Christine Westen


Christine Westen

North America » United States » Nevada » Las Vegas February 8th 2019

Our flight home was to leave at 8:30 so I arranged for the shuttle to pick us up at 6. We left our fancy room and headed down through the very quiet hotel to check out and wait outside for our ride. The shuttle was a little delayed, but the airport is only a 10-15 minute drive from the hotel so no big deal. We got our boarding passes, went through security, got breakfast at Starbucks and reached our gate only to learn the flight was delayed. The incoming plane was late due to weather delays out of Minneapolis. But it was ok as we weren't in a huge hurry to return to 8 degree Chicago! On this trip, I got to cross one more state off my list, sing along with the songs of my ... read more

North America » United States » Nevada » Las Vegas February 7th 2019

We had one full day to check out the sights and sounds of Vegas. We slept in (for us) after our late night and left our hotel around 9AM to do some walking. And boy did we walk! When you look at a map, it looks like each casino is right next to it's neighbor, and that is true, except each casino is roughly the size of a city block. The nice thing is that the strip is very accessible for pedestrians. There is a wide sidewalk on either side of Las Vegas Blvd with multiple pedestrian bridges to get from one side to the other. And you can reach the bridges by stair, escalator or elevator. Our plan was to head north on the strip as all the places we wanted to see were in ... read more
Bellagio Conservatory
Bellagio lobby
Renee winning?

North America » United States » Nevada » Las Vegas February 6th 2019

And here we go! Getting to, and staying in, Las Vegas turned out to be way cheaper than I thought it would be, probably because they want you to spend all your money in the casinos and not on travel. I booked the trip through Expedia and we flew Spirit Airlines so it was very inexpensive. Our flight left O'Hare on time at 9:00 and we arrived in Las Vegas at 11. We used Super Shuttle to get to and from the airport and I would recommend them if going to Vegas. I chose the Cosmopolitan when I picked our package on Expedia. I had no idea where we should stay, other than the Bellagio was probably not in our budget, and the Cosmo was one of the more inexpensive options. I did upgrade to get ... read more
Cosmopolitan Hotel
Room 4926
Room 4926

Europe » Portugal » Azores » Terceira March 23rd 2018

Our flight left Boston this morning at 7 AM so we were waiting for the shuttle at 4 AM. Jet Blue has a great system at the airport with tons of kiosks for self check-in. If you have bags (like we did) you attach the labels and proceed to the bag drop where they scan everything and send them on their way. Everything went quickly and there were no issues. The security line was rather long and both our backpacks had to be inspected, but that's why I like to get to the airport early! Our plane left early and got to O'Hare in a quick 2 hours. I think we landed at the farthest spot possible as we spent a good 20 minutes or more taxing to the gate. Luckily we were at one of ... read more

Europe » Portugal » Azores » Terceira March 22nd 2018

I always hate when a trip comes to an end. It means you have to leave a place you spent discovering, you have to get back on a plane for x number of hours and you have to return to the realities of every day life. This trip came at just the right time when a break was needed from work and I felt so relaxed and stress free the entire week. It was hard to leave! We had one last breakfast at the hotel and spent our last few hours sitting on the balcony enjoying the sun and the ocean. Then it was time to check out and wait for the shuttle back to the airport. The driver took a nice scenic route up the hill behind our hotel and across the middle of the ... read more
Little Local Lizard
View from the shuttle

Europe » Portugal » Azores » Terceira March 21st 2018

Today was our last full day on Terceira. It's hard to believe our week is almost over! The weather looked like it was going to be perfect, mid-60s and sunny. We planned to walk around Angra, hopefully see inside some churches, do some shopping and eat. As most places don't open until 10, we ate a slightly later breakfast and sat on the balcony until heading out. We started our morning at a little store tucked away along the sea wall that sells handmade embroidery and other made in the Azores items. I was lucky and found a cute little hand carved nativity set to add to my collection! From here we walked down to the Misericordia Church, hoping it would be open this time. Luckily it was and we were able to get a short ... read more
Inside Misericordia Church
View of the harbor
Lunch guest

Europe » Portugal » Azores » Terceira March 20th 2018

Today was the warmest and sunniest day yet! It was also our last day with the rental car. The day started with breakfast as always. I think I have tried all the local items on the buffet. My favorites are the slices of oranges (I know those aren't local but they are so juicy and delicious) and the various cheeses. Yesterday and today I took a chunk of the fresh cheese and spread it on some local bread. The cheese has a ricotta like texture and is very mild. We have found the fruit juice in the machine is very watered down. It says they have orange and pineapple, but both taste more like water. No fresh squeezed juice at our breakfast. Our plan for the day was to start out heading east. We wanted to ... read more
View from Serra do Cume
View from Serra do Cume
Praia da Vitoria

Europe » Portugal » Azores » Terceira March 19th 2018

Side note, last night we went out to dinner for the first time! The other days we ate late lunches and were too tired to wait for dinner. Last night we walked into town and found a small cafe that was serving even though it was only 5:30. I had a really good salad with chicken and cheese and Mom had a beef sandwich. According to my weather page, today was going to be cloudy in the morning and then rainy starting at 1 PM. We decided to try visiting some sights and if it started raining, we would just head back to the hotel. Our first stop was the Furnas do Enxofre, a protected geological area where you get the reminder that you are on a volcanic island. The drive here was really pretty. It ... read more
Furnas do Enxofre
View toward Santa Barbara
Lagoa do Negro

Europe » Portugal » Azores » Terceira March 18th 2018

Today promised to be rainy so it seemed like a good idea to start our car rental so we would have something to do besides sitting in the hotel. I organized the rental with the hotel reception desk to pick up today at 10 and return Tuesday evening. That would give us three days to explore all the other parts of Terceira. On our drive in from the airport, we learned the island is 12 miles across and today I learned it's 50 miles if you drive all the way around in a circle. So not very big at all! The day started with the usual breakfast. It was overcast but not raining and the breeze was cool. The lady arrived from the rental car place and I gave her all my information. She then told ... read more
Jagged coastline
Look at that blue water!

Europe » Portugal » Azores » Terceira March 17th 2018

After yesterday's climbing, I was ready to spend the day taking it easy by exploring Angra. However, it's hard do do that when the city is hilly and you want to visit the good spots! We started the day with another good breakfast. Today I sampled the local cheeses (MMMMM!!), a local cake (not so good) and a local English (or Portuguese) muffin with some pineapple jam. I also had fruit, a doughnut, some tea and juice. I love breakfast buffets at hotels and this hotel has a pretty good one with lots of options to choose from. Fortified, we set out for our day. I had checked the weather and it showed sunny and 64 so I left my sweatshirt at home and brought my lightweight rain coat just in case. First stop was the ... read more
Public Gardens
Panoramic Angra
Inside the Convent of Sao Francisco

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