Christine Atkins


Christine Atkins

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles January 27th 2020

And so it draws to a close...the long-anticipated 7 weeks of holiday has sadly ended and here we are at LAX waiting to board our flight home...waaahhhh, I don’t wanna! Today was always about Harry Potter (for some of us) and filling the time before our late night departure (for others). Out to Universal Studios this morning and straight to Hogsmead...well, unless you’re seven and you’ve heard your big sister rave on and on and ON about HP for over a year, and absolutely REFUSE to which case, you go to Minions instead. I’m told it was everything she could have hoped for - the Forbidden Journey was great and the wand selection process even more exciting as she got picked out to demonstrate how a wand selects its owner...but she went against the magic ... read more
Wand choosing

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles January 26th 2020

There’s nothing quite like Disney for the quality and fun it delivers, and the last few days have not disappointed. We even managed a side trip to Knott’s Berry Farm but finished off the Disney days with the light show Fantasmic - a fitting end to a great time! Highlights have included: - The Cars ride - Disney quality and class at its best - a combination of interactive animation and the thrill of a car chase - the Incredicoaster - fun, fast and upside down - Soarin’ Around the World - for a virtual trip over some of the world’s great landmarks - Big Thunder - voted family favourite ride for everyone’s pure enjoyment. Our day at Knott’s was a welcome break from the queues of Disney, with us all enjoying the pony ride and ... read more
So much fun at California Adventure, we almost forgot Beeb...
Pony ride
How many times?!

North America » United States » California » Los Angeles » Anaheim January 22nd 2020

The thrills, the spills, the near-death experiences, the brown pants and the shut eyes...yes, we’ve survived the LA freeways!! After that, the rides of Disney seemed quite tame, definitely less chance of dying! We decided to treat the girls to one last lesson in the marvels of science and stop by Hoover Dam in our way out of Vegas. Geoff remembered a small snippet of one of the few lectures he attended...something about cooling techniques for the curing of the concrete in the dam (I was clearly at the pub for that one)...they were suitably wishing we would shut up. Then we hit the road. Longest and scariest drive so far, and quite a lot of holiday glad it happened at the end rather than beginning of the trip! But we made is safely, dropped ... read more

North America » United States » Nevada » Las Vegas January 19th 2020

Hmm well, they say that you’ve gotta experience it I’m glad it’s done. Can’t say that we’ve relished the Vegas experience, despite seeing two fabulous shows. The whole atmosphere, hard to put into words...weird, tacky, fake, over the top...just not really my kind of place. Part of what makes it unappealing is the masses of people everywhere...I sort of get why people would like it, but I’m not one of them!! But we always came here for the shows - Tournament of Kings and Cirque du Soleil ‘O’ and they were both fantastic! We were in the ‘Dragon’ section for T of K, so we had to cheer for the baddie - the whole experience was interactive, from eating medieval food with our hands (surprisingly Eloise hardly ate, despite the constant challenge to get ... read more
Real jousting
Got up some speed!

North America » United States » Utah » Springdale January 18th 2020

It is hard to convey, but not to understand, the girls’ disappointment that yesterday was our last day of rocks. I mean, who wouldn’t love a holiday based on driving around with two engineering parents constantly pointing out the rock formations, how they’d formed, the stratification, the changes caused by heat and’s the stuff of dreams!! So, we really tapped in to that when we told them that we were going to a ‘special rock museum’ to spend some time looking at rocks. In fact, we told them that we’d arranged for a special tour where they’d get a personalised three hour tour, walking around, looking at rocks. The gullible and trusting souls that they are still hadn’t twigged when we drove past the massive sign saying ‘Best Friends Animal Sanctuary’, all the while making ... read more
 Very timid Annabelle warmed up in the end
Kalani found ‘her person’...
Hot Cocoa wanted some of that napping action

North America » United States » Utah » Bryce Canyon January 14th 2020

You know what they say, travel is all about learning. I think it’s fair to say we’ve all learnt something here at Bryce Canyon... ...the girls have learnt about patience - there’s nothing that tortures Australian children quite so much as driving through miles and miles of pristine fresh snow only to be repeatedly told they can’t get out and play in it because there was nowhere to pull over. ...we’ve all learnt about exhaustion - there’s nothing quite so aerobically challenging as hauling yourself through thigh-deep powdery snow at 9000ft. ...Geoff has learnt about zippered pockets and how they prevent you from losing important things. ...and we’ve all learnt a little bit too much about stress...when you combine items two and three above. A tip for all travellers - 3ft of powdered snow that you’ve ... read more
It’s all beautiful and pristine, til the Aussies come along
In it up to his knees!
Oh, there’s rocks here too!

North America » United States » Utah » Tropic January 13th 2020

Whose idea was it to stay in a ‘traditional hoghan’...oh, sounds very romantic. Oh, let’s be ‘one with nature’, let’s get spiritual and learn about Navajo culture, let’s take a wee in the port-a-loo outside when the ground is encrusted with snow and it’s in the minus! Ha, romance?!? I’ll take fire thanks! More on that later... The day began with a tour of Monument Valley with Navajo Spirit. The conditions were icy to begin with, and the whipping wind did nothing to improve the climate...lucky the car was heated!! We headed into the valley with our guide to learn about the valley’s inhabitants and its surrounds. And honestly, we were fascinated. You come to Monument Valley for the iconic vistas and the red rocks, but hearing about the inhabitants and their origins, as well as ... read more
Big hole, small family...’big hogan’
Drawings left by the Anasazi people
Big hole...mad children running down hill

North America » United States » Arizona » Monument Valley January 11th 2020

Well, with the last three days in Sedona, the Grand Canyon and now Monument Valley, the camera’s panorama and scenery functions have almost melted off. Our last day in Sedona started with a Pink Jeep tour of the Broken Arrow Trail. Apparently made famous by Western movies, it’s now the location for some serious off-roading, sometimes feeling like we were heading almost vertically, down, up and around places like the Devil’s Staircase and Chicken Rock. We got some interesting lessons in the history, geology and biology of the area and the girls got some excitement as we bumped over it all, all delivered at the hands of a very entertaining guide. A cowboy lunch in Sedona, enjoying some of the local delicacies - fried prickly pear chips dipped in the sauce of its fruit - followed ... read more
Wintery Grand Canyon
Scenery shot - you were warned!
Lots of scenery shots all stuck together

North America » United States » Arizona » Sedona January 7th 2020

Today provided some stark contrasts in colour - the deep vibrant red of the rocks surrounding Sedona against the bright clean white of the foot of snow just up the road at Oak Creek. First stop was Fay Canyon, a short walk through the forest, punctuated by small patches of snow and ice crystals on surrounding rocks, while being overshadowed by enormous sheer cliffs of red and cream on either side. A short scramble up some rocks (five wheel drive required on descent) into the guts of the canyon to overlook the valley below. Next stop Boynton Canyon - we’d been warned that the canyon walk itself was impassable due to snow and ice (and possibly our laziness) so we opted for the shorter steeper overlook trail. And we were not disappointed! A beautiful climb to ... read more
On the way up to Boynton Canyon Vista
If Beeb’s in a t-shirt, you can be sure it’s not cold!
Cowboy snowperson

North America » United States » Arizona » Sedona January 6th 2020

Hmm, not overly sure I’m a fan of this ‘under your own steam’ caper we’ve got going on here. I quite liked the sitting on a horse and letting someone else do all the work! Nonetheless, here we are in Sedona, ready to check out the stunning rock formations that surround the whole area. Naturally, the girls have been overwhelmed with our enthusiasm for the natural surrounds...oh wow, look at those rocks...we’ve warned them to expect that a lot over the next few days. Who isn’t enthralled by the riveting tales of Geology 101?! First stop was Cathedral Rock where we clambered up some red rock formations (me only part way) to enjoy some stunning views. Some were more interested in the morning tea on offer. Next stop was the Mescal Trail towards Devil’s Bridge. A ... read more
View from Cathedral Rock
Strike a pose
Taking a break towards the Bridge

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