We’re off again!

Kevin and I are heading off to North Queensland this morning. We thought we had bought cheap “cabin luggage only” tickets for one sector so we organised all our packing to fit in little bags and under the 7kg weight limit. When we checked in online last night we realised that we do in fact have the normal checked baggage allowance. Kevin has repacked into a larger suitcase taking some extra non-essential items but I decided I couldn’t be bothered. So I’m off for two weeks at Port Douglas with a 105cm bag.

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Since our UK trip last year I have become a convert of the small packing cube things. Even on small trips I have been using them. It makes it easier to pack and easier to find things while I’m away.

This time, I have a bigger one for my exercise gear than I do for normal clothes.

We have flights, accommodation and hire car booked along with a one day tour to the Daintree Rainforest and Cape Tribulation. Other than that, we have a few ideas of things we’d like to do and we’ll see about booking them in once we arrive. This is a “no stress” holiday.

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Giant’s Causeway–Part 2

When I was loading my photos a couple of days ago, I was certain reasonably sure that I had taken more “close up” photos of the rock formations and photos trying to show the size and extent of the area but I couldn’t find them. While working on another project on the weekend, I remembered that I had taken a small compact camera with me which I only used on some days, preferring to use my phone for convenience. Aha! Found the missing photos.

Here is a selection they are.

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Filling in the blanks

We’ve been home for five weeks already (where has the time gone?) and I have only just had a quick squiz through the photos on the main camera we took with us. So, here are the places I think we missed on the blog while we were there.

In no particular order, and there are quite a few.

Cliffs of Moher – photos showing how the shops etc have been built into the landscape

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Culloden Moor – Site of the Battle of Culloden

It’s hard to tell sometimes if the tour guides are spinning a yarn or giving historically correct factual information. Our guide said that battles back in ‘those’ days (whenever they were) were more civilised than they are now. The two sides would agree on a location and time to meet, then they’d turn up and have their battle. Kind of like a duel but with more “backups” for each party.

I found a grave marker for the Athol Highlanders. Apparently, this is the only clan still allowed to have a private army. These were my ancestors. There is a National Trust centre on the site with lots of information (and souvenirs). The area is marked with flags showing the final locations of the leaders of the two armies, and their frontlines.

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Posing with Bonnie Prince Charlie and the other fellow whose name escapes me right now – and I’m too lazy to google it…

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Saw Kevin’s name on a coke label. Smile

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I wondered if Harray Potter existed before Harry Potter.

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I wondered too, if anyone ever buys this book.

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The obligatory Murray (my maiden name) coat-of-arms photo.

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Giant’s Causeway

The whole time we were there, I never tired of looking at the heather.

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Camel rock – can you see it?

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The causeway proper

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Pipe organ

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Chimneys

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Railway (?) Bridge from Harry Potter movies

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I can’t remember off the top of my head if we missed anything else. I’ve procrastinated long enough tonight reminiscing by looking at these photos so I don’t have time to reread all my posts to confirm. I’m sure this will be enough to keep you going.

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Last day: 28/08/2014

The overcast morning made us extremely glad that we’d done the Eye the day before.

Kevin and I split up. He went to watch the changing of the guards while I went to the Tower of London to beat the crowds.

There is a display there at the moment with ceramic poppies. 180 new poppies are planted each day and every one is handmade and unique.

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Look closely under “Tower Shop”.

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Definitely beat the crowds:

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These are made of chicken wire!

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These aren’t:

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Other random shots from, in and around the Tower of London:

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Then I met up with Kevin. We had some lunch, went through Westminster Abbey, then caught a boat from Westminster Pier back to Tower Pier. We then walked back to our accommodation via the Millennium Bridge.

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Pics from millennium bridge:

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Then it was off to the airport for our flight home.

I love holidays but there’s something to be said about waking up at home.

View from front door this morning (31/8):

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London 27/08/2014

Once again, I managed to delete the first draft of this post…

Tuesday dawned dry and sunny so we decided to go on the London Eye. Kevin went in to buy the tickets while I stood outside eating my breakfast. Imagine my surprise when I looked up and saw one of the ladies we’d met on our bus trip! Her kids were inside buying tickets too. She had done the Eye on a previous trip. We hopped in the queue with them.

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After the Eye, we all went for a coffee together then caught a bus to the Tower Bridge. After taking some photos there of the bridge and the Tower of London, they went their way and we went into the Tower Bridge Exhibition. You can see how much the weather changed after our trip on the Eye.

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A high number of buses are zero emission hydrogen powered.

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Old and new

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We almost overlooked these figures. There were no signs, I just happened to look up.

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Then we floated around looking at various places. Covent Garden, Leicester Square etc were much busier and different today compared to soggy Monday.

We ended up at M&Ms World. Four floors of danger! However both my wallet and I escaped unscathed.

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Kevin suggested that this might be my home away from home. (Before you get upset on my behalf, he was joking.)

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Cheesy grins for our trip on England’s red double decker bus.

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London 26/08/2014 – part 2

After drying off, we headed back out. We grabbed a late lunch then passed through several tube stations looking at a number of places we wanted to see.

The weather still wasn’t fabulous so we chose not to try the London Eye just yet.

We experienced the tube system during peak hour as we worked our way to the start of our prebooked walking tour.
A selection of photos from this tour are below.

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Our tour (wrong date)

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Waterloo Station

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Queen Elizabeth Hall

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Love festival

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My turn

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My French horn

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The tour finished at Trafalgar Square.

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London 26/08/2014 – part 1

One word to describe yesterday: wet. Our first really wet day all trip.

We had a bike tour prebooked so off we toddled. Fortunately,  because of the wet weather, there were only 6 of us plus the guide.

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The only statue of Henry VIII left that was erected in his lifetime.

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Drowned rats?

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Almost home

Had to hook hoods behind ears because when turning head to check for traffic, head turned inside the hood so we couldn’t see!

Impromptu trip back home before heading out again. More later. Off to the movies now.🙂

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Brighton to London: Day 21 of bus tour

We woke to wet and windy weather. We had free time in Brighton this morning. We had coffee hot chocolate at Starbucks with some new friends from this trip then took some fun photos on Brighton Pier. The waters of the English Channel were pounding the beach.

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Brighton Pier from the bus as we were leaving

Leaving town we drove past a white “cliff”

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We stopped for an early lunch in Royal Tunbridge Wells.

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Then it was non-stop to London where we said goodbye to everyone and made our way to the room we’re staying in for the next three nights. Our final three nights. We booked it through Airbnb.
Saw this poster in one of the tube/underground tunnels and thought of my mum.

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Had our next sighting of the London Eye.

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We were told our room was about 5 minutes from the London Eye but we weren’t expecting to see it from our window!

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View from bedroom

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A few hours later

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Closed for the night

After we settled in we started what was going to be a 3 hour walk zigzagging across the river Thames using the many bridges. My phone battery was almost flat so photos were taken on Kevin’s phone. He’s asleep so I won’t bother getting them just yet. After an hour of walking in the rain we stopped and had dinner at Gourmet Pizza. We came home, unpacked some more, and finalised plans for tomorrow.

Watched the tail end of this year’s Edinburgh Tattoo on TV! Weird thinking “we were there”.

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Plymouth to Brighton: Day 20 of bus tour

*** Apologies in advance for number of photos.

Today had the second highest number of kilometres to be travelled for our entire trip – 362km. Equal second. We had another two days like it and one with 377km. It seemed like a lot today.

Our first stop was for toilets only – somewhere near the motorway. Don’t really know where. By the time I got to the front of the ladies toilet queue it was time to get back on the bus. As is often the case.

This photo will only mean something if you know where we live.

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We drove through the Salisbury Plains and the landscape finally changed. No green!

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Our main stop for the day was at Stonehenge. For once, the attraction was bigger in reality than I’d expected.

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Once again, the sun came out in time for us to see blue sky in our photos.

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Trying for an arty type photo - how strong am I?

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Two birds on the top - shows size. Sort of.

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Next stop was Arundel where they just happened to have a festival happening.

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Then back on the bus for the final stretch to Brighton for the night. After arriving and before dinner we walked to the end of Brighton Pier. People everywhere. It’s a long weekend here this weekend so local tourists as well as foreigners like us.

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Street performer

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There were free deck chairs available for use on the pier. So we sat long enough to get a selfie.

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We have been looking into options for changing our plans for Wednesday and popping down to Dover to see the whole cliffs instead. The cheapest option is via coach and we’re not certain that we’re that keen to do more bus travel. We will wait and see what the weather looks like doing too.

From the pier we could see these cliffs which we think might be at Saltdean. Depending on the tour plan tomorrow morning, and the weather, we may try to get a taxi there.

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Back to London tomorrow and booking into our accommodation for the next three nights.

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Cornwall excursion: Day 19 of bus tour

We had 20 minutes wandering around Plymouth while others did an optional boat trip. Nothing was open so pretty boring… More old buildings. Not many though because Plymouth was a naval base during the war and suffered a lot of damage and pretty much had to be rebuilt.

Another bright sunny day though. At the right times for us anyway. Only really overcast when we were travelling on the bus.

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Plymouth

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Clever name, I thought

Driving through town I saw a barbershop called “Herr Kutz” which was also clever.

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In Saltash

We stopped for photos at St Michael’s Mount.

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We drove through Penzance but didn’t see any pirates.

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The next stop was at Lands End. There was a little model village and yet more heather. I’m glad I happened to be wearing my purple top.🙂

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The light house in the above photo is over 2km away!

We filed back onto the bus to head to St Ives for lunch. The coach couldn’t get into town due to the width (or lack thereof) of the streets so we hiked down a lot of stairs to sea level, ate fish and chips for lunch, had an ice cream, walked a bit more, then trekked back up to the bus. It reminded me a tiny bit of Tuncurry. There was a sort-of rockfall and a sort-of main beach. Kind of but not really. Decide for yourselves.😉

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Every little girl's dream library building

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I’ve seen everything now: sundress, beach bag, board, and ugg boots.

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Notice how the sky cleared up for us? Photos uploaded in chronological order.

Time to climb back up to the bus:

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Still going

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Look how far we've come!

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