There and Back Again…a LTB Tale

On Thursday, I slept in. After waking up, I got up and got my suitcase organized for the flight on Friday.

 

I went back to Kings Park and found a nice bench to read. I think I may have mentioned that I downloaded a bunch of books on my Kindle. I had only cracked it open once. After reading for a while, I walked around the garden before heading back to the CBD. I went back to London Court before doing some shopping on Hay Street. Gaby and I went out for a meal for my last night there.

I really enjoyed Perth and part of the reason of course was visiting Gaby.

Friday, I started the long journey home. The flight to Auckland was around 5.5 hours and the flight to San Francisco was 11.5 hours. The line to clear Customs was long, but I made it to my gate about 20 minutes before boarding was supposed to start to discover the flight had been delayed 30 minutes. I am not sure how long it ended up being late, but we were number 30 in line for the runway. Yes. Number 30. It took forever. By the time we reached Seattle, I think we were very late. Then in Seattle, we had to wait for a gate. It had been snowing in Seattle that day.

 

I went from high 70’s/low 80’s to 30 something degrees. Sigh.

 

On the way home, I stopped by Safeway to get some food. Then I got home and began unpacking. I did laundry. It was about 11:00 before I went to bed. I woke up around 12:30. I meant to get up earlier, but what had happened was…

 

I got up and am beginning to settle myself back into the routine at home. I am glad we get to “fall back” tomorrow.

 

I posted my pictures. Unlike previous trips, I did note delete duplicates as I went. So there are a lot. Password is “italia”.

https://latonjab.shutterfly.com/

 

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Rottnest Island

Today I got up bright and early to take the 8:30 ferry over to Rottnest Island. It was a place that was recommended by locals as well as travel guides. I was lucky enough to be given a coupon from an Entertainment book that gave me 25% off the fare. I will note that in looking at some of the local brochures, some of them had coupons ranging from 10% to 20% of various excursion, so they could be worth checking out.

 

I caught the ferry in Perth and there was also a stop in Fremantle. I was excited because I was able to get some shots of the port from the water. There was another CMA CGM vessel (I assume it is different than the one I saw on Sunday, otherwise they have very slow productivity) and there was also a China Shipping vessel at berth.

 

On the way there, we saw a humpback whale. I was so excited. There was a period when I dreamed about seeing whales all the time. This is my second time seeing a whale outside of dream land. The first time was a few years back.

 

It was a nice boat ride over. The weather was very nice. On the way there, I sat on the top level in the back. On the way back, I sat on the top level toward the front. The people in the first row on the left, got soaked . Especially the person in the first seat.

 

In terms of wildlife, I saw a two lizards and tons of quokkas, which were not too interested in humans. I read that Rottnest is one of the few places quokkas can be found in the wild. They reminded me of huge rats, and they have a funny gait.

 

I walked to one of the lighthouses and to Oliver Hill. If I had planned better, I would have worn other shoes. Otherwise, I could have walked in the trails and seen more. I would recommend bringing a backpack filled with snacks, plenty of water and sunscreen. I didn’t pack sunscreen this trip, and my skin is paying for it. The sun in this hemisphere is different than at home.

 

I met Gaby at the quay, and we went out for a belated birthday dinner for her. The weather was nice, so we were able to sit outside. We went Isle of Voyage. The food was okay and the service was bad. Luckily the company was good.

 

Excuse any typos. I will edit when I get home.

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Mandurah/Cottesloe Beach

When I got up this morning, I wasn’t sure how I was going to spend the day.

 

After doing a quick search on things to do around Perth, I decided to catch the train to Mandurah. The town is about 45–50 minutes from Perth by train. I ended up getting an all-day pass for $12.60. The one-way to Mandurah is $10.20, so financially it made sense. The all-day pass also allowed me to ride the buses in Mandurah.

 

While I am glad I went, I was a little underwhelmed by Mandurah. Possibly because I kept comparing it to Fremantle. At the train station, I knew I was looking for either the 588 or the 589 to take me to the center. I took the 589 to the foreshore. I started off at the various quays and walked to the town beach. It was okay. There was one surfer. I did a little of their “coastal walk.” I then headed into town and walked around. There is a church called, Christs Church that I wanted to visit. The church was closed, but I saw a woman priest and she let me in.

 

It was at that moment that I realized why I was in Mandurah. I guess I will call it a divine appointment, but I found myself opening up about some of the thoughts I was having about life. We talked for around ten minutes, but I was very encouraged after our conversation.

 

I made my way back to Perth. Since I had the all-day pass, I decided to transfer to the Fremantle line to go to Cottesloe Beach, and it was worth the trip. From the train station, I walked to the beach. I read it was about a 15-minute walk, but I think it was more like ten. During the summer months, they have a free CAT bus that goes between the train station and the beach. The beach was very nice and since the weather was gorgeous, there were people in the water, sunbathing or just hanging around. There was also a lone surfer.

 

I then made my way back to Gaby’s who was in school today.

Perth

I spent today wandering around Perth with Gaby.

 

We started in Kings Park. The park was original named Perth Park but was changed to King’s Park to celebrate Edward VII becoming king. Then the apostrophe was dropped. The garden is huge, over 1,000 acres, so I got a taste of it. It’s the largest inner-city park in the world. We walked, talked and had a picnic lunch. I have some assignments to do when I return home. Hee hee. There is also a botanical garden. It was a nice park and worth the visit. I may go there again before I leave.

 

Oh. I love the bus ride-free zone that is in the central business district. It reminded me of back in the day when Seattle had a ride-free zone. There are also some CAT buses that are free and go to areas around the downtown area. It’s a huge money saver.

 

After that, we were walking to the Northbridge area, which Gaby describes as being similar to Capitol Hill. When we passed by the Art Gallery, it had signage about a free exhibit about the life and photos of Heath Ledger. We dropped in to see it. I had no idea that Heath Ledger was from Perth. The showcase had video, props, his awards (included the Oscar and Golden Globe) and photos he had taken. He had a really good eye. I never heard he speak with an accent (I guess I have never seen him give an interview), but I was able to see some clips with his “real voice.” It was a good exhibit, and like I said, he had some nice photographs.

 

We did a stroll through Northbridge and then went to the library followed by St. George’s Cathedral, which was built between 1879 and 1888. It was quite lovely. There was some lovely stained-glass windows.

 

We went to Victoria Gardens, which was nice. I liked the neighborhood surrounded the park. Though it was close to the Central Business District, it felt faraway. It is also served by the free yellow CAT bus. It would be a great place to live if you worked in the CBD.

 

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Perth, Fremantle

It is currently early Monday morning, 6:39 a.m. Since I last wrote, I have made my way to Perth, Australia.

 

Saturday morning, I checked out of my hotel in Queenstown. I left my luggage, and I went for a final stroll of the city for this trip. I had not been to the Queenstown Garden, so I walked through that enjoying the nice weather. I sat along the waterfront and reflected on the beauty that is Queenstown.

 

I made me way to the airport, and I settled in waiting for boarding.

 

The flight from Queenstown to Auckland was short. The flight from Auckland to Perth was seven hours. I spent the time watching the first seven episodes of the Handmaiden’s Tale, which is quite good. I will note that the seven-hour flight on Air New Zealand (international) did not include a complimentary meal. You had to pay for it. Air New Zealand, you can do better than that. Come on. It’s a long flight and international.

 

I arrived in Perth, and I was met by Gaby and her sister Carla. We made our way to Gaby’s place, and I settled in and ate a late dinner with Gaby and caught up. Perth is five hours behind Queenstown, so my body was a bit confused. I had a great night’s sleep.

 

Yesterday, I was up early catching up on everything but blogging.

 

Gaby and I went to Queen’s Garden. I loved all of the lily pads in the ponds and the roses were in full-bloom and smelled quite lovely. The park was named for Queen Victoria for her diamond jubilee. It is a great place for a wedding. In fact, when we entered the park, a soon-to-be bride was timing her processional with music.

 

The next stop was Langley Park as we made our way to Elizabeth Quay. The park runs along the Swan River. On a nice Sunday morning, there were plenty of runners, walkers and bikers enjoying the day. The quay opened in 2016 and is a nice open space with a promenade, restaurants and art. There is still plans to do more.

 

We walked along Hay Street and its pedestrian area and along Murray Street, which had market vendors. We also walked up London Court.

 

We took the train to Fremantle. On the train ride, I was able to see the port. There always seems to be a CMA CGM ship whenever I randomly see a port. There were also some autos stored on the yard. Fremantle is definitely a port city with a vibrate working waterfront. There were also fishing vessels moored further down. In fact, the area was teeming. Partly because of the fabulous market and partly because the day we went was the blessing of the fishing fleet.

 

Gaby and I made our way up “Cappuccino Strip” to the market. The market was a live with people and there were vendors selling everything from food to clothes to popcorn to candles to tea. I came across an artist doing what looked like photo transfer. So I asked him, and that is what he was doing. He was transferring photos on to wood. His name is Rupert, and had been a journalist for 15 years before settling over to his passion. We chatted with him for a while. It was awesome.

 

We walked along the water and through the Esplanade park. The fishing vessels that are about to go out were being blessed. The city has an Italian influence and there were a lot of food vendors for Little Italy by the Sea. We walked to the Roundhouse Prison and sat by the water. The prison had two volunteers who were very knowledgeable about the prison and obviously were passionate about the subject.

 

We were then joined by Carla and her awesome family, and we did some more walking around and talking. There was a processional for the blessing of the fleet and there were fireworks.

We went to Carla’s house, and we chatted. The kids gave me a tour of their garden and showed me a Star Wars X-box game. Carla prepared a delicious meal for us complete with lovely homemade dessert. It was a very lovely day with an awesome family. I didn’t want the time to end.

 

After returning to Gaby’s, I headed straight to bed.

 

I have to say I loved Fremantle. It had a very strong heartbeat and vibe. The weather was lovely and there were a lot of families out enjoying the market, blessing of the fleet and the waterfront activities.

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Queenstown – Take Two

After a few days of getting up early, it felt nice and decadent to sleep in some this morning.

 

The weather today was gorgeous, and it is going to be nicer tomorrow.

 

One thing that was recommended to me by a New Zealander was to ride the TSS Earnslaw. It’s a coal-fired steamer. The boat goes over to Walter Peak High Country Farm. Note to self: Never buy tickets when you are hungry. It is up there with shopping when hungry. I ended up getting the ticket that included the BBQ lunch. While it was pricey, I have to say that the food was good and the guest house on the water was nice. It was really relaxing eating and looking out on the water. And the BBQ pork = yum. I also enjoyed the grounds. They were beautifully maintained. The cruise over was nice, windy, but nice. It was a great day to be on the water. Oh between buying my ticket and the cruise, I walked around the marina area. Queenstown is very commercial, but it’s quite easy to escape it.

 

The next stop was the gondola, which Steffie recommended highly. Very nice views. Again, I hate going up and down them, but the views are quite amazing. I did walk around a bit. I started to walk one of the trails, but I decided against going too far because it was dark in there. One of the things about traveling solo is that one has to exercise a little bit of caution. I am pretty sure the woods is Jason’s territory, and I am cool. I seriously considered doing the Luge, but it is something I should have considered when I bought my gondola ticket. I saw the bungy jumping, and I was immediately like heck no! In what I find to be odd planning, the cemetery is next to the gondola building.

 

Because it’s a nice day and Friday evening, the Marine Parade was filled with people. I sat and people watched and waited for sunset. The energy felt really good, and I could tell people were revving up to have a good time tonight. As I was leaving, I saw young people heading down to see and be seen. I am way too old for that.

 

One thing I like about traveling is meeting new people. I haven’t really mentioned anyone outside of Miliana and Johannes. Yesterday on the Milford Sound tour, I met a couple from Sydney. They were very nice, and we took photos for each other. Today while on the boat, I met two women traveling from the U.S. For one of the ladies, it was her fourth time in New Zealand. Her husband passed away two years ago. She agreed to come with her friend whose husband couldn’t make the journey because of arthritis.

 

I did want to mention more about my journey to Fiordland yesterday. I think I mentioned the tour passed through Te Anau on the way there and back. I don’t remember how many photo stops we made, quite a few, but I know we hit some of the big ones like Mirror Lake and the Chasm. When we were going through Homer Tunnel, I felt like I was on that scary ride in Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory. The weather was perfect, and it is just one of the most beautiful places that I have seen.

 

I wasn’t 100 percent about my decision to come to Queenstown before I left, but I am glad I did. Even in the chaos and party feel, there are places one can find peace.

 

It is awesome being in the spring, especially with days getting shorter at home. It’s still light after 8:00 and the weather is super nice. I am trying to soak all the sun up that I can. Winter is coming!

 

Tomorrow the next phase of my journey begins. I may be silent for longer than normal as I make my move.

 

Oh, and as always, excuse any typos. I will edit when I get home.

P.S. The extremely slow internet prevents me from adding photos :(.

Milford Sound

Today was a long but lovely day. I joined a day tour to the Milford Sound. I got picked up at 7:40 a.m. and dropped off at 8:00 p.m. Like I said it was long, but my goodness so worth it. The Milford Sound goes down as one the of the most beautiful places I have seen. The drive down was great, and the bus stopped for photos along the way. The weather was really nice, and it made for a very nice cruise.

 

On the journey down, I saw a Kea, which is an alpine parrot. Poor thing was getting lot of attention from us human folks. Then on the cruise, I saw fur seals a few times sunbathing on various rocks. One even jumped in the water. I even saw two penguins, which I assume were a couple. The cruise lept back around at the mouth of the Tasman Sea. It was extremely cool to see all of the wild life.

 

On the ride down, the driver pointed out an area that was used to film the Hobbit. If I am understanding correctly, some of the hills along the drive were the Misty Mountains in the LOTR. It’s funny because the area on the way to Akaroa, the landscape, reminded me of Edoras. And the mountains around Queenstown reminds me of the scene were the Beacon was lit. I am not sure if either are true, it just reminds me of them.

 

I wanted to post pictures, but the internet here is very slow. I am getting tired, but I hope to have it all sorted out tomorrow. I will also try to write more tomorrow about Milford.