Hi! Both my husband Michael and I have been members of WorldMark South Pacific Club for over 13 years, achieving Privileges Platinum level. Recently, we documented four fabulous weeks of travel across the USA followed by another week of cruising in the Caribbean.
The journey begins …
The weather here was sunny and warm to hot. The highlights were Disneyland, Universal Studios and Hollywood, even though Hollywood wasn’t what I thought it would be … it turned out to be quite dirty and cramped with construction work in front of Mann’s Chinese Theatre and most of the surrounding streets.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
Where the stars are immortalised on Hollywood Boulevard! It has more than 2,500 stars spread over 18 blocks and over 10 million visitors a year. We could only do a few blocks due to time restrictions, but what a thrill to be here.
The Hollywood Sign was initially Hollywood Land sales. Originally made from timber, it was rebuilt in metal and is now an icon.
Rodeo Drive was very exciting. Beverly Wiltshire Hotel is where Pretty Woman was filmed. The street is lined with exclusive shops such as Louis Vuitton, Gucci, etc. so I could only window shop. There were lots of prestige cars such as Mercedes, Ferrari etc. to look at.
Santa Monica Beach
A glorious sunny day, sun shimmering on the water, the pier had a carnival-like atmosphere complete with rides, music and restaurants – truly an amazing place!
Although the beach was beautiful it was more of an ‘alternative’ crowd – lots of skateboards and bikes.
Just walking and touring up and down the streets was breathtaking … literally, we were both out of breath! You can’t imagine the steep streets until you have walked them. The houses are beautiful and so colourful. We drove past the house where The Addams Family was filmed. We visited Alcatraz – it was so eerie walking through the hallways and prison cells. We also walked half way across the Golden Gate Bridge – a total of 1.3km, which took us two hours. A ride on the cable car into the city was exciting, and yes people do hang onto the outside rails to jump on and off the platform. The hop-on hop-off bus tour was great; our driver, Willy, talked just like Eddy Murphy. Some of the highlights were being taken to the street where 48 Hrs was filmed with Eddy Murphy, driving the bus down one of the steepest streets, and passing the school that Whoopi Goldberg and OJ Simpson attended.
Las Vegas is a world of its own, surrounded by dessert. So much glitz and glamour. Nothing but casinos line the streets. Night time is magical. Everything is lit up in neon lights. Very hot here – 40 degrees daily. Our hotel had a complimentary bus to take us into the centre of Vegas, about a 30-minute ride. After unpacking we decided to go for a walk downtown along the Las Vegas Boulevard Strip, popping in and out of casinos to keep cool. We had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe.
270 miles long (434.5km), up to 18miles wide (29km), 1 mile deep (1.6km) – the canyon’s walls contain rock layers that reveal a timeline of Earth’s history. A helicopter ride over the canyon was our highlight – we flew over the edge of canyon where Thelma & Louise was filmed, over Hoover Dam, landed at the bottom of a canyon, and then hopped on a pontoon boat for a ride on Colorado River then we went back up to the top to walk around Skywalk and Eagle Point. The scenery was amazing.
A visit to Madam Tussauds Wax Museum was next and then off to dinner at the Venetian Hotel.
Vegas The Show was magical and topped our evening off beautifully. Vegas is never quiet; day or night, the streets are full of people.
Memphis was my favourite part of the trip. We stayed at Heartbreak Hotel which was across the road from Graceland. My dream come true to walk in the footsteps of Elvis Presley. Our tour of Memphis included Sun Studios where Elvis recorded his first record amongst many other well-known stars, Beale Street (birth place of the blues) and Tupelo (birth place of Elvis). Our tour included Tupelo Hardware Store where Gladys Presley (Elvis’s mother) bought him his first guitar. We had lunch at Johnny’s Café – Elvis’s favourite eatery – and even sat in the booth he used. The food wasn’t the best as everything is deep fried – as it was in all of Memphis. We looked forward to vegies and salads. We visited the schools he attended and the house he was born in. The house was tiny – just one bedroom, combined kitchen and dining area, and no lounge room.
We caught a train from the airport to Pennsylvania Station and just had to cross the street to our hotel. After checking-in we walked to Times Square.
The next day we did a tour of New York City including Top of the Rock observation deck, overlooking the city and across to the Empire State Building. We couldn’t resist a walk through Central Park – so many movies were filmed here! The park is spread over 843 acres, is made up of huge rock formations. We could only walk a fraction of this massive parkland. Another highlight was going to see the Statue of Liberty.
A boat cruise on the Hudson River was next on our list. This was a relaxing couple of hours, taking in the sights of New York including the Statue of Liberty, and the Brooklyn and Manhattan Bridges. Looking at the buildings from the boat made them look so majestic as the sun sparkled of the windows. We went past Pier 59 which is where Titanic was scheduled to dock and Pier 54, where Carpathian docked with the survivors of the Titanic.
No pictures or videos can prepare you for this amazing beauty. Anyone who has the opportunity to see and feel its sheer force is truly fortunate. Being able to walk right up to the falls and touch the water was a great experience for me. The helicopter flight over Niagara Falls was also amazing; this is where you truly appreciate the size and beauty of the falls.
We were only here for a couple of days so we couldn’t see much. We went to the city of Toronto, up to the observation deck of CN Tower where we could see the city skyline. Dinner and an early night, in preparation for an early start to the next destination in the morning.
We did a water taxi ride where we could get off and on in different locations and have a bit of a look around. This also included a tour of homes of the rich and famous. We did a couple of beach stops: one was Fort Lauderdale Beach where we had lunch, and then Hollywood Beach, where we had dinner. The water taxi ride at night after dinner was relaxing after a very hot day. As there is no public transport we did a lot of walking – the hot sun was very tiring! I didn’t mind too much as the next day we were going on our cruise. This was going to be our relaxing time after a very busy and exhausting but extremely exciting holiday around the USA.
Nada & Michael
Wyndham Timeshare Owners since 2003
Stay tuned for Nada & Michael’s cruise story coming to the blog next week!
Read more International holiday stories by Wyndham timeshare Owners