• Greetings from Australia!

    15 April 2011

    Hi everyone, and greetings from Down Under!! Sorry for the long delay since my last blog, but I've been on holiday and I haven't been able to spend much time at my PC most days. I flew over to Melbourne in Australia at the end of March. Spent a nice few days in the city. I'd been here before 8 years ago, on my last visit, but couldn't really remember it, as I didn't spend much time there. This time I got much more of a feel for the city. I also did a highly enjoyable event on the day I arrived -- it helped keep me awake and one step ahead of the dreaded jet lag!!! The fans I met were hardcore -- one had flown in from Alice Springs just to see me!!! We met up with some of Bas's friends while in town, had some nice meals, explored the central part of the city quite extensively, then hit the road for the long drive to Sydney.

     

    We took a roundabout route to get there. Frist we headed for Wangaratta, via a very tasty lunch and wine tasting in Heaelsville. We swung by the picturesque Beechworth -- like something from 100 years ago -- then headed to Bright by the back route through the Alpine National Park. There were hardly any cars on the roads, so we had most of the stunning scenery to ourselves. The evidence of the terrible forest fires they suffered in the area a few years ago was everywhere, a sobering reminder of the power of Mother Nature. In Bright we tried paragliding for the first time -- I enjoyed it until I got sick mid-air from motion sickness and hurled!! I pity any wild creatures who happened to be passing directly beneath in the forest far below!!!

     

    We stayed in the tiny town of Omeo one night, then headed for the coast and drove east . We stayed in a beautiful B&B in Merimbula, called Robyn's Nest. We saw lots of kangaroos and wallabies, as well as a possum in a tree, and a mother wombat and her baby on the road! Heading north, we visited a nice animal sanctuary, where we got to feed kangaroos and emus. I also got to hold a python, which, to my surprise, I quite enjoyed. Then, in Jervis Bay, while swimming off of Hyams Beach, we had to abandon the water when a 6-foot-long shark came cruising by!! Exciting!!!!

     

    Sydney was a fun break from the road trip. We strolled through the botanical gardens -- I loved the huge fruite bats in particular! -- and around the Opera House. I met up with my cousin Kevin, and his bride Aly, whose wedding we are primarily here for. On their hen and buck day, we did an amazing jet boating experience around the bay, then visited Luna Park and rounded the night off with some drinks and karaoke -- I was almost hoarse the next day!! I also did an event in Sydney, and again the fans were incredible -- one girl had flown in from Brisbane via Melbourne for it!!!

     

    Yesterday we flew to Adelaide. My first stop was at Dymocks, where I signed for an excited group of fans for nearly an hour and a half. Then we drove to Hahndorf, where we're staying for the wedding. We had a filling meal in a German restuarant last night -- the entire town is like a slice of Germany!! Then today we went on a wine-tasting tour of the area with my cousin Davina and her boyfriend Mark. We visited three wineries, the best of which was the first, Bird In Hand -- it came close to making a wine convert out of me!!! (I like wine, but I'm not crazy for it -- but some of the wines at this vinyard had me licking my lips with admiration!!) Barristers Block was also very nice, and it had an interesting gallery with lots of cool sculptures.

     

    Now we're off for a meal with some of the family, ahead of the big wedding tomorrow. I'll try to post a follow-up to this blog before the end of the holiday, but I can't make any promises! When you're having as much fun as we are, it's hard to sit down at a PC for a long period of time!!!!

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