Hello everyone! So I’m kinda back from vacation though I haven’t blogged a single thing since I’m back, well except for this post. I’m hoping to start in the swing of things and write reviews again before I forget how, ahah. I have like five reviews I still have to write hopefully by end of the month. I literally had to write a note on my phone last night which movies I saw in the last three weeks that I haven’t reviewed yet:
- The Water Diviner
- The Woman in Gold
- Far From the Madding Crowd
We’ll see which one I’m in the mood to write next :)
Ok so, the Florida trip… well it was a blast!! We pretty much got to everything we set out to do, except for Disney’s Animal Kingdom as the forecast said it might rain that day. So here’s my recap:
We kinda started late in the day and it was about an hour drive from our hotel in Tampa. By the time we got there it was mid afternoon and the place was packed!! We didn’t swim – I’m actually not a big ocean swimmer, if I want to swim I’d hit the pool – but we did walk around barefoot on the soft, white sand beach and dip our feet in the ocean to cool off.
I’m so glad we managed to fit in this small Greek town about 40-min north of Clearwater. It’s such a picturesque little town with a small harbor. The town has the highest percentage of Greek Americans of any city in the US and the historic downtown is lined with Greek restaurants/bars and shops. We had one of the best Greek food for dinner with one of the best views!
Wish we had caught a trolley whilst we’re there
The cute harbor of Tarpon Springs
A sponge diving mural
Best Greek dinner ever!
Time for a selfie
Just one of the cute little shops lining up the downtown area
Lovely breeze by the harbor
NASA Kennedy Space Center
On our way to Orlando from Tampa, we fit in a visit to the Kennedy Space Center. There wasn’t a crowd at all on Sunday so it was perfect.
The Vehicle Assembly Building (VAB)
We took on a bus tour around the vast NASA facilities, including some of the rocket launch sites at Cape Canaveral. We didn’t get inside the VAB building though, just went around it. It didn’t seem THAT big but apparently you could fit three Empire State Buildings comfortably inside this, wow!
My favorite part is the new Atlantis exhibit. I think if you’re a space nut or someone who’s really into sci-fi would get a kick out of this one.
Universal Studios – Wizarding World of Harry Potter
Monday was Harry Potter day! We could see the Hogwarts Tower from our hotel window as Universal Studios is only about a mile away.
The place was packed and it was well worth getting the Park-to-Park tickets so we could get to both Harry Potter sites: Hogsmeade and Diagon Alley. The latter is no doubt my favorite and it’s a bit cooler in there. We spent the most time at Diagon Alley and we had lunch at Leaky Cauldron in which was a rustic tavern like place with a kind of a communal seating area with long tables and benches.
One of the highlights was definitely riding the Hogwarts Express itself that takes us from Hogsmeade right to Diagon Alley!
The always busy BUTTERBEER attendant
View of Hogsmeade
The train station at Hogsmeade
So many great details in Diagon Alley
Magic wands! Every type of wands you could ever want!
Gringotts Bank’s grand marble lobby w/ lifelike goblins
Inside The Leaky Cauldron restaurant
Waiting for our food, we’re starving!
Can’t help but try at least one
Near the Diagon Alley entrance
BUTTERBEER is everywhere!
Diagon Alley Arts Club
The dragon spews fire every 20 min or so
Pink staircase inside a candy shop
The lovely & helpful Hogwarts attendant
Gilderoy always hamming it up
A cute shop in Hogsmeade
I’m quite impressed with these two parks. Seems that they went to great lengths in creating a fun experience for HP fans and paid attention to the small details from the architecture, down to the food and beverage – those BUTTERBEER seems to be quite a hit! I especially love the architecture of Diagon Alley with all the shops. I’m not as huge a fan of HP to fully appreciate every detail but I still enjoyed them. The only disappointing thing for me was there’s nothing on Snape at all, not a single statue or even Snape-related souvenir item. Trust me, I actually asked a couple of people about that.
Second best part of the HP experience is the Escape from Gringotts ride. It’s my fave ride of the entire Universal Orlando, and we went to about five of them including the Transformers and Spiderman rides. The wait was the longest too, but the inside of the ride was beautifully decorated and as you entered the Gringotts Bank, there were lifelike goblins working at their stations and sometimes they look up from their papers to stare at people waiting in line. Creepy but fun!
If you’re ever in the Universal Walk area, make sure you stop by The Crowfish which is a fusion type bar/restaurant for their awesome sushi and burger fusion dishes. I actually had the delicious Bento box and my hubby had sushi w/ burger meat that’s absolutely smashing! Great ambience too, definitely our favorite restaurants from the entire trip!
On our last day in Orlando, we just spent our time in Downtown Disney. Now that we think about it, we really should’ve gone to Animal Kingdom instead as the rain was kind of sporadic anyway.
It’s kind of disheartening to see all the bastardization of the Star Wars paraphernalia. I mean, they basically added Mickey Mouse ears to most of the iconic SW characters. Needless to say, we didn’t buy anything at the plethora of Disney stores.
Vader and Leia w/ Mickey Mouse ears! My hubby’s not impressed.
Movies/TV Watched During Vacation
I only had time to watch stuff on the plane or when we’re bat at the hotel.
Nazi/Hitler documentary on American Heroes Channel
It’s a rather dark subject to watch during vacation but my hubby ended up watching a couple of hours worth of Hitler documentary, mostly concentrating on his youth and how he became the monster that he was. It’s more of a re-enactment documentary, not just talking heads. Interesting though that it’s in a channel called American Heroes (??)
I saw this on the plane and mostly because I love Marisa Tomei. It actually turns out to be pretty good for a rom-com. I mean it’s kinda predictable but sweet, and it was rather fun seeing Hugh Grant poking fun at his previous roles as a Jane Austen hero. Not a bad rental if you like this kind of stuff.
I can’t help rewatching this one on the plane ride back. It just always puts me in a good mood. Funny but Let It Go is actually my least fave song of the whole movie! Olaf’s In Summer song however, never fails to put a smile on my face!
SHOWTIME’s Penny Dreadful Season 2 (2 episodes)
I don’t know which episodes they are but since I’ve read a few articles/reviews on the show (yes because of Timothy Dalton’s involvement), I pretty much knew what the show is about. Boy is it ever terrifying, I don’t think I could watch this alone in my basement without my hubby in the room. The violence is really quite brutal and the satanic stuff is REALLY creepy, but the production design is top notch. Seriously they threw money at this show like nobody’s business, they certainly don’t skimp on the set, costumes, ambience, etc.
Hope I didn’t bore you with my recap folks… So how’s your week been, seen anything good lately?