Good morning, my little elves!
After a whirlwind weekend, waking up today was a little bit more difficult than most Mondays.
On Friday, my husband and I hosted his family at our home for a bonfire and game night. If you haven’t played Telestrations, you haven’t lived. The game is basically the “Telephone Game” turned into a drawing game with players having to draw/guess what they think the person ahead of them was trying to portray.
Saturday was spent prancing around Downtown Orlando and Thornton Park for SantaCon Orlando bar crawl, a smaller-scale version of the original one in New York. I had every intention of dressing up as Mrs. Claus but then life got in the way and I chose the lazy route of wearing a plaid shirt and reindeer antlers. Luckily, my coworkers and half the attendees had the same thought process so I didn’t look as lazy as I imagined.
Some of the stops included Graffiti Junktion, Dexter’s, Island Time, Aku Aku, WOB and Frosty’s Christmastime Lounge, which opened a few months back. The bar didn’t live up to my ridiculous decorative expectations but it was a jolly good time. The night ended with delicious, life-changing duck fat fries from The Tasting Room back in our hood (Winter Garden).
Our weekend culminated with visiting my stepbrother and his fiancée (congrats, you guys!) at their new place in Baldwin Park (congrats again!). The location of their apartment is seconds from the Village Center so that means there’s a Publix within walking distance along with other restaurants, shops and the lake. The best part? The Christmas parade goes right by their place. Personally, that’s a major selling point for me – #ChristmasPsycho.
Anyway, back to the real reason why I started writing this blog…
I’m 100 percent slacking on my travel blogs, especially the blogs from our summer road trip, so my New Year’s resolution will be to schedule time to write each week. Who am I kidding? Let’s see how long that will last.
He had visited the canyon years before on a family holiday but I had not, and to be honest, I was actually not looking forward to staring at a giant hole in the ground.
However, Halston insisted that it was much more than that and dragged me to the South Rim of the canyon, which is actually open all year while the North Rim closes for the winter.
It cost $8.00 per person to enter the national park and because we got there early in the morning, we quickly found a parking spot and didn’t have to deal with crowds of tourists.
Fun fact: the average width of the canyon is roughly about ten miles, but it would take five hours to travel from the South Rim to the North Rim.
People from all over the world go there for guided tours, bicycling, mile trips, back-country hiking, river trips, caching and more! And here I thought people just show up, stare at the Grand Canyon and leave.
We began our visit at the Grand Canyon Visitor Center where we found shops, general information, exhibits and a showing of a 20-minute movie about the Grand Canyon. Afterwards, we made our way to the Yavapai Geology Museum and discovered interactive exhibits about how the canyon was formed.
I was highly amused by signs around the national park warning visitors to not come into contact with squirrels because they carry “the plague.” To me, it seemed a little bit over-dramatized but apparently health officials do spend a lot of time monitoring the wildlife in the area for the rare but sometimes fatal disease.
During our visit, we saw daredevil visitors wandering from the overlooks to unsafe areas and it made me uneasy. A few days before our visit, a Yelp Orlando Director had accidentally stepped off an edge in the canyon and unfortunately lost her life. As Halston and I gazed anxiously and incredulously at mothers letting their children jump around unguarded and dangerous areas, the story of the Yelp director kept circling in our heads. Just thinking back on that now makes me lose all feeling in my legs.
…Other than battling with my own dark thoughts, my Grand Canyon experience lived up to my expectations (unlike Frosty’s) and for once in my life I’ll admit that I was wrong and my husband was right (I hope you’re reading this).
Have you ever had a similar travel experience; one that changed your perception of a destination?