kindly forward our mail to Paris France.

Upon planning this trip to Paris, I immediately channeled a favourite children’s book character that I recently re-discovered:

Reading Eloise was the closest I came to studying French before our departure.  Here’s what Eloise had to say about Paris:

You can do a little petite shopping

There are absolutely nothing but streets in Paris

Here’s what you have to do 

point at everything and say

ooooooooooo regardez this

………………………………………………………………………………

There is also beaucoup de this

and beaucoup de that

beaucoup de dog

beaucoup de cat

beaucoup de these

beaucoup de those

Il y a beaucoup de quelque chose

which is something

Oooooo I absolutely love quelque chose

Me + JosieEloise + Weenie


Having studied Fwench from the age of about 13-20, I thought I would have a solid enough foundation to communicate the basics around France.

Wrong.

Most non-French speakers I know complain of going to France and practicing their French only to be responded to in English.  Burn.  I never had that problem.  I blame my killer french accent (just ask Addie).  I shouldn’t sound so native…

All in all I was able to figure out a few bits + pieces on a menu and I could even ask for stamps at the post office (after rehearsing the line in my head about 15x), but as soon as the postal clerk tried to converse back, my game was all off.  I was like a deer caught in headlights and the only thing running through my mind was hubada hubada hubada.  Useless.

Anyway, on to the highlights:

This Parisian trip was not a first for Adam nor I, we skipped a lot of the must-see attractions.  So if you’ve come expecting the token Eiffel Tower shots, sorry for the disappointment.  Instead, we opted to just stroll around various neighborhoods.   Which, quite honestly is how I prefer to take in a city anyway, and there is possibly no better city to get lost in than Paris.

The weather in Paris was summery perfectness.  Welcome to Paris Plages along the Seine.  Pourquoi-pas?  A beach experience complete with sand, deck chairs, hammocks, cocktails, umbrellas, umbrella cocktails, misting showers, etc….

Daytime stroll highlights:

Pont des Arts

The Louvre

A trip up to Montmartre to take in the cityscape from above.

Sacre Coeur

Musee D’orsay

Musee D’orsay

If I went back to Paris tomorrow, what I’d want more of:  Walking around the Marais.

That’s me in the Orange, pointing at everything saying:

ooooooooo regardez this!

ooooooooo regardez that!

Merci,

n

Great Barrier Reef

Since moving to Australia all those 5 minutes 18 months ago I have dreamt of visiting the Great Barrier Reef.  I mean, it’s the stuff bucket lists are made of…

We spent four fun-filled days in Port Douglas, a little resort town and the perfect base from which to explore all the local gems, including the Reef and the Rainforest.  I think I’ll let my photos do (most of) the talking…

Day 1:

Mossman Gorge.   Hiking trails were closed, but it was still a lovely spot where a swim was enjoyed (by Adam).

Day 2:

Snorkel trip to the outer Reef.

With a bit of iffy weather in the forecast, we decided to wait until our arrival to schedule the snorkel trip.  This could’ve been recipe for disaster as we walked past several of the booking agencies who had boards on the sidewalk with various trips marked “SOLD OUT” for the upcoming days.  Yikes.  Upon quickly dialing the tour company that we had our hearts set on, we were told that they were Chockas (full) and had been turning away heaps of would-be customers for days.  We had luckily (thank you Universe) called straight after a couple had cancelled!

All set for the following day!

We couldn’t have had a more perfect day out to sea.  The morning started off grey and a bit rainy, but quickly turned blue and sunshine-y.  Our boat accommodated only 30 peoples (as opposed to those that serve upwards of 300+) and we had a marine biologist onboard.  Bonus!

As we were making our journey out to the reef, the captain made a sharp turn and then shut off the engine…

Whales!!!!!!!!

Several Humpbacks.  Moms + Babies.  They came right up to our boat to check us out.  Surrounding us, swimming beside and underneath, so close we could practically feel their breath as it came shooting out of the blowhole.  It was a magical moment.  One I will never forget.  We enjoyed the whale show for about 40 minutes and got another one later in the day, but with Minke Whales this time.  I love this one particular photo because you can even see the colouring of the whale from underwater.

Boats are a relaxing place to be.  Especially when neither of us are in charge of it and it doesn’t brake down on us in the middle of sea (ahem, Croatia, ahem).

Oh yeah, I almost forgot the whole point of the trip.  The Snorkeling bit!

The reef was truly majestic.  You can see it from above here.  The sights below are even better.   I guess you will all just have to hop a flight to Cairns and book your own Great Barrier Reef adventure to see that amazing Coral below…

Day 3:

Daintree River/Rainforest

The morning started off with a Crocodile Tour along the Daintree River.  We were lucky enough to see many a Croc, including a giant 80 year old male as well as a mom with dozens of babies.  I don’t need to get this close to one again….

Then it was time to check out the Rainforest.  Everything is so lusciously green.  Here are some shots from walks around the Rainforest and up to Cape Tribulation.

Fun Fact: This is the only place on the Planet where two UNESCO World Heritage Sites meet.

Next, how cool are Mangroves? 

 

Australia continues to amaze me.  It really is the whole package.  Now could someone just move it a bit closer to The States?

Ta,

n

Grateful

My brilliant and very dear friend Trish keeps a beautiful blog, on which she has given me the opportunity to guest post today!  To read a bit of my story about how I sprouted some wings and flew all the way to Australia – please check it out:  The Grateful Life.

Thanks Trish!

Ta,

n

Bowral

Note to those oblivious to bank holidays:

Consult a calendar before planning a quiet weekend away.

Our “no occasion” weekend away proved to be less quiet than we anticipated.  With Adam working on a Japanese calendar and me having NO idea what the Australian holidays are until about a week before when I find out that it’s ANZAC Day or Australia Day or in this case, some Queen’s Birthday…it’s easy for us to forget that the rest of Sydney may have made some plans as well.  Whoops.

We were looking to slow our pace down just a bit for a couple of days.  Be careful what you wish for: The drive to Bowral that was meant to be a breezy hour and half ride proved to be more like three hours…After that unwelcome slow start, we were able to enjoy the perfect pace of a country weekend escape.

Friday night we had a beautiful dinner and a quaint little Italian restaurant where we dined on the most delicious Octopus Legs – melt in your mouth goodness.  I would return to Bowral just to enjoy them again!

Saturday morning was spent lazily walking around the shops, touching all the goods + browsing the local farmers market.  We had a long lush lunch at Centennial Winery on Saturday, which started with a wine tasting and ended with a blurry minded purchasing of too much (fakeout – no such thing!) wine.

Sunday was a day of exploring other local towns, such as Kangaroo Valley and Fitzroy Falls:

Hope to return to Bowral again in September with my MOM to enjoy their annual Tulip Festival!

Ta,

n

Vivid

As if Sydney isn’t beautiful enough…..then it goes and puts on a festival of light, music and ideas.

Colouring the city with creativity and inspiration, Vivid Sydney highlights include the hugely popular immersive light installations and projections….Vivid Sydney is a major celebration of the creative industries and the biggest festival of its kind in the Southern Hemisphere, attracting over 400,000 attendees in 2011.

The exhibition lasts 18 days at Circular Quay and the surrounding area.  Several of the buildings have changing sceneries in all the colors of the rainbow.  My favorite displays were the Sunflowers on the tunnel walls in The Rocks:

The facade of Customs House:

As well as the Museum of Contemporary Art.

The Opera House depicted the most crisp (although this photo doesn’t quite do it justice) display of a Women stretching, dancing, yoga-ing (??) projected all the way from the Harbour Bridge.

There are many interactive light displays like a larger-than-life game of tic tac toe.  Or you can just hop in an igloo:

With the wintry cold weather + outdoor lights, I had to keep checking the date on my phone as I was certain that Christmas was right around the corner!  Bummer still another 196 to go……

Ta,

n

Happy Graduation Jaime!

Shortly after returning from my stateside holiday – I had my second familial visit, my not-so baby sister Jaime arrived!  After an eventful 24 hours of solo travel, she was ready to take on the sights of Sydney, all in the name of completing her high school graduation requirement.

Her nearly 2 week visit gave me the opportunity to feel like a tourist in my town, falling in love with this place all over again.

We took a day trip to the Blue Mountains and enjoyed the attractions at Scenic World:

We ventured over to the Northern Beaches, stopping along the way at several beaches – but spending most of the afternoon taking in the sights of Palm Beach.  Thanks to our friendly drill sergeant tour guide Adam, we were introduced to a steep beautiful hike up to the lighthouse.

Whale season is just kicking off here.  If given a bit more time and a pair of high tech binoculars, I definitely could’ve pointed one out!

The absolute highlight of our time together (aside from the excitement of finally having someone to watch reality tv with) was an adventure I had been waiting to experience since the moment I arrived here 1 year 5 months and 7 days ago….

The Sydney Harbour Bridge Climb.

Thank you to my big sister Courtney who thoughtfully gifted this tour to me for my birthday last year.  I was just waiting for the perfect person to climb with.  Jaime, at 23 17 is way more brave than I’ll ever be!  She hopped into the line first, thus securing her position as such for the entirety of the tour.  Thanks for climbing in such close proximity to me, sharing some of your bravery with your wimpy older sister!

Also a massive thank you to my stepmom Ellen for making this whole trip possible and allowing Jaime and I the opportunity to spend such quality time together!

Happy Graduation J!!!

Ta,

n

Santa Barbara

Anyone remember Lisa Frank stickers?  Yeah, I haven’t done any biographical research, but I feel safe saying she has got to be from Santa Barbara.

Update: Upon revisiting her creations – it appears I have forgotten about the scenes with Unicorns, Tigers and Dalmatian puppys – perhaps my memory failed me into remembering only her work involving dolphins and palm trees.  For which, that must’ve been the “Santa Barbara Line”.  I have really outed myself as a child of the 90’s….

Anyway, back to the trip.

Adam is great at planning holidays – I mean, if Travel Agents still existed, he’d be earning platinum rewards annually…

Here is a photo to prove his skills:

He really hit the ball outta the park when he booked our accommodation:

Not too shabby, eh?  I was walking around for two days with a gigantic grin on my face, muttering under my breath “I have arrived!”.

We spent 48 hours soaking up the luxury – with access to a 50 metre swimming pool across the road that apparently none of the other guests got the memo about.  It was practically our own.

If the guests didn’t know about the pool, then they definitely didn’t know about the bar upstairs from the pool either.  We had the entire outdoors to ourselves.  Whale watching bar party for 2 – yes please!

We took a scenic drive into Santa Ynez to explore some wine country gems.

….And otherwise plotted how we could turn this dreamy holiday into real life.

Santa Barbara marked our last official spot on the road trip agenda, now it’s back to “winter” in Australia….

Ta,

n