This desert state has left me speechless so many times over the three days I have been here. Its vast, unique beauty is overwhelming to the senses and photos cannot do it justice at all. I have been lucky enough to see and experience some amazing things during my time here and I am so grateful for every moment. The drive to Arizona from San Diego began as always with an early start! Setting off with “Get Jiggy” playing through the coach. The journey included conversations with a lovely new British friend, the movie Step Brothers, sleeping, a lunch stop at Walmart in the middle of no where, more sleeping, a McDonalds coffee stop, then an hour of finding out interesting facts about everyone on our Contiki Tour coach! We were met in Scottsdale, Arizona with 40 degree heat (105 F) but it did not deter an amazing night! After chilling by the pool for an hour or so, we set out for a night of exploring the town on golf buggies! Our driver was hilarious and a lot of fun. He took us to a restaurant called Rehab Burger Therapy, and OMG they were amazing! I have made friends with a great bunch of people who are always a blast when we share meals. We have endless conversations about the differences between all of our countries and other randomness. Drinks were had later that night at a great little bar called Gilligan’s, where we had to explain what a vodka & raspberry was to the bar tender, played Giant Jenga and chatted with local American’s. With only 4 hours sleep, I woke at 4am to go the Sonoma Desert in Phoenix and jumped in a hot air balloon! Flying across the vast desert in the (relatively) cool morning air was the most beautiful and awe-inspiring thing I have possibly ever done. It was a calm and serene experience that makes you appreciate where you are in that very moment. We were treated to a champagne breakfast post flight, to toast our experience and I will never ever forget that journey in the air for as long as I live. Later that morning, we travelled to Sedona to see the giant red rocks the area is famous for. They say that the experience in Sedona is a very spiritual one, surrounded by the immense work of Mother Nature and I’d have to agree. The town of Sedona has a very interesting history back to when it was controlled by Mexico, hence the design of the buildings and structures all compliment this heritage. After a yummy lunch of chicken quesadillas, we were back on the Contiki coach headed for the much-anticipated Grand Canyon National Park. My first glimpse at the canyon was amazing, no words or photos do this wonder of the world any justice. The size and depth of the canyon is near impossible to comprehend. You find yourself just staring in awe at the immense landscape in front of you. The history, the animals, the explorers that are connected to the canyon rush through your head, blowing your mind even more than it already was. Dinner included yummy pizza and a night of watching the rest of rest of our tour group gets very drunk playing Kings and Beer Pong. Day two in the Grand Canyon was incredible and left me speechless on many occasions. First, was my helicopter flight over the Grand Canyon. It was my first time in a helicopter, which was an awesome experience in itself. To get to the canyon, you begin by flying over a forest of trees however when you hit the edge of the canyon and see the ground completely fall away, you feel so small and are left without words. If you ever have the opportunity to visit the Grand Canyon, I definitely recommend taking a helicopter flight as it the only way to understand the size and magnitude of the canyon (no matter how scared you are of heights). That afternoon a group of us went hiking along the Bright Angel Trail into the canyon and it was amazing! Also a little deceiving… As you walk down the trail taking photos and mental pictures you forget that you have to walk back up. After about 20 minutes of walking we decided to turn around as the thunder we could he was getter louder and louder. Halfway back up, puffing and sweating, it started pouring with the rain and we got drenched as we kept walking. But it was totally worth it. As I’m writing, we are on the coach driving towards our next stop, Las Vegas! But I know that I’m going to miss Arizona. This state was so much more than what I expected and some of my favourite memories from this state are going to stay with me forever. I’ll be back Arizona!
Stay tuned for some exciting Vegas stories to come!