|A beautiful bouquet already made by nature.|
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Starting in June 2015, we spent two years in the South Pacific. In and out of Australia, due to 90-day visa requirements, we had an opportunity to visit many countries and areas in the South Pacific.
|These must be a treat for the many birds at the Cairns Botanic Gardens.|
We sailed on eight cruises, including one river cruise and a 33-night back-to-back circumvention of the entire Australian continent. It couldn’t have been more wonderful.
At the time, we realized how fortunate we were to have that astounding experience, and now during this lengthy confinement, we appreciate it all the more. Such an adventure in the future will surely elicit a heart-pounding response of sheer delight and enthusiasm.
We visited Fiji, Bali, New Zealand, Tasmania, Vietnam, Cambodia, Thailand, Singapore, and many more, where we stayed from weeks to months savoring every day.
During this period, we stayed in Queensland, Tasmania, and New South Wales, three of Australia’s eight states in such cities as Trinity Beach, Sydney, Fairlight (near Manly Beach), Huon Valley, Penguin, and more.
|We’d seen these Sausage Trees in Marloth Park and Kruger National Park in South Africa. These pods are enormous.|
We visited Australia’s bigger cities on the cruises, including Sydney, Melbourne, Perth, Brisbane, Adelaide, Hobart, Darwin, Gold Coast, and many more cities and some other countries such as New Caledonia.
|A pretty waterfall.|
The most prolonged stay on the continent was while we lived in Trinity Beach (near Cairns) for a full three months, having an opportunity to drive within a 3-hour radius to further explore on outings we made every week.
Shopping for groceries was especially fun when the fabulous markets had every item we could imagine. We frequented a local wholesale fish market to purchase the delicious, revered Barramundi, caught fresh daily.
|According to a friend/reader, this is a Prickly Pear.|
We made our way to various parks and open areas to see wild kangaroos, wombats, and koalas. We rejoiced when spotting the beautiful, bright white cockatoos, friendly kookaburra, and an endless stream of other indigenous birds.
|Gecko on a rock at the Cairns Botanic Gardens.|
Australia is blessed with some of the most friendly, lively, and animated people on the planet, willing to engage with newcomers like us, and also are always up for a beer, a cook on the “barbie,” and a laugh.
On the eight cruises, within 24 hours of embarking, we found ourselves easily included in a group of 10 or 12 Aussies who included us with open arms. We made friends, many of whom we are still in touch with now.
|Tom was busy inspecting this huge tree.|
Tom was included in the “men’s shed” on several cruises, consisting of Aussie men who did good works, easily laughing over self-deprecating jokes and storytelling. Their motto was, “What happened in the shed, stayed in the shed.”
If the wife wanted to know what transpired in the shed, their response was, “If I tell you, I’ll have to kill you!” I never questioned what transpired during these two-hour events, usually starting at 3:00 pm, but it always made me smile to know he’d had such a good time.
|This was one of my favorites.|
While the “boys” were having fun, I often sat with a group of the “partners,” as men (and women) call their spouses or girlfriends, engaged in lively “girl talk,” a welcome change for me. Ah, we certainly miss some of those times and would appreciate them now more than ever.
|Easy-to-navigate walkways and occasional steps led to different levels in the gardens.|
But, here we are on day #125 in lockdown at The Courtyard by Marriott Mumbai International Airport, a lovely hotel, alone together, making the best of a very peculiar situation. We are especially grateful we are in this safe environment, and for all the memories we recall when posting past experiences and photos such as these today.
Photo from one year ago today, July 26, 2019:
|A summer rose in Madeira, Portugal from a repeated post one year ago. Please click here for details.|