We have recently moved house as they say in Australia. As I’m slowly unpacking and trying to establish familiar routines, I’m noticing and becoming enamoured with the stunning flowers that are ensconced in our yard! They are amazing and I want to share them with everyone!
Just got back from a marvelous getaway south of Sydney, out in the countryside where instead of cars, trucks, and buses it was the sound of crickets and frogs at night! This little town had a lot of charm and we had a great place to relax-just the two of us–and reconnect. It was misty and cool there; lots of birds and wildlife (a wallabee, parrots, and even an echidna.) Here is a slide show of photos that I snapped while we were there. At times it reminded me a little of Pennsylavania, but the hills around Berry are much more intense than that, as I found out on a 4-hour bike ride!
Nice to see our friend Brooke from Tennessee again tonight. Ziva was kept away from the gathering and was NOT pleased. So we let her back into the living room and she promptly inserted herself back into the group. Golden retrievers cannot be denied!
Never before have I done something like this. 5+ hours of cycling, 64.6 miles! And although many riders finished ahead of me, there were still a fair amount of riders behind me as well!
Wow, what an adventure! To be honest, the real challenge was bike handling skills, not endurance. Multiple stops for red lights, traffic merges, narrow bridges with posts at entrances, trying not to hit other riders…that kind of stuff. I didn’t start feeling the fatigue until roughly 70km into the ride. Found some riders that were going my pace and shadowed them. Cloudy with some wind all morning, but I’d prefer that to hot sunshine so conditions were nice for this ride. Stated 6:30, was done before noon. But now I’m taking a few days off to give my body a little rest!
Yep, so sweet and innocent looking! She’s a whole lot bigger now, one year after this photo was taken but now is unquestionably a member of The Smiths in Oz!
They’re here! A little bit of Pennsylvania came home with me last night and Susan had a great dinner to welcome them to Manly.
We had Brooke and Gus, and the Kilpatricks (Jode, Sharon, Maddie, Riley, and Ava). What a Monday night! This morning I’m playing tour guide, showing them the northern beaches area. After a trip to Queensland, they’ll head back here and I’ll hop on the plane with them for the trip back to the USA! Nice to have family with us again, if only for a day!
In connection with Madelyne’s school, we are hosting an exchange student from the Tokyo area for the next two weeks. Her name is Kaho (formally, Hirano Kaho) and she’ll be attending school at Stella Maris with several other exchange students that arrived at the same time. Looks like we’ll be playing tour guide this weekend since she doesn’t really have a lot of time to spend in Australia. She’s already seen the standard sights like the Opera House and Bridge; now where to take her next? Well, as you can see below we started with frozen yogurt on the Manly Corso. Maybe I’ll try to make some sushi this weekend….
She speaks some English, but it’s a little challenging at times to communicate. Thankfully there are translator programs on our mobile phones (Google has a great one) that help us exchange questions or comments between each other. It will be a challenging 2 weeks, but she seems very sweet and our pets are enamored with her! The dog won’t leave her alone!
Next year, it’ll be Madelyne’s turn to travel to Japan to do this same thing in that country!
It’s the first bit of vacation I’ve had all year, and we’re ticking off a Bucket List item by spending a few days at Ayers Rock. This is the deepest into Australia we’ve ever gone; into the Northern Territories where oddly the time difference is 30 minutes, not an hour! We’re several kilometers from Uluru but tomorrow we get a big dose of The Rock, both at 6AM for “Desert Awakenings” and then in the evening for the Sounds of Silence dining experience with Uluru in the distance. Check out how RED the soil is here! The trees, shrubs, and other types of plant life are very different from New South Wales, obviously!
Yep, once again as winter time approaches for us down under, Sydney comes alive at night for a brief period. Beautiful lighted sculptures, and wonderful patterns of light are projected on buildings in parts of the business district downtown. I have posted a few here from last night, but my video will require a tripod so perhaps I’ll get more done later. It’s certainly a great way to deal with the early darkness down here!
A few minutes before 5:00 PM on a Sunday. Finishing up a peaceful ride along Manly Beach and around town. Our place is just to the right in this picture. Although we had super sunrises when we lived along the beach, every now and then we get pretty nice sunsets in the current location!