24
Feb

How Bazaar

By: muttler

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16/01/2018 – Phakding (2660m) to Namche Bazaar (3440m)

Our first big day of hiking awaited today. Even though 7+ hours was ahead of us it was still a relatively relaxed start to the day. A 7am wake up, leisurely breakfast, and then out the door a bit after 8am. The destination was Namche Bazaar, sitting at about 3440m. It was also the location of our first acclimatisation day so it was a fairly gentle way to get the trekking underway.

 

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Like yesterday, the path was half “Nepali Flat”, but also we were going to encounter our first real upward trajectory. Over the course of the day we crossed a number of amazing suspension bridges. As someone who loves heights it was awesome! Happily all our group was good with heights too meaning no coaxing or blindfolds were required.

 

officially into the national park

officially into the national park

 

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Most days consisted of a few hours of hiking and then a rest stop at a tea house to enjoy a cup of tea, or in my case usually a lemon, ginger and honey tea to ward off any colds that may think they were going to strike. Today at about 10:30am we settled in for a cuppa, meeting our first fellow travellers coming the opposite way. Given it was low season for hiking, we were not really encountering many others, only a handful per day. Certainly at odds with the stories of crowded trails.

 

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From there it was a couple more hours of hiking then lunch. A big plate full of potato later and it was the first real challenge of the trip. Up. And up. And up. It kicked off in earnest at the most amazing suspension bridge, 100m above the river, the colourful prayer flags adorning and flapping in the wind. From there we kept heading up, constant steps and paths leading the way. To be honest I was feeling pretty good. Sure you welcome a breather, but for the most part I was hiking strongly. I was getting the feeling that the training was going to pay off.

 

EVEREST!

EVEREST!

 

Then at one point it happened. There she was… Mount Everest, crystal clear. It was both surreal and overwhelming. A nondescript peak in the distance was the tallest one in the world. Given there are a number of other peaks over 8000m, and that you can’t necessarily see it all the time, it just blended in to the landscape. But now it was etched into the memory and would always cause some goose bumps when we spied it on our travels.

 

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namche bazaar

 

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the view from my room window

 

From there it was not much further to Namche Bazaar. Namche is the largest village we encounter on our hiking. In the peak of hiking season, say April and May, there can be a couple of thousand people here. But for us, we were probably only one of 2 or 3 sets of travellers in the whole village. That meant that while a number of shops were open, selling their beanies and maps and prayer flags (and importantly chocolate), many were shut meaning it was a bit a ghost town. It didn’t worry us too much, as on arrival we were keen to just start to relax a bit after our day.

Some Dahl Bhat replenished the energy banks and after some relaxing in the common area it was off to bed.

 

24
Feb

It Begins!

By: muttler
trusty companion

trusty companion

 

15/01/2018 – Kathmandu to Phakding (2660m)

Into the Himalayas we go! Well… eventually.

A nice early start of about 5am, and it was off to Kathmandu airport. The trek to Base Camp starts in the small village of Lukla deep into the mountains and while a 7hr bus ride is an option, it is not really the done thing. Rather a small plane will get you landing in “the most dangerous airport in the world”. Or so they say.

So we got to the airport, checked in and were all ready to board out 6:45am flight. Sadly, the weather was conspiring against us. Fog in both Kathmandu meant we couldn’t depart. So we waited. And we waited. And we waited.Then, after about 3 hours it was go go go! We jumped on the bus to take us out on to the runway and… we waited. Sadly, it wasn’t go time so it was back into the airport we go.

The departure hall was packed with very few flights getting anywhere. This was an ominous sign to start. But then, another couple of hours later and it was go time. For real this time! On to the small 15 seater we went and take off! The flight was super smooth. Heading through the Himalayas can often be a bumpy journey apparently but ours was relatively calm. About half an hour in we were greeted with massive mountains out the left hand side. We were really heading into the Himalayas!

 

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Lukla approached. Why it is often thought of as being such a dangerous airport is that the approach is between the mountains on to a runway that can’t be much more than a couple hundred meters, and on quite a high angle sloping upward. But it was all fine as there is not really anytime to think about it as you approach and then you have touched down in an instant! Our landing was smooth and just a little late (well a lot late) and we were in Lukla.

 

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it officially begins!

 

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We were all hungry so we had some lunch at a tea house in town (potato pancake, yum) and with some food in our bellies, it was time to take our first real steps. First day was only just an easy one anyway, so being late didn’t really matter. We had about 3 hours of “Nepali Flat” to contend with. Pasang dubbed fairly gentle ups and downs as Nepali flat, with gentle being relative. So for 3 hours we strolled through the mountains, passing through tiny villages, crossing suspension bridges, and meeting the first of MANY dogs that would join us on our hike. They are amazing… you will be walking along and then suddenly you notice a dog at your feet. They will wander with you for a while (sometimes hours) and then just head back.

 

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our friendly hostess

 

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actually much more luxurious than i expected!

 

With spectacular views of the mountains at every turn, we came to Phakding, our first nights stop. Given the late start it was starting to cool down, but overall it was a little warner and less snow (i.e none) than expected. But beautiful blue skies were alright with me. Shangrila Lodge was our accomodation and the evening played out just as most would coming up. A little time to chill out, dinner, then some more time to relax before settling in to bed. We had all been advised that meat was probably not best given the locale and time of the year, so it was the first of many meals of veggie momos.

In most tea houses the common eating area will have a wood fire that will be stoked until after dinner when it will slowly burn out. It means we would typically hang out chatting and playing cards until the fire had gone out. Tonight was such a night, all of us being weary after an early start, and so retreated to our cold rooms for a good nights sleep before a longer day of hiking tomorrow.

 

24
Feb

Exploring Kathmandu

By: muttler
cute but will steal your food in the blink of an eye

cute but will steal your food in the blink of an eye

 

14/01/2018 – Kathmandu

I was keen to explore Kathmandu a bit so booked the free day before my Base Camp trip started, along with a day at the end (although the end day was more a contingency day in case we couldn’t get out of the mountains). In Kathmandu it seems there is two main things that most folks who are on a tight schedule visit: Durbar Square and Swayambhunath (better known as the Monkey Temple). I slept really well, but was up nice and early, so by 8am I decided I was done being in the room and headed out into the streets.

 

 

It was great wandering the streets as the city woke and set itself up for the day. Quite quickly you get out of touristy Thamel and into streets where local shopkeeps are setting up and people are out getting their daily needs. I love seeing the people wandering the streets going about their business, quickly stopping by one of the many stupas (Buddhist monuments) to pay respects and keep moving. I naturally ended up down at Durbar Square, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, and the main place to visit for tourists.

 

mr ryan showing me a thing or two

mr ryan showing me a thing or two

 

From what I know “durbar” is a general word, and there are actually a number of “Durbar Squares” that exist. This one is the centrepiece in Kathmandu, home to many buildings including palaces and religious monuments. As I approached I immediately got the sense that sadly this square bore the brunt of the earthquake in 2015. While I could see many beautiful monuments, there were also many piles of bricks, and considerable scaffolding about. Like many please such as these around the world I was approached by a number of people offering to guide me about the complex. I was happy to have someone show me about, and so Mr Ryan it was. Obviously his name was not strictly “Mr Ryan” however he seemed happy that it was the easiest pronunciation of his actual name, so since I couldn’t write his name down at the time, Mr Ryan it is.

 

looking for the kumari

looking for the kumari

 

He as a delight and super knowledgable so I was happy to have acquired his services for the next hour or two. He led me all about the complex, which although it is not necessarily confusing, having a guide helped orient myself and also place everything into context. He led me first to a very special temple, one in which the Kumari was currently present and watching over the visitors. From what I can gather, the Kumari is a young girl (4 at the moment) who is a revered goddess for the Nepalese Buddhist community. She makes appearances at key times in the year and this was one. Alas we could not see her, but the signs advising against photos suggested she was certainly above us watching.

 

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Mr Ryan showed me around the complex, and sadly as mentioned, a number of things he pointed out were now just a pile of bricks, including the “Hippie Temple” where apparently the Beatles, Hendrix and others visited and played guitar. Thankfully though there was a lot of construction meaning that hopefully things will be returned to their former glories.

 

invader!

invader!

 

I bid farewell to Mr Ryan, wandered about for a little longer, and then headed off, this time toward to Swayambhunath, the monkey temple. On the way, up a random street, I was super stoked to come across an Invader! I had no idea that Space Invader had visited, and after some reading up afterward apparently there are a number around the city (although supposedly many were destroyed in the earthquake). But I was happy to see one in such good condition… plus the red dot on the forehead was a nice touch.

 

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The Monkey Temple is high on a hill overlooking Kathmandu, so for half an hour or so I weaved through the streets toward it. As you arrive you then have about 400 steps to ascend to reach the main stupa and buildings. Along with the other visitors, you are also joined on your way up by the many monkeys that hang out there. There are warnings to keep your bag closed and food away, and the monkeys playing with a Sprite bottle were evidence of that. I made my way up easy enough (I would hope so given I had several thousand meters of ascent to come!) and wandered the gorgeous, vibrant stupa at the top, all the while being eyeballed by the monkeys.

 

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There were great views looking out over Kathmandu, the haze that seems to be common here not too obstructive. From this height the city looked bigger than I first thought, sprawling all around.

 

chilli buff momos!!!

chilli buff momos!!!

 

It was time to wander back to the hotel for my first meetup with the rest of my hiking group. But on the way back I had to stop for food sine I had been all go since early in the morning. What to have? MOMOs! I wheeled in to Yangling Restaurant on my way back and had what was undoubtedly my favourite dish of the trip… Chilli Buffalo Momos. Damn. They were SO good. Steamed first then lightly fried I think, they were coated in a delicious, slightly sticky chilli sauce. The buffalo was great but the whole dish was just amazing. I would undoubtedly having more of these bad boys on my return to Kathmandu 🙂

I got back to the hotel and had a little time to chill before meeting my G Adventures group. Our CEO was Pasang Sherpa, and he was joined by Mingma who I had met at the airport. There were 8 of us hiking… 3 Aussies, 3 Brits and 2 Irish lads. If first impressions are typically right, then I had a very good feeling about the trip as everyone seemed cool and up for it. Pasang ran us through everything… not much to know really but making sure we had all the gear we needed. At this point I knew I had done well with tour leader as Pasang had the BEST laugh. This was going to be 2 weeks of good times I could tell.

A short wander in Thamel to get last money and then dinner, and it was off to bed for our early morning trip to the airport and official start to the journey.

 

24
Feb

The First of Many Momos

By: muttler
welcome to kathmandu

welcome to kathmandu

 

13/01/2018 – Melbourne to Kathmandu

My trip to Everest Base Camp begins!

Yep, after having conquered Kilimanjaro a couple of years ago, it was now time to cross that other epic journey off my list. But that makes it sound like it was just a box checking exercise. Nothing could be further from the truth. My bud (and Kili climbing partner) CC had waxed lyrical about the trip to Base Camp, and like many before me, just uttering the word “Himalayas” was enough to trigger goose bumps. So this was a trip I was excited and nervous (every emotion really) for. So on the plane I jumped, with just my hiking gear accompanying me, and headed on my merry way to Nepal.

The flight was with Thai, via Bangkok. This seemed to be the most direct route and was reasonably priced so worked for me. The airline itself seems to be looking a bit tired these days (especially when you have been travelling places via the Middle East in the past years), but an uneventful flight is a good one, and with 6 hours sleep under my belt I arrived in Kathmandu.

As soon as I arrived I knew I was in a new and unique place. While I have travelled to a lot of places now, not too many have been what I think too rugged or overwhelming. Tanzania to a degree, and parts of Central America I guess, but even the more random parts of Europe (or say Japan) tend to have familiar elements to them. Kathmandu was the same, although the air of difference and chaos does hit you as soon as you are in the airport. As I awaited my bag, very strange animal noises emanated from a large crate. I *think* it was a dog of some kind? But boy were they strange. I then fought my way through the crowds and past the huge number of folks trying to get me into their taxi. I had a transfer waiting, but even one guy was cheeky enough to approach me and let me know he was my transfer (even though he wasn’t) and try to get my bag and an accompanying tip for his trouble. But Mingma from G Adventures (my EBC tour company) was waiting and we headed the centre of town.

The roads were what I expected would be the case… dusty roads where there is no such thing as an indicator, rather a beep of the horn always sufficed when moving left or right. So love being in a new environment where all this craziness is happening around you. In no time Mingma (who I should say was one of our main tour leaders) had me at the Fuji Hotel, our starting point in the tourist area of Thamel, safe and sound and let me know the deal for meeting the group tomorrow. I now had a few hours of afternoon and the whole day tomorrow to get acquainted with Kathmandu.

 

and this is not even as chaotic as most

 

Even though I got some sleep, I was keen to take it easy for the afternoon and do my main sightseeing tomorrow. I marvelled at the incredible wiring on display above my head everywhere I looked. Local NBN? After wandering hectic Thamel for a bit (deflecting the many shopkeeps, randoms on the street, and many offers of drugs), I settled in for the first of many meals of Momos. Momos are basically dumplings, but Nepal’s version. Not much different really… steamed or fried… but with a focus on local fillings. So I was keen to strap on some Buffalo and also Potato and Cheese momos.

 

tucked away

 

mmmmomo!

 

While you can’t walk 10 meters without having the option of momos, I did a quick search for “Best Kathmandu Momo” and was greeted with Newa Momo, so why not? Tucked down a small alley and hard to find, I wandered into the family run restaurant. Buff momos and also Potato Cheese momos please! 20 momos was a lot, but you know… travel makes you hungry hey? Mmmm… delicious. I could see many momos in my future.

The sun was down and I was sleepy, so I decided to settle in for the night and get some sleep before the real adventure started.

 

12
Feb

Everest Base Camp is Coming!

By: muttler
these posts are taking me longer to write than it did to walk there

these posts are taking me longer to write than it did to walk there

 

“Hey Matt!”, I hear you ask. “Where are your posts about your trip to Nepal and Everest Base Camp?!”. OK, so maybe you’re not asking. But just in case you are one of those two people who are thinking that you wouldn’t mind seeing some pics and reading about it, just to let you know that I am busy typing away my adventures! It is probably still a couple of weeks off, but I am working on it when I find time. Rather than post as I finish, I will likely post them all in one hit, Netflix style. No one likes anything drip fed these days do they?

So stay tuned!

01
Jul

Another Sneaky Bologna Update

By: muttler

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Hi again everyone.

I know I said I probably wouldn’t post again, but thought I would do a quick cheeky one since I just had a bit more of a wander after a day of beavering away in my conference working group. We wound up at about 6pm, and everyone was in different states of jetlag and preoccupation, so rather than all head off for dinner together, we parted ways for the evening. Rather than go back to the hotel, I decided to wander back to the centre of town for a bit more of a look about and to grab some food.

 

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I had read about an apparent stunning series of terracotta statues in the Sanctuary of Santa Maria della Vita, so decided to go for a look. In fact I had walked straight past this church just the day before, unaware of what lay within. I had an hour to visit, so legged it down to take a look.

 

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The church itself was quite pleasant in its (relative) understatement and smallness. But the undoubted highlight is the “Compianto sul Cristo morto”, a terracotta group of life-size separate figures standing in a semicircle around the dead Christ figure. This is quite compelling to see, with the facial expressions unlike anything I had really seen before. This is accentuated by the fact that the figures are made of terracotta and are approaching 600 years old, which just adds to the incredible nature of the piece. I found it hard to believe that this was not something that visitors to Bologna are directed toward by default.

 

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I then explored the rest of the church. There was also another incredible terracotta sculpture that, while not as dramatic, was just as impressive. Again, a gem likely undiscovered by most visitors to Bologna.

 

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The evening was still young, and thanks to the Italian propensity to have a rest in the middle of the day and eat late, some things were still open. I discovered a special photography exhibition in the main piazza that was still open, so I decided to pop in for a look. This was a history of Bologna in photographs and was quite stunning. The city had been well documented, from the early days, through two world wars (especially WW2), through Italy’s dark times with fascism, protests in the 60s and 70s, and to what it has become today. Bologna certainly has an interesting history, in particular with political turmoil in the mid-late part of the 20th century and the photos captured it well. But it wasn’t all serious history… Sophia and Alfred made an appearance.

With that, it was time to wander some more. I was not too hungry, but being in Bologna I felt compelled to have something delicious for dinner. That makes it sound like it was a chore, but quite the opposite 🙂

 

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I came across a deli / wine bar and plonked myself on a table and ordered a board of meat and cheese. Yep, all kinds of meats and cheese and bread which summed up Bologna perfectly. And boy was it delicious! Simple pleasures.

Even though it was a Saturday night, I didn’t feel the need to be out on the town, so slowly wandered back to the hotel, stopping for some gelato on the way. Mmmmm stracciatella… I could get used to a place like Bologna.

30
Jun

A Quick One From Bologna

By: muttler

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Buongiorno everyone!

A quick post from gorgeous Bologna. Most of you know but I am here for just under a week for a conference. From Saturday to Wednesday I will be all go go go with work, but for much of today I have been able to get out and see some of what the city has to offer. It has been quite surreal, as it is about 17 years since I was last in Italy, and it is my first time here in Bologna. I have been to Florence (just up the road) but not to here, so I took the opportunity to see what it has to offer.

I have to say upfront, Italy was not one of my favourites when I first did the whole whizzing around Europe thing back in the day. For no reason really, just that I fell much more for France (and Germany), so those have been my destinations to go back to, while Italy hasn’t seen me since 2000. So I was pretty jazzed to be able to come back and see what I thought nearly 2 decades later.

My initial thoughts? I really dig the vibe of Bologna. For one of the largest cities in Italy (7th maybe?) it feels really laid back. Hardly seems crowded, everyone seems to be just hanging out, and as expected it is quite gorgeous. My memories of the places I visited in Italy all those years ago was just of crowds. Granted I was doing the “tourist” thing, but it was winter. I was expecting the warm weather here to have brought out all the tourists, but maybe they are down the road in Florence?

Anyway, what did I get up to? I had a very rough plan, mainly to see a couple of the main churches and a couple of the museums, as well as wander some streets, chasing LP’s and the like. Oh, and to eat lots of prosciutto, mortadella, salami, etc etc.

 

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First up was a visit to the Basilica Santo Stefano. But on the way I saw one of the main landmarks in Bologna, the two towers (yep, that’s what they’re known as). One of the towers is supremely wonky making it a bit of a tourist spot, but it also made for a good landmark to get the bearings.

 

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Santo Stefano was nearby and it was quite a low key church. It seemed to be a series of interconnected buildings rather than one big one. As such it was quite cool to wander through archways, and in small courtyards. Not too much in the way of religious iconography or show which probably explained the lack of visitors in there.

 

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From there I wandered to the main centrepoint of Bologna, Piazza Maggiore. This is the central meeting place of the city, home to the main square as well as the main basilica, library, museums, and tourists. I took the opportunity to pop into the main basilica of the city, Basilica di San Petronio. This was more like your typical big Italian basilica! Huge and full of sculpture and painting and stained glass and arches, it was quite a sight to behold. I’m not religious, but religious iconography is immensely fascinating, and this was up there.

 

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I wandered back out into the perfect weather and around the piazza for a bit. One of the museums I was keen to visit was nearby so in I went to the Museo Civico Archeologico. There are a number of museums and galleries in town, and in some respects with such little time I picked the couple that seemed to pop out to me. This was obviously filled with archeological artefacts from the area, which would make a nice change from the religious paintings I would no doubt be seeing a bit more of. In the end this was a good choice. Not huge, but a really great museum filled with sculptures, pottery, and all sorts of other finds. They even had a pretty decent Egyptian section, however the Italian parts were much more interesting. The courtyard was also a nice spot to just take a seat and relax.

It was lunchtime, so down a small sidestreet I popped to find something. When you see a bunch of locals outside a small deli, then that is where you go, and in I went to Bella Vita, a tiny cafe deli. It was the perfect time for a Campari soda as well as some prosciutto and other delights. I could get used to this.

I kept moving, and decided to just wander some of the smaller side streets. I was keen to see what I could chance upon, but I also knew the area where a record store or two were hiding. And yep, found one! Disco D’oro was one I read about and I gotta say, it was fantastic. A HUGE selection of LPs to wade through which was ace. I don’t really tend to buy LPs while travelling as I can typically get anything I am after, but it is always nice to browse. And in this case I also couldn’t resist picking up a limited colour LP version of the Radiohead OK Computer 20th anniversary release. It will be nice to play it remembering where I bought it from.

 

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The day was creeping away from me, so I decided to head to the other museum I was keen to visit, the Pinacoteca Nazionale di Bologna. This is the national art gallery of Bologna, so for that reason was worth a look. But by all accounts it housed a pretty decent collection, so I popped in for a look. While not huge, it had a decent collection of 13-18th century works that were related to the city. So given the time period and the focus, yep, they were mostly religion-themed works. From that perspective it was quite good, however with such a strong focus it meant that there wasn’t too much variation (for someone like me anyway). So while it definitely housed some impressive works, they did start to blur in to each other after a while.

With that, it was time for a quick refresh and to get on the job for the first time. We had our first get together of our conference working group, to start to chat and get ready for the busy 5 days to come. And with that, my exploration of Bologna came to an end. Hopefully there will be time to sneak a look at something here and there, but for the next 5 days it will be work work work!

 

04
Jun

Adventures in Costa Rica (Summary Post with Links)

By: muttler

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Hola!

Here is the summary post for our Costa Rican adventures. Be dazzled by tales of sloths and monkeys and hummingbirds and tarantulas and Matt getting addicted to Costa Rican salsa! You will be happy to know I have already acquired Lizano salsa here in Australia 🙂

Day One: A New Stamp In The Passport

Day Two: Welcome To The Jungle

Day Three: Patrolling The Beaches

Day Four: Adventure Awaits

Day Five: Scaling Waterfalls, Flying Through Trees

Day Six: Bridges, Sloths and Snakes

Day Seven: Heading For The Clouds

Day Eight: Warning… Tarantulas Ahead (But Also Cute Hummingbirds!)

Day Nine: Flying High

Day Ten: Heading West

Day Eleven: I Do Like To Be Beside The Seaside

Day Twelve: Chillin’ On The Pacific

Day Thirteen: Adios Costa Rica

 

04
Jun

Eight Days in Florida (Summary Post with Links)

By: muttler

NASA!!!

 

Hello everyone!

Now that I have posted all about our recent holidays, here is a summary post with links to all the posts, first for Florida. Happy Disney (and astronauts and wizards)!

Day One: Into the Disney Bubble (Magic Kingdom)

Day Two: Fly Me To The Moon (NASA Kennedy Space Centre)

Day Three: STAR WARS!! (Hollywood Studios)

Day Four: The Big Ball (Epcot)

Day Five: The Wand Chooses The Wizard (and Springfield, Springfield!)

Day Six: The Tree of Life (Animal Kingdom)

Day Seven: Bouncing Around (Epcot – Hollywood Studios – Disney Springs)

Day Eight: A Final Day in the Kingdom (Magic Kingdom)

 

04
Jun

A Final Day In The Kingdom

By: muttler
one last look at the castle

one last look at the castle

06/05/2017

How times flies. A week ago we had arrived after a fairly long journey and were at the gates of Magic Kingdom at 8am. Now, 7 days later, it was the same situation, however in the past week we had done all 4 Disney parks, Universal Studios, and the Kennedy Space Centre. One last day to act like kids (well, some would argue I do this most days and you are probably right).

 

into the beast's lair

into the beast’s lair

 

Of course it was another early morning to do a Disney breakfast, this time in the Beast’s Castle. There were no character meet and greets, but it was just to have a good brekkie in elaborate surrounds, and be in the park nice and early. The castle was pretty cool, with all kinds of Beauty and the Beast ephemera about.

From there it was all about filling some gaps of things we hadn’t done (and getting on some of our favourites again). We were right next to Peter Pan’s flight so jumped on. For reasons unbeknownst to both of us, the line is always huge for this ride. I mean, it is fine, but it is just an elevated boat type ride through the Peter Pan story. We went on since we were literally first in line, but neither of us think it is worth the typical 90 minute wait.

From there we went to our first fast pass ride, Splash Mountain. Lucky we sorted fast passes as the line was… non existent. Nope, a 5 minute wait. That was OK… on we went and got nice and wet as we hoped… and then went straight back on. Why not?! It was already warm, and we may as well get doubly wet now than wet again later! So back on started our day nice and soaked. Oh yeah.

We jumped back on to some of our other favourites. Big Thunder got a run (still better than 7 Dwarves Mine Cart) and also onto Jungle Cruise (sorry driver this time… you weren’t as good as our first one last week).

 

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In our travels through Adventureland, I finally got myself one of my Disney must-gets. Dole Whip Float! That super sweet Dole pineapple whip with pineapple juice is so delicious and perfect in the Florida heat. So much better than the Beer Float from a few days ago.

 

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It was then into Tomorrowland to jump on a couple of rides. We popped on to one of our usual favourites, Buzz Lightyear Astra Blasters, which was actually named something slightly different. Once on the ride we found out why. It must have been the first version of the ride as it was very lacking compared with the usual. Everything about it (the guns, the targets) just seemed off. Oh well, now we knew.

Space Mountain also seemed a bit different. Neither of us could remember it being more of a sled that you rode in (single file, just like a bobsled). The ride itself seemed the same… rollercoaster in the dark with things flying about… but again it just seemed a little different. This must have been how they tried to differentiate Disneyland and Magic Kingdom a bit decades ago when this was built.

 

doing his best to cut me out of the photo

doing his best to cut me out of the photo

 

While in Tomorrowland we bumped into another character… Mr Incredible! We met the big guy and he was hilarious. He was “busting moves” onto Kate so I had some banter, and then in our photos he proceeded to block me out of all of them. Gold! It is great when the characters have some fun like this. I imagine it must be a tough gig being in these suits for hours, so I am grateful when they have fun with it.

We got one last ride on Haunted Mansion. It seemed a number of the rides were suffering technical difficulties at the park, meaning longish lines at most rides. We got our final fastness sorted for our favourite ride, so back on to Haunted Mansion for one last time. It was nice to get the buzz of our spooky hitchhiker mentioning Australia again.

 

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It was getting dark and in our last hour or two we did some of the shows, like Country Bears and the Tiki House, as well as go around Pirates of the Caribbean again. Fitting since tomorrow we would be on our way to a country on the Caribbean. Maybe we would run into a pirate or two on our travels.

And so with that we were done at Disney World. I have to say, it was a super fun week. I like my Disney, but having the 4 parks, all quite different experiences, and staying in the resort with magic bands and easy fast passes and the systems that worked a treat, it was great fun. Kate did a great job of organising things which, while I was worried was going to mean we were TOO planned, actually meant we had a smooth and line-free Disney, which is the best type of Disney.

We got back to the room and did a pack, ready to embark on a new adventure… to Costa Rica!