Here is Huan Hin reflections

In the luxurious resort called the Boathouse, we are spending the first day lazily reading, meandering along the criss-cross of pools that lead to the sea. A superb labyrinth of immaculately maintained crystal clear pools. Each house on the property has a ramp that unfolds into the pool. Impeccably blue, beautifully kept gardens sprinkled with coconut trees, palms, local trees offering colours, scents and a touch of Japanese influence. A delight to the eyes and the senses. At the end of the myriads of pools lay an infinity pool made of salt water. Warm, inviting and a view onto the ocean where the waves rhythmically break onto the small stone wall separating the pool from the sea. Idyllic indeed. All created for total well being and relaxation and big wallets.

We have been very fortunate to come here. A friend invited us to use her flat in this lovely setting. How could we refuse? The days so far have been spent just reading, eating, talking, exploring the local eateries, breathing the fresh sea air… A real change from the farm and all that it entails. Thanks to Tum!

In the end, walking around the luxurious condo, admiring the beauty of it all there is a feeling of “so what”? Doing it once or twice is fine, but the thought of doing it every day could become very quickly not only boring but sterile, even futile. One is sheltered from the outside word like in a cocoon. Yes, the blue limpid waters of the labyrinth pools are magnificent. At first there is certainly astonishment, awe, admiration in front of this super architecture, this feast of engineering and implementation. Somehow I feel a little out of my league in there.

But one thing is sure for a holiday it is just fine. Living here on an everyday basis ( the thought has crossed our mind) is definitely not our cup of tea. If everything is done for you what have you got left to do? Gossiping, spending money in shopping complexes, pedicure, manicure, hairdresser, massage, dancing, drinking, dinner parties and cocktails at someone’s place and endless chatter about nothing. Not my dream living. I would be missing the gardens, the cows, the animals and the mountains.

Everyday we taxied to Huahin to eat. So far, we discovered a great family restaurant called Deya Deli and we had the most lovely home cooking for quite a while. In between showers we get to visit the local supermarket and get a few provisions for dinner.

Deya Deli, was really nice but the waiter was too overbearing. Could not stop talking and his laugh sounded so fake with his contorted lips and and white teeth that he seems just out of a comic Thai film or some canned laughter from a sitcom. Jamie was relentless…that is what his mum called him. With is posh English accent and his perfect Thai he came straight out of boarding school into the restaurant business…not quite but almost. Spoke too much and invaded our little corner with his views of the world. Nice for a little while to exchange points of views, but he did no know where to withdraw gracefully and let us eat.

But the one thing that bothers me in this trip is the boredom. The boredom of seeing the world. It seems that I am not interested in visiting places, admiring temples, checking museums for the latest painting or work of arts, meandering down Oxford St, Sukumvit, Rue de Rivoli or the newer streets of Huahin to witness the same brand names, the same shops, the same opulence and affluence.

Down the streets of HuaHin the myriads of little shops selling the same colourful plasticky items made in China and the open drains filled with blue, yellow and white plastic bags. The cars with tinted windows splashing rain water onto the pedestrians and the little pavements full of misplaced tiles or holes. Traffic jams, clogged streets, fumes spurting out of buses, horns from impatient drivers, helicopters hovering over the town every 10 minutes, aeroplanes landing in the nearby airport, scooters two or three abreast at times race about with exhaust opened. I have a sense of deja vu. The layout of the town, the people, the smell, the buildings, I find myself in Phnom Penh. I know some of you will say: ” no way” – that does not resemble Cambodia at all. On the outer it does, but it is a fact that Khmer people are much poorer than Thais.There is not as much misery here as I have seen in my 5 years in Phnom Penh. That was many moons ago…some 15 years. But according to some friends still living there, poverty prevails at an alarming rate. I have not seen this in Thailand. But that is out a little out of my sphere right now.

One thing is certain is that in my experience the Thais that we have encountered are just lovely and easy to be with. Quite a contrast with the Vietnamese where one could feel the harshness that they have endured over the years of wars and occupation. Thailand has never been occupy by a foreign country for long. Except in the last World war briefly by the Japanese.

Where does this leads me in terms of my own feeling in these travels? Seeing family, yes always wonderful to be with them all. Sharing thoughts, food, excursions and some precious moment together. That is definitely a big plus. And that is what we have done.

But I am not any more into sightseeing. I think we we do not have the stamina anymore. And the thing that is really hard on us is the food. So many temptations, yes yummy! But after a while we just crave some simple food. Tired of French food, or English pub food or Thai curries and soups full of MSG. Home food is best and that is what we looking for right now. I think that we are ready to go home now after all this ranting.
Till next time.

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Up Up and away

On our way up… up and away,

This morning after getting up a little earlier, we pressed on to have breakfast. Tea first thing then my favourite Piccolo coffee… and Peter is the best coffee maker I have ever come across. ( of course I had to say that did not I ?) What a delightful brew he makes. Everything studied to a T. The right amount of coffee, the right grind in the grinder, the right amount of milk, the right heat under the little Italian Expresso machine and with all this attention he obtains a super coffee. I must this is my favourite time in the morning. I feel privilege to savour such a lovely made coffee.

The suitcases were ready from last night, the chickens were out early today, the dog was lucky to have a fresh bone before we went and Fripouille the cat also managed to get a big hug and a big feed.

Kylie and Angus arrived on time to pick us. Ready to go… with lots of eagerness we jumped in the car and off to the Station to drove. Arriving there we found out that the train was to be delayed at least an hour due to some road work on the tracks. We started to panic a little, but we had given ourself a good margin. In spite of the longer trip we had plenty of time to spare.

The plane was perfectly on time for a change. Left at 14h on the dot. We should be in Bangkok in good time.

High in the air the topography of this continent is just amazing. Arid, bleached, parched, sparse forests, but more dry that is what it looks like from above. Skies are clear and a deep blue fading to whitish in the far distance. A sort of haze envelops the horizon and everything fades away in a blue hue. The difference is hard to tell between the sky and the earth just at the zenith. It blends and melts. The grounds underneath my feet is just mosaic of rivers, estuaries, low mountains and as we just cross the gulf of Carpentaria, the water shines an uneven blue-green. Tiny boats can be seen down below. But the parched earth underneath makes you really see that Australia is a land of deserts and dry earth. Scare homes even in these remotes parts can be seen peppering the landscape. Just a few nautical miles after the shores of the Gulf, islands upon islands are scattered all around the path of the plane. They can be seen in their entirety or little bits of some and then the plane arrives again onto dry mountainous landscape. Miles upon miles the earth shows us her beauty and her uniqueness. Rugged, dry, rivers winding along it like giant snaked slithering along difficult terrain. Patches of green forests, dry lakes or salt lakes which appeared totally bleached from 10km above its surface.
It is scary and at the same time quite exhilarating to be able to witness such spectacle. But also what a privilege to see the planet from that far above. Of course, I have seen it countless times but it is always awesome to be reminded of your place in the universe.

It is not the first that we cross these magic landscapes, but every time it is an absolute delight to share such a wonderful and unique beauty.

With every mountains, rivers, oceans, cities or villages glittering in the day or night and you are leaving behind you know that you are a little closer to your destination. It is amazing how the world looks so small from the plane high above the in the sky. It is amazing how such an engine loaded with hundred of passengers, cargos and God knows what else can take us so far above the surface of the planet. it never stops to surprise me or enchant me and like a little girl I am ecstatic and truly in awe at modern man capacities, ingenuity, and amazing engineering to be able to make me witness such a kaleidoscopic sceneries.

So here we are in this Boeing 777 transporting us from Brisbane to Bangkok in 8h. All the magic of lying is laid bare at our feet. Just 10 km down. Just incredible! Even though we have made this trip countless time, from the seat on this plane there is always the feeling that the earth is for everyone. There is not a single nation that owns this. Yet, we carve the planet into tiny little pieces representing this country or that. From above for me these distinctions do not exist at all. I do not see pieces of delineated compartments belonging to this group of people or another. I do not see a carved up territory, i do not see races, I do not see colours, I do not see religions, I do not see any of that. I just see just a vast expansion of land, of earth, with its own typical mountain or rivers, with its own typical forests or plains, with its own sea or ocean and the billions of microbes, insects, birds, animals of every shape and sizes in fact the whole spectrum of life on earth all roaming upon it and above all that every human being is sharing.

The problem with human is that we want to possess, to acquire, to say that it is MINE. Just that little bit of paradise is mine. Is it? We fight for it, we kill for it, we conquer, mutilate, assassinate, ,torture, rape and pillage. Or the fun part, we pretend that we are descendent of some Gods and assume the role of King, Prince and all the tittles that go with the charade. We take it so seriously that we prolong this myth for centuries.

I am always amazed that folks actually venerate the queen of one country or another. Watching the news at times makes me cringe. What draw these people to this figure head? Why are they so attracted to some royals? I do think that there is some sort of mystic feeling or envy of the good old days. Days of our childhood where we have been told or read myths and legends, fairy tales and stories and we fantasise about our prince charming coming to take us away into a magic castle and we live happily ever after.

These fantasies are kept live through the press and media in general and revive in us a sort of flame of better times: Ha! the good old days! But in these good old days you could have been a destitute peasant begging his lord for mercy or some slave totally enchained to his master. But obviously, we do not want these sorts of image at all do we? We prefer to continue the myth that all is rosy and that we are neither beggars nor slaves but some knight in shiny armour or some princess being rescued from poverty and marrying a rich prince. Oh boy! Is that why we venerate some how the Kings and Queens of this world and entertain in our petty mind all sorts of totally erroneous images and connections? In other words a total illusion.

Forgetting in the identification of the moment that these royals are leeches on the public purse, parasites, pay no taxes, live in great pump, flicker their hands to wave to the proletariat as if some Gods, oh and please do not touch them…no, they are not humans and to touch them would be blasphemy I suppose.

One day one our prime Minister committed this horror, Prime Minister Keating had the audacity to touch the queen of England in one of her tours. The newspapers were full of it. Outrage burst out and it was a scandal for days on end. Yes, they are some Gods and to even think of touching them would be committing a crime. In the olden days one might be hung I suppose or decapitated. But that is not that bad today. Only the newspaper get outraged on behalf of the ruling class.

And my next question is: who had the audacity and authority suddenly to elevate themselves to some status.? Were not they some highway robbers amassing wealth, conquering, submitting people to their rule? They invented a word or 2 or 3…King, Queen and all the affiliated pompous followers were given some tittle.

What brought me to talk about all that? What distraction? Oh, yes flying over the earth brought about all sorts of connotations in my head. The vastness and the immensity of the earth made me realise how small we are as human in the scale of things. Very small indeed! We are a funny ( not many would laugh tho) race of creatures, I would keep the word funny but I find it not that inappropriate , better say weird, unique, bizarre, great and also so cruel. I guess the two sides of the coin are represented in what we are. The Ying and the Yang. It looks like on this earth everything seems to have an opposite to counterbalance it.

Night approaches as we near Bangkok. Distinct lines rise in the horizon. Pink..fading away fast as night settles in and the rain is lashing at the plane’s windows. The engine is roaring louder and louder,the altitude is almost nil, and what is comforting is that the usual ear pop just did not occur…modern planes are getting better. The wings flaps have started to fold from the main wings, the brakes are out with a great swooosh, just a few bumps and the mass of steel has touched the ground and it feels like the plane is purring down the runway to find its place in the allocated bay. The very last rays of light can be seen so faint and try to peep through, but the night has already engulfed us in a flash as we land into Bangkok sticky and humid air clings to your clothes. But the last sentence is only a reminiscence…been there so many times that I already imagine what it might be like at that time of the day when the door of the mighty Boing open and a blast of warm air invades your lungs.

But Bangkok is already far away as the Airbus transports us over half of the earth to England.

Till next time.

Crossing the Channel to England

Crossing the Channel

Took our last breakfast at The Nautilus. The best little hotel that we ever been to. Very clean, sober, small room but ever so charming hosts Loic and Jean Michel. Helpful, courteous, chatty, ready to go out of their way to please. Ok , one might argue that the rooms were too small, but given the price and charming hosts every bit of sqm2 that was missing was made up by their genuine friendliness. It is starting to sound like a plug on Trip Advisor…which I will get to later.

The anchor was being pulled up and the ferry started to move , it was hardly noticeable. All of a sudden, i felt unsteady on my feet and finding myself going slightly right or left. Yes, we are moving. Leaving the ramparts behind us, the intra-muros, the smell of buckwheat galettes and Kouign Aman, big bun full of salted butter and sugar, the rich caramel that pervaded all the crepes, the bolee,  a huge cup of apple cider( being a french coffee type bowl filled with cider), these smells filled the main carless streets of Saint Malo.  Not good for the figure all that!

Saint Malo the city of pirates and buccaneers. Bretagne
Saint Malo the city of pirates and buccaneers. Bretagne

The local beer funnily called “le chat Malo” a very special amber fluid at 5.5% was a very acceptable brew. Then on the ferry crossing with Jersey in the foreground ( still), we discover a whisky made from buckwheat….ble noir as they call it here or EDDU. At the tasting counter, I was quite surprised and very taken by the taste…very caramel, vanilla and other undertones that were subtle and agreeable, and after a few trials, decided to get a bottle. Lucky I did. Otherwise staying any longer, I would have finished the sample bottle. But as I walked back to my room to drop the bottles off in the cabin, I found myself zigzagging along the corridor unsteady on my feet. I decided that I really had one too many
And it was not a good start to the trip. Then, I saw the other people advancing in the opposite direction and they were also not walking straight! Ohoh! We looked at each other and said already on the grog! No, of course not, the boat was just rocking , a bit of a roll…after all we were on the sea and it had nothing to do with the little whiskey that I had previously. I breathed a sigh of relief as I really fooled myself and giggled.

sipping coffee this time not whiskey.
sipping coffee this time not whiskey and rugged up.

The ferry is carrying us to England and in a few hours we shall drop anchor. So far a very smooth ride. Children are running everywhere while two big teddy bears are given them stickers and lollies. Many restaurants and bars are scattered on this huge monsters even satellite reception with internet, the perfect modern way to move around….being connected via the invisible strands of fibres that circling the world under the vigilant eyes of our masters of the universe. Ever so present, ever so watchful for our security. A lot has changed for internet users in the last few months indeed. But that is not the point of this at the moment. I just can’t help myself.

The wind on the deck is quite fierce and biting, and even tho, I am tempted to stay out watching the immensity of the sea, I am not staying there. Far too cold and unpleasant for any length of time.

The shore is into view. The tankers are sitting on the harbour mouth ready to take on the high seas to wherever. France, New York, Portugal and so on. Open to one’s  imagination. The seas really conjures ideas of pirates, commerce, cruises, long interminable voyages crisscrossing the oceans and the seas of the globe. Let’s dream!

The immigration lady, keeps on asking me all sorts of fancy questions which I knew nothing about….where is Brockley? I would not have a clue, says I. Oh really, so how are you going to get there? OK…Logical.  I/we  have been there before and just remember taking this overground train or that underground train. How long will be staying? 10 days only I said and on she went…. I thought I was going to get carried off by immigration and held for 9 hours for questioning. I was lost as she went on asking and I could not also understand her accent which made quite hard as she had to repeat everything twice. Boy! I thought, I was gone, when Peter said that he was going to see his aunt and son….well my son also. Peter had no problems as he holds a British Passport. No grilling for him. But I got the works …how far they are going to behave like this ? I have been in and out of England before and they surely have records on their mighty computers. Not a pleasant re-entry to England I thought and if every tourist gets this treatment, one does not get a favourable impression. Security? you might argue, ok, but not on this scale.
Lucky Ross, Peter’s cousin arrived a little later to pick us up. We drove to Chichester where we were heartily greeted by Aunty Paddy. What a relief!

Aunty Paddy serving lunch
Aunty Paddy serving lunch at home.

Till next time.

Near Dinan on the river Rance

Abbaye de Lehon
Abbaye de Lehon

 

Traditional wedding in Lehon, Bretagne
Traditional wedding in Lehon, Bretagne

Lehon en Bretagne with J,G,P and myself

The drive from the airport to the rented cottage was full of corn fields, wheat and all sorts of crops I could not identify from the road. The little white car called Leon was a weird name that almost coincided with the name of the village. Charming little village awaited us. But that had to be with all sorts of wrong directions…wrong turns, cul de sac, one way, and not to forget the debate generated by the four of us. ” no, this way, no that way, this is a dead end, we’ll end up nowhere” we all burst laughing and giggling but it seemed that the poor driver was being driven crazy. We always carry on like when the four of us are in the car going somewhere. J, would then ask everyone to keep seriously quiet so that he could keep concentrating on the GPS and get us there…which he did anyway in the end. In the back G and I would look at each other with an incredulous smile…yes, he is right!
 We all got there in the end to be greeted by a charming little house in a grand estate by the river Rance and dominated by a castle, a quaint and beautiful 13th century abbey with well kept garden and old houses everywhere. The bells of the abbey greeted us with a special charm and sound. They would ring all day. To mark not only the hours except at night, but also to call the flock for the next service. A very devout village indeed! Tho, Brittany is well know for its strong religious roots. The country side is peppered with old castles, churches, abbeys convents or cathedrals. A total heritage of once very fervent folks dominated by the power of the church and royalty.
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The garden of the abbey we found out later was replanted with all sorts of medicinal herbs, devoid of roses or other ornamental plants. This was deliberate so that the priests would not be distracted by the smell and the beauty of other flowers except only look at the functionality of plants. To stop and ponder about the beauty of a rose would be according to the curator sacrilege. Too much resemble to a woman. Hahahah! The catholic church so hard and uncompromising. Again a little later i did learn that the priests would not be allowed to get married so that the church would inherit of the houses or the money that were destined to the wife and children. Myth or fact?
Back to the house.
Built in the 18 th century, Val Rive Rose cottage matched the description of the internet. Cosy house, well appointed and chic one might say and quite old with beautiful wooden beams which ornate the ceilings. A little gem that we all loved.
The whole lot of us visited all the floors and decided which room would be allocated to whom. That was done quickly. Peter and I had done a quick shopping before and we were ready to sit down and enjoy wines, pizzas, cheese and cider from the region. A real feast and very privileged to be together again in this magic spot.
We ate in the gardens surrounded by rampant bamboos and all sorts of local species. A majestic cypress dominated the garden and offered a welcomed bit of shade as well as the distinctive smell of its little capsules which, when rubbed would give an exquisite perfume reminiscent of the oil  that is slowly burnt and spreading its waves across the room.
A scenic drive along the coast to Cancale where we savoured mussels and oysters with white wine and frites accompanied by a speedy skinny waiter, efficient and friendly.
Mussels in Cancale, Bretagne
Mussels in Cancale, Bretagne
The next day we were just happy to lounge around the place having a picnic by the river Rance which is just 10 metres from the house. Just lovely sour dough baguette filled with all sorts of goodies. Blackbirds, ducks  and other unknown little creature joined us. Nature in these parts is much softer than Australia.  A certain sweetness and softness in the air in spite of the full sun was palpable. A little later it was time for G n J to depart back to London. A few days stolen from the chores of the busy capital, London. Away from the crowds, away from the smoke, away from the noises, away from work and its rigours.
Till next time.

In Paris

In Paris.
Paris would be my favourite City after all. Especially after being in a big Metropolis like London. At this stage I have to say that Paris is much nicer than London. Tho, I did say the opposite to my son J a few weeks ago. There was a certain vibrance that I do not find here.
London is a younger city than Paris, more happening I suppose for whatever that means. Younger meaning that to my eyes there was a percentage of the population that was younger.
While walking in Paris today I was quite surprised by the mix of old people , middle aged and younger.

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Classic Montmartre
Classic Montmartre

But I found Paris much prettier than London. It was the aesthetic that struck me when I got back. One might say that because I am French. I was pleasantly attracted again by the beauty and the elegance of buildings in Paris itself. I did not find that elegance and charm in London. Subjective one might say…I’ll accept that and I am sure that someone will contradict me quite vehemently.

Nevertheless, I’ll never tire of The Galeries Lafayette or le Printemps next to the majestic Opera and Le cafe de la Paix. Their architecture surpassing in my view again that of Harrods or Selfridges. The beggars are still there but in less numbers than before. I am sure that they have been allocated in some obscured corner so that the town appears aseptic. I know, so that the tourists and the rich crowds never encounter the other side of life and keep spending oblivious to other’s misery and plight. Every great city has its share of destitution.
Then, we have the young red hair, well groomed man with brand new runners, smart T shirt, and checked short who suddenly bends down in front of us and finds a ring. Look, says he amused…a gold ring. The unaware tourist might fall for it. Wow! How much would that be worth? And would start bargaining for a fake piece of rubbish. I have encountered that for quite a few years now and just smiled at the guy and sent him on his way. These people I was told are romans…..Gypsies, just working in gangs. Like the guys sitting in front of les Galeries Lafayette with his child laying on a blanket all day, his head 3 times too big and looking dazed. The father sits there in front of him begging, looking destitute. I am sure he is. But he has been there for years now. People go by immune to it all. He looked so well fed with a large abdomen.

Parisians are not a happy lot, grim and not many smiling or being courteous. A young woman of 20 max was sitting down in the metro and did not offer her place to my friend of 70 years old too absorbed with her Iphone. I was quite shocked. I should not be really. This would not happen in London. Every time I was offered a sit so did my husband! Yes, I am getting on.

But having said this, I did find the Parisians this year on the whole very charming, polite and ready to land a hand.

In London

In London

Heathrow airport must be the most antiquated international airport I have ever been to. Shabby, lack of character, gloomy, very complicated to get around, lifts, escalators with heavy suitcases, lack of clear signs, a car park that is old and where gusty freezing winds hit you in the face with gale force.
In other words the arrival was rather cold. And the next few days even colder with a biting freezing wind.

But after a long drive through London, with a weird taxi driver who somehow was devoid of common knowledge, we finally have been received by our son and his wife. Champagne flowed and we stayed up quite late chatting and catching up.

Next day was a trip to Oxford trip with J. We hoped we could jumpmimto the thick of this megapolis full of energy. Full of people and tourists doing the shops. All seemed fine to start with, but all of a sudden a tremendous fatigue overcomes us and we were just dragging our feet everywhere. A short lunch at Marks and Spencer which was very tasty. The English have come a long way since the days where their food were ranked the worse in Europe. Today they have beaten all the dire comments about English cooking. The best of everything could be purchased at a very reasonable price and even cheaper than in Australia for similar quality. Superb sour dough bread and pastries, fine meats and vegetables, superb cheeses and fruits. And most of it was organic and sourced from small farms. We were truly impressed. A real renaissance of quality.

The afternoon went by quickly. Coffees, cakes, teas at Carlucci’s was a little overpriced but not bad at all.

A short supper in a Japanese restaurant was not too hot. Ordinary food, not too exiting, but one could say correct for the money. Noodles, homemade in a miso soup plus a few Gyoza. Nothing to rave about. Though it was Japanese restaurant there was not a single Japanese cook nor a single Japanese person in there.

Then, J and G, treated us to a live concert of contemporary music at Otto’s Cafe. French avant garde musician Pierre Bastien, he was a real magician. A set up of mecano driven by rubber bands, strings, papers, screws and bolts. Each function was producing a sound that blended together forming a real concert of original music. The backdrop was a screen where some old faint music representing choirs, blues and even the Russian Army choir all mixed with the tones of the ever grinding mecano strings. A feast of ingenuity. I am sure you can find him on You Tube?

By then my eyes closed readily and I was just falling off my chair. Exhausted! Yes, not slept for 24 h. Just off the plane from Bangkok and within a few hours we were catapulted into Oxford St, Soho, and Selfridges. A marathon! Then around midnight we took the train back home where we collapsed in a heap in the arms of Morpheus contented to be at last horizontal.

Public transport is so tiring when you have been living in a small village for a few years. Walking, running, catching overground trains, underground trains, suburban trains plus the interminable long connections between stations. What a contrast! something I have forgotten, and happy to have done so …Long stretches of escalators and hundreds of metres of walking to get from place to the other…a seat on a train if you were lucky! Gosh, we are getting old. But what a pleasant surprise to find Londoners so civil and gracious and so courteous!

Everyone is connected to an ear plug with long wires hanging into the pockets or a bag talking on their mobile, reading their tablets, their Ipad or their Kindle. They walk talking, waiting for the next call or fiddling around with their gadget. Glued to the screen, hypnotised,checking their phone every minute or less. Have I missed a call? Have I not heard it ringing. Would I play another game between two stations? The world of mobile phone is a world of pseudo connection. We have become obsessed with them. We are lost without them. The new drug. Worse than cigarette or cocaine. We are scared of loosing something hey! Or missing a message on Facebook!
I have forgotten what it takes to live in a big city.

What a bunch of funny humans we are! And sometimes not funny at all!

Till next time!

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Tasmania

Lovely Beaujolais type wines

After 10 days in the cold and crisp air of Tasmania, I found this island one of the most beautiful place. Lovely beaches, great fresh food and friendly people. Hobart is the nicest HUMAN scale city I have ever seen. Compact, low buildings, well designed. A gem to navigate and not getting lost, gorgeous seas,clear and clean. Tasmania is really a breath of fresh air.

The wines are just superb and it was a great change from hot climate to cold climate wineries. We discovered a lovely vineyard called Spring Vale. There we had a pinot type Beaujolais much better than the French ones. So much so that we ordered another case the other day. They are not cheap either, but a good bottle is a good bottle to be savoured.

The food in Hobart was really something. I had never expected Hobart to be such a gourmet little town. Delicately prepared and so much class. The humble bakery was making such lovely breakfast and lunches that we went there more than once to savour their fares. Bread that was just so nicely baked and wholesome.Real bread with real flavour.

The fish was so fresh and tasty it was just a delight to be able to taste such nice fish. They..Muir’s,  knew how to prepare it and serve it. The ordinary fish and chips took a different meaning after that.

And guess what we found in a little corner of Hobart tucked among old buildings? A distillery. Yes, a new venture a few years old that made such an extraordinary whisky to rival the ones in Scotland. The prices were also not bad. We definitely indulged in some good bottles to take back home. But, so far I have not had any. In fact since we came back, I have not had a drop of alcohol.

While flying to Tasmania, we decided to stop over in Melbourne to meet some old friends. We stayed a few days with Sue and Peter and a few days with Nathalie and Nicole. It was nice to catch up. But when we stayed with Sue, we met the whole family which was real nice. We went to the ballet with Pam and Catherine and Sue…girls only night at the Art Centre. We indulged in champagne during the interval. Well, before and after in fact. We also had a magnificent dinner at the Art Centre the whole lot of us. A night that was just unforgettable. Then a few days later everybody flew back home. Pam and Catherine went back to England followed by Sue’s uncle  and his wife and we went back to Nimbin. Back to the country, back to nature, backt to the mountains. While it is nice to fly and be in big cities it is always nicer to get back home among nature.

We love going away, but we adore coming back.

Muir’s enticing plate of common fare!
Launceston BnB reknown breakfast