Tuesday, December 27, 2011

Four Christmases

she said:

Dec. 24 - A Very German Flying Fox Christmas

After an almost empty hostel the week we got back to Katoomba, an influx of backpackers who couldn't afford the astronomical Sydney Christmas hostel prices made the 24th a very busy day. In the spirit of the holidays we organized a dinner and spent the day grocery shopping, chopping things, mixing things, bar-b-que-ing things, and eventually eating and cleaning things. All I wanted for Christmas was a basic understanding of the language being spoken by 40 out of 50 guests: German.

Dec. 25 - A melancholy Christmas

After the excitement of the day before I was looking forward to a very low-key mini Christmas dinner with just our foursome of current hostel regulars/afternoon card group: us, the Dutchman with all the music already clothed in Christmas sweater, and adopted English daughter of the Flying Fox hostel. The overflow of Christmas hostel guests made disappearing or getting enough kitchen space to make things like stuffing a full on effort. We ended up tired and a little over wrought, but at least we had the outside hut mostly to ourselves thanks to some Christmas rain.

Dec. 26 - Other people's Christmas

Being in a time-zone that's a day ahead of most of our family and friends, this was the day we got most of our holiday greetings. It was a good day for catching up with family, catching up on sleep, and catching some time away from the hostel for a couple hours.

he said:

Dec. 27 - A very Merry Katoomba Christmas

Really an oven in a private kitchen is all it takes to feel like a normal human being again. We were fortunate enough to have friends currently staying in an apartment in Katoomba which afforded us these not-so-long-ago standard services and an invite to a belated Potluck Christmas dinner.  The spread was massive, including but not limited to: a properly glazed ham, roasted vegetables, cheese and bread platter, coconut chicken sausages, and chocolate mousse.  I tell ya, my weekly shower count does not accurately reflect my appreciation for finely prepared foods.

she said:

Please let everyone's Chrismas(es) have been full of food and joy. Thank You to everyone in Katoomba (and at home) who made our holidays so wonderful. Hello New Year!

Monday, December 19, 2011

Ocean's Twelve

he said:

Time to visit some friends!

While in Port Douglas we had the great fortune of meeting, working, and living with some really great Aussies, who just so happened to be finishing their stint in far north Queensland and returning home to the town of Cobden, near to the wondrous lookouts of the Great Ocean Road in Victoria, Australia.

They'd continually told us that home was a small town but I really didn't know what to expect.  In the end, the town doesn't really matter because we were there to spend time with a family that had already shown us an amazing amount of hospitality. 

she said:

Some days we were lucky enough to visit some of the sights touted by guidebooks and travelers alike as the most amazing in Australia. Other days we were lucky enough to just be in a real home with a great family.

The Grotto.

London Bridge. Apparently when the middle fell out there were people out on the end. They had to be air lifted off.

The Bay of Martyrs, and last but not least the 12 Apostles, by far the most crowded of the lookouts we stopped at.

The The Otway Fly Treetop Walk.

he said:

And then there were other days spent out on a lake leisurely drinking beers in pursuit of the most incredible trout I've ever laid eyes on.  On our first trip out with the tin boat it was hooked and there was a massive struggle to pull it in the boat.  I had the net in the water and I was trying to scoop it up when all the sudden it freaks out, darts under the boat and snaps the line.  Gone, just like that our emotions had sunk, water was flat, and the curses were flying.  I couldn't believe the size of it and I couldn't believe failed to get it in the net.  I can only imagine how my fishing partner felt he was the one who actually hooked it.  We made a few trips out after that but out excitement was never matched.  In the end it's probably better because had we put it in the boat it would have probably sunk on the way back to shore.  Then where would we be?

she said:

Now, back to backpacking, with plans for the next country underway (Bali, Indonesia Please!). A great big THANK YOU to our friends in Cobden for taking us in, showing us around, and making us feel at home. Hello holidays!

Tuesday, December 6, 2011

the Santa Clause

he said:

While in Adelaide I had an interesting conversation with a Scots(wo)man. She said something with which I could entirely agree. The conversation was regarding Perth, where the lass I was talking to had lived and worked for a large portion of her time in Oz. Without prompting from me she hesitantly admitted what I have been thinking for a little while, Australia's cities aren't all that different from each other, which is why we've been debating if the voyage across the continent to see a relatively small area is worth the cost and time.

What does that have to do with Adelaide? Well, having left on a train and gone directly from Melbourne to Adelaide I felt as if we had simply relocated to a different borough. We very much appreciated the contrasts though. For starters, we had a clean and friendly hostel and we could eat out affordably. These are the only things I need to make me happy.

Chinatown food court was the best bang vs. buck place to eat in all of Australia. I got an order of curry fried rice that you could ride a toboggan down and would need a chair lift to get back to the top.

she said:

Like Melbourne, Adelaide hosts some great museums with free entry, a lot of coffee stops, and good eats. In addition it boasts an amazing farmers market open 5 days a week, we ate a lot of fresh fare very cheaply. For entertainment we were lucky enough to be there the week of the Santa Fun Run, an Australia-wide charity event where thousands walked or ran in full Santa suit.

It's fun to run!

Flying Fox. Please let the weather stay nice, thanks My Place for being infinitely better then that Melbourne place, and hello Cobden.

he said:

Long Travels Tip: For myself and future travelers I highly recommend breaking up your adventures.  Try a spot of wilderness followed by a metropolitan area and know your comfort zones for when you need to restore sanity.