paulaandhappy's DIBB Photo Blogs
It's only 32 days until we start our trip back to the mouse. Usually we only go for 2 weeks but have managed to tag in an extra 3 days this time. We are also taking along my other halfs sister and 9 year old nephew.
We start our trip with an overnight at Manchester Airport at the Raddisson and then 5 nights at All Star Music before moving to International Drive for rest of the time.
This trip is going to be pretty full on but then all our trips are we don't do sitting around relaxing very well! Especially as our nephew might not be back for a long time we all want to pack as much in as possible. The last time he went was 2014 so we have measured him and it's looking like he should be able to do all the rides.
Am going to try and post this every day while we are away fingers crossed.
All that has to be done now before we go is pack our cases (nephew Jake is already packed!) and then we will be good to go.
We have the V room booked, managed to get seats in the bubble and I will turn 50 while we are away not really looking forward to hitting the big 5 0 but then it should be better there than at home! Spending the day at Discovery Cove so probably the most relaxing chilled day we can manage!
Update on our pre trippie had a bit of a day today when Paula (other half) came off her Segway when battery died and so we had a trip to A&E she had a blood disorder that stops her blood clotting so had a nasty bash on face. As we were heading there her arm was hurting. Turns out she has broke her arm so now got a wait to see if it's going to be ok before holiday or if she will still be in a cast!
Not many photos today at all.
We got up and went to Starbucks for breakfast after a lie in then back to the hotel and checked out around 11.30 am and went over to the airport terminal.
Went to the United desk and paid for our extra luggage and got our bags checked in and said goodbye to them until Manchester.
I had been approved for pre selected security so didn't have to take shoes off etc but DW had to go through normal security. However Knoxville airport has to have the easiest security we have ever done no queue and took less than 2 minutes to go through.
Went and sat down in some rocking chairs they have these all round the terminal looking out onto the runway.
Then went to Cinnabon for a snack while we waited for boarding time.
Boarded on time but flight 10-15 mins late taking off but still arrived in on time at Washington.
The plane we flew to Washington on was small only 56 seats same as on way there.
Washington was also a breeze as we didn't have to do security again boarding was on time and take off on time.
However the flight home had to be the worst I have ever been on with turbulence from almost start to finish. I hate flying so was on edge the whole time even after having tablets to calm my nerves.
Entertainment on plane worked on way home which helped watched Poltergeist, Terminator Genysis and Pitch Perfect 2.
Thankfully the flight arrived an hour ahead of time so we got it at 6 am instead of 7am there was a huge queue at immigration bit out bags came off quick so found our taxi and home for 8 am.
We really enjoyed our holiday it was completely different from any other we have been on but was one of the best holidays we have had.
Today we were leaving our condo in the Smokies 😞 and driving to Knoxville to the Candlewood Suites at the airport before our flights home tomorrow.
We had a bit of a lie in not setting an alarm and set off around 10ish.
We were going the scenic route through Wears Valley the same way we went almost 2 weeks ago.
We stopped off at an Antique place and if anyone has ever watched the to show American Pickers it was a bit like that an Aladdins cave once you went in !
Some photos from inside but this is only a tiny part of the place.
We carried on for a little while and stopped off at a shopping centre that had a grocery place called Food City and a Dollar General also Cvs and a few local shops.
This statue was outside one of the local shops.
We got to the Candlewood Suites and checked in. Never stopped in one of these before but we were surprised how nice it was for a hotel that is rated 2stars it was lovely better than some of the so called better chains we have stayed in.
After returning the hire car we went for a walk along from the hotel for something to eat ended up at Taco Bell just needed something small as was around 3 and we were going to go for dinner around 7.
After our snack we found this place that sells Modular Homes which in the UK would be called Static Caravans, now it so happens we run a Holiday Park so were quite interested to have a look at some of them.
So being cheeky sods we went and asked telling them why we wanted to and the gentleman there gave us the keys and said they would open any we wanted to look in 😀
This phot above is the outside of one
A few inside photos they are just so much bigger than the ones we sell at home!
We went back to the hotel and chilled for a couple of hours then went to the Ruby Tuesday beside the hotel for dinner. Again not been to this chain before and it was lovely. DW had smoky mountain chicken which is a bit like New York chicken at home. I had a small steak and coconut shrimp which was lovely
Sorry they are a bit half eaten but this is as good as it gets with my food photos
We then went back to hotel able to have as long a lie as we want as we don't have to be out of hotel till 12 and our flight isn't until 2.30pm and being a domestic flight to start off only need to be there a couple of hours before😊
Today we were returning to Cades Cove so got ourselves up at 7.30am and out the door for 8.
Got to Cades Cove and had just started the drive round when we saw our first bear of the day.
He or she was busy eating fruit off of a tree apparently it has been a bad year for the Bears food wise there hasn't been much in the way of berries etc for them and they are having a bit of a food frenzy before they hibernate.
Just after we saw this one we caught a glimpse of a mummy bear and a couple of her baby's but they were too quick for us to get a photo
We also saw a few of these
A lot of the lovely scenery
And a couple of places we didn't stop off at the last time.
It really is a lovely place and if I lived here I would be visiting every weekend!
On the last little bit of the trail we were lucky enough to see another bear we were told it was an adult but it was very small.
We managed to park up and get out to get some better photos on my camera these photos were from my phone.
It did get scared off tho after a bit when a coach came past. The bus was full of Amish people there was a lot of them around this last few days and they had someone taking photos for them I guess because they won't use things like that themselves.
Nice little stream
After coming back from Cades cove we visited the Applebarn which has an ice cream shop and all things to do with and what they make from apples.
We had seen a quilt we wanted to get from a place called lil Dollys but wasn't sure if we had luggage space so decided to go back and pack our cases and see what we had!
Anyway we were both over our luggage weight so we had brought a hold-all with us that we use for an extra bag of we need it and because we were going to have to pay for extra luggage we would get the quilt and some matching shams it is lovely with some Bears on it.
After getting the quilt we went back to Corkys for dinner we went there on our first night so decided to go there on our last night at Pigeon Forge it was just as good as the first night yummy!
We don't fly home until Saturday but have booked the Candlewood suites at Knoxvile airport for tomorrow it was a bit of a last minute decision as I don't like flying and always get a bit of a funny stomach so didn't feel like driving to Knoxville and flying the same day so to spread the stress we are driving to the airport tomorrow stopping at anywhere we feel like on the way.
Today we were doing the Roaring Forks Motor Trail so after getting ready we set off around 9am driving to Gatlinburg and picking up the nature trail at traffic lights no 8.
I hadn't really read much up on this motor trail and didn't expect so narrow a road with big drops at one side so wasn't entirely comfortable with the drive.
However the views were good from some points.
Didn't see much of any wildlife other than a few squirrels.
There were a few nice spots along the river.
And some more lovely old cabins to stop and have a look around shame though about some of the graffiti people feel the need to leave behind on them.
After this we parked up in Gatlinburg and went for a game of adventure golf at the circus one on the road.
Was a bit disappointing inside as from the outside they have stuff out to make u think it's the same inside but it's not.
We then went to the Smoky Mountain Brewery for lunch which was really nice. Wasn't having a beer but did get a couple of samples to try which were lovely.
To eat DW had a house salad and some cheese quesadillas and I had a Philly cheese steak and fries both agreed it was very nice.
What was even better is that it came to $31 but 25 of this was paid with the dinner voucher we got when we went on the timeshare visit so only cost us $15 including the servers tip who we have a bit extra as he was very nice giving me some beer samples
After this we went for a wander an found a big chair we all had to have a go on including the Teddies!
Stopped at Kilwins for an ice cream toasted coconut was yummy.
Didn't take any more photos after this one we were feeling a bit tired so just nipped to the old mill area to pick up some small moonshine tasters to take home
Then nipped to Food city for something for tea as didn't fancy going anywhere or having that much then back to condo to chill for the night.
Ended up doing a little bit of packing I hate that cos it means going home soon only 2 more full days left it really has been a great place to visit.
Tomorrow we are going back to Cades Cove not sure what else yet.
Not got very many pictures today for some reason.
We started the day by visiting Mingo falls just outside of Cherokee on our way back to Pigeon forge.
After parking up it is a bit of a hike upto the falls there are around 200 steps and then a little bit of a walk although it's not really far less than half a mile the steps up make it steep.
But once you are up there it is well worth the climb.
The falls are the highest falls on the Smokies and are lovely.
Today seemed to be a day of climbing hills as our next stop was Clingmans Dome.
We drove up the Clingmans dome road and got to a quarter of a mile of the car park and the road was backed up with people trying to park!
However we got parked within 10 - 10 mins so not so bad.
The view from the carpark before we even climbed the hill to the viewpoint itself was stunning couldn't really believe we had driven so high up.
I am not the best when it comes to climbing up hills so just took my time and stopped a few times on the way up. It seems a lot of people do the same and there are some benches on the way up to stop at. DW on the other hand would have done the climb in one go but did wait for me.
On the way up
View from the top u could see Pigeon forge in the distance from on of the sides. Apparently it is possible to see a hundred miles away on a really clear day, although it was pretty clear today there was still a slight haze in the distance but still spectacular all the same.
Definitely made it worth the climb.
After we got back down decided to stop off at the Ober Gatlinburg and get the tram to the top of the mountain to the amusement park ski area.
We didn't really take much pictures there and none on the tram on the way up but it looked like this
It was in my opinion a bit of a rip off really as you paid $12 each to go on the tram then still had to pay to do anything up there I only paid for the wildlife area $7 and DW paid to do the alpine coaster anther $15 as well as the wildlife area.
In the wildlife area the had mainly native animals to Tennessee that had been rescued and wouldn't survive in the wild however I was disappointed in there enclosures as they were nothing like what they would have if they were living in the wild.
I didn't take any pics of the Bears because of this in my opinion with the amount of money they were taking in they could at least make where the animals live a bit more like the wild instead of pretty much concrete enclosures.
The otters which I took pics of seemed happy when they were being fed tho.
After getting back to the condo and changed we were off to the Dixie Stampede.
Only managed to take a few photos before the show as no photography allowed inside the arena.
The pre show started at 7.45 in the Dixie saloon which was pretty good.
Only managed one photo inside the arena when no one looking.
The show itself was very enjoyable and the food was better than at lumberjack feud.
I did enjoy the show at Dixie stampede more than lumberjacks and wish it was still on in Orlando as would definately go see it again there.
Got back to condo around half past ten and ready for bed off on The Roaring Forks motor trail tomorrow.
Today we were up at 6.30 am as we were going on the Smoky mountain railroad. We were booked in to giant 9am but u had to check in an hour before so had to set of at 7 to make sure we were there in time.
We got there ok and checked in and then went to a little cafe across the road from the railroad for a coffee.
We boarded the train at 8.30 and set off at 9am. We had booked the 1st class coach which had brunch included.
The scenery on the journey through the smokies was lovely and Lake Fontana which seemed to be made up of lots little lakes and loads of house boats on them.
We had some entertainment on the way.
Brunch was served half an hour into the journey we had chosen cheesy ham has Browns which was quite nice along with that we were given a blueberry muffin and some fruit salad. We could also have unlimited soft drinks tea and coffee in the smoky mountain railroad beakers we were given to take home.
The train made a stop for an hour at Nantahala outdoor centre. The river is lovely there and there are a few shops and food places there. Mainly though they do kayaking zip lines etc there and have campsites was a nice place for a stop off.
We also managed to get conductor Jeff to pose with Teddy and his friend he did a very good job of it too.
We got back to Bryson City at 1.30pm and went for a wander round before setting back off to Cherokee. Bryson is s lovely little town with some nice little shops.
One thing we have found in Tennessee and in North Carolina that the people are so friendly, nice and helpful and they also seem to love the British accent or in my case Scottish.
Nice little ice cream parlour
View from bridge in Bryson city
After heading back to Cherokee we went to the Indian Village as it was closed yesterday.
It was $19 each to go in and when we arrived they were demonstrating some of the dances the Cherokee Indians did.
After this we were given a tour round the village and all the different things including how they made pottery, weaving, spear making etc was pretty interesting.
After we were done here went back to hotel to get changed and go to the casino to the Chefs stages buffet for dinner again no photos but the food was very nice with a bbq, comfort food, Italian , Asian and other food stations. The dessert bar was lovely I had key lime pie and choc peanut butter pie,DW had banana cream pie and a couple of other deserts.
Dinner finished and we headed to casino ended up last night with $15 I won to spend tonight and managed to play with this and come away with $20 tonight spending a couple of hours for nothing. DW doesn't like playing so wandered around watching other people one person had $14,000 on a 1c slot machine!
Anyway headed back to hotel around 9.30 can have a lie in tomorrow yay !
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