Los Angeles, San Francisco and Las Vegas
I arrived in San Francisco early in the evening after a flight from Fiji. We went to bed early…the next day we had wine route tour planned into the Napa and Sonoma Valley. This included a drive over the beautiful Golden Gate Bridge, and a visit to the Redwood forest, home of the tallest trees in the world. Across the bay the lovely little town of Sausalito signalled the final destination: three vineyards for a little wine tasting and idle holiday chat. The following morning we set off to Fisherman’s Wharf, an awesome harbour area and also the entry point on to a ferry excursion to Alcatraz island. The austere, frank imagery of the famous prison had barely drained from my mind, and already we were headed to Los Angeles. We stayed on Hollywood Boulevard, and very close to the Kodak Theatre where the Oscars are held. Full of energy, I walked down down Santa Monica Boulevard, through Beverly Hills, Bel-Air, finally arriving in Santa Monica and spending a couple of hours on the famous pier.
Then we were off to Las Vegas…land of neon signs and big bucks. We were staying at the Statosphere Hotel, home of the world’s highest rollercoaster. In Las Vegas I experienced the single most unforgettable moment of my American trip: a helicopter flight through the Grand Canyon, over the Hoover Dam and back over the hotels and casinos on the famous Vegas strip.
Chicago, Orlando, Miami and the Bahamas
The view from the top of the Sears Tower in Chicago is something that cannot be missed: The skyline is the world’s highest, and contains three of America’s tallest buildings. From there I faced a tough decision: fly to Orlando to experience Universal Studios and Disneyworld, or meet my brother and drive to Miami for a night of madness on the South Beach cocktail strip. Faced with such a difficult decision, I did both, and had an equally amazing time at both places. Now that the party was finished, it was time to chill. We left for a three-day beach holiday in the Bahamas, spending most of time soaking up a few rays and sipping cocktails on the beach. I highly recommend going on one of the local booze cruises where you sail around for a few hours and get to drink as many cocktails as you want. On these cruises you can also experience snorkelling in some of the most active reefs in the world. There are many all-inclusive resorts in the Caribbean where you get all your meals and all your drinks (including alcohol) for one set price!
Ireland, Boston and New York
In March 2008 we combined a trip to Ireland and the USA, as it was cheaper to fly to the USA from Dublin than it was from London. After a crazy St Patrick’s weekend in Dublin, we flew to Boston. Our first stop: a meal and a beer at the original Cheers bar where the sitcom was produced. The next morning we were on our way to a ‘Trolley Tour’ of Harvard University and the great city itself. Still itching for more, we found it was quick and easy to fly on a nine-seat plane to the beautiful island of Nantucket, where we spent a very relaxed couple of days in the quaint little fishing villages. What better way to get into the swing of things by contrasting this with a trip to New York for some shopping and sightseeing in the Big Apple?
Graeme Watson is your very own South African travel agent right in the heart of SW London! Apart from selling many Contiki trips, he also offers tailor-made trips whereby you can combine destinations and times as you see fit.