Local points on interest…Two more weeks in Tasmania…Foggy morning in the valley…Happy Valentine’s Day!

Statue in Franklin commemorating World War I soldiers.

When our cleaner became ill and could not do our place, Anne arranged for another cleaner to come by at 1:30 pm. As a result, we waited to go out for our usual weekly grocery trip and plan to take photos along the way.

Cute pizza shop in Franklin.

As the time rapidly winds down until we depart Tasmania for the cruise from Sydney on March 1st, we’re now looking at only two weeks until we’re on our way to the second to the last of our seven cruises in the South Pacific over an almost two year period.

Tavern/hotel in Franklin.

Then on April 22nd, after spending 40 nights in Manly (a suburb of Sydney with harbor views), we’ll embark on the seventh and final cruise. Six of the seven cruises have embarked from the Port of Sydney, with the first in the series had departed from Hawaii in May 2015 when we made our way to this part of the world.

Boats moored in the inlet on the Huon River.

Having spent this extended period in the South Pacific, we feel comfortable with what we’ve seen in and around Australia. But have no doubt very little, in comparison to what Australia has to offer overall. 

After all, Australia and its surrounding islands could literally keep travelers on the move for a lifetime. When we finally embark on the final cruise to the USA, we’ll post all of the islands and areas we’ve visited during this 22 month period since our arrival.

Tour boat serving customers at Petty Sessions Restaurant and park.

Going forward, it’s unlikely we’ll spend this much time in and about one continent. But, the long distance from this part of the world to most others prompted us to stay for this extended period. 

We don’t anticipate we’ll ever return to the South Pacific when we still have many continents to explore or…explore further, including our own North America, which we’ll tackle down the road at some point.

Petty Sessions Restaurant.

As for our Valentine’s Day, as mentioned in yesterday’s post, we kept it low-key. With few restaurants in the immediate area, most of which are more casual where it isn’t easy to accommodate my way of eating, we enjoyed yet another homemade meal and evening together after returning from our drive and shopping trip.

This popular tourist spot, Petty Sessions, has a gallery, restaurant, playground park, and boat tours.

We weren’t disappointed. How could we be when we so love our surroundings here in the beautiful Huon Valley? Although it’s cooler than we’d prefer, with us frequently bundled up in warm clothing, the area is still a feast for the eyes.

This morning’s fog was so dense we weren’t able to see across the Huon River.

In fact, all of Tasmania provides some of the most exquisite scenery we’ve seen. For the first time, when we were about to leave Penguin, Tom actually said, “Of all the places we’ve visited, I could see living in Penguin.”

But, in reality, it’s all just “talk” when either of us makes such comments. We do not envision settling down anytime shortly. And, as we traveled, we’ve found our perception and opinions as to that which may be ideal for our “older age” may change from time to time.

This is the most fog we’ve seen since arriving in Tasmania. However, by 9:00 am, it began to clear.

For those on the opposite side of the International Dateline, where it’s February 14th today, have a lovely Valentine’s Day with those you love. We’ll be thinking of you with love.

Photo from one year ago today, February 14, 2016:

A portion of the outdoor dining area where we dined on Valentine’s Day at Table Restaurant in New Plymouth, New Zealand, one year ago. For more photos, please click here.

Using perks and points from Expedia…Interesting photos from a very old house in 2013…Head banging?…

In Tuscany, this yet-to-be-baked homemade low-carb, gluten-free, grain-free, starch-free, and sugar-free pizza was made with “real” mozzarella (often referred to as buffalo mozzarella in the US) and locally grown ingredients. The stringiness factor was tripled from the pizza we’d made in the past using “manufactured” bagged shredded mozzarella, which we hope never to use again. It was our best pizza ever! I’d cut double the ingredients to make another freshly made pizza for tonight with no microwave for reheating. Nothing like two nights of freshly made pizza!

Today’s photos are from the date in 2013, in Boveglio, Tuscany, Italy, which we posted here.   

How quickly we forgot the nuances of the 300-year-old stone house in Italy. From today’s re-shared photos, you can easily see how much we had to adapt to living in this very old house. It was sometimes challenging, especially when the WiFi signal was so poor.

The electrical wiring throughout the house is exposed, using cloth instead of the conduit most of us are familiar with as a code requirement in the US and other countries. We doubt that building/code compliance inspectors travel around inspecting these centuries-old properties. As shown above, the primary lighting source in the kitchen is these two fixtures over the kitchen table, encased in glass globes. Energy-efficient as the “curly” energy-efficient bulbs we’d used in the US, this particular style takes approximately five minutes to light up the area, which can be a little tricky at night.

Ten years ago, we rented a device from a company in the US called MiFi. This company still exists but can’t do much business these days when good WiFi signals are available worldwide, even in some remote locations. Even in the bush in South Africa, we had no problem getting a good signal.

Sure, some parts of the world are so remote that a signal isn’t possible, but over the years, we haven’t continued to experience issues being online. When renting a hotel or holiday home, we always check to ensure they have free unlimited internet access.

Cloth-covered wiring over the sink in the kitchen.

Today, we rented a car for one day from the Expedia link on our site, found here. When our ship arrives in Boston on August 30, we needed a means of transportation from our hotel to Stoughton, where my cousin Phyllis lives, so we could all go out to dinner near her home.

Again, cloth-covered wiring near the shower in the main bathroom.

When researching transportation from our hotel to Stoughton, a 40-minute drive, we found the cost of taxis, Uber, or transportation companies to be as much as $400 for the round trip plus tips. Instead, with points we’ve accumulated and hadn’t used lately at Expedia, we could rent a car for a good price and drive ourselves to meet with Phyllis.

We both had to duck to go down the long hallway to the bedroom. We got used to saying, “Don’t bang your head.”

As it turned out, we had enough points left to use on Expedia to offset the cost of a car. This morning we booked the car, and all we had to pay after using our points was $9.88 for the one-day car rental. We couldn’t get this done quickly enough! once the details were paid and booked, we added the information to our free Cozi Calendar, as we do with all of our bookings.

Tom also had to duck his head when heading out to the tiny veranda from the guest bedroom.

We now have peace of mind knowing we completed one of the few remaining tasks necessary for our upcoming trip, as listed in a post two days ago here.

Also, we’d like to ask our readers to kindly consider using the links on our page to compare travel costs and perks. We make a small commission that helps cover a portion of the expenses for the maintenance of our site, and you’ll pay no more using the links than if you went to them on your own. Also, you may find you can save a lot of money using these links and accumulating perks and points.

This doorway to the main bathroom was cut to fit the low frame, requiring that we also duck when entering or leaving.

We figured out an easy plan to get the rental car when we’ll be coming from the port on August 30, not the airport, where we’ll have to go to pick up the car. We’ll get an Uber or taxi from the port to drive us to the airport.

Tom will jump out and leave me with the driver, who will drive me to the hotel with our bags. That way, we won’t have to take the bags to the airport. Then, Tom will pick up the car and drive to the hotel. Later in the day, we’ll make the drive to Stoughton to meet my cousin Phyllis for dinner.

This hole was cut on the outside of the house to allow for the water meter.

I asked Phyllis if she’d like us to pick her up. She’s about ten years older than me and may prefer to have us pick her up so she won’t have to drive home in the dark. If so, we won’t mind at all. It will be wonderful to see her. It’s been several years since we’ve seen Phyllis, and she and her two daughters are my only living relatives on the father’s side. As it turns out, I am the oldest living relative on my mother’s side of the family. How did that ever happen? Where did the time go?

Tonight, we’re heading to Brownwood Paddock Square for the evening. It’s been raining off and on all morning, but it looks like it will be clearing by the time we leave at 5:00 pm.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, July 7, 2013:

The heating elements in the 300-year-old stone house in Tuscany. The radiators are behind these hanging curtains in the long hallway. Hmmm…For more, please click here.

Remembering Marloth Park’s treasures…Stunning photos posted by locals…Upcoming busy weekend with houseguests….

Photo by Hanlie de Wit. Bushbabies were checking out the action.

Every morning, before beginning the post, I check out Marloth Park’s Sighting Page on Facebook for any new wildlife sightings, not so much to post them but to see what’s happening in our absence. Today, June 15, is the date we’ll return in 2024, twelve months from today.

It’s not that I wish the time to pass quickly while we’re away. We’re enjoying our time in Florida and will surely enjoy the three upcoming cruises. But, no doubt, I think about it often and miss our human and animal friends in the bush. Life is easier here, and the heat, humidity, insects, and other annoyances in the bush.

But, when we are there, all of that is incidental, and we find ways to stay comfortable and adapt to the surroundings since the benefits and joys are many. The weather here in Florida is as hot and humid as in South Africa. The dew point has been higher here many days than we’d ever experienced in Marloth Park in the summer months. The difference here is the whole-house aircon that stays on 24/7, keeping us cool and comfortable.

Photo by Meryl Venter. Lions in our old neighborhood.

It’s impossible to have a whole-house aircon in the bush with all the load-shedding issues and the unaffordable cost of electricity. It’s just not affordable for homeowners providing holiday homes with reasonably priced holiday rentals. Plus, it’s not practical with doors open and no bug screens.

When I checked Facebook this morning, I was thrilled to find the three new photos we posted today, giving credit to the photographers for such fine and unique shots. Taking pictures in The Villages is challenging. The houses are somewhat cookie-cutter from the exterior.

Next week, we plan to look at some houses for sale and prepare a post sharing what we’ve found. No, we aren’t looking for ourselves, but we thought sharing photos and pricing with our readers in a post would be fun. We’ve looked at some houses for sale at different points during our years-long travel journey since it’s interesting to both of us.

Photo by Meryl Venter. A leopard in Marloth Park, one of several.

On another note, we have a busy weekend coming up with two visits from separate couples, friends Karen and Rich on Friday and friends Lea Ann and Chuck on Sunday. No sooner than one couple leaves, we’ll hurry and wash the sheets and remake the guest room bed and clean the bathroom for the next visit.

In both cases, for these one-night stays, we plan to dine out for dinner to show our guests the fun squares we’ve visited in the past. We’ll most likely go to Spanish Springs Town Square and Sumter Landing on each of the two nights and have breakfast here in the mornings.

Soon our Kroger grocery store online order will arrive. We’ve included bread, fruit, and juice for our guests (which we don’t eat), along with eggs and bacon, sufficient for both mornings. Seeing our friends again and enjoying quality time together in this lovely place will be fun.

As for today, we have excellent leftovers from ordering Chinese food last night that was enough for two nights. We’re really enjoying the delicious food from Sunrise Asian Restaurant. It’s too far to pick up the food driving in the golf cart, so we’re taking advantage of the Grubhub free delivery we receive by being Amazon Prime members.

Be well.

Photo from ten years ago today, June 15, 2013:

No photos were posted on this date, ten years ago. For the story posted, please click here.

Hiding in the bathroom during tornado warnings!…A delightful surprise from a local reader/friend!!!…Three days and counting…

What a fantastic surprise and treat. I couldn’t be more grateful to friend/reader Joanette for her thoughtfulness.

We were watching another episode of Outlander. With Tom’s bad hearing and now stuffy head, we had the streaming show on the TV loud. Surprisingly, these rooms in the hotel are fairly sound-proof. But I heard some strange noises outside,  sounding like a train.

Immediately, I jumped up from the bed, and then we heard the sirens. Tornadoes had been sighted in Eden Prairie, exactly where we are located. Indeed, we were in the midst of a severe weather warning, requiring everyone to take shelter. We turned off the streaming show to get to the news.

This container is filled with delicious low-carb chocolate muffins. Note the recipe on top by zooming in.

Opening the door when I heard noises in the hallway, I saw no less than 20 people sitting on the corridor floor, their backs to the wall, waiting out the storm. We decided to stay in the room but moved all the “important” stuff into the windowless bathroom where we’d be safe from flying glass or worse if this hotel complex were to be hit directly.

We couldn’t get a good stream on our phones or laptops with weather reports. When the sirens ended, we returned to the room and checked the TV for weather reports which continued for hours. Winds in the range of 80 to 90 mph (128 km to 145 kph) came through along with some “touching down,” but fortunately not enough to do much damage other than to roofs and trees).

We sighed with relief. It had been a while since we encountered such a tornado-producing storm. It had been almost ten years ago when we still lived in Minnesota. Severe spring and summer storms are common in Minnesota and the midwest. Entire towns are wiped out due to significant tornadoes.

The bag of sugar-free chocolate chips will come in handy when we return to Marloth Park.

In any case, last night’s storm died down, and we could finish watching our show until we were ready to go to sleep. More of the same caliber storms are predicted for today, so we’ll keep an eye out and take shelter again if necessary.

Yesterday, Joanette, a long-time reader/friend who lives in the Minneapolis area, sent me an email stating she was stopping by with a container of low-carb chocolate muffins she’d made. I was blown away by her generosity and thoughtfulness. We’ve been sitting in this hotel room for the past 11 days, and a treat like this means the world to me.

Joanette had included this lovely card with a special message on the inside and the back. See below.

I explained we wouldn’t see her when she and her hubby came to the hotel. We didn’t want to take any chances whatsoever, for them, for us. But, when the front desk called at noon, saying a package had been delivered for me, I swooned with delight.  Joanette included a good-sized container of the most delicious low carb (2 grams each) chocolate muffin, but she included a thoughtful card, a bag of sugar-free chocolate chips, and a beautiful card, photos of which I’ve included here today.

It was hard for me not to try the muffins all day, but I resisted and waited until after dinner, when I made a dessert-like ritual of putting two muffins on the glass plate and savoring every bite. Tom doesn’t do well eating dark chocolate, so he won’t eat any of the muffins, which is a plus for me.

In 2017, we met Joanette for the first time when we had a get-together here in Minneapolis for our local readers. She brought me one of those muffins on that occasion, knowing I followed a low carb/keto way of eating. Since I can’t get all of the ingredients in most countries, I never made them, although I often thought about that muffin when craving something chocolate. I devoured that single muffin that night, and she remembered how much I loved it.

This message, on the back of the card, reminded us of our lives, always on a mission to adapt to circumstances, regardless of how hard they may be. We’ve used pool water on many occasions to flush the toilet!

Now in the tiny kitchen is a container stocked with the chocolate muffins (minus the two I ate last night), and it’s such a treat for me. It couldn’t have come at a better time. Thank you, Joanette!!! You are a kind and generous soul!!!

Now, Thursday, we are only three days from departing for Las Vegas. Tom started the Cortisone today, as prescribed, in addition to day three of two antibiotics, along with the other medications. Hopefully, this medication will escalate his recovery to another level, making it possible for us to fly to Las Vegas on Sunday afternoon. He says if we were leaving today, he could do it. But, I am happy it’s not for another three days, giving him more time to recover. He’s got a long way to go to recover.

When the housekeeper cleans our room today, we’ll head back to Cub Foods for a few more items to get us through the next three days so we won’t have to go out to eat or do takeaway. We haven’t had a single meal in a restaurant since we got off the ship infected with Covid-19, on April 21, over three weeks ago.

Since we can’t see family, I can’t wait to return to Marloth Park to make a tasty, healthy dinner with a big side salad to savor while seated on the veranda overlooking the garden, watching an entirely new batch of wildlife stopping by to check us out. New wildlife friends will be made, new names will be introduced, and if “safari luck” prevails, we may see a few familiar wildlife friends from our last house in the bush.

Be well.

Photo from one year ago today, May 12, 2021:

What an interesting bird! It’s a spooned-billed stork we spotted at Sunset Dam in Kruger National Park. For more, please click here.

Part 2…Chobe National Park safari and Chobe River cruise…Interesting geography, culture and much more…

A small but substantially packed ferry was arriving in Zambia from Botswana while we waited. This reminded us of the ferry boat when we come to Mombasa, Kenya, in September 2013. Click here for that post.
Riding the ferry is accessible for people but not for vehicles between Zambia and Botswana but, to disembark requires removing one’s shoes and walking in the water.

“Sighting of the Day in the Bush”

A kingfisher and his catch-of-the-day.  Not a perfect shot, but we were thrilled to get this while on the move.

At the moment, as I begin today’s post, I’m sitting alone outdoors at the hotel restaurant while Tom has gone with Matthew, our regular taxi driver, to the bank where one of our debit cards was swallowed by the ATM on Saturday.

This is where we stood and waited for the little boat to take us across the Zambezi River. A bridge is being built to accommodate the crossing, which could be completed by the end of 2019.

Yesterday our free day, Matthew drove us to the bank only to find the bank manager, the only person who can release the card, was out and none of the staff knew when he’d return. We couldn’t wait around all day for him to return.  We returned to the hotel.

Alec told us this truck broke down on the cement ramp on the river bank. It was shoved off into the river two years ago to get it out of the way and remains in this spot.

Matthew and the hotel concierge got to work to try and reach the bank manager, and a few minutes ago, Tom left to head back to the bank, where the manager was finally available. There’s no guaranty he’ll return the card to Tom, as explained by a bank official. It’s entirely up to the manager’s discretion.

These locals, situated on the side of the road, were selling cold beverages.

Humm…what about Tom will determine whether or not he is credible enough to get his card back? He’s wearing a nice shirt and shorts but then again, so are all the locals and tourists we see. I guess we’ll find out soon enough when he returns, which, when he does, I’ll include the result here as I continue to work on today’s post.

Alfred, our BushTracks guide from Botswana.

Oh, don’t get me wrong, we don’t hold this against Zambia in any manner.  We’re in Africa, and clean-cut scammers are coming up with the most unbelievable means of scamming people and institutions like many other parts of the world. I suppose they’re just following protocol.

Locals were walking on the road from Zambia to the ferry to head to Botswana.

Yes, we know we can order a new card from our bank in the US, but the inconvenience of collecting the card by snail mail is frustrating and time-consuming. We’ll see how it goes soon enough.

Anyway, today’s photos and stories include various scenes from the trip to Botswana. First, Alec, our trusty driver and tour guide inside of Zambian border (with Chris Tours), picked us up at the hotel at 7:00 am for the 45-minute drive to the Zambia immigration office near a busy pier on the Zambezi River where four countries intersect as follows:

“There is a place called Kazungula, where four countries meet at the Zambezi and Chobe Rivers intersection. Zambia, Zimbabwe, Botswana, and a tiny strip of Namibia all come together in one spot.” 

These women around this table all looked up at me and smiled, and gave the thumbs up. What this meant, I’m not sure, but I responded with a big smile and thumbs up as well.

That’s interesting,” we both commented simultaneously. In reviewing the map below, we started in Zambia and crossed the Zambezi River. Once we were on the other side, we were in Botswana. Here’s a map showing these points:

“African “Quadripoint” Only Place on the Earth, Where Four Distinct Territories’ are Touched.” 

Matthew went inside the bank with Tom as his local advocate, and a short time later, he and Tom walked out of the bank with Tom’s debit card safely back in his wallet. (Tom just returned from the bank. He got the card back! Whew! Tom generously “thanked” Matthew when they returned to the hotel).

At every border, vendors promote their wares by asking for purchases multiple times. We say, “No, thank you.”

Once passports were stamped indicating we were leaving Zambia, Alec walked us to a makeshift pier area where we’d have to walk over piles of pier-related construction materials toward the cement ramp where we’d board a little boat to cross the river. 

A very large hornbill, one of our favorite birds in South Africa.

Alec stayed behind in Zambia for the entire day, awaiting our return at 4:10 pm. We felt empathetic about his long day of waiting, but he said he manages to busy himself while waiting for his customers to return after the Chobe day trip.

A troop of baboons in a tree.

Crossing from Zambia into Botswana isn’t as easy as showing a passport crossing a vehicle. Alec took our passports while exiting and returning to the Zambian immigration office to get them stamped.

Albert, our guide with Bush Tracks Safari company, who drove us in the safari vehicle through the Chobe National Park and later drove the boat on the Chobe River, handled our passport stamps at the Botswana immigration office.

We saw no less than a dozen crocodiles during our busy day.

When we finally left Botswana at the end of the day, we had to make a personal appearance at immigration. As mentioned above, Alec again handled our passport stamps as he’d done upon entry back in Zambia. 

All of this takes time, but somehow we breezed through most of it while we were in the good hands of our guides. Our four safari mates were interesting to talk to, and we easily entertained ourselves while we waited.

Friend Louise in Kauai, Hawaii, identified this bird as an African Darter. Thanks, Louise!

Once on the Botswana side of the Zambezi River, Albert greeted us and told us a great story (while we waited for the four other guests) of how, when he was 12 years old, he became lost in the bush in Botswana. 

Female giraffes have hair at the top of their ossicones (horns). Males have worn off their hair from fighting for dominance. “The ossicones are what distinguishes the male and female from one another. Stereotypically, the female giraffe has tufts of hair on the top of her horns, while the males are bald on top. Some males develop calcium deposits on top of their heads, which creates the illusion of the animal having more than two horns.”

His grandfather had taught him valuable bush survival skills, which came into use during his three-day ordeal when he was finally found by his family and a search party. He translated this experience into his masterful skills as a safari guide, both on land and on the river. He provided an exceptional experience for all of us.

Another beautiful bird that is included in the “Ugly 5.”  It didn’t look so ugly to us. Thanks to friend Louise in Kauai, Hawaii, and niece Kari for identifying this bird.

Once the four others arrived, we all jumped into the safari vehicle and began the short drive toward Chobe National Park. Shortly before we entered the park, Alfred stopped the car and set up “tea time” with coffee, various teas, and homemade muffins. I sipped on Rooibos tea, the caffeine-free popular local tea, while Tom had coffee and a muffin. 

Albert prepared our “tea time” before we entered the Chobe National Park.

This pleasant tea time reminded us of when we had breakfast in the Masai Mara when our guide Anderson set breakfast in the savannah where the animals roamed around us. 

The photo from our breakfast in the savannah in the Maasai Mara in October 2013. See the post from that date here. 

We can’t believe we’ll be back in the Masai Mara in February, this time with a new guide since Anderson now works in Uganda with the gorilla tours. We’ll see him when we do that tour in the future.

Check out the muscles on the front quarters of this giraffe.

After tea and coffee, we headed directly into Chobe National Park to begin our land safari, which would last less than three hours. Our expectations were low during such a short period. 

A pair of giraffes at a distance.
Giraffes seldom bend down other than to drink water. This position makes them vulnerable to attack by predators.

As typical during most safaris, the dirt roads were uneven, and passengers must expect to bounce around as if on a ride at an amusement park. But, this is way more exciting than a manufactured ride. This was nature at its finest.

Monitor Lizard on the shore of the river.

During the first 45 minutes, we didn’t see much more than we were used to seeing in Marloth Park; impalas, warthogs, and some pretty birds. Then, the magic began as safari luck kicked in, as usual.  When we hadn’t seen much, I was tempted to tell our safari-mates, “No worries. We have safari luck. We’ll see something soon!” But, I kept quiet, not wanting to disappoint anyone if it didn’t happen.

An elderly group of four were stuck in the sand in their rental car. There is no way they’d have extricated themselves from this situation. Alfred used a tow strap/rope from another vehicle stuck behind this car and towed them out. They insisted on going through the sand again, but Alfred discouraged them, telling them to turn around and go back. We don’t know what ultimately transpired for this group of four seniors. Can you imagine being stuck in such a location overnight, stranded in a vehicle?

And safari luck indeed transpired as hoped as we had a spectacular morning in Chobe National Park. Over the next several days, we’ll continue to share photos from the land and Chobe River safaris.

Elephant skull on the side of the dirt road.

Today at 3:30 pm, we’ll be picked up by yet another tour company to take us on a sunset cruise on the Zambezi River on the beautiful, newer “Lion King” catamaran, where drinks and appetizers will be served. It will be fun to meet more travelers while we all share the remarkable stories of our time in this unique part of the world.

Please check back for more and more and more…

Photo from one year ago today, May 16, 2017:
Vancouver is comparable to many cities with many skyscrapers and business centers but is impeccably clean and friendly. We boarded the Celebrity Solstice to Alaska later in the day. Please click here for details.

A visit to Circular Quay and ride on The Manly Ferry…A Sydney Harbour tradition and popular means of local transportation…

The esplanade, a walkway along the shore in Circular Quay.

Traveling from Manly Beach to Sydney couldn’t be easier. The Manly Fast Ferry offers five location stops; Circular Quay; Darling Harbour; North Sydney; Pyrmont Bay: and weekend sightseeing ferry between Manly, Watsons Bay, and Rose Bay. For details for the Manly Fast Ferry, please click here.

While in Sydney a few days ago, Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas was in port. We’d sailed on this ship April 16, 2016, from Sydney to Singapore.

The slower ferry route taking about 30 minutes is the Manly Ferry, in operation since 1855, from the wharf in Manly to Circular Quay, the popular wharf. There are shops, a newsstand, and electronic machines from which to purchase more money for the Opal card used for Sydney transportation. 

Video during the ferry ride to Circular Quay in Sydney.

In addition, there’s an array of restaurants and fast food shops at the Wharf. Bob showed us a “drool-worthy” candy kiosk where candy lovers can find many of their favorites if they so chose.

Entertainment at the Wharf in Circular Quay in Sydney.

Circular Quay is a harbor in Sydney, New South Wales, Australia on the northern edge of the Sydney central business district on Sydney Cove, between Bennelong Point and The Rocks. It is part of the local government area of the City of Sydney. For information on this ferry, please click here.

Ferries ready to be boarded.

For our purposes, the slower Manly Ferry will serve our needs. Tomorrow night, when we’ll attend the opera at the Sydney Opera House, we’ll use the slower ferry for the round trip as we did when meeting friends Linda and Ken in the Rocks area of Sydney a few days ago.

The ride is easy and pleasant with breathtaking scenery with many popular points of interest greeting us along the way. Getting on and off the ferry is seamless especially with its frequent departures every 30 minutes.  There are multiple decks, both outdoor and indoor seating, and restrooms on board. 

Between the launch area to a view of the cruise ship.

Considered one of the top ten sights to see in Sydney at many tourist sites, the ferries themselves are a popular attraction. Plus, it makes no sense to pay the high taxi fares when it’s much more economical and faster to use the ferry. 

Sales area for Captain Cook Cruises, a tourist company.

We paid AU 100, US $77 for the round trip taxi fare from Manly to Sydney whereby it’s only AU 28, US $21.50 for the round trip ferry for both of us. It’s a no-brainer when we can easily visit the beautiful city as often as we’d like during our remaining time (yet unknown due to immigration) in Fairlight/Manly.

Tom on the Manly Ferry which was clean and well organized.

Taking the ferry requires a ride on a bus to return to the holiday rental but the Hop, Skip, Jump bus is free and arrives at the stop outside the Manly Wharf every half hour or less, stopping within a few blocks of where we’re living.

The cruise ship, the Sydney Harbour Bridge and a small ferry boat.

Typically in our world travels, we haven’t used a lot of public transportation when we’ve lived in more remote areas of the world where public transport schedules were erratic and stop too distant from our location at the time. Instead, we’ve either had a rental car or used a taxi. Neither of these options was necessary for this area.

From almost any point in the area, it’s easy to see the Sydney Harbour Bridge. Ken asked if we were going to do the bridge walk. Maybe not.

The weather has been rainy, windy, and cloudy since our arrival on Monday. We’ve only been able to wash clothes once with the high humidity. It took three days for the clothing to dry indoors on the rack. As a result of inclement weather, we haven’t had much of an opportunity to walk the neighborhood, although we’ve been out and about on several occasions.

Soon, we’ll visit The Museum of Contemporary Art located near the wharf.

Yesterday late afternoon, our kindly landlord Bob took us to a local mall with dozens of shops and restaurants, Stockland Balgowlah, where we rounded out our grocery shopping at Cole’s Market, visited a pharmacy, and stopped at the local health food store. 

We had to walk to find the pub where we were meeting Linda and Ken.

We’re hoping the weather will improve by tomorrow’s ferry ride to Circular Quay especially considering the long walk to the Opera House from the Wharf but it doesn’t look hopeful. Rain or shine, we’ll be on our way for what surely will be a fabulous performance at the world-famous venue.

Have a fabulous day!

Photo from one year ago today, March 17, 2016:

Two bottles of New Zealand wine we’d purchased and savored in New Zealand. We seldom purchase wine for “home” use but have done so twice in the past year. No wine for me recently with this medical issue, yet to be fully resolved. For more details, please click here.

Yorkeys Knob…An interesting visit provided a wide array of experiences…A few new favorite photos…

After leaving the beach we drove to a high point in the area with this expansive view.

The Cairns area of Queensland has so much to offer. It’s highly unlikely we’ll ever run out of places to explore during our remaining few months in Trinity Beach. Sure, at some point we’ll drive further away. For now, we’re soaking in everything we can in the wide-area surrounding us that is jammed packed with interesting spots to visit.

We walked past a grove of palm trees and evergreens as we made our way to the beach.

Yesterday’s outing after my workout was no exception. Having heard about Yorkeys Knob as a community rich in history and diversity, we decided to check it out and by no means were we disappointed.

As we walked toward this crest which after crossing dipped down to the beach, wondering if any cross may be lying in wait. 

We found an enormous stretch of beach that was pure paradise. We met people along the beach with whom we talked for some time, we drove along the many streets and beach boulevard enjoying the differences of other beach roads we’d seen thus far. We gathered shells on the beach which we’ll share in photos soon. 

Yorkeys Beach was serene and pristine.

And, much to our delight, we purchased fish and seafood at a fabulous wholesale fish warehouse on the remote drive back to Trinity Beach. We timed the return drive from the fish market to our house to discover it’s a mere five minutes away. Of course, we’ll return in the future.

At certain points, it felt more like the desert than the beach with various vegetation shooting up through the sand.

That five-minute drive confirmed how close we actually are to getting away from the more populated, somewhat traffic-congested areas in the popular Trinity Beach. 

This view was to our left as we faced the ocean.

It’s the unexpected experiences that we stumble upon that make our travels all the more exciting, those we’d never know about had we not driven to an area that may not particularly be on “tourist’s radar.” Visiting many of the typical tourist venues may not appeal to us due to the commercialism, impatient crowds, excess fees for entry, and of course, the long lines. 

To our right, this was the view we stumbled upon.

Nothing about yesterday’s outing reminded us of the above. Quiet, uncrowded, vast expanses of unspoiled beaches brought us the kind of joy that makes our travels meaningful and memorable.

We spoke with this woman who is from Sydney and travels throughout the continent with her husband in their “caravan.” She, like us, was enthralled with the number of shells on the beach, not often found on many beaches that we’ve walked throughout the world.

Today, we’re quoting from a book on Yorkeys Know written by Mary T. Williams which was published in 1960 entitled, “The Know, A History of Yorkeys Knob” as follows:

“Behind the naming of any village, township, city, state or country lies a story. Some names are bland, negating any curiosity to pursue the derivation. Conversely, names can be provocative instantly stirring the imagination.
Yorkeys Knob on the eastern coast of Australia in the northern part of the State of Queensland is such a name. Westing from the Coral Sea – approaching land from the east, Yorkeys Knob sits very prettily on the hem of the Great Barrier Reef. To further enhance a natural beauty it edges into rich coastal flatland running from the foot of a marvelous range straight into the illimitable sea.

The Knob itself is the first headland north of the Harbour of Cairns, a cheeky headland layered in rock with a fuzz of timber. Its boulders tumble into the sea in arrow fashion forming a calm bay on its northern side and giving the surf full play to the south. The bay is called Half Moon Bay because of its crescent-shaped white beach and cradles a tidal river running up to and fed by the massive range. On earth level at any angle or off-shore, the lumpy and picturesque Knob invites an explanation why a man nicknamed Yorkey gave to this Knob a meaning.

It might be assumed that amongst the cosmopolitan insurgence of gold-diggers into Northern Australia during the mid-1800’s was a Yorkshireman called George Lawson. There is no factual information to support this assumption. It was only in the 1880’s that an adventurous hard-living beche-de-mer fisherman nicknamed `Yorkie’ was, by a series of incidents emerging as an identity in the northern waters off the harbour of Cairns.

On 10th May 1883 issued the first copy of a newspaper “The Cairns Post”. Thereafter this newspaper was published weekly until 1888 then bi-weekly until 1893. Despite disruptions, changes and upheavals to this date, the newspaper flourishes on a daily circulation. But it is to its romantic and uncertain first decade that we owe a faithful recording of time, date and incident relevant to the man George Lawson nicknamed Yorkie.

In early records Yorkey is referred to as `Yorkie’ or ‘Yorky’ and in one instance as being a Norwegian fisherman who lived on the ‘hill’ called the Knob. However, in all traceable registers the man Yorkey and the headland Yorkeys Knob rise unmistakably and territorially rock-like from misty legends of an extensive region strongly linked to the sea. The same registers disclose the man Yorkey’s great respect for life in a time of lust and survival, more impressive when human life weighed little in value.”

Today, we’re sharing some of our photos from yesterday’s visit to Yorkeys Knob and more will follow in days to come.  And tomorrow, we’ll be back with photos and the “steal” we got on the seafood we purchased. 

Another view of the barren beach.

A few days ago, when we posted photos of the pier in Palm Cove and the limitations on fishing for the popular local fish, Barramundi, we were intrigued by this fish. 

We drove up the hills toward this resort, a distance from which we shot today’s main photo, looking back down at the beach.

As it turned out, we were able to purchase a fresh-caught over .5 kilo, 1.1 pounds, Barramundi filet which we’re having for tonight’s dinner, dipped in egg and dusted in almond flour to be sautéed in grass-fed butter and locally made extra virgin olive oil. 

We met this sweet puppy , Abby, on the beach as her parents took her for a walk without a leash. She playfully jumped up and down in the sand.

Of course, we’ll take photos of tonight’s dinner and share them tomorrow with our opinion on the firm fleshy fish. Even Tom, who doesn’t usually eat fish, agreed to give it a try.

Tiny wildflower growing on the beach.

Thanks for stopping by! We always appreciate your readership.

                                                Photo from one year ago today, June 30, 2014:

Unsure of why the village of Campanario was decorated and with the language barrier we could only guess at the purpose of the hoopla that many residents were busy preparing. As it turned out, it was a church festival that lit up the village that night. For more details from that date, please click here.

More to see, new and old…The wonder of it all never disappoints…Happy St. Patrick’s Day to those who celebrate…HB RL!!

Plumeria growing on a sparse tree.  Spring is in the air.

Recently, Julie and I have visited many locations I’d already seen with Tom. Kauai is not a huge island, but I’ve been pleasantly surprised when I’ve been equally ecstatic to see these points of interest yet another time. 

We arrived in Kapaa town around noon. After stopping at the local health food store to restock almond flour, the cashier explained that this resort across the street was definitely worthy of a visit and bite to eat. She was right in her assessment. The resort has great reviews on TripAdvisor.
The entrance to the resort was totally empty when we entered, although we saw guests by the pool, in the restaurant, and walking on the paths.

Never bored for a moment, my eyes peruse the same beaches, same scenes, and same popular spots with a renewed curiosity as to what I may have missed last time. And of course, we’ve discovered new spots as shown in today’s photos.

The beach at the resort is easy to access and pristine.

On each occasion, something new was to be discovered, to be photographed, with a totally different perspective. It’s funny how excited we can become showing someone we love, something we love. Over these past days, soon to end, we’ve seen a lot.

The resort’s grounds include easy walking paths parallel to the shoreline.

On Friday night, a mere three days from today, Julie returns to Los Angeles to an entirely different world, a world to which I no longer connect, nor have I for 50 years. 

Seating provided at the beach for resort guests.

I grew up in Long Beach, California, which is as far removed from my reality as anyplace I can imagine. The traffic, the people, the cost of living (Julie says not unlike here in Hawaii) is something I can’t imagine we’d ever want in our lives again.

The food in the Oasis restaurant at the resort was delicious according to Julie. Her lunch of fish taco was prepared perfectly and fresh. Unfortunately, there wasn’t one item on the menu that worked for me and I wasn’t hungry enough to ask for special modifications. I ordered an iced tea and was content to be with my sister as we looked out at the sea.

Looking back at the rush hour traffic, the long lines, the crowds, we now realize that living in any big city in the US or, outside the US, is not a life for us after living this simple life in the world in more remote locations, always anticipating a move to yet another exciting location.

A Kolea bird, common along the shoreline.

We can only work at good health and hope and pray that it will provide us with the opportunity to continue on in our travels for many years to come. We accept that not worrying about it is our best option, in actuality our only option.  Worry only creates bad health, not improves it. We both choose not to worry. 

More walking paths in the Waipouli  Beach Resort and Spa.

Sure, from time to time we suffer from maladies which even my diligent way of eating, which greatly reduces inflammation, cannot defer. We each have a few age-related issues that at any point could immobilize us. 

The pool’s waterfall.

With our healthy way of eating, staying active, walking a lot, exercising (me, only), and maintaining an upbeat attitude, we hope we can hold off the ravages of bad health commensurate with old age for a few years, extending the quality of life well into our 80s, 90s and more. God willing (or your choice of a higher power, or not).

A portion of the pool with a waterfall. 

Today is St. Patrick’s Day and a part of the world celebrates this day with merriment and celebration. Today is also eldest son’s birthday and that has always superseded St. Patrick’s Day in my mind on this particular date.  Happy birthday, Richard! We’re thinking of you with love and good wishes.

Beautiful beaches never disappoint.

Please bear with us over the next many days, in that we’re sharing new photos of places we may have shared in the past, considering the new eyes that beheld them with a renewed degree of excitement and awe.

Even on cloudy days, one will always find beachgoers, hoping for a bit of sunshine.  Often, the clouds clear, if only for a short while.

The world is an amazing place. We find that wherever we may be, there is always a treasure to behold right before us, whether big or small, scary, or gentle for which, we are always eternally grateful.

Have a safe playful day!

                                              Photo from one year ago today, March 17, 2014:

It was one year ago today, that we decided to stay put. The intestinal virus I’d acquired from the salad in the first few days in March upon arriving in Marrakech had gotten the best of me. It was time to begin taking the Cipro which I tried to avoid for weeks.  Getting weaker by the day, I began taking the antibiotic which began working in less than a few hours. For details from this date, please click here.

On the road again…Kauai never disappoints…

Do I recognize this scowl, similar to Tom’s when driving in traffic? Just kidding, honey!

Yesterday, when the sun wouldn’t cooperate as we sat by the pool in the clouds, we decided to go check out the Kilauea Lighthouse where we’d planned to visit today for a tour. 

These bulls were lounging under a tree. Notice the grumpy one on the left definitely annoyed at us for stopping.

Since it’s not possible to book tours at this particular first-come, first-serve venue, we thought it might be a good idea to check it out to see what type of waiting line there would be. 

Once we arrived, we were shocked by the line of cars and the number of people waiting for the next tour. With no required admission fees, we should have realized that January and February are busy tourist months in the Hawaiian Islands and it would not be a good time to attend a free tour.

Ocean view from Kilauea.

After getting stuck in the long lines for a while, we decided to come back in April or May when the tourist traffic has slowed down. Most travelers from the northern hemisphere seem to visit Hawaii before their own spring season arrives, spring break perhaps being the exception.

Instead, since we were already quite away from Princeville, we decided to explore the general area. We couldn’t have been more excited by the scenery we discovered in the little town of Kilauea (same name as the erupting volcano on the Big Island) and its surrounding beaches.

Mynah Bird.

Each time we drove down what appeared to be a dead-end road heading toward the sea, we gasped over the breathtaking beauty before us. Haphazardly, we made our way down one road after another, finding many roads that simply come to an end. 

Yard of one of many massive private residences in Kilauea.

However, the route required to come to that end, left us in awe as one interesting point after another awaiting our exploration. Often, one of us catches a glimpse of something wonderful and Tom doesn’t hesitate to back up or turn around if necessary. 

Away from the ocean, the sky is clear.

I‘m surprised Tom doesn’t mind backing up or turning around. In fact, he freely offers to do so, hoping we’ll get a good view of yet another of Mother Nature’s treasures.

This quaint church in Kilauea is definitely eye-catching.

Unfortunately, the sky was overcast most of the day and there was a dense haze in the air, referred to by the locals as a “vog.” See the description below for an explanation of vog:

“Vog in Hawaiʻi

Vog is a form of air pollution that results when sulfur dioxide and other gases and particles emitted by an erupting volcano react with oxygen and moisture in the presence of sunlight. The word is a portmanteau of the words “volcanic”, “smog“, and “fog”. The term is in common use in the Hawaiian islands, where the Kīlauea volcano, on the Island of Hawaiʻi (aka “The Big Island”), has been erupting continuously since 1983. Based on June 2008 measurements, Kīlauea emits 2,000–4,000 tons of sulfur dioxide every day.

Apparently, the vog wafts over all of the islands as we’ve witnessed these past four months since we arrived by ship on September 29th. (Gosh, that four months went quickly. Surely these next 111 days will pass as quickly). Dense humidity also covers many areas due to the vegetation covering the mountains, hills, and parts of the beach, only adding to the impeded view at times.

The red Ti Plant, commonly used in landscaping in the islands.

As we sit here now with the view of the mountains out the window when we lift our heads and the view of the sea when we wander out to the veranda, the foggy view even on this sunny day is a constant. We’ve yet to see a clear view of the mountains or the sea from our lanai.

Then again, who’s to complain? So, our photos look a little hazy taken by this less than professional photographer attempting to capture a feeling, a view, and a memory that need not bespeak perfection.

A beach along the road.  More beach photos to follow tomorrow.

So, today, we share our “voggy” photos with enthusiasm and aplomb, hoping our readers share the joy of nature with us, however humbly we may present our perspective.

It’s Saturday night!  (Do you recall, “Live from New York!  It’s Saturday night!)  Enjoy!

                                             Photo from one year ago today, January 31, 2014:

It was a year ago today, that we moved out of the Hornbill house over to the Khaya Umdami house when our hosts and new friends, Louise and Dani offered that we stay in this upscale house (at no additional fee) until their next guests would arrive. How did we get so lucky to stay in this gorgeous house, priced well beyond our budget?  For more photos of this fabulous property, please click here.

Life on a farm…An experience like none other…Once again, adapting…

John, our exciting and attentive host farmer, has beautiful stories to tell. A former physician and world traveler, he’s a wealth of information. He took us on a partial tour of the 150 acres farm. On another day, we’ll see more.

Fascinating Fact of the Day about Devon, Cornwall:
Devon County Council is responsible for 8,000 miles of road – the longest network in the country. The county is home to everything from single track rural lanes across Dartmoor and Exmoor to major highways like the A38 and A30 – as well as the M5.”

There are chickens, ducks, and geese on the property, along with many Dorset sheep.  (Photos coming soon of these adorable sheep which are kept for their wool, not for slaughter.

Many of us have ancestors that farmed. In Tom’s case, it’s undoubtedly true when both of his parents, grandparents, and some of his siblings were born on a farm. I would have no idea if any of my ancestors were farmers.

We both love living on a farm. It must be in our DNA. It’s hard to imagine living in a typical city when over the past weeks, we’ve lived on two farms, reveling in every aspect. Of course, part of the enjoyment is based on the fact that we don’t do any of the work.

The acreage is diverse and beautiful.

People we’ve met along the way have asked if we “house sit” or work on farms as compensation for living quarters. As much as they may be appropriate for some travelers, it is just not quite our thing.  

We travel as retirees, although we spend hours preparing and working on our posts, taking photos, and conducting research. As we mentioned many times in past posts, we don’t feel our site is a “job” based on the enjoyment and benefit we derive from writing our stories each day.  

If the weather were warm, we’d certainly use this pool, but it is very calm and frequent rains, as it is today.

Should our level of enthusiasm or interest in continuing to post each day ever changes, we may have to reconsider. But, for now, we can no more imagine ending this process than we can in ending our world travels. 

We can only strive to be healthy, diligently watch our budget and be adaptable to the many nuances properties and locations present to us along the way. Nonetheless, we’ll always encounter situations that aren’t ideal.

A small pond near their house and the barns.  Soon, we’ll share photos of the pond outside our door of the “Pond Cottage.”

In this new location, a well-built former barn renovated to perfection still has some nuances which we must adjust to, primarily small things such as a difficult-to-navigate stairway to the second floor where the bedrooms and bathrooms are located.

There’s a tiny under-counter refrigerator that requires bending over to access (although there is, much to our delight, a separate under-counter freezer). The bed is somewhat low and not as comfortable as we’d like. To avoid being nitpicky, there are other small things not worthy of mentioning here.

John planted 600 sequoia seeds many years ago, and now there are over 400 trees.

But, we’re living on a gorgeous farm and in a beautiful house, and we appreciate being here more than we can say. The owners are over-the-top wonderful, and the nearby villagers are kind, welcoming, and friendly. We couldn’t ask for more.

Funnily, neither of us feel compelled to get out sightseeing right now as we’re immersed in the quiet solitude on this gorgeous property. Tomorrow we’ll head to Tiverton to check out the bigger of the villages in the area.

No doubt during our three weeks here, we’ll get out to see the local points of interest, most of which is beautiful scenery. There is so much to explore here at the farm that we can stay busy for days. Also, the hills and rolling terrain are ideal for me to build strength in my legs.

This is a young sequoia tree, but it may become as massive as many seen in Northern California in generations to come.  

Yesterday, our tour with John was exciting and informational. His and his lovely wife’s love of their farm is evident in every acre of land, the well-kept nature of every building, and the loving care of their barnyard animals. We’re honored to have the opportunity to be here, with them only a short distance away and all the beauty and wonder surrounding us.

Soon, we’re off to Exeter Airport to return the rental car and get another. We’re hoping the rain stops and the sun comes out so we can explore on the return drive.

May your Sunday be blessed with joy and wonder!

Photo from one year ago today, September 22, 2018:
“Gee…the eggs are all gone, but I think I’ll lay in the bowl to let them know we want more.” Bands of mongooses came to see us almost every day. Tom would scramble raw eggs for them and serve them in this bowl. When the eggs were gone, lying in the bowl was an excellent way to express their enthusiasm. For more details, please click here.