petek, 28. november 2014

SF Bay Area

Las Vegas is great, but there are so many wonderful places to visit in the US, I can't resist seeing a few more of them each time I'm there.  This year I chose the San Francisco Bay Area after Vegas and Olympia.  It's not as warm, but it's packed with things to do and sights to see.
 

 I started with the Berkeley in the East Bay.  While out walking around the Marina, I ran into a small photography class and just had to pose for them :)  and took a nice walk out on the Berkeley Pier too.


Afterwards had a terrific brunch at Wat Mongkolratanaram, a Thai Buddhist temple that serves some outstanding food.  Then it was off to have a tour of the University of California at Berkeley, the best public University in the US and climbed up into the Berkeley hills for a magnificent view of the SF Bay area.  Not the clearest day, but you can still see the Oakland Bay bridge and across to San Francisco and the Golden Gate, etc.
After that there were a few rays of sunshine as I got on a small charter for sail on the Bay!  There were seals, wind surfers, kite surfers, other sailboats, cargo ships and all kinds of activity ... the Captain even let me guide the boat for a while! Wrapped up the day with a visit and walk out onto the Golden Gate Bridge and a mighty fine salmon dish at the Cliff House.
 
 
 

The next day the fog and clouds were gone and it was a typical, sunny California day!  A beautiful day to visit the beach at Lands End. And I couldn't resist dipping my feet in the ocean just for a little bit :)
 
 
There are so many great sports teams in the Bay Area, but Fall is play-off time for baseball and so it was the perfect time to see my first baseball game at the Oakland Coliseum!!  The Oakland A's played the Angels and won! (Oakland did very well this year, and yes, I know the Giants won the World Series, but they were playing down in San Diego during my visit)  And what is a baseball game without beer and hot dogs!  Not typical body builder food, but it's a special occasion! :D

 

petek, 14. november 2014

Vegas part 2

My next stop was my favorite hotel, Encore, which in my opinion, is the best in Las Vegas. Highly recommended if you want a resort that makes a Vegas trip feel extraordinarily special. Encore &  Wynn are a level of elegance and extravagance you only find in Las Vegas and have the most exquisite décor. Again, I had a beautiful Strip View room there and managed to find a cocktail while working on my tan by the pool a few times :) I've noticed this place is popular with bodybuilders too, it was great to chat with people next to the pool and feel the excitement of the upcoming Olympia weekend!
Of course my main reason for visiting Vegas was Olympia... It was nice to see the girls again! Here are amazing ladies at Meet the Olympians; long time friends Melody Spetko and Sheila Bleck, always stylish and chic Anne Freitas, lovely and always positive Michelle Brent with Christine Envall all the way from Australia, I met Simone Oliveira and Margie Martin for the first time and they are really sweet girls!   

During the weekend I had to check the Expo ... where I got to meet the great Lee Haney, the greatest Mr. Olympia of all times! He was one of my role models when I started lifting weights as a teenager!   
 
I finally managed to visit Larissa Reis's Protein House restaurant with great protein food. Delicious! And I found a really cool batting cage where I had my first chance to swing at a baseball! It sure won't be my last one... it was so much fun!
 
If you ever have a chance to visit there one thing to see is the Neon Museum. I was pleasantly surprised by this short history tour of the lights of Vegas. The walk is pretty short yet provides insight into the properties, their owners and how Vegas (and it's neon) have evolved over the past several decades. The guides there are very knowledgeable and entertaining.
 
 And finally, Las Vegas isn't all bright lights and big city, there is a beautiful Red Rock National Park close by.  I was able to visit for the first time and take a few pictures.  Awesome views!

ponedeljek, 03. november 2014

Vegas 2014 Part 1

I love Las Vegas!  Just like the t-shirt says LOL! :D
Some people say it's just bright shiny lights and nothing there is real, but I love being there and I really enjoy the hot weather and desert air.  Las Vegas is a special city for me, it was THE highlight of the year for me the past 4 years. In each of those years, I always had an amazing time, both competing at Ms. Olympia and celebrating my birthday ...
This year was totally different, but again I had an amazing time!
My trip started with an upgrade at the Cosmopolitan hotel to a fabulous corner apartment with a spectacular view of the Bellagio fountains! I loved sitting on the balcony watching the world go by ... there was a great view of Caesars Palace, Paris, and the the rest of that part of the Strip.
 
It wasn't all about the balcony though, there was time for the pool area with sunbeds in the water...I didn't wanna leave! 
Another plus for Cosmopolitan is Holstein's! Seriously the best burgers are made here!  

The hotel is bristling with collections of contemporary art, my favorite one is obviously giant red stiletto shoe!

As a big Michael Jackson fan I went to the Mandalay Bay to see the Michael Jackson One performance. The dancers were great and the light show was spectacular!
It was hard to keep track of all the performers as they were on the stage, in the air, literally climbing up the walls and then coming down from the ceiling! Wow!