, we pulled into the port of Costa Maya.

Costa Maya

There's almost nothing around Costa Maya. It's strictly a cruise ship town. Everything was built for the cruise ships. When you get off the pier, there are shops everywhere. And a giant pool that anyone can use. The pool had a bar! You just swam right up! How weird!

More pictures! )

We ate lunch at Costa Maya after our tour. Service was incredibly slow, but I find that's the case any time you head south. We had mexican coke and sprite with real sugar!

When we returned to the ship, we took a good long nap. In the evening, we went to the midnight buffet. It wasn't as fancy as the one I remember as a kid, but I'm ok with that. Fewer food sculptures means less food was wasted.

(I must warn anyone before they click that there is a dead animal head in this picture set.)
Midnight buffet )

Now I need to get started on those Cozumel/Tulum pictures. Whyyyy did I take so many pictures??
Our first port day was to the country of Belize. I thought it was a really pretty place. It's very poor though, which is sad. I'd like to go back one day.
Belize has one of the largest coral reefs in the world and they are serious about protecting them since the reefs bring in so much tourism. That meant that our ridiculously huge ship was not allowed to come anywhere near the reefs. It had to drop anchor off the coast. Then we took a 20 minute boat ride to the shore.

Tendering to Belize

Extra picture heavy today! )
Ben chilling on the balcony

I think that is a great picture. Although it is quite misleading. Our first full day on the cruise was anything but relaxing.

I was determined to try to do everything the ship had to offer. One of these things was a rock wall.

Rock climbing - Ben

Ben made it nearly to the top, when his arms suddenly went like noodles. So sad! He was so very close but he never made it.

Rock climbing

I, on the other hand, barely made it off the ground. I'm so pathetic. I have no strength at all! It was super embarrassing.

For the rest of the day, we explored the ship, when to a honeymooners luncheon, played lots of ddr, and got lost a lot. (it was a very big ship.) We tried to ice skate, but it was spring break and all the kids hogged all the time slots. Same with the flowrider, a machine that creates waves for you to surf or boogie board on.

While we were getting changed for the evening show, I chilled out on the balcony for a few minutes.

Blue Water

The water was already so blue and pretty! Also, not photographed were schools of flying fish! So neat!

The show for the evening was called Once Upon a Time. It was a series of song and dance routines set to modern music but themed to various fairy tales. For example, Cinderella's Fairy Godmother sang "Popular" while preparing her for the ball.

Once Upon a Time - Cinderella meeting her Fairy Godmother Once Upon a Time - Cinderella at the ball

Sometimes to adaptations were very very loose. Like the Pinocchio one.

Once Upon a Time - Pinocchio

There was also Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, Little Red Riding Hood, and probably more I've forgotten.

Once Upon a Time - Finale Once Upon a Time - Finale

After the show, we had dinner in the ship's steakhouse restaurant. There was a passover seder being held in the eating area next to the restaurant, so I caught this ice sculpture before going in.

Passover ice carving

The steak house was very...meaty. My salad even had bacon on it. Ben talked me into ordering a steak. It was ok, but I still am not much of a red meat person. It was made well though. I didn't find myself chewing for 15 minutes straight like I normally have to do with steak. So, yay?

Ben and I waddled back to the room very full. We were greeted by towel dog!

Towel dog

I love towel animals. They are so cute. All I know how to make are towel plucked chickens....

We slept really well that night, because we were exhausted already and the next day was Belize!

(Now I need to go upload all those Belize pictures.....)
We got up Sunday morning at 4am to drive to Baltimore airport. The line to check our bags was massive, but we had left ourselves plenty of time so it wasn't a problem at all. Soon enough, we were arriving in Ft Lauderdale.

As we checked in, everyone we spoke to directed us to the buffet as soon as we got on the ship. We were greeted by fruit gremlins and a fancy ice sculpture!

Welcome aboard!

We ate lunch, then checked into our room which was finally clean and ready for us.

Our home for the week

What a fancy room! When I was a kid, the ship's room was tiny like a coffin and the beds pulled down from the walls. This room was super fancy. We even had a balcony. Definitely a nice way to travel.

The balcony was my favorite. Look at that view!

Sunset - Day 1

As we unpacked, a plate of chocolate covered strawberries arrived, courtesy of our travel agent. That was nice of her!

Chocolate covered strawberries

I actually hate chocolate covered strawberries. It's a good way to ruin good strawberries and good chocolate. But these were DELICIOUS! I don't know what they did to them, but it didn't taste like chocolate covered strawberries at all. It tasted good!

Ben and I happily gobbled them up. But a few hours later, another plate arrived! Ben was tired of them by then, so I ate the whole plate myself. (And the next day a third plate arrived. I had to put those in the fridge. I had reached my limit.)

Before dinner, we went to see the welcome aboard show. It was full of singing, dancing, and sparkle motion.

Welcome aboard show - Singing and dancing

Welcome aboard show - Sparkle motion

It ended with a juggling show. I thought there should have been less singing and dancing and more juggling.

Welcome aboard show - Juggling

From there we went to dinner. The main dining room was very fancy. I could get used to that. Though the food was VERY rich. Despite all the activities I did over the week, I still managed to gain 3 lbs! Tragic!

I kept forgetting to take pictures of my food before digging in. Also quite tragic.

After dinner, there was the Olympus Rocks! parade on the Royal Promenade which was like a mall in the middle of the ship.

Olympus Rocks! Parade - Cyclops Olympus Rocks! Parade - Dionysus Olympus Rocks! Parade

It was all quite silly. Greek gods kept popping up on overhead stages to sing rock songs. None of it made much since, but it was entertaining.

And after that, it was time to go to bed! We returned to our room to discover our room attendant had turned down the bed, closed the curtains, and FOLDED OUR CLOTHES for us. Kinda weird. After that, we tried not to leave any of our clothes out. :P

As I sit in my messy apartment, I am missing her though... It was so nice to come back to a clean room every day...
I am back from my vacation. Actually, been back since saturday night. But I have been very sore and tired. I vacation very hard. It was fun though.

Yesterday ben and I went to see How to Train Your Dragon. It was good. I was surprised, since it was dreamworks, but they actually did a really good job this time. I'd recommend seeing it at some point.

Today I am working half day from home. When not working, I'm going to be uploading pictures from my vacation so I can make a proper vacation post. I have 700+ pictures to work through, so this might take me a couple days.... Maybe I will break it up into smaller posts to maintain my sanity.

Until then, entertain yourself with this:
AHHHH! My vacation starts tomorrow! I'm so excited!!!!

Yesterday I was too tired to be exhausted. I got up at 5am so that I could get to work at 7. I actually got there at 7:30 because my bus broke down. Still got there before my boss though!

I got a lot of work done while everyone else was probably just getting in their cars to start their commute. It was nice and quiet with no distractions.

Once everyone started to show up, I had to run downstairs and start prepping for the quarterly consultant's meeting. (A FIVE HOUR meeting.) We weren't giving anyone breakfast this time, so it was a lot easier than usual. I just had to hand out agendas and worksheets, set up the computer, and fill a couple water pitchers.

The meeting went off without a problem. Our org's president came to the meeting, so the vendors seemed to really want to show off for him. I don't know why. He doesn't decide what vendors we use. Oh well, it made the meeting more successful at least.

After the meeting, I finished up a few things I had left and then I WAS OFFICIALLY ON VACATION. If I was not so tired, I think I would have danced out of the building.

I was really lucky and caught a train as soon as I got to the metro and it didn't break down! Then I caught a bus just as soon as I got to the bus stop! So I ended up being an hour early for my salon appointment. :P

I killed time by running a saturday errand. I needed to go to the bank and take out money for tips and souvenirs. That only took 15 minutes though. My bank might be a little too efficient.

So I got to the salon early and took a nap on the very nice couches in the waiting room. People kept waking me to offer me drinks though. I didn't want a drink. I wanted some sleep.

My salon appointment woke me right up though. I got a leg and bikini wax. Painful! Although the woman who was working on me was really good. She kept me distracted by asking me lots of questions. So even though the most sensitive areas still hurt a lot, I barely noticed the less sensitive areas. I gave her a good tip for that.

I was too sore to walk afterwards, so I called ben and he drove me home. We stopped at the store first, which was a bit like torture, but I was strong and endured. Then when I got home I took some painkillers.

I went to bed a bit early because I was so tired. But then I woke up really early this morning! I woke up all giggly and excited. I was waking ben up, so now I am in the living room. I think I'll make breakfast and then start some cleaning.
I have obtained a house sitter for my vacation! Woo! :)

My brother is going to watch the apartment for me since he's out of a job anyway. We're going to pay to fly him down and feed him, which comes out to about the same as sticking my dog in a kennel. He'll water the plants for me too, so it's a good deal.

I have also booked a salon appointment right before the trip to deal with my legs. Yay to shorts and bikinis!

My water bottle holder is almost done, so I'll definitely be taking that with me on my trip.

The dress is still iffy. I am almost done with the most time consuming part. The rest of it should go much faster once I finish the top portion. But with less than a month, will I make it in time?

All I have left to do is get my cruise docs (travel agent says they are in the mail) and buy some khaki pants. Where does one find a nice pair of casual khaki pants? All I've found so far are office pants.

*excited* The cruise is so soon! I might explode!
This one is a bit weird and requires a lot of driving. The problem is that there is not enough in Vegas for a full vacation, and not enough around Disneyland for a full vacation. If they would just get around to building that high speed train between the two, it would be perfect. Instead, I can look forward to a 6 hour drive. Yuck.

Things to do in and around Vegas:
- The Star Trek Experience (If it ever re-opens like they claim)
- Eat a buffet meal
- See the Hoover Dam
- Visit the Grand Canyon (which is another 4 hours of driving by itself)
- Visit Death Valley (weather permitting - NOT summer)

Things to do in and around Disney:
- Disneyland
- California Adventure
- San Diego Zoo & Wild Animal Park
Things I want to do on a cruise to the Mediteranean:

- Visit Pompeii
- Ben wants to see Venice
- See the Colosseum and the Roman Forum
- Eat weird French ice cream
Things I want to do on my next trip to New Orleans:

- Take some sort of Mississippi River cruise (Curse you, Mark Twain!)
- Visit the Insectarium
- Visit the WWII Museum
- Eat at The Green Goddess
- Eat beignets

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January 2015

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