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Showing posts from 2018

2018: The year in travel

I calculated that I flew around 33,000 kilometres in 2018. That sounds like a lot, but it's not even the circumference of the Earth. We began the year with flights down to Launceston in Tasmania, our first visit to that airport. It was also our first time along the West Coast, losing ourselves in mazes, hiking beneath Cradle Mountain and catching the West Coast Railway, before heading to Hobart and back to Launceston. Each visit to Tasmania finds the countryside even prettier and the food a revelation for our tastebuds, if a little slow to appear. Less than two weeks later we were in the air again, flying to Singapore, with flights beyond to Penang in Malaysia. Sadly I lost my appetite during the trip. My highlight was the very long railway journey alone from Butterworth back to Singapore, four trains, a taxi and a bus ride. That felt like real travel. Our travel is mostly constrained by school holidays now and the next break wasn't until April, when we took the

To Melbourne on the XPT sleeper

Excited by the prospect of reliving the experience of seeing my very first movie and hearing the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra perform it I bought tickets to The Empire Strikes Back in Concert in Melbourne back in February. Then I did nothing about actually getting there. Much as I love Melbourne, due to family commitments I didn't want to spend more than the Sunday away. Flights there and back made sense, but  my flight down to Melbourne in late October reiterated the fact that I usually don't enjoy descending into the city. And the concert was in December, a season of summer storms. I really didn't feel like driving the whole route alone and in a hurry, so that left one choice. The train. My very first trip up to Sydney from Melbourne was aboard the luxury Southern Aurora. Or it was supposed to be luxury. I wouldn't know because I spent the whole ride up very sick with the flu lying in the top bunk, unable to stay awake for my whole of night vigil. Now only

Escaping again in Canberra

For these past two days I've been at our annual team get together in Canberra. I drove down on Tuesday morning, taking less than three hours to do the trip. Thought of flying at the last moment as the sky looked so nice, but it was expensive and a colleague tells me bumpy anyway. After a day of meetings we broke into two groups to do a couple of escape rooms, which were quite challenging (we paid for these out of our own pockets). Afterwards Brod Burgers and (for others) beer at Capital Brewing. I stayed at the Pavilion hotel again, the decor as depressing as ever. Fortunately the had apples at the reception desk as I need a fruit fix after the burgers. Actually watched a program on TV, the absurd Angus Project. Another meeting this morning before I drove back to Sydney just in time to take Alex to tennis. A grey miserable day not worth flying through, but driving wasn't that fun, especially with psycho utes and Mercedes on the roads. At least the new tram line is

The Overland

Locomotive NR6 leading the last unrefurbished 'The Overland', though Moorabool, near Geelong. Photo Marcus Wong via Wikipedia   It was terrible to discover this week that The Overland , the only rail service between Melbourne and Adelaide, faces an imminent axing due to a lack of financial support from the South Australian government. The Overland holds a special place in my heart, in many ways helped to define me as a person in so many ways both large and tiny. I want to share with you some of the memories I have of this wonderful service. I was born in Melbourne, but most of my mother's family lived in Adelaide. In the days of my childhood air travel, especially for a larger family, was prohibitively expensive so when we visited my grandparents, uncles and cousins it was all but once by land. That meant a two day drive or an overnight ride on the train. The current Overland service is operated by the same private company that runs the luxury Indian Pacific and