Tag Archives: adventures

shanghai adventure

A Shanghai Adventure Ends Our Amazing Trip to China

On Day 5 was the first day of our Shanghai adventure, but we were finally able to have a bit of a downtime before our afternoon flight there. The tour days are long and packed so it was nice to be able to relax at the hotel and visit a few local spots. It wasn’t too long before we arrived in Shanghai and met our local tour guide Allen, who was extremely knowledgeable about the city and gave us so much information on the way to our hotel.

The first evening in Shanghai was like a dream. Our tour guides offered a cruise on the Huangpu River, where we were situated in the boat’s VIP section. Being in the VIP meant we wouldn’t have to fight for good photos of the Shanghai skyline! The Huangpu River is considered a symbol of Shanghai, originating at Dianshan Lake and emptying into the Yangtze River at Wusongkou. It is 71 miles long and 437 yards wide and is ice-free year round. The river basically divides Shanghai into east and west. One spectacular sight is that the two suspension bridges, the Nanpu Bridge and the Yangpu Bridge, appear to arch over the Oriental Pearl TV Tower, and is said to resemble “two dragons playing with a ball”.

The west bank of the Huangpu River is the cultural, residential and entertainment center of Shanghai. The Bund, Monument to the People’s Heroes, Waibaidu Bridge, and the oldest park in Shanghai, Huangpu Park, are located on the west bank. In addition, many historical buildings left over from Shanghai’s colonial days have been preserved. The east bank of the river (Pudong) is the newer district of Shanghai and is its financial and commercial hub. Steel and glass structures are abundant here. The Oriental Pearl TV Tower, Jin Mao Tower, skyscraper hotels, offices, and malls of the Lujiazui Financial Zone are located on this side of the river.

Cruising on the Huangpu River has become a must for most visitors to Shanghai. The busy wharfs and the “three-layer waters (or three-color waters)” at Wusongkou are within sight while on the boat. The ‘three-layer waters’ are formed by the convergence of the Huangpu River (gray white), the Yangtze River (yellow), and the East Sea (green) during high tide. When the sun sets, the river is veiled in the glittery neon lights. The nighttime skyline of the city was definitely one of the most breathtaking sights I have ever seen.

Day 6 was our last full tour day of the trip as Day 7 was a free day. Our Shanghai adventure continued with a tour of the silk factory. China, and specifically Shanghai, is known for its silk and Suzhou is most famous place for silk producing. We learned about the entire lifespan of the silkworm followed by watching them make silk products.

After the silk factory we arrived at The Jin Mao Tower which is 420.5 m high, with altogether 88 stories and total construction area of 290,000 square meters. It is a perfect combination between the Chinese Traditional Architecture Style and the advanced building technologies of the modern world. Some of our members decided to try the Sky Walk—walking around the outside of the tower on the 88th floor attached to just a bungee rope. Don’t look down!

After exploring the views at The Jin Mao Tower we arrived at The Bund, which we had seen on the boat tour the evening before. It was a beautiful day for walking, exploring, and seeing that it is a boulevard lined with impressive neo-classical buildings. The Bund is the classic image of Shanghai and the city’s main attraction. Sweeping along the western side of the Huangpu River, the majestic building dates back to Shanghai’s grandest days. Many banks and financial companies built impressive offices here in the early 20th century when Shanghai was the financial capital of Asia.

After The Bund we decided to head to what they call the “Shanghai Bazaar”, the Yu Yuan Markets. It was packed as it just so happens it was a National Holiday in China called “Labour Day”. Here we were able to purchase a mish-mash of items including traditional Chinese arts and crafts and souvenirs, ornate chopsticks, Chinese medicine, walking sticks, fans, silk umbrellas, bamboo and rattan furniture, goldfish, pottery, and much more. We all did some shopping, had lunch on our own and then met up with everyone to go check out the Yu Yuan Gardens which was a stunning layout of beautiful pavilions, miniature lakes, bridges and rock formations.

After exploring the Yu Yuan Gardens we had time left over so our tour guide’s brought us to what is called The Shanghai French Concession. The French Concession is the area of Shanghai once designated for the French, consisting of today’s Luwan and Xuhui Districts. Luwan’s Huaihai Road is a busy shopping street and is also home to both Xintiandi and Tian Zi Fang, extremely popular shopping and dining spots for tourists. Xuhui is also ever popular for tourists and is home to Shanghai Stadium. The tree-lined avenues and their many Tudor mansions in the area still retain an air of the “Paris of the East”. This place was a little bit of home to us as it had classic western food, draft beer and many people spoke English.

It was bitter sweet arriving at dinner that night knowing it was the last dinner together as the little family we had created on our travels! The friendships created, the memories made, and the laughter would be something that would last a lifetime. To travel with 42 strangers who would become like family was the most surreal experience of the trip. I had expectations going into this trip and this experience had exceeded them all.

The last day of our Shanghai adventure we had to ourselves to be able to explore whatever our hearts desired. Our tour guide Allen put together a tour of his home village of Suzhou, which they call the “Venice of China”. The city’s canals, stone bridges, pagodas, and meticulously designed gardens have contributed to its status as one of the top tourist attractions in China. Some of our members visited The Classical Gardens of Suzhou that were added to the list of the UNESCO World Heritage Sites in 1997 and 2000.

Other members visited Shanghai Disney which was only opened last June and is the biggest Disney in the world. They went on rides, ate food, bought souvenirs and had a blast seeing the differences between Disney US and Disney China. Some members went on food tours and ate things such as Szechwan tofu, lamb kebabs, crawfish and wok fired snake. Others checked out markets and museums.

Upon arrival back to the hotel we decided to go out as a group for one last dinner to close out our Shanghai adventure. We went to a French restaurant called Va Bene located in the French Concession that we had seen the day before. We ate the most delicious French cuisine, drank some wine, and reminisced over the past week of our China adventure. Shanghai adventure

Although there are some things I won’t miss, such as Squatty Potties, the smog, language barriers, and having to pay for water everywhere I go (just some of the luxuries we have living in the US and Canada), it will be very difficult to say goodbye to this amazing group of people that I did not know a week ago. Watching the dynamics of everyone come out of their shell from Day 1 to Day 7 was really great to see. The best thing about Events & Adventures is the lasting friendships created, the love connections that have flourished, and that we are all here for one purpose—to have an adventure of a lifetime. Until next time, whether it’s a Shanghai adventure or another amazing place across the world!

curling class

Curling Class with Events & Adventures Minneapolis

Warmer Weather in Minneapolis Means….Curling Class?  Curling may seem like the last thing a winter-weary Minnesotan would want to do in spring, our club had a full turnout for Curling 101 at the Chaska Curling Center. Our members were eager to re-don their winter hats and mittens to try their hand at learning this medieval Scottish tradition.

The Chaska Curling Center was more than happy to accommodate us with the necessary equipment to start our curling adventure! First opened in December 2015, the Chaska Curling Center is home to over 1200 members with a six sheet arena, locker rooms, and a player’s lounge.

During our two-hour Learn to Curl class, our members learned curling etiquette, rules, scoring, delivery, and sweeping. Some members showed some real promise at possibly pursuing a new, and unusual, career in sports. At the end of the class, they had the option of obtaining a membership with the Chaska Curling Center and even the opportunity to enter a local league for competition.

When asked about their curling class experience, our members had this to say:

  • “If you’ve ever watched it, don’t understand, but feel like you should because you’re from the land of ice and snow, this is something to check out! Judgement free and highly encouraging. What a fun time.” ~ Lisa Ghylin
  • “I loved it, I expected it to be a little harder but I had a great time.” ~ Jeffrey Mark
  • “Amazing experience with knowledgeable instructors.” ~ Tiffany Osterman

Events & Adventures make it easy to live a life you love by finding new and exciting things for our members to do.  Contact us today to learn more about the curling class and the many other great events we host every month right here in the Twin Cities, not to mention our other clubs around the US and Canada.

Bald Eagle Float Trip with Events & Adventures

Bald Eagle Float Trip with Events & Adventures

Recently, the members of Events & Adventures Seattle got to experience an amazing event that truly showcased the natural beauty we get to enjoy and appreciate here in the Pacific Northwest!  The Events & Adventures Bald Eagle Float Trip was a wonderful opportunity to brave the elements and immerse ourselves in this picturesque natural environment.  Members of the Seattle club were tremendously excited for chance to catch our national symbol in its own world!

Bundled up in lots of layers, we trekked into the January cold and were rewarded with gorgeous views of the Skagit River Valley and the bald eagles that migrate there each winter.  They call the valley home for several months of the year after migrating south.  There is also a sanctuary in the valley that presents a safe area for both the birds and the researchers that are studying them.  It was amazing how much we learned about the bald eagle and its life in Washington, all while experiencing the native beauty of their habitat.

All the members were thrilled with our bald eagle float trip.

Though seeing a bald eagle in our area isn’t unheard of, it is great to see them in their natural environment.  We are looking forward to more fun outdoor events, especially as we begin to transition into spring.  In February, we will be hosting a volunteer tree planting, which will provide our members with a to give back a little something to that Pacific Northwest green that we all know and love so much!  The Adopt-a-Stream Foundation is partnering with Events & Adventures for a fun, rewarding experience where we can walk away with chilly fingers and warm hearts.  If you haven’t already checked out our upcoming Seattle events, be sure to do so soon and snag a seat (or a shovel!) while you can!

Weekend getaway

Weekend Getaway with Events & Adventures

I know I’m not alone when I say traveling and experiencing new worlds is always a blast. Sure, getting to your destination can be tedious, but if you plan your trip right, it’s always worth it.  And Events & Adventures always does it right!  This time it was a weekend getaway out to Tahoe for some skiing and relaxing.  I arrived in South Lake Tahoe late Friday night at the house Events & Adventures rented for the weekend.  Even though it was almost pitch black, I could tell how beautiful it was, perhaps even more so with all the powder surrounding it!  I was greeted by super-friendly members from Events & Adventures clubs in other cities, and the hosts still managed to make me feel welcome and help me get settled even though it was two in the morning.

Both Saturday and Sunday mornings, we were served a full breakfast that was prepared by other members that signed up to help out.  We only had to help out with cooking or cleaning once throughout the entire weekend.  While cooking for a group of 35 might be daunting, the members were outstanding in getting the food well prepared and in a timely manner. It was no small task, but they did a great job and it was the perfect way to get charged up for the day.

Why choose between snowsports or relaxing on a weekend getaway when you can do both?

During the day, we had the option to go to Heavenly Ski Resort or a few others that were not as close by.  Heavenly offers skiing, snowboarding, snow tubing and a gondola.  The views are stunning, and on our excursion the snow just kept coming down.  But if adventuring into the heavy powder isn’t quite your speed, the rental house was perfect alternative for just chilling and relaxing.  Several members did just that, including me on Saturday.  The house was equipped with two hot tubs, an indoor swimming pool, a movie theater, and a game room that had pool, shuffle board, ping pong, and foosball.  There were some members who also brought some board and card games from home, as well.  Needless to say, there was plenty to keep the whole squad entertained!

Different members took turns cooking delicious dinners on Saturday and Sunday evenings. It was really nice to see so many people teaming up, helping each other, and enjoying themselves while doing so.  Though we were back at the house relaxing, a couple of serious Jenga games broke out that actually resulted in way more laughs than I ever thought possible from balancing wooden blocks.  On Sunday morning, we had a grab and go breakfast with more pastry, muffin, and bagel options than the continental breakfasts you get at most hotels, which was a nice way to kick off the morning.

The hosts from Events & Adventures did a great job at making everyone feel welcome, making sure there was plenty of food, and catering to those with special dietary needs.  They were also really helpful in making sure anyone had a ride to and from Heavenly Ski Resort as needed.  This was my first time to South Lake Tahoe and it was definitely a trip to remember. I am already looking forward to the next weekend getaway to South Lake Tahoe to be posted so I can go again!

~ Erica P, Events & Adventures Member

 

New Year’s Eve Bay Area

A Night to Remember for Bay Area Members

This New Year’s Eve Bay Area Events & Adventures members truly experienced a night to remember. As San Francisco’s and Santa Clara’s newest Event Managers, we didn’t know what to expect from our first New Year’s Eve with Events & Adventures, but we can honestly say that it was one of the greatest parties we’ve ever had the pleasure to coordinate and attend!

The theme this year was Wicked Winter Masquerade. Picture a room filled with black lace, elegant frost-bitten centerpieces and a little chill in the air (mainly because dancing got HOT…crank up the AC, baby!). As people started to arrive, the ballroom was filled with beautifully ornate masks and even more beautiful faces behind them. Red lipstick left lasting impressions against champagne glasses and as the night went on, you’d find those same impressions left upon unmasked cheeks.

The closer it got to midnight, the more energy seemed to fill the air. The lines between celebration and relief began to blur as 2016 came to a close. All of us had different stories to tell, lessons learned, and hopes for what the new year would bring. But what truly unified us all was the fact that we were going to live this night to the fullest. This was our time.

This New Year’s Eve Bay Area Members were Simply Wicked

11:59pm. Here we are, counting down the last few seconds of 2016, trying to imagine what happens after the clock strikes midnight. The build-up to both a beginning and an erupts as the halls echo with “three..two..one…!”

And there it was. The most perfect moment frozen in time. Everyone is cheering, hugging, kissing and celebrating with each other. Not a single thing could take this moment away from us.  Events & Adventures is all about fun and great experiences, but we’re not above a little sentimentality once a year!  We danced our way well into 2017 and demanded that it knew that this was our year.  We look forward to reporting back on even more upcoming events!

~ Alex & Brittany, Events & Adventures Event Managers for the Bay Area

mini golf

Mini Golf is a Blast in the Bay Area

Get to Know Urban Putt Mini Golf – Your Inner Child Will Thank Me Later!

In a city like San Francisco, it can be hard to slow down to appreciate the simple things in life. When you’re constantly running around being the responsible adult that your parents are so proud of, it’s nice to grab those little moments where you can be a kid again. That’s why we were so excited to plan an event at Urban Putt, an AWESOME mini golf bar here in the city. Their venue is very modern, with a little nod towards the steampunk aesthetic that they carry out through their elaborate course.

Upon our arrival, we noticed that there was a wall of Polaroid pictures. When we moved a little closer, it became very apparent that all of the photos had one thing in common—all of the groups were holding little pink putters. Being the curious group that we are, we had to ask what this was all about. When we were told that it was a challenge to play the whole course with the smallest (and I mean, bite-sized) putter, we were IN. It became our mission right then and there to make it on the wall, and ultimately into the hearts of many. So, armed with tiny pink putters in hand, we headed onto the course.

We ended up golfing our way through San Francisco streets, underwater kingdoms, mazes, and beautiful mountains that I’m convinced were pulled from the set of “The Sound of Music”. You know what this means, right? Oh yeah. We made it on the wall. And since I’m a firm believer in “pictures or it didn’t happen,” the proof is below! I think I can speak for us all when I say that this is the proudest moment of all of our lives…but don’t quote me on that.

Urban Putt was another great opportunity to get together with the great members of Events & Adventures in the Bay Area and do the things you love to do but never get the chance to do, or to even do things you didn’t know existed!

world travel to spain

World Travel with Events & Adventures

The only way to sum it up our visit to Spain is to say that Events & Adventures really does world travel well.  This wasn’t a trip where we were on a clock throughout the experience; there was a great mixture of planned tours and free time.  We started our adventure at JFK in New York, getting some quick introductions to the over 40 people who were taking part in the trip.  And believe it or not, someone was sweet enough to bring everyone homemade cookies!

world travel to spain

Events & Adventures members from around the US and Canada visited Spain!

After landing in Madrid, we got to stretch our legs with a quick tour of some of the city’s most famous sights, before taking a break to enjoy a welcome lunch that offered a staggering amount of delicious traditional Spanish cuisine.  Our first full day started with a tour for the presidential palace, which was spectacular.  We then journeyed to the ancient city of Toledo, which is thousands of years old, and got the chance to get lost in the labyrinth of tiny streets that wind around the historic town.  Dinner was a casual five-course party with several small plates (tapas) before our entrees. We learned the hard way we would have to pace ourselves with the food here because they just keep bringing it out!

We headed to towns ancient towns of Avila and Segovia. The Roman aqueducts are still soaring over the town.  How can the residents just go on about their day when they have such spectacular history all around them?!   After we returned to Madrid we refreshed ourselves and headed out to a popular bar area for a Tapas crawl.  The bars here are more like pubs, not clubs—because those open way later.  Each bar we tried different luscious small dishes, and we loved how everyone shares!

We packed up from Madrid and headed to Bunol, where the residents were preparing for the Tomatina Festival the very next day.  It was such a cute little town. We spent our afternoon and evening touring and eating in this historical city by the sea.  The next morning was the beginning of the adventure that is the world famous Tomatina Festival—probably the world’s largest annual food fight.  Security was tight.  To make sure no one got hit with anything other than tomatoes we couldn’t bring anything in.  Twenty thousand people packed the long narrow streets before the dump trucks just started unloading as they drove down the street, and at the starting pistol—it was pure madness.  Goggles were the best idea ever—as long as you kept them on!  It was so exciting, and everyone was there for the fun of it, not to kill other with these little red bombs.  As much as we laughed, it was best to keep your mouth closed though!  After the ending pistol the fire department and locals brought out hoses to wash everyone off.  There is nothing like experiencing world travel by being involved in the local culture.  Getting smashed tomatoes out of hair proved to be the most challenging part of the whole trip.  Even playing in the warm and relaxing Mediterranean Sea didn’t get it out.

world travel to spain

Barcelona was the final hotel location for our world travel to Spain.

We took a tour of what is probably one of the biggest promenades you’ll ever see, and thousands of people were out for an evening stroll.  The shopping, food, bars, and views of the Gothic neighborhood were everything you’d expect it to be.  Small lanes that are no wider than one car have little bars and restaurants around each turn, with people spilling out into the lanes.

It wasn’t long before we got to witness La Sagrada Familia, one of the most incredible cathedrals in the world—and they are still building it!  Every tiny detail has a meaning, and the colors the stained glass creates and projects into the building are breathtaking.  Designed by several architects, the most influential being Gaudi, it has different styles in throughout the construction.  Afterwards, we had an amazing tour of Park Guell.  It was the original planned neighborhood.  At the time it was too far out of town and too expensive but for a handful of the super elite. Gaudi’s influence could be felt everywhere we went, and he managed to translate beauty even in the unusual, as everything he produced appeared to be curved and wavy.  His mosaics were everywhere and they were beautiful, even the monochromatic ones.  World travel can expose you to so many wonderful things you might have otherwise never seen.

Monserrat Benedictine monastery is a historical and religious jewel. Hidden up, up, way up in the mountains, disguised by the hills, how’d they build this gorgeous place?  There are still monks there and a school for boys!  So after our tram trip to the ‘top’ of the mountain (there’s a small chapel and alter up even higher if your legs can get you there), we went to the coolest place ever for another never-ending lunch—a traditional hacienda (ranch house) that was turned into a restaurant.  We learned the traditional Spanish way to drink wine and had never ending courses of family-style food (again).  People were stuffed before they brought out the chicken, traditional sausage (which tasted like Texas BBQ!), and meats.  We HAD to get to the winery so dessert was taken to go—Biscotti-like biscuits and fresh fruit!

Speaking of wine….  We had a tour of the most amazing winery I’ve ever seen, and I live in Northern California.  This was not a regular winery; it was a huge commercial business that makes great wine.  It was simply amazing.  The tram we rode had headset options for six languages, though we didn’t use them since it was a private tour.  Stories of the wineries founding and growth were projected on walls that lifted up so we could see the barrel storage.  We got to walk down the original storage cellars below ground. They told and showed us how they produce spectacular “healthy” wines that don’t harm the environment.  Using solar power the facility is almost entirely self-sustained!  Everyone was impressed before we even started the tasting and got to try four different delicious wines.  I imagine the wine drinkers were ready to move in.

Our last day of this world travel tour was spent visiting the ancient cities of Figueras and Girona.  Girona is a medieval city with narrow streets, castles and ramparts.  Figueras is another historical city that is such for a different reason—Salvador Dali.  The museum made of his birthplace was a trip in the madness of a truly brilliant artist.  The amount of art in so many different mediums was staggering.  Our farewell dinner was a little different since it was in the Catalonian style.  Less meat, meat, meat, more little flourishes on the dishes, but still way too much food.

The trip and tours were truly awesome, but getting to see people from the other E&A Clubs was like gathering of old friends while making new ones.  There were so many people I wanted to spend more time with but the time slipped away so fast. We’ll stay friends through social media until we meet again on our next world travel trip, maybe even on an in-between trip to visit friends!  We talked about the Amazon trip next month and Cuba and China trips already scheduled for next year.  I can’t wait to join my Events & Adventures world travel friends in our next exotic destination.

world travel to spain

Singles Social

Join Events & Adventures Chicago for the Singles Social at the Arlington International Racecourse

Single?  Time to get back on that horse—literally!  Events & Adventures members know that horseback riding, wine tastings, camping, white water rafting, rooftop parties and baseball games are only the tip of the iceberg of what we do in the summertime here in Chicago.  But that’s not all, because we’re adding yet another amazing experience for our members this summer!  On Saturday, June 25th, Events & Adventures and the Arlington International Racecourse present Singles Social!

Ladies and gentleman, it’s time to break out your sun dresses, sun hats, bow ties, and slacks because we’re throwing the BIGGEST singles’ party in all of Chicago at the horse races!  At the first annual Singles Social, members and ALL CHICAGO SINGLES alike will have the opportunity to join us for ice breaker games, live music, an all-inclusive drink and hors d’oeuvre package,  and of course all the heart pounding thoroughbred horse racing action!

It’s going to be a fun-filled day at the racecourse!  Don’t miss your chance to meet plenty of singles, place some bets, and participate in activities that will keep the conversation flowing all day.  It will be another beautiful sunny day in Chicago, so why stay in when you can live a life you love?  Click here to get in on the fun at this one-of-a-kind event!

Minneapolis Singles Tackling the High Ropes Course

singles

Testing our wits is something we get to do almost every day, whether it’s being a new member of Events and Adventures and going to our first event or tackling a high ropes course, which is what we did this past weekend!  Climbing ropes, walking across a single rope as we balance and focus on the platform ahead, rope ladders and swings HIGH above the ground… and as we ziplined off our last platform, we were relieved that we had finished and proud of what we accomplished!  Plus, we could finally “look down” without freaking out a bit!  Always an adventure with this group of singles!

 

Our Adventure in Australia!

collage

Australia. Wow. Definitely a bucket list item for most of us. And Sydney does not disappoint. Directly after our early morning arrival we were whisked away to drop our bags at our hotel (THANK YOU  early check in!) changed our clothes and headed out for a great, enlightening tour of ‘The Rocks’ the original area of town built by English criminal that had be sentenced to their new penal colony. It was so interesting! You can still see chisel marks, foundations and even a few original buildings. Since they are sandstone and not wood they are still in use! After that we jumped on a lunch cruise around Sydney Harbor. It seemed odd to have the day we arrived jam packed but by 7pm I totally understood. Stop moving and you crash from the overnight flight and time change. We were gifted with a lovely spring day where the outside deck was warmish. Dinner on the harbor was a perfect end to our very long day. Day 2 started with early morning breakfast and the group scattering a bit to different adventures. Eastern Seaside Walk and Blue Mountains tour were the top choices. The coast is spectacular. The ocean breathtaking around each point. I’ve walked how far? No wonder my legs a sore!

We got to feed Kangaroos and pet Koalas! Betcha didn’t know kangaroos like ice cream cones – just the cone part! The animal park fills it with grass and we got to feed them. Koalas are adorable, but rather boring since they sleep 20 hours a day and pretty much eat the rest of the time. Hiking in the Blue Mountains are spectacular. Some went the day before and raved about it so others went today.  It looks like the Grand Canyon with rainforest covering it. Waterfalls galore, great hiking and inspiring views. Our super adventurous members walked up the Sydney Harbor Bridge and watched the sunset from the top! The Sydney Opera House at night is a sight to behold. It’s majestic. It’s even better when you are sitting on a rooftop patio bar on a mild spring night.

Holy Great Barrier Reef! We just saw one small corner of it and it really is amazing. Wally is a snorkeler/divers favorite. They trained this massive fish to visit the tourists, be petted and ‘pose’ for photos.  Even inexperienced divers could dive with a dive master and experience this once in a lifetime event. I loved it. Nothing else like it. Our dive master let us touch corals and items that had interesting texture (and we wouldn’t harm by touching it.) She pointed out interesting fish and the colors of both were astonishing. It is really disappointing that the colors are never as vibrant in photos. The option for an underwater camera was totally worth it.  After a couple dives some of us decided to try the Adventure Snorkel with the Marine Biologist. We went on the outside the reef where you get to see even more astounding schools of fish but you are a human bobber rising and falling with the ocean waves. The fish were freakishly cool until motion sickness overtook all thought.  Gimme some Dramamine and I’d try it again in a second. Got back aboard our boat, headed to shore and we all longed for bed. Oh! Downtown Cairns is hopping at sunset as we arrive. Tired? Who’s tired? We need dinner and to check out town. We can sleep on the flight home. . .

The Australian Rainforest is definitely a sight to behold. It’s breathtaking. The rich forest, massive trees and dizzying number of different greens is a jaw dropper. Our second full throttle day in Cairns took us up the hills into the outback. We had a scenic rail trip up where we all got to Oooo and Aaaah together; we split up in Kuranda to see everything from an Aboriginal Cultural Center, to koala & kangaroos to museums and shopping; then jumped on the sky gondolas for our trip back down. I got to hold a koala! The scenery here can’t be beat. It was fun to have a group to share the experience with. No one got tired of you saying, “Oh! Look at that!” because you could say it to so many different people 🙂  We had a couple stops on the gondolas so we fire drilled the carriages. Tomorrow we are off to Melbourne!