Apart from the occasional pickpocket or bag-snatcher, safety is not necessarily a prime concern when visiting other developed countries with similar values to our own here in Australia.
However, in the light of the events in various parts of Europe and the UK in recent years, and particularly in the past few weeks and months, it would be remiss of us not to seriously consider our safety while travelling.
We are not about ditch our plans and realise that there are risks whenever you step outside the front door no matter where you are.
Nevertheless, I did say to GMan yesterday that I do not think I will be walking across any bridges while we are in London. Pedestrians on bridges have been targeted twice in a matter of months in the UK capital. I can only assume that the ‘reasoning’ of the perpetrators is that there is nowhere for the pedestrians to escape. What an awful thought process!
Even though I would love to attend a Remembrance Day service in November that may be off the agenda as I feel that being anywhere there is a large gathering may be too great a risk.
We will continue to monitor the situation over the coming months but at this stage I do not envisage making any other adjustments to our plans.
I realised this week that in 7months we will be in London at the beginning of our next overseas adventure. In the 2 months since my last post we have organised a couple more things.
We booked our accommodation for the night in Cardiff. As usual, we aimed to find somewhere that was fairly central. We opted for a large chain hotel which is within walking distance of the train station were we will arrive from Swansea. It is close to the city walking tour, the stadium as well as the departure point of the cruises to waterfront. It will be a brief look around but we are looking forward to visiting Cardiff as it will actually be the only place on the trip which we have not been to previously. The other places on our itinerary are London, Swansea and Cambridge.
The other thing we did was buy a lightweight down jacket for each of us from Uniqlo. They squash up and can be rolled into quite a small carry bag,
While it is not high-end fashion, I hope the jacket will not scream ‘tourist’ as I step outside the door. I chose a mid-grey as it will co-ordinate with the other clothes I will be packing. I will do a separate post at a later date about what I will be packing but it is mostly black, grey and red and of course, denim jeans.
At the end of my last post I alluded to the fact that our next major holiday might be within Australia. I was considering a houseboat trip on the Hawkesbury River but when I began researching the idea it became less appealing.
The lure of overseas travel was just too great so we have opted to go back to the UK in November. This trip will be somewhat different from our previous trips to the northern hemisphere for several reasons. We are going in late autumn rather than the height of summer and relying entirely on public transport instead of hiring a car during any part of the trip. This is because the focus of the trip is quite different – we are not taking a touring holiday and sightseeing along the way but are planning on staying in just a handful of major centres with the majority (3 weeks) of our time in London.
This also means much less time will be spent researching, planning and booking the trip. In fact, we could pretty well leave tomorrow as we have current passports and have booked our flights, accommodation except for one night in Cardiff and have a list of things we hope to see and do in London. Hopefully, the queues will not be as long at the Sherlock Holmes Museum.
Perhaps we will be able to take the tour of the Royal Albert Hall, too. It was closed for cleaning last time so I only managed a photo of the exterior.
I have also given brief consideration to what we might need to pack. As always we have chosen accommodation which includes laundry facilities which allows us to keep the clothes we take to a minimum. Due to cooler weather, we will need some warmer clothes but I still expect to be able to just have one small suitcase each. I am looking at buying a lightweight down jacket for each of us. I think these would be a useful addition and take up minimal space.
We have been without internet for a couple of days so I will try and and rewind to fill you in on what we have been doing.
After our visit to the JFK museum we flew from Boston to Halifax, Nova Scotia and so began the Canadian leg of our trip. The first night was spent in Halifax where we collected our hire car the next morning. We had booked a medium sedan but were fortunate to have the vehicle upgraded to a SUV. This is the Fiat we are driving.
It is comfortable and the additional clearance will come in handy on some of the rural roads.
On our first day we headed to New Ross and visited the New Ross Farm Museum.
There was an excellent display of the history of farm machinery from the very earliest hand-made implements.
We saw heritage breeds of sheep as well as horses and cows and these very happy geese.
A special quilt exhibition caught my eye. I love these words from the lady who curated the display. To me, this is the essence of patchwork and quilting.
Here are a couple of examples for my friends who are interested in these crafts.
During my research I had discovered that there is a Nova Scotia Museum Pass which covers about 27 museums all over the province. We bought a family pass and are confident that this will prove to be good value for money. More about other museum visits in future posts.
Well, I never did get that next post written and now it is almost time to set off on our next adventure.
We bought a Microsoft Surface Pro 4 and have used it a little at home and am confident that it will be the perfect travelling companion and suitable for blogging. Other than that we are taking our phones (with music loaded), noise-cancelling headphones, Kindles, power board, USA/Canada power adaptor and the various cables and chargers.
I am looking forward to sharing our journey and hope you will come along for the ride.
This is our luggage that we took to the UK in 2014 and the same pieces will be going this time.
It is now less than 13 weeks until we fly from Brisbane to Chicago to begin our next overseas adventure.
As a result of several overseas trips in the last few years, pretty well everything is organised.
International airfares booked
Domestic airfares booked
All accommodation booked except 1 night in Halifax (Air BnB request currently pending)
Car rental booked
Travel insurance booked
Overnight train Chicago to Boston booked
Tickets to 2 shows booked
Visa waiver requirements completed for USA and Canada
Buy tablet (waiting until 60 days prior to be eligible for GST refund)
Decide on phone SIM
Intercity train travel in Canada – probably not until we are in the country
At the moment my main focus is on finding out as much as I can about the places we want to visit. I recently bought another book for my Kindle. This is not a general travel guide but a specific volume about scenic drives in the maritime provinces. It covers several of the areas we plan to visit so I am enjoying finding more about the things we can see and do.
I did not get around to writing this post yesterday evening as we were absolutely shattered after walking somewhere in the vicinity of 15 to 20km.
We set off in the morning to take a stroll along Orchard Road and see what all of the fuss is about shopping on Orchard Road. As I had suspected I was not impressed but definitely not disappointed as it pretty well met my expectations. However, we did not leave completely empty-handed as we each bought a new umbrella as well as 2 pairs of socks for me – all from Uniqlo.
As we left the retail madness of Orchard Road we walked past a tailoring business where the smooth-talking tailor wanted to make long trousers for GMan. He was wearing shorts for a reason – it was 33 degrees and we are on holidays! We had to do a bit of fast talking to shake off this persistent salesman but he did volunteer the information that we were ‘not far’ from the Botanic Gardens.
Since the gardens were on our list of places to go we decided that yesterday was a good day to do it. We took in about 1/3 of the total area of the gardens but the highlight was definitely the National Orchid Garden for which there is a small admission cost. There was no doubt of its worth.
Here is a selection of what we saw at the gardens.
To finish off a full day we headed out in the evening to see the Sound & Light Show at Gardens by the Bay.
I’m ready to go………..
Actually, it is only one bag as we are travelling light. Tomorrow we will be flying to Singapore for a week. It will be quite a change from most of our holidays, both domestic and overseas, because we are staying in one place for the entire trip rather than travelling from place to place.
I am really looking forward to relaxing and discovering all that Singapore has to offer.
I haven’t lost the plot and posted on the wrong blog. This post is about our domestic travel later in the year.
A few weeks ago we took advantage of a Jetstar sale to book our travel to Adelaide in November. We are making it a long weekend and will be visiting my elderly mother-in-law as well as catching up with friends.
Yesterday we finalised our Christmas plans and have booked our airfares and accommodation for 6 days in Melbourne. Our younger daughter lives in Melbourne so we have booked an apartment not far from where she lives. We found it through Air BnB and it looks perfect for our needs. A perfect spot. Our elder daughter will be coming to Melbourne too, so it will be a family Christmas and holiday rolled into one. What more could I want?
It is 6 months since I wrote the last blog post and now it is only 6 months until we head off to the United Kingdom on our next overseas adventure. The time has flown and it is a good indication that the next 6 months will fly past just as quickly.
We have made a good start on the planning. Here is what we have done.
Return flights booked
Planned the first 12 nights of the trip
Booked accommodation in London, Fort William, Glasgow, Edinburgh, Jedburgh and Kendal
Booked steam train trip from Fort William to Mallaig
We have also done lots of research about train travel and the overnight sleeper from London to Fort William. I have donloaded several travel guides to my Kindle and am busily learning all I can about places we are keen to see. We have also been lent maps and books which I am reading.
At this stage we are not planning to book any other accommodation, except perhaps in Dublin. The reason we booked the first couple of weeks is that we arrive in early August and it is high season and places like Edinburgh will have limited and expensive options if we were to leave it until much closer to the time.
We will be travelling fairly light and are planning on taking bags, clothes and shoes that we already have so I don’t envisage much in the way of additional purchases before we go.
On the home front we have found and met a couple who are going to house-sit for us.
Things to do:
Research and book car hire
Research and book ferry to/from Ireland
Renew our passports
Load British pounds onto our Cashcard
Arrange mobile phone access