Margot Oakenby

Margot RTW

Margot Oakenby

For my next big trip I've chosen to follow in my grandfathers footsteps, and take a ship across the Atlantic Ocean to Canada.

Europe » United Kingdom » England » Greater London February 16th 2014

Dubai and London flu and Mallorca recovery It was with rather heavy heart I boarded the plane in Melbourne for Dubai, and an uncomfortable long flight it was too. Over 14 hours, much of that in darkness. I watched three movies, and tried to sleep but found it difficult. Eventually we landed, around midnight by their time, and after rather a long winded queue past the white jallabba'd and intricately headressed customs and passport men, (who seemed all to be spending more time on their mobile phones than checking our passports) I found my way via the hotel shuttle bus to the Holiday Express Inn close by. This was a useful and practical choice, thanks to my Trailfinders travel agent; I could immediately lie down to sleep in a comfy bed after all those hours of ... read more

Oceania » New Zealand » North Island » Hawkes Bay » Hastings December 26th 2013

I spent 10 days in New Zealand just coming up to Summer Solstice, December 2013; I was surprised how complex it was to leave Melbourne: after passing through security there was an enormous queue to get through Borders Patrol, with a form to complete, and an officer to check me out; I'd have thought they would be glad to see you out, but it seems the obsessive checks continue. (Upon arrival, one must also complete a form stating what if anything one is bringing in, no foodstuffs are allowed, or indeed any animal products, leather, seeds.) I didn't take my drum over, in case they took it from me. And having admitted to living on a farm, they check one's boots, take them off to wash them if any traces remain on the soles. They are ... read more

Oceania » Australia » New South Wales » Brunswick Heads November 23rd 2013

At last I'm catching up with myself; I'm recently back from Brunswick Heads in the Northern Rivers area of NSW, where I enjoyed sun, sea and R&R. I was recommended this hippy area by a friend of Darius', she was right, it was just up my street, and it's such fun to meet alternative minded people. I found my lodgings via, a useful accommodation website, and landed with a delightful artistic woman with whom I got along very well. She provided me with space to be, gave me use of her verandah and living room as well as a bedroom for the week. I felt very much at home amongst her books, oils and crystals. She took me to 5 rhythm dancing one night, a joy after several months of none. Her house was within ... read more
Pelicans abound
South to Byron Bay

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne November 19th 2013

I'm really enjoying exploring Melbourne, particularly the suburbs around Coburg, where we are. I usually borrow Gaynor's bike and take off to search for....whatever takes my fancy, might be knitting wool, or bookshops, or a whole-food store. I'm finding it easy to find my way around, and there is a useful public transport system of trams, buses and trains which really helps. Our local shops and market are handy, then there are the Farmers markets to find and the CBA, Melbourne's central hub to explore. Sometimes I'll take off after the school run, or after a coffee with parents at school, they are such a good bunch, and have evidently helped Darius to find his creative "feet" here, he's got lots going on. Gaynor fixed us up with a long weekend in the Grampians, a three ... read more
Mackenzie Falls

Oceania » Australia » Northern Territory » Alice Springs November 6th 2013

Soon after school term resumed I flew up to Alice Springs for my tour with WayOutback. The local Shuttlebus dropped me at Alice Lodge Backpackers, who had booked my tour, and were extremely helpful. After I got settled into a comfy little dorm I met up with a lovely 5W member who took me to her home for lunch. I discovered there was an Aboriginal festival happening that weekend, which I sadly missed; still she took me to a gallery to view some gorgeous paintings by local people. Later I walked into town searching for food for supper, passing several groups of Aboriginal people clustered along the dry river banks. The following morning I woke far too early, having forgotten to alter my phone clock... Melbourne time change to daylight savings, which doesn't happen in Northern ... read more
I was there!
Sunset at the rock
Sunrise fromKata Tjuta

Oceania » Australia » Victoria » Melbourne » Coburg October 28th 2013

I'm slowly catching up on my blog, apologies for delay; here is the start of my Ozzie trip. It was simply wonderful to fly in to Melbourne very early in the morning, and be greeted by Darius and Zephi...difficult to believe for quite some time that I could really touch and hug them! And only 20 minutes or so to drive to their home in Coburg, see Gaynor and Salvi too. Great that I seemed to avoid jet lag on both those long trips, possibly helped by the 24 hour delay in LA, which gave me time to think myself into Ozzie time. I was immediately plunged into family life, cycling with the kids to school and meeting some of the parents at the little school cafe which is run by volunteers, and greatly benefits networking ... read more
Meercat boys

North America » United States » California » San Francisco October 16th 2013

I finally got round to blogging, apologies for the delay; life has been hectic. I left UK early September, flew from Heathrow in a great arc over the snowey mountains of Greenland, Hudson Bay, the bleak lands south of there, then millions of lakes and rivers spread out below us, followed by the huge expanse of the prairies. Wonderful to watch the geography change below us as we flew over, finally the Rocky Mountains and into San Francisco and directly to my dear niece Gorsie's place. She and her family plus large dog live on the edge of the Presidio, a lovely park very central, easy to get a bus downtown, or walk down to the Bay to watch the Americas Cup, beautiful large sailing boats coming in. I spent a week there, exploring both with ... read more

North America » Canada » Quebec July 15th 2012

Arriving in Ottawa after 2 1/2 hours on the Greyhound bus, I was met by my kind 5W hostess,* who walked me back to her place, conveniently situated not far from the bus terminal. Hers was a perfect place to stay, all the city walkable; next morning I found the canal path towards the River Ottawa, took loads of photos of the beautiful Parliament buildings, and walked over the bridge into Quebec province and Hull (Gatineau), opposite the capital city. I spent most of the day in the wonderfully informative Museum of Civilisation, with it's large open galleries; one showing many ancient totem poles from the western coast and their various housing from the old days. Another area showed how an archeological dig had thrown light on previous tsimchian ways. Lots of info on the history ... read more
Ottawa Houses of Parliament
ancient rock carving in museum
totem pole in museum

(I've managed to get the Montreal entry published now, sorry it's in the wrong place.) I'm delighted to be staying in a small village on the edge of the huge Algonquin Provincial Park, in central ontario. I found a bus would take me (only 3 per week) from Peterborough to Maynooth, and drop me at the door of the only hostel in this vast wilderness. Wonderfully, the hostel-keeper is happy to take his residents on long journeys so I've just spent a weekend camping and canoeing up in the Park 70 km away, with a quiet German couple and our guide, Trevor. Bliss! Call of the Wild take care of all the complications of getting a license, permit, etc, for just which lakes and camp grounds we will use. After a blistering (literally, poor hands) - ... read more
our campsite
moose in bog
paddle exhaustion

North America » Canada » Ontario » Peterborough June 27th 2012

I hope my Montreal piece got published, please let me know! Here's what happened next: I've been well taken care of by kind relatives in both outer Montreal and Peterborough, Ontario. Our grandfathers were brothers, those intrepid travellers who first set out for Canada in 1906, aged 18 & 20. They did logging and later moved to Saskatchewan where folks were offered land if they managed to "break" it, sounds awful, and incredibly hard work. Still they both settled there, married and had kids. Old photos show the houses they built from logs, plus horses, pigs, dogs etc, and deep snow in winter, hot sun in summer. They were later joined by the rest of the family including their parents, who were completely unused to the harsh conditions, My granny became really ill so she and ... read more

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