A Busy Year

Well this year has been pretty busy! 11 months in, and I still have a fair bit to come, with a month to go. Plenty of things have happened, including a few firsts for me, so here’s just a little ramble about my 2013.

In March, I had a fantastic day out in London. The day started out with a trip to comic book heaven, Forbidden Planet. After wandering around and gazing at the many things I couldn’t afford, we joined the queue outside to meet Robert Llewelyn (of Red Dwarf fame). He was there to do signings for a couple of his books. Great guy, very welcoming! After a stop for a much-needed coffee and snack, it was off to The Shard. An impressive building from the outside, it was all the more impressive once you got all the way up to the 72nd floor. The views were spectacular, especially as the sun set over London.

The last week of June brings about the start of the biggest of the 4 tennis slams – Wimbledon, and with it, my first (of many I hope) visits to the hallowed turf of SW19. The first impression on walking in is the size of the place! The show courts are all fairly close together, but the outside courts are what makes the place so massive. With the traditional English strawberries and cream in hand, we took up a spot by one of the outside courts to watch a bit of doubles tennis involving Lleyton Hewitt. There was time to catch a bit of Novak Djokovic warming up for his match later in the day, before heading to the famous Henman Hill (or Murray Mount). The atmosphere here is amazing, but nothing compared with being inside Centre Court. With Del Potro, Radwanska and Djokovic on the schedule, it was a fantastic day to pay my first visit.

Cinderella's Castle, Magic Kingdom

Cinderella’s Castle, Magic Kingdom

September saw a family holiday to Florida. It may have been my fifth visit to Orlando – Theme Park capital of the world, but this place never gets old. And you are never too old to enjoy the wonders of Disney and Universal. The Disney Parks are a highly magical place, where old and young alike get to indulge the inner child. With the fantastic themes of the parks lands, to the music, larger than life characters and the world-famous parades, Disney’s parks are a must. And coming back after dark for the electrical light parade was an amazing experience – fantastic costumes, vehicles and great music made it true Disney.

The Universal parks bring the world of cinema to life. Seaworld has its own charm, fusing the world of animals and rides together. The new ride – Antarctica: Empire of the Penguin was something special. Part ride – a faster version for big kids, and a tamer version for little ones, and part walk through, it gave a fascinating insight into the world of penguins. Couple all of this with the awe-inspiring shows featuring killer whales and majestic dolphins, and it is a fantastic day out, with a slower pace.

The highlight of the holiday came though from two attractions. A trip to Seaworld’s Discovery Cove is beyond words. A tropical oasis in Orlando, this place exudes relaxation. The opportunity to swim with bottle nose dolphins was something I will certainly never forget. The trainers took the time to teach us so much about these wonderful, intelligent creatures while allowing an unforgettable experience. The main reef is spectacular, too. The warm waters were teeming with tropical fish, and snorkelling amongst them as a variety of huge rays glide by is out of this world. The park is finished off by the aviaries. Being able to go in and learn all about the tropical birds there was fascinating, and only enhanced by having them come and land on you as they literally eat from the palm of your hand. The day finished on a real high note with an evening trip to see the quirky Blue Man Group. A funny, thought-provoking and massively entertaining show by the silent men in blue is something I cannot wait to experience again.

The NFL came to London for two regular season games at Wembley Stadium. First up was the Minnesota Vikings playing host to the

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Minnesota Vikings, Wembley Stadium

Pittsburgh Steelers @ Minnesota Vikings, Wembley Stadium

Pittsburgh Steelers, with the second tie seeing the Jacksonville Jaguars host the San Francisco 49ers. I may be a Patriots fan, but living in England, I’ll take my live gridiron action where I can. Both days were a real spectacle. The whole day on both occasions had a party atmosphere, with cheerleader displays, various competitions and a chance to see the Vince Lombardi Superbowl trophy up close. Though the first game was a closely fought affair,  the second more of a one-sided match up, both provided a great opportunity for me to see my first NFL games, so here’s to the 3 games in London next year!

Throw in a fantastic Alter Bridge gig at Wembley Arena, and 2013 has been pretty awesome to date! But there’s still more to come for me before the year is out, so I look forward to the rest of this year!

What has been the highlight of your year so far? Let me know in the comments section! 🙂

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