Having arrived in Vegas, we settled ourselves into our hotel, and went out to explore, and probably more importantly to find some food, for us it was dinner, even though it was early afternoon in Vegas We also wanted to go to a pharmacy, and there was one right across the road. Therein lay the problem, how to cross the road. I think it took six escalators and three bridges to get there! Anyway we made it eventually but decided to eat before going there, to save having to go back and forth too much.
I have to admit I was completely overwhelmed to start with by the size and scale of everything. We were walking through the street and all of a sudden you have Frank Sinatra blasting out to you from goodness knows where. So many people walking around with this huge long drinks in strange plastic containers… I think there were frozen daiquiris and margaritas…. Can't say I was tempted myself. And a constant level of noise, which just takes a bit of getting used to.
The hotel was absolutely amazing, there are two hotels linked together and guests have access to both, the Palazzo and the Venetian, as you might guess it was an Italian theme, each had its own casino that you walk through to get to the rooms, this we discovered was standard for most of the hotels. The first floor was a shopping centre with all the high end stores you can imagine and there was a canal running through the place with gondolas being punted on with guests aboard, we later discovered that this canal went outside too between the two hotels. Photos below. On the third floor there was access to swimming and sunbathing, there were at least three pools, as well as hot tubs, bars, outside eating areas, takeaway, a beauty salon and goodness knows what else. Of course you could go into the Venetian and walk through to the Palazzo, if you had a good sense of direction and and hour to spare! We came across a little row of restaurants which took us ages to find again, and we wanted to go to Sushi Samba, which had a good write up as having a lounge area with a good buzz, we saw it once, and couldn't find it again. Even the plan they gave us didn't help, and we are not unintelligent, even if we are only women!
Anyway, we have enjoyed our time at the hotel and we both agreed it was a good place to be for a first visit. It was extremely central, and although everywhere wasn't walking distance we were able to walk to some places. Uber was a complete godsend, all the hotels have an Uber pick up place, and apart from one driver they were all great. More about him later!
So on Friday night we had booked to go to a comedy gig, which was in the area of Fremont Street, is the other end of the strip from us, Uber required, the hotel was called The D …., one write up about it said make sure you get a room at the back, otherwise you won't sleep for all the noise from Fremont stree.. We were looking for the Uber pickup and went out of the hotel that way by accident, it was just a sea of people. There is a music festival happening in that area this weekend so goodness only know what it's like now. One of the things I noticed in the D was that people were smoking in the casinos, and after noticing it there we realised it was happening in most places, which is a bit of a shock after we have all got used to a complete ban on smoking indoors in the UK.
The comedy was really good, I don't think I have laughed like that for a long time, I even bought a download of the Derek Richard’s, the star, latest CD, hopefully that will give me something to laugh about when I am on my travels.
So that was Thursday, Friday we did quite a bit of walking in the morning and then we had some downtime at the pool, which was just great, did me the power of good. People watching is always a blast and was especially so in Vegas. We were going to see Cirque du Soleil “O” in the evening, which was at the Bellagio, another very grand building. We had to be there two hours before to pick up the tickets, so decided to eat there. Elisabet suggested a Japanese restaurant in the hotel and we agreed that it would make a good change, when we arrived we were given the option of sitting outside and as it was still a very beautiful evening we decided we would. It was a fabulous setting next to what I can only call a man made lake. The food was absolutely amazing, but so was the entertainment, all of a sudden Elvis started blasting out Viva Las Vegas, and the Water was choreographed to dance to it, we were completely blown away by the performance, and managed to catch some of it on film. This was repeated with different music from classical to pop throughout dinner. A couple on the table next to us said it doesn't matter how often you see it, it gets you every time, and I completely understand that. It was a real dinner experience, amazing food and fantabulous entertainment.
So then off to see O, which is a water based entertainment and completely mind blowing. The stage moved from pool to stage with different versions and shapes of the pool all the time, with people diving into the water and performing synchronised swimming routines, as well as being in the air and on the stage. We were both staggered by how people just kept appearing out of nowhere. And there was a good dose of comedy too with the two clowns who appeared at regular intervals to do their routines. I would certainly recommend this show to anyone visiting Vegas, it was stunning, and the technical complexities of the whole thing really made it for me.
In a bid to prepare ourselves for the week to come, we decided to walk back to our hotel, which was only a mile away. I must at this point just tell you how I have been struggling with my feet since I came away. I had a new pair of sandals on when I flew to Boston, and my feet got extremely swollen and I had two nasty sores, one on each foot, which meant I had to live in Flip flops for days, I couldn't get shoes on at all for the wedding, and I had bought a pair specially for that occasion! When I got back to Hollis they started to improve, but then in Vegas the impact of after wearing flip flops for days together with the heat took its toll, skin peeling on underside of both big toes, and then a lovely blister between first and second toes. So it was with enormous satisfaction that I was actually able to get a pair of heels on to go out on Friday night. Even more important because I had an op in June to straighten a toe, which had stopped me wearing heels for the last few years. So I was so happy to be wearing these shoes😀😀😀👠👠👠
However the one mile walk back to the hotel resulted in two more blisters one on the sole of each foot, happiness short lived. Good job I had some Compeed, I was completely mobile again by the following day, was that only yesterday, my goodness, and I am actually able to wear my snazzy new sandals again, so I am making progress in the foot repair department.
The walk back to the hotel seemed to take forever, but it was the first time we had walked through the streets in the evening since we had arrived. The place was just buzzing, needless to say some of the sights were amazing, both good and bad! And then you walk through the hotel casino and it is completely alive, there are cheers coming from a table and all the machines are occupied, with people just feeding them... feed me your money.... I promise you riches...
Saturday arrived and we went out for breakfast and then got an Uber to the Excalibur hotel to pick up our tickets for the first show of the night, the dinner show of Tournament of the Kings. But we got there too early, so decided to play some machines, this was our first foray into the world of Vegas gambling. I started on one machine, but didn't really like it, and moved to another, which was where I won $87 for a $20 stake. Anyway, we couldn't dally because we had to get to the Rio to pick up our tickets for Penn and Teller, the second show of the day of the evening, we were trying to cram as much as possible into our stay. This was where we had elected to do our daily walk, I think it was a couple of miles, and it was ok, I am sure people thought what are those mad women doing walking through the streets, at one point we had three highways running along side us, each with at least two lanes each way, I was worried how we were ever going to be able to get across all that to get to the Rio which was on the other side of all these roads. You always seem to end up walking so much further because a direct route is completely impossible. We picked up our tickets and despite the fact that I had suggested we walk back to the Palazzo from there I had had enough walking. Partly because walking between these hotels offers you no joy, just back road after back road, cars whizzing by, the back of the Ceasars Palace, the back of the Bellagio etc, etc.. nothing to see, just exercise to be gained. So good old Uber was gainfully employed again.
Then the gambling began
This is the second time I have written this, and it seems like days away now. I don't know why it didn't appear the first time around when I published, so I will have to be more careful when editing.
we got back to the hotel and Elisabet was determined that she wanted to have a go at something on the tables. I have played poker with my boys, but its been a while, so I thought 21 would be an easier place to start, and I gave her a quick lesson on a machine on the bar, I think that was one of the quickest $20 I have lost, in just two hands, oh well, I was still ahead. So we found an unoccupied table with a croupier who looked kind... and we started. I was very quickly another $40 down, so decided to stop. Elisabet however was winning, and won about $180 before I dragged her away.
So then it was back to the machines, where I proceeded to lose my winning plus my original stake money, oh well such is life. Elisabet found this really fun machine, where if a lily pad turned up in your line up you got to pick a frog and move him around a pond jumping from lily to lily, we were laughing so much, the man of the next machine was looking at us as though we were mad.
It was finally time to drag ourselves away and go and see our shows, which was difficult but perhaps a good thing otherwise we could have easily carried on all night.
The last night in Vegas definitely time to dress up, bet frocks on, snazzy shoes, and off we go. In the lift a young woman said to us, "Wow you look beautiful, are you going to a wedding?", We graciously accepted the praise, it made our night.
So on to the Excalibur, where we were needless to say completely overdressed, well you cant win them all can you. But worse than that, this was a show with dinner, set in medieval days, and there was no cutlery on the table, and a bowl with a big handle on the side. the soup we had to drink from the bowl, the chicken which was a whole small chicken with roast potatoes and some veg, we had to tear apart with our hands and eat with our fingers, in our posh frocks! Oh well in for a penny in for a pound, we got stuck in, but there was far too much food.
The show itself was a lot of fun, with lots of audience participation. King Arthur was there with his Knights of the round table, and they were each from a different country, we had elected to be in Norway, obviously, as they didn't have Iceland. Our Knight was very handsome, and we cheered he along until he fell during the jousting, yes I did say jousting, on real horses and everything, it was great to watch the horsemanship and the fighting. They went hand to hand if they didn't manage to get a win on horseback, country against country, until there was only one country left and that's when the baddies turned up, there were dragons and plenty and fire. very well staged and everyone was shouting. I have to say I really enjoyed the whole thing.
A quick Uber on to the next Hotel the Rio, and the Penn and Teller theatre, yes they have their own theater, apparently they have been performing there for 20 or more years. I am sure you will be pleased to know we weren't so overdressed this time. The show was ok, but I have to say I was a little disappointed, there wasn't really too much content, there was a lot of audience participation, which was quite amusing in places, and the trick they did were quite good, but I think I would have preferred in retrospect to go and see a musical performance of some kind.
Then we had great fun trying to get an Uber back to the Palazzo, for some reason our driver didn't want to drive into the lane were we should be picked up, and he was on the phone to me saying I am there now coming round with my lights flashing, of course all the drivers were flashing there lights. it took a good ten minutes to work out he wasn't coming around at all, we found him eventually, and got back safely. We were both pretty shattered after a long day, so we decided to leave the gambling and the Sushi Samba and head for the peace, quiet and tranquility of the 40th floor, and bed.
The next day was a new adventure with our trip to the Movara Fitness Resort in Utah.
So Thursday morning arrives, early start to get to the airport for about 7 in order to catch our 9am flight, it's in two stages, Boston Manchester to Chicago Midway and then change for Las Vegas. We had a good breakfast at the airport right next to our gate, and the flight was uneventful. The next gate was adjacent to the one we disembarked from so no mad dash across the terminal. The only fly in the ointment was my case was 5lbs over weight, fortunately Elisabet's was underweight, well she is only travelling for 12 days, not six months, so it should be right! What was more disconcerting was that I was still overweight after filling the back pack I bought. They wanted 70$ for 5LBS of weight which seemed a bit excessive to me... so we just moved my bath bag to Elisabet's and that did the trick.... maybe I will just stay dirty in the future. Well I have until 31st October to sort this little issue out, I may have to send my walking shoes home after next week... next week you say, why after next week. Well all will be revealed shortly.
We had some views of the Chicago skyline when we came in to land there, but we were on the wrong side of the plane to get any photos. The next flight was much more interesting in terms of the landscape we could see, the Rockies, then the Grand Canyon. I was also completely blown away by the size of Las Vegas, it is enormous with a population of about two million people.
So having finally landed in Vegas, we had to put our watches back by three ours to Pacific Time, but we were determined to keep going. We arrived at our hotel The Palazzo and were allocated to a room on the 40th floor. I am terrified of heights so was very trepidatious of how I would deal with being so high up. The lift we use, sorry I should say elevator, is very fast and only stops at a few floors before it speeds up to the 37+ floors. The room is fabulous, however, no tea of coffee making facilities, no bubble bath, and maid service has been non existent, you should see how full our bin is, empty bottles of water of course !
A few pics of the hotel below.
Monday morning and time to think about travelling back to Hollis. It was another absolutely stunning drive, trees and water amazing scenic views. We chatted about the excitement of the previous days and what we were looking forward to over the next week or so, Las Vegas and Utah. It's great to be able to spend some time together, we have a shared history of family but have never spent much time over the years because of the distance between us Elisabet has lived in the USA for over 20 years, and I have lived in the U.K since I was two. We have met from time to time in Iceland but our visits there rarely coincided. Meeting in St Louis earlier this year under very sad circumstances has allowed us to build a relationship probably not unlike that of Greta and Helga our mothers. I have so many memories of Helga visiting us in England and the fun and laughter there was between them, she was like an older sister to me and I visited her in Iceland a few times on my own. So it feels really good to have this new connection and friendship, probably made even more important to me because of the loss of both my sisters. As we talk it's amazing howmany similarities there are between us not just the fact we are both called Elisabet, but our work ethic and beliefs, and our sense of humour and fun.
So we arrived back in Hollis, did a quick unpack of the car and then went down to the Mall to get me a camelback and a rucksack. I definitely can't survive with the big handbag I bought as hand luggage. Back home and an early dinner, movie and early to bed to try and get back to some sort of normality. As I mentioned before Elisabet's house is in a beautiful setting surrounded by trees and they often have bears coming right up to the house. I was hoping to witness them but it hasn't happened, Just after dinner Gary called that there were Deer at the feeder, I was able to get a few photos, they are a bit grainy because they are through the mesh, and a fawn appeared at the last minute, so beautiful, and what a treat.
Yesterday we took the dogs for a walk in a local park, Mine Fall Park, it was so beautiful, and we saw maybe half a dozen people on the circuit we took. Very peaceful, and the dogs clearly love it there. This is part of their daily routine when Elisabet is not at work, so we are going back this morning after we have checked in to our flight tomorrow to Las Vegas. After our walk we went shopping for some Levi's for me, and I also bought myself a cheap phone to avoid the horrific charges Vodafone were laying on me to use my package. Another quiet night in and a lovely dinner cooked by Elisabet, a movie and then I was treated to the finale of Americas Got Talent, seems that wherever you go you can watch the same programme, good old Simon Cowell was there and Mel B had the most bizarre hair I have seen in a long time. Multi coloured i.e. Purple, red, green, blue, and sparkling. Yuk is all I can say about that. I must be getting old! An early night for me, I am finally getting over the insect bites, the swollen feet I had after my flight and trip to Vermont, so sleep is improving. Just in time to move to another time zone.
A better nights sleep last night, and I was laying in bed this morning and I could hear a skein of geese flying overhead, reminded me of home as we have geese living close by and I used to see them flying over the house quite often, but haven't for ages, I wonder why that is. Another beautiful walk in the park again today, a different route and I didn't think I would want or need to take more photographs but it was so different so here are a few more images, part of it is a bird reserve. Stunning. It's hard to believe you are in the centre of the town whilst you are walking through here.
A quiet day planned for today, as we are flying to Las Vegas tomorrow morning on the 9am flight, via Chicago. We have three nights there and have booked to see Penn and Teller, but will also see what else is available in terms of shows. We intend to walk every morning keeping up our fitness training, I am sure we will do a little gambling. Don't worry boys I will be careful with your inheritance, or maybe not! And then on Sunday we go the the Movara fitness resort for a week of exercise and diet and goodness knows what else! Apparently the day starts with a hike up the mountains. Scary. Will I survive to continue the adventure. Oh well at least of got the first week or so to look back on if I have to be airlifted home.
Well that's a good question, we got to bed about 2am and all took our time to rise in the morning, as you do, the morning after the night before. We had the usual dog excitement when we got in because we brought a friend of the groom home too to give him a bed for the night, and one of the dogs doesn't much like men, so it takes a lot of barking before you can settle her down and get her to believe there is no threat. It's funny because she is so loving and adorable but has obviously been mistreated by a man in the past.
Anyway here I am digressing again, so first of all we had breakfast together which was lovely. Little Heidi had become best of friends with her Amma Elisabet at the wedding because they danced together for a really long time, so she was helping her Amma and wanted to sit next to her at breakfast, so cute, a really lovely little girl and an amazing dancer for three years old, copying all sorts of stuff on the dance floor. Then we had Vignir and Ásgerður and there boys come to visit briefly to say good bye before they started their journey home to Iceland. After that Jason, Jeannie and Heidi left for their long drive home, and then Gary left to go back to Hollis, taking the oldest dog with him. Elisabet and I decided to have a quiet day in, and just rest up after the frantic running around of the last three days, I had a nice long shower and washed my hair got all the hairspray out of it, and tried to soothe my itching bites, I made the mistake of looking in the mirror when I got home from the wedding, I wouldn't say the wedding hair had done me any favours, it was just one frizzy mess by then, which is very unusual for my hair. Yuk!
We were then delighted to welcome the Bride and Groom for a short visit before they started their long drive home to Chicago, they were in extremely good spriits and we talked about their gifts, in particular the cookbook that Elisabet had put together for them with contributions from the family, recipes in Icelandic and English, and photos of the family. I was very happy to have contributed as did my brother, it was a lovely book and they were so over the moon about it.
So they left us about an hour later, and we decided it was time for a drink, and to sit outside on the veranda with the amazing view in the sunshine. At the salon the day before the girls had been telling us that they had had no summer up until just recently so it looks like we were very lucky with the weather. Then a text message arrived from Amma Stina, could they come and visit with us after they had been out to eat? So they turned up an hour or so later and we did the whole dog introduction thing, bark bark, but eventually she settled down again. It was a lovely visit and once again it drove it home to me that I really need to get this language thing sorted out because even though I understand some things I miss so much! After they left we had some dinner and a couple more drinks, watched a daft movie and had a much needed early night. But not before being scared out of our wits for a minute or two, when the dogs both started barking like crazy, they have exceptional hearing and had barked long before cars arrived outside the house, we had been warned that there were bears in the forest, and to make sure that the veranda door was locked before we went to bed, because bears had been know to try and get into the house. So I was convinced we were going to see a bear on the veranda. It was really funny looking back on it, needless to say there was nothing we could see out there..... but anyway it took us a while to settle down again and the dogs didn't have a repeat performance so it was probably something from a little distance away.
The house we stayed in was just wonderful, full of character with a wrap around balcony and a great space outside with hammocks and seating areas as well as access to the woods and lots of potentiL for walking. And the view was just phenomenal
I think it's been three days since I have posted an update on my journey, and I have to say it has been a really busy time, if the rest of my journey into the future is anything like the last three days I don't think I will survive. So after the beautiful drive up from Hollis to our destination in Hardwick Vermont it was all systems go to help set up and host the Bridal shower, as this was an Icelandic and American wedding there were of course many Icelandic influences over the whole wedding, including a large number of Icelanders attending. My cousin Elisabet, who I am staying with, is the daughter of my mother's sister, my Auntie Helga, or as we would say in Icelandic Helga Frænka. Elisabet's son Robert was the groom and he was marrying Aubrey a young lady from Texas. His father and stepmother and brothers all travelled from Iceland together with his father's sister and all her family and his grandmother, Amma in Icelandic, to name but a few. Let's just say it was a good Icelandic gathering, and although my language skills are not brilliant I consider myself to be Icelandic.
Anyway back to the bridal shower, the groom was invited and we had lots of Icelandic food, smoked lamb on a flat bread, cake baked by Amma, Icelandic pancakes with whipped cream and Icelandic rhubarb jam, Icelandic sweets and chocolates, Icelandic hot chocolate with whipped cream, American coffee and African tea as a nod to the many years Aubrey spent in Africa when she was growing up. Gifts were opened by the couple and there was quite a lot of hilarity especially when it was Aubrey's turn to read the card and it was in Icelandic, but I have to say she made a good effort. The guests had all departed by about 8pm and the men who had all been banished started to appear, and we had some family time, which was really nice. I have to admit I was flagging by this point, having been up for 24 hours on the day of travelling and then only having about 4 hours sleep and the hectic day we had. But the fun wasn't over yet as we returned to our wonderful home from home in Hardwick and waited up for Gary's son Jason and his wife Jeannie and their 3 year old Heidi to arrive at about 1:30 am, they had been driving for about 7 hours.... they also had they puppy Pit bull with them, he was really cute, white with a black patch over one eye and above the other eye. I should say Gary is Elisabet's partner, Elisabet and Gary have three dogs, so the introduction of the three dogs was really important and it was pointless going to bed until this had happened as there was going to be a lot of barking. I must say at this point my boys will find it hilarious that I found myself in a house with four dogs, as I have always been scared of dogs... but I coped very well and indeed I have one of the dogs sitting at my feet as I sit and write, even if he is only after the food I am counting that as a victory on my part.
The next day was the day of the wedding reshearsal dinner, and was being held in the house where the bridal party were staying, which had a barn attached. Again the theme was Icelandic, American, with Icelandic hotdogs and American hamburgers. We prepared the food and drinks and decorated the house and people started arriving around 7pm, it was a relaxed evening in a lovely environment, the couple didn't want anything formal and I think they enjoyed it enormously. We had had a good morning with real family time. We took all the dogs on a walk through the forsest down to a stream that Jason had found earlier. Heidi came too, and naturally Jeannie was advising her to be careful and was informed "I have really good balance don't worry!" By her three year old daughter. She loved every minute of that walk, striding out. Moments like that are so precious in our lives. The photos below are of us arriving at the stream in the forest. We decided it was impassable on the other side of the stream for everyone so turned back.
The Wedding Day
even though the wedding wasn't until 4pm it was a relatively early start because we had to return the groom and his friends to the bridal house to pick up cars and start getting things set up. We then travelled to the lovely town of Stowe to get our hair and makeup done. Of course it wasn't the experience I expected, I thought I would be going in for a wash and blow dry, but wedding hair doesn't mean that, it means having you hair put up, so no washing involved but lots of hair lacquer and bobby pins, sometimes known as grips.... so my hair is too short to get up into anything so she said "well what if I curl the bottom and put the top part up to give a bit of height. ". So I was going with the flow and said ok, when she had finished she said what do you think? To be honest I was lost for words!
This was the final result, needless to say it all got brushed out before the wedding, but the experience was fun. As I mentioned before I think it's fascinating going to these sorts of events in different countries because we make assumptions, I assumed they would wash my hair, and they didn't so I went to a wedding with dirty hair😱. So there was just time then to go back to their house and get dressed and depart for the wedding venue. It was a beautiful setting in a farm, and Robert and Aubrey got married in the forest itself. A very simple ceremony and not a dry eye in the house. They were married by Aubrey's father who is a pastor and has spent his life working as a missionary in Africa and India. All the bridesmaids where dressed in green dresses all different and the flower girls in pinks. Aubrey's dress was made by her mother and the fabric designed by Aubrey, the theme of the pattern being used throughout the wedding. It was clear that a huge amount of personal effort had gone into the wedding from all the families which made it so much more personal and intimate. The reception was in a tent with flowers planted on either side an the flaps up so there was a bit of a breeze in the tent. The weather in Vermont was glorious the whole time we were there which was an added bonus. The other added bonus was for the Mosquitos because they were able to feast on both me and Amma Stina. We were comparing bites last night. Horrible. And I would mind but I had actually sprayed myself twice, once before I left the house and once at the wedding itself! Let's just hope I can get this under control soon for the rest of my travels.
Anyway back to the wedding. The food was great and then the partying started, and of course Icelanders know all about partying. There were lots of speeches and much laughter and some tears because of the touching comments about the couple. Then Vignir Robert's father and two of Roberts brothers stood up and performed as a band, playing a couple of songs Robert had performed many years ago in Iceland, all the Icelanders then got up and sang two songs, in Icelandic, and I performed too, I had practice many years ago when we used to go to the celebration called Thorrablot or Þorrablót in Icelandic. A celebration of the end of winter where all the delicacies are eaten and the men sing songs to the women and the women sing songs to the men. I can read and sing, I may not know what I am saying but hey, I can join in that's the main thing.
One of the ideas I had about my retirement was to go and live in Iceland for a year so that I can sort out my language, but that's on hold at the moment, I will have to see whether that's possible when this adventure is over, but in the mean time I am determined to use some of my time each day improving on and learning more Icelandic. Being with all the family, makes me feel more determined because I really want to be able to communicate and not rely on people translating everything. So I will keep you posted on that, I am doing a trial on some software over the next few days to see how I get on with that as a tool for the mission,
Then the dancing began, it was such a fun evening and we danced until about 11pm and then went across the road for the party to continue at Ásgerður and Vignir's house, with Vignir playing guitar and everyone signing along. Very much like an Irish family get together where songs are sung in what is called a session. I am married to an Irish man and we did this at our wedding in the bar after all the dancing was finished and do it at all family get togethers. Such a joyful and uplifting experience.
The journey to the airport was stress free. I decided that as I was going to cart this bag across the world I should start as I meant to go on and walk to the station. My darling husband was a bit incredulous about the idea, surely you are going to get a taxi! Anyway I bumped in my neighbour as I left the house and she very kindly took me to the station. Thanks Denise it was much appreciated and it gave us a few minutes for our goodbyes too. The train and two tubes were all fine we had seats all the way and minimised on the walking, but I did find it quite difficult to manage my bag, so I am going to have to work on that. It didn't help that I was also carrying a wedding present with me, more about that later, and the walk from the tune to Terminal 3 was long and my bags felt quite heavy by the time I got into the terminal. then the moment of truth, I had weighed my bag and then added what I thought were a couple of very light items, and I weighed in at 24.7 kilos. Oh dear. After all that effort I had failed at the first hurdle. However Virgin Atlantic didn't bat an eyelid and off it went without a hitch. Of course my biggest fear is that it won't arrive at the other end, which happened to me in Feb this year when I had a quick visit to St Louis traveling from the same airport and terminal. Trust Diane that's what you have to do I kept telling myself. My Itinerary doesn't really allow for lost luggage !
So a quick peck from the old man and I was off on my adventure solo, first port of call lunch, very nice fish pie. And some ice cream to follow and sorry to admit this Shaun but I did have a couple of glasses of wine. Then a very easy flight to Boston, I had three seats to myself so even managed a bit of a sleep. Entry into the US was virtually painless apart from standing in the wrong queue for 20 minutes. And then I found my bag, hurrah, and went out into arrivals to be greeted by my lovely cousin Elisabet. We share the same name as we were both named after our Amma, that's grandmother is Icelandic. My father decided that I would be known by my second name for some obscure reason, something to do with the Queen being Elizabeth, and so no one would say my name properly. Anyway I digress. Elisabet whisked me away to her lovely home in Hollis New Hampshire to be greeted by her husband Gary, her son Robert and his soon to be wife Aubrey and also Robert's father, stepmother and two brothers. We had a wonderful family dinner and eventually I got to bed at about 1 am. Needless to say I was awake at 5:30 and could not get back to sleep.
So by 7:30 I was in the kitchen having breakfast looking out at the woodland that the house is nestled in. Very peaceful and beautiful.
Then the madness begins
What followed that peaceful breakfast was really a day of madness. There was so much to do to prepare for the journey to Vermont, shopping packing three cars driving to Vermont. I should explain that the reason this trip happened in the first place was because Elisabet invited me to Robert and Aubrey's wedding. It kind of grew from there. We talked about going to a health farm in Utah for a week and decided we would do that, and then we thought we may as well stay in Vegas for a few days as we are passing through. Then I resigned and the world of opportunity opened its doors. More of that later.
So having loaded the cars we began the journey to Vermont where the wedding is taking place, the drive was absolutely beautiful. The trees are just starting to turn, so I can only imagine what it will be like in a few more weeks. We are staying in a beautiful house in the woods with a wraparound veranda, there are hammocks in the grounds and you can see for miles. The views are just amazing.
Well almost, having overcome the issue with loading my Itinerary on the blog, and learning something new in the process... I am just doing the final packing and setting off for Heathrow at about midday.
its been quite an emotional roller coaster this week, saying goodbye to people, family, friends, neighbours. Yesterday I had my last training session with my wonderful PT Thomas, who has changed my life over the last two years. But I am in a good zone to carry on training whilst I am away, Also said farewell to my hairdresser who I have been going to for 17 years, how did that happen.
Anyway must dash and finish the packing and re weigh and drop keys off at the estate agents and pick up my drugs from the chemist and get to the airport. Speak soon.
I have been trying to find time to write for days, and so here I am at 8pm on Monday 11th September... in two days I will have been be in the air for about 30 minutes, all being well with good old Virgin Atlantic.
Its been an extremely busy few days, after months of preparation I finally put the family home on the market, so I may have no home to come home to.. oh well adds a bit of excitement into the mix. I have to ask myself why it took me so long to get the house ready for sale, but then I do have the excuse that I was working in Scotland for a year, and only home every three weeks or so. I have also spent a lot of time planning the trip. Today is really good example, what have I actually achieved sitting at this desk for eight hours, well I booked a Greyhound bus from Memphis to Kansas, and one from Kansas to St Louis. I had a big hole in my itinerary between Broomfield Colorado in the early part of October and leaving LA for Fiji on the 31st October. So today I managed to fill that gap, and added in the Grand Canyon to my trip. before arriving in LA. I am also taking the Amtrak train from Flagstaff to LA, overnight, that took a bit of decision making believe me.
Then my darling husband gave me short shrift for not updating my blog for days... so I really had to sit down and start writing, even though I have been sitting at this desk since midday. I hope that I will be able to maintain a good writing rhythm whilst I am away, but I am not sure what that looks like yet. The interesting thing is that I have actually wanted to sit down and write for the last few days, but I haven't had the time, I spent the whole day on Thursday organising the packing of my single bag... I know one bag for six months how is that ever going to work, but I also emptied and packed all the clothes from my wardrobe just in case I don't have a home to come to. I was supported in what turned out to be quiet an emotional process by my son's girlfriend Tayla, thanks so much sweetie, we had fun, and I think you were really shocked to discover I own not one but two pairs of leather trousers... and lets not talk about the shoes please.... I DID have to buy those two new pairs for my travels, they were essential believe me!
Then on Saturday I had a wonderful surprise, I went to do my last Barrecore class on Saturday morning and then another last minute trip to the shops for even more stuff! When I finally arrived home there was a little party of family and friends waiting for me, Thanks Ásgeir, it was a wonderful surprise and lots of fun.
Its very much been a week of lasts and goodbyes, but not sad, ready to move on the next stage of my life which starts of course with my adventure.
A few people have asked for my itinerary so I will put that on here tomorrow in its basic form. Tomorrow is a day of pampering, well why not! Final packing of the bag which has been weighed emptied weighed again and again, by the lovely Tayla, I don't know how she managed to lift it, but it was, we agreed, 21.7 Kilos. still have to put my Nordic poles and one or two other bits in... so I am sure I will keep it under 23K cough cough splutter I am seriously considering taking another bag as hand luggage just to get me through the first stage of my trip which includes a wedding. I will report back tomorrow when packing is complete.
Ok signing off for today.., talk tomorrow