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October 18, 2022

Las Vegas Tips 2022

Visited Las Vegas Nevada in March 2022, my second time in Vegas, link to my previous Post 

I flew on a direct flight from Austin Texas to Las Vegas, the flight and Airports enforce Mask Policy due to covid 19. In Vegas however there is no Mask enforced in hotels, casinos, eating establishments or shows.

Vegas Airport to Hotel - I used Ride Share and the cost was $15 from the airport to the middle of Vegas Strip. 

Safety - Vegas is generally safe, however there are scams, avoid anyone offering anything free on the streets or Women asking to take photos with them, use common sense you'll be fine. 


 

My Hotel Suggestion  - I stayed in a hotel in the middle of the Las Vegas Strip, from my past Vegas visit experience one thing I learnt, I did not want to spend all my vacation walking, taking buses and ride shares instead I wanted to enjoy my time in Las Vegas. Everywhere I went or did was in the Mid strip within 15 minutes of walking, even then I did end up walking a lot. I did take a day trip to Antelope Canyon and Horse Shoe Bend, the bus picked me up right outside my hotel and  dropped me back at the same location.

Resort fee - The Hotels in addition to the room rate will charge a resort fee, you might be able to avoid the fee if you are a high stakes gambler or stay off strip, both of which I was not willing to do, ended up paying $40 a night in resort fee, there is no avoiding it.

Food - For breakfast I ate at Mon Ami Gabi located in the Paris hotel, Make reservations as that place is always full or at least it was the two times I was there, I had the Poached eggs with Salmon, and it was really good. I also ate at various fast food places as Vegas meals can get expensive. 



The Linq Promenade - This is a must do walk in Vegas, Located center strip across from Caesar’s Palace Hotel it has everything from shopping, dining and entertainment. It was less then a 15 minute walk from my hotel. Linq has the world famous High Roller, a 550 foot observation wheel, which offers a 360 degree view of Las Vegas. I was there on a Friday at 4 PM and paid $30 for a 30 minute ride on the High roller, after 5 PM the prices go up. I ate at Gordon Ramsay Fish and Chips, the cost of fish, fries and a soft drink was $20, it was very busy both times I went there.

The Linq Promenade

Eiffel Tower Viewing Deck at Paris Las Vegas


The elevator will take you 46 stories high on the viewing deck of the Eiffel Tower. Known as one of the most romantic spots in Las Vegas, this is another great attraction. I paid $30 for an anytime ticket and went there at 5:30 PM just in time to see the Bellagio fountain show.

Shows - During this Visit I went to see Absinthe at Cesar's Palace, this is one of the best rated shows in Vegas, it is an Adult rated show, it was well worth the $190 I spent on the ticket. The show is in a Tent in the court yard of the hotel


 What is your favorite Las Vegas tips for tourists? 

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October 13, 2022

One Day in Trondheim Norway



Trondheim was my 4th stop in Norway, I was there for a day.

Founded in 997 CE as a trading post, Trondheim has evolved into Norway's 3rd most populous city. With a rich history and many historical sites to explore, Trondheim, Norway is a great place to add to your travel Itinerary.

I took a city tour of Trondheim, below are Things to do in Trondheim Norway

1. Sverresli Viewpoint


Sverresli Viewpoint

View of Trondheim, from Sverresli Viewpoint, a panoramic viewpoint. 


2. Kristiansten fortress

Kristiansten fortress

Kristiansten fortress is a popular tourist attractions. There are cannons lined along the fortress Wall, to defend the city from attacks in the late 1600's.


3. Niadros Cathedral

Niadros Cathedral


Niadros Cathedral, a Gothic church constructed in 1070, one needs to buy a entrance ticket at the tourist souvenir shop, there are free and paid tours inside the Church. It was very busy with tourist when I visited.

From the Cathedral, I had a few hours to explorer the city by foot checking out the colorful houses by the waterfront. Trondheim has several museums, due to lack of time was unable to visit

4. Main Square

Trondheim main square


Statue of Olav Tryggvason who was the founder of Trondheim, at the main square. The square was my last stop, from there I walked towards the train station and onwards to the harbor to my waiting ship.


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October 4, 2022

Things to do in Alesund Norway

Fjellstua
Photo taken from the Fjellstua viewpoint


Alesund was the third stop on my Norway cruise, after a good breakfast I headed to take a paid tour and my bus was waiting at the harbor. There is an Airport in town and a train station 100 KM away.  
 

Things to do in Alesund Norway

Fjellstua viewpoint - The above Photo is taken from Mount Aksla, a hill top overlooking the town. One can hike to the top or in my case take a bus to take top, the hike involves taking steep stairs to the top. There are crowds most of the day, Alesund and Fjellstua is a Popular tourist spot. I waited 15 minutes at the hilltop to take photos and shoot a small video.

The views are stunning, I was there in the morning, though evening and night photography from the hilltop would be amazing. 

Sunnmore Museum 




Outdoor museum of historical houses in the region. The tour guide was explaining the history about the houses and I took off on own to film the area as there were two bus full of tourists.

There is also a indoor Viking era boat museum


There is lot to do in Alesund, from hikes to exploring Norwegian fjords and mountains. Since I was there only for a day, besides the above a drive through the city and walking the streets took up most of the day.

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October 3, 2022

Oslo Norway Travels

Oslo Norway


Friendly Bartender at the Ferry to Oslo.
Oslo is an expensive City, budget and plan accordingly.

Took the over night Ferry from Copenhagen to Oslo. My room was on the 6th floor. The room was comfortable and had a Shower. Most people taking the ferry are an older crowd, though on the weekends there is a younger crowd as per the bartender I met.

Being of Indian origin, I was the only person stopped for questioning by the immigration officials in Oslo, after much harassment they let me go as my tour bus was waiting. 



Things to do and see in Oslo Norway

The ferry had a travel section and it made it easy to book a day tour of the city, which included 3 museums and the ski jump Holmenkollen. The tourist bus was waiting at the Ferry terminal in Oslo.


Pictures taken from the Ferry, it was a cold October Morning. Windy, though the Sea in October was calm, and I had a great night sleep.





Below is the picture of the Norway Parliament I took while on the Bus.




Below - Vigeland Sculpture Park, popular tourist attraction The park was a must see.




The Holmenkollen Ski Jump and the Gift Shop Outside the Ski Jump, the second picture is of a Troll; Trolls are mythical creatures.





The Viking Ship Museum

The Vikings did NOT have helmets with horns. There was not a single helmet with horns ever found.




Kon-Tiki Museum

The Kon-Tiki expedition was sailing in raft across the Pacific Ocean from Peru to the Polynesian islands, Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl led the expedition.

Below Ra II built by Aymara Indians from Bolivia, they were worshipers of the Sun God.



If you have Netflix, Kon Tiki Film is worth watching


Info on the rafts can be found on this site
http://www.kon-tiki.no/Expeditions/




Fram Polar Ship Museum

Below - Ship at the Fram Museum - Fram was the first Ice breaker in the world. More info http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fram




Below Nobel Peace Center Oslo



Below is the Fort that you'll see as you enter Oslo if you take the Ferry. The Swedes in older days attacked Norway many times, they were no good neighbors as per my tour guide. Relation between the 2 country are great now, a lot of Swedes work in Norway due to great economy and good jobs.







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September 27, 2022

Things to do in Olden Norway



A Day in Olden Norway

Olden is a village in Norway and my second stop on the Noway Iceland Cruise Cruise, Located at the northern end of the Oldedalen valley, on the southern edge of the Nordfjorden and its proximity to the Briksdal glacier.

Olden is one of the most beautiful places I have been to. As I left the Cruise Terminal to go see the Town there was a Red Color sightseeing bus to glacier viewpoint, I bought a ticket and got on the bus, I used a credit card as I did not have any Norwegian Currency. credit cards are accepted in most places in Norway.

Things to do in Olden Norway

Glacier Sightseeing tour - Glacier Sightseeing tour started from the cruise terminal towards glacier viewpoint. The tour goes along the beautiful Olden Lake surrounded by tall mountains, and waterfalls.

Lake Olden
Lake Olden

The sightseeing bus went through old houses and farms, also there was a commentary about American philanthropic William H Singer who loved Olden, lived there and built a hospital.

Near the Cruise Port there is a small market, the bus stopped there and I got off the bus to do some souvenir shopping. From there I walked to the ship and had a nice lunch.

Mt. Hoven - Breathtaking Views

Olden Norway

From Red sightseeing bus to the blue bus, the cost for the blue bus was $85 USD which included ticket to Loen Skylift, the skylift takes you straight up to to Mt. Hoven.

Loen Skylift is one of the steepest aerial tramway in the world.

Mt. Hoven, a 1011 meter mountain, it offers a spectacular view of the fjords. Mt. Hoven is a starting point for several hiking trails, one has to be in good shape to do the hike which I am not, so did not attempt to do the hikes, Instead did Photography and spent time admiring the view from a restaurant terrace which is on Mt. Hoven.

FAQ in Leon Skylift check out their website at https://www.loenskylift.com/

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September 18, 2022

Things to do in Akureyri Iceland

Nestled along the shores of one of the most breathtaking fjord 'Eyjafjordur' in Iceland, Akureyri is Iceland's second largest City. The traffic red stop lights are in the shape of heart and Akureyri City bus is free of charge and will take you anywhere you need to go in town.

This was a one and half day stop on my Iceland and Norway Cruise. Iceland Air has flights from Reykjav√≠k City Airport (RKV) to Akureyri Airport (AEY), the flight takes only 45 minutes, car rental or taking a Bus would be your other option. 

Day one - I explored the city on foot. The ship I was on; docked at the port and My first stop was Akureyrarkirkja or The Church of Akureyri is a Lutheran church, its nothing to write home about, just another Church. After the Church visit and walking up and down the stairs, I walked along the Art street, it is nick named Art Street, Icelandic names of Street are not easy to pronounce for me.  

Day Two - Amazing Iceland

Godafoss

After Breakfast I took a Shore Excursion and my first stop was Godafoss or Waterfalls of the Gods, it is about 45 minutes drive from Akureyri, the tour guide explained the story behind the name, around 10th century a Norwegian Viking Chief took the ideals of Norse Gods Odin, Thor, Loki, ect and threw them in the waterfalls and converted to Christianity hence the name Godafoss.

There are tour companies in town; also car rental companies.

Waterfalls of the Gods Iceland
Godafoss


Myvatn lake 

Myvatn
Myvatn Lake 

Hiking Trails with small volcanos that you can walk around, Amazing views, great for Photographers, the tour only gave us 30 minutes to explore, so did not hike one of the trails as this is not a place where one can be left behind and one can find their way home. There is some kind of mosquitos in the area which didn't bite and didn't bother me, though some folks wore hat with a net around, regardless the lake and the views are beautiful and a must see.

Dimmuborgir



Its a lava field, with lava rocks and shapes. Their are walking trails, I hiked the trails and took a few photos and videos.

Mt. Namafjall and the boiling mud pools


Its a geothermal area with fumaroles and mud pots, the hot springs produce a lot of Sulphur and the whole place smells, in Iceland they used to mine Sulphur to make gun powder. Stay on the marked trails and paths as a fall with uneven soil and boiling mud pots will surely land you in the hospital.

The whole tour took over 6 hours and we did stop for Icelandic lunch and coffee on the way. 

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September 15, 2022

Things to do in Bergen Norway

It was a cold foggy day in Bergen, I made the best use of it. I had taken a cruise ship from Iceland to Norway and Bergen was the first stop. Surrounded by mountains and fjords,  Bergen is the second-largest city in Norway after Oslo. As my cruise ships sails towards Bergen, one can see the beautiful green mountains and fjords, including Sognefjord also known as the King of fjords.

After a great breakfast, I took a tour bus from the harbor to the city, Most of my day in Bergen was spent walking,  Below are the things to do in Bergen Norway.

1. Mount Floyen

Took the funicular to get to the top of the hillside, it was a foggy day in July, still it is a must do/see when in Bergen. The hikes around are also beautiful, with tree houses and Goats. There is also a gift shop and restaurant at the top of the hill. The views are spectacular, giving you a complete bird's eye view of the town. 


Mount Floyen

Above Picture taken from Mount Floyen in Bergen


The goats are friendly and one can pet them.


2. Fish Market Bergen


The fish and seafood market is in red tents near the harbor, there is fresh fish and most sellers will prepare it for you.



Historic Bryggen; with different colors of Hanseatic houses built in the 14th to 16th centuries. These places were used for trading and stocking purposes. It is a stretch of colorful buildings which over the centuries were destroyed by fires and rebuilt. These days its been turned into retail business with souvenir shops, clothing stores ect. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site.


4. Walking the streets of Bergen



Bergen is a tourist town, tourism and fishing being the 2 main industries. The tour guide took us through the streets and explained the history, religion drinks and food, though in my opinion the real beauty of Bergen is in the surrounding mountains and Fjords.

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September 10, 2022

Hot Springs Arkansas

How to get to Hot Springs - Driving is the best way to get to Hot Springs, Drove from Fort Smith, Arkansas to Hot Springs on a two and half hour scenic drive via highway 71 to highway 270; the views are spectacular. 

Some History - Hot Springs was a popular hangout in the early 1900's for Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, and other mobsters. Al Capone used to stay at the Arlington hotel.

Nature - With Lake Ouachita, Lake Hamilton and Lake Catherine and awesome walking trails, its a great place for outdoors enthusiasts.

Stay and Food - I stayed overnight at an Airbnb within walking distance to the bathhouse row. For food Diablos has delicious food, its across the street from the visitors center. There are Bed and Breakfasts in the downtown area, one can get the info at the visitors center.

Things to do in Hot Springs Arkansas

Bathhouse Row road (Central Avenue), take a hot bath with natural spring water, also there are several eating places, souvenir gift shops and attractions; this is the heart of Hot springs. Start at the visitors center at 629 Central ave, and get a walking tour map and walk on both sides of the Avenue. One can fill up spring water at one of the free water fountains.

hot springs arkansas
Bathhouse Row Hot Springs Arkansas 

Hot Springs Murals 


 Picture above of Quapaw Mural, on Central avenue across from Buckstaff Bathhouse.

A lot of work must have gone into making these massive murals. Walk along Central avenue from Olive street to Fountain street past the bathhouse row and you will see 16 murals representing various art themes.

Get a map from the tourist office and all the murals are marked on the map.


Hot Springs Mountain Tower


Picture taken from the Tower, what a scenic drive. One drives to the top of the mountain on windy roads and you'll arrive to the top where you go through a Gift shop and take the elevator to a history or museum floor, a lot of fact and fiction info about Hot Springs with pictures on display. One floor above is the look out floor of the tower with 360 views of the city. Cost to take the elevator is $12.

Along Central avenue you see Duck Tours, land and water truck type vehicles from WWII, I didn't do the tour. Also there is the Arkansas Alligator farm and petting Zoo, for families with kids, as well as go-karts and laser tag. A visit to Anthony Chapel which is part of Garvan Woodland Gardens is something to consider as well.

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January 16, 2022

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta New Mexico

In October 2021 drove from Austin Texas to Albuquerque New Mexico, Its a 12 hour drive, took an over night break in Amarillo Texas

Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta is an amazing event held anually in early October with 100's of hot air balloons that fill up the sky. See video below, a must visit for anyone


Entrance tickets cost U$D 15 per session, there are 2 sessions 1 in the morning, gates open around 5 AM and second in the evening starting at 3:30 PM on the weekends, on weekdays there is just one morning session

Stay - I stayed at an Airbnb downtown for $115 a night, prices during the Balloon fiesta are high. My Airbnb was in downtown close to old town Albuquerque, and about 10 miles from the Balloon fiesta Park, Albuquerque did not have too bad of a rush hour traffic and the location worked perfect for me.

Weather - Mornings and Nights are cold and daytime is warm in October

Besides the Balloon Fiesta, I did visit Cibola National Forest, beautiful hike with amazing views



I also visited Old Town Albuquerque, that video coming soon, stay tuned.





































Questions or comments, leave them below

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December 30, 2021

Iceland South Coast and Waterfalls

It was a cold and rainy morning, still this trip was the best part of my visit to Iceland in March 2016. Below are the stops the tour bus took us.


Skogafoss waterfall - There are stairs alongside the cliffs, you can climb to see the falls from the top. You don't need to be great shape to climb up, though I was out of breath by the time I got the top. The views from the top are worth climbing the stairs.


Skogafoss waterfall Iceland

Black Sand Beaches by Reynisfjara in South Iceland

Once in a lifetime chance to see Black Sand beaches. The waves can be huge, word to the wise not to get too close to the water.



A Cave by Basalt columns at Reynisfjara beach, the cave is not too deep



A 10 minute walk on the beach and you can see the gorgeous sea arches. As per my tour guide, one person flew his plane through the Arch.

Basalt columns at Reynisfjara beach are in geometric shapes



Tourists taking Pictures by the Columns.

The tour Bus stopped by the Glacier, we got off the bus to see the Glacier, there were people doing the Glacier walk, if you are interested in Glacier walk, Check with any one of the Visitors Center in Reykjavik 



Seljalandsfoss Waterfall was the last stop on the tour, if you want to take great photos or remember the experience you had at the falls, do go behind the falls.There is a path and some stairs where one can go behind the falls, you will get wet and your shoes will get wet.



It was a cloudy day, more light would have added more color to the pictures, on a sunny day one can even see a rainbow by the falls, regardless it was pretty amazing to see South of Iceland.

Link to My Golden Circle Classic Tour Post

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October 9, 2021

Cadillac Ranch Amarillo Texas

2nd Amendment Texas Cowboy
In October of 2021 took a road trip from Hutto which is a suburb of Austin Texas to Albuquerque New Mexico, its a 12 hour drive and took an over night break in Amarillo Texas. With stopping for Gasoline it took about 8 hours to get to Amarillo.

Stay: Got a last minute deal for a motel with 2 queen size beds for around U$D 80 on booking.com which included breakfast.

No visit to Cadillac ranch is complete without visiting the 2nd Amendment Texas Cowboy statue (Picture on left) its 5 minutes away from the Ranch.

Map below of my drive


Got to Amarillo at about 7 PM and headed straight to the Cadillac Ranch. Check the video below for details.


Next day I stopped at route 66 visitors center, after which I left for Albuquerque New Mexico to see the International Balloon Fiesta.

Do share my Video of the Cadillac Ranch on social media.


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