We’ll be jamon

Last night we headed out to find somewhere for dinner. Neither of us were very hungry so thought we’d just get a bit of cheese and bread to go with our bottle of wine.

There is always a lot going on along the waterfront, and tonight we felt like something a little less……. conga line! I don’t actually know what is going on here?

Me Jenny took off ahead down this little street and we found a restaurant offering exactly what we wanted… cheese √ bread √ olives √

And what goes best with wine and cheese? That’s right, jamon! We’ll have an entire plate of it por favor.

A lovely French Canadian couple sat next to us and ordered a mixed fromage è jamon plate for their entree, and the waiter had to come out and tell them that the jamon was ‘finished’ (’cause the people next to you just ate it all!) and they must choose something else. Oops!

A couple of Portuguese tarts!

We started the day off right with a couple of Portuguese tarts….. and yes, that’s right, they’re just called ‘tarts’ here. Actually, they’re called natas here, but that ruins the joke.

Today we decided to jump on the big red bus and get a look at a bit more of the town and some of the coast. We got to stand and admire this lovely old (derelict) building….. sure, she might be old and unliveable, but she’s still pretty with her tiles on.

Here’s Me Jenny waiting for the bus to arrive…

We mistakenly got on at the last stop of the circular bus route which turned out to be a great mistake decision because there were seats a plenty – we took the front seats at the top.

We went up a lot of the streets that Andre had taken us on, but there’s a different view from the top of the bus. The building at the bottom with the blue PORTO sign out the front…. people were lined up to have their photo taken while climbing on the sign. People are amazing!

Then we pulled up at the number 1 stop on the bus route and because there were so many buses, there was no room for us and we had to go around the block 3 times until there was space to park…. then 1 million people tried to board our bus… so we waited the full 14 hours it took for them to get on and validate their tickets, etc…. then we were off….

Back passed the Sè – The Cathedral with the ice cream pod outside – how cute is that? They are all over the city for all your immediate ice cream needs.

  1. The popular shopping street with your high street brands
  2. An ugly high-rise apartment block made semi pretty with tiles.
  3. A pretty tiled church
  4. The Clergyman’s Tower
  5. Another ugly apartment tower made of brick…… or is it? Spot the clue.
  6. The special monument of a Portuguese lion crushing a French eagle
  7. Special apartment tower – we wondered how it got approval for 7 floors?

On the way to the coast, the ride got a little depressing if I’m honest, although it did give us a look at what life looks like outside of the tourist centre.

Then – we finally hit the coast. I’m not going to mention the beaches, because when you come from where we do – it’s never going to be as good. However, with me saying that I’m not going to mention them and then insinuating that our beaches at home are miles better – that’s me saying something about Porto’s beaches. Let’s just say they weren’t my cup of tea, but there were plenty of people down there enjoying the sand and water.

This is the mouth of the River Douro. The water moves pretty fast here and there were a few boats there taking advantage of some unsuspecting fish thinking they were getting the fast track to the Atlantic. Would you describe all fish as unsuspecting? I mean, it doesn’t appear to be in their nature to suspect that they might be somebody’s lunch very shortly.

We followed the river all the way back to our starting point and by this time, the heat really had us sticking to our seats, so we were ready to get off.

We found a lovely little spot right on the river and beers were immediately ordered.

Ahhhhhh, that’s just what we needed – and probably water, but beer is cheaper!

As we were sitting there, we noticed that the chef was standing in this doorway, on the steps cooking seafood on the grill.

We ordered grilled sardines and 2 more beers and Me Jenny was as happy as Larry – she loves a good sardine, and a good beer – so win/win!

We sat, ate and drank as we watched the world go by….. and if you were wondering if the water police ever caught up with those jet ski-ers…..

… the answer is yes. Although when they’d finished their conversation the jet ski roared off in an almost vertical position…. perhaps they were just mates and were organising getting together next weekend? #shouldershrug

There’s a port to starboard

We got up before the sun this morning, what with going to bed in the early hours of the evening last night, but it was lovely as we got to watch the sun come up behind the bridges. Porto has 6 bridges, just for a little FYI.

This is the view from our balcony…. not bad, not bad at all!

Brekky was had downstairs and as lovely as the buffet was, we did think that it was a little light on for selection. It wasn’t until after we were walking out the door that we realised we’d missed a whole section of food choices! We couldn’t have eaten anymore, but couldn’t help but feel a little gipped. There’s always tomorrow.

So we took ourselves and our matching walking sandals to the front of reception to wait for our tour guide… Once upon a time I would have been embarrassed to walk around in the same shows as Me Mum, but how happy am I that other people’s opinions of our Bobbsy twin footwear choice don’t bother me – in fact, I feel sorry for anyone who hasn’t already jumped on this Teva footwear journey with us – they’re super comfy!

Andre was our guide – the most polite guide/driver I’ve met. He rolled down his window on several occasions to apologise and thank pedestrians for getting off the road so he didn’t hit them. He gently tooted his horn to make somebody aware he was behind them and he turned to us and said “I apologise for my aggressiveness.” Andre was very knowledgeable and threw dates and facts around like he was reciting his favourite song.

Andre was going to show us a few of the obvious sights – the cathedral, the train station and a port cave cellar – complete with tasting.

First stop was The Cathedral. It sits high on the hill, as with most cathedrals and is as you’d expect inside – ornate and gold.

Next door is the cloisters and chapels attached to the side of the Cathedral and where I noticed one by one hikers turning up and heading inside with their backpacks – they were Camino hikers making their way north on the Portuguese way to Santiago de Compostela and they were getting their pilgrim passport stamped. The chap in the orange shirt was giving them directions for a small donation. Not a bad service if you’ve just walked from Lisbon and then up this steep hill… being saved some more unnecessary steps is worth a small coin.

And here’s the cloisters….. how lovely.

Each of these tiles was hand painted and then put together like a jigsaw puzzle….. I can’t help but think that they may have got their boxes of face pieces a little mixed up for this one.

This is the chapel of St Vincent. It’s made of jacaranda wood and gold leaf from Brasil. Our guide said sheepishly, “When I say it’s from there, I mean we… um, we took it.”

Within the UNESCO historical city centre all the buildings must stay in their original form – even if they just keep the facade and redo the inside. But this one had us calling the architect police.

The Sao Bento train station – what a beauty! All the panels are tiled – again each tile is handprinted and then put together. These three chaps below were the engineer, the architect and the painter. The painter wanted to add their images somewhere in the tiled scenes for prosperity, but the other two said no……

….. so he did this – check out the two ladies sitting down.

and he gave himself a lovely self portrait in the form of a young minstrel.

As well as being a work of art it is also a working train station – so it was packed for both reasons.

This one is the church of St Anthony.

Next Andre took us over the bridge to Gaia on the south side of the Douro and where all the port caves are. The roads here are like they’ve been built as an afterthought and when you’re dealing with a city that is as old as this one – they really were an afterthought. This is a sharp corner where Andre had to do a 3 point turn to get around, giving me time to snap this lovely piece of street art.

This is the view from Gaia back to Porto.

We were headed over that side for a bit of a look a bit of port tasting at Cockburn’s. They grow all the grapes for their port out in the Douro Valley and only do the barreling and bottling here in Gaia.

I’ve never been a huge port fan, because I’m not an 80 year old lady, but after our tasting today, I hope that to be turned around…. – not me turning into an 80 year old lady – I mean the other bit about being a fan.

I love that these companies hold onto the old traditions and ways of doing things rather than just bulldoze everything and go modern. This company has their own team of ‘coopers’ who maintain the barrels. To do that, they have to take them apart plank by plank, restore the wood and then put them all back together again.

Now we’re full bottles on port making – let’s get tasting!

Just for a tease, Richardo walked us backwards through the owner’s personal vintage cellar showing its dust covered bottles that we would not be tasting today. The oldest bottle they had in their collection was from 1868 which is apparently worth more than all the tea in China….. but were not here for tea!

We’re here for port!

Now, this is the measure of a good tour guide. I saw this stand and asked Me Jenny to pose – her answer – “No, I’m not doing that anymore.” 😦 So I asked Andre if he would like to oblige……. Well done Andre.

The verdict? We quite liked one of the ports and so purchased a small bottle to drink as a nightcap overlooking the Douro at night. However we got home so tired from the day and I suspect still a bit of jet lag that the bottle sat unopened.

Ola Porto

23 hours of travelling and we’re finally in Porto, Portugal.

Porto, and I’m guessing the rest of the country is one of those places where you just can’t quite get your head around how old it is. How many people over 100s (and in Porto’s case 1000s) of years would have meandered over the cobblestones on the narrow winding streets. Another thing about Porto is that it is up and down meaning that they built the hub of the city on the top of a hill and used the river Douro as their lifeline, so there is a lot of uphill and downhill. We commented to our tour guide that people must be very fit and he replied, “Ah yes, but there is also lots of food here with large portions, so….”

We arrived late in the afternoon and checked into the Prestana Vintage Hotel – see the yellow building in the middle of the photo above? That’s it.

And this is our room (below)

with this lovely view!

It was about 1.30am Perth time when we checked in. Maria, the beautiful woman behind the counter welcomed us by offering us a glass of port and started to circle ‘must see’ monuments on a map. I said, “I have to stop you there.” As I fanned myself with our reservation confirmation, I explained that we’d had a long journey and was incapable of taking any of the information in. She’d clearly seen this before and showed us up to our lovely room. We could have slept there and then, but we wanted to push on and go to bed at an appropriate time, so a little walk was had along the water, over the Don Luis Bridge and over to the city of Gaia where we sat and had our first beer of the trip.

There were some young lads climbing up on the bridge and shouting for everyone’s attention that they were going to jump. We later learned from our guide that they ask passers by for one euro to jump.

Jenny kept saying – he won’t jump, he’s got his shoes on!

They were obviously a little skint that day as they stood on the top of the bridge for the entirety of our 2 beers without jumping. We were commenting that if we were in Australia, they probably would have been arrested, but not here, anything seems to go in Porto. People were jumping into the river and swimming where tour boats were coming and going from – it would be akin to swimming in Circular Quay – not in the shipping channel, but just close enough to make people look.

And speaking of nanny states….. there is obviously no 5 knot rule up the Douro. Not only do tour boats go at whatever speed they please, there were jet skis fanging between the bridges doing the jet ski equivalent of a wheelie….. it gave us something to talk about.

As the afternoon turned to evening our bodies very quickly reminded us that we were still in a very different time zone and we were going downhill fast. A quick dinner was had and we made our way back to our hotel before we found ourselves asleep on the footpath.

Don’t you love this trident fork?

Another bridge shot. This was taken from where we sat for dinner. It was fantastic for people watching and watching the light change as the sun went down.

A short walk back to our hotel and ……. sleep 💤

A long time between drinks

Well goodness me – it’s been over a year since I last wrote a blog post.  You were probably getting a bit sick of me anyway – I know I was, hence the break.  Now I’m back on the eve of a new trip to Portugal and Spain with me Jenny and I’m sitting here trying to remember what the hell has happened in the past year.  You see, without this blog – I can’t remember a thing!

So here’s a little walk through the past 12 months – this is totally for my benefit, so feel free to scroll though or ignore it completely.

Our last post was August 2018 – Broome.  After that glorious few weeks I returned home to the freezing temps in Mandurah and had to dig out the warm clothes.

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Next stop was meeting up with these Sheilas in Jurien Bay for a girls’ weekend full of home made butter chicken and our favourite 80’s movies.

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Me with my lovely cousin Chris & my gorgeous friends Shelley & Marie-Lou

We were also treated to the most elaborately decorated birthday cake (Shelley’s birthday fell around about this weekend, give or take a few days/weeks). Derek, from the Jurien Bay Bakery was absolutely wrapped when we asked him if he was able to do some decorating and he dug his tools out and created this masterpiece…. complete with the words “Mrs Birthday Lady”.  Derek – what a legend!

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Mrs Birthday Lady

There were beach walks (well, there was one) and Marie-Lou showcased all her coloured ponchos…

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There was even a bit of a search for wildflowers…

In October, Me Jenny and I took ourselves off to Singapore for a week.  We did things that we hadn’t done before like the Night Safari and catching the local train around all the outer neighbourhoods.  Then we did all the things you go to Singapore for – Gardens by the Bay and eating our weight in dumplings…

We even visited a cat cafe… I love cats, but I’ll be honest – it was a little dull – even the cats were bored.

Late October took us to the Midwest Charity Begins at Home Gala Dinner – an annual event that my cousins are involved in up in Geraldton.  A very worthy cause raising money for local families touched by serious illness.  Here’s Marie-Lou and myself in the frocks we purchased in New York for the event….. that’s right, you heard me – New York.

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Me and the lovely Marie-Louisa PCD

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x Cousins x

Then November hit and it was time to visit some special peeps in Brisbane, QLD.  This is my lovely friend and travel companion – Madeline, her son Archie and their faithful pooch, Chase.

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Where plenty of walks down at Nudgee Beach were taken…

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When I got back home I did a comedy writing course with Mr Tim Ferguson… cause, why not?  I’ve not written a single funny thing since this course, but enjoyed doing it.

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Christmas time came around and we all headed up to Geraldton where most of my family live and had a big get together – always a hoot.

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Not a bad looking bunch!

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Geraldton

New Year’s Eve – we partied until well past 9.30pm…..  Dinner at Latitude with these lovely ladies, then we dropped Me Jenny home and headed into town to see what was happening – we were driven by my Uncle Bernard as we’d had about 3 drinks between us and he enquired if we remembered how old we were…. it was agreed that he indeed had a very good point and that enough was enough.  He drove us home before the clock struck 10.  Happy New Year – this is how you feel great on the 1st Jan!

Here we are – we’ve arrived at 2019 and with it came a new found passion for crochet!  With some excellent tutelage from my lovely Aunty Kris, and a Spotlight bag FULL of yarn and various sized crochet hooks, I was on my way.  2019 was set to be the year of the crocheted gift.

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Blankets….. beanies…. scarves….. more beanies

Then….. tragedy struck for Me Jenny – she tripped over (she DID NOT have ‘a fall’) and broke her arm and shattered her shoulder – resulting in a full shoulder replacement and a long road to recovery.

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x bless x

A few weeks later, Me Jenny rallied and made it to my lovely sister, Jodie’s 50th birthday (where this photo above was taken).

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That’s my sister at the top looking gorgeous with Madeline and our cousin, Kay (who, yes, is standing up straight)

May took us to the Abrolhos Islands for a few days which was lovely and we witnessed a whale feeding frenzy.

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Sure, I know that one whale does not a ‘frenzy’ make, but the others were holding their breath when I took this shot as well as sharks and birds…

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As a little birthday treat in June I flew back to Melbourne to see my sister, and two of my loveliest, oldest friends… Felicity & Tammy.  Felicity has her birthday a day after mine, so it always super special when we spend the days together.  We lunched in Melbourne (pics 1 & 2) and saw a show, then we drove down to Metung, where she lives and hung with her family (pic 3).  We went to an end of harvest wine tasting degustation with some more friends – Katie and Joel (pic 4), then We drove tot he Mornington Peninsula to visit our Tammy, her lovely husband Matt and their new baby – Alara (note the hat!) (pic 5) and I rekindled a relationship with my girlfriend Molly (pic 6).

Then July came around  and it was time to head north to Broome again to escape the cold.

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This year my school friend posse’ decided a little jaunt to Bali was in order and as the dates aligned with me being in Broome, I flew out from Darwin.  I’d never been to Darwin before, so this was the perfect opportunity to have a look around.  I hired a car and saw the sights, then spent some quality alone time on the beach before heading to the airport.

July/August – Bali
My gorgeous school posse’ consists of:  My cousin Chris, Michele, Kirsty, Shelley and Marie-Lou (missing from this pic – soz MLD) – such a fabbo bunch of ladies…

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Marie-Lou & part of my face missing from this photo

This was a much needed catch up with some of my favourite ladies in the world.  We stayed in a villa in Seminyak, ate yummy food (thanks to Michele’s restaurant knowledge and research skills), partook in massages and other day spa wonders throughout the week, drank Bintangs by the pool and for a special treat drank cocktails at the Rock Bar in Jimbaran Bay – and were treated like VIPS thanks to Kirta’s friend.

Then at the end of the week Michele and Kirta peeled off and headed home whilst the remaining four caught a ferry to Nusa Lembongan… ’cause why not?

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Very relaxing… and Instagram worthy.

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August
Then, the last ‘away’ was back to Brisbane.  This time we were on a mission….. I had asked my mountain climbing friend, Madeline – who has climbed Kilimanjaro and Everest to base camp as well as trekking Kokoda, just to name a few things if she fancied doing the Camino de Santiago with me in Spain…. she countered with ‘what about we do the Kumano Kodo in Japan followed by the Olympics in Tokyo in 2020?’ and I said “Yep”.  So as she is really fit and I’m, well….. I’m um…. sure, not as fit as I probably could be, but like, who’s counting? The Kumano Kodo is about 6okms up and down mountains with 13 – 21km walking days.  I’ve never done anything like it before, but I am up for the challenge!  So this trip was to be an intensive training week up and down Mount Coot-tha in Brisbane.  There are a number of great trails to do – ALL of which are uphill and then, as Issac Newton once said – ‘what goes up, must come down’….. so the trails then went downhill – obviously as nature and gravity intended.  Yes, I’m aware that gravity doesn’t really have much to do with topography, but you get my drift.

I had already purchased my hiking boots when I was in Melbourne…

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And I waited until I got to Brisbane so that I could have the full hand holding support of Madds and her trekking buddy, Tos, who has just done a section of the Camino in Spain before purchasing my back pack.  I chose the Osprey Stratos 34 and then we drank champagne to celebrate.

The first day we walked with Madds’ 5 year old son, Archie who has his own pack and is already an experienced hiker….. so he was teaching me all the ropes, like saying “water up” when you take a drink so that your hiking buddies remember to keep hydrated…

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… and also that it’s not a race and also that if you finish the walk – you’ll get scones afterwards as a reward.

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He was soooooo right!

In return, I taught him how to floss – although he assured me that he already knew how to do it…..

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So day one was hard, but by day 5 it was easier and I felt less and less like stabbing Madeline each time she suggested that we go up a 60 degree angled track…

I don’t know what number day this was, but I was pretty happy with myself – so much so I OWAF’d – normally I’m behind the camera for the OWAF (Oh What a Feeling), but today just felt right.

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So that pretty much brings us up to speed….

Now Me Jenny and I are heading to Portugal and Spain…..

Bloody Beautiful Broome

Each year, for a number of years, my parents, Jen & Col have joined (lead) the convoy of ‘blonde’ nomads up the coast to the idyllic beauty and warmth of Broome in the Kimberley – in the north west of WA – it averages 29 degrees & blue skies every day between June & August.  So over the past 10 years or so my sister, her boys and myself have been meeting them up there for a family get together.  This year was no exception.

Here’s a photo journey of My beautiful family and Broome’s special scenery……

Arriving or leaving Broome by air is always spectacular….. I do prefer arriving though.

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On the flight from Perth to Broome you are offered a small snack.  It’s only a short flight after all, but today’s snack took me by surprise, not only because it was delicious – something new on an aeroplane, but it was also made by this lady – Simmone Logue, who used to have a bakery/magic food shop right down the street from where I lived in Balmain, Sydney about 100 years ago…. do you remember Bec & Jason Lewis?  She made the most amazing Banana Cake with Passionfruit Cream Cheese Icing – it was the best cake I’ve ever eaten.  I have tried to replicate this miracle since then with only mediocre results….

Broome is known for its amazing sunsets…

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And is also a very popular spot for 5sies and watching said sunset… Here’s Me Jenny is the first ballet position.

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Me Sister and her gorgeous boys, Joe and Charlie – look how lovely and tall they all are!  For scale, I think I come up to a shoulder?

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Charlie & Joe squishing in with their Nana. xxx

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Me Jenny & Me Col wearing medals – Jen was awarded the Gold and Col the Silver for 1st and second place in the “Reaching 50 years of married life – together, without a single stabbing incident” event.

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Another popular activity on Cable Beach (or in our case, spectator sport) is getting married as the sun sets.  I tried to talk Me Jenny & Me Col into renewing their vows on the beach for their 50th anniversary which was met with what can only be described as contempt. 😳

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You can ride a camel up the beach a bit.  We did this several years ago and that’s the beauty of a camel ride in Broome… or anywhere, you only need to do it once.

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Every low tide the crabs come out and dig their holes and they do it by digging these little balls of sand out of the hole – one at a time… so the beach is FULL of these unique piles of sand balls….. until the tide comes in.

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No Saskia, I haven’t spilled my plate of cous cous, although I can see where you got that from 🙂

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Broome has amazing rock formations…

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Low tide at the wharf

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Rock patterns…

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BYO chair…

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Low tide at Cable Beach

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It’s a great place to catch up with other much loved family who are on their way through town.  This is my cousin, Mark and his gorgeous wife, Leanne.  We tend to catch up with them in Broome more than anywhere else, but no matter the location, it is always good to see their lovely faces.

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Just another sunset…

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Me Jenny trying to stop the sun from going down.

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Things you find on the beach…

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Patterns in the sand…

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Gantheum Beach 5sies with friends…

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When a kiddie walks into your shot…

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When in Broome the ladies like to sample the lunches on offer.  Here we are at the Mangrove Hotel overlooking Roebuck Bay.

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And here’s the other side of Roebuck Bay…

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Rock pool creatures at low tide…

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Colours of Broome.

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The road to Crabb Creek…

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Low tide and the wind’s in!  What?

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This is great weather to sit in the car and watch as people navigate the mysteries of getting their boat out of the water….. I’m not sure how this chap got himself into this situation, but with a bit of oomf, he eventually got himself out.  Well done to him.

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It is not a trip to Broome unless you purchase a new hat from the Hat Lady at the Saturday Court House Markets….. and you must wear it whilst having breakfast at the Town Beach Cafe.

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This was today’s view from the Town Beach Cafe.

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The first week we were in Broome we stayed at the Caravan Park and found a frog in the toilet.  This frightened the bejesus out of me, but after much ‘trying to catch’ said frog by my nephews, Me Col “sorted it out”.  In the second week, we moved over to a unit across the road from the caravan park and then found this chap on the window of the bathroom – I think it was the same bloke.

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More wildlife in the garden of the unit… This chap gave me the evil eye, let me photograph him and then took off, never to be seen again….. look how long he is!

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When the conditions are right – clear sky, full moon & a low tide which happens once or sometimes twice a month, you get The Stairway to the Moon.  Everybody gathers at a spot overlooking Roebuck Bay to watch the moon rise and as it does it reflects on the low tide sand making it look like a stairway of light leading to the moon.  It’s quite magical just to watch, but most people try to get a photo of it.  This was my effort of a photo…

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But this is what it’s meant to look like – NOTE: this is not my photo.  This is the photo on the Broome Visitor’s Centre Website.

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My sister, Jodie and I had been doing the walk between Cable Beach & Gantheum Point which is about 5kms, so on my last day, the conditions were perfect – a low tide, coming in, so Me Col dropped me off at Gantheum very early, the sun hadn’t even made it over the dunes yet and I walked one last time…. for this trip.

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Looking back to Gantheum Point.

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Then it was time to say goodbye to Cable Beach and goodbye to Broome.

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Until next year…..

Oahu

Our first full day in Waikiki and Chris had some family members arriving, so I left her to meet and greet them and I sat on the balcony and watched the surfers before hitting the shops.

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Last time we were in Oahu this shopping centre was a market.  Now they’ve built the whole indoor/outdoor centre around the existing trees – it’s quite lovely.

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A couple of items were purchased, and a few, like this lovely bag that I loved, had to stay in the shop.  It it doesn’t fit in the suitcase, it can’t come home with me, so if there are any shop owners in WA who might like to think about stocking this bag (Nic @IvyVibe) just sayin’ you’d have a ready made purchaser.

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We met up with some members of Chris’ family, including her brother Peter, his wife Kay and their two adorable boys Noah and Wes who I have been bumping into all across the United States!  They were there in Miami when ML and I first landed… they were there on our first couple of nights in New York… they caught up with Jodie and me in San Fran and so it seemed fitting that they be there on my last couple of nights in Hawaii.  I don’t want to use the word stalkers, but if the stalking shoe fits….. 😉

They were staying down the beach a little bit.

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At the bottom of their hotel was this sign – it’s my official clubhouse!

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This morning we hit the Botanical Gardens which was really interesting… lots of beautiful flowers and amazingly HUGE trees…


It’s hard to get a good photo though when somebody wanders into your shot.

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This tree is 125 years old apparently.

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It was so tall and would have been awesome to climb if I were a little younger and more skilled at climbing.

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This tree grew sausages.  I’m not sure how they’d go on a bit of bread with tomato sauce though.

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After the gardens we hit the shops at the Ala Moana Centre which has everything from Target to Cartier (darl).  There is even a Tesla show room.

This was my favourite sight at the centre today.

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After dinner I said my goodbyes to the cousins and Chris and I headed into one more shop before going home to do the final pack.  This place is a real retro American diner.  It was fantastic.  There was even a lady there seating people with a Pink Ladies jacket on…. it’s possible she was one of the original Pink Ladies from the first Grease movie.

So, now I’m all packed up and ready to hit the road (or the air) in the morning.  My luggage packed up to be a lot lighter than I anticipated which is a good thing – no more broken back muscles pulling cases up the stairs (while your sister films it and laughs at your efforts)

I can’t quite believe that the trip is finished.  It certainly feels like I’ve been travelling for as long as I have, but I could keep going.  Having said that, I am looking forward to seeing my beautiful lady friends on my return to Perth and then my lovely family in Broome.

A big thank you goes to ML who was the initiator and the driving force behind this journey; My sister, Jodie for making the trip over and sharing the train ride and the amazing scenery with me; My cousin, Chris for exploring Kauai and Oahu with me and to my other cousins, Peter and Kay for popping up at nearly every stop I made, sharing stories and exchanging travel tips over some lovely meals and giving me a chance to get to know Noah and Wes a lot more…. AND – let’s not forget how this whole trip started, back in April – the Commonwealth Games on the Gold Coast with Madds and my Team Australia buddies – that seems like it could have been the 2014 Games it seems so long ago!

You are all lovely and this trip wouldn’t have been the same without any single one of you, so thank you.

One last thank you goes to you – my Shell Collection readers who have been following along with me.  This blog is not only a place for me to store my memories, but is written with you in mind to enjoy, so I certainly hope you have done just that.

Now it’s time for me to go to sleep because I have to be up tomorrow at the crack!

Until next time……