Adventures in Australia- April 2017

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April was an interesting month for me.  When I returned back to Brisbane, early from Japan, I was really tired. I thought it was from traveling and did not think much of it.  Until 2 in the morning, when I woke up with crazy ear pain. What was odd was my ear was leaking. I ignore it at first but then my mind went to a crazy place, like maybe my brain is leaking out of my head. So off to the hospital I went. Bad ear and sinus infection. Surprise surprise. A few days with some drugs I would be right as rain. Hmm, silly Flo.

My friend Cassandra was down in Canberra for work for the week, so I flew down to Sydney for the weekend to catch up with her.  She flew out on Saturday morning, so I managed to catch up with some friends at the zoo.

I also acted like a tourist at the weekend market at the Rocks.  It amazing how much shopping damage one can do in such a short amount of time!

Like Paris and Melbourne, Sydney took a while to grow on me. This weekend was pretty nice, maybe because I had no agenda other then just taking in the sites.

I headed back to the States in mid April. I was still taking antibiotics and steroids, which made for quite the long journey home. I unfortunately had the window seat and had to airplane yoga, every hour on the hour.  Apparently, I just do not do well on that day time flight from Australia, yet I keep booking it. One day I will learn……

Since I had been pretty sick, I had made follow up appointments with my Doctor’s in the States. But when I arrived, my ear was killing me. I could barely hear and it was still leaking.  Turned out the antibiotic ear drops had pooled in my ear canal. It was so gross. But man the relief I felt when a few minutes later I could hear and the pain was gone.  At the time I thought it was funny that the Ear Dr. was on the same floor as my Orthopedic Dr.

Later that same day, I was walking to a meeting with my assistant. I was telling her about something that was bothering me. Without any warning, my right ankle snapped and I fell on my left knee.  Ouch. All I could think was this did not just happen. My assistant started to laugh and was like Flo, are you ok? Get up! A few people walking by offered to assist and one kind lady refused to leave until I got up. I sat there for a few minutes, thinking I did not want to deal with the reality that was waiting for me. I managed to get up, it was bad. But I had an appointment so I kept it and went about my day.  A few hour later, I started screaming, someone take me to the hospital. This is ridiculous.  At the ER they asked me several times if I had hit my head, because I would not stop laughing. Not even when the Dr. came in and told my I had broken my right ankle. Unbelievable. I also managed to bruise my left kneecap.  Oh fun times.

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This is not my first rodeo with the boot, but it is my first time with my right leg and having both legs being banged up. Walking was a challenge. Luckily I had really awesome nurses for the first few days. Thank you Sebastien and Nicolas! Flying back to Australia was interesting. I had to learn to ask and accept help. A lot of help.  The airlines for the most part were great. And I was fortunate that I had wonderful friends in Brisbane, to come and meet at the airport. Thanks again Jenny and John!

Stay tuned for future adventures…. until then safe travels!

 

 

Adventures in Australia-March 2017

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March found me back outside enjoying the beautiful skies of Brisbane.  After the hot summer days, it was refreshing to be able to be outside again and not feel like you were melting

March also brought Champagne Tuesday’s. Ok, who am I a kidding, it was champagne day for every day the ended in Y.  My friend Madison flew up from Sydney to join in the festivities. She enjoyed it so much, she flew up again the next week.  ( Truth I think she really wanted to try the Pomegrante Baba Ganoush on Virgin Australia)

The group favorite of the 3 pictured was the Ruinart Rose. Definitely worth checking out if you are into bubbles.

I also had the pleasure of taking a trip to Noosa. Its a beach town located just north of Brisbane on the Sunshine Coast. I really did enjoy it,  but it’s the quintessential beach town. Great place to visit, but I am not sure that I could live there full time.

With fall settling nicely in Brisbane, I was happy to have the opportunity to get out and discover some of the local markets again. One Saturday found me at the West End market with some friends. Fortunately I had just eaten a large breakfast, because imagine my surprise to see Langos, Empandas and Arepas. I guess all the good food is hiding from me at these markets I have not been visiting.

Stay tuned for more adventures. Until next time, safe travels!

Adventures in Australia-January/ February 2017

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Well I “survived” a Queensland summer. Barely. Brisbane was HOT.  In fact, the heat in January broke some records.  I grew up in Chicago, I thought I could handle the heat. NOPE.  The main reason is the Brisbane is an outdoor living city. Because most of the time the weather is pleasant, people tend to spend a lot of time outside. Well compared to Chicagoan’s, who spend 3-4 months a year in hibernation.

I celebrated my 1st Australia Day. It’s quite similar to the 4th of July in the States. Including fireworks

So what did I do for the few days I was actually in Brisbane?  I watched a lot of sunrises and sunsets from the inside of my air-conditioned apartment.

Other hot day activities included, actually going inside the Queensland Museum. Never mind I walked past it everyday for months. I went with some friends and I pretty sure we went on hottest day ever, because all we did was complain the entire 2 minute walk.  We almost skipped the Queensland Art Gallery and Gallery of Modern Art, because it required a walk in the sun.
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For Christmas I had given my parents Opera tickets. I then started getting invites to all sorts of events at their local arts center.  Not that I was going to fly to Florida, but I could handle walking across the street to Queensland Performing Art Center (QPAC). I mean while I watching the world go by I could not help but notice the advertisements for shows.

Some friends were interested in going to see Ludovico Einaudi.  Given my new boyfriend ( OK, not really my boyfriend) Leslie Odom, Jr.  is just amazing on the ivories, I thought I would give Ludovico a shot.  Another friend was in town and I mentioned that “a piano guy” was playing. He wanted to go but could not find tickets for “The Piano Guys” Oops….. The concert was fun, something different. It’s good to get out one’s comfort zone every now and then.

I also took a detour on my way back from Bali to go to Perth. I had do something with the birdnest of hair on my head. Since it was first time going in summer, I decided to book a tour out to Rottnest Island.  I swear it’s amazing how quickly I forget vital facts like I suffer from horrible motion sickness. It’s an island in the ocean…….  I was ok for about the first hour of the boat trip. It was a cruise down the Swan River. Then we hit the Indian Ocean.  Um….. seriously… if anyone reading this hears me talking about getting on a boat… just say NO. It was horrible.

Rottnest is a car-free island. I knew my lazy self would not want to bicycle around so I opted for a bus-tour.  Which was good because it was air-conditioned.  The tour guide suggested I try the pharmacy for some drugs. Luckily I was much better on the return journey.  But I choose to leave the island early because I was just not feeling well and it was  bit hot. If you happen to make it out there, I would recommend plan on cycling around and going swimming. It looked nice.

I flew back to Brisbane, via Sydney on Virgin Australia. I took the morning flight and I passed on the breakfast option. So I was actually hungry but the time I boarded my Sydney to Brisbane flight. I fully expected the curried chicken I had twice a few days before. So imagine my surprise when I was offered something or Pomegranate Baba Ganoush. I don’t remember what something was, but it did not sound good and let’s be honest nor did the Pomegranate Baba Ganoush. But Burnt Fig Ice Cream surprised so bring on the Baba….. Oh man I about to fly somewhere on Virgin to eat that again. It was SO good.  Carrie P or Michelle, if you are reading this, please figure out how to make this for me. PLEASE

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End of February finds me back in Australia. Hopefully I’ll be staying put for the new few weeks. Unless of course I find a reason to get on Virgin flight……Until then, Safe Travels!

Adventures in Australia- November 2016

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Melbourne…… I seem to have a love/hate relationship with this great city. I want to love it but man have I had some bad trips.  Well just like Paris,  I guess I just needed one good one to set the record straight. A friend visiting from the States and an expiring upgrade, so I decided to head down to Melbourne for a few days. Ok and maybe I read about some Christmas markets. I know, I know I have a problem.

I booked a day our with Melbourne Coastal Touring.  Sometimes its nice to have your day organized by someone else. My tour included a stop a winery for a tasting and lunch, strawberry picking,  stop at the beach to see the famous beach boxes,  a visit to an animal sanctuary and then Phillips Island to see the fairy penguins. It was a full packed day.

I spent another day boosting the local Melbourne economy. Melbourne is the fashion capital of Australia. 2 of my favorites are Tiffany Treloar and Megan Park.  I am going to be looking quite stylish while I am working from home.

I finally discovered the famous laneways of Melbourne, it only took me 4 trips. img_0382

I headed over the Royal Exhibition Building for the Big Design Market. Australian’s version of Christmas market. It was fun, but give me some gluhwein and snow any day. It was fun to see local designers.

After seeing some beach boxes down in Mount Martha, I really wanted to the famous beach boxes at Brighton Beach, so I hopped a train down.

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It was ok, it was little chilly to be swimming. Never mind the beach was full of jellyfish. I also stopped in St. Kilda on my way back to Melbourne.

I also decided to go check out the local theater. I was able get last minute tickets for Kinky Boots. It was quite a great show, I highly recommend it.

It was beginning to look a lot like Christmas in Melbourne. Coming from cold Chicago it been taking some getting used to having a tropical Christmas.

If the pictures in this post are anything to go by, I had a  pretty nice trip to Melbourne. I guess I just don’t connect with some cities immediately. And clearly Melbourne was one of them. I am glad I gave it another chance. It’s amazing city. I probably could not live there, it’s a bit dark and grey in the winter, but I would be happy to visit!

Until next time, safe travels!

Adventures in Australia-September 2016

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September in Australia brought me to my first rugby game, South African Springboks versus Australian Wallabies. It’s funny  it took me moving to Australia to finally understand the love of sports. I was all about getting “kitted” for the match. Like I was hard core fan or something. Never mind, I had trouble following the actually game.

The Springboks arrived the week before the game and I had the enjoyment of taking elevator selfies with them. More like I told them don’t come elevator with me because I would make them take a photo.

I hope my excessive photo taking did not affect their performance. I had an amazing time attending my first game,  but sadly they lost.

September also brought my friends, the lizards, back from their winter break.  I had forgotten about them. Walking in the garden will become interesting again.

And well if I am honest, the real reason why this blog post is so boring, is because I was too busy drinking champagne with new friends. And no I will admit, at least not on this blog post, whose the 2nd glass was……

Until next time, safe travels……..

Adventures in Australia-August 2016

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Shortly after my birthday trip, I headed back to Australia. Which should really read, Flo had travel drama. I had a little bit of weather trying to leave Chicago .

I eventually made it to Australia, but my bags did not. Since I was “home” it should have been fine. But then I remembered, in a moment of pure insanity, I had gotten rid of 1/2 my clothes. So all that remained were now missing, apart from my exercise clothes. When I am going to learn to pack properly?  My bags turned up about 36 hours after me, so in the end it was not too bad.

I arrived back to my first winter in Brisbane. I was looking forward to it, I just did not realize it was going to be, well so chilly.  Not that I am complaining after the heat in Chicago. Something else that is great about the winters. Festivals, tons and tons of festivals!

It was  like German Christmas markets minus the extreme cold weather. It was fantastic!

In another exciting news, the streets of Brisbane were transformed into a movie set for the upcoming “Thor” movie. I did “spot” Anthony Hopkins and Chris Hemsworth.

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Overall, August was a bit a of boring month for me. I was still recovering from being sick in the States. There was quite a few strands of nasty flu going around Brisbane, and I managed to get one them as well. So I did not get up to much.  Well my major accomplishment was that I stayed on one continent for entire calendar month.

Australia continues to surprise me. I am enjoying it more then I thought I would. I am hoping as spring is sprung I am able to get out and travel some more. There is so much to explore.

Until next time, safe travels.

 

 

 

Adventures in Australia-June 2016

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In the end, I was only away from Brisbane for 2 weeks, but it felt like months. I must admit I was happy to be “home”.  It’s amazing how much changed during that time. Winter had officially arrived, there was definitely a chill in the air.

I had flown Qantas back to Brisbane and I had to check my bags, because of all my purchases in Fremantle. One of my suitcases was broken in transit. Lucky for me, Hunt Leather was close by and they were able to deal with Qantas directly to get my bag fixed.

As I was walking towards Hunt’s I noticed something odd, it appeared to a new bake shop. I had just eaten breakfast, so I glanced but did not really think much of it.  I went about my business and forgot about it. Later in the day I was chatting with concierge at the Hilton, and I asked if they had tried the bake shop. Nope.It was tea time and we were all a little peckish……

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That mahogany velvet cake came from Dello Mano . I would be lying if I said I wish our paths had not crossed. RIDICULOUS is the only word I can think of that to describe this bit of heaven on earth. Ridiculously good, fantastic, amazing, awesome… choose what word you will,  you must come to Brisbane and try these cakes and brownies. Did I mention the brownies?
I asked the shop nicely to put a photo of me on the wall saying I am banned from entering. I am already on a first name basis with the staff. That only took 2 days……..

Just when I think Brisbane is pretty great, I discover something that makes me love it more. Winterfest in King George’s Square.  I was heading somewhere and I thought I smelled what could only be described as Christmas Market smell. So I followed my nose. And boy was I surprised. And ice rink in Brisbane!

They even had Langos! I was so excited to get my “market” fix in Australia, especially in June! I guess it was a blessing that I was heading back to the States the next day.

Stay tuned….further adventures in Australia await.