Wednesday, May 20, 2009

I finally got some scrapping done!

Wednesday, May 13, 2009

Three girls. Four days. One car. Three states in Australia. Fun. Laughter. Chats. Food. Sisterhood. Travel. Worship. Shopping. Coffee. Girly movies. That’s what the last four days were all about. We have laughed until we cried, we have chatted until our throats were dry. We ate until we almost exploded and we did things we ‘normally’ wouldn’t do!

My two good friends, Janine and Viv, decided to take me on a tour of ‘the best Australia has to offer’. They secretly hoped the trip would convince me to stay in Australia instead of moving back to Europe, but that didn’t work too well … but it sure made me realize what a beautiful country Australia is and how special these two ladies are!
The girls picked me up on Saturday morning and gave me an Australian ‘outfit’ to wear during the trip. This included a beautifully made Australian hat with corks to keep the flies away, an Australian scarf, and a little clip on koala for every town we visited. I was not allowed to enter the car unless I ate Vegemite sandwich. Luckily I like Vegemite much to their disappointment …
Since I hadn’t done many road trips here in Australia driving by car was a good option to explore the country. In four days the ladies wanted to drive through three states (South Australia, Victoria and New South Wales) and we did!
Along the way we took pictures of various signs of towns, states and other signs like ’survive this drive’ and ‘arrive alive’, which are supposed to encourage drivers to rest regularly and not fall asleep behind the wheel. Our driver, Viv, did a wonderful job in transporting us safely everywhere we went!

Our very first stop was at Truro .Truro is known for a murder case that sparked South Australia's reputation as the state of bizarre and grizzly murders. Over a two-month period between 1976 and 1977, seven young women were abducted, raped and killed, their bodies dumped near the small town of Truro. One man, James William Miller, was convicted over six of the murders and sentenced to six concurrent life sentences. Nice place for a first stop, hey?

We had another short stop at the quarantine bin to get rid of all our fruit. This is such an Australian thing, that I had to take pictures of it!

We went to Monash Adventure Park where we had to find our way through a big maze. It was fun to feel like a child again. Opposite the park is a Chocolate Factory and Crafts shop, which we clearly had to explore as well!

We stopped at Berri for a lovely tappas lunch. We looked over the river Murray and at that time I still had no idea what was going to happen next. The whole trip had many little and big surprises and I was excited like a little girl on her birthday …

We arrived at our destination Mildura in Northern Victoria in the afternoon. We checked in at the Sunraysia resort and unpacked our bags. After a cuppa we went to a meeting at the resort to hear what activities were happening in the next few days. We decided to go to the movie ‘ Ghost of Girlfriends Past’. It wasn’t the best funny movie we’d ever seen, but we enjoyed watching Matthew McConaughey and Jennifer Garner. Since we hadn’t had dinner yet, we went to a Pizza CafĂ© for a delicious pizza around 9.30 pm.

Sunday was Mother’s Day, but due having no kids or husbands around, we didn’t have breakfast in bed … We decided to go to the markets in Mildura at around 9.00 am. It was another beautiful sunny day and we wanted to make the most of it. Around 11.00 am we went for a two-hour cruise on the Paddle Steamer ‘Melbourne’. The cruise was very relaxing and we had so much fun chatting, laughing and enjoying the view of the river and its surroundings!

After the cruise we were hungry, so lunch was next. We didn’t just go anywhere for lunch … the girls had made reservations at the beautiful Trentham Estate just over the Victorian border, in New South Wales. The food was divine and we didn’t leave until many hours later! Viv and Janine has steak and vegetables and I chose for salmon. We all chose a delicious desert: chocolate cake with vanilla ice cream and chocolate sauce. We went to the Cellar Door to buy some presents and a bottle of wine for Siebe.

The girls told me there was another important ‘stop’ before heading back to resort and they were talking about a ‘must-see’ shop, which is called Woodsies Gem Shop. I wasn’t so sure about their excitement, since I thought they were talking about a ‘jam shop’ … I was clearly mistaken and really enjoyed looking at all the gorgeous colourful gems and jewellery!

Since we were still very full from our amazing lunch, we decided to skip dinner and head to the local Church of Christ for the evening service. It was a very friendly church and we were all glad we went. The message gave us all food for thought…After our busy day we went back to the resort. We had an early night, since we had big plans for Monday!

On Monday morning my alarm clock went at 5.15 am, since we had to be ready by 6.00 am. I had booked to go ballooning over Mildura and the Murray River. Yes, I was going to fly in a hot air balloon! It is something I always wanted to do and Mildura is the perfect location for it, because of the great weather conditions all year round. What a way to see the area!

We drove to an oval to prepare the balloon for the flight. The whole process was fascinating! Whilst we were getting ready to fly the sun came up and I was getting so excited! It wasn’t long before I was in the basket and flying for more than an hour! Janine and Viv followed the balloon by car and I could clearly see them.

After a our landing and packing up the balloon, we headed back to Mildura Hotel for a champagne breakfast. Apparently it is a tradition to drink champagne after a safe arrival back on the ground.

In the afternoon we didn’t do too much, since we had gotten up so early… but we did go to a little crafts and gift shop. We had a nice cuppa there too! At 6.30 we went to the pavilion at the resort for a traditional Camp Oven & Roast Dinner. There were two roasts: pork and beef and camp oven cooked vegetables. For desert we had Fruit Damper with Brandy Custard & Cream. After dinner we headed back to our accommodation to watch the DVD ‘Nights In Rodanthe’ with Richard Gere and Diane Lane. We were all very tired and struggled to stay awake, so we chose for another early night.
Tuesday morning we had breakfast, packed our bags and checked out. At the pool we had a mini photo shoot with the girls and a happy cleaner who took some pictures of the three of us. We didn’t have a lot of time to stop on the way back home, because we wanted to be home in time to pick up our kids from school. Luckily there was enough time for two short stops: one at a scrapbooking shop and another one at a bakery.

About 30 minutes before school pickup time we safely arrived back at my place. What an amazing four days we had spent together! It surely was a trip to remember!

Friday, May 8, 2009

Happy Mother's Day (and some pictures from Emma's party)!