Sander, Daniëlle & EmilyOur Family life...

Our Family life...

Finally on the west coast…

After months of preparation today it was finally the day that our USA Westcoast Trip was gonna begin.

At Thursday Danielle already had vacation and and prepared al lot for the trip. After packing the suitcases on Thursday evening we went to sleep pretty early, because at 04:30h Daniel, a colleague of Sander picked us up and brought us to Nürnberg Airport. At around 5 we arrived at the airport and it was already pretty busy. We had already checked in online so we only had to drop of our luggage.

After going through security and buying some breakfast we left on time, at 6:10h, for our flight to Amsterdam Schiphol Airport. The aircraft was a Fokker 70 and at about 7:30h we arrived at AMS.

Our flight to Los Angeles did not depart until 09:50h so we had some time to buy some magazines and other stuff.

After we went through security and the bodyscanner the crew started boarding in time. We had seats at the emergency exit of the plane, a Boeing 747-400, and that was great. Especially because of the extra space for our legs.


The flight was ok, but it still took us 10,5 hours to get here.

Wenn we arrived at LAX we were the first to depart the aircraft, after that we had to wait extremely lang for our suitcases, but finally the arrive together. Even the border security was ok and did not took long.

Wenn we went to the Alamo rent-a-car to pick up our rental, we saw the Spaceshuttle Endavour landing at LAX on a Boing 747. This was very special and unique to see. Then we checked in at Alamo and get to pick out a car from the Fullsize SUV line. We picked a black Ford Explorer. It’s a great car and has many extra options on it. We will post a picture of the car tomorrow.

Then the trip began our trip. First thing to do was get out of L.A. and get on the Highway 1. We planned this because Highway 1 is parallel at the pacific coastline.


As you can see the views were beautiful. And we even stepped out of the car to checkout the water temperature. And it was very cold!


After visitng the City center of Santa Barbara to check-out the iPhone 5 at the Apple Store we went to eat burgers at Jack in the box at Solveng before we arrived at Santa Maria.

Quickly we bought some drinks and some food at Walmart in Santa Maria before we went to the hotel. Tonight we stay at the Holiday Inn Suites at Santa Barbara. the hotel looked better as on the online pictures and we stay in a room with a fully equipped kitchen. Ideal for a one night stay.



And after being underway for almost 25 hours we are finally there…

Driving along the coast…

This morning we both woke up pretty early. Danielle seems to have less problems with the 9 hours time difference as Sander because she slept till almost 7:00. After a small bite and taking a shower we left around 8:15 and we did found 2 geocaches near the hotel.

The plan for today existed in driving to Berkeley near San Francisco where we would stay in a hotel for 3 nights. After around 25 Miles we stopped for a full breakfast at the IHOP. We both enjoyed our Strawberry Banana Pancakes. After breakfast we went for the third Geocache of the day and we found it without any problems. It was a huge one with lots of tradable items in it. We checked them out and left for the rest of our trip north.


Soon Danielle took over the steering wheel and I relaxed and looked around. I told Danielle we would drive straight on the Highway 1. She believed me and that was probably the last time. It was a very curvy road with sometimes a lot of traffic and narrow bridges. But she did well and in the end she almost felt sorry for giving up the driver seat.


Since Danielle drove really fast we used more gas as expected and decided to get some gas for our SUV.


After getting gas Danielle drove the car for another 3 hours and we’ve seen so many things on the road.




About 100 Miles before San Francisco, it was already 15:00,  we stopped to grab a Starbucks and something small to eat. We also visited the Best Buy and bought a new car-kit for the iPhone because the old one was broken. We than learned that it’s not allowed to put something on the windshield in California, so we went for a version which can be mounted on the vents.

During the ride we decided not to go to Cupertino but it seemed like we passed it on the road there and decided to put it back in the schedule of today. We did make some pictures but the company store was closed today.


From there we drove straight through San Francisco because I wanted to drive over the Golden Gate Bridge. And we wanted to take some pictures because we had beautiful weather. But then all f a sudden there was a lot of fog coming in to the area. We hurried up and close to the bridge about 75% was still visible. So we looked for a parking-spot and after having our car parked we went out for pictures. But then the bridge was gone….


And our car has a sun roof! Which I needed to test out.


As you can see it was fully covered in the fog and so we don’t have a picture with the Golden Gate Bridge. So we drove to our hotel over the bridge and everything went well until 2 miles before our hotel… There was a huge traffic jam, but we have nothing to complain only 2 miles traffic problems on a trip from over 300 miles.

The hotel is the Holliday Inn Express & Suites in Berkeley. It’s a very nice hotel with nice rooms and fast internet. But tonight is going to be interesting, there is no power from 22:30 till 6:30 tomorrow morning. To make the guest feel comfortable the manager makes sure everyone got a flashlight…


As every night we went to a place for dinner and this night it was Sushi time. We ordered a Sushi-boat and it was delicious.


Now it’s time for bed! Let’s hope i get some more sleep as last night.

A day in San Francisco…

We both had a good night of sleeping. We went to bed earlier as expected due to the power outage which lasted till this morning 7:00. After taking a shower we went down for breakfast and soon after we need to make us ready for today.

Yesterday evening we had contact with Ian, someone we’ve met on the wedding of Glenn and Gina. We discussed going to San Francisco together and he and his partner David would pick us up at the hotel at 8:30 in the morning.

From the hotel we went straight to San Francisco where we have seen a lot of things. We’ve actually seen more as expected. We first started with a view on the skyline of San Francisco and on Alcatraz. From there we drove into downtown San Francisco and we went to watch the painted ladies.




After taking a picture at there we went to Lombard Street where we walked it down and took some pictures. This street is a small street where cars need to pass several hair-spin turns and which is become really famous throughout the years.


After Lombard Street we went to the Fishermans warf to watch a bunch of sea-lions. Than we tried to get tickets for the Alcatraz tour on monday but it was fully booked so we’ve booked tickets online for Tuesday morning.


After the sea-lions we’ve told Ian about geocaching and he wanted to go look for some. So we picked a Geocache at near Pier 39 which was quite a big box for such a crowded area. After logging we went to the Golden Gate Bridge in the hope to get a better view on it as yesterday. It was better but there is just too much fog coming through the Golden Gate.


Then it was lunch time already. Ian and David made a reservation at Cavallo Point. The lunch was delicious, thanks Ian and David for inviting us. We had a lot of fun and discussed Geocaching a bit more. Ian was becoming more and more interested and wanted to find a couple more.


Ian selected a geocache in Sausalito so that was the next stop. Ian found the location and in a couple minutes the cache was back in its position and we looked for another one in the area. We’ve also looked around in the is small city and found a guy which is really good in balancing stones.


After Sausalito we tried to visit a lighthouse but the road to there was closed but it was a nice view. From there we went back through San Francisco and that was not a good idea. The traffic was terrible.


After arriving in Berkeley we went for a car tour around the local university and we finished the day at Chaat’s Café.

Ian and David thank you for taking us on a tour through San Francisco we’ve a had a wonderful day.

First shopping day…

For today we planned a sort of shopping day. After doing so much yesterday and the still being present jet-lag we woke up today around 08:00.

Our plan for today was visiting the Premium Outlet Mall in Vacaville. After breakfast and printing the coupons for this mall we left the hotel. The weather in Berkeley was not fantastic and we doubted of even wearing shorts. But after checking the weather app on the iPhone we learned that it would be 33 degrees Celcius in Vacaville today. So the choice had been made, shorts!!!

After a drive of 45 minutes we arrived in Vacaville and it was not warm outside, it was hot. First we went to our favorite store, Tommy Hilfiger. There was an end-of-season sale and I found three shorts only costing 9,99$. On top of that we received 20% discount because of a check-in at 4square. Furthermore we bought for Sander shorts en polo’s and polo’s for me.

Then Sander discovered a Jelly Belly store where they sell jelly beans. Jelly beans have all kinds of flavors. There was also a sample bar where we could try all the different flavors. So I tried Dr. Pepper jelly beans and Sander all the other ones. Then Sander filled a bag himself with all different tastes. The cashier told us that the Jelly Belly Factory was not far from here and that they give free tours in the factory.

For lunch we ate at Original Mel’s an American diner where Danielle Mushroom & Swiss Mel Burger and Sander went for the Steak & BBQ Chicken. It was delicious, why don’t we have restaurants at home which can deliver this quality of steaks and burgers? During dinner we used the table jukebox for a song and we came with Greased Lightning.



So after lunch we decided to go to this factory en we were lucky. A tour was about to get started in 12 minutes. We saw the plant where the jelly beans are produced, finished, packed and got ready to be shipped. Very interesting. Afterwards we got some Hello Kitty Jelly Beans and we could try all the different jelly beans. Sander tried also the not so tasty ones like rotten eggs, moldy cheese, baby wipers. They were really not tasteful.




Next thing was visiting a shopping mall in Fairfield because they have Victoria’s Secret here where I wanted to shop. The shopping was successful and after grabbing a Starbucks to go we went back to the hotel. The ride back to the hotel went without any problems or delays although it was pretty busy on the road.



After arriving in the hotel we checked out Berkeley for a couple GeoCaches while wandering around. We’ve found 3 new ones which brings our total finds to 118. After the walk we both had appetite and we asked Siri for a nice sandwich place, she suggested to go to Café Yesterday and that was a good suggestion. We both went for the C.B.R. (Chicken Breast Roasted) combined with chips. The place was filled with students and they played classic music on vinyl. I would definitely go there again if I was not living so far away.
As a bonus one pictures from the outside of our hotel here in Berkeley.


Tomorrow we need to get out bed early so we go to bed early today.

Leaving San Francisco behind…

Today was our last day in the San Francisco area.

After we woke up incredibly early (6:00 a.m.) we left the hotel at about 7:15 a.m. after Sander had a discussion with the hotel manager concerning to power cut-off in the first night of our stay. The result was a refund of 50$ plus tax because of the inconvenience. That being said we left the hotel with all our luggage and headed for Fisherman’s Wharf. From here the boat was departing for our tour to Alcatraz and Angel Island.

After we had found a parking spot at Pier 39 we walked to Pier 33 to pick up our tickets. When walking to Pier 33 we saw the Disney Wonder in the San Francisco Harbor, one of the ships of the Disney Cruise Line. During our New York trip we’ve already seen the Fantasy, do they follow us???

After taking some pictures we arrived at the Alcatraz Cruise Landing. We picked up our tickets and because we were way to early (traffic can be a b*tch in the morning but luckily for us it was not) we decided to go look for a Starbucks to buy the San Francisco City Mug. We found one in the Levi’s Building (yes. Levi’s from the well-known jeans) and they had the mug.

Then we returned to the Alcatraz Cruise Landing because the would start boarding at 09:00 a.m. and the boat left for Alcatraz Island at 09:30 a.m.

Because it was foggy and windy it was really cold at the boat. But I wanted to take pictures of the Island so we stayed outside and after 15 minutes we arrived at the Alcatraz Island.



A Ranger was waiting for us and informed the group about everything on the island and after that we went up to de cellhouse to get the equipment for the audio tour the through the cellhouse.


It is very interesting to hear al the stories and see the original cells and other rooms. We watched everything and then we headed back to the dock because the boat was taking us to Angel Island for part 2 of this trip.



Angel Island can be compared with Ellis Island in New York. The only difference was, that in Ellis Island arrived immigrants mostly from Europe and Angel Island was the place where immigrants from Asia and the Pacific entered the United States.

As we arrived at Angel Island a tram was waiting for us to take us for a one-hour-tour along the island. We were told about the long history. How it was started as a military base. When the military came back from Europe from World War II they entered the US again through the Golden Gate and came to Angel Island.

There are o lot of nice buildings on this island and spectacular views. After the tour we went back to the dock and while we ate something at the Cove Cafe the boat was soon departing to go back to San Francisco. It took us about 40 minutes to get back to the mainland from Angel Island.





Throughout the day we had contact with Ian and if we could meat him in the evening for dinner. Reason for that was that Sander wanted to visit the Apple Company Store in Cupertino because it was closed on Saturday and Ian is working not far from Cupertino.

At around 05:00 p.m. we arrived at 1 Infinite Loop in Cupertino and visited the store. I must say, we bought some “amazing” stuff.

We met Ian at the store and decided to get dinner at a restaurant nearby called BJ’s. This is a nice restaurant/brewhouse and the food was great. After dinner we went for a Geocache together not far from the Apple Inc. building. After a quick search we found it but finding out how to log it took a bit longer…

Then it was time to say goodbye to Ian, because we had to drive to our next stop this vacation, which is Fresno. The drive took us almost 4 hours and that made us aware of the driving we still need to do this vacation. We arrived in the hotel just before 10:30 p.m. and the hotel is nice.


We now go to bed because tomorrow we have a National Park visit on the planning.

Driving, trees and rocks…

This morning we had a slow start. It took a little bit longer as usual before we drove away from the hotel. And befroe we could really hit the road we needed to do some grocery shopping and we needed gas!


So at 9:30h we left Fresno towards the southwest entrance from Yosemite National Park. Till the entrance we had no problems with traffic and also the roads in the ark seemed to be empty. First stop was a restroom since Danielle needed one, the first one was closed, the second one was a couple miles after the first stop we wanted to make. We decided to drive past the stop en drive back after and so we did go back to the Tunnel-view. What a great outlook and we found the answers for a virtual geocache here.


From there we continued our way to the Yosemite Valley where we took the Valley Shuttle tour past a couple highlights inside the park. We got out at the Falls but in this time of the year the falls have no water. And afterwards we went for a hike towards Happy Islands. From there we went back to our car and continued our travel to the Tuolomne Grove.


In this grove there are a couple giant Sequoia’s and this was also something we wanted to see in this park. After we got out of our car we checked out the map of the area and we needed to hike for 2-3 hours to see the trees. So we went down the hill to the bottom of the Grove and after 20 minutes we already found the first giant Sequoia of the trial.


From there on we took a short cut to the dead sequoia where you can walk-through and on our way there we found another Sequoia. After taking pictures we went back to our car. And this was the harder part of the hike, we went down going to the trees which meant we need to walk up back the car. Exhausted but confident we walked back in about 25 minutes. From that point it was still almost 3 hours driving towards Bishop, CA.



The way out of the park we followed the exit signs to the east exit of the park. We drove over the Tioga Pass and that was an awesome experience. For the first time in my life I was over 3.000 meter above sea-level without being in a plane. We stopped a couple times for pictures and enjoying the view.



After leaving Yosemite NP we drove further to Bishop were we stay in a Best Western hotel .  It was too dark to make pictures from the outside but the hotel looks nice and cozy. The room is a little bit smaller as the rooms we had the last couple of days but its a clean room .


For diner we ate at a local place called Wishkey Creek Bishop. We both went for a burger and they were both delicious. After having paid we left the restaurant to find a GeoCache. in Bishop. The total number is at 124
Tomorrow we will need to get out bed early since we have planned a trip through death valley with the goal to end up in The Venetian.

Feeling hot, hot, hot…

Early this morning we woke up from some noise and the light peeking through our curtains. After getting a shower and re-packing all the stuff we jumped into the car for our first stop of the day. We stepped our Full-size SUV and went to the Starbucks on the corner and for a sandwich we went to a special dutch style bakery in the area. From that point Danielle drove the car. We got some gas and went towards Death Valley National Park.


The ride went smooth and after having the first stop I took over the car.From there on we stopped a couple of times for pictures like here at the sand dunes.


The first real target of today was Furnace Creek, mostly because there are normal restrooms and some shops. And not to forget there we could find the answers on questions for 2 easy virtual caches.


From that point on we went towards Badwater Bassin. This was a very interesting place. It was a bit different as we knew from movies or pictures but still beautiful to see.



After wandering in this area we wanted our feet to rest and that was okay since we still needed to drive almost 3 hours.


During the 3 hours Danielle found a couple geocaches along the route and all those are found by us. After about 2,5 hours of driving we saw the Skyline from Las Vegas. We parked our car in the parking-garage from the hotel en from there we walked into the hotel. It took some time to figure out where we needed to check-inn but we found it in the end.

When we arrived in our room we were blown away. It seems to be almost as big as our apartment back home. We’ve 3 televisions for 2 rooms.



Tomorrow would be a day with a relaxed start.

Walking down the strip…

Today we have done a lot but nt really something worthy enough to write a full blog about it, therefore a short blog with a lot of pictures. We started with a lazy morning before we went out our suite and we started with some shopping at our own hotel.
After shopping we walked down the strip in the south direction all the way to Mandalay Bay by daylight. In most casino’s we tried the slot machines and sometimes we were lucky but in the end we always left with a negative result.
Starting in the beginning of the evening we walked back to our own hotel.

Gondola Ride at Grand Canal

Lobby of The Venetian

The Venetian Hotel

The Mirage

Siegfried & Roy Plaza

The Forum Shops at Ceasar’s Palace

Eifel Tower at Paris Hotel & Casino

Casino at Paris Hotel

Hotel New York New York

Mandalay Bay Hotel

Danielle at the Casino of Mandalay Bay

Casino Mandalay Bay

Hard Rock Cafe

Hard Rock Cafe

Monte Carlo Resort & Casino

View over the Las Vegas Strip

Las Vegas Strip

Fountains at the Bellagio

Volcano Show at The Mirage

The Venetian Hotel by night

Last 24 hour in Vegas…

Today we woke up pretty early because we wanted to do a lot today, because today was our last full day in Las Vegas.

First thing on our to-do-list was driving to the south side of The Strip to take a picture of the Welcome to Las Vegas sign. We also did the virtual cache there. Unfortunately it was impossible to do the traditional cache because of all the muggles around the sign.


After visiting this sign we drove all up north on The Strip to see the other side of The Strip and visit The World Famous Gold & Silver Pawn Shop. We had to wait in line to get in there, but unfortunately “The Stars” we’re not there. The shop is not that big and they also sell a lot of merchandise, particularly from Chumlee.



Next stop were the Premium Outlets Las Vegas North. It was extremely busy here and after picking up my free coupon-book at the Management Desk it was time to get the shopping done. First we went to Polo Ralph Lauren, than Tommy Hilfiger, 7 for all Mankind and Crocs.

Because it is not to far from Las Vegas we wanted to visit the Hoover Dam near the Boulder City, about one hour driving. The Dam itself is huge as if the surroundings. We took a lot of pictures and walked over the Dam from Nevada to Arizona and back. It was also pretty warm here, about 37 degrees Celcius.







We did not take a tour on the Hoover Dam and went back to the hotel. In the meanwhile we looked for a place to have dinner. And along the Highway back to Las Vegas we found a place called “Remedys Tavern”. The food was great and off course the refills were very welcome with these temperatures. During dinner we looked if there were geocaches in the neighborhood which we could look for after dinner. And there were! After dinner we did geocaching the American way. We drove with the car from cache to cache and ended up finding 4 caches. In total we have now found 146 geocaches since september 2011.

It took us about 30 minutes to get back to the hotel and another 20 minutes to get back to the hotel room because the hotel is so huge. At 08:30 p.m. It was time for the Pirates Show at Treasure Island. It was extremely crowded around the Treasure Island hotel and after the 20-minute show was over we went back to the hotel and did some last-night-gambling in the casino.

Tomorrow we will leave this beautiful hotel and this state because we heading for the Grand Canyon in Arizona.

Visiting the Grand Canyon…

First of all I want to thank you all for reading our blog, you are about 60 unique visitors a day during the first 9 days of our trip (probably some twice due to work and at home). And for the few who dare to leave a reaction keep up the good work it’s nice to wake up and read something from you too.

Today was the day of leaving Las Vegas and continue our trip. The Venetian was really a great hotel of great quality so if you ever go to Las Vegas, please consider this hotel.

After waking up, packing the suitcases we left the hotel and we went to an IHOP for breakfast. We needed a good breakfast because today was going to be a long day. The plan was to drive to the Grand Canyon via Williams. Reason for that was that our hotel for the night is in Williams. I would be a trip of circa 270 miles. Because Sander felt very tired I decided to take over the wheel and drove the first 200 miles to Williams. Williams is a Route 66 town and that is something you see on almost every sign in the town (Family L. thanks for the tip to stay here).




After checking in we drove further to the Grand Canyon. We arrived there at about 3:30 p.m. The first stop was Yavapai View. This was the first time we really saw the Grand Canyon. And I would have to say it is gigantic. I was really impressed because it was so huge. We walked around a little bit and took a lot of pictures as we drove to our next stop, which was Grand Canyon Village.



We parked the car and enjoyed the views from here and after a while we took the shuttle bus towards Powell Point. And again there was an amazing view from this point. But our goal was to go to Hopi Point because is the no. 1 place to view the sunset in the Grand Canyon.


Our bus driver told us that sunset today would be at 06:14 p.m. and that is was just a short hike from Powell Point to Hopi Point. And the bus driver was right, after a 5-minute walk we arrived at Hopi Point and I can say again, views were beautiful.


As we were waiting for the sun to go down we took a lot of pictures and Sander also found a Geocache at Powell Point (he walked back to find it). As the sun was going down, more shades were coming over the Canyon. I could see the shadows move.


And at 06:14 p.m. exactly the sun went behind the big red rocks and it became dark. We were the first of a lot of people to go back to the Village with the shuttle bus after watching the sunset.



Surprise was that we could see the moon at the other side of the Canyon. It was a big moon because it was almost a full moon. But it was pretty difficult to take decent pictures of this, but for us of was great to see.

Then we drove back to Williams and had to pick a restaurant for dinner. I said to Sander that I would drive back to the hotel so that he could drinks beer or two. He decided to go to the Pine Country Restaurant, a typical American restaurant famous for its pies. We both ordered a steak and Sander asked the waiter which beers they have. The answer to that was: “We don’t serve alcohol in this restaurant”. So he ordered a sweet iced tea and for me there was unlimited pink lemonade. Dinner was not that great but the pies were phenomenal. Sander had a piece of Dutch Apple Pie and I had a piece of the Double Chocolate Pie. This Chocolate pie was huge but delicious!


We went back to the hotel after a quick Geocache at the parking lot. Now we are both enjoying a local pumpkin spiced beer in the bar of the hotel, which we got for free because we are goldmember of Priority Club.

It was a long day, but really a great day. Tomorrow we will leave Williams to go to Scottsdale.

Red rocks on the road to Scottsdale…

Today we had the first of two days without any real activities planned, the only thing we needed to do was driving towards Scottsdale which would take us about 3,5 hours from Williams. But at the end we did a lot more than expected today.


We started with breakfast at the Grand Canyon Coffee & Café along Route 66 which was delicious. Afterwards we made some pictures from Williams. Williams is a typical Route 66 village which lives on tourism and that means there is still a lot off Route 66 visible of available. And as on every day this trip we needed to search for a couple geocaches.







And than it was time to leave for Scottsdale, we drove via a town called Sedona. Sedona is often called Red Rock County because of the beautiful red sandstone formations around the town. The pictures below look nice but in real it was stunning. We found it more impressive as the Grand Canyon, maybe because we didn’t see the Grand Canyon from below inside the canyon.





After the short visit we drove further to Scottsdale and about an hour before we should arrive at our destination the landscape was taken over by Cactuses. That meant we need to find a spot to stop since we had never seen so big Cactuses out in the wild.



After the short stop the road changed from 2 lanes to 7 lanes on each side that was a bit of a change after driving the last couple hours on low crowed single lane roads. But we were there just before the rush-hour started so no delays and at 16:30 we arrived at the Scottsdale Plaza Resort. As we stepped out of the car the temperature was 41°C which was 20°C warmer as the in-car temperature.

The lobby looked very luxurious and when we got our key we got a bell boy assigned to escort us to our room. The resort is gigantic so this was necessary. As soon as we arrived in our room we left again to get to the nearest Starbucks to look for the Phoenix and Arizona mugs. The Starbucks was on the opposite of the street so that was easy. After buying the mugs we went to Nimbus Bistro & Brewery for dinner and a beer.

At about 18:30 we were back at our resort and decided to check-out the swimming pool. there was a gigantic hot-tub which we enjoyed for over an hour before we left for our room. It probably sounds strange to get into the hot-tub with such temperature but it cools down fast in the evening, the lowest temperature tonight is expected to be about 25°C.


Tomorrow we hope to leave the hotel by 10 o’clock and drive to Palm Springs where our next hotel is located.

Ah oh, I needed a dentist…

This morning we had a relaxed start we woke up a bit later again and only needed to shower, get dressed and get some breakfast. The breakfast was a short stop at the Starbucks across the street from our hotel.

And than it was time for the long drive through the desert to end up in Rancho Mirage near Palm Springs. After 4,5 hours we should arrive at the Westin Mission Hills Resort & Villas hotel where we stay tonight. After about an hour driving we saw a sign of Dunkin’ Donuts along the road so we exited to get the first Dunkin’ Donuts of this vacation.


A bit later we saw a sign that we were not allowed to stop for the next couple miles because inmates where at work and that could cause a dangerous situation for us if one or more of the inmates would try to escape. The inmates were cleaning the road which I think is a good idea to make sure there is no dirt along those nice interstates through the desert.

The road was really boring so it was not easy staying alert with the low speeds on the interstates compared to the German Autobahn. But then something happened… I broke a front tooth. That is already scary if you are at home but if you’re in another country in the middle of the desert this is really scary. If the country is not even in Europe this makes it even scarier. So that was our relaxing ride it for today.


We still needed to drive about 150 Miles towards the hotel. Danielle took over the steering wheel as soon as there was a safe place to stop.  So sitting on the passenger seat I was able to check our insurance policies. After making phone calls to all 4 travel insurances we have (3 included with our credit cards and the 4th with our health insurance) the best thing to do is find a dentist and get the tooth an emergency fix and go back to my own dentist in Germany as soon as we are back in Germany. We should pay the dentist bill in advance and reimburse the cost when we are back in Germany.

After we had figure out what we needed to do we still had about 1,5 hours off driving to do. Since I’m a bit afraid off dentists I was not enjoying the ride at all. And on top of that we were told by the insurance people that the costs of a dental-treatment in the USA could end up having a bill with a 4-digit number in USD which made us even more afraid.

As soon as we were in the hotel we checked in the hotel we went to the concierge to ask were a good general dentist was located. They came up with the same as the one Siri (iPhone assistant) had suggested as being the best and not far from our location. So the decision was made we went to the Rancho Mirage Dental Group.

At the reception I showed them the problem and explained that I wanted a basic treatment. The best way to start was with a basic consult to check-out what was wrong, I think it was obvious the tooth was broken but they only wanted to repair if they did the exam. But we were lucky because they had an offer for new patient with a Patient Exam and single X-Ray for only $59 if you checked in with Yelp. Which is really cheap since according to the offer the normal price would be $290.

Before the exam was started I needed to fill out a couple forms to give them the allowance to touch me, to work on my teeth, to make an x-ray, to give me anesthesia, etc. After filling out the forms setting about 7 signatures we were finally waiting for the doctor.

During the wait Danielle found out that if we would check-in on FourSquare we would get a special at this dentist with an additional reduction on the final treatment. So I showed it to the front desk and we got this additional reduction on the treatment. Nut we still didn’t knew what it would cost and we were still nervous.


The doctor came to bring us for a health test and the x-ray. And there was the bis surprise the x-ray showed that the tooth was broken. So now they could start calculating the total cost. The bill would end up at $379. And yes that is a lot of money but not as much as the estimates from the insurance company. So one of the stress-factors was gone.

Then there was a local anesthesia, I hate needles in my mouth but they did it without giving me the choice and after waiting about 15 minutes the dentist started repairing my teeth and in about 10 minutes I looked as handsome as before.



All stress was gone all I needed to do was pay the bill and thank the staff and the doctor to take me as a patient at the end of the day. It might look like it took for ever at the dentist but all of the above happened in less than two hours.

So after having my tooth repaired we went back to the hotel and check-out the room. The room is really nice, it’s called a villa and has multiple rooms. After bringing a part of our luggage to the room we went out for dinner.






We checked TomTom and found a Kobe Japanese Steakhouse near the hotel. We bought thought it was part of the same group of the Kobe chain in Florida were we went a couple of times for sushi so we decided to go there. But we were wrong it was a Japanese show-cooking restaurant. It ended up being not expensive at all and we ate both a 4-course menu for $35 and it was delicious.


After finishing the dessert we went back to the hotel to check-out the swimming pools because it still 32°C outside, in the afternoon it was 45°C which was way to hot for to be outside. That was a bit disappointing, all the hot-tubs were closed, the slides were closed and the closest pool to our room is being refurbished. So after swimming a short while we went back for our room.

The last miles of our roundtrip…

Today we would ride the last part of our roundtrip which ends in Los Angeles, better to say Buena park where our hotel for the last 9 nights is located. But first we need to get there. So we rushed out of ed since we needed to leave the hotel before 10 o’clock and as soon as we were in the bathroom we were both surprised by the number of ants in the sink. Since that was not the only problem we encountered during this stay (cockroach, most of the pools closed, 20 minutes till we had warm water) I wanted to file a complaint.

So I did and we got back the parking fee ($30). The room price was already low with $90 instead of the regular $299 so nothing to get back there. But it wasn’t too bad in the end the room was nice we just had bad luck with the closed pools and the ants in the room.

So time to leave and the first stop on the road were the Dessert Hills Premium outlets because I ran out of clean shirts again… We shopped at 7 for all Mankind and at Tommy Hilfiger and left the outlets with saving way more than $200. It’s always nice to make money while shopping,

Still an hour to drive till our hotel and we already saw the increase in traffic. By the time we arrived in the Los Angeles area there were more vehicles on every single lane of the 7 lanes wide roads as we had seen on the whole highway since we left San Francisco. So I needed to pay more attention while driving again.




We arrived at the hotel at 2 o’clock but we needed to wait till 3 o’clock till our room was ready. Because we had so much patience and we had the gold status we got 4 free drinks (cocktails, beer) and 2 instead of one bottle of water for the room.

So at 15:00 we were in our room which is in the building a bit away from the highway and which is freshly refurbished. The room looks over the pool area and has a king bed. This is one of the better hotels during the trip, I would first want to sleep one night but I would say the only hotel which was better/nicer would have been The Venetian but that was also more as 2 times as expensive.



So what to do this afternoon and evening? It’s to short for a visit to the Disney Parks but we could already check-out Downtown Disney and get something to eat. We did some shopping again but now at the World of Disney store. For dinner we went to Naples an Italian restaurant where we d one pizza together (5 slices for me, 3 for Danielle).





Afterwards we went back to the hotel to dive into the hot tub where we spoke with 2 Germans, 3 Americans and 6 Dutch. And at about 22:30 we went back to our room to make a plan for the rest of the vacation because there are so many things we want to do here.

Full day of Disney Magic…

We could not wait till today would start at 7:00 Danielle woke up from the alarm-clock, jumped out of bed, sprinted towards the bathroom, rushed into the shower and as soon as she turned of the shower I jumped out of bed, checked my mail, Facebook, whatsapp and took a shower. After getting dressed and packing the camera bag we went to the hotel restaurant for the free breakfast.

At 8:22 sharp we jumped in the car and about 23 minutes we walked towards the entrance from the Happiest Place on Earth, Disneyland Park.

Today is the first time we visit the first Disney theme-park ever build and the only one which Walt Disney himself had opened back in 1955.

After checking out the park map we found ourself a bit lost, the park has a little different layout as the Disneyland Parc in Paris and the Magic Kingdom in Orlando. But there are still a lot of rides and things we recognize. But where to start? We decide to go round against the clock but first we need to take some pictures of the tiny Sleeping Beauty castle in the center of the park.


The first rode of the day is the Enchanted Tikiroom, followed by the Jungle Cruise and Pirates of the Caribbean. All three rides almost without having to wait. A nice thing in the Pirates of the Caribbean ride is that they’ve upgraded it with personages from the movies, yes there are a couple Johnny Depp’s inside.





After the pirates we went to the Haunted Mansion, the haunted mansion is a ride which is placed in the New Orleans Square themed area of the park and had the special holiday overlay. At first we thought this was not a good thing but if overlays are done in the way this one is done I would say overlays every ride during the holiday season. The overlay was based on the nightmare before Christmas and there was themed music throughout the ride and theming everywhere.



The Splash Mountain was closed due to technical issues so we moved on to the Winnie the Pooh-ride which was very funny.



From there we went on to the Big Thunder Mountain Railroad where we had the first real wait of the day, 35 minutes.   But than I had the idea to try-out FaceTime and we called Yves & Joke so they could join us. We had them on the phone throughout the ride to but then the connection broke down a couple times when we moved into tunnels. Following print screen I made on my iPhone during the call.


After BTM we moved on to It’s a Small World where I used FaceTime to call my sister and show here Fantasyland. She wants to go to Disneyland to but her fresh husband doesn’t want to go, :-( Okay, I’m not writing about Apple and the iPhone today but I have to say FaceTime is really easy to use. It’s a Small World was a real surprise with the Disney characters integrated in it.




From It’s a Small World we went to the Finding Nemo Submarine Voyage. This is also a new ride for us, you bore a moving submarine and explorer the underwater world and due to the newest technology we were able to understand where the fish are talking about. We got back on land hungry so we decided to get something to eat at the Tomorrowland Terrace. Full with energy again we helped Buzz Lightyear save the planet.

We were really close to the entrance of Star Tours: The Adventure Continues and the waiting line was only 25 minutes so we waited to see this (for us) new ride where you fly around somewhere in outer-space. The simulator is really smooth and the 3D effects are really great. From there we went on to Space Mountain: Ghost Galaxy. This is a special Halloween version. To relax a bit from the last 3 rides we walked through Innoventions and rode Autopia (5 minutes waiting time).

Than it was time for oldie, the Matterhorn. It opened in 1959 as the first tubular steel continuous track roller coaster in the world. And you can feel it’s old because it felt painful so much I was happy the ride was over at the end.


From there we walked into Fantasyland where we did the dark rides Mr. Toad’s Wild Ride,  Snow White Scary Adventures and Pinocchio’s Daring Journey. We also did the walkthrough attraction in the Sleeping Beauty Castle. And before we went to look for a good spot for the Mickey’s Soundsational Parade we ate pizza at the Village House Restaurant in Fantasyland. On our way to Town Square we visited some shops and we finally found a nice spot for the parade too. The parade was a lot of fun with loud music.




As soon as the last float of the parade passed us we went back into the park to ride Alice in Wonderland which is a nicely done darkride in Fantasyland. From there we went straight to Toontown. Toontown is a real toony place with all the houses of the fabulous 5 and some other Disney Characters. Since it was already late the area was empty and we did  the Roger Rabbit’s Car Toon Spin and Gadget Go Coaster. The Roger Rabbit ride was awesome. We also visited Mickey Mouse house and we were lucky since he was at home so we took a picture together with him.





After this picture we went to Downtown Disney were Danielle bought a sweater because it cools down fast at night. Than it was time to go back to the hotel. We waited a bit for the tram to the parking garage. When we arrived home we went for something to small to eat at the nearby Starbucks.


Another day at the happiest resort…

When we woke up this morning we were pretty tired from the amazing day of yesterday. But for today there was a whole planned for California Adventure, the 2nd park of the Disneyland Resort.

It was around 08:30h when we left the hotel and drove towards Disneyland Resort. There was not much traffic on the highway and from our hotel it’s only a 7-minute-drive to Disney. So we arrived at about 09:00h at the gate of California Adventure.

For the both of us this was going to be a new experience. First we walked to Cars Land to check out the waiting line for Radiator Springs Racer or get a Fastpass. Unfortunately there was a technical problem with the attraction so we had to wait. Next thing to do was getting a Fastpasses for World of Color, so we went to Grizzly Peak and got our passes for the 9 o’clock show.


We walked back in the direction of Paradise Pier and we saw that there was only a 5-minute waiting line at Ariel’s Undersea Adventure, so we went in there. It is a really cool dark-ride.

We walked further over Paradise Pier and saw huge waiting times about everywhere, so we decided to come back later. But we could taking pictures with Duffy and after that we had breakfast at the Pacific Wharf Cafe.



After we finished our breakfast we walked towards Hollywood Land, The Twilight Zone Tower of Terror to be exact. There was only a 25-minute wait and we had a lot of air-time (being lifted from your seat) during the ride. Then it was time to visit Mike and Sulley in Monsters Inc. Mike & Sulley to the Rescue. This ride takes you to Monstropolis in a taxi and it’s really a nice ride.



Unfortunately Muppet Vision 3D was closed due to refurbishment and instead of this show they had an 8-minute preview of Frankenweenie, the new film by Tim Burton. A must-see for all Tim Burton fans.

At 11:40h the Aladdin musical started a the Hyperon Theatre. This musical is really a high-quality musical and genie is just genius!!! He makes the show!!




We looked at the park-plan and went towards the Condor Flats area. This area only knows one attraction, Soarin’ over California. We know this attraction already from Walt Disney World, but it makes more sense here.

The next attraction was one where we were going to get wet. And we got wet, or more soaked. To dry up we went to Paradise Pier again to do some attractions. We started with Golden Zephyr and then walked to California Screamin’. A roller coaster from which I always thought it’s a woody, but it is not. Above all a expectations it was great and also a long ride.

Then it was time for the Radiator Springs Racers. The waiting time shrunk to 75 minutes and we decided to go in the line. It was a long wait, but totally worth it!!

After this we took some picture and for something to eat and then it was time to get ready for World is Colors. We had the Fastpass from this morning and at 8 o’clock the blue area opened and we found a really good spot to watch to show. After another hour waiting to show started and it was amazing. The combination of music, fountains and laser is phenomenal and really worth the wait.






As soon as the show ended we could hear and see the fireworks from Mickey’s Halloween party at he Magic Kingdom. That’s also going to be something special for Tuesday.

We closed of our day back in Radiator Springs at Flo’s V8 Cafe with a famous milkshake and then it was time to go home.

Disneyland with New Yorkers…

Today we woke up a litter later, because after 2 days of more than 12 hours in the parks everything just hurts. After the morning ritual we took the car and drove towards the Disneyland Resort. We spoke with Gina & Glenn on Whatsapp and they would also be in the park today.

As we arrived at the parking garage of the Resort it was way more busy as the last 2 days but after a short while we arrived at our parking space and went to the parks with the tram. As soon as we arrived at Downtown Disney we noticed that a lot of people were wearing red t-shirts today. Reason for this…… Today was Gay Day at Disneyland Resort!!!


We met Gina & Glenn at the partner statue and it was good to see each other again after their wedding in March this year. Because we did most of the attractions on Thursday we decided to do the attractions with Gina & Glenn which they have not in Orlando or are different since it is their first time in Los Angeles to. We started with the Enchanted Tiki Room and then Pirates of the Caribbean. Because Gina is deaf she got a “disability pass” at City Hall for “a party of 4″. This means we were allowed to enter all the attraction through the Fastpass Lane or exit. That was really great on this day, because most of the waiting times were over 75 minutes. So we did Haunted Mansion Holiday (120 minutes waiting and we had 5 minutes), Splash Mountain (85 minutes waiting and for us 10 minutes). Not to bad if I say so myself. We also did Space Mountain, Star Tours and Submarine Voyage. And all with just a minimum waiting line, but we saw that the park was really full today.


Unfortunately Gina & Glenn had to leave at 04:00h because they had dinner reservations outside the Resort. As we walked to the exit we did a Photopass Photo with the 4 of us.


As Gina & Glenn left, we watched the Soundsational Parade at Town Square and visited Mr. Lincoln at Great Moments with Mr. Lincoln.





At was getting later and we went looking for a place to have dinner tonight. Because it was so busy we ended up at Hungry Bear restaurant where it was quit and we sat here for a while. After dinner we bought a sweater for Sander because it was getting pretty chilly outside and tonight we wanted both Fantasmic! and the Fireworks, a long night ahead of us. We also discovered the shop where you can buy the Photopass-packages and we bought the Photopass+ package which also contains on-ride photos. We went to Space Mountain and Splash Mountain to get our on-ride photos from today.

And the. The big waiting and searching for a good spot was going to begin. We had decides to see the firework at 09:30h and Fantasmic! at 10:30h. As we arrived in front of the castle every spot had been filled so it was difficult to find a spot with a good view at the castle, but we found one. The advantage of such a small castle is that the firework as all above the castle. After 30 minutes waiting the show began. It started with the Wished music and it ended with the Wishes music. And everything in between……… was just great with the comments of Julie Andrews.

Then the big challenge began. Moving the whole crowd from the hub in front of the castle to Frontierland for the 10:30h show of Fantasmic! A little chaotic it was, but after a short time we had a spot on the bridge in front of Pirates of the Caribbean. In front of us were some people from San Francisco and they had Vinylmations. As soon as Sander noticed they had a Dumbo Vinylmation which they had double, and he asked if he could buy it from him because I am a Dumbo-fan. And as a surprise the guy just gave it to me, really nice.

We waited for the show to begin and I must say, I like the Orlando-version of Fantasmic! better. But it was as usual in Disney a great show.

Then there was only one thing left for today. Leave the park, get with the tram to de car and drive to the hotel.

Cruising with Red Solo Cups…

This morning we did not want to wake up. After three days of more than 12 hours in the Disney parks we were just tired. We woke up late and at about 11:00 a.m. We left the hotel for some shopping. First destination: The Beverly Center.

The Beverly Center is a high-end shopping mall in Hollywood. After a 30-minute drive we arrived and parked the car in the parking garage. We visited a couple of stores like Michael Kors, Victoria’s Secret, Apple Store and Macy’s. we had something to drink and eat at Starbucks and bought the finale Starbucks City Mug of Los Angeles.

We left the Beverly Center and drove to the Citadel Outlets. Here it was very crowded because of the Columbus Day sale. We saved a lot of money while buying clothes at the Tommy Hilfiger Store. They had some amazing stuff almost for free.

After this is was time to drive to Newport Beach, because we were invited by Sully to join on a booze cruise. A booze cruise is the local name for cruising through the harbor on a Duffy boat. Typically there is always alcohol on board which is allowed since the Duffy’s are low-speed electrical boats.  Sully we met on Gina & Glenn’s wedding in March this year. We arrived here at about 15:30h and after the guys bought some drinks and snacks at the grocery store t was time to leave to the harbor with everything including our Red Solo Cups. Red Solo Cups are known by everyone in the USA who went to college, there is even a well-known song about the cups:

Red solo cup, I fill you up Let’s have a party, let’s have a party I love you red solo cup, I lift you up, Proceed to party, proceed to party


Sully rented the Duffy for 2 hours from 6 till 8. Some other friends of Sully were joining us at the boat. Glenn offered to be the captain of the both and we all had a lot of fun and the 2 hours went by very quickly.






While we were driving back to the hotel we saw a little bit of the Disneyland Park fireworks from the Freeway. You just can not imagine that it is all so close.

After today, which was kind of a relaxing day, tomorrow we are going back to Disney with Gina & Glenn and visit Disney’s California Adventure.

Columbus day in Disney’s California Adventure…

Today was a national holiday called Columbus Day. Which ment it was going to be crowded in the parks today.

After we woke up we had some breakfast at the hotel we drive towards the parks. We picked up Gina & Glenn at their hotel and it was of to the parking lots. We parked at Goofy and took the train to the Downtown Disney Tram stop. Today it was going to be a full day at California Adventure.

First thing to do was getting Fastpasses for the 9 o’clock World of Color show, because it is such a great show and we want Gina & Glenn to have that great experience.


We had breakfast/lunch at the Pacific Wharf and our first real attraction of the days was the Hollywood Tower of Terror, which had again great airtime! Because we have the Photopass+ we can add all the on-ride photos to the Photopass as well. So the one from the Tower of Terror was the first of this day. Because there was no sign language interpreter at the Aladdin Musical today we did not do this show. We did a lot of big attractions today like Toy Story Midway Mania, Radiator Springs Racers, The Little Mermaid, Soarin’, Monters Inc. California Screamin’ and Mickey’s Fun Wheel which was really scary I think.







And we’ve also watched the Pixar Play Parade.




Today we got a lot of Photopass Pictures for our pass and did also a lot of different attractions. And after having dinner at the Garden Grill Restaurant we were getting ready for World of Color 1,5 hours in advance. But this show is really worth the wait and Sander even bought the glowing Mickey Ears and he is very happy with it.

As soon as the show was done we had a little bit of time left over before the park closed down. So we took Gina’s magical pass and did the Radiator Springs Racers one more time! It still is a cool race and it is even better when it is dark outside. Then we took some pictures from Radiator Springs by night and left the park to go to the parking lot.


We dropped Gina & Glenn of at their hotel and drove back to ours.

Tomorrow is again going to be a busy day for us. In the morning we have a LA-Tour planned which is going to take us to the most important landmarks in LA. In the evening we have tickets for Mickey’s Not So Scary Halloween Party. So as you can see it is going to be – again – a very long day.

Los Angeles and Mickey’s Halloween Party…

Like I mentioned yesterday today was going to be a very busy day. We woke up early and got ready to leave for the VIP LA Tour. After breakfast the bus picked us up at the hotel and brought us to the bus terminal where we transferred to our bus to get started with the LA Tour.

Our tour guide told us what the plan was for today and we headded for downtown Los Angeles. As we drove to downtown we saw the prison where Lindsay Lohan went to jail and drove over the highway which had been used in the films Speed and Transformers (the first one).

After about 30 minutes we arrived at the financial district of LA where you find the buildings of The Bank of America, Wells Fargo, Citi Bank and of course the World Trade Center. We made a quick stop to take some pictures of the high buildings and went further to the Disney Concert Hall, which is a big, silver building and it looks amazing. We also saw City Hall, Criminal Court, Los Angeles Police Department etc. On our way to Hollywood we saw the Los Angeles Convention Center (which is one of the biggest convention centers of the USA) and the Staples Center (home of the LA Lakers).



Next stop was Hollywood Boulevard. We had a stop here from about one hour to see the Dolby Theater (former Kodak Theater and host of the annual Academy Awards), the Chinese Theater (with the hand- and footprints in front if it), view at the Hollywood sign and of course the Walk of Fame. We took a lot of pictures here and it is really busy a this part of Hollywood Boulevard.










When the hour was over all the participants went back in the bus and the tour guide took us to Sunset Boulevard where we saw the apartment of Julia Roberts in the movie Pretty Woman, as also later the Beverly Wilshire Hotel on Rodeo Drive.


We saw several famous buildings and houses all the way over Sunset Boulevard. Then we drove into Beverly Hills and saw a couple of really big houses and cars. The tour guide also told us so me stories about the rich and famous like that Bernie Eccklestone bought the most expensive property in Beverly Hills which would be the former house if Aron Spelling, which he bought for 123.000.000$ as a wedding gift for his 24-year-old daughter.

Next thing was driving over Rodeo Drive and see all the expensive stores from Louis Vuitton, Harry Winston, Cartier, Prada, Gucci and many more. At the end of Rodeo Drive you will find the expensive Beverly Wilshire hotel (known from Pretty Woman).

Because Rodeo Drive is so expensive we went to the Farmers Market to get lunch. We had sushi for lunch and shopped a little bit. This was the end of our tour and the tour guide brought us back to our hotel.


The tour was great and showed us everything we wanted to see in downtown Los Angeles.

We took a little nap at the hotel and at about 4:15 p.m. we left the hotel and went for dinner. Because everyone is so positive about In-N-Out-Burger we went to such a place. The burgers were good but all the rest was so-so.

Now it was time for Mickey’s Halloween Party at the Disneyland Park. The parking for this event was free and soon we met Gina & Glenn in the Park after we got the bracelets and the bags to collect the treats.


First we did the Matterhorn and next stop was to take a picture we Merida from the latest movie Brave. We could not miss It’s a small World so this was the next attraction of the evening. Then we wet back to Town Square where all the Villains were standing and we took as much picture as we could.


Now it was time for the parade, and because it was so low-crowded today we saw the parade in Main Street USA. the parade was a tiny one with only 2 floats and a lot of characters including Duffy. Soon after that it was time for the Halloween Fireworks which started at 09:30 p.m. Hosted by Jack Skellington.


After the fireworks there was only one hour left and we went for Photopass photos. We saw Jack Skellington, unfortunately without Sally, and Mickey and Minnie in their Halloween-outfits. At 11-o-clock the Halloween Party was over and we said goodbye to Gina & Glenn and went back to our hotel.



Tomorrow is also going to be a busy, because we’re going to visit the Universal Studios in Hollywood.

Visited Universal Studios Hollywood…

Today we had planned to visit the Universal Studios Hollywood. Because Hollywood is the place-to-be when it is about movies we expected a lot from this park, but we heard from people in the bus yesterday that this park is less than Universal in Orlando. So we were thinking, okay…… But we had to see it ourselves.


Because of traffic we arrived later as expected at the Universal Studios, at about 11:00 a.m. We parked our car in the parking garage and walked through the Universal City Walk to the entrance of the Universal Studios. First thing to do was the Studio Tour. They said the waiting times was approximately 30 minutes but in the end we waited over more than one hour. Then the tour begins. You drive through the real studios of Universal but there is not much more to see than just buildings. There were some nice scenes/attraction in the tour like King Kong, Jaws, Disaster and we also saw some really nice sets like from Desperate housewives and War of the Worlds. After one hour the tour was finished and we looked at the map what to do next. We were too late for the first show of Water World, so we went to Transformers.






Transformers is an attraction compared with the Spiderman ride in the Universal Studios in Orlando which attraction they do not have here in Hollywood. As the waiting line at the Mummy was not that long, we put our backpack in a locker and stepped into the waiting line. This ride is actually even better than the one in Orlando but really short.

After the Mummy all the attractions (except for Jurassic Park) in de Lower Level were done so we went back up with the escalators to the upper level. Because we really wanted to see the Water World show there was really nothing else we could do, so we went for a drink and waiter for Water World to begin. I must say, the show was good for a theme park. But when you know there were actors in it from shows like CSI and bones….. hmmmmm, it wasn’t that good.



We decided we had seen enough from Universal and we left the park and drove towards Santa Monica to visit the world-famous Santa Monica Pier. This sounds easier than it was. Because of all the traffic it took very long until we arrived but we soon found a parking spot not to far from the Pier. We walked over the beach (which has a road on it for cyclist, inline-skaters) to the Pier. The Pier is very nostalgic and also the end of the Historical Route 66.





We walked all the way to the end of the Pier where you have a very nice view at the Pacific Ocean. Slowly we walked around the whole Pier and back over the beach to the car.

Then it was time for a little shopping, but it took very long to get there because of traffic, but we did and survived. Tonight we had dinner at a new place for us called Johnny Rockets. They really have great shakes and burgers and all you can eat fries, but you won´t need it because the shakes are so heavy.

As soon dinner was over we drove back to the hotel.

Photos on our last full day…

The last full day of our vacation is today and as always I needed a surprise for Danielle but  what and how could I organize it?

Yesterday I insisted that we had breakfast in our hotel and  I went to the reception to thank them for the good advice on he trip to downtown LA. Danielle believed this so I thought nothing can go wrong from here. I asked the lady at the reception to call the Disneyland Dining reservations and asked for a character breakfast at Goofy’s Kitchen in the Disneyland hotel. But it took so long to get through the waiting line that before she had an operator on the phone Danielle already came to see what took so long. So the surprise was a little bit away but she was still happy with it.

Off course this meant getting out of bed early today, at 7:00 sharp our alarm clock wakes Danielle and she woke me 30 minutes later. At 7:50 we are in the car on our way to the happiest place on earth.

We parked at the Disneyland Hotel parking and at 8:15 we were in line for a photo with Goofy, the first photo of today. We get the photo package and the digital copy for free with our PhotoPass+. The breakfast buffet is really good and it’s also not so crowded. The food is also themed to a goofy style with for example a peanut butter jelly pizza, upside down cakes and more. And besides food there were also characters we made photos together with Chip, Dale, Pluto, Aladdin and the Fairy Godmother.





At 9:45 we left for Disneyland because we wanted more photos! But before it was time for photos we did some space traveling with Star Tours and grabbed a Fastpass at Space Mountain.

The first photos we made were at Pixie Hollow with Tink in her winter clothing and from there we went for some Disney princesses at the royal walk in Fantasyland.



From there we walked to Rapunzel at the Tangled photo location were we waited for about 45 minutes for a photo. From there we walked through Frontierland where we found the fabulous five in the Halloween outfit. Too bad that there was no photopass photographers on this spot.




From there we walked over central plaza to take some additional photos with with the enormous castle in the background. And than it was time for our Space Mountain Fastpass, the onride photo is also included in our photopass+ and that was the last photo in Disneyland.


It was about 15:00 when we hopped to Disney’s California Adventure. First thing to do was getting photos made on our way to the Tower of Terror. We first walked in the standby entrance but after looking in the Mobile Magic app we decided to grab a fastpass instead since the return time was about the same and so we could make some other photos in the meantime. After we made some photos we grabbed a coffee at the Starbucks in the park and then it started to rain. The first rain of our vacation on the last full day.

So we walked through the rain to see the Aladdin Musical, the genie was this time even better he had some great one-liners and jokes. After the show our fastpass time slot for the Tower of Terror was passed but we could still get into the fastpass line. We loaded the photo on our photopass and we walked through the park to have a last look on Cars Land and checkout the wait time at the California Screamin’, the wait was only 15 minutes so we decided to ride this coaster once again. The last ride of this vacation.

We left the park after a couple more photos for our photopass+ and went to the Irvine Spectrum mall about 20 minutes south on the I5. It’s a nice looking mall but there was not much going on, probably because it was a thursday evening. We got our diner at Dave & Busters and afterwards we drove back to our hotel for the last night on the west coast.

And we are at home…

This morning started yesterday on the west-coast of the USA. We had a free late check-out so we had plenty of time to pack suitcases. We arrived on the 21st of september with 2 suitcases, actually 3 but one of the suitcases was placed inside another one. The total weight of the suitcases was about 35 kilo and we were curious about the total weight on our way back home. Packing was a bit difficult because we had a problem with the space in the suitcases. We bought a couple of pairs of shoes which took a lot of place but we managed to fit everything in the 3 suitcases and in our cabin luggage.

At 12 o’clock it was time to drive to the airport. The drive to the airport was 29 miles and we had for 35 miles gas left so if everything went well and there was no traffic-jam and I did not take a wrong exit we should be fine. And indeed everything went well and we were perfect on time at the rental car return. From there we needed a shuttle-bus to the international terminal to drop off our baggage. Dropping off the was no problem except for the pricing for an additional suitcase, they went up from $50 to $100 per extra suitcase.

After dropping the suitcases we had a sandwich before we went to the gate. The gate was a bit different as expected. We bought expected to board the Airbus A380-800 by bridges but no we need to board into busses. There was a whole seating organisation to lead the whole process and at the end everyone ended up at the same and only tower to board the plane.

We had excellent places on the upper-deck of the plane with some extra space on the window side of our seats. The flight was very pleasant  and we came out more fit as usual. I guess this is because off all the new technology for climate control they put into planes today. We left LAX with a delay of almost 45 minutes and arrived almost on time in Paris. But in Paris it took over 30 minutes to park the plane at the gate which meant we had only 60 minutes left to cross the whole airport including an a bus ride to the Terminal 2G. From Terminal 2G we boarded our plane towards Nürnberg. This boarding took place outdoor and the rain was pouring down on us.

Soon we arrived at Nürnberg and here we hoped to see our suitcases again. And we were lucky, they were among the first to be on the baggage-caroussel. We walked through custom without any question and rushed to the metro towards the central train station and from there we would take a train home to Altdorf.


And in Altdorf a colleague of me, Jörg, picked us up at the airport to drive us back home.