Sander, Daniëlle & EmilyOur Family life...

Our Family life...

Shopping in Miami…

Today was the usual one day bad weather we have during our vacation, at least we hope it stays to one day only with still two days to go. Usually we go out shopping in the local indoor malls but we’ve done this already and have pretty much seen everything. So we decided to drive to a somewhat bigger mall in Miami about 220 miles from our hotel, that’s about 350 kilometer.

The destination was the Aventura Mall where one of the bigger Macy’s stores is located as well as one of the 2 Tommy Hilfiger Anchor stores in Florida. To make the trip worth it we got a 50$ gift card from the Tommy Hilfiger Anchor stores in Miami due to a complaint I filed in the first week of our vacation which we needed to pick-up.

Yes we know that’s about the same amount of dollars we would spend on the roundtrip Lake Buena Vista – Miami – Lake Buena Vista so where are the benefits? Well besides the in general 25-40% lower prices compared to Europe we got a 10% off on our entire purchase as a returning customer and there was an action with 25% off of every woven shirt and blouse in the store.

We woke up early to make sure we would leave on time and at exactly 8:00 we drove to the 7eleven across the street to fill the car with gas. At the first Starbucks along the route with stopped to get coffee and a small breakfast. From there Danielle took over the steering wheel and drove without a single stop to the latest stop of the turnpike Florida while Sander was surfing, sending whatsapps, sending mails and gaming on his 2 phones and iPad. After the driver change we arrived at the Aventura Mall at 11:30 and we went straight to the Tommy Hilfiger Store.

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Shopping was as amazing as the last time, we got helped some great new items and Danielle was really lucky since the first items from the brand new women’s holiday collection arrived today. After a solid 2 hours we left the store and saved $244,75 together with the gift card this was $294,75, in Euros that would be about €220, so I think the trip was well worth it since the gas costed $63,79.

After the shopping we where hungry and we decided to visit the Grand Lux Cafe, this was a deception. It should be the better version to the Cheesecake Factory and we think it can be but we where just unlucky wight the table we got and our server. The Kobe Burger we picked was delicious. The server already knew his service wasn’t the best and he already apologized a couple of times when handing over the bill, so this was a first time for me tipping clearly less than what is usual in the States.

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After lunch we walked through this huge mall but except for checking out the new iPad Mini with the Retina screen and the faster processor, checking out the Macy’s we only bought something at the Victoria Secret. And then it was time for his to drive back to our hom…hotel.

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As soon as we were back in the Greater Orlando area we decided to go to a pizza place Yelp suggested, we ended up by a very small New York style pizza place where we ordered a MEDIUM-sized pizza with two different toppings. One side had Hawaii and the other half was BBQ Chicken.

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After having this one finished we drove the last 20 minutes to our hotel where Danielle checked out our luggage situation. We might not need a 3rd suitcase this time but that is something we will figure out on friday evening after we have bought a new suitcase since one of our suitcases is in a bad state and might not make it back to Europe without falling apart.

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Driving to Greater Orlando…

Yesterday we did a lot and therefore we had a good night sleep. Sander woke up about 5:30 and about one hour later Danielle woke up. Today we were driving from Key West to the Orlando area, which is about an 8-hour drive.
While Sander was getting breakfast at the on-property Starbucks Danielle took a shower and packed our stuff together. At about 8 o’clock we got our car from the valet-parking clerk and left for a long trip up north.
Short after we left Key West Danielle took over and drove all the way to Miami. There is only one way to get from Key West to Miami and that is over the Highway A1A, which is mostly one lane only and can get very boring. But the views were again beautiful and during the ride we stopped to make pictures from F18’s flying which took-off from the local base.

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After this visit our next stop was de Aventura Mall north of Miami. This mall is a typical USA-Mall with anchor stores like Macy’s and Bloomingdales. As soon as we entered the mall we’d like it. We got ourselves a directory and looked for the Tommy Hilfiger store. In all of the USA there are only 5 flagship-stores of Tommy Hilfiger, all the other stores are Outlet stores. In those so-called flagship stores they sell mostly the european line of Tommy Hilfiger for USA-prices. The staff in this shop was very nice and we got ourselves some nice new clothing.
 

The time went by quickly and before we knew it, it was already 4 o’clock and we decided to hit the road and eat something on the way to Orlando. We hit rush-hour on the highway around Miami but as soon as we drove on the Florida Turnpike it was not so busy anymore and we could drive closer to the happiest place on earth without any delays.
 

With 1,5 hours of driving to go we got something to eat at a so-called Service Plaza. We ordered sandwiches at Earl of Sandwich and got a full tank of gas for the last 80 Miles to Orlando. We got 19,07 gallon (72,6 liter) of Shell V-Power (Octane 93) for 3,809$/gallon (1,01$/liter). This is compared to gas in Europe a lot cheaper because it equals 0,74€/liter where as the regular gas in Germany costs 1,51€/liter. In addition we’ve also checked the gas mileage of our car which is 18,8 Miles/Gallon which compares to 8 Kilometer/Liter.

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Danielle drove us to Orlando and at about 8:15 we arrived at our hotel for the rest of our stay in Orlando, the Staybridge Suites Lake Buena Vista. We have a 1-bedroom suite. This property is recently renovated and the rooms look very good and modern. We took a quick plunge in the hotels pool and went back to our hotel room, because it was a long day.
 

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At and around the beach…

As expected we woke up a bit early this morning, to be exact somewhere close after 4:00 o’clock. From out of our bed we watched a movie on one of the two televisions in our room and we fell a sleep a couple of times again for some minutes but sleeping isn’t what our bodies liked to do. So at 5:30 I decided to call our little nephew with FaceTime and we had a lot of fun playing peek-a-boo with him. At 6:30 we finally left our bed to get dressed and get something to drink and eat at the Starbucks to have breakfast on the beach waiting for the sunrise.

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We took some great pictures walked through the water and watched a lot of sportive people jogging over the beach. Some of them looking more interesting as others. After a short walk over the beach we walked back to our hotel over Collins Ave.

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After arriving in the hotel we went directly to the pool for a swim and to work on our tan! The pool has 4 windows on the bottom where you can look through from the hotel bar which is a neat photo opportunity.

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Close to 10:00 we went back to our room to shower and get prepared for the first shopping tour of this vacation! And  not even 100 meter away from the hotel entrance I hurt my toe by slipping on some concrete colored mud. It was bleeding o we went back to the hotel for some bandages. In the beginning everything went fine but after about 3 blocks the bandages couldn’t stop the blood from leaking through anymore so we went to the nearest CVS Pharmacy for a “Repair Sanders toe ASAP kit”.

After cleaning and applying we went back on our way to the Tommy Hilfiger Store at Collins Ave but before we went to the Victoria Secrets store for Danielle. At Tommy Hilfiger we spender over 2 hours to shop for the winter collections which was already on SALE. We end up with some great discounts and 2 Rugby striped tote bags. It was fun shopping there since it was a beautiful store with a small garden to walk through different buildings.

After this major shopping we both were read for something to eat and we knew there should be Johnny Rockets nearby. And since we were both looking forward to a burger and a milkshake this was the place to go to. Danielle ordered the “Route 66” and I went for the “Miami”. The milkshakes we picked were also different Danielle is a chocolate addict and got herself a Dark Chocolate Shake  made with Ghirardelli® Chocolate and I ordered the Big Apple Shake made with an actual slice of apple pie.

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After lunch we rolled back to out hotel via the Miami branch of Dash, the shop from the Kardashian Sisters. Back at the hotel it was already 16:00 hour but we decided to enjoy the beach club from our hotel til 18:00 hour. After sunbathing for an hour we got some food at the Wallgreens for the evening.

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After this last shopping we went to the hotel where we enjoyed the hotel and later in the evening the hotel bar. Tonight will be the last blog post from Miami because early tomorrow morning we’ll drive towards Key West.

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