Sydney: ferry and art

7FCDCE73-EFB4-49A9-A290-1156B9930136Back to Sydney!  Staying with my friend, Marianne, in Umina Beach which is north of Sydney.  We took advantage of a Sunday special, Family Fun Day, on the trains and ferries. $2.70 for the entire day. We took a regular ferry under the landmark bridge and past the Opera House, the Maritine Museum and Luna Park.  Later, we walked into the old Customs House.  I was particularly struck by the carved face of Queen Victoria.  Younger than most that I have seen. I can’t imagine what it is/was like to be a person whose image is such common currency. Continue reading

King’s Canyon

Another early morning hike. This time in Kings Canyon. The proposed hike began with 500 natural steps which I didn’t think we could do successfully.  We did half the hike beginning at the end.  We still climbed steps and clambered over rocks but the rise was gentler and easier to manage.  Julia climbed easily and was independent through tout most of the hike.  This adventure is offering her a good deal of independence.

Continue reading

right after first light at Uluru


Around the base of Uluru there are natural caves which the aboriginal people have been using for thousands of years.  The caves provided shelter from harsh weather. They also provided a natural gathering place.  There were men’s caves and women’s caves and caves for all. They were places to teach, to tell stories and to celebrate.   The relatively smooth walls were excellent for painting. (We would see the ochre pits in two days time where many shades of ochre used to make the fat based paints could be harvested.) The caves paintings are only visible on the upper half of the walls because early tour guides attempted to enhance the colors of the paintings by splashing buckets of water on the walls. Continue reading


B6E9B455-A9E5-430A-A145-2C21B92695B3After our Kata Tjuta walk, we climbed back in the van heading for a prime viewing spot to see the sun set at Uluru.  We were one of many tour groups but it was a big viewing site with plenty of space.  Our group was set up with wine and cheese and crackers and our first tastes of emu and kangaroo.  Continue reading

Kata Tjuta

img_7183-1Written on 7 July

It is unusual for me to have no time for writing and reflection for days.  I may choose not to write for days and I may have nothing worth publishing but usually I have the opportunity for both. 

Then four days in the Outback.  

We arrived in Yulara airport  Monday afternoon from Sydney, shuttled to a hotel close by and we’re picked up by our guide, Claire, and taken to our first fo three campsites.  There was no settling in, we were swept away to our first walk (walk or hike at Kata Tjuta. Most of what we did was doable without much strain. Experienced hikers would probably find it a bit tame.) Continue reading

Sydney 1


Wonder Woman finds a friend.

Sydney.  Randwick is the suburb where our cousin, Steph, lives and is our first home base here.  I was admittedly pretty grumpy in awakening. Jet lag is the probable culprit. I woke up too early sure that I had under packed abommitably.  When Steph picked us up the previous morning, the outside was freezing and this second morning was cold enough for Julia to put on all her warm clothes at same time.   Just as I had read and been advised, the daywarmed up, we stripped off layers and I dug out sunglasses.  After breakfast, I wanted to walk and Steph took us to Coogee Beach. We have many Australian beaches in out travel plans but the first sight of the Pacific was magnificent!  Sun, blue skies and waters, white caps, jagged mock outcropinngs, white sand and many people reveling in the lovely day.  Julia couldn’t wait to be on the beach today although we resisted taking shoes off and letting the waves run over our toes.  We were still cold and the wind whipped our hair.  There were a number of swimmers, all without wetsuits which encouraged the belief that we too would be in the water soon. Continue reading

leave taking

9DE9F7E0-56EA-44C6-BCF5-3D07835EFED2Dallas airport.  Departure.  Madison to Dallas.  Easy flight.  Easy day actually.  Errands and small closing ups.  Yesterday’s packing left little difficult to do.  Julia had a problem when the bead kit she wanted to bring just didn’t fit anywhere.  Lots of reasons why it was a bad idea to bring a bead kit on vacation—the least of which is that she probably will not have time to touch it, but I was willing to entertain the request if I could get it in.  We are going to winter which while not harsh demands a few more warm things.  At first I wondered why the Alaska packing had space to spare but then I remembered we borrowed a larger bag. It worked for the cruise because we were not carrying bags around.  This trip we are carrying.  Rolling really.  The rolling bags and back packs are packed tighter than I prefer and  no beads.  Julia got stuck on this great deprivation (in her eyes) for a long time.  Australia was going to be awful and boring. She does know how to taunt me.  I am grateful that a late afternoon hard rain that we had to run through to reach the car washed the preseveration away.  A short run, we were drenched to the bone, enough complaining about such wetness to bring on giggles. Continue reading

the calm before

“How quiet, how quiet the chamber is . . .”

A line from one of my favorite songs (“Is Anybody There?”) in one of my favorite musicals (1776).  It is running over and over in my head, the voice I hear is, of course, William Daniels, the original John Adams.  

We leave for Sydney tomorrow evening.  I have a list, albeit short, to accomplish and two therapy appointments today.  If I finish what needs to be finished before the middle of the day, we could see a movie tonight but I am not depending on that extravagance. Continue reading

travel update

Beginning of our Alaskan cruise last summer!  This summer, a new adventure.

8 Weeks until we go ‘down under’!  Down under what?  I have to look that up.  Eight weeks before we go to Australia!  The count down has begun in earnest! 

And so have the tasks.  

Julia had the day off on Friday, so we went to the post officer and sent in the documents for her new passport.  This time it is an adult passport (her first) and valid for 10 years.  Her current passport, a kid’s edition which is good for only 5 years (and yet costs the same), expires a week after we return from Australia.  I asked the postal clerk why a passport must be valid for six months after a planned trip out of the country.  She responded directly and cheerfully, “Just in case of a terrorist attack.  You could need to stay somewhere for awhile.”  I may have lost just a bit of color in my cheeks.  And that’s what you get for asking questions! Continue reading