Sunday, September 25, 2016

Alas–All good things come to an end

Our trip is rapidly coming to an end.  Tomorrow we “fly”…..and make up for that day we lost coming over.  We leave here at 11:20 AM, September 26 and arrive in Omaha at 10.05 PM.  I know that sounds like only 10 hours and 45 minutes……except total hours elapsed is 25 hours and 45 minutes.  I guess that is the price we pay for coming “down-under”.

The trip has been really great and a much slower pace than past trips.  That gave us lots of time to play and get to know the local area a little better.  Thanks for Roy & Sylvia for their hospitality. 


And out thanks to Missy for her presence.


The almost daily walks along the Esplanade and breakwater were great.  We enjoyed watching the tides change and the boats (wind powered and engine powered) leave and enter the harbor, the birds (all different from what we normally see), and the flowers (things we see but they grow in the ground here instead of in pots under controlled conditions)!

Because it was a more relaxed trip we had time to enjoy afternoon pastries.  You often see shops and cafes with yummy goodies on display……


Yesterday we went to Cleveland (south of Manly).  We sat outside and enjoyed our eats and drinks.



Watching the birds cavort is always fun…..Here is the “duty” seagull that was “posing” for us.


We also had a little bit of business in Wynum so were able to see a little bit of that town.


Today we went to the North Shore of Brisbane (just across the Brisbane River) for breakfast.  The Blueberry pancakes and Eggs Benedict were yummy.




From there we drove up to Shorncliff where we saw the train station that was built in 1868!  As you can see it is still in active use.



We have enjoyed looking at the local homes.  Many of them are built in the Queenslander style.  Originally, they were open under the house, but over the years the lower level has been filled in.  They all have a unique charm.






Finally a few miscellaneous pictures.

Sylvia and Katie


The local mall had these that could be rented – $10 for 20 minutes.  They were for the children to ride around the mall on.  We asked, but the operators felt we were too big.  (Katie says that’s a fib.)


Lebanese version of a Runza.  That is lamb inside a dark bread.  Served with yoghurt.


Bouquets of flowers at the local market.  You don’t see these flowers in North America.


Local gas prices.  Looks cheap but this is the price per Liter (slightly greater than a US quart).


Monty and Sylvia relaxing on the back deck.


Roy and Monty…..tree sitting in downtown Manly


Finally…..a last view of the Manly Harbor and Moreton Bay.  It has been fun watching the boats and tides.


Wednesday, September 21, 2016

North to the Ginger Factory

Some years ago, we were presented with a jar of ground ginger from Australia.  Our supply was running low, so one of the stops we wanted to make on this trip was at the Ginger Factory, Buderim Ginger Factory in Yandina.  Yandina  is located about an hour and a half north of Brisbane.  The four of us drove up late morning on Tuesday and spent the afternoon at the factory and along the Sunshine coast area.  The only problem was the factory no longer makes ground ginger so that part of the trip was a bust.  We will have to replace our supply with ground ginger made somewhere else after we get home.  But it was a fun day anyway.

We drove past the Glass House Mountains.  These are a series of carsts and are plainly visible from ships at sea.  When the sun shines on them at certain angles they apparently glitter and look kind of like glass.  This is an example.


We have spent time in this area on past trip to Australia (see October 9, 2013 past entry on this blog).

At the Buderim Ginger Factory there are many things to do in addition to shopping for their products.


We had a nice meal at the Ginger Cafe



Since they didn’t have any ground ginger the only thing we bought was some Ginger Chocolate sauce for Ice Cream.  Yummy!

Of course we took pictures with the Ginger Bread Men.



We thought of Dan the Engineer while we were there.


The engine at one time was operated by steam but now is driven by a gas engine located in the tender.

Here is the Ginger equivalent of Dan the Vala’s Engineer.  The real difference is this train is a one man show.  The engineer is also the ticket taker and conductor.


We enjoyed the various flowers in the gardens.  These are flowers that we don’t see in gardens in Nebraska.  Here they grow readily




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On the way home we drove a little ways down the coast and enjoyed the views of the Coral Sea from Mooloolaba and Caloundra (Sunshine coast area).




Here are a couple more flowers growing in gardens.  These are in my sister’s garden around her house.





I leave you this evening with a rainbow from this evening.  A rain storm moved through late this afternoon and as the skies cleared we had this partial rainbow visible over Morton Bay.


Sunday, September 18, 2016

Update–Around Manly & Brisbane

It has been a few days since I have updated the travel blog.  We have been moderately busy visiting, and seeing the local sights in and around the local area.  In the past few days we have visited One Pine Koala Sanctuary, McArthur’s Brisbane headquarters and the local flora and fauna.  It is hard to believe we have been here three weeks and are on the last week of our visit.

We have enjoyed the variety of birds in the area.  The Lorikeets are particularly colorful and fun to watch on the bird feeder. 



And this little guy was a surprise as I was walking around.  It is a Superb Fairywren.  Not the  best picture, but he is a beautiful shade of blue on his cheeks. Tiny bird.



Here is a Crested Pigeon…..very common bird, but unusual compared to the pigeons in the U.S.


and to Cormorants are fun to watch as they dive for fish.


One of the day trips we took was to the Lone Pine Koala Sancuary.


  As you can tell from the pictures, they have more than Koalas there.  One of the things we saw was working sheep dogs.  It was amazing to watch them heard the sheep and move them around the paddock with minimal commands.


After they move the sheep in to the pens (in preparation for shearing) the dogs will literally walk on the backs of the sheep.



Of course there were lots of Koalas here.



Meet Freddy!  A gentle soul!


We took the train from Manly to Brisbane and went to the McArthur Museum in downtown Brisbane.  It was from Brisbane that the allies in the Pacific planned and started the drive to push the Japanese back toward Japan.  The Museum is where McArthur had his offices and an apartment for his family.  It has information on McArthur’s planning and the Brisbane story during the war.  There were thousands of US troops in this area as the push North was planned and started.  I was lucky on the day we visited.  I was wearing my U S Air Force Retired baseball cap, which resulted in us getting free admission to the museum and a personalized tour of McArthur’s office.

Hallway to McArthur’s office.



McArthur’s office.


His desk


The result of a personalized tour.  I really felt like a special guest of the Museum


Near the McArthur Museum is Queen Street.  It is a pedestrian mall full of shops, stores and restaurants.  It was a fun place to be, even on a rainy day.



If Hungry Jack’s looks familiar it is the equivalent of Burger King!!

H&M is a clothing store.  From the looks I would think it sells high end fashion.  It even had a projected movie of the clothes being modeled on one wall.


Typical of most big cities, it has both new and older buildings.  We thought this one was particularly interesting.


Other found objects we saw.  This may be a good place to get a hair cut.


I didn’t try one of these but a gelato donut sounds kind of good


However, the chocolate croissants are really good here.


As the end of this edition of this blog, I leave you with some pictures of flowers and trees in the local area.  They are so different from what we have in the US.

Bottle Brush tree


Not sure what this is, but really pretty……growing out of a tree.


Bird of Paradise…….very common


Jacaranda tree.  The blossoms are a beautiful lillac color.  They are just starting to bloom as Australia moves into spring.