Adventures in Australia-September 2017

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I have very few adventures in Australia in September. Mainly because I was gone most of the month. A friend was unexpectedly in Melbourne for the weekend, so I flew down to hang out. Which was rough, I flew in from Austin on Thursday and flew down to Melbourne on Friday.

I stayed at my 2nd home in Australia, Grand Hyatt Melbourne. I love this place, it like visiting with friends. Truly. They called me out for being cranky and jet legged, yes Roddy- I heard you. So they organized a massage over at the Park Hyatt. So much for never going back there. It was just what I needed.

Since it was raining when I met up with my friend ,we headed over to the National Gallery Victoria, which was featuring a Dior exhibit. It was surprisingly fun.  His original pieces were just amazing.

The gallery was quite interesting as well. It has unique collection of art and aside from special exhibits, it’s free. So another reason to visit.

Ironically, the sun came out as we were leaving. Melbourne is a bit like Chicago with it’s weather.

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There were not too many adventures in Brisbane, because I headed back to the States a few days later. Yes you reading that correctly,  I was in Texas flew back to Australia and then back to the States in a matter of 2 weeks.

Until next time, safe travels!

Austin,Texas- September 2017

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I’ve always wanted to visit Austin, Texas. Funny enough, I felt like I needed an excuse because just visiting to visit, would be silly……

There was a work conference and a Hyatt…. so it seem like a smart idea to fly over from Australia for 4 days….. ( clearly I am sick with the travel bug). Plus I got to see my Olivia and Quinn, so like it was question. Lucky for me, Dawn and Nick were willing driving them down from Dallas!

Side note, I got into a ridiculous fight with the shop lady in duty free. I wanted to bring some champagne with me, since it was Dawn’s birthday. So I asked the guy that was working in that area if there an issue with me taking it to the States.  He said to be clear at check out that I had a connection in the States and would need the clear bags.  So I go to check out and ask for the clear bags. Nope, you are not allowed. Wait, what?  2 minute argument ensues. I end up walking away. I was so annoyed, I googled the rules.   I marched right back to store with the website pulled up and STILL was told I was purchasing at my own risk.  And even then another manager came over and told me I was reading it wrong. At this point, it was matter of principle. I said I would take my chances. Turns out, it was NOT a problem.  You will spend a extra few minutes for screening but it’s not an issue as long as you have a sealed plastic bag and a receipt>

We checked into they Hyatt Lost Pines for the weekend.  It’s a great place to check in for a few days to escape reality.   You almost do not realize you are in Texas.  The best part of the whole resort for me was the fire pit, where they provided supplies for nightly s’mores.

My friend Carrie, surprised me by flying in to join us. We had a fun day hanging out in the lazy river and chilling.  Well it was all fun and games, until everyone turned RED. That sun was fierce.  Needless to say, it was an early night.

My conference was a conference, but one night we were taken on a bat cruise. Yes Bats. Apparently, they came up from Mexico and decided not to leave.  It was pretty cool. Millions and Millions of bats……

I had a long layover in LA on my way back to Australia. I spotted the celebrity chef, Neil Perry,  while hanging out in the the Qantas Lounge.  Too bad I did not know it was him…..

Oh well until next time, Safe Travels…….

Maldives-August 2017

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I took a serious vacation/holiday. By serious I mean, I actually took off from work and barely touched my laptop for 5 days.  I have to be honest, it was a bit weird, but boy did I need it.  I know I travel a lot, but I usually connected and on any given day,  I am working.  I used point to fly to Singapore on Singapore Airlines. I purchased a ticket to fly Sri Lankan Airlines to Male, Maldives via Columbo, Sri Lanka. Upon arrival into Male, took a sea plane to the Conrad Maldives Rangali Island. Total and utter bliss.

I am going to let the pictures do the talking with this post. Words just can’t do it justice.

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Sea Plane to Hotel

        Amazing sunsets……

Beautiful Beaches

Lots for food…….

And it would not be a proper holiday without, gut splitting laughs……

Until next time….safe travels.

 

Auckland, New Zealand- August 2017

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When I was traveling back from Tahiti, I had an overnight in Auckland, New Zealand. Over the past year, I’ve flown thru there several times, but never actually left the airport.  So on whim, I looked into going to Auckland for a quick trip, I was able to use miles for a free ticket and points for the hotel, so it was easy choice to make.

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I first visited Auckland in 1999, and it has changed quite a bit. I do remember for years saying it was favorite city in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I am enjoying Australia, but I have a love like no other for New Zealand.  And what’s worse about that comment, I’ve not left Auckland! I am looking forward to exploring the rest of this beautiful country.

On my previous trip to Melbourne, I had purchased a dress by a New Zealand Designer, Maaike.  A google search lead me to Ponsonby.  For someone who “claims” to hate shopping, I really enjoyed Ponsonby . And well, as of late I’ve been a bit more daring in my clothing choices, so shopping off the beaten path is fun.  My wondering took me into Miss Crabb,  where I such fun trying some of their clothing.  My right ankle, however, was not having fun. It decided that it was going to swell to epic portions.  So that night it was room service and cuddle with some voltaren and ice.

The next day, I headed over to a  French Festival at Queens Wharf. And then I checked out the Britomart area and found  a fun store, World.  The decor is a traveler’s dream. The shop was a treasure trove of goodies. I waandered around a bit, then met Beau. Boy did he have some fun with me. Sold me a dress, that “you can wear to 7-11”. Sure sure because I wear black sequins to grocery store.

I headed over to Waiheke island to tour some wineries.  It was luckily a quite and smooth ferry ride. I had arranged a tour, but one could easily manage without one.  I highly recommend taking a day or two out to visit Waiheke if you find yourself in the Auckland area.

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This was seriously a quick hop over to Auckland. I basically saw like 1 block.  I will be going back to New Zealand because there is just so more to discover. I just wish I had endless time.

You know from reading this, that I traveled with the smallest bag ever. When am I going to learn? I would probably save a lot of money, if I just traveled with the biggest suitcase I own.

Until next time, safe travels

French Polynesia-August 2017

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Tahiti is on most people’s travel bucket list.  It’s has such an illusion of grandeur and high price tag that goes along with it.  Well I had some free days in my schedule and thought it would be good idea to take a trip.  I really wanted to go to Samoa or the Cook Islands but the flights were just not working out in my favor.  The flights, while not ideal,worked for Tahiti, so off I went. I used my points/miles to book Emirates from Brisbane to Auckland and then Air Tahiti Nui to Papeete. My return was on Air New Zealand back to Auckland where I had to stay the night and then flew to Brisbane the next day.   Total flying each direction, was just shy of 9 hours.  And since I crossed the date line, leaving on Thursday meant I arrived on Wednesday.

I originally agreed with most bloggers, this is not a place you probably want to visit alone. If any other reason, it’s beautiful and you just want to be able to discuss it with someone. But then you start staring off into the vast blue skies and watching the amazing sunsets, and frankly you don’t care that you are alone.

I ended staying on the island of Papeete because I arrived too late to take a ferry to Moorea.  It was not bad, but I probably wouldn’t spend more then a night or two there. I signed up for an island tour and honestly, it reminded me a lot of Hawaii.

I also took the ferry over to Moorea and saw the ubiquitous over the water bungalows. The tour went off road into the pineapple fields and up a mountain.  I highly recommend getting away from the resort if you find yourself in the area.

But if you find yourself just sitting around, try to wake up early to watch the sunset .IMG_1903

It’s a bit of a pain to get to, but just amazing if you have the opportunity.  I would not hesitate to go again, by myself.  Just remember to bring a good book, hat and some sunscreen.

Until next time safe travels…….

Melbourne, Australia-August 2017

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After a very rocky start, I have become to love Melbourne. When my friend, Katherine, who lives in Sydney, mentioned that she has never been, I suggested that we do a girl’s weekend.  Have I mentioned how much I love the Grand Hyatt Melbourne? Seriously if you are heading to Melbourne, this should be your first choice. Book a club level room, and be spoiled by the amazing lounge staff.

As what usually happens with trips like this, we start out with like 10 people and end up with 4. And we wonder what we were thinking inviting anyone else in the first place. I was flying down from Brisbane and arrived before the others. I “cheated” and hit up my one of my favourite shops, Tiffany Treloar, with the promise to wait to buy for when the girls were with me. We had grand ideas going on a tour or something, but in the end we barely made it off Collins St.  We appropriately started off with champagne and macaroons.

Followed by some serious and I do mean, serious shopping……

Love that Katherine’s boyfriend was such a good sport about shopping with the ladies.  We headed off to Rockpool at the Crown Casino. If you know Melbourne, you know that the Crown is huge entertainment complex,  but really there is a like one main entrance. Our taxi driver insisted that there were 5 Crown’s in Melbourne and we needed to be very specific about where we were going. We gave him the exact address and even then insisted that it was not sufficient.  He then started making racist comments.  Note to the wise, I would avoid Melbourne taxis, if at possible.

The weekend was just what the doctor ordered, good friends, good food and lots and lots of laughs. I hope to be able to repeat it again in the future.

Until next time.. Safe Travels!

London, England-July 2017

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London with my Ladybug, yes please!

After Brussels, I headed over to London to meet up my cousin and her family. We had grand plans of attending Adele’s final show at Wembley Stadium. The concert that cancelled. Ok, moving on.

On my previous trip to London, my friend Katy and I took tourist shots with red umbrellas. I thought it would be fun to take tourist shots with my favorite bug.  And well it was not raining and she’s 2, I was lucky she even took the umbrella from me in the first place. IMG_2940

Despite the fact it was sunny and the concert was cancelled, we manage to have quite a nice visit in London. We took a boat cruise along the Thames and tried to pop into the Palace to Hello to the Queen, but she was just not receiving visitors that day.  And of course we had the requisite fish and chips.

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And somehow, I managed to do even more shopping then I could have imagined. This resulted in me having to purchase a new tote bag to get all my loot back to the States . #travelfail ( one should always leave enough room in their bag for spare purchases).

All in all, London was great! Especially nice to to experience it with family. I hope to get to have more trips like this again in the future.

But sorry Adele, not sure that I will fly over again to attempt to hear you sick. Oh who I am kidding, of course I would!

Until next time………