Monday, November 19, 2007

Home Sweet Home

Sorry for the delay but life comes before blogging and life was hectic and exciting there for a little while.

We've returned home to Ireland in one piece and have had a bit of time to settle back and place our feet back on the ground!

The last few weeks of the trip were fantastic. I adored Moorea and learned so much on Easter Island. We were welcomed so warmly on both islands and made feel so much at home that it was really hard to tear ourselves away.

But it's good to be home too. The trip was for us a resounding success. We didn't have a single bad moment in our 8 months away. We met kind, honest and warm people everywhere we met and count ourselves very lucky to have had such a positive experience. Now that I'm home I'm debating whether to keep the blogs up or not. But the travelling bit is over for the moment so this blog will certainly become defunct now. Thanks for reading.

Monday, October 01, 2007

Fun in a camper van!

"If it's a rockin' don't come a knockin'!"

Ah we had fun in our loveable, cranky, slightly smelly camper van, nicknamed "Buster" in the past 3 weeks.

We toured the north and south islands of New Zealand not in their entirety but pretty comprehensively and had a ball. In order to return the van to Auckland yesterday I drove 1000 miles single-handed in 4 days, and Yes I am proud of myself. It was also a bit of fun and my lovely co-pilot was an inspiration on the journey as always! A CD of the Travelling Wilbury's also came in handy...

High lights for me here in New Zealand included a sunrise balloon trip, a para gliding adventure where I discovered an ability to emit ear splitting involuntary noises, abseiling and the discovery of my spiritual home in Hobbiton. The biggest smiles were reserved for the dolphin, orca and whale watching expeditions which were over whelmingly uplifting. All in all NZ has been good to us. We met some honest, decent people who were willing to chat but not pry, and had a ready smile. I really liked it here and will be sad to leave.

The plan is that we head for Papeete on Wednesday and Morea on Thursday. Then it's off to Easter Island and then to Santiago. We then come home.... But that's ok too cause we've had one hell of an adventure!

Wednesday, September 05, 2007

Onwards and Downwards

We have now arrived at our furthest destination from home. So I guess from here on in we'll be on the return leg of the journey.

Australia was interesting and a bit of a break from foreigness but New Zealand whilst not being entirely foreign does seem a bit more removed from what life at home is like.

We arrived here on monday and are currently in Auckland. I'm very excited about being here during the Rugby World Cup and seeing as we'll be travelling around the country in a camper van we'll have to get imaginative about where we'll be able to view games, but that's all part of the fun.

It'll also be a lot easier for us to get stuck into some decent hikes and walks whilst here as we'll have the freedom of bringing our accomodation with us where-ever we want to go! It would have been nice to do that in Oz as well but circumstances didn't allow it this time.

All the same we had a blast. I got quite intimate with varieties of wines hitherto unknown to me and enjoyed every second of it! We also got to explore different ends of the country and I have to say I really like Melbourne. There was loads to do there and the weather was gorgeous, despite the fact that it was the end of winter. We were very lucky in that regards.

I saw the Amazing Human Body exhibition there which is something I've always wanted to see. It has put me off the thought of ever smoking again for good it is truly disgusting what tar does to the lungs. We also went to an AFL game between St. Kilda's and Richmond which was fantastic. Definately a high light. The fact that the game was quite close in the end and Richmond staged a fantastic comeback attempt was greatly appreciated by us! It was all very exciting. So between the large variety of museums on offer, the excellent restaurants, even better wineries and the laid back attitude Melbourne rocked.

I know I haven't been great at the regular posts here and I don't know if it will improve while I'm here as we'll be travelling around quite a bit, but I do promise to post as much as I can when I can and I'll provide samples of photos along the way!

Wednesday, August 22, 2007

Searching for the wizard

Austalia is a very easy place to get used to. In fact it's so easy here it feels uncomfortably like home. I say it's uncomfortable coz I don't really want to be at home yet and being here is making me a little homesick. That is both unexpected and a bit off putting.

So far we have travelled from Sydney to Brisbane and from there to Melbourne. We're a little restricted on where we can go here as it's expensive to get around and I've decided I'm not willing to drive all over Australia and then tackle a month of the same in New Zealand. Besides it's even harder trying to get around New Zealand so driving is supposed to be the best option there.

Opera house

We're doing lots of fun things here all the same. We've taken hikes and treks into the rainforrest. Visited animal sanctuaries and fed beautiful birds. The museums here in Melbourne are well worth a visit and of course we did the necessary in Sydney in terms of harbour cruises and the Opera house.

I have yet to take a wine tour here but to make up for that I have been sampling lovely Australian wines aplenty. So far my favourite has been a very fruity Shiraz by Oxford Landing. Very Yummy with absoloutley everything I say and to prove the point I've drunk lots of it!

We've been pretty lucky with the weather here as well. We had some rain in Sydney but some very fine days as well. It's not a bad show when you go to Bondi beach in the middle of winter and there are bikinis all over the place, it's not what I'd call typical winter at all at all. Not a vest in sight. Here in Melbourne it's colder but very fine and sunny and is quite pleasant and fresh. We're heading to see The Human Body exhibition tomorrow and off on another hike on friday so I would say all in all things are going well.

Unfortunately there is no sign of the elusive Wizard of Oz so far but I've been tracking sightings and am still hopeful of finding him...

Sunday, August 05, 2007

Calling from the Land Down Under

Greetings from Oz. We've reached a new continent and a new capital in one piece.

It's been a relatively quiet week here for us as we've been catching up on sleep and the home style comforts that we've been missing in various degrees over the last four months.

I've really missed breakfast cereal. A strange thing to miss but it's top of my list. That and salt and vinegar crisps. So I've been indulging in lots of both!

We've been exploring Sydney in between all of the eating and sleeping and I'm impressed. It's a cosmopolitan and cool place to be and a good place for us to kick back in. We've done the usual tourist things here and have also taken a trek in the Blue Mountains which shook the cobwebs off a bit.

We've done quite a lot of planning here for the rest of our trip and I can now tell you that today we reach our official half way point. We've also got all of our sleeping needs covered for here and New Zealand and have changed our itinerary a little bit. Not bad work for the few days that we've been here.

That's it for the mo, we're off to Brisbane on the train tomorrow and then it's down to Melbourne for a few weeks. Brisbane looks to be HOT!! Which is good and Melbourne looks coooooooollld, which is bad, but it's amazing that one country can offer you that kind of variation so we'll take it in our stride.

Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Fom Tokyo to Nagasaki

We've had a busy few days on the trains in the past week here in Japan, and it's been fantastic. We organised a Japanese Rail Pass for ourselves before we arrived here and it's been so easy to use it's almost unbelievable. You just show up at a station, reserve your seats if you want to and go where-ever takes your fancy!

So far we've visited Kyoto...
Such a beautiful and Japanesee city. If you catch my drift. We wandered around the Gion district looking at temples and shrines and we even caught site of some Geisha as they moved through the streets. Unfortunately I got so excited that I forgot to take a picture... You can't win them all I guess!

Here are some girls in Kimono as the next best thing.

Shrine in Kyoto

We also spent two nights in Hiroshima. The city was completely destroyed by the atomic bomb in 1945 and the people there chose to leave a partially destroyed building insitu as a reminder of what happened there. It's very striking.

A-Bomb Dome

But it's not just all about death and destruction when you visit either Hiroshima or Nagasaki. It'S an important thing to note about both of these cities. Life has gone on here, buildings have been rebuilt and there is a huge amount of pride on view.

Castle in Hiroshima

In fact in Hiroshima we saw our first baseball game! Once we figured out what was going on it was really good fun and the cheer leaders made it very exciting!

In Nagasaki there is a concerted effort to showcase the cities fascinating history. It was the only port in Japan to have any contact with the west for close on two centuries. Also not all of the city was completely destroyed when the bomb was dropped here so there are plenty of shrines to visit. It's a very beautiful place and both here and Hiroshima are a high light of coming to Japan.

Spectacle bridge
The spectacle bridge

Thursday, July 19, 2007

Oooo Exciting!

I`ve just learned that two of my photos on Flickr of Dublin have been shortlisted for the Schmaps on line guide!

The photos are this one of Merrion Square


and this one of the Grand Canal


I`ll let you know if I`m successful!