Tag: Australia

Around again

Around again

Everybody knows that when you return from a ridiculously awesome holiday, the first thing you do is start planning your next holiday. It’s a somewhat useless tactic designed to distract you from the fact that you’re back in your real world with your real job and your real responsibilities.

To be honest, I was ok going back to work. I love my job and get on famously with the people I work with. Plus I had a bazillion stories to tell – so many that I’ve begun noticing people ducking through doorways when they see me approaching. No matter, they’ll keep.

Our trip was so immense it did take us a little while to begin working on the next one. We’d been home for almost as long as we’d been away before we started considering our options. We don’t have 99 days this time, we only have 16, so it would need to be a short flight to an easy destination.

Now, the thing is, when you’ve been 99 days around the world, covered three continents, seen sunshine, snow and autumn leaves and gazed at twenty-seven different versions of Water Lilies, it’s very difficult to choose your next adventure.

”Somewhere relaxing,” I suggested, “Hawaii? Fiji?”

Neither of us could work up the enthusiasm.

“Somewhere in Australia? Tasmania? Broome? Adelaide? Uluru? Darwin?”

Maybe?

I switched tactics.

“How about somewhere we’ve been before? Sri Lanka? Japan? Malaysia? Vietnam?” Less effort, and all places we’ve said we’d like to go back to.

”Those are possibilities,” said Don. Now we were getting somewhere.

”Which one?”

”Ummm…”

We discussed a fishing holiday, a road trip, a staycation. Camping at the beach. Returning to Singapore seeing as I’d spent the whole time sick in the hotel room last trip.

We stopped thinking about it for short periods of time, only to suddenly circle back with new suggestions.

And finally, after taking into consideration that we don’t have much time, we don’t want to fly too far, we don’t want to spend too much money and we really just need somewhere to relax, we’ve booked our holiday.

We’re going to Peru.

Highlights

Highlights

I wanted to finish this blog series on a high, and so, anticipating the questions people might ask, I’ve been contemplating the highlights. Seeing friends is always going to top these lists – spending time with people we so rarely get to see – so I’ve eliminated them from the equation. But to my English, Scottish and expat Aussie friends, know that you were our highlight!

Top eats

1. Pasta at Rossopomodoro on our first night in Venice. Unbelievably creamy, ridiculously tasty whipped buffalo ricotta concoction on fresh made pasta. At the time I said it was the best meal I’d ever eaten. I stand by that.

2. Cioppino at Sotto Mare, North Beach California, sitting up at the counter, with wine, feeling so alive only four days into our holiday.

Places to which I’ll definitely return (in no particular order)

1. Reykjavik

2. Berlin

3. Washington

4.Everywhere else.

Top moments

1. Discovering the former Australian Embassy building in Washington DC, where my grandmother first worked.

2. Recently arrived in Rome, dusk, sitting at a cafe in Piazza della Rotonda, looking out at the Pantheon, glass of white wine, nowhere to be in any hurry.

3. Standing in the Neumarkt in Dresden surrounded by the Christmas markets.

4. Driving through the deep snow north west of Reykjavik, unable to see anything at all – a complete white out.

5. The Art Institute of Chicago.

Most amazing sights

1. Gullfoss waterfall, Iceland.

2. Autumn leaves, Scotland.

3. Chicago buildings.

Funniest shrieking with laughter moments (sorry, for these you had to be there so are to remind me, but I’m happy to tell the stories if asked).

1. Don buying a jacket in Macy’s New York.

2. Ruth hanging her last Christmas decoration on the thermostat.

I could add to all of these lists, because of course the whole trip has been the most amazing, eye-opening, brilliant and fun experience for both of us. And I have loved sharing all of this with you via the blog. Thanks so much for reading, and for all of your lovely comments.

Now, to start planning the next adventure…..

Stuff happens

Stuff happens

Singapore

Last I left you dear readers we were enjoying the exploits of Bangkok before heading on to our last destination, Singapore. But something happened on the way to Singapore.

I got sick.

I must say, we had a pretty good run – perfect weather everywhere we went, fabulous hotels, scarcely a runny nose between us. We lost a couple of things – including an expensive thing and a sentimental thing – but things can be replaced. Small panic when we thought we were on the wrong train in Germany, but we just needed to change platforms. That’s it, really.

So long story short I pretty much missed Singapore, other than the inside of the hotel room, Singapore Raffles Hospital and the Changi Airport medical clinic.

Sometimes stuff happens, and you just have no control over it.

My beautiful husband sorted doctors, fed me fluids and held my hand, keeping me sane and safe.

He also bought me an awesome yet somewhat hideous toothpick holder/bottle opener souvenir and a mini Merlion, both of which I shall treasure. Then when I was starting to feel better, he walked me ever so slowly down to the Merlion and back again, just so that I could be outside in a different city on our last day away. He truly is my rock.

And as I was worrying over how I could possibly be comfortable flying that last eight hours home, Qantas sent a message upgrading us to business class. Sometimes stuff happens!

So now we are home, safe, and almost well.

Stay tuned, there is a little more to come reflecting on this epic 99 days.

Merry Christmas!

Party in the backyard

Party in the backyard

We’re back in England at Tim and Ruth’s place, it’s 11am and there’s a party going on in the backyard.

Right now there are about 20 starlings, a couple of pigeons and two squirrels – in the bird bath, balanced on the feeders, fighting each other on the grass. One squirrel is hanging from the fat block by one leg, back legs stretched apart as far as they’ll go, guzzling fat as though he’s been deprived of food since last autumn.

We invited them all to the party yesterday by wandering around the yard adding seed to the various feeders, filling a container with peanuts, adding the fat block to its holder and then scattering further bits and pieces across the yard.

I’ve been watching them come and go all morning through the kitchen window. I’ve been cooking while watching the party – breakfast omelets, roasted swede soup, shortbread. We’re in no rush to go anywhere today; Don will eventually pop in to London to look at comic books and musical instruments, and I’m going to the Guy Fawkes bonfire night this evening, but otherwise we’re on a down day.

And it’s fabulous.

We’re on day 51 now, and on almost every day we’ve been away there have been things to see and do. We’ve walked for miles, eaten out for most meals, sat on planes, trains and buses, consulted maps, read guide books, taken photos, talked to locals, climbed towers, browsed galleries. It’s a great adventure and we’re loving every single second, but when you’re travelling for this long you really need some time to just sit on a couch and watch tv, read, do nothing.

We’re lucky because we’re staying with friends and can do just that. I honestly think I could sit in Tim and Ruth’s conservatory and watch the birds and squirrels all day. They’re different birds to those in Australia and we certainly don’t have squirrels, so I’m going to count it as sightseeing.

Although I don’t often spend the whole day sightseeing in my pyjamas.

Sheila’s footsteps

Sheila’s footsteps

Washington DC

Everywhere we go in Washington I think of my grandmother. She lived here for 17 years, working at the Australian Embassy, so I can’t help but be aware that I’m walking down the streets she walked along and seeing all of the places she saw.

Of course, we’re focussed on the tourist parts of the city, whereas Nanny lived the city. The streets and suburbs are familiar to me because of her stories – DuPont Circle, Georgetown, Foggy Bottom and “Mass Ave”. Nanny arrived just after JFK was assassinated, and was here for the celebration when Neil Armstrong and Buzz Aldrin walked on the moon, through Vietnam War protests and during the Washington riots following Martin Luther King Jr’s assassination. She attended the theatre, ballet and opera, and had many stories of outrageous parties – with Embassy staff, naval officers and “the guys from the FBI”.

On our first day here we walked past the former Australian Embassy, now the Embassy of Peru. When Nanny arrived in Washington DC with no money to get home to Australia, they gave her a job. She was still there when they built the new Embassy on Scott Circle – that’s her fooling around during the ground-breaking ceremony. She worked in this new building for over ten years; until it was time to come home to Australia.

I can see Nanny here in DC – it’s her style of place. All classy Victorian and Tudor style homes, and the elegance of Embassy Row. Yesterday I caught the Metro to Arlington and found the first house Nanny lived in. It hasn’t changed a bit. Tomorrow I’m going to find the other house she lived in – it’s only up the road from where we’re staying. On Mass Ave!

I can’t go into any of these places – the Embassies or the homes – but I can stand on the sidewalk and imagine her with her fancy high heels, designer handbag and a big smile on her face.

She was quite a woman.