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Published: December 25th 2017
Geo: 28.8634, -13.8273
My last blog was posted in summer 2016 before leaving for Queensland. I did promise the next blog would be from there however I was too lazy. I spent the whole time enjoying myself and behaving as if I were on holiday. The guilt for abandoning responsibilty in this way has finally become too heavy to carry so I am forced to write a quick update to ease my conscience.
Queensland was wonderful, weather perfect almost all of the time (a couple of showers, a few gusts of wind and the rest of the 3 months around the 30 degrees mark and sunny), plenty of reason to eat and drink well with our visitors and superb scenery and wildlife. We stayed at Mango Lagoon in Palm Cove which suited us well with 2 bedrooms (one self contained so visitors could escape from us from time to time and even our snores could not disturb their sleep), spacious lounge and kitchen. Our only grumble was the cost of living - Queensland is even more expensive than the rest of Oz. It meant that we restricted eating and drinking out to a minimum but ensured that we used the numerous free
BBQs frequently and they are so efficient and perfectly positioned by beaches and lookouts that using them was always a pleasure.
The huge shock was the state of the Great Barrier Reef. In the north it is no longer great and in places cannot really be called a reef. Despite going right on to the outer ribbon reefs to view what had been described as pristine reefs we only saw limited colour on one and the rest looked dead. I don't know if they can recover. We were told the south is not as damaged.
We hope our visitors enjoyed their stays. They were all different in their preferences and we tried to match individual interests being it clambering up to see Aboriginal rock art or having a 'tinny' by the pool. We were very content whatever. However, perhaps we should make some apologies, to Rob & Trish for expecting them to sleep in a tiny tent in Cooktown when the temperature was in the mid 30s but felt like 50, (it seemed a good idea at the time and you will never forget it R & T), to Colin for encouraging a potentially lethal tarzan act, (won't
say any more as we didn't get it on camera!) and to Richard & Beverley for whisking them by quite startling bush fires with flames right by the roadside, (the young police officer had said it was normal for the time of the year and at least we did not stop to take photographs.) Seriously, the intention was to minimise risk and maximise comfort for you all so if we failed occasionally we hope you can forgive us. Although we are very familiar with the area (you can catch up on earlier blogs there if you wish from Spring 2015) we loved seeing it again through the eyes of other people so a huge thank you to everyone who made the effort to come and see us.
Returning from Queensland on the 16 December we stopped 2 nights by Gatwick Airport before flying out to Lanzarote. Jim slept most of the time as the jet lag seemed to affect him more than it did me. I was whisked out for the day by Pauline & Colin to have a wintry walk around Wisley gardens. We were very lucky as it was a slightly grey day but amazingly mild and we
Yes, I did see one Pauline.
enjoyed the Christmassy feel of the gardens enhanced by the colourful and cleverly placed lighting effects amongst the trees and plants. It turned what could have been a damp and drab scurry through dark December woodland into a lengthy, healthy and quite magical excursion through the grounds.
The following day we arrived in Lanzarote and met up with Anna and Gilli at the airport. Since then we have again been busy with visitors but are now expecting to be on our own until 19 March.
As we have spent so much time here over the years we know the island well but this time we have been across to visit Fuertaventura again with Paul & Sheila and visited La Graciosa for the first time with Pauline & Colin. It is off the north eastern side of Lanzarote and can be viewed from the northern look out point of Mirador del Rio and Famara Beach. We have seen it numerous times from there so suddenly being on the other side and looking back towards Famara and the Mirador from across the sea was very strange. I would recommend it to anyone who has not been. It makes a pleasant day
trip with a short crossing of less than half an hour from Orzola through spectacular cliff scenery. Once on very 'tranquila' Graciosa there are a couple of bars/restaurants for drinks and meals and you can then walk over the island or take a trip in a 4X4 to local sights including a beautiful beach, "a piece of the Carribbean" as our driver described it, and a natural stone arch by the sea.
We are now back in traveler mode, planning our next itineraries for the summer and towards 2018, and I am back to learning Spanish again. Unfortunately we do not have wifi access in the apartment so have to go to the bar daily to check emails. Sometimes life as a traveller is tough!
I hope the next blog will not be as long in coming but it may not be until we are back in Astrid in the UK unless something unexpected happens here. Wherever it will be, see you there.
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