Friday, April 29, 2016

Wednesday 27 April – Thank you for the memories!

Current location: Alexandria

11.11pm, At home, being a bit sad as we took Mum and Dad to the airport tonight for them to fly home. I have had the best time with them while they've been here, and even though I was sad saying bye, it was just wonderful to know they are leaving having had a brilliant trip, and that we've made memories to last a lifetime.
Last night we went for dinner at Fratelli Fresh, then for a drink, and Mum and I started t get a bit sad.  But as Andy reminded me today: 'Nothing to be sad about! They've had a great time, you've had a great time and we've hung out loads. It's been perfect.' Well said.

Friday 22 April – Sarah's Key

Current location: Alexandria
11.11pm, Watching a film, Sarah's Key. Andy was away so I was watching movies he'd hate, eating toast for dinner and taking up both sides of the bed.

Thursday 21 April – Press day made lovelier

Current location: Eveleigh
11.11am, At work, being busy. We go to press on a Thursday, so the day is usually pretty full-on. At one point in the afternoon though, Mum called me (who had just got back to Sydney with Dad after a week's trip up to Byron in a campervan) and told me to look out the window. She and Dad danced the tango, then left. They are amazing. 
In the evening, they came to watch us play netball (we won! Yay!) – it's so nice having them here, it just feels so normal!

Tuesday 19 April – Morning of Melbourne meandering

Current location: Melbourne
11.11am, Watching some skateboarding. We moseyed around this morning, watching some skaters, and going into the Lanes for the second of our daily two breakfasts a day. We had a couple of hours before we had to catch our flight back to Sydney, where my lovely friend Yeezy picked us up from the airport with wine and flowers, and a homemade lasagne! What a great end to the best bloody holiday.

Monday 18 April – When in Melbourne...

Current location: Melbourne
11.11pm, At a jazz bar. It was basically an incredibly moving and intense jazz concert in a gorgeous little Jazz Bar calked Bennett's Lane, which is moving locations soon since the building owner sold it to a property developer. But basically, it was beautiful and we really felt lucky to be able to go and see some incredible musicians there. We'd had the most awesome city/Melbourne day, which involved two breakfasts (of course), the best being at Breakfast Thieves, so much shopping in the city and in some little Fitzroy stores, and walking, plus a visit to the Gorman outlet store (which is definitely my happy place, and my wallet's very unhappy place). When we got home, I had a Max Breener hot chocolate to pep me up (I don't know why, I just decided I should try one), then we drank a bottle of Moet and went for dinner at Mamasita, an awesome Mexican place that our friends Amy and Jez had bought us dinner at as a wedding pressie. 

We tried loads of tequilas, ate everything in sight, and didn't want to leave! When we did manage to drag ourselves away, we went to the jazz bar we'd walked past the night before and lost ourselves for an hour or two. Then went home and watched the netball in bed (yes, I'm marrying a lovely man who will watch netball with me on our honeymoon). 

Sunday 17 April – City time!

Current location: Lara, Victoria
11.11am, Having brunch with Rikki, Andy's cousin's daughter, and planing our route into Melbourne. The last part of our honeymoon is in a hotel in the city, so after we checked in and got ready, we went to a rooftop bar and began an awesome afternoon/evening, which was paid for as a wedding present from Andy's cousins. We had cocktails on the roof while it was still sunny, then went into Chinatown to find a wicked bar called Berlin (which is split into East and West; we chose East). Next up we went to Naked for Satan, and ate about a million little pintxo/tapas dishes (you keep the cocktail sticks and pay $1 per stick) and had more drinks... We ended up at the rooftop bar, full and a bit tipsy and having the best time, then caught a bus home back to our hotel, ready for a day of city exploring tomorrow.

Saturday 16 April – Marvellous morning

Current location: Boydtown
11.11am, Lying on the beach, reading my book and loving not doing much. This has been such a relaxing week and I'm loving it! After a few lazy hours, we decided to go and find a wave, that was near a cliff about an hour's drive down a dirt rack (seriously, the directions were pretty vague). We drove for a while, walked for a while, and finally found what we thought might be the wave, by which point Andy had decided not to go for a surf. The cliffs reminded me so much of Cornwall, I loved it!

Onwards we drove, slowly realising we had more distance to travel today than we realised. We stopped in Lakes Entrance in the late afternoon, but it was a bit drizzly and a little bit depressing, so we kept driving and eventually stopped for an early dinner in sale. We had a drink in the pub, then went to an awesome Indian restaurant which was basically in someone's front room, then kept driving until we got to a tiny but gorgeous rest stop called Willow's Rest (or Willow's something else). It was like a really gorgeous campsite, with loads of willow trees (hence the name), just off the freeway! Random but lovely. 

Friday 15 April – Mountains to beaches

Current location: Boydtown
11.11pm, Toasting marshmallows. I'm not sure I've ever done that at 11.11 before... Tonight I built my first ever bonfire on my own (Andy had to help a minimal amount when it nearly went out for the 4,000th time, but it was basically all me!). 
We woke up in Adaminaby, our new fave town, and Mike the Mechanic got to work on Reggie the Kombi by about 7am. He managed to fix her, creating a makeshift cable out of goodness knows what, then we went to the lake, which houses 'Old Adaminaby'. This was where the town was until 1949, when they began flooding the town as part of the Snowy Mountains Hydro-Electric Scheme. The town got relocated to the current site (houses and all), and now people swim in the lake, with their old township beneath them, how bizarre! It's also home to the Big Trout, which we sat by this morning to eat our omelettes. 

When we left, we drove through the beautiful Snowy Mountains towards the coast, stopping in Bega for a yummy, veggie lunch. Bega is famous for cheese, so we went to the cheese museum, and were a little underwhelmed, so kept driving to Merimbula, where we had a sit on the beach and watched over-competitive parents trying (and failing) to get their uninterested children interested in touch football. 

We didn't really know where to stay that night, so we drove around a bit as it started to get dark, finally deciding on a little campsite in a tiny place called Boydtown (the 'town' consisting of a campsite and pub on the beach – my kind of town!). It was the only actual campsite we stayed in all week, and it was gorgeous. We built a fire (well, I built a fire), made dinner, toasted marshmallows and drank red wine. Totally perfect!

Thursday 14 April – A twist and a turn

Current location: Adaminaby
11.11pm, Getting into bed. In the Kombi. Outside a mechanics garage. #offthebeatentrack
Today was, in equal part, beautiful and hilarious.
We started out adventuring to Batlow (famous for apples), where we ate delicious cakes and, er, apples. Seriously, the apples. They were so good! We also went past a very beautiful dam/lake, called Blowering Dam, which was so pretty!

As we adventured onwards, Andy stopped to take a photo (an extremely common occurrence) then, when he went to drive off again, the accelerator cable snapped. We didn't know that at the time, we just knew something was wrong and we couldn't drive, we were an hour's drive from the nearest town and we had no phone signal (turns out we were about a 20km walk from where there may have been signal). Very, very luckily, some rangers drove past, saw we were stuck, diagnosed our snapped cable, and called roadside assistance for us. All we could do was sit and wait, then get towed to the nearest town, which turned out to be Adaminaby.

Mike the Mechanic looked at the Kombi, said he couldn't fix it until the morning, and left us to sleep outside his garage. He also told us that 'Thursdays go off in the pub' and that there was a new chef in the bistro, who was keen to impress, so we should have dinner there. Bear in mind, this is a town of 200 people, so the dinner options were limited to the bistro or the pub anyway. Bistro it was... and it was pasta night. I loved this little town so don't want to badmouth it, but let's just say I can't imagine what the dishes would have been like if the chef wasn't trying to impress.

Off we went to try our luck at the pub... It's fair to say it wasn't exactly going off by Sydney standards, but it did serve $3 wines, and the greyhound racing was on the TV in the corner, so Andy and I settled in for the evening and put on a few bets, with 'Sketchy Nick' winning $40 for us. Cheers Nick the Greyhound! It was such a fun night, and people could not have been friendlier or more helpful. Now, this town wasn't on our original list of places to visit in the Snowy Mountains, but it actually turned out to be a brilliant stop along the way.

Wednesday 13 April – The adventure continues

Current location: Laurel Hill (ish)
11.11pm, Asleep in our little camper, somewhere near Laurel Hill, which is somewhere near the Sugar Pine Walk. If you've never been there, get there. It's stunning – so many amazing sugar pines to walk among... Although, sadly, fewer than there were, as it's an area used for logging. 
Today consisted of a lot of driving on really cool, empty roads – we honestly barely saw another car or person! The only exception was when we went through Tumut, where we grabbed a beer, and decided to keep driving... Turns out we like wilderness more than towns! Tonight we ended up camping right near Sugar Pine Walk, in a beautiful clearing. Andy rigged up a little camplight set-up, and we ate some amazing dinner (prawns and calamari and veggies) and drank some wine and took some photos and then freaked out when we heard some other people nearby... Turned out to be a family who arrived when it was dark and managed to put a tent up and not lose any of their small children who were wandering around the in the pitch black. 

Tuesday 12 April – The Kombi adventures begin...

Current location: Thirroul, NSW
11.11am, Setting off from Ally and Hoppo's house. They live about an hour south of Sydney, in a beautiful coastal town and, by the time we left Sydney last night, we decided to just go as far as theirs for the evening. We had a Thai takeaway, cracked open the gin, and had a brilliant first night of honeymoon. This morning, we had a coffee and a walk with them, then headed off on our adventure. And what a first day it was! We drove straight to Canberra, where we went to the National Portrait Gallery, and had a little wander around, then drove to Pierces Creek Forest. On the way, we saw some kangaroos, and a space station (yes, really!), and so many brilliant roads and sights and so much of nothing – but beautiful nothing! Pierces Creek, in ACT, was quite remote, and a perfect place to stop – there was no-one else and nothing else there, except for a creek (unsurprisingly) and a picnic table. What a beautiful place to spend the night!