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A runner with an appetite for adventure!

An Epic Cross-Country Vacation May 28, 2014

Filed under: Baby,Travel — Kelocity @ 10:22 pm
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So by now, you’ve seen a few of our pictures from our trip to China. I wrote about why we left Adele for the two weeks while we gone. It wasn’t easy leaving our little one behind.
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You might be wondering where she was while we were away… Here’s a hint:

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Long story short, Adele had two plane rides, slept in four cities in three states. She was well taken care of by family on both sides. It was the great cross-country family tour of 2014 for her. And she did great. She had an epic vacation and was completely spoiled by everyone she visited. Here’s just a few of the 400+ photos she came back with.

First she flew from LA to Chicago with Aunty Laurie. The next day, she drove to Indianapolis to visit Aunties EJ and Sarah!
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A few days later, Grammie flew to Chicago and Adele drove back to Chicago and they stayed there for a few day!
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On Easter Sunday, Grammie flew from Chicago to Boston for the rest of the trip.
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This cracked me up! haha Adele’s hand-me-down become doll clothes!
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Adele’s cousin, Gizmo! haha
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Gardening with Grammie!
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Does your Grandma rollerblade? Adele’s does!
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Sweeping up the driveway!
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And a little surprise visit to Chuck E Cheese! Where Grandparents can be kids too!Adeles Cross Country Vacation - Haverhill (118)

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We are beyond grateful for everyone who helped us out taking care of Adele so we could getaway on our trip. We know we absolutely couldn’t have done it without the support of family and we love you all! xo

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So how did Adele get back home? Well after flying from Hong Kong –> Vancouver –> Los Angeles, I had one day to rest up at home and then the very next day, I got on a plane and flew to Boston. {Worst flight ever, by the way. Let’s just say I got sick a few times and swore I would never fly again.} When I landed, I was in tears because in 2 hours, I would be boarding another flight back to LA with Adele. I didn’t think I could do it. My mom and Mikaela bought me some medicine, gave me a pep talk and basically forced me to board the plane. HAHA I guess even when you’re 30 you still need your mom! Adele was very excited to see me though, her reaction was so super cute. I have it on video and I watch it over and over again. Love her!

Thank goodness, our flight home was easy, fast and sickness-free. We even scored an entire row to ourselves and Adele slept for most of it. Whew!

Jetlag was really tough for all of us. For about two weeks we weren’t sleeping. Even Adele was waking up at odd hours. But now we’re back on track again.  All worth it for the incredible vacation Irving and I shared, and the pretty awesome one Adele got to experience as well.

 

Reese Visits China Too! May 27, 2014

Filed under: China,Travel — Kelocity @ 4:56 am
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The Caterpillar wasn’t the only unpaid passenger in my purse while we visited China. Reese came along as well! Here are some of her pictures! Enjoy!

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Hong Kong: Lantau Island & The Big Buddha May 26, 2014

Filed under: China,Hong Kong,Travel — Kelocity @ 4:33 am
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We woke up at 4:30am in Macau to catch an early ferry back to Hong Kong. Our flight home wasn’t leaving until the evening, so we wanted to maximize our last day. We checked our bags at a train station and headed off to explore Lantau Island. {Note: Disneyland is also on the island, but we didn’t venture over there. Maybe next time!}

There are two ways to get to the top of the island… bus or gondola. Of course we chose gondola!
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It is 3.5 miles long and takes about a half hour to get there. One of the most scenic gondola rides we’ve ever taken!IMG_2838

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As we rose higher and higher, we started to see her! The Big Buddha! The World’s Tallest Outdoor Bronze Seated Buddha. Haha
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We timed it out perfectly so we got there when it opened! IMG_2883

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From the top of the hill that she stands on, you can see the Monastery in the distance.IMG_2915

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We thought this sign was pretty funny.
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We realized at this point that we had been carrying three different camera lenses around for two weeks and had yet to swap them out! I put on the macro lens and got this picture…. hahaha whoops!

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I proclaimed to Irving that I just needed to get down lower in order to get it in the shot… and that’s how I accidentally ended up with this gem of a photo. Quite artistic, no? Oh man, we had a good laugh about that.IMG_2963

I really wanted to eat at the Monastery. I’ve heard great things about it, but Irving was a little skeptical since it’s vegetarian. But he agreed to give it a try anyways. IMG_2968

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I ordered the noodles and they were to DIE for!!! Irving happily enjoyed half and we both agreed it was pretty amazing. A+ to the monks! This picture makes me hungry. It was as good as it looks!IMG_2975

Then it was time to say goodbye to Lantau and head back down the mountain.IMG_2976

The mist made her look even more dramatic. IMG_2980

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You can see the Hong Kong airport down below! We’ll be there in a few hours!IMG_3023

I think they are making the island bigger by adding land into the bay. They were dumping lots of sand. This area has so much growth to do, we found it fascinating.IMG_3035

Once back to Hong Kong, we got lost and ended up in a mall searching for some lunch. We grabbed some quick things at a food court and ate standing up in the mall. ha!IMG_3036

[After this, we made our way back downtown to try to make it back up the Peak Tram… it was rainy and foggy when we were there a few days ago, so we wanted to try one more time to see if we could make it to the top. But the two hour line, plus the heavy fog that was still there told us it just wasn’t in the cards. We grabbed some coffees before the it started to downpour. At this point I was done with the rain and just wanted to go to the airport.]

We retrieved our bags from the train station and checked them into the airline right there! That’s right, you can check your bags in from downtown Hong Kong so you don’t have to deal with them at the airport! How cool is that?! That would never fly {no pun intended} in the States, but we took advantage of it here!IMG_3040

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We got to the airport really early, with a few hours to spare. I read my book and relaxed. The flight home went fast. We had a tough time adjusting to the time difference, it took us both about a week. Maybe it’s travel from West to East, but it was a tough one. Worth it though. What an amazing experience. I’d go back to China in a heartbeat. Thanks for reading along and traveling with us! I have a few wrap-up posts in the works and then it will be back to pictures of Adele again. =)

 

 

Macau: From Venice to Portugal to Another World May 25, 2014

Filed under: China,Macau,Travel — Kelocity @ 4:33 am
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We started our day off with some coffee from the Pacific Coffee Company. Paired with a croissant. IMG_2614

Today, we are exploring ‘old Macau’. The Grand Lisboa Hotel is iconic here. It has an ‘old Vegas’ feel even though it was only built in 2007.IMG_2621

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Right down the street you are transported from Vegas to Europe. You feel like you’ve walked right into Portugal. Macau is a former Portuguese colony, right up until 1999. That’s why a lot of the architecture and culture feels very European. Even though Macau functions as it’s own ‘country’, it’s still technically part of Mainland China.

From Wikipedia:

Under the policy of “one country, two systems“, the PRC’s Central People’s Government is responsible for the territory’s defense and foreign affairs, while Macau maintains its own legal systempolice force, monetary system, customs policy, and immigration policy. Macau participates in many international organizations and events that do not require members to possess national sovereignty.

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The tourism office offers free self-guided audio tours of the old district, so we picked them up and headed off to check it out!

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I was very excited to get to this site…The Ruins of St. Paul’s Cathedral, which is now a UNESCO site. All that is left now is the facade of the front.IMG_2667

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We quickly realized that the audio guide we were using gave us way too much information. It went on and on and on, after a few hours, we were burned out on history. =)IMG_2669

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We also climbed up to a fortress above the city to take in the views.
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What a cool place for wedding photos!IMG_2693

On our way back down to the casinos, we noticed this restaurant. Love the name!
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Our lunch spot today would be at the Wynn!IMG_2699

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I ordered a big bowl of fried rice! IMG_2705

Irving had a great sandwich. This actually ended up being one of the cheapest meals we had in Macau! We weren’t expecting that, especially at the Wynn! Score!
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The Wynn has a few fun attractions to check out. The ceiling opened up at this one and a giant chandelier emerged from it.IMG_2708

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And the Tree of Prosperity ‘grew’ from the floor. A cheesy little show, but it was fun. IMG_2720

It’s crazy how much it resembled the Wynn in Vegas! That was fun.
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Out front, we waited for the water show to begin. They have dancing fountains that go off on the hour.IMG_2727

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Then it was a short walk over to MGM!
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It looked like the Bellagio in there! Check out this atrium!IMG_2761

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We took the free shuttle back to the ferry terminal and switched to another bus back to our hotel.
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We changed and then headed out for dinner. The Hard Rock Cafe again! No drinks this time, just some appetizers!IMG_2793

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Tonight, we’ve got tickets to the ‘House of Dancing Water‘ show! It’s an acrobatic show that was created by the same guy who made ‘La Reve’ at the Wynn in Las Vegas. IMG_2802

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Strange that they let you take pictures during the show. It was very cool, we loved it!IMG_2811

These were motorcyclists doing crazy moves and jumps! I played around with long exposures to get these shots!IMG_2817

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Macau, it’s been real. I will be back someday to see how much more you’ve developed. Rumor has it the Paris Hotel is being constructed next to the Venetian. Soon it will be a whole strip!

 

Macau: The Vegas of Asia May 24, 2014

Filed under: China,Hong Kong,Macau,Travel — Kelocity @ 2:39 pm
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We woke up at our Hong Kong hotel in time for another amazing breakfast. This buffet was huge. Here’s plate #1… this was followed by a couple more. And let me point out, they had cheese! It wasn’t until we got to Hong Kong that I realized I hadn’t eaten any dairy while in China. They don’t use a lot (if any) cheese in their foods. I realized how much I missed it! IMG_2507

They also had a “Pancake Machine”. All you had to do was Press Ok. Wait one minute! Easiest pancakes ever! They were delicious too! OK!IMG_2514

We said goodbye to some tour mates in the lobby, and then headed off on our own for the next leg of our trip. We took the subway over to the Ferry Terminal to depart for Macau!IMG_2516

Macau isn’t part of Mainland China or Hong Kong really, so we had to show our passports and off we went on our boat! It’s only an hour ride, I read my book the whole time. IMG_2518

Macau is known as the “Vegas of Asia”. They have lots of big casinos and it’s growing by the day. Each hotel/casino has a free shuttle bus from the Ferry terminals, so all you have to do is find the one you want to visit and all your transportation is free.
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We decided to stay in the ‘new’ section of town called the Cotai Strip. We chose the Sheraton which was right across the street from the Venetian. Great location, highly recommended.
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It was also randomly voted one of the world’s best hotels for kids. Perhaps the daily character parade helped it earn that title!

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That was the biggest difference between Macau’s casinos and the ones in Vegas. These catered to kids in a big way.
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We were very excited to check out the Venetian to compare it to the one we know so well in Las Vegas! It’s a little bit smaller, but man, it looks exactly the same!!IMG_2547

 

 

 

 

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Even the false “daylight all the time” ceilings were the same!IMG_2591

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Across the street is the Hard Rock Hotel and the City of Dreams complex.
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Since we were already there buying tickets to a show for the next night, we grabbed dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe. The food was so ridiculously expensive that we decided “Hey, why not make it outrageous and order two drinks while we’re at it.” When in Rome, right? The bill alone made us feel like we were in Vegas. HA!IMG_2555

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One of the biggest differences between Macau and Vegas…. it’s mostly smoke free! I think they allow it on the casino floor, but no where else inside. That was really nice. IMG_2576

Tomorrow, we’ll head out to the older side of Macau and explore a little of the history. This trip has been amazing so far!

 

Hong Kong: Escalators, Lights & The End of the Tour

Filed under: China,Hong Kong,Travel — Kelocity @ 10:15 am
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Ha, that title pretty much sums up this post! I left you after lunch in Hong Kong, here’s a recap of how we spent the rest of our day. Our tour guide took us to an iconic part of the city. A glimpse into ‘old Hong Kong’. Or perhaps ‘traditional’ Hong Kong. Most of the city is very developed and modern, but it was fun to visit this area as well.
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The colors were so fun. Especially with all the umbrellas added as well. IMG_2374

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It had all the pieces of a ‘big city’ with the advertising and bustling people on cell phones, but still had old charm as well. IMG_2386

After a failed attempt at shopping in some of the touristy kiosks, we used some free time to experience “The World’s Longest chain of escalators“, totally a half-mile total. And we rode the whole thing. haha.

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Of course riding the escalator all the way up meant walking the stairs all the way back down. It took a while, but it was fun and it’s in a buzzing part of town with lots of stores and restaurants to look at along the way.

I loved the reminder that they drive on the other side of the road here! It must be an issue with tourists and mainland China visitors!IMG_2398

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Here’s a map of how far the escalators take you! From here to here!
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Wow, really does feel like home here!IMG_2403

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Finally back at the hotel, we met back up with our group to attend our farewell dinner and the Hong Kong light show! Here’s our trusty tour guide, Alex!IMG_2405

On our way, we sped past the Peninsular Hotel. This used to be an iconic place for the wealthy to stay and dine. They’re famous for their “High Tea” which is so authentic, you feel you’re back to England! Next time, Hong Kong!IMG_2406

First up was the light show! We sadly missed the show in Shanghai, but this one more than made up for it. It was very cool to experience. Music plays on the viewing platforms we were on and the entire skyline lights up and animates to the sounds. Here’s a plethora of photos and a video at the bottom!IMG_2408

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A video of the show!


A Selfie with our local guide, Gain, before dinner!IMG_2494

The last included dinner of the trip was at a British Pub. Fitting for Hong Kong, but we all sort of wished it was Chinese Food instead. But it was fun and delicious.

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Bread pudding for dessert!

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After the dinner, the tour was officially over. We’d be on our own for the next three days while we explore Lantau island and Macau! The adventure continues!

 

Hong Kong: The Peak Tram and Stanley

Filed under: China,Hong Kong,Travel — Kelocity @ 4:37 am
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We woke up to the sound of rain outside. A quick glance out the window revealed a very grey, cloudy day. The rain literally chased us around China during this trip, but we were quickly cheered up after seeing how amazing the breakfast buffet was! I can’t believe I forgot my camera on this day, because it was huge…Vegas-sized! A+ to the Harbour Plaza Metropolis Hotel. I think it’s mostly a business hotel that caters to Westerners.

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We boarded our coach bus and headed first thing to the Peak Tram. Because we were part of a tour, we skipped the line and quickly boarded one of the world’s oldest funicular railcars up to the top!
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We were excited because the views at the top were rumored to be spectacular. It leads up to one of the highest peaks in Hong Kong that used to be home to rich Westerners living in Hong Kong. IMG_2267

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After a quick, fun ride to the top, we were excited to take in the views!IMG_2272

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Oh, look! Another “Mail a postcard to the future” store in the visitor’s center!IMG_2276

Ok, back to those incredible views we were about to see…… Uh oh…. Nothing but fog and clouds! WHAT?!IMG_2277

See this view here… this is what we saw. Grey all around us. I’m not even kidding. We couldn’t see 10 feet in front of us!

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For comparison’s sake, this is what the view was supposed to look like (borrowed from our friend, Ed, who went back a few days later for a better look!) What a difference, right?!
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Haha I love this picture of what we’re supposed to be able to see… IMG_2281

I laughed and said, “Let’s get a picture of us in front of the skyline!” And here it is: IMG_2282

We braved the rain to walk around for a few minutes before finally ending up in a Starbucks nearby.IMG_2284

This place will come back to haunt us a few days later when we try to visit again… only to be caught in the rain AGAIN! Oh well. It just wasn’t meant to be this time. Guess I’ll just have to come back some day 😉
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From there, we got back on our bus and drove to our next destination. The drive was really pretty (yes, rain and all). Here’s a drive-by shot of the Hong Kong Cricket Club. We also passed one of Hong Kong’s only golf course. It opened in 1889 and rumor has it that it cost hundreds of dollars to play there.IMG_2286

We stopped to take a Sampan boat ride through a bay that housed really expensive yachts alongside really old fishing boats. Old Hong Kong meets the new. So neat to view something like this from the water. IMG_2287

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I think this is the world’s largest floating restaurant.. (Another “Worlds Largest” superlative!)IMG_2294

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You can picture what it used to look like when Hong Kong’s fishing industry was at its height. IMG_2316

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We went from boat back to the bus to head to Stanley Market. A quiet neighborhood situated along a beautiful bay. This was our lunch spot today.IMG_2328

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Hong Kong belonged to Great Britian up until 1997. The Chinese have British accents and they drive on the left-side of the road there. The whole city looks very European, which is probably why I loved it so much.

Here’s a little history lesson about Stanley, courtesy of our friend, Wikipedia.

After the annexation of Hong Kong in 1842, the British made Stanley the temporary administrative centre, before moving it to the newly founded Victoria City (present dayCentral) on the north shore of Hong Kong Island.

Stanley Fort was where British and Canadian troops mounted a last stand during theBattle of Hong Kong. The survivors surrendered to Japanese forces in December 1941. The fort, which was the former British Army barracks in Stanley, is now occupied by the People’s Liberation Army following the transfer of sovereignty over Hong Kong to thePeople’s Republic of China in 1997.

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We had a few lunch options here, most of them had Western food. It was between a few British Pubs and this Italian place. (Which we later found out was a huge chain in Hong Kong, who knew!)IMG_2343

I had the most amazing gnocchi and Irving had a bowl of tomato soup. Perfect for a rainy day.IMG_2344

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On the drive back to our hotel, we passed this mountain. If you look closely, you can see a giant gondola, 1 mile long, that goes up and over the hill. On the other side is Ocean Park, a huge amusement park. Some friends went the next day and loved it. Have to add it to my “next time in hong kong” list. IMG_2355

Here’s a closeup of the park in the distance!IMG_2356

See the gondolas here?

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I’ll save the rest of this day for another post. These days were very full and exciting, indeed!

 

 
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