A Travellerspoint blog

By this Author: pixcee

Better Late Than Never!

Introduction April 2007

For anyone running across this, it may seem weird and a little out of order. I am writing this down almost 3 years after it has happened. Why? Well, frankly, it’s because I'm lazy. I put it off because I couldn’t decide how I wanted to put them together. I wasn’t sure if I wanted to finish writing them out by hand or on the computer. Now I have to go back into my travel journal and re-read it all. I don’t mind thought because I love remembering it all. My written journal isn’t finished either though and I had to write to Sarah, who I know kept really good notes about the places we stopped. I came back from my first big trip and I don’t think I documented things properly. As I write this part, I have yet to pull out my journal from whichever drawer it’s hiding in, collecting dust and pull together all my
photos, brochures & all the other fun stuff that I collected on my trip. I want to put everything together and have an actual written account of things before I completely forget it all, but I’ve always had an excuse for not finding the time. I went back to college and I’m taking Travel & Tourism and being in this course has made me realize even more how much of the world I desperately want to see. But in doing this, I also want to remember it all. Not just memories in photographs, but I want to remember the thoughts and emotions that I experience for each new thing I see. Who knows? Maybe I’ll never travel anywhere. Maybe I’ll travel everywhere. I at least know that I want as much of it documented as I can.

The things that I’ve learned from this last trip are:

-Pictures. Take LOTS and LOTS of pictures. The more the better and you can always sort them thru them after.

-Another thing is you should grab as many brochures and flyers and such from all the places that you visit as you can. I ended up making a giant scrapbook from all my photos and used all of those things as little decorations and such. They also helped out a lot when it came to remembering the places we visited.

-Also, keep with you a little notebook. It can be just a tiny one. Write down all the names of the places you stop at or even drive thru or by. There were so many glimpses of small places that remain etched in my memory and I have no idea where they were.

Next time….I will be better prepared :)

Posted by pixcee 14:45 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

June 2004

Sault Ste Marie, Ontario

-17 °C

Ahh…The Passport…A lovely little invention that causes more problems than it’s actually worth. Although at the price of getting one these days, they are worth a lot. The expense and hassle just to get it is ridiculous. Mine came in without too much trouble. JD’s on the other hand, didn’t come back till about 2 weeks before we were actually supposed to fly out. And to top it off…it came back REJECTED. Now what? We didn’t have time to try to mail another one; there was no way that we’d get it back in time. It had taken months just to get it back in the first place. Thankfully, his dad lives in Toronto and there’s a passport office not too far away. A small bump in the plans. All we had to do was leave a week early, drive to Toronto and get JD down to the office to apply for another one. Hopefully by going right to the passport office it wouldn’t take as long for it to come back. So we packed everything up and headed out early. About 7½ hours later, we were in the big city, and promptly the next day Jim brought Jay to the passport office to fight the lines and lines of people. They told us that it should only take a couple of days if there were no problems. We were left hanging, wondering if we would make the flight. The good thing that we had to fall back on was that there was another flight a couple of days later that we could get if necessary. There was nothing else we could do. In the meantime, Jim took us out around downtown Toronto to show us the sights. Although I had been to Toronto a few times before, JD hadn’t and it was very different from our hometown. It’s much bigger and busier and there is a lot more to see. We spent a good 8 hours one afternoon just walking around. The rest of the time we visited with his dad and did a lot of waiting…Long story short, the passport came in the day before we were scheduled to leave. PHEW!

Posted by pixcee 08:26 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 3 – 2004

Toronto, Ontario

-17 °C

I’d only been on an airplane twice before. And both times they had been small trips in small planes. This was a new experience for me. I’m a nervous traveler to begin with and I’ve always had a fear of flying. I honestly don’t even remember going through Toronto’s Pearson Airport at all. I don’t remember baggage, the terminal, or boarding the plane. There were so many airports that they all sort of blur together. I do remember pieces of the first leg of the journey. Toronto to Los Angeles. It was early afternoon when we left and was around dusk when we got to LA. Jay and I had a wing seat but the seats weren’t right up against the window. They were in towards the aisle more. This meant that even thou I had a window seat, I couldn’t really see very well out of it. I did get to see some mountains somewhere over the States though they only looked like small hills from where we were. I definitely remember LAX. Wow. That airport should be its own state! What a madhouse!! Going thru security was unnerving. Everyone looked so strict and suspicious of everyone. We had to put all our carry-on bags and belongings in the bins including our shoes and do the whole ‘metal detector thing’. They even swabbed my camera and when out of curiosity I asked why, they sternly said they were looking for bomb residue! It was very freaky. I don’t think I’ve ever felt so insecure. Because LAX is so huge, we had to catch a bus to the terminal that we were supposed to be taking off from. There was a layover, so we had just enough time to get ourselves together and find the right terminal. There were 6 of us; JD, his dad Jim (the man responsible for me even going in the first place), Jim’s father, Huey, Jim’s sister-in-law Bonnie & her daughter Sarah and myself. Sarah was 13 at the time, and it was also her first big trip so we were a big bunch of wide-eyed, unorganized people except for Jim. Thank god for him! He is meticulously organized or we may have ended up in Russia if he hadn’t been along to steer us in the right direction.
Our layover in LAX, I think, was about 3hrs. We had followed the sun over and it was now dark out. Most of the shops in the terminal were closed so there was not much to do but sit around. When we finally boarded the aircraft and it was no longer a plane. It was a jet. A very BIG jet. The biggest one I had ever been on and it was a bit freaky for me. Jay and I ended up in a middle row of seats this time and I was between him and a woman with a baby. My first thought, was “oh my god! I cannot sit beside a screaming baby the entire way there!!” This leg of the trip would take about 18hrs, provided we didn’t come crashing down into the ocean (something I was very afraid of happening). More and more people were boarding and to me it was feeling smaller and smaller. My mind was racing. All I could think about was sitting in this metal TUBE, flying over the ocean, how on earth was it going to stay up?! I was having a minor panic attack. I felt helpless because I knew I couldn’t just get up and run off the plane like I wanted to. I couldn’t get off the plane. I don’t like to be in situations I don’t have any control over! But I had to just deal with it. I put on my mp3 player and went into my own head for a bit, to mentally calm myself down. I was sure I was going to be sick. I remember grabbing JD’s hand and squeezing. The flight attendants did their little speech about the exits. The seatbelt light came on. We started to move. Slowly at first…then faster and faster till I could feel the nose lifting off the ground. It really is the most unusual feeling. I was kind of glad that it was dark out so I couldn’t see the outside world rushing by me. Once we leveled out, I let out a big breath that I didn’t even realize that I had been holding. I’m so glad that they showed movies the entire flight there. I don’t remember what any of the ones on the way over were, but it kept my mind occupied.. The baby beside me slept like, well, like a baby. I was in and out of sleep constantly. I was uncomfortable and chilly. My legs needed to stretch. My back was sore. There was no room to move. A few rows back a little girl about 6 years old cried and whined for what felt like a hundred hours. All in all, it was a pretty miserable ride. I just wanted to get off that plane. I had this huge fear that this trip just wasn’t going to be worth this horrible 18 hour plane ride. We were still following the sun over so it was dark the entire way. 18 hours of darkness is very strange. It’s like a never-ending night. You don’t realize it until you actually sit thru it. Just as I thought I couldn’t take it anymore, a small light started to shine thru the windows. I looked up at the map on the wall in front of us and it showed a small airplane coming towards a big mass of land We were there…and the sun was coming up. The longest night of my life was finally coming to an end. I leaned up as far as I could to see out the windows. My first view of Australia was of the sun rising over the skyline of Sydney. It was beautiful.

Posted by pixcee 08:29 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 5

Sydney Australia

-17 °C

We had crossed the International Dateline and lost an entire day. We had left on the 3rd and arrived on the 5th. If that many hours in the darkness weren’t enough to confuse a person, losing a whole day somewhere along the way, was definitely enough. The relief I felt as I stepped off that plane and into the terminal was enormous. It was like when Dorothy opened the door in Munchkin land and went from black & white to color. I remember the terminal was all shades of blue. And it was bright. The first thing I did was grab a Sydney guidebook off of a rack. There were a ton of young people with surfboards which to me was very stereotypical. The whole atmosphere in this airport was so much more laidback than at LAX. We stood in the long lines to finally gain entrance to this strange new country, and then made our way to collect our bags. The first thing I noticed when I stepped out the doors of the Sydney Airport was the air. And it was chilly. The cooler air woke me immediately. Even though I’d been restlessly snoozing off and on for hours; I really hadn’t slept in 20-some hours. It had been arranged that a driver, I assume from the travel agency was going to pick us up from the airport to bring us to our hotel. I think we were all a combination of excited and tired. The plan was to just get to the hotel, take a couple of hours to rest and then see what we could do for the day. After all, the day was just starting in Sydney. The driver loaded all of us and our belongings into his maxi-cab and took us for our first ride in Australia, on the wrong side of the road. For me, it was nerve wracking! My nerves were already pretty shot from the flight, then this. I had to look down most of the ride because I kept thinking we were going to get into an accident. And then we pulled up in front of the hotel. I really wish I had pulled out my camera and taken a picture. There was a doorman, in full tails, top hat and white gloves. He took our bags and ushered us into a beautiful lobby. I felt so grungy standing next to him. The lobby was beautiful. It was the nicest hotel I had ever stepped into and I didn’t feel like I belonged there. It was definitely something that I couldn’t have afforded on my own. We checked in and went up to our rooms. There were three rooms in all; JD and I in one, Jim & Huey in another, and Bonnie & Sarah in the last one. Walking into the room was another shock. They were definitely first class rooms. The bathroom was to die for. The tub was long and deep. The first thing I did as soon as I put my suitcase down was go into the bathroom and fill up that giant tub and had myself a nice hot bubble bath. It was exactly what I needed after the events of the past 24hrs. After that I felt renewed and ready to face our first day in Australia…

Posted by pixcee 08:31 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 5 - pt2

Sydney Australia

-17 °C

We all met in the lobby a couple of hours later. We were going to take it fairly easy the first day since we had just gotten there and we were all still pretty tired. We didn’t want to wear ourselves out on the first day! We headed off towards the shopping district area because Sarah wanted to do some shopping right off the bat. We walked to the Central Business District where there are a lot of fashion shops. We soon realized that people were slowly starting to disappear. Then we noticed that stores were starting to close. It was only about 4oclock. It didn’t take us long to find out that here, most things close really early. From early morning to about 4pm the streets are bustling, and then quietly the streets die. We started to head back to the hotel and managed to get into an arcade called the Queen Victoria Building. It was the fanciest shopping mall I’ve ever been in! The most amazing thing about this mall was the architecture. It was an old building and very ornately done. We didn’t buy anything there, the shops were way too expensive, but we took a lot of pictures and wandered around looking at all the stain glass windows and old paintings on the wall. There was even an old wrought iron spiral staircase that went up to a dead end ceiling. We browsed around there for a bit, but soon enough that closed up too. The only thing left to do was get something to eat and head back to the hotel. I don’t remember where we ate that day but I do know we were back at the hotel and snugly in bed by about 7o’clock! I fell asleep fast and slept soundly thru till about 7am the next day. We had to be up and in the lobby by 8am to start our second day.

Posted by pixcee 08:32 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 6

Sydney Australia

-17 °C

Up bright & early. Jim is a definite early bird. But now that we’d learned that most things close very early, we had to jam pack our days. Jim had gone thru the brochures and planned out things to do that day. We left the hotel in the cool sunshine. Considering it was the middle of their winter, it wasn’t too bad. We walked to an area called The Rocks for our first tour. We browsed around some small shops while we waited for the tour to start. The Rocks are a really old part of Sydney. The first area to be settled. It was very beautiful and our tour guide gave us lots of information. The most memorable story she told us was about an old woman that hid in this alleyway that she took us down. The old lady used to clobber passersby with a sock filled with rocks and then rob them! The streets in this area were mostly cobblestone. After our tour we stopped at a restaurant in the area for lunch. We ended up having a “friend” join us in the tree next to our table waiting for scraps. It was a giant magpie with big glowing yellow eyes. After that we wandered around some more shops for the rest of the afternoon till we had another tour. This one was a city bus tour. This tour covered the majority of the city and hit all the important tourist spots. It picked us up in The Rocks and went past Sydney Town Hall, Chinatown, Sydney Aquarium and Darling Harbour, The Sydney Tower, Parliament House, Hyde Park, St James & St Mary’s Cathedral, the Opera House, and thru historic Paddington. We stopped at Bondi Beach for about 20min. Just enough time to take some pictures and for me to fill up a bottle of sand and shells. We also stopped at Mrs. Macquarie’s Chair to see the view of the city skyline. And our last stop was at a place called The Gap. The Gap is a huge cliff area that juts out over the Pacific Ocean. We were allowed to walk around and take pictures of the sun setting behind the Opera House and Sydney Harbour Bridge. The sunset was beautiful and the whole tour was great. The bus driver was very comical and explained everything. It was probably the best tour we did just because of him. It was a great way to spend the first day.

Posted by pixcee 08:33 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 7

Sydney Australia

-17 °C

Up early again, and off to the Sydney Harbour waterfront. We had tickets for a boat tour called Matilda Cruises. The cruise took us around Rose Bay, Shark Island, Watson’s Bay & dropped us off at the Taronga Zoo. The boat cruise was ok. It mostly took us by all the rich people’s houses, which were all piled one on top of another along the bays. It really ruined the view. The zoo was much better thou. We were dropped off and had to take a lift up the side of a cliff because the zoo is on top. We grabbed some french fries to snack on before we hit the paths. The first path we walked down had an amazing view of the harbour and the city on the other side of it. One of the first things we noticed when we arrived in Australia was the difference in the flora & fauna. It’s VERY different from anything we have here. The trees are giant! The spiders are giant! The coolest thing that we got to do that day was go into an enclosed pen with kangaroos and wallabies and pet them! It was the first time I’d ever seen them let alone touch them! The zoo was huge, and very beautiful. We must have spent about 3-4 hours wandering around, looking at the animals, taking pictures. There was a lookout over a cliff that looked over the harbour and city of Sydney. We made sure to take a couple of group photos here. The view was beautiful.
After we left the zoo, the boat took us around the rest of the harbour…Darling Harbour, Cockle Bay & past the Sydney Aquarium. It dropped us back off at the Sydney Harbour and after that it was wandering and supper and back to the hotel for the night again.

Posted by pixcee 08:35 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 8

Sydney Australia

-17 °C

This day was FULL of walking, not that the other days weren’t, but I somehow managed to hurt my foot & walking on it was NOT very much fun. It was a great day, but not my favorite one on the trip because of that…

Today we walked down to Darling Harbour to see the waterfront in that area. There were lots of stores and restaurants with patios along the water. We looked thru a few tourist shops, and then headed to the Sydney Aquarium. Of course, everything was Finding Nemo themed because the movie had just come out and the kids LOVED it. I loved it!!  It was very cool. There were tons of giant tanks with all kinds of fish, big and small. They even had a small tank that we could stick our hands in and touch some weird creatures. I got to feel a starfish and a sea slug! It was great!!

There was this one area where you go down a bunch of stairs and come out in a glass tunnel that goes thru a giant tank with sharks and turtles and rays. So it’s like you’re under the water with them! It was the best part. The sharks would swim right over your head and right over the glass so that the only thing separating you from them was the small glass tube. We spend a while down there, taking lots of pictures. It was the closest I’d ever been to a real live shark and it was amazing. We made our way thru the aquarium and out onto the dock. Sitting on the edge of the dock you can see hundreds of small jellyfish floating around in the water. It was pretty cool. After we spent awhile there, we headed over to a place called the Chinese Garden of Friendship. It was a walled in garden that could have been smack in the middle of China! It was beautiful!! Bamboo trees, a big pond, and traditional looking Chinese buildings covered the grounds. The only way you could tell you were in the middle of the city was if you looked up you could see all the skyscrapers of Sydney towering overhead. We wandered around there for awhile too. I loved it. It was so relaxing. They had a building that you could go and dress in traditional Chinese costume. A couple little girls ran by in beautiful Chinese silk dresses. That pretty much took up most of the day…walking there and back and stopping at little shops along the way. My ankle was killing me by the time we had gotten back and from favoring it all day, the other one was starting to hurt too.

Posted by pixcee 08:37 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 9

Sydney Australia

-17 °C

Today we walked (I limped) back down to Darling Harbour again. It was another gorgeous sunny day. Jim & Huey wanted to see the National Maritime Museum and tour the big submarine that was docked there. It wasn’t really my thing but I hobbled along anyway. The museum was alright…I’m sure they enjoyed it more than I did. The submarine however was very cool. We got to go right down inside and see what it was like. Man! I’ve never been in an area so cramped before! I am downright claustrophobic!! But they had it set up like people were actually using it and even I can admit that it was pretty neat. We also did a tour back at Sydney Harbour of the Sydney Opera House and the Botanical Gardens.
The Opera House was beautiful. We weren’t allowed to bring our cameras into the actual performing rooms but they were gorgeous. The Opera House itself is a stunning work of art. After that we wandered over to the gardens next door. The flora & fauna in Australia is unlike anything we have in our country. The trees are so strange and GIANT!! The birds that we keep as pets back home fly free here. And we rounded a corner and up in the trees were hundreds of flying foxes!! Gigantic bats! Just flying around the tops of the trees and sleeping, hanging from them. It was definitely a sight to see. We didn’t get to spend a lot of time wandering around here before the sky clouded over and it started to rain. We took cover under a giant tree…and giant leaf and waited for it to subside a bit before heading back to the hotel. I was thankful for the rest that night……….

Posted by pixcee 08:38 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 10

Canberra Australia

-17 °C

Today we caught the train to Canberra Australia, the country’s capitol city. It was about a 4hr train ride. The further we went south, the chillier it got. I still can’t complain thou…it is the middle of their winter in July and compared to our winter, this is beautiful! We got off at the station, which was nowhere near our hotel so we had to call a cab. Well, this has to be the most memorable thing that we encountered in Australia. The maxi-cab pulls up and the driver gets out to help us with our bags. He seems a little odd….We all pile in and we’re off. This is where the fun started…The driver cranks the music which is crazy dance music. To top it off, he turned on a flashing rotating strobe disco ball light in the back of the cab where we were sitting….So we’re flying down the road (the taxi drivers are insanely fast here and not very steady on the road) blaring music, disco ball hanging from the ceiling, being thrown around the back of this cab giggling our faces off because not only was all this going on, but the driver was SINGING too!! At the top of his lungs. OMIGOD. When we got to the hotel I laughed soooooo hard. I really wish I had gotten a picture of that moment. It was priceless. If our intro to Canberra was any indication, we were going be sorely disappointed with what we were actually in store for. As I said, this is the country’s capitol. So pretty much everything here is political or has to do with politics & government. It was not a beautiful city like Sydney. It was BORING. We checked into the Novotel hotel and were only about a 5min walk from a shopping center. We decided to go there. It was dead. Most stores were closed and there were hardly any people there. We did a bit of shopping in the stores that were open and then went for something to eat. We just decided to head back to the hotel after that. The guys decided to go down to the hotel bar for a few drinks and I think I went to bed…that’s now memorable the first day in this new city was…..

Posted by pixcee 08:40 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 11 & 12

Canberra Australia

-17 °C

I’m combining these 2 days in Canberra because they are kind of a blur…I know that we did a lot more walking  We also ate a few meals at a restaurant called The Pancake Parlor. The BEST breakfast restaurant I’ve ever eaten at HANDS DOWN. I ordered...Ha-ha…the Canadian Breakfast. I know, all the way to Australia to eat a breakfast I could get in my own country. It was bacon and pancakes with fried banana…*drool* it was amazing. I also know that on the 11th we went to the Canberra Zooquarium.

It’s a small zoo/aquarium & I liked it a lot. I like all zoos thou. We also did more walking across the bridge, over the lake to some kind of Science Center. It was alright. It was more for kids thou. On the 12th we did a bus tour of the city. It started out of downtown and went to a place called Cockington Greens.

In the brochure it looked like model homes and buildings that were old and English looking. Well, it was...but not quite like we were expecting. It was a miniature village! There were all of these little tiny houses and major buildings in the world with little people. It was pretty cute. After that the bus picked us up again and took us to the Old Parliament Building, then the New Parliament Building. Then it took us around the ‘neighborhood’ that contained all of the world embassies. It was funny because the homes of the government people were MUCH bigger than the actual embassies themselves!! Typical… The best spot was the lookout on Mount Ainsley.

It overlooked the whole city, parliament buildings and the war memorial. Canberra is a city that was built in a valley, surrounded by mountains with a big lake in the middle. It was really beautiful from up there. The tour ended at the War Memorial. I wasn’t really looking forward to this. The whole tour had been pretty disappointing so far and war things just aren’t my favorite. I was pleasantly surprised. It was beautiful but sad. The displays were actual airplanes and tanks, army uniforms covered in mud and blood. After the lookout, this was my next favorite stop. Coming out of the War Memorial, the sun was just setting behind the trees and it was a beautiful, sobering moment.

Posted by pixcee 08:44 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 13

Albury Australia

-17 °C

We got up this morning and packed up everything again to get back on the train and head to Albury Australia – the family’s namesake…or so we thought! We gathered our bags and headed over to the tourist center attached to our hotel for breakfast. We called our cab again, (this time we had a sane driver) and headed back to the station. As we were sitting in the station waiting for our train, we noticed that our bags were being loaded onto a BUS! We were then told that the first leg of our journey was on a bus and we would transfer to the train after in a place called Cootamundra. After some confusion, we got on the bus only to realize that our first stop was at the bus station ATTACHED TO OUR HOTEL!!  We had just left there and caught the cab to the train station! Right back to the beginning….I could have slept in longer! All we could do was laugh at it. The bus ride to Cootamundra was nice. The scenery was beautiful and the ride was relaxing. Once we arrived, we hopped on the train to Albury. Now, of course, when we got off the train, there were a million pictures to be taken. Their last name was on EVERYTHING!

So after taking lots of pictures at the train station, we caught a cab to our hotel. The first thing I noticed in Albury was that it was a small town. We were finally out of the big city and in a smaller one. It was a nice change. The hotel here was smaller than the other ones we stayed in, but more quaint. The restaurant/bar next to the lobby had these really cool glass tables that were fish tanks with live fish in the bottom. We ate supper at the hotel that night and just had an early night. The boys all went down to the bar to have a few drinks and hang out. I went to bed.

Posted by pixcee 08:50 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 14

Albury Australia

-17 °C

The next morning, JD & I got up fairly early and wandered down the street from our hotel to a little coffee shop/breakfast place to have something to eat together. I was the first time that we had left the group alone. The town was just waking up and it was very quiet. It was a bit chilly, but the sun was shining brightly and the air was fresh. We ate our small breakfast and headed back to the hotel. The group was almost ready to head out for the afternoon. It isn’t a very big city, and really, the only reason we went there was because it ‘belonged’ to the family ;) so we weren’t sure what there was to do. We wandered down the main street, passed the place where JD & I had eaten breakfast, passed lots of little shops. We went into a museum to see if there was anything on the history of Albury. They wanted to find out if there really was any connection to the name of the city and the family name. We couldn’t find much information on it. We think that it was named after a boat…but not totally sure. I stopped at a small t-shirt store and had a pink baby tee made up for my niece with a little koala bear on it. We then made our way over to the Albury Botanical Gardens.

The sun had disappeared and it had cooled off a little bit more. It started to rain a little bit but it only lasted a minute or two, and then stopped again. We wandered around the gardens a bit and took some more pictures. There was this one area of bamboo shoots that were all carved by people. It was kind of sad to see the things all carved up, but it also looked kind of cool because they were ALL carved…

After the gardens, we decided to head back to the hotel and find a place to go for supper. The people at the hotel told us that there was a good restaurant across the street from the hotel so we decided to go there. We walked over and were sat at our tables. When the menus came, they weren’t in English! Since we couldn’t tell what anything was on the menu (other than expensive) Bonnie, Sarah & myself just asked if we could get spaghetti with sauce. JD ordered some strange German beer but didn’t finish it because he said it was gross. It HAS to be gross for him not to drink it!! We ate our supper then just headed back to the hotel. When I got back, I found a note under our room door from the front desk. Earlier in the day, I had tried to call a friend of mine that lived in Melbourne, about 3hrs south of Albury. She had called back while we were out and said that she and her husband Micheil were going to drive up to Albury to see me! YAY!! The only problem was that it was really late already and they were still 3hrs away! They didn’t end up getting to our hotel till about 1:30am and only got to visit for a little bit. Micheil had to be at work very early the next morning so they couldn’t stay over. It was so great to see her and catch up. It had been years since we had last seen each other. And I finally got to meet her husband. They stayed till about 3am then left. It was sooooo great to see them. And it made staying up half the night well worth it.

Posted by pixcee 08:51 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 15, 16 & 17

Albury, Sydney, Brisbane Australia

-17 °C

We got up nice & early the next morning, very very tired, and made our way to the train station again. This was going to be the longest couple of days so far.

11:35am - We left Albury on the train & made our way back to Sydney. After 7hrs on the train we arrived & made our way back to the Radisson Plaza. We were checking into our hotel only to sleep and then get up bright & early again, to catch yet another train, this time north to Brisbane.

11:35 am – we left Sydney on the train

6:30 pm – we arrive in Casino. Here we have to jump on a bus to take us the rest of the way to Brisbane. Up the Gold Coast, through Surfer’s Paradise. I wanted to see Surfer’s Paradise sooooooo bad. Unfortunately when we passed through it, it was pitch black out. All I got to see were the lights of the city & the cars around us.

10:30 pm – we arrive in Brissy. Caught a cab to our hotel, The Carleton Crest, which was another jaw dropper. Absolutely beautiful. I felt like a hobo walking in the lobby. Gold trim everywhere, shiny floors, business people running around and we stumble in after hours on a train and then a bus. It was great. We got settled in our rooms then all gathered in Jim & Huey’s room to try to decide what things we wanted to do while here.

Posted by pixcee 08:52 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

July 17

Brisbane Australia

-17 °C

We decided that the first two days there, we were going to spend with the family that lived there. This was the whole reason for the trip. Huey has 2 sisters that live in Brisbane & he wanted to see them. The coolest part of this city is the public transport system. You have the option of a bus, train or ferry to get around. The best part was that it only cost $4.00 for a ticket for the ENTIRE day and you can hop from one mode of transport to another as many times as you like!! We got our tickets and got on the train/subway. I can’t remember the name of the station that we got off at but the relatives picked us up there and drove us back to their house. The day was beautiful and we all sat outside on the patio and chatted. The barbeque was fired up and we had a BIG supper of homemade Australian food.

It was the best meal we’d had so far!! We hung out there all day. They were great! We took lots of pictures of the family all together. At the end of the evening, we all said our goodbyes, which were pretty sad then headed back to the train station to catch the train back into the city. When we got back, we decided to take a few pictures in front of the city hall, which was right across the street from our hotel. As we were taking the picture, a homeless guy came over and tried to put his arm around JD so he could be in the picture too. It was pretty gross and the guy stunk like alcohol. I’m surprised that JD kept his cool and didn’t knock the guy out! It was kind of funny thou….but don’t tell him I said that! After that, it was back to the hotel and bed!

Posted by pixcee 08:55 Archived in Australia Comments (0)

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