A Travellerspoint blog

USA

The Sunshine State

Florida, United States; 28.0908° N, 81.9604° W

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The beautiful Miami sky

After spending three days at sea with about two days of bad weather, we are finally back to the Sunshine State! Our cruise got back to the Port of Miami at 7 am. Right before we got off, we exchanged our contact information with our friends.

We left with Simona and her two brothers, who were apparently staying at the same hotel as us until tomorrow. I was surprised, since they didn't come with their parents either. So in a sense, we sort of had a connection there and we didn't expect that to happen at all. We decided that we will go to the airport together and say goodbye there as they leave for Italy and us for Peru.

When we got to our hotel, we checked in right away and went to our rooms. We got room 317 and they got room 312. Luckily, we were on the same floor. We then went straight to the indoor swimming pool, where we played some pool sports, such as volleyball and basketball together in teams. As usual, after our swim we were all quite hungry. So we changed and went to eat together at a local restaurant.

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Miami Beach

We also brought them to the mall, since they didn't get a chance to see Miami a lot and they wanted to do some shopping for their family. We came back a bit early to get a chance to take a few hours' nap, because once we get to Peru, we won't really have much time for that. Then we all headed to the beach for another swim. This time though, we made a sand castle and unlike when we were back at the hotel, we actually spent more time on the beach than in the water.

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On our way to the hotel after spending a long time at the beach

The beach wasn't as packed as I was expecting. But then again, I guess people like to tan more during the peak times of the day, from around 12 to 4 pm. The five of us were happy though, because we went a bit crazy and just ran around the beach. Simona's brother had two nerf water guns, so we split into two teams and played a game of sand tag, which we all invented.

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Downtown Miami

Then at night, Simona, Joseph and Michael came over to our room after we came back from Downtown Miami, which is where we basically spent a good portion of the night: having dinner, watching a movie in theatres, going bowling, going window shopping, etc. We ordered some pizza, watched a movie and played some board games. They left at around 2 am, and after cleaning up the room and packing our last minute things, we went to bed and set our alarm for an early time tomorrow morning.

It is actually our last Good Morning America tomorrow and I'm not sure how the rest is going to turn out, but so far, everything is good...

Posted by ZK_15 18:11 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Magic City and the Cruise Capital of the World

Miami, Florida, USA; 25.7216° N, 80.2793° W

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Arriving in Miami

We have reached Miami, which is also known as the Magic City due to the rapid growth in population. We will only be spending one night here, as tomorrow our cruise leaves for a 3-day tour to the Bahamas. I am really looking forward to it, because we are starting to get tired now and it will be a great way of relaxing before we leave North America. Since Miami has a high population of Spanish speaking, and fortunately we know some basic Spanish, that helped us in many situations; at the mall, the beach, the restaurant, etc...

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Downtown Miami

The Downtown Miami Historic District is the largest historic district of the city and that's where we went also! We did a lot of walking in Miami, even if nothing compared to The Walking City. We stopped at many landmarks on our walk, such as the Freedom Tower, the Coral Castle, the Vizcaya museum and garden

We went to the beach first thing after checking in at our hotel, but we only stayed for about an hour only. We decided that it's better to go explore around more instead and take advantage of that, since we can go the beach and swimming a lot while on our cruise.

We then went to the Aventura Mall and had light lunch there at The Cheesecake Factory.

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Aerial view of Miami

We then came back to our hotel, where we Skyped in with our parents, who were staying over at my cousins' place in Rochester, before they head back home.

We watched a few hours of TV before heading out again, this time to the botanical gardens and then to the Dolphin Mall, where we spent the rest of our day. The thing about being on our own in a city where we don't know anyone is that we have to use public transportation and we hate that because of the amount of time we waste. Also, since we don't really know anything about the city or anyone, other than the research we made before leaving, we don't really know how to explore the city.

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Leaving for our cruise

After going to bed quite early last night, we had to wake up early once again today. We had breakfast at the hotel and then grabbed all our stuff and took a taxi to the Miami Cruise Port. We are about to leave for a 3-day cruise to the Bahamas, did I mention that we're excited? This is our first time going on a cruise, so it's quite a big deal for us.

We'll see how this turns out!

Posted by ZK_15 04:17 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Big Guava

St Petersburg, Tampa, Florida; 27.9106° N, 82.6872° W


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View of the beach from Sailport

After taking a plane to Tampa, my sister and I took a shuttle to our hotel, Sailport, which is near the Tropicana Field Baseball Park, where we are going to watch a game tonight. We are pumped, as we have never watched a baseball game before, even if the Blue Jays play quite often at the Rogers Centre, in Toronto, Canada, near our house.

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Our room in Sailport

Since our hotel has so many activities, we decided to stay there for 3/4 of the day. The beach is also connected to the hotel, and the view from our room was perfect, since we got a beach view. We went to the beach.

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Tyrone Square Mall in St Pete's

We then went shopping a few hours after lunch. We spent our whole afternoon at Tyrone Square.

We came back right after dinner though, so we could have enough time to be able to rest and just enjoy the hotel,before having to leave for the baseball game.

Tomorrow, we are leaving early to go to Miami, Florida. From there, we will be staying only one night, before departing for our 3 day cruise to the Bahamas.

It feels like it's been so long since we left home, but really we're only in North America. We planned to go to two more regions in the world and so even if sixty days doesn't seem a lot to visit all these places, in the end it'll be worth it even if we're tired.

We are soon going to be switching timezones, so I wonder how that's going to be to get used to.

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Tropicana Field Baseball Park

Even though we love baseball, after attending the game, there was a whole different feeling being at a game than when we play a game. Everybody was into the game and mostly everyone was a Rays fan, since it is the baseball team of Tampa.

And talking about the Rays team....we got the chance to meet the mascot!

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Tampa Bay's baseball team the Rays' mascot

Posted by ZK_15 10:20 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Theme Park Capital of the World

Orlando, Florida, USA; 28.4752° N, 81.4670° W


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A great quote at one of the theme parks

After saying goodbye to our family back in New Jersey and our parents, my sister and I took the plane. As for my parents, they will be staying another night before heading home. They're having their own little road trip back from New Jersey, going through Albany to Syracuse, then Rochester and finally back to Mississauga.

Since we only got to Orlando today, we decided that we won't go to the theme parks yet. Although we've had quite a relaxing day yesterday, today we are doing the same. Since we have been to Orlando with the family before, we know that there is a lot of walking and that it can be extremely hot. We will be staying at the DoubleTree by Hilton for the next two days.

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SeaWorld Orlando, a great time

We went to SeaWorld; it was a great way of relaxing as we got to watch some shows with the killerwhales, dolphins, and seals doing tricks, etc. It was pretty cool. The equivalent to that is Marineland in Niagara Falls, Canada. But, SeaWorld was a bit different in a sense that it was a lot bigger and there's a lot more to do and see, not to mention the absolutely amazing shows.

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Universal Studios Theme Park

We are only staying two days here as we have been to the Disney World theme parks before; Epcot, Magic Kingdom, Hollywood Studios, Animal Kingdom and the waterparks before. However, we never got the chance to go to Universal Studios and my parents are not about going on rollercoasters, etc, which is another reason why we picked this destination. We each bought a 2-Day Universal Studios park hopper pass with the meal deal, so that we don't have to worry about having to find somewhere to get food.

Universal Studios has two theme parks, Islands of Adventure and Universal Studios. After spending one day at Universal Studios, I realize that it is more teen-friendly, compared to DisneyWorld's theme parks, where I find it more kid-friendly. But either way, when going to both of them, I felt like a seven year old once again.

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Photoset of our time at the Wizarding World

The first thing we did when we got in the park was that we went straight up to Hogwarts, or The Wizarding World of Harry Potter. My sister and I grew up watching and reading Harry Potter, so we are really big fans of it. We bought a few of the Harry Potter souvenirs, mostly some from the Gryffindor house though, since it's our favorite and describes us more. We also got the chance to drink some butterbeer like in the movie and see the castle, the Hogwarts Express, etc, even if it wasn't the real thing. It still felt like being in the movie or being on set.

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The theme park map and our ticket

The rest of our first day was spent around Universal Studios. We got the fast pass ticket so that we wouldn't have to wait in line much to go on the rides. We were glad, or else it would have been a buzzkill, seeing the amount of people there were. We tried to get as much done around the park, even if we had the park hopper.

On the second day, we went to Islands of Adventure and it took us more or less 3/4 of the day to finish touring the whole park, so we went back to the other park afterwards. We also went for a late night swim at the hotel, since we didn't really get to enjoy the hotel much. Then we packed our things, because tomorrow morning we are leaving for an early flight to Tampa!

Posted by ZK_15 19:01 Archived in USA Comments (0)

The Garden State

Hoboken, New Jersey; 40.7439° N, 74.0328° W


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Welcome sign as we arrive in the state of New Jersey

The thing about travelling around the world or half the world is that it is not really a vacation; it is more like an adventure. So, today we decided to sleep in at our family’s house in New Jersey, instead of waking up early like our usual routine.

We want it to be different today, because it is really tiring to just be on the move every day, so it’s sort of like a relaxing day for us today. Also, since my parents and our little group is not the same age as my sister and I, they are more tired than us. We don’t want it to be too much for them.

New Jersey is also our last destination, before my parents leave us and take the car back to Mississauga. As for my sister and I, we are staying in New Jersey for one more day, before flying to Orlando, where the sister adventures only will begin. After today, we are pretty much on our own, since my parents have to get back to work. But fortunately, we have family in other parts of the world as well, so we won’t be as lonely and it is also why we picked some of the destinations that we chose.

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A very tasty bakery

We had breakfast at Carlo’s Bake Shop, a family bakery of high quality located in Hoboken, New Jersey, the birthplace of Frank Sinatra and baseball. Carlo's bakery, originally known as Carlo's City Hall Bake Shop is also the location where the famous TV show Cake Boss was filmed.

After a 1 1/2 hour drive, we then went to New Jersey's largest mall, Jersey Gardens Mall for some shopping. There were many brand names and a lot of shops to choose from. We also wanted to go to The Piers Shops at Caesars, but it was quite far; about 2 1/2 hour drive more.

The rest of our day in New Jersey, we just spent most of the time together, having a picnic in the local area park, staying at my cousins' house and playing with the little kids, etc.

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View of New Jersey

Posted by ZK_15 20:46 Archived in USA Comments (0)

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