A Travellerspoint blog

Lake Takepo

The colour of the water is not artificially enhanced!

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That's Mt Cook in the distance

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Lupins are the wildflower here, nice shot!

Posted by Josi 03:55 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Fox Glacier & Franz Josef

Ice hiking and helicopter ride

Enjoyed a 4 hour hike with ice spikes or "clamps" attached to the hiking boots trekking over the ice glacier at Fox Glacier. The guides stayed well ahead with axes to chip away at man made steps out of ice. The blue colours through the ice were gorgeous and found hearing about the formation of the glacier so interesting..it gains 1 metre a day! The following day was spent in Franz Josef another glacier town, where it was time to splurge and take a half hour helicopter ride to the top of a snow covered mountain, for a helicopter landing and an opportunity to get out and walk around on the snow, it was a chance to sing out 'the hills are alive with the sound of music' but I resisted! Starting to love riding in a helicopter!! Where we landed was directly across from Mt Cook, the tallest mountain in Australiasia, rising above them all at 3755m.

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Half way up Fox Glacier

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After landing on top of mountain by helicopter

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Glacier from the helicopter

Posted by Josi 20:47 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

Queenstown

Gotta check this place out!

sunny

I had been pre warned about Queenstown, that I'd love it, and how true. The Remarkables were named that for a reason, still plenty of snow on their tops, not enough for skiing but aparently there's the extreme skiiers that are still up there getting helicoptered in for a few short runs. Well took advantage of this adventure capital with a luge ride down the mountain, followed by the Shot Over jet on the Kawarau River, a helicopter flight to the top of the river and white water rafting back down it. Our raft fortunately didn't top over which I was happy about but I was the only one that fell out however I still had a strong hold on the boat and managed to fling myself back in. Queenstown is just magnificent, its very trendy and full of cafe's and bars and shop after shop of adventure booking companies. My only regret is not doing the bungy.

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Queenstown

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Shot of the town and the Remarkables

Posted by Josi 20:43 Archived in New Zealand Comments (0)

New Zealand

Milford Track

sunny 23 °C

4 days and 3 nights of trekking the Milford. What a wonderful experience, and one of the best yet. The track hugs a stunning turqoise river for the first 2 days where you are surrounded by beech forest, moss covered stones and plenty of small river crossings and waterfalls. The weather was perfect, not a single cloud for the first 2 days. I was told that 2 days of the month are rain free days, the rest rains every day, so we were all very lucky to experience weather like that! The clear river was just so inviting that I donned the swimmers and head over for a swim however that river water was fed from mountains, so really it was melted snow, so got the ankles wet and that's about all, oh, and the sand flies nearly ate me alive so was out of there pretty quickly!

Day 3 and it was all uphill to the top of the 1200m high mountain. With a 25kg pack and the pouring rain this was going to be a challenge! At the top there was a small hut for all of us independent hikers to get shelter from the elements..what a sight to walk into a tiny hut full of rain soaked trekkers holding mugs of coffee! It was blissful. Down hill was pretty dangerous, you wouldn't find a track quite like it in Queensland there would be handrails at every corner! The trail was steep and the track was mainly loose rock where in many parts with water cascading over it, I only fell 3 times I thought it would have been way more than that. Seeing that hut at the end of the day was such a relief, I had eaten half a packet of Nurofen to take the pain away from my knees so my dinner of rice and instant Mongolian Lamb was just scrumtious!

Final day, day 4, we all awoke to an earthquake at about 4.45am. I had never experienced that before and admit feeling pretty scared laying in my sleeping back with the hut shaking. But that was the alarm clock for the day so it was a very early start. Passed so many huge waterfalls on the final day that I was taking them for granted. Day 4 must have been that second sunny day that we were told about, it was perfect, and finished the 18.5km last day hike around 1pm in plenty of time to take all the wet clothes out of the pack and lay them in the sun waiting for the 2pm boat to take us all back to the mainland ready for the cruise around the Milford Sound.

Here is the link to prove that we all did wake up to a 5.9 earthquake: http://www.geonet.org.nz/earthquake/quakes/2829153g-maps.html

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Clinton Valley

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River that ran parallel to the path

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Posted by Josi 20:02 Archived in New Zealand Tagged ecotourism Comments (1)

The List

One more thing to cross off

overcast 20 °C

For a while now, I've been accumulating a list of things to do before I die. And am proud to say that I have one more thing crossed off. Swimming laps at Icebergs, Bondi Surfclub! Unfortunately my timing was a bit off and the time of year being May, meant the water temperature was a very frostly 17 degrees, I guess that's why they call it icebergs. Being not a cold water type it took a fair bit of focus to stay in the water as I climbed down the ladder, plus there were quite a few spectators viewing from the bar upstairs, so an immediate evacuation would have been embarrassing. Well I managed 6 laps of the 50m pool, the shock to the body was extreme and had difficulty feeling my limbs. Anyway, after a lovely hot coffee I was rather pleased with myself, here's the photo evidence!!

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The anticipation of a heart stopping experience

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Proof!

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Relief

Posted by Josi 23:27 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

Sabah, BORNEO

PIS Conference 2007

sunny 30 °C

SINGAPORE
Singapore has changed quite a lot in the 10 years since my last visit. There appears to have been plenty of renovation with sections I remember differently, now having rows of new wine bars and very trendy restaurants, the public transport is new, very cheap and reliable and the locals even look more fashion conscious! One thing hasn’t changed though and that’s the insane price of wine here, a glass will cost you as much as your meal, but they serve up the Aussie stuff, so its definitely quality! Anyway, I’m impressed with the new Singapore, maybe its the Chinese economic boom, but its sure inspired me to visit again.

We spent our first day (with a long awaited visit) to the Singapore Zoo. I’ve been raving about this place to Kev for years, and finally got to take him. Its better than before, and more beautiful. How they have managed to keep those animals in without fences is amazing, but they have done a marvellous job with this place and I recommend it to everyone. We finished our first day off with the traditional Singapore Sling at Raffles Hotel, a Singapore icon. It was nice but paid twice as much as anywhere else just for the experience, but Raffles is lovely and I’d like to be able to afford to stay there just once in my life, so I’ll add that to my ‘to do’ list.

SABAH
Selamat Datang – “welcome”. The people here in Borneo are full of big smiles and nearly every person on the street will say hello with a big cheesy grin. Its such a friendly place. The town of Kota Kinabalu doesn’t have too much appeal but the highlights are elsewhere. Of course the food is sensational and Kev & I have done the market place and had our fair share of banana fritters and fresh out of the wok Nasi Goreng.

We spent our first day of arrival in what seemed to be a monsoon, never quite seen rain like it, but was an excuse to work out in the gym, spend 2 hours at the buffet, check our money situation on the net, book in for a traditional Borneo massage, and finish the day with a couple of Long Islands!

Day 2 was a ferry over to the islands for an overnight stay. The islands here are so thick with jungle that its quite a sight to approach. With clear water, white sand and dark green jungle it’s a very beautiful sight. We enjoyed a BBQ lunch on the beach and some snorkelling, then stayed in our 2 storey bungalow on the beach to enjoy the awesome sunset, with a freshly cut coconut to drink. The sun going down over an ocean is always a sight! The following morning we probably spent an hour with pieces of wood pulling plastic bags out of the water and cleaning up the beach. There is a fishing village not far from the islands where the houses are built on stilts over the water, the rubbish from these people must get swept out to sea and end up on the islands, we were frustrated the workers on the island weren’t doing much about it, so we did our own bit for clean up Borneo day.

Day 4 we met up with Kev’s business partner & wife and several other friends for a 7am flight over to Sandakan. Our guide took us all on a visit to the birds nest cave, which was very interesting. These little birds make nests out of their saliva in the very top of the 100m high cave. The workers climb up and take the nests and are sold to the Chinese who pay a fortune for them, they believe these nests, when made into a soup with keep them youthful. The Chinese will eat anything! We continued onto along a very bumpy dirt road for a couple of hours to the Kinabatangan River where we boarded a very long canoe type boat with an outboard and sped up the river to the River Lodges. These lodges have had quite a few famous people stay at them, including David Attenborough. In the afternoon we took the same boat up the ‘magic river’ in the hope to see the Proboscis monkey in the wild. We were extremely lucky as we saw heaps of them, the large males with their big noses were putting on a show. We were very fortunate to see one Orang Utan sitting up in the canopy, this is very rare to see them in the wild, and with the binoculars it was just amazing to watch. This was the highlight of our trip. We also saw a crocodile in the water, plenty of Macaques, a snake, and lots of brightly coloured Kingfishers. There were some elephant tracks as well, but not that lucky to see one drinking from the river. We spent the night meeting some new lovely people drinking Tiger Beer and had a wonderful night. On our way to the river huts, we came across a group of Macaque monkeys on the ground, we had been told not to show your teeth or stare them in the eye or the whole group will attack you. Well, these guys weren’t impressed by our presence and we kind of stood there for a bit until one charged us, and sent us running, would have been funny to watch! We slept under mosquito nets listening to the wild life, it was a great experience.

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Macaque Monkey

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Macaque Monkey

The following day was a 5.30am start to get on the road early to visit the Sepilok Orang Utan Rehibilitation Centre. That was the plan, until the smell of oil filled the bus about 30 minutes into the trip along the dusty bumpy road and that was the end of that. We watched our poor driver come out from under the bus completely covered in oil trying to fix the..as he put it ‘hoss’, ‘the hoss is broke, very very sorry’. He tried and tried to fix it but we had to wait 2 hours until 3 taxis arrived to take us to the Centre. Anyway, the day could have been worse if the people we were with weren’t wonderful, so we chatted and joked around to make the day go by pretty quite. The Sepilok Centre was a little disappointing after seeing so many monkeys in the wild, but they are doing a wonderful job rescuing orphaned Orang Utans and have a great park.

Well have finally checked into the Sutera Harbour Resort for the conference. Check out the resort at http://www.suteraharbour.com this place is huge and the nicest place Kev & I have ever stayed in. There’s a 50m Olympic pool just in front of us, so I’ve no excuse now! Probably won’t be updating the blog for a while now as it will just be all about eating, drinking, swimming and meeting new people. So until later, Terima Kasi (thanks) for reading my blog.

LATER...

Well just signing off on this trip, met some wonderful people during this conference, enjoyed some lovely food, but glad its all over. Buffets for every meal and drinking and late nights gets a bit much after a while. Unfortunately our bag was stolen while we were at the Hyatt poolside, and there'll be no more photos of this trip as the camera has probably been sold by now! Both wallets were gone too, but we sorted it out as best as we could. As long as you've got passports and a back up plan everything else can be replaced. It was annoying as we are very careful on the street where ever we go, but being on private property you drop your guard, we saw the security footage and it was amazing how quickly it happened. Anyway we are over it and have learned from it. Next trip for this blog....TASMANIA IN MAY!!

Posted by Josi 00:17 Archived in Malaysia Tagged events Comments (0)

For the love of good wine, food, fun and friends..

Grape Grazing Festival, Yarra Valley

sunny 39 °C

Last year after our previous Yarra Valley experience, we decided to get a group together to attend this year’s Grape Grazing Festival (check it out at http://www.grapegrazing.com.au/) and add on some wine tasting, a meal experience at the famous Healesville Hotel http://www.healesvillehotel.com.au/files/index.html
and a night stay at the wonderful Tuck Inn http://www.tuckinn.com.au/home.html.

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Grape Grazers from left to right, Richard, Niklas (aka Necklace), Ana, Debbie, Jo, Kev, Jeffro

Good ol’ Kev, the brilliant organiser, made all the arrangements and 7 of us were on way in a mini van driven by you-know-who, headed to the vineyards! Apart from the heatwave everything went smoothly and we all laughed our way through the weekend. I think the highlight of the trip was when Debbie Croker jumped the serving counter at Medhurst Winery to hug and kiss the winemaker Ross, yes the wine was that good. Have a look at their website http://www.medhurstwines.com.au/website/default.asp

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Debbie jumping the wine maker!

Also, I must use this space to say that we visited Medhurst simply by accident as it was next door to Coldstream Hills. The Cellar door manager of Coldstream yelled to us from the hill blurting out that they did not want buses, (well we did consider our little bus more of a people mover) – and we were the only ones there. We’d have preferred a rejection delivered in a nicer way, and if only he’d let us in they would have sold a couple of cartons easily..(never mind, one of our grape grazers watered his tree on the way out). Anyway, these Coldstream Hills drinkers are not anymore, so next time, try the Medhurst instead!

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Killara Estate - Ana & Niklas enjoying the Cuban sounds

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Killara Estate

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Some familiar grape grazers at Killara

Other highlights were:
The delicious meals at Healesville Hotel accompanied by an enormous wine list including international wines, which were selected by our personal sommeliers, grape grazers Richard and Niklas. The service was attentive with attention to detail, the table was beautifully decorated with vases of red roses, candle light, and situated in our own dining room.

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Kev taking in the aromas of the Pinot, do you think he enjoyed his dinner??

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All of us at the Healesville Hotel

Breakfast the next day was in the communal area, all seated around the 3 metre long table. Eggs cooked anyway you like by the lovely Regina, even with a bit of black pudding on the side if you choose (and Kev chose!) she also serves up a very nice flat white too.

Niklas & Richard topped up their cellars at Oakridge Estate http://www.oakridgeestate.com.au/one/about.html, and Immerse http://www.immerseyourself.com.au/, between visiting the Acacia Ridge winery which was included in the festival. There, we bopped away to Wilbur Wilde playing his saxaphone .. Debbie managed this photo with him..

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Deb with Wilbur Wilde

With Jeff doing the directions, and Kev in the driving seat..

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Kev Driving

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Jeff doing the directions

..we managed to get back to the airport safely. It was definately up there with one the best weekends we've ever had, and to top off our luck Kev managed to get 4 guests into Qantas Club on his membership, by just sheer charm, so the early evening we enjoyed more indulgence. Then..it was back to reality!

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Final photo

Posted by Josi 23:08 Archived in Australia Tagged events Comments (0)

Tea Party!

High Tea at High Societea

sunny 28 °C

For my 30th my friend Jess shouted me an afternoon of High Tea at High Societea, Clayfield .. (check it out at http://highsocietea.com.au). What a great excuse to clean ourselves up and don a dress, heels and makeup for an afternoon of being ladies. The venue was beautiful, with roses being quite the theme, not only wallpapered inside the restaurant, also painted on plates hung on walls, and in vases on each table, and in every colour. White linen napkins, silverware, and beautiful painted tea cups and saucers set the table, we felt like we stepped into a Jane Austin novel, except we added our own touch.. a bottle of Pink Sparkling Wine! .. well it was a warm day!

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Inside the restaurant

Our order came out in a 3 tiered frame holding 3 plates of different courses (covered in rose petals of course!). Bottom plate.. cucumber sandwiches, rolled asparagus sandwiches, mini quiches and frittatas. 2nd plate, mini scones, with home made jam and King Island cream, and pikelets. And the top plate, chocolate mousse (which had melted by the time we got to it), and little cakes and slices. Oh, and a pot of Lady Grey Tea, no Earl in the picture today.

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Jess wondering how she's going to fit it all in her belly

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Close up shot of the 3rd course

Our ladylike dresses had stretched, the wine gone to our heads, and the 2 hour sitting had finished and our afternoon of High Tea had come to an end. I definitely recommend a sitting at High Societea Clayfield for an afternoon of indulgence with the ladies, and just a great reason to wear that pretty dress.

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Us looking like ladies for a change

Posted by Josi 18:14 Archived in Australia Tagged events Comments (0)

Jo's 30th Birthday

Tandem Sky Diving at Suttons Beach Redcliffe

sunny 25 °C

Well turning 30 is a pretty big thing, no more 20's, time to start acting grown up. I don't like planes, and am not a keen fan of heights either, so why not celebrate this new journey of my life by jumping out of a tiny plane at 14,000 feet in the air?? Well, it was a thrill I must say, a thrill I have no intention of experiencing again, but for those 65 seconds of free fall I felt every nerve ending in my body. My lungs got a serious work out too, I managed to let out an extremely loud, ridiculous girly scream for the whole free fall, lucky no one could hear me..well except for the guy strapped behind me. Anyway, for those contemplating a jump, just do it!! But don't let the look on my face deter you!

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I was seriously reconsidering at this point

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I had to hang my body out of the plane, no turning back now!!

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I'm flying

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The look of absolute terror

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Oh..my..god!!

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It's OK..but I'll just scream a little bit more..

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The parachuting was so nice, after free falling for 65 seconds, I liked this alot!!

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Its all over! Phew..

Posted by Josi 19:14 Archived in Australia Tagged events Comments (0)

Arty Farty

My ever critical mind

I wish I had the skill of producing original inventive art..but that creator in me is hard to find, so, I trust in my skills of copy cat for the moment, until the creator shows herself. I've done some paintings that I've seen on the web, however, I'd love to sit in front of the blank canvas and let the end product just emerge. So, this weekend, I decided to force myself to draw again, I've started small, with some pen and ink drawings of lillies & frangipanis, and although I'm pretty impressed with them, its hard to stop the internal critical dialogue. I think I'll use this section to keep dumping my thoughts and try and keep myself inspired, I've attached my favourite pieces of art that I've painted, the first frog is what did for my little sister..I like him!

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Painting given to Jess - 30th b'day

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Painting given to Tracy - b'day

Posted by Josi 02:37 Archived in Australia Tagged events Comments (0)

Palma de Mallorca .. Majorca

The Germans!!

sunny 28 °C
View Spain on Josi's travel map.

Arrived within 35 minutes by Spanair from Barcelona. Picked up our Avis hire car, a little VW Polo diesel, very nice, I like the button at the back for the boot. Kev quickly realised it was a manual, oops, opposite side of the road, opposite side of the car, and changing gears..nope, we had to upgrade to an automatic which ended up costing us a motsa. The signage on Majorca is fantastic, plenty of signs at every turn so we picked a town to stay in for our first night through seeing a pretty photograph in my guidebook and drove straight to Colonia de Sant Jordi and scored a hotel on the ocean inclusive of breakfast.

This place is little Germany, we have been told there are actually more Germans in Majorca than Spanish. We can see why, there was no English translation on any tour/excursion sign or menu, the Spanish staff only spoke German, every single conversation we heard was German, without a word of a lie. Very bizarre.

Majorca has approximately 80 coves/inlets, that are calm, turquioise, clear water, with pure white sand. Some are a fair way in from the coast and often there are yachts moored. It is such a heavenly place. We took our map and explored several of these coves on our first day, I think Kev was pleasantly suprised at the freedom the Germans seem to have with their bare bodies today!! We got some supplies at the Supermercado and were entertained from our balcony by the Spanish singing duo by the pool who sang continuous old English songs, such as 'Tie a Yellow Ribbon around the old oak tree'..get the idea?? But it all sounded very bad, to try and explain, if you heard a song in another language and tried to copy it, that's how it sounded. Anyway, we laughed at their expense for some time.

Day 2: Checked out of the 'Guten Morgen' hotel and drove north. Majorca changed into a busy, Surfers Paradise in the north, we really didn't like it, and was very different from the south. So we found accommodation and the next morning set off south again.

Day 3: Visited some more coves on the way down and had a bit of rain, but at the last cove was getting sick of driving and just wanted to find a place to stay. I was keen on going back to Colonia but Kev said, let's have a look over this hill...great decision!! Paradise unfolded, and before us lay a magnificent place for lunch, which happened to have accommodation!! We were upgraded to the suite and for heaps cheaper than we've paid for crappy accommodation we got the best room in the house, with 180 degree views of 2 coves and the ocean with breakfast and dinner included! We've always been of the opinion that the accomm. doesn't matter, its only a place to wash and sleep..until today, it did matter.

Day 4: Spent our last day laying in the sun. This was actually our first full day of doing nothing in 5 weeks, so we really enjoyed it. Tomorrow we set off on a never ending journey home to Australia.

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Typical cove, Southern Majorca

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The best Paella!

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Houses

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View from our hotel - last 2 nights

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Last photo of our trip - Majorca

Posted by Josi 11:12 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Roses

semi-overcast 21 °C

Took local bus to Roses, another seaside village, not as nice as Cadeques but wanted to see it, as also recommended by a friend to have a look at. Big marina, with lots of huge boats moored here, and have actually been spoken to a bit of French here today, shows how close we are to the border. Another 6 euro lunch with our baquettes and bottle of wine. Not much else to say about Roses, other than Siesta, even Burger King is closed!

Posted by Josi 07:21 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Cadaques

Our favourite day

sunny 25 °C

Have been looking forward to seeing Cadaques since planning the trip and was well worth the wait. Its another white washed village with terracotta rooves and blue or green window shutters, located in calm bay with a hill behind covered in olive trees. Also a bit of a Brit hang out, and image summer here would be pretty full on, but it was lovely today. We decided to hire a motorcycle scooter, and set off exploring all the little bays and coves around Cadaques up to Port Lligat. This is definately the best way to see this area, as there´s not many cars and the narrow windy hilly streets are so much full on a scooter!! A couple of times I had to close my eyes as Kev had it wound up to about 50 and was a little scary but the freedom of having the scooter was so much better than on foot. Anyway, bought some baguettes, cheese and chorizo and found a bay to enjoy lunch. Then decided to go to Port Lligat to see Salvador Dali´s house. This was magnificent, especially because it was guided and only let 8 people in at a time. It was built on a hill and was full of some wacky stuff, he was clearly obsessed with his wife Gala, and I reckon they may have had some pretty wierd parties from the photos we´ve seen, but it was really great, and we loved this day.

Booked tickets on the internet to go to Majorca Monday for 5 days until we fly out. Thinking about hiring a motorhome and staying in that, but will figure it out later.

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Beautiful Cadaques

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Our hire scooter, Cadaques

Posted by Josi 07:15 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Figueres

Salvador Dali

sunny 23 °C

After checking into our accom. set off to see the Salvador Dali museum. We have been recommended by two people to take the trip to Figueres, near the French border to see this museum, and it was well worth the trip.

Salvador Dali is much more than just a surrealist painter. To see his early work, his ink drawings, water colours, portraits, all before he got really adventurous, you can see how much artistist talent he has to begin with. Then he just gets wacky, a little overuse of the male & female genitalia in some of his sketches, and the man with female genitalia and vise versa, is also strange. But that is only a portion of his work. There is a room where he set up a couch the shape of lips, huge nose and enlarged paintings of Paris for the eyes, a floor to ceiling hollow hair style, then you walk up a tall ladder and look through a large magnifying glass to see what is a Mae West. Very clever! I got a photo and will put it on here when I can. There´s plenty of this kind of thing in the museum. We really enjoyed it and if it wasn´t for the large tour groups following the guide holding a ping pong bat with their tour group name on it, then it would have been even better. Its hard in museums and galleries with tour groups because normally a couple or small group will looking a painting and move on but when there´s a group of 30 and the whole story is told about the painting, then there´s no chance of seeing it. We´ve started to dislike tour groups in Europe, and have vowed never to be on one.

Anyway, Figures itself is quite lovely but have completely cashed in on Dali, the museum is actually quite cool from the outside too. Its a dark pink colour with gold emblems on it and the roof is lined with massive white eggs. Another photo I will get on here too.

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Outside Salvador Dali gallery - Figueres

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Favourite tapas bar

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Massive painting by Salvador Dali

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Drawing - Rock woman, Salvador Dali

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Famous Dali painting

Posted by Josi 07:04 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

Barcelona

English speakers at last

sunny 25 °C

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Looking out at the sea from Montjuic mountain overlooking the cable car ride

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Using the zoom to focus in on La Sagrada Familia (Gaudi building) from the Montjuic mountain

Day One:- Took our cheap Spainair flight via Scandanavia Air carrier and spent the first day on Las Ramblas watching all the street performers, gripping my handbag for sheer life, and taking in all the sights..continued down to the beach, to Barceloneta, lighter coloured sand for a change, lots of art structures and pieces on the boardwalk. Had to catch the Metro back as the old feet were screaming. Tomorrow we have a list on an A4 sheet of paper of things to do. We have 2 days to get them all done before we catch a train up to Figures to see the Salavador Dali gallery and continue onto Cadaques a small fishing village for a little rest before flying home.

Day Two:- Our pensiona was beautiful to look at but had no sleep due to the free internet computer just outside our room that was in constant use all night, backed up by the 24 hour reception of constant, filing, hole punching, phone calls, behind that, and the communal area that was in use. The lack of sleep put us in the mood to ask for a portion of refund for our accommodation which was equivalent to about $150/night Aussie dollars, they agreed on giving us back 10 euros, so we checked out, and found a much quieter place around the corner run by a lovely lady with no English but a really cute dog. We´ve put up with unclean, tiny rooms before but being sleepless on an expensive holiday is not on. Last night had absolutely beautiful Italian meal, served by a lad from Naples, even finished with a couple of Limoncello drinks from Positano, nice to have different food for a change. Something I haven´t mentioned before is there is not much multi culturalism in Spain, it wasn´t until we were in Malaga that we saw the first Asian person and a handful of Muslims with the head dress. There are no Thai, Chinese, Indian restaurants around, and it wasn´t until Barcelona that we saw a Kebab shop. Its strange, and weird considering we saw it all in Australia.

Anyway, set off to see some Gaudi buildings at the La Sagrada Familia, Cathedral, La Pedrera, and the Casa Batllo. We were totally Gaudied out, and I personally dislike it, but its different I guess. Finished the afternoon off at the Picasso Musuem. This was so much better than the one in Malaga, a huge amount of work from every stage of his life, and we started to appreciate his art alot more after this.

We are started to feel a little exhausted from the travelling and the buildings are all so beautiful but start to look the same after a while, we are looking forward to getting back out of the city soon.

Day Three: Set off to see some parks today and miscalculated our metro stop slightly and had to attack the park from the back which turned out to be a cliff face, climbed up part of it and ended up in some peoples back yard, to had to go all the way around. The park we visited was called Parc Guell, which was purchased by a Mr Guell who commissioned Gaudi to decorate it. It was lots of strange structures covered in mosaics, was quite different.

Set off to see the church with the large rose window in the world but were closed for siesta. Sometimes the 4 hour siesta can get a little annoying!! Anyway decided to head up the mountain which is called Montjuic, it housed the Olympics and Expo, and you could really spent a day wandering around it. We had planned to take the train straight up the hill to where you could get a cable car to the top to the castle, but misjudged the stop again (not having the best day) and had to walk to the stop (about 1 hour uphill), then realised that the cable car is being pulled down to put a brand new one in..(more cranes), and walked to the top to the castle where we enjoyed an icy cold beer and the view. Richard and Kevin from Madrid I´m sure will appreciate the climb we put it, its quite a way. Barcelona is huge especially viewing from a mountain, it is set in perfect squares .. my photo doesn´t show it, but have bought post cards showing all the squares.

Day Four: Spent last night at our favourite tapas bar, Navarra, said goodbye to our lovely lady and dog at the pensiona, and set off with our 25kg each suitcases to tackle the Metro without lifts. It was the most physically difficult experience I have ever had and Kev had to agree it was the most stressfull. The Metro is way underground, and there is no way you could live here in a wheelchair. We only needed to go one stop, but 3 hugh flights of stairs down across a platform, back up 2 flights across another platform, down 2 more flights, I´m not kidding there were more. Got the train 1 stop, up 2 flights of steps across a platform, up another flight, across and down and out to go back down to the Renfe station and buy a ticket to Figueures..a backpack would have been easier!

Posted by Josi 10:35 Archived in Spain Comments (0)

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