A Travellerspoint blog

Homeward bound

Best of Oz awards

sunny 64 °F

Auntie:

Where did the time go? Was this all a dream? And how will we ever get everything into our suitcases?

The last question is the easiest to tackle, I shipped all my clothes home in a box thanks to the very helpful and user friendly Australian Post. That freed up the big suitcase for all the loot we had acquired in our travels as well as our warm coats which we would no longer need.

One last brekkie buffet; how I will miss those! And then on the plane from Melbourne to Sydney where we change planes to San Francisco and chase the sun back across the Pacific. The duty free shopping in Sydney helped us find all those last minute "gifts" we had been meaning to find but never found. Also supplied us with a free supply of facial creams and gels to withstand the airplane' dry air for the next 12 hours.

From San Francisco it was a short hop into Portland Oregon and Annie's family.

So what were the high spots of the trip? For Annie they were holding a Koala and getting a tan, in that order. For myself it was seeing my old parish community and dear friends.

We both agreed that the Sydney Marriott won the "Besh Chips in Oz" award. "Best Dessert in Oz" award went to salsa in Port Douglas. Rainforest Habitat in Port Douglas won kudos for their accessible animal policy. Scariest moment would either be approaching the crocodiles on the Daintree River or the shark sighting at the reef; still quaking over those two events. "Tour not to be missed" would definitely be the Bridge Climb in Sydney and "Glad we stumbled upon it" went to the Sticky candy shop in the Rocks, Sydney for supplying us with enough lollies to last a lifetime, or at least a few weeks if you have a teenager present.

After months of planning and arranging this trip there was a sense of amazement that it went so quickly and that we were suddenly back right where we had started, the Portland airport surrounded by family. They all clambored that we looked different, and on an external level that was true, suntan notwithstanding. However, it is my fondest hope that the internal transformation that is possible through travel will slowly take root and bloom in both of us with the fullness of time.

Was the trip worth it all? Too soon to tell, ask me again in ten or maybe twenty years!

Posted by AnneAuntie 08:01 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Sunday, again? already??

And there is still so much to see

semi-overcast 60 °F

Auntie:

Sunday, the day I have been looking forward to this entire trip. Finally I can attend Mass with the Community that Brian and I have belonged to the longest continuous time during our married lives, St Thomas of South Yarra. St_Thomas_00000.jpgSt_Thomas_00002.jpg
I was so excited that I got up early, wrote the previous day’s blog, woke up Annie for brekkie and then headed out for 9am Mass. Annie chose to stay behind for various rationales. Father Barry gave his usual insightful homily, Mary sat in front of me, Tony and Terry Dorset did the readings. Mrs. St. Bernadette was missing from her pew across from me as she has long since passed on. Gavin was missing as he has been ill of late. This was another of those priceless moments of connection and community.

The rest of the day was spent taking pictures of Annie posing in front of various sights per the instructions we received from her Mother to help fill up the photo book with pictures of Annie. Annie’s choice for lunch was our new local place, Tomodachi, for sushi. As this was our third visit in as many days we were greeted as loyal customers!

The afternoon was rounded out by a stop at the Melbourne Sunday Market on South bank. The antique jewelry caught Annie’s eye and a warm moss green hat caught my eye (and pocketbook).Market.jpg The Sunday Market is held around and under the Melbourne Arts Center on the southbank of the Yarra river and is a magnet for local artisans and craftspeople. another not to be missed spot in Melbourne.

Later in the day, Father Barry had invited us around for a short cuppa in the avro to show us the new parish administration center and the refugee//temporary housing shelter that my Father’s (Annie's Grandfather's) bequest had helped finance. I went and have to admit the changes were pretty impressive. It is amazing the depth of social outreach from such a small congregation. Also had chance to spend sometime with Father Barry catching up on parish news and found out he is retiring and planning to take up fishing and sketching!! I did not think they let priest retire, ever!

Annie and I finished up the day with our last chip testing session here in Oz and now we have a tie between the chips at the Sydney Marriott and those at the Melbourne Westin. Amazingly enough we managed to pass on the chocolate dessert as it finally seemed like just too much chocolate in one dessert; white chocolate cheesecake with milk chocolate ice cream with flourless dark chocolate cake AND a trio of chocolate mousses. Yikes!

WOTD: Cuppa = cup of tea

Posted by AnneAuntie 08:26 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

So many stores, so little time......

And it is stocktaking sales time!

overcast 59 °F

Annie:
Though i was tierd, i still made a point to take everything in. We went shopping on a street called Chapel street. All of the stores were lined up and down. Most of them were clothing stores but some were food or convinience stores. It was cool because almost all of the stores had sales because they were going to have to pay a tax on their inventory so they try to get rid of as much as possible.

We ended up going to tomodachi, a shushi place again for lunch. We walked back to the hotel and got ready to go to dinner with Ian and Liz, Aunties friends from Australia.

Ian picked us up and drove us to their house. When we got inside, we were sniffed by three big Pointers. Rex, Meg and Flory were so sweet. They also left fur everywhere but i didn't mind because they were so sweet. Meg was white and tan and Rex and Flory were half brother/sister and they were both black and white.

Word of the Day:oldies=parents

Auntie:

Australia is not just an oversized animal park; it is a country where people live and work and shop. Being the middle of winter and the approaching end of the fiscal year most of the stores are holding stocktaking sales (inventory sales to us). As opposed to America were sales are at least a monthly if not more often occurrence, in Australia the sales are few and far between. The stocktaking sales attract residents from the outback to come into town and Melbourne was full of locals as well as folks from the countryside.

Melbourne is also known for its abundance of small boutique type shops, especially on Chapel Street in the South Yarra area. So that exactly where we headed after brekkie! People watching was almost as exciting as peering into the window displays. These are not outfits you are likely to see in Portland. Australians, perhaps because they are so outdoor/athletic focused, take pride in dressing up and dressing well. A marked change from the satorical expression displayed in many USA cities.

After a day of shopping we were treated to a home visit and dinner by Ian and Liz Grubb, two fair dinkum mates. A big "Thank You" to the both of them; it was an extraordinary time. They regaled us with stories of their recent travels through Never Never and the evening was far too short. Having friends throughout the world cuts both ways; on one hand you always have a friend close to hand, on the other hand the rest of your friends are miles away. Technology purports to connect us but there is still nothing that can substitute for gathering around a table and sharing a meal and the stories of your life. Priceless.

WOTD: Never Never = Australian outback, middle of the country where no one lives.

Posted by AnneAuntie 08:00 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Random!

A scheduled unscheduled day

sunny

Annie: Today was totally random. We just walked around and did stuff, spur of the moment. We went to the aquarium.
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and then we went into the imagration museum and i tried on a kimono.
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after we got back from Aunties wash, blow dry and mani, we got ready to see guys and dolls, and i think that it was pretty awesome.

Word of the Day: we are running out of words so i will have to get back to you on that

Auntie:

At long last, a day that only had one scheduled activity and that was the London West End production of Guys and Dolls at the Princess Theatre. The Princess Theater has been in continual operation since 1857 and is listed by the National Trust of Australia and is on the Victorian Heritage Register.

But since the show was not until evening we had one entire day stretching before us to do with as we wanted. Over a full on buffet spread brekkie we decided to take in the Aquarium in order to see some of the aquatic wildlife we missed seeing during our abbreviated snorkeling adventure at the Great Barrier Reef. We also had John, the superb Westin concerige book up some beauty treatments for both of us; Annie's secret treatment at 2pm and Aunties much needed hair wash at 4pm. I was in serious danger of scaring the natives with my hair! Auntie had also seen that the Immigration Museum had a kimono exhibit from Melbourne's sister city, Osaka, Japan and thought Annie might have a go at dressing up in a kimono. By sheer coincidence the Immigration Museum was on the way back from the Aquarium so in we went.

Lunch was at Melbourne's best sushi train restaurant which continued the motif of fish and Asia. And then it was onto the aforementioned beauty treatments.

Before the theater we picked up our tickets and assorted prezzies that came in the ticket package and had a pre-dinner bite at Oyster's around the corner. Annie declared the chips at Oyster's to be the second best we have had in Australia and as our official chips taster she would know!!

Guys and Dolls was non-stop singing and dancing from the moment the curtain went up until the final bow by the ensemble. Lots of laughs and your basic love story kept our attention throughout the preformance. But after all the walking we had done during the day and the lateness of the night we were ready to once again call it lights out and sink into those heavenly beds.

WOTD: Prezzies = Presents or gifts

Posted by AnneAuntie 08:49 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (0)

Another State

from the top to the bottom

sunny 59 °F

Auntie:

Another travel date, another State in Australia, Victoria. Here it is really easy to say my mantra of “I have arrived, I am home” as this was home for many happy years. The three hour flight from Cairns to Melbourne was pain free. Although the plane was not equipped with those personal videos sets Annie has come to like so much it was still an easy trip. Ian Grubb, a friend and previous business client, picked us up at the airport and after suggesting we rug up drove us into the city. Seemed a bit silly as the temperature was warmer than the Oregon summer we left.

The Melbourne skyline has exploded with new high rise apartment buildings in the past three years. The downtown section was the same lovely mix of late Victorian sandstone buildings in shades of ochre, devon cream and chalky white. The Westin, sitting smack dab in the middle of the CBD, prides itself on being an oasis of calm and it lives up to its aspirations. The room had the largest marble bathroom we have seen on this trip, not to mention all sorts of interesting buttons, switches and lighting devices. Definitely could get spoiled here!

img_gameon_brand.gifBut no time for that as tonight is the Game On exhibit at the Australian Centre for the Moving Image. Imagine, as no photography is allowed, a long hall filled with all your favourite video games starting with Pong and going through to Wii. I looked vainly for “Spyhunter” a personal favourite from years back but no luck; must be a Wahoo only game. We stayed until almost closing time and then back to the hotel and collapse into the “Heavenly Beds”. Ahhhhhhhh.

WOTD: rug up = put on your coat, scarf, hat and glove to ward off the chill.

Posted by AnneAuntie 08:42 Archived in Australia Tagged family_travel Comments (1)

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