Wonderful night with friends…Fabulous restaurant…One day and counting…

Christine, Tom and I huddled together for a photo.

When Bob dropped us off in Manly, parking in a local ramp, we all walked out to the Corso outdoor mall.  We had a bit of shopping in mind.  We parted ways with Bob while Tom and I headed to the pharmacy for a few last minute toiletries.

I was on a mission to purchase a suitable black skirt.  Since I don’t own a single dress and recently tossed my raggedy worn black skirt I was determined to find something a little dressy that I could wear on the many formal nights on both upcoming cruises.

Tom with Christine and Colin, the fabulous friends we met on the last cruise.  We were thrilled to see them again.

Although I don’t own any dressy “tops” a dressy skirt could help me feel slightly more appropriate on the formal nights.  Once we got everything we needed at the pharmacy, we wandered along the lengthy boulevard in the Corso while I visited a few women’s shops.

Prices are high on clothing, shoes and many items in Australia.  As I perused a few items I winced over the how expensive everything was priced but remained determined to find what I wanted. 

Finally, at the popular Sussan store, I found the perfect skirt but again cringed over the price of AU $89.95 but when converting it to US dollars at $67.70 (tax included), it didn’t seem so bad after all.  I handed over my credit card and made the purchase.

As a big slab of bacon oozed out of Colin’s burger, he couldn’t resist taking a photo.

Then, of course, in typical enthusiastic shopper style, I longed for an appropriate pair of shoes that would work well with the knee length “pencil” skirt.  Stopping at a few shoe stores as we continued the walk on the Corso, my mission appeared hopeless. 

There was no time to go to a mall.  My only hope was to wait until our ship docks at a port of call on the upcoming cruise, maybe in Hawaii on May 9th. In the interim I’ll live with what I have on hand, one pair of high wedge sandals I purchased in Hawaii in 2015, the last pair of shoes I’d purchased, (except for one pair of Keds white leather slip-on shoes I seem to wear more often than not). 

Tom and Colin ordered the Bacon Cheeseburger which they thoroughly enjoyed.

Once we approached the Manly Wharf, we found a comfortable place to wait until Christine and Colin’s ferry arrived from Circular Quay in Sydney.  Based on the schedule and our early arrival, we had a 30-minute wait.

Both the people and bird watching entertained us sufficiently for the time to pass quickly and before we knew it, we spotted Christine and Colin searching for us by the entrance to the Wharf.

Hugging affectionately, we were all happy to see one another.  We’d said our goodbyes the day the ship disembarked in Sydney on March 13th. At that time we were preoccupied as we were faced with dreadful concerns about our “illegal immigration” status after we’d received a worrisome call from the Australian Department of Immigration while aboard the ship.

Tom, Christine, and Colin enjoyed their burgers.  Christine had ordered a similar burger with Halloumi cheese.

We walked across the road to the Italian restaurant Crinitis where we spent the next almost four hours, engaged in lively conversation, laughter and memorable good times.  None of us ordered wine or cocktails.  I drank mineral water while the three of them ordered sodas.

We shared the story of our immigration issues with Christine and Colin who were shocked by our peculiar experience.  After all these years of travel, none of us had ever experienced such a scenario and hopefully never will again in the future.

The grilled Barramundi and vegetables sauteed in olive oil and butter were delicious.  A red pepper aka capsicum in Australia was particularly delightful.

The time passed so quickly, we were all surprised when we finally realized how late it was getting. With limited bus service for us and ferry service for them, we decided to say goodbye and head back to our respective “homes.”

It was a beautiful day in Manly.  We arrived at 2 pm and were scheduled to meet Christine and Colin around 3:45 pm.

Our bus arrived nine minutes after we approached the stop and minutes later we arrive at our rental and embarked on the steep path to the house.  With his usual thoughtfulness, Bob had turned on all the lights for us. 

In no time at all, we were hunkered down on the sofa in time to watch yet another amazing David Attenborough wildlife story.  It was impossible to wipe the smiles off our faces over the enjoyable evening of good friends and good food. Watching wildlife in Africa didn’t hurt either.  Hmmm….

This swing activity for kids looked fun with an attendant on site who strapped the kids into a harness.

This morning we did a little more packing comfortable that by noon tomorrow when our taxi arrives we’ll be set to go.  Instead of preparing tomorrow’s post today which I usually do on the final day, I’ll have plenty of time to do it in the morning.  Easy peasy.  Life is good.

May life also be good for YOU!

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Photo from one year ago today, April 21, 2016:

One year ago, Tom’s dinner aboard the ship including tender steak, broccoli, and fried potatoes.  In addition, he ordered a starter and a dessert.  For more details, please click here.

Busy organizing, packing and socializing day!…Baggage fees for Delta…Two days and counting..

St. James Train Station in downtown (known as the CBD, Central Business District) in Sydney.

This morning I began packing the third and smaller of our three checked bags. With no concerns over weight restrictions since we’re boarding a ship, not a plane, I still felt committed to lightening the load and reorganizing the contents. 

A night view of a few of the buildings in Circular Quay, Sydney, taken from the Manly Ferry.

We won’t have to be concerned about the weight until the end of the upcoming Alaska cruise when we’ll fly from Seattle to Minneapolis on May 26th.  Somehow I can’t wrap by brain around the fact that we’ll be preparing for that flight in only 36 days.

Sydney Opera House at night taken from the Manly Ferry.

During that 36 days, we’ll be packing and unpacking a total of eight times which includes:
1.  Packing for the cruise – now
2.  Unpacking in our cabin for the cruise to Seattle – April 22nd
3.  Packing to disembark the ship in Seattle – May 15th
4.  Unpacking at hotel in Vancouver for two-night stay – May 15th
5.  Packing to depart hotel – May 17th
6.  Unpacking in our cabin for the Alaskan cruise – May 17th
7.  Packing to disembark the ship in Seattle – May 26th
8.  Unpacking at the hotel in Minneapolis where we’ll stay for six weeks – May 26th

A night skyline view of a small portion of downtown Sydney.

It’s this tight schedule that prompted me to be diligent in organizing our stuff and packing neatly.  Upon repacking and unpacking, we’ll so do with the same diligence as on each prior occasion. 

Luckily, as stated above, we’ll only be concerned with the weight of our bags on one occasion…when we fly to Minnesota.  In the interim, I’ll certainly consider what items we can toss along the way to lighten that load.

Historic building in Circular Quay area. 

After checking Delta Airlines baggage fees, it appears it will be AU $33.35, US $25 for the first bag for each traveler and an additional AU $46.69, US $35 for any additional bag as shown below:

DELTA COMMON BAGGAGE FEES

The most common fees for traveling in a domestic, Main Cabin seat are:


The maximum weight, as shown above, is 23 kg, 50 lbs.  In the past, we’ve had no problem keeping the three bags within this weight range.  But recently, we each added some new clothing and supplies.  

Office buildings along the Sydney Opera House Walkway including many shops,offices, restaurants and condos.
It’s this added weight that will leave us committed to lightening our load of older items along the way prior to May 26th.  One can never become complacent when it comes to baggage weight.

A portion of the Sydney skyline on a cloudy day.

As for today at 2 pm, Bob will drive us to the Manly Wharf where we’ll walk across the road to walk the Corso to a pharmacy for a few more items we’ll need for the upcoming 36 days. 

Clock Tower in Sydney.

At 3:30 pm, we’ll return to the wharf where we’ll meet Christine and Colin who’ll be arriving from Sydney on the Manly Ferry.  We’ll head to a restaurant and relax for what surely will be a pleasant get-together with the lovely couple, originally from the UK having lived in Australia for the past 23 years.

One of our favorite Kookaburras.

In the evening we’ll return by bus to our holiday home as we spend one of the last two nights in Fairlight.  It has been a great location but we’re excited to be moving on.

Have a pleasing day and evening!

______________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, April 20, 2016:

There was no photo posted one year ago.  We were sailing on Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas and the Wi-Fi was so slow we weren’t able to post any photos. Ironically, last night when we happened to look outdoors, we saw Voyager of the Seas heading out to sea from Sydney Harbour.  Here’s that photo!

Last night’s photo of Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas leaving Sydney Harbour. Here’s the link to the post (without photos). 

Cozi family calendar…What a find!…Four days and counting…

Manly Scenic Walkway weaves through the park.

We’re really impressed with the online Cozi Calendar app which may be found at this link.  As the time approached for us to visit our three adult children, significant others and six grandchildren in Minnesota we wondered how we’d possibly keep track of upcoming events.

We’ll also be getting together with Tom siblings, their extended families plus the many friends we hope to see during the six-week visit.

A walkway along the side of the house to Reef Beach Bay.

Sure, Microsoft Office/Outlook has a network applicable online calendar for employees within a company. On my laptop,  I use a Windows calendar that requires a tremendous amount of work to acquire access for other users.

But, the reality is that not everyone in our family has access to Outlook or Windows nor would they care to install a somewhat cumbersome app, not necessarily easy to learn.

Old tree with unusual bark.

After looking online for other options, preferably at little to no cost, I discovered the Cozi app which includes not only a calendar but also grocery lists, shopping lists, to-do lists, meal planning and more. 

The magic of this app is that every family member can access the calendar (the only important feature we need for the visit) by using my email and our designated password, established upon setting up the calendar. 

Large home bordering the park with guest house further down this paved driveway.

It took only a few minutes to set everything up and now our adult family members can see and edit the calendar around events we’ve already entered and also to see what dates and times we’ll be available for more entries.

Stop and Go light with a mailbox on a cement wall at private home.

Wow!  This is working out well and surprisingly, bless the hearts of our kids, filling in quickly.  By the time we arrive in Minnesota on May 26th, we expect the calendar may be entirely filled with plans with our kids, grandkids, other family members, and friends.

Undoubtedly, Tom and I, as a blended family, will occasionally have to separate to engage in activities with our biological kids and grandkids.  At other times, we’ll all hang out together.

Boat in Reef Beach Bay always creates a lovely scene.

This free app is ideal for the busy family.  Each family member can have access to the calendar (and other features such as adding or changing grocery lists) to see what activities are planned.  The app may be used on a wide range of devices including iPads, PCs, iPhones, Android phone and most other Wi-Fi enabled smartphones and devices. 

Another pretty view between houses.

Both Tom and I have it on our phones and laptops for easy reference from anywhere.  It requires an Internet connection to view, update and edit.  If you have questions, feel free to ask me for help or their very responsive customer support. 

Now as we’re winding down to a mere four days until we sail from Sydney, the busy work has begun.  Yesterday, I re-folded most of my clothes and packed my suitcase leaving a little space for the few items I’ll be wearing during these next few days. 

Metal roof on a local house.

Today, I’ll scan all of our receipts, tossing the paper. Tomorrow, I’ll put together the final expenses for departure day’s post. Thursday, we’re heading to Manly to meet friends for dinner. Friday, we’ll complete the packing to be well prepared for Saturday morning when we’ll head to the cruise terminal. 

Vegetation in the local park.

This morning we prepared our final three-day meal for the last cooking we’ll be doing over the next almost three months.  That’s nice.  That’s really nice!

Be well.

_________________________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, April 18, 2016:

Walkway dining along the way to the Sydney Opera House, the East Circular Quay Sydney Opera House promenade Opera Bar.  For more photos from one year ago after boarding Royal Caribbean Voyager of the Seas for a 14-night cruise, please click here.

Happy Easter and Passover for those who celebrate…We’re having guests for Easter dinner!…One week and counting…

Surfers took advantage of the favorable surf.
A long time ago, we decided that making a fuss over holidays wouldn’t make sense while living this nomadic lifestyle.  This made particular sense when many holidays revolve around food, most of which doesn’t fit our way of eating, especially during Easter.


As a result, there are no more long days spent baking and cooking in the kitchen.  We no longer decorate the house, make Easter baskets, decorate and hide Easter eggs or take the time to bake and decorate our former annual bunny rabbit cake.  All of that seems like a lifetime ago.

Sunbathers and swimmers enjoying a sunny day at Manly Beach.

Oddly, we don’t miss any of the work associated with holidays but of course, we miss the interaction with family, the playfulness, and the laughter.  Soon, we’ll be in the midst of all of that!

A day at the beach for school kids.

Over these years of world travel, I’ve lost interest in cooking other than coming up with tasty recipes Tom and I can enjoy in our daily lives.  Even so, I usually only cook two or three times a week when typically I’ll purchase enough of any item to last for three dinners, cooking a fresh batch each day. It works for us.

Cabbage Tree Bay Aquatic Reserve. See details here for this wildlife protected area known for snorkeling and hiking.

Besides, most of our meals are appealing enough that we easily look forward to repeats.  We also have to consider that most holiday homes have tiny refrigerators and freezers leaving us with little space for storing much food or for freezing leftovers. 

With no rental cars in some locations, such as here in Fairlight for 40 nights, we’ve attempted to avoid returning to the market any more often than necessary.  Also, we’ve found that cooking for three days actually saves money in the long run.

The sun on the sea created a crystal-like appearance.

Groceries costs are not as low in Australia as in many other parts of the world but, they’re certainly less than we spent in the US five years ago.  It will be interesting and perhaps be shocking when we see food prices when we soon return to the US.

The sea is blue in this part of Australia.  When we lived in Trinity Beach in 2015, near Cairns (pronounced “cans”), the sea was brown and murky in most areas.

Tom and I realized that we won’t be cooking from April 22nd when we board the cruise to North America until sometime in July when we arrive in Nevada where we’ll stay at son Richard‘s home in Henderson. 

Staying with Richard for three weeks, I may cook a few meals each week since at that point it will have been months since I’d done any cooking.  During the six weeks in Minnesota, while staying in a hotel, we won’t have cooked at all with the free breakfast in the hotel and dinners out with family and friends.

Tall trees, many evergreens, line the boulevard along the beach providing plenty of shady areas for those who prefer to stay out of the sun.

On the nights when we don’t have dinner plans in Minnesota, most likely we’ll head to Costco which we hear carries a wide variety of low carb, precooked meals we’ll bring back to our hotel suite.  Once we arrive, we’ll see if the hotel can provide us with a small microwave during our extended stay.

As for tomorrow, which is Easter Sunday, we’ve invited landlord/friend Bob and his long time friend, Eddie.  We’re making a totally low carb, grain and sugar-free meal.  Tomorrow, we’ll take a few photos and post them the following day. 

Rocky shoreline in this area on our way to Shelly Beach.

We send love and best wishes for the health and well-being of all of our family, friends, and readers (whether you celebrate this holiday or not) during this time and always.  

______________________________________


Photo from one year ago today, April 15, 2016:


As we wound down our time in New Zealand, we posted our favorite photos including me with Miss Jessica.  I was flattered that Trish and Neil named this sweet girl after me when Tom and I attended her birth while they were on holiday.  For more favorite NZ photos and also the final expenses for the three-month stay on the alpaca farm, please click here.

How did we get so lucky?…People and wildlife…Our favorites…Eight days and counting…

A pier in Manly, busy with beach-goers and diners.

When we received an email message from Christine and Colin, whom we met on the last cruise at the two parties we attended in the two Penthouse Suites, we couldn’t have been more thrilled.

Undoubtedly, Magpies are scavengers but like all creatures in nature, they have a purpose.  This one now visits with a spouse and chick who is the noisiest bird in the neighborhood.  We feed them bits of raw meat.  Not adorable like the Kookaburras, we welcome their visits as well.

Their warm and friendly demeanor was hard to resist and we discussed the possibility of getting together sometime during the 40 days we’d be in Sydney, now coming to a quick end.

With other travels behind them, they contacted us promptly to arrange a date we’ll all meet for dinner.  With the suggestion that they’ll take the ferry to Manly and meet us at the Corso next Thursday, we were delighted. 

The Manly Yacht Club building.

At that point, we’ll be busy packing for the upcoming cruise on Royal Caribbean Explorer of the Seas departing from the Port of Sydney, a mere two days later. 

As we discussed our enthusiasm to see Christine and Colin once again, we giggled over the fact that people and animals bring us the greatest moments in our world travels.

Boats moored near the Manly Wharf.

Here in Fairlight, we’ve had a good dose of wildlife “hanging out” with our locally favorites birds, Kookaburras and Magpies who come to visit almost every day, putting big smiles on our faces. 

No, the “wildlife fix” is not as satisfying as it will be when in 10 months we’ll return to Africa but we’re finding birds can bring that blissful rush of emotion which we’ve cultivated over these past few years.

Boat launch area.

There’s no doubt the experiences we gained with the Albatross and Red Cardinal “Birdie” in Kauai were both highly instrumental in our interest in our aviary friends. 

Swings by the bay.

Even Kauai’s zillions of feral chickens brought us laughter and enjoyment when they were literally everywhere to be found.  When we parked at the lot at the market, there were hundreds of feral chickens wandering about; hens, chicks, and roosters.  It was quite a sight, one we’ll never forget.

But, along with the chickens in Kauai, we were also reminded of all the friends we made on the loveliest (in our humble opinion) of the Hawaiian Islands.  Yesterday, we received another email from friends Louise and Steve, whom we originally met at a Full Moon party at their home.

The Corso, early in the day before the crowds appear.

Staying in touch since we left Kauai in May 2015, we hope to return someday to see Louise and Steve and all the wonderful friends we made and of course, the Albatross and even the masses of feral chickens. 

Many restaurants line the foreshore.

It’s difficult to compare the joys of engaging with humans as opposed to animals.  For us, in each case either provides us with a great sense of joy, wonder and fulfillment. 

Sure, we like to see historical structures, a towering mountain range, a flowing river or expansive sea view. These are often what most tourists seek to fulfill their expectations of a holiday/vacation.

Condos and apartments with views of the bay across the street.

But, our lives are a perpetual holiday/vacation and its within that framework that we’ve discovered that which provides us with the most meaning and memories…people and animals.  Bring it on…more of each is on the horizon!

______________________________________


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

This photo, taken through the glass in the kitchen window in New Zealand, was the first of many times she peered inside watching me prepare dinner.  We laughed each time we saw her there, loving every moment.  For more favorite NZ photos as we approached the three-month stay coming to an end, please click here.

Gentle musings on a cloudy day while living on the fascinating continent of Australia…

Peek through the vegetation to Reef Beach Bay.

A few days ago I sat on a short stone wall at the Manly Wharf, our bags of groceries at my side. Tom left me alone with the heavy bags of groceries while he went into the nearby Aldi store to purchase pods for the coffee machine.

Ferries coming across the bay to Manly. 

The sun was shining.  Busy locals and tourists were making their way through the determined crowds, each with a distinct purpose in mind to fulfill their expectations for the day. 

My lips curled in an unprovoked smile as I perused my surroundings, suddenly contemplative over the fact that I was sitting on a wall, people all around me while living in Australia.  How did I get here?

Brick homes are commonly found in Australia.

Sure, there’s the “couple” aspect of our world travels; the team-person-ship, the camaraderie, the ease of sharing decisions and the handling of unanticipated events and challenges. 

Contemporary style home.

But, over this past year since my injury in the pool in Bali last June taking five months to heal, to the intestinal bacterial infection I acquired in Fiji over 15 months ago for which I’m still on the mend, I’m still here, aren’t I?

Life as a devoted couple isn’t always about the partnership.  Tom empathized and assisted during this tough past year but it was me who lie awake in the middle of the night worrying that my health would require a sooner-than-later end to our world travels.

White sand beach at low tide in the Clontarf Reserve area.

It was me who “bit-the-bullet day after day to attempt to live as normal a life as possible within the context of our unusual lifestyle.  Rarely, did I complain to Tom.  Most likely, I mentioned it more here than I did to him while I remained plagued with at-times negative thoughts as to what life would be life if this were to end.

Boats moored near the shore.

One of the most difficult periods was the Mekong River Cruise last July when I was unable to participate in every tour and yet, participated in most, struggling more than I can say. 

One gets no “points” for being brave, toughing it out or keeping their trap shut as to the difficulty of a situation.  In essence, my goal was to avoid annoying Tom and others by whining and complaining.  There’s no “heroism” in that. 

Sailing is popular in the Sydney area with excellent conditions.

It was mere self preservation to ensure that Tom and those around me would happily engage with me which ultimately got my mind off my troubles giving me a reprieve for a period of time.

And now?  As my intestinal thing improves a little more each day and my recent re-test for Helicobactor Pyloris proved “negative” I’m reveling in returning to my former sense of adventure when the future holds so much in store for us.

And you, our dear readers, who stuck with us through this lengthy span of time with my occasional mumblings on these two health issues, one after the other, I thank you profoundly.  Your kind email messages and comments were highly instrumental in my determination to never give up.

Unqiue bottle bursh plant.

As I sat on that stone wall, I contemplated the past 54 months since we left Minnesota to begin this journey.  In many ways, we’ve just begun.  We’ve learned so much from our mistakes and we’ve redefined what truly matters to us.

Above all, as time marches on, we’ve accepted our limitations, finding that within that framework we’re capable of continuing on with love, hope and joy in our hearts and minds as we live life to the fullness throughout this magical world.

Please stay beside us.  Our unyielding reach for the horizon drives us on to give you more…

________________________________________________

Photo from one year ago today, April 13, 2016:

The alpaca in the middle had a tendency to hog the food from my hand, never giving the others a chance.  For more photos of our last few days in New Zealand on the alpaca farm, please click here.

Ten days and counting…Phones…contemplating technology for the USA…A kindly and thoughtful expression…

We loved this area of the Manly Scenic Walk.

This morning, we created our grocery list for meals for the remaining days until we depart on April 22nd.  I’d uploaded a suitable grocery app on my Android phone when I was unable to find the same apps I’d used in years past.

Pelican in North Harbour Reef Bay.

After the new phone arrived in the “missing” box a week ago, I’ve spent considerable time setting up apps I like to use.  My last phone was a Windows device which overall I prefer over Android. 

When I ordered the new unlocked phone online I was willing to sacrifice Windows over Android when prices for purchasing an unlocked phone were high, especially when they’re not associated with a contract for service. 
Interesting trees and vegetation line the walkway to the park.
Having paid around AU $173, US $130 for the unlocked smart phone with options for two SIM cards and suitable storage for my needs without a contract, I didn’t complain.
When it first arrived and I began loading my “stuff” I was concerned I’d be dissatisfied with the operating system.  Now a week later with all my preferred apps loaded, I’m quite content.  I’m one of those geeky types that obsess over learning every aspect of a device by monkeying with it for days.
The playground at the park is often busy.

The only part I’ve yet to learn is making phone calls.  Ha! That’s ironic…we have phones and don’t make calls.  However, once we arrive in Minnesota on May 25th, one of the first things we’ll do is purchase US SIM cards for each of our phones in order to be able to be in touch with family and each other as we plan activities with family members and friends.  That’s a must!

Boats are moored throughout the inlets of North Harbour Reef Bay.
Tom’s new laptop is totally set up and he’s learning the nuances of Windows 10 over the previous Windows 8.1.  The differences are many but he’s figuring it all out.  Actually, I’m impressed by how little he’s asked for assistance over this past week.  Perhaps, he’s actually becoming computer savvy after all this time.
Kookaburras are found everywhere. 
Yesterday, we paid the balance for the hotel in Minnesota, AU $4,818.60, US $3,615.88 after we’d already paid a 25% deposit almost a year ago.  The total for the six week period is AU $6,424.25, US $4,820.76, not bad for a lovely hotel in a convenient and safe area which includes two pools, free Wi-Fi, daily breakfast and free shuttle to certain areas.


It’s hard to believe how quickly the time has flown since we began planning the family visits to both Minnesota and Nevada.  We’ll arrive in Minnesota in 43 days and in Nevada, in 87 days.
The lush green lawn in the park.
In the interim, we’re continuing to thoroughly enjoy our time in this beautiful area greatly enhanced by our kindly and thoughtful landlord Bob.  As a matter of fact, he wrote an email to us in the past few days which we’ve posted below.
Homes, apartments, and condos are tightly packed into hillsides to take advantage of exquisite views.
It appears that most of our readers prefer to avoid using the sign-up feature on our web page in order to receive a daily email containing each day’s posts (no spam, no solicitation, no ads of any type when signing up). 
All public areas we’ve visited in Australia are meticulously maintained.
As was the case with Bob when he started to post a comment at the end of a post but found he preferred to write directly to us, although we see him in person several times a day.


Please feel free to email us directly if you’d prefer not to post a comment on the site.  If we post your email message in a future post, we’ll ask your permission before we do so and exclude your email address and name (if you’d prefer). However, posting a comment is easy.  We love hearing from our readers!
Locals take advantage of the sunny day.
Bob wrote the following which he was happy to share here today:

“I am overwhelmed by your wonderful website as you travel all over the world to the most fantastic destinations that most of us only dream about visiting.


The daily up-dates on where you are presently residing and the exciting photos give us readers an insight into places that we can only dream of visiting one day.


Reading back over your daily blog since you first started your worldwide journey inspires us to see the place you have already visited in a much bigger perspective.


As you travel the world may you continue to keep all those who loyally follow you informed of where you are, and may good health be your companion along the way.


Kindest regards
Bob Reed – Fairlight NSW Australia”

An interesting plant we found at the park.  Last time we saw one of these was in Kenya in 2013.
Thank you, Bob…for your kind words, for all your diligent attention in ensuring we have an exceptional experience in your property, your charming town and the many wonderful areas of Fairlight, Manly, and Sydney.  


No doubt, it’s been more memorable than we ever expected based on the generosity and love you’ve shared with us each and every day.  We’ll certainly miss you!
Happy day to all!
______________________________________
Photo from one year ago today, April 12, 2016:
Ah, bull in the road.  We stayed in the car while I took the photo through the windshield.  For more photos, please click here.

Sightseeing in the exquisite surroundings…Welcoming the sunshine…Clontarf Reserve…

Moreton Bay Fig Tree highlights the entrance to Clontarf Reserve.  Click here for details on this type of tree.

Yesterday afternoon, Bob popped down to see us, as he does several times each day asking if we’d like to venture out on some sightseeing to the North Beaches area which we can see from our veranda which appears difficult to get to from across the bay based on our view.

Zoom in for hours of operation at Clontarf Reserve.

As it turned out, the access to the area was easy and, although hilly, was a pleasant ride in Bob’s comfortable newer car.  Leave it to Bob to ensure we had another great experience.

In no time at all, we were out of the car enthralled with some of the best scenery Sydney has to offer with expansive views and photos ops we could hardly believe.

Lots of fluffy clouds enhanced our photos.

The area we’re highlighting today is Clontarf Reserve and Beach, one of the many areas we visited during yesterday”s outing.  In fact, upon returning, we found numerous great reviews online including these following comments at TripAdvisor.

Clontarf Reserve and Beach include the following amenities that many visitors and tourists may find pleasing for a day at the park and beach including these comment below from this site for both individual and group use for such events as weddings, reunions and parties:

Facilities

  • Toilets: Amenities Block with disabled access and toilet
  • BBQs: 4 double electric & 2 single electric
  • Playground: Yes undercover, shaded suitable for 0-12 age group
  • Carparking: Carpark and street parking
  • Carpark entry fees – Metered parking – charges apply, Ratepayers / Residents with designated car stickers have free entry; disabled parking:   2 spaces
  • Applicable: Monday to Sunday 8.00am to 6.00pm
  • Lighting: Park lighting only
  • Power: Upon request.
  • Seating/Tables: Both
  • Shelter: 2 gazebo type shelters/ seating for 16 and shade trees
  • Water/Taps: Taps and bubbler near swimming pool and at amenities block & 1 outdoor shower
  • Passive/Active Recreation: Passive (continued below)



There are hundreds of sailboats and motor boats in the marina.  Construction is in process as shown on the left but doesn’t seem to impede any of the activities.

Availability (for group events, only)
  • Anytime up to 10pm
  • Tentative bookings must be confirmed within 1 week.
  • Community Facilities Co-ordinator will email confirmation of your booking.
  • Fees must be paid within two weeks of request of booking.

Bookings are required for group event and fees are applicable

Weddings

For information (including fees) about booking Council venues for a wedding ceremony function, please see the page:

Other facilities

  • Clonny’s Restaurant: (02) 9948 2373
  • Kiosk, enclosed swimming baths, sailing, boat access ramp.
  • Manly Scenic Walkway Access.”

We can only imagine the cost of the one of these boat slips.

Clonny’s Restaurant is located on the premises, with information found here including pricing and menu options.  Nearby, as mentioned above, is the Manly Scenic Walkway, a 3 hour, 30 minute 10 km walk (one way) with information located at this site.  

Not only did we enjoy visiting Clontarf Reserve and Beach on the sunny, albeit windy day, Bob drove us to several choice locations which had us dashing out of the car to seeing yet another gorgeous expanse in the horizon.

Hills surrounding the bay.

Please check back over the next several days as we’ll continue to post breathtaking scenery photos we’re excited to share.  Soon, we’re off to catch the Hop, Skip, Jump bus to Manly where we’ll embark on a long walk and to grocery shopping for a few items we’ll need to last until after our packages arrive.

Hopefully both packages will arrive on Monday and/or Tuesday, as per the online tracking for Tom’s new laptop and our formerly missing package from the US.

This reminds us both of our boating days in Minnesota many moons ago.

We plan to “stay put” on Monday and Tuesday (or longer, if necessary) until we have those two packages in hand.  We’ve made a sign for both Fed Ex and Australia Post which Bob will post by the mailbox early Monday morning to ensure the delivery personnel know to walk down the side of the house to bring the packages down to us.  Our fingers are crossed.

Have a beautiful weekend! 

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Photo from one year ago today, April 1, 2016:

The Fonterra Cheese Factory with a retail store across the street in Eltham, New Zealand.  For more details on this quaint town, please click here.

Tom’s computer died…Short post today…Off to repair shop…

 
Tom’s photos of sunrise at Fairlight/Manly.

It appears that the power button for Tom’s laptop has died.  As a result, this morning at 9 am, Bob is dropping us off at the computer repair shop in Manly where we hope it can be repaired.  If not, we’re in big trouble.

View of the sea at sunrise.

Tom, without a laptop, is unthinkable.  Its definitely glued to his hip.  If they can’t fix it, he says he can wait until we arrive in the US in 60 days to make a new purchase which we’d both planned to do in any case. 

Its amazing how quickly the scene changes at sunrise and sunset.

In years past, we’d purchased laptops from Costco and had hoped to do the same again shortly after we arrive in Minnesota at the end of May. We’ll see how that goes.

A rare moment of a blue sky with rainy cloudy skies day after day since we arrived almost two weeks ago.

We’ve had a few challenges lately but we’re bound and determined to continue on with a positive attitude especially with our main focus being Monday’s immigration office appointment looming in our minds.

To top things off, Tom injured his back three days ago when he was helping Bob move an air con unit.  The next day the pain began and he’s been nursing it back to health.  

Soon, the red sky wafted away.

My usual “pack mule” won’t be able to do any heavy lifting for awhile.  We sure hope we aren’t flying out of here on Monday to another country.  Gee…that would be challenging.

Let’s face it…stuff happens.  None of us are exempt from unexpected incidences occurring, one on top of another.  We keep reminding ourselves that these past 53 months have been relatively seamless barring a few glitches along the way.

At the end of the day, as the sun began to set.

Once we’re done at the computer store, we’ll stop at a pharmacy for a few items, the health store, take some photos in Manly and head back via the Hop, Skip, Jump bus that makes frequent stops near the ferry station.

Sorry for today’s short post.  We’ll be back tomorrow with the result of the repair and new photos.  Later, when we return, Tom will proofread today’s post when I’ll correct any errors.

Have a fabulous day!

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Photo from one year ago today, March 25, 2016:

Paritutu Rock is located along the the shore in New Plymouth, New Zealand, one year ago.  For more photos, please click here.

An inside peek on the joy of meeting people along the way…Smiling and blushing at the same time…

 
Bob explained this single red bloom, a type of lily, is growing out of season.  Photo taken on cloudy day.

There’s no doubt our hearts are filled with appreciation and joy from the kindness and love we receive from people we meet along the way whether its in a town, a quaint village, or on a cruise.

 
The curiosity and interest for our lifestyle is often coupled with an abundance of warmth and friendship we can hardly believe comes our way with such ease.  We often ask one another, “How did we get so lucky to meet so many fine people?”
 
Now 11 days since the last cruise ended we continue to receive email from passengers we met during the 12 days at sea.  We were asked for our web address prompting us to hand our business cards, more times on this shorter cruise than when we sailed on the 33 night cruise when we’d attached ourselves to the same two fine couples for happy hour and dinner every night. 
 
We had a lot of fun with Lois and Tom and Cheryl and Stan, remaining in touch since the cruises ended on December 3rd via Facebook.  It was a memorable experience during the lengthy cruise which circumvented the entire Australian continent which we’ll always remember fondly.

With the steep drop in the yard of the holiday home, there’s a protective fence as shown with this pretty succlulent leaning against it.
However, we learned a valuable lesson…mingle.  The depth of the meaning of our world travels is enhanced by having a wide array of experiences; meeting people from all walks of life, meeting people from many parts of the world, while hearing their often interesting and unique experiences of not only travel, but of life itself.
 
Mingling with many peeople provides us with the added opportunity to learn even more about human nature, a process that hopefully will continue through the balance of our lives regardless of where we may be at any given time. 
 
We’ll never delude ourselves in stating, “We’ve seen and done it all.”  In many ways, we’ve just begun with so much more of the world to see ahead of us.  If we continued to travel for 10 to 20 years or more, we’ll barely have touched the surface of what this world has to offer. 
 
We remind ourselves daily to remain humble and in awe of the world and our opportunity to live this life, often through challenging and difficult times which to date have not deterred our enthusiasm in any manner.

Tom took this photo of the center of the above succulent.  Simple beauty with dew drops.
When we receive an email such as the message we’ve included below, we share it not to “toot our own horn” or to “brag” about people “liking us.”  That’s not us, as those of you who have followed our candid and vulnerable story for any length of time, are most assuredly aware.
 
We share this email with our readers to join us in the pleasure we glean from meeting wonderful people along the way.  After all, our loyal readers seem to empathize with our trials and tribulations as well as in the memorable happy events we encounter day by day.
 
While aboard the recent 12 night cruise ending on March 13th we met a lovely couple, Christina and Harold, (whom we’d mentioned on a few prior posts) on the third day of the cruise during Cruise Critic’s “cabin crawl,” an event where various members volunteer to show their cabins in other categories.

In this particular case, Christina and Harold kindly hosted a lovely event with food and drinks in their penthouse cabin, which even we’d never seen after 17 cruises in the past four plus years. 

Coleus, a good shady area plant.


Little did we know we’d hit it off so well with this special newly engaged couple, considerably younger than us (by about 25 years), world travelers in their own right, with Harold having visited many of the exciting countries we’ve visited in our travels.

 
It wasn’t just the commonality of our experience that connected us.  It was the warmth and kindness we all exuded in one another’s company.  
 
Yesterday, we received this beautiful message from Christina that warmed our hearts prompting us to ask if they’d mind if we share it here today.  Christina wrote back promptly saying they love for us to share it and thus, here it is, presented with a bit of modesty and surely a blush on our faces:  
 
“Hello from sunny Florida!!!

Harold and I went to, Christchurch, Auckland, Vegas and Houston prior to my return home to Tampa last night – It’s been an amazing adventure!! 

You were the most memorable couple we had the pleasure of meeting – We looked for you in your designated spot on the last day, went to the lounge, called your room a few times and didn’t get you – you were like beautiful angels who had now disappeared. 

Harold is a world traveler (I’m brand new to his adventures) He has never met anyone who traveled for pleasure more than he did until he met you and he’s been raving about you ever since – We’re honored to have met you!!!! 

We want to say THANK YOU for being so kind and open, telling us about your lives, giving the great life lessons and advice you gave (we kept looking at each other in shock, because you were truly speaking to us) your travels, your healthy eating lifestyle (as I’m trying to convince Harold that that’s the way to go.lol) and inviting us to meet you someday out on your adventures – We have truly been impacted by these amazing chapters of your life!! 

I finally got a chance to look at your website and the fun memories you share!! We absolutely love what you’re doing in your retirement and look forward to seeing you again someday, hopefully sooner than later. 

We will keep you in our prayers for safe travels and great health throughout and we’ll be watching with admiration and love!!

It’s back to reality here on the home front – work, work, work – However, now the plan is to fund a perfect retirement, vacation more, and enjoy life!! 

You’re our heroes!!!!

With love,
Christina”

Unknown variety of red berries.


We wrote back expressing the appreciation we feel for having met them, the time we spent together (including dinner served by butlers in their suite) and at various times throughout the ship and, the hope that our paths will cross again someday. Thank you, Christina and Harold for sharing a part of your lives with us and for your heartfelt meaningful message.
 
Its not only a breathtaking scene, an exquisite animal in the wild or a blissfully colorful flower we encounter in our travels that fills us with appreciation for this magical world…its the people we meet who open their hearts to welcome us for a moment, for a day or for a lifetime…
 

P.S.  I couldn’t resist including contact information for Christina’s real estate business in Tampa, Florida, USA.  We have no doubt she is a highly competent real estate professional.  Please contact Christina at this link


 


Thanks, dear readers and friends for sharing another day in our lives!
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Photo from one year ago today, March 23, 2016:
When seeing these fish prices in New Zealand one year ago we felt they were quite reasonable.  For example, one of TV guru Gordon Ramsey’s favorite is the John Dorey and red snapper (which we purchased).  At the NZ price of $37.50, US $25.33 for a kilo which is 2.2 pounds!  What a great price!  For more details of our visit to the seafood market, please click here.