January 2012 Retrospective

 

I've been quiet for a while after what turned out to be an epic baking bonanza in the latter part of the year. This got me thinking about all those dedicated souls who do a photo a day blog or a Monday musing. Another Facebook friend, a dedicated 365 photographer set up a page and invited Guernsey based friends to post their best picture for the year – HELP!
Welcoming in 2013

I spent the best part of a day trawling thousands upon thousands of last year's photos and decided on one thing- I couldn't decide on one. Even by my standards last year was a humdinger when it came to photographic places and events. I also had a big birthday which necessitated several special celebrations. So my decision amidst the indecision- the best of 2012.

Can't be too ambitious so in between baking and other musings I hope to do a monthly trip down memory lane through the lens.

January 2012 – bringing in 2012 in Las Vegas was everything that you expect from Vegas. Over the top in every way, everything in excess, but hey, what's not to like about a bit of excess now and then. It makes you appreciate 'normal' , whatever that is.

Some of best cocktails in Vegas?

Captured this on the terrace of the parasol bar at the Wynn. The cocktails here are some of the best in Vegas in my opinion and the terrace is quite special though it does tend to get super hot in the summer months.

Parasols in abundance

What is a trip to Vegas without taking in at least one cirque du soleil show? The bellagio auditorium was built around the concept of 'O' and once you have seen it you understand why the show can't tour. ' Awesome' is a hugely overused word but this show is truly jaw dropping and full of 'how do they do that?!' moments. There is the impressive richard macdonald gallery en route to the auditorium where stunning sculptures like that below can be seen.

Richard McDonald gallery

The Bellagio hotel of course is famous for its dancing fountains and the glass flowered foyer ceiling. Every new hotel in Vegas tries to outdo existing ones but the Bellagio, opened in 1998, has aged quite well. The floral displays, behind the main lobby, are changed seasonally and are quite breathtaking.

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Motorized moving displays Vegas style
Stunning Bellagio fountains

To my mind the new architectural influences in Vegas will stand the test of time. Not only do they have the Vegas 'wow' factor but they are classy rather than tacky. The mandarin oriental doesn't even have a casino so if you really don't like that lobby, ground floor aspect of the traditional Vegas hotel this offers a real alternative.

Thrill seekers searching non casino table excitement could head up to the stratosphere tower at the far end of the strip- taxi recommended. There is a base jump and other gravity defying rides. Not in the most salubrious part of town but REALLY great view from the top.

All these photographs taken at start of January showing how gorgeous the weather can be- take a jacket though!

Next stop- the Grand Canyon and on this visit we decided to visit the west rim famous for the glass walkway which overhangs the canyon.

Having been to both the south and north rims on previous occasions and read all the hype we were a little disappointed, not by what Mother Nature offered up, but by the tortuous off road experience to get there and by the less than great organization. Having ticked it off the list and got THE pictures I can't imagine a return visit. Speaking of pictures ……. Sadly commercial interests have soured this part of the experience- no cameras are allowed on the platform so you are hijacked into having an overpriced photo 'à la Disney' or just keep it in you memory! Catering arrangements are far from what you expect given the ticket price so maybe an idea to take a picnic – just bear in mind that you transported by bus to all the viewing points.

Heading south later in the month we made a return trip to Bisbee – a worthwhile stop if in that area south of Tucson before the border with Mexico. Douglas is the closest border town. Bisbee was a booming copper town at its height in the 1800's but now it has a wealth of art galleries and a couple of really good restaurants.

Make time for a stop at Tubac on the 19 between Tucson and Nogales but make sure you have room in the boot//trunk. This artist colony has every nic nak you didn't know you needed or wanted- the ultimate antithesis to the clear out downsizing you might be trying to achieve!

Colourful garden wares

And so back to phoenix, higher temperatures and a bit of culture at Phoenix art museum

First visit here but certainly somewhere to bring visitors in the future. I do think there is something for everyone here. Floor spaces so cleverly used with mezzanine floors giving even greater feelings of size and the opportunity to view exhibits from below- this horse is a perfect example.

Leave enough time to take in the exhibits and enjoy the outside spaces- after all it's phoenix so the weather is probably going to be wonderful and your photographs beautiful- no need for photoshop on an Arizonan sky!

Love this! Choosing the picture was hard as it looks so different for every angle

Red dinosaur- no problem
Cafe overlooks garden installations
This am updating a series of my earliest blogs, now I have more of a feel for the whole thing- still learning! And grateful to the WordPress community who are generous with their time and comments to help me improve. All my photography and travel is going to appear on the @vannilla leaving my baking/ cooking on the original blog.

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vannillarock

hi! i am Anne (hence vANNilla) - two 'N's autocorrect WILL autocorrect - grrrrrr I can most often be found cooking up a storm in the kitchen,(with my trusty thermomix) behind a camera or a kindle. If you are a traveller/photographer my bog is @vannilla https://vannillarock.wordpress.com If you have come as a baker my blog is http://vannillarock.com i studied economics in Edinburgh in the early 70's; now retired from a day job, on paper i have plenty of time to explore the blogosphere and enjoy the shared experiences of others. like every other retiree i know we wonder how we fitted in a day job. I split my time between Guernsey,. In the Channel Islands -a 20-odd square mile island with 60thousand+ inhabitants- and Phoenix, Arizona. The mix is perfect- the former is beautiful but attacks of cabin fever are never too far away. Arizona, on the other hand IS king of the open road and has THE biggest bluest sky EVER. my blogs revolve around baking (vannillarock) and photography/travel if you like what you see please do start a conversation :)

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