We’re Baaaack!

All good things must come to an end… we’re back in St. Louis after an eventful 2 week vacation to Florida & Mexico. We had a wonderful time visiting with family and friends and basking in the warm temperatures (well, at least the temps in Orlando and Mexico were favorable. Not so much in Largo!). And we ended our vacation with a short cruise to Cozumel and Costa Maya via the Grandeur of the Seas! We already miss the warm sun (there’s snow on the ground here in St. Louis–boo!) so I thought I’d post a couple photos of this divine sun! Ahh, I’m ready for spring and summer! More pics to come soon. I’m off to do some laundry. Back to reality!

warm sun above our cruiseship

Sunrise in Cozumel, Mexico

Early morning sky onboard the Granduer of the Seas

The sun peeking through in Costa Maya

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NZ photos & such

Auckland skyline

Auckland skyline

I’ve finally added all my New Zealand photos to Flickr. If you’d like to view the album, then click here or type the following link into your favorite internet browser: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leighuf/sets/72157613627215534/. I have a couple videos from the trip which I will add tomorrow. In the meantime, I’ve calculated my NZ expense report. I spent much less on this trip than my solo trip to the Mediterranean in 2005. I was able to keep the overall price down by staying in hostels and eating some meals in (ie: breakfasts and 1 dinner). The overall experience wasn’t negatively impacted by these cost-cutting measures. In fact, it may have enhanced it! In conclusion, a vacation to New Zealand doesn’t have to cost an arm and a leg.

Flights: $500 (used some FF miles to keep this price down)

Accommodation: $244.33

  • Hostels: $167.79  (for 7 nights in New Zealand)
  • Hotel: $ 76.54 (for 1 night in South Korea)

Souvenirs (and a couple Twilight books): $264.47

Food: $195.32

Organized Tours: $163.70

Sightseeing, City Bus fares, Museums etc: $77.13

Unaccounted/miscellaneous: $60

Roundtrip coach bus to Rotorua, from Auckland: $23.70

Internet fees: $6

TOTAL: $1,534.65

The Banyan, a hotel in Key West


If Nick and I ever return to Key West for a vacation (and I hope we do!), we will be staying (again) at the Banyan Resort. The location is prime, the price is reasonable, and the rooms are comfortable and spacious. Our favorite bars and restaurants were one block away, too! You can’t beat that! So, in my usual fashion, I wrote a Trip Advisor review about my stay at the Banyan! You can read my review by clicking HERE! Or you can visit the hotel’s website by clicking HERE!

New Pictures

in Key West on a sunset cruise

in Key West on a sunset cruise

We’re back from our vacation to Florida– it was a wonderful trip! It was a jam-packed 11 days, but it was well worth it all. We started our in Orlando in order to see my family and to attend a friend’s wedding. Then we headed south to Largo to visit with Nick’s parents and our old college buddies. It’s so fun to see how our children get along just as well as we do. Then, Nick and I left Xander in the tender loving care of his parents and headed further south to the Florida Keys. Big thanks to our friend Jovan for driving us in his truck– it’s a 8 hour drive, one way. We stayed in downtown Key West at the Banyan Hotel (a true gem! Stay here if you ever visit Key West) and were literally one block away from the nightlife of Duval Street. We met up with some other friends during this little kid free weekend and had an awesome time. It was a bit hot, but we kept cool inside the bars. Hehe! After 3 nights away from Xander, we headed back up to Largo and found him spoiled rotten! Thanks again Peter & Barbara!! So, here we are, back in St. Louis and ready for a long, hot summer. We’ve nearly depleted Nick’s 5 week vacation allowance… so Hotel Mills is currently accepting reservations!

View Photos from our trip here: http://www.flickr.com/photos/leighuf/sets/72157617558867935/

Having a ball

We’ve been visiting family and friends in Florida for the past week… we’re still down here enjoying the warm, no.. HOT, weather, lively conversation, and yummy food/cocktails. It’s hard to believe we will be returning to St. Louis tomorrow evening. How fast time flies when you’re having fun! Today we’ve booked a two-story suite at the local beach Holiday Inn. Us, along with some friends and their children, will enjoy some pool time, food, and more beer. I know Xander will be very sad to leave Florida tomorrow…. he’s loved all the attention (from the grandparents, of course), pool/beach experiences (he loved chasing the seagulls), and long walks in his stroller. 🙂 

Xander