Thursday, February 3, 2011

Summer travelling within and with out.

Good morning, welcome and greetings to all. Happy new year, to all and everyone and it is so wonderful to be writing again. I hope that the summer holidays are still rolling on and we are slowly getting back to work and into another great year.

Well you might have missed reading According to Truong over the last summer, and I have sorely missed writing. However, our frail human nature does call us to rest and relax, so that we can travel within ourselves. So in this blog I would like to write about what really inspired me over the break and what really made me tick and tock.

Over the summer I was very lucky, well fortunate to travel to 3 different states of Australia and had both a wonderful and awful time at each location. In summary don't overdo a summer holiday it might sound like a great idea to do as much as possible, but realistically the internal travel which your soul needs only requires little physical travelling but much internal travelling. This sounds deep but all it means, go somewhere nice, pick a random spot and spend a few good days there soaking it up. Just like a red wine that needs to mature in a French Oak barrel.

Lets begin on how it went and what to avoid to all those budding travellers out there.

Sydney to Adelaide
Most memorable moment: Spending time with a little white dog called Tory.
Most beautiful town: Mt Pleasant
Worst cafe ever: Art house cafe/Roaring 40's cafe Angaston South Australia
Best bakery: Mt Pleasant Bakery
Best winery: Chateau Tanunda

How to be romantic in SA? If I were a married man and I were to plan another trip to Adelaide I would book a hotel in the CBD and explore the history of Adelaide for 2 days, then start the romantic wine tour of the Barossa valley. Starting early, the first stop would be Hanhdorf stocking up on German sausages for an afternoon picnic, then heading to morning tea in Mt Pleasant. Then I would head straight to Chateau Tanunda and spend 3 nights in this area. Buy 2 cases of Chateau Tanuda wine and spend the afternoon with sausages, cheese and wine. Simple as that.

Adelaide to Melbourne
Most memorable moment: Breathtaking view of Blue Lake
Most beautiful town: Mt Gambier
Best camp site: Mt Shank
Worst road ever: The Great Ocean Rd
Worst tourist destination: The 12 Apostle tourist centre
Over rated natural wonder: The 12 Apostles
Best food experience: Met wurst
Best customer service: Mary Mackillop Shop, shop attendant Penola " There is a 24 Mac Donald's in Mt Gambier!"

How to be romantic on the Adelaide to Melbourne road trip? The only way to be romantic on a long haul road trip is to give yourself a time frame and then extend it by 2 days. I would firstly spend at least 2 nights in Mt Gambier to camp around the Blue lake area. There has always been something about the colour blue, blue skies, blue seas, blue eyes, blue Groper, blue lake. It's such a beautiful colour and to see a huge lake in this amazing bright blue color is truly a blessing in blue. Did I forget to mention blue is beautiful.

Moving on towards Melbourne, I would stop in Portland. If I were a married man with 2 kids between the ages of 5-12, Portland would be a great destination to try for a third child. It is reminiscence of 18th century England where Piers, summer carnivals, and trams kept smiles on people's faces and ice cream on shirts. An era where people like myself could whistle tunes composed by Sir Hubert Parry. An era where pipe smoking and port drinking were the norm and for ladies ice lemon tea with a hint of Bombay gin. Nice.

Moving on towards the Great Ocean Road and the 12 Apostles. I would have to say is something that I would never do again even if the Victorian government gave me a research grant to explore the possibility of extra-terrestrial activities at the Thunder bird launch site. Furthermore, if the Federal government, appointment me minister of hanging out I would avoid set my leather sandals on the Great Ocean Rd. I don't know why it is one of Australia's must go places. It is over crowded, the road is poorly maintained, you can barely see over the edge and to add salt to my leg wound, the 12 Apostles centre located at the 12 Apostles tourist site did not sell any Australian made Fridge Magnets or any other souvenir for that matter.
If you were going to see the 12 Apostles, to follow Jesus and be a disciple, to become a fisher of men, if you had a vocation and you're looking for that Alleluia moment be wise and don't go here because all you'll get is crowds, heat, helicopters, no fridge magnets and only 10 or maybe 9 Apostles left.

Melbourne to Davenport
Best moment: Screaming out greetings to local people in Davenport as the Spirit of Tasmania cruised into port.
Best dining experience: On board the Spirit of Tasmania Restaurant
Worst part: Disembarking and going through quarantine

New to sailing or cruise ship? I am, a great way to experience this at a relative low price is go on the Spirit of Tasmania. So you're married and your 10 year anniversary is coming up? You're mortgage is half way through and you have 4 children under the age of 10, but how to work within a budget? The spirit of Tasmania is the way to go here. It gives you good bang for buck value.
Basically, I would pack as much food as possible into the family Tarago or Landcruiser, take the food out as we board the trip, bring the food into the private cabin. Eat as much as we can then set everyone loose on the ship for 8 hours. Since it is a ship, minimum supervision is required, however there is the fact of rough seas and falling overboard. But that risk is low because the guide ropes are strong.
On board, there is face painting, arts and craft, movies, alcohol food, shops and levels to explore. The trick to smooth sailing is preparation, book a private cabin, bring your own food or buy hot food it's very cheap, and sit back and relax.

Tasmania, ah Tasmania I would love to write about it again, but sadly like the hops, barely, and malt.The main ingredients of a good ale, the mixture was right, but the fermentation process turned out sour. The yeast was to blame. Turning a potential great refreshing ale into soy sauce.

I hope everyone enjoyed the first blog of the year, reflecting back on the blog I have come to the conclusion that we humans are just like parts of a good wine or ale. We were made in the image of God, perfect, plum and pristine, Shiraz Grape, or tall, bronze with a bountiful blooming head like a stalk of barley.
However as we get mixed up, combined, crushed, blended in this journey of life, all the good parts are there. But as we ferment into something beautiful, such as champagne or ale. We have to be careful and on guard that we don't get mixed up with the wrong yeast. We know that yeast is a catalyst and it can turn good things into great things, or good things into awful sour things that we want to spit out followed by thorough rinsing with water.
So lets become Don Perignon Champagne, or Don Rosendo Salvado Abbey Ale. Just stay away from whatever yeast that might ruin a good vintage, and if you're like me a good strong, dark Ale.

Things to do in Sydney, it's going to be hot hot hot hot hot, and I did forget to say Hot. If you are unaware many Asian communities will be hosting Lunar New Year festivals throughout the city. But the place to experience Vietnamese food and culture, is to head to Fairfield Showground to the annual Vietnamese community Tet Festival. If you have been devoutly following Luke Nguyen's cooking adventure and been dying to experience the rich flavours of Indo China this is the place to be from Friday to Sunday.

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