06/26/13
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Beach City

On June 26, 2013, Ivan and I woke up at 8:45 am.  We went downstairs for the free breakfast.

Ivan and I each had cereal, poached eggs and baked beans.  Lil Dave had bananas on toast.

Packed everything up and checked out. 

Ivan drove us to the amusement park Pleasure Beach.  Ivan said it’s the #1 attraction in England.

Lil Dave went off to Nickelodeon Land to go play and ride a few rides.

Some rides we passed on since the rollercoaster looked kind of tame.  Ivan is a big fan of rollercoasters.  I’m glad that the lines weren’t very long since it was a pretty quiet day at the park.

View of Pleasure Beach from The Big One

We went on Infusion, Wallace & Gromit Thrill-O-Matic, The Big One, Grand National and Wild Mouse.  We waited in line for Valhalla, but the ride had technical problems and wouldn’t be up for awhile. 

I was happy that I got to take a picture with Spongebob!

Spongebob and me

Ivan and I thought it was really weird that the park didn’t have any signs directing you to other rides.  We only saw one set of toilets which was called Loos.

It’s a fun place, but the rides don’t compare to Six Flags in California.  America has much better rollercoaster rides compared to England.

At 1 pm, Ivan drove us to Yorkshire Fisheries for lunch.  Ivan and I each got the King cod this time which is the bigger fish portion.  Ivan got fries with his that we planned on sharing.  Lil Dave got some fries to have with his banana sandwich. 

Ivan's ready to eat lots of fish!

The fish was once again wonderful.  Ivan decided to get mushy peas which is exactly what it sounds like.. peas all mushed up.  We dipped our fries in the tasty mushy peas.  We were so full and happy.

Ivan and I walked to The Blackpool Tower to see The Afternoon Tea Dance in The Blackpool Tower Ballroom.  The tea dance is dancing in the afternoon with tea, sandwiches, cakes and biscuits – of course, you don’t drink tea or eat while you’re dancing.  Imagine trying to dance while you’re sipping on your tea.. that would be hard, but challenging.

It is free to enter upstairs and watch the tea dancing. 

Beautiful artwork on the ceiling

The ballroom was lovely with beautiful architecture.

The organist plays songs right on the stage.

Organist on the stage

We saw lots of dancers doing the Foxtrot, Waltz, The Charleston and more.  It was fun to see the people dance.  Some were really quite good and a few were trying, but not really that good. 

Tea dance at The Blackpool Tower Ballroom

It made think that Life is like dancing… Some are flawless at it, while others have to try really hard to make it work.

Ivan started driving us toward Liverpool.  I was really tired for some reason and took a long nap.  Lil Dave kept Ivan company while he was driving.

It took us an hour and 15 minutes to arrive in Liverpool from Blackpool.

We drove to The Claremont Bar. 

The Claremont Bar in Liverpool

This pub is where Ivan’s dad Ken grew up.  Ivan’s never been, so we had to make a visit.  Neal, Ivan’s brother, said it wasn’t located in a nice area.  But, it looked fine to us.

Ivan and I went inside and checked it all out.  Ivan ordered us a mixed fruits cider to share. 

The Claremont Bar

Ivan tried to imagine his dad and his uncles at the bar helping out their mum.  We finished our cider and then walked back to the car.

Ivan drove us to the Radisson Blu Hotel.  The first room we got was like walking into a sauna. Ivan did read the bad reviews saying that some of the rooms were incredibly hot.  The air-conditioning didn’t really work – it just seemed to circulate the air in the room.  The windows didn’t open, so you couldn’t let any cool air in at all.  Ivan went down to the front desk to get a new room.

Ivan opened the door to the new room and it was so much cooler.  I’m glad that got sorted out.  I don’t think I could have slept in the hot room.

I worked on the blog while Ivan used the internet.

We walked to the Indian restaurant Spice City for dinner.  Ivan and I love Indian food.  There’s always so much selection on the menu in an Indian restaurant. 

We started off with poppadums with the lovely chutneys.  I wasn’t that big a fan of their mint chutney.

Chicken shishlik at Spice City

Ivan and I shared a vegetable and cheese stuffed pepper, chicken shishlik and Fish Balti Jalfrezi.  Lil Dave got a banana dal and a banana shihlik.  The food was simply delicious.

06/25/13
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Funny Fish Circus

I woke up at 9:30 am on June 25, 2013.  Ivan was already up and we went to eat breakfast in the Lake View restaurant.

Ivan and I each had cereal and smoked salmon with scrambled eggs.  It was so much food again. 

We headed to the room to pack everything up.  I didn’t want to leave the Inn on the Lake or The Lake District since it’s so beautiful here.  We checked out and Ivan started driving at 11 am.

Ivan was driving us to Blackpool today.  The weather in Glenridding was the same as it was yesterday – gloomy and overcast.

Ivan drove us 50 miles away from The Lake District and the weather was blue skies with only a few clouds.  It was quite a change from the weather in The Lake District. 

It took us 2 hours to arrive in Blackpool, England.  We parked on the next street over from the b&b we were staying at.

Ivan and I checked in to The Arthington Hotel which is a great bed & breakfast run by an English couple.

Elaine and Steve were very friendly to us.  Our room was a little small, but very modern with a comfortable bed.

Showgirl signs along the waterfront

Ivan wanted to get food, so we started walking towards The Blackpool Tower.  Ivan was reading a brochure while we were walking.  He read about The Blackpool Tower Circus and said we had to rush since the circus would be starting soon.

We quickly grabbed chicken fajita wraps and cheese crisps.  We walked downstairs and sat down in our seats.

A girl flying in the air at the circus

We ate our food during the show.  It was entertaining with clowns, comedy and acrobatics.

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We walked along the waterfront and checked out Central Pier and The Big Wheel. 

Cheeky postcard

It was really quiet.  I always think it looks weird when the tide is way out. 

We played a few games in the amusement arcades.  Also, we checked out a few souvenir shops and saw interesting flavors of rock candy.

Ivan and I relaxed in the b&b for awhile before we drove to the chippy (fish and chips shop) for dinner.

Yorkshire Fisheries sign

Ivan read online that Yorkshire Fisheries is the best fish and chips in Blackpool.  Lil Dave decided to get dinner around the The Arthington since he wasn’t into fish and chips.  If it was banana and chips, I’m sure he’d love to go there.

Ivan and I each got a lightly battered cod with chips. 

Best Fish & Chips ever

It was definitely the best fish and chips we’ve ever had.  We’re definitely coming back tomorrow for lunch.

We walked to Funny Girls.  It’s the longest running show in Blackpool.  Ivan said this show is THE #1 thing to do in Blackpool. 

Our hostess was a drag queen named Zoe.  She was playing music suited for old people since we didn’t enjoy it or we didn’t know what song she was playing.  People in the audience were allowed to put in requests or announcements.  She was funny when I understood her accent. 

Funny Girls is a drag queen show with dancing and singing.  The cast don’t sing, but mime (lip-synch) to the songs. 

The opening act was songs from Priscilla Queen of the Desert.  The cast were wearing the colorful outfits with the big shoes like in the Priscilla musical. 

Funny Girls show

After one act ended, there was a 15 minute break.  I don’t think there should have been breaks that long.

Ivan and I played on our phones and drank our tasty Shiraz during the breaks.

One of the girls was lip-synching and it was totally obvious that she was.  I think the trick to lip-synching is trying to make it look natural.

Red sequins number

The other acts had songs like Copacabana, a selection of songs from Bananarama and Spanish songs with flamenco-like outfits.  A few of the songs had some funny bits, but I thought the show would have been a lot funnier.

The show was okay, nothing special.  If this is the #1 thing in Blackpool…then it just proves that there’s not much to do in Blackpool.

Ivan and I left early at 10 pm.  I don’t think we could have stayed for the rest of the show which would have been over an hour.

06/18/13
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Relaxing Belly

Ivan, Lil Dave and I had the free breakfast on the pretty terrace on June 18, 2013.  It’s great that you can see the square from the terrace. The square was quiet this early in the morning.  Our breakfast consisted of crepes, bread, orange juice and tea.  Lil Dave brought his own bananas to put on bread.

Lil Dave went to go souvenir shopping for his dad with Reggie the monkey.

Ivan and I went to Yamy for lunch later where we had a tuna panini with fries.

It was another relaxing day for Ivan and me.  Ivan and I both used the internet.  I was still catching up on the blog.  I’m glad that the riad had fast internet.  Traveling can be tiring – a day where you don’t do much is much needed sometimes.

We headed up to the terrace right before sunset.

Ivan and me on the terrace of Riad Andalla at sunset

We ate the tasty medjool dates Ivan bought in the square.

Took a taxi to Azar at 9:30 pm.  Azar is a Lebanese restaurant.  People were doing shisha in the front part of the restaurant.

Ivan and I shared artichoke salad, eggplant dip, halloumi cheese, small squid for our starters.  Modern belly dancers came out to dance around the restaurant.  I was surprised that they were pretty.

Belly dancing at Azar

Most belly dancers are fat and old.  The Muslim guys were loving it.

Monkfish tajine at Azar

Our monkfish tajine was our main dish.  We watched the belly dancing while we ate our lovely tajine.

Dessert was up next.

Chocolate fondant for dessert

Ivan and I shared a wonderful chocolate fondant that came with ice cream and peanuts.  It was a scrumptious meal at a beautiful restaurant.

05/26/13
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Seafood Magic

Ivan and I were waken up by Lee at 1:30 pm on May 26, 2013.  He wanted to know if we wanted to join him and Louise for lunch.  We said yes and got changed.

Lee and Louise had been up since 10:30 am.  We walked toward the sushi restaurant since Lee was craving sushi.

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We decided to check out Botanica Insolata which is a garden market which sells raw food, wooden decorations, flowers and plants.

We all sat down at Tahini.  The restaurant had a lunch special for 27 Euros, so we all decided to get it since it seemed like a good deal.

The appetizer was miso soup which came with fish along with the onions and tofu.  I thought it was alright.  I didn’t finish it since I knew a lot of food would be coming soon.  I don’t want to eat too much since I always seem to gain weight when I’m traveling.

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The sushi came out next which tasted pretty good.  Ivan didn’t want the chicken yakitori, so he got extra sushi.  I’m sure he was happy about that since he loves sushi.

The rest of the food came out next which was chicken yakitori, langostino tempura and noodles.  I really enjoyed the chicken yakitori probably since it’s been awhile since I’ve had it.

Dessert was up next which was a brownie filled with walnuts and vanilla ice cream.  It was a lovely dessert.

There are many cool shops in Puerto Portales.  I’m glad we got a chance to browse a few of them.  My favorite shop was definitely Insight.

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It’s filled with cool art, products and clothing.

I liked seeing the cool high heels like the hot pink spiked Christian Louboutin shoes.

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I would love to rock these shoes… but, they’re really expensive, very, very high heels and the heels look like that they might be uncomfortable. The extra height would be amazing. I would be over 5 foot then.

Lee thought it would be nice to walk around and check out all the boats.  It was cool to see the different styles of the boats and the cool names.  Some names are a bit lame like Sue Ellen or Sanity.  I prefer the cool ones like Flying Fox, XS and Dads Toy.

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Ivan, Lee, Louise and I headed back to the boat.  Lee and Louise went up to the deck to have a siesta (nap).  Ivan and I went to Wellies to use the internet.  There is a free connection on the port, but it doesn’t work on the boat.  You’d think the port would have an amazing connection considering how much the boat owner’s pay to park their boat at the port yearly.  The port should have strong routers along the port.

Ivan and I used the internet while we sipped on our espresso.  I worked on the blog.

We walked back to the boat.  Louise asked if we would like tea.  I said that would be amazing since it’s chilly out.  I was hoping it would warm me up a bit.  We chatted for awhile.  It’s so great to find people who are fun, cool, funny, laidback and don’t get offended easily.

Ivan did a few magic tricks and amazed Lee and Louise.

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I know the secrets to Ivan’s magic tricks and have seen the tricks performed many times – so I don’t usually watch too closely.  Unlike hypnosis, it gets repetitive.  Ivan does hypnosis which is a lot more fun since it’s always different since people have different personalities and imaginations.

Ivan and I bought colored streamers in Las Vegas to decorate the boat – one was the gay pride colors and the other was pink zebra print.  Ivan stuck some up, but did a poor job of it.. just scattered everywhere willy nilly.  I have decorated parties before with streamers.  So, I decided to decorate different areas on the boat which turned out looking cool.

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Kids passed by and wanted to come to our party.  I’m sure the parents saw the gay pride streamers and thought I’m sure you wouldn’t enjoy their gay party.  I wonder how the gay pride colors came about.  I’m thinking that a gay man thought Oh, I just love rainbows! and he was very creative and decided to decorate his house with the rainbow colors with flags and blankets and somehow it caught on like a house on fire.

Lil Dave the monkey and Reggie the bear went out to get some dinner.  Dave said there’s a cool restaurant where animals can have fun and dance to pop music during afterhours which is 10 pm.  I hope Lil Dave doesn’t start any trouble.  He can be a cheeky lil monkey sometimes,

Later that night, Ivan, Lee, Louise and I got a taxi to Puerto Adriano.  It’s another port where Lee actually was thinking about parking his boat.  The area was nice, but it has way too much concrete which probably looks very too industrial during the day.  It seems more like a rock quarry since it’s surrounded by rocks.  It was also eerily quiet there especially compared to Puerto Portales.

We walked around the port to find a nice restaurant for dinner.  We soon found out that most of the restaurants close at 10:30 pm.  A guy said that some of the restaurants do close at 11 pm, but he wasn’t sure which ones.

Ivan looked up that the port was designed by Philippe Starck.  It had a lot of brown wood and teak floors.  It was modern, but not as nice as other Starck’s designs that we’ve seen.  I did like the weird tree plants I saw amongst the shops and restaurant.

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We walked really fast to the first restaurant we saw earlier.  I hoped that it was still open.  Restaurant El Faro, which is a seafood restaurant, was still open, so we sat down.  Since it was kitchen was closing in 30 minutes, we had to order as fast as possible.  I think the chef really wanted to go home or something.  The waiter was adamant that we couldn’t get paella since it does take awhile to cook.  Ivan and Louise were disappointed since they thought paella sounded really good.  Oh, well.. I’m sure we can get some paella tomorrow.

Ivan and I shared three appetizers and one main course.  The octopus Galician style and the mussels in a Seaman’s sauce (I’m serious – check out the picture! hahaha) came out for our starters.

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The mussels was a huge portion especially since it was only an appetizer.  Ivan, Lee and I were sharing a bottle of red wine which turned out quite nice.

We chatted and had some laughs.

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Our main course came out which was a Mix “El Faro” (small fish, Padron peppers and fried calamari) and grilled tuna steak.  The food was so very tasty.

Lee wanted to head back since he didn’t feel good and he was tired.

Ivan asked somebody at the restaurant if they could call a cab for us.  We weren’t sure if we’d find a taxi since it was so quiet in the port.  The taxi came really fast and we left at 12:20 am.

Louise and Lee went to bed soon after while Ivan and I used the internet for awhile in our cabin before going to bed.

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