After spending a couple of weeks visiting Australia and basking in their warm summer weather, today we’re Back Home Again in Indiana, and shivering in our typical cold winter weather. We had a great time in Australia, and you can bet I’ll be sharing some of the details and photos in the days to come. I came home with over 1300 digital images in my camera, and surely a few of them are worthy of sharing here.
We also came home with luggage that was stuffed full of dirty clothes plus some new goodies we brought home with us. This shouldn’t be hard for anyone to believe, but I brought home quite a bit of Australian honey (about 3 kilos worth), several bars of handmade cold-process soap, and a bit of local coffee and tea. Of course my wife didn’t come home empty handed either. Those who know her won’t be surprised to learn that she brought home some lovely fabric. And we both picked out a few pieces of inexpensive (but beautiful) artwork to hang on the walls.
Now I can guess what you are thinking: don’t they have their own honey, collected from the hard-working bees of Happy Acres? And don’t they make lots of their very own soap? So why would they travel halfway around the world and bring home soap and honey? My wife was asking me the very same thing every time she saw me grabbing another jar of honey or eyeing a bar of soap!
But needless to say our bees don’t make honey from exotic nectar sources such as Leatherwood, Red Gum or Stringy Bark trees. And of course I enjoyed talking to the various purveyors of honey about all the different kinds they had to offer, as well as chatting with some of the beekeepers themselves. It also didn’t help matters any that everywhere I turned there were free honey samples. After all, put me in a honey tasting room and I’m a happy camper! I thought the prices were pretty reasonable too. I paid only $6 Aus. for the 500g bottle of raw honey, which is right in line with prices around here.
And no vacation would be complete without bringing something home for the kids or grandkids. In our case we only have ‘furkids’, so we brought home a couple of stuffed toys for them to play with. I suspect they will just be happy to get back home again from their stay at the kitty day camp (aka boarding at the vet).
We saw a lot of wonderful sights in Australia, doing a lot of typical tourist stuff like touring the Sydney Opera House and riding the historic train to Kuranda. While there we used almost every mode of transportation possible, from planes to trains to buses, trams, river cats, skyrails and taxis. We met some wonderful people, and saw both man-made and natural wonders. We got our pictures taken with koalas and kangaroos. We visited farmers markets and botanical gardens, and sampled lamingtons and damper bread. We sipped some lovely local tea while sitting in the World Heritage Committee listed tropical Daintree Rainforest. And most of all we had a great time.
We managed to avoid the brushfires that are currently burning in many parts of Australia, but not the record heat that has plagued many areas. During our trip the temperatures ranged from the very comfortable 10°C overnight lows of Melbourne to the scorching hot 45-50°C afternoon highs in Ayers Rock (113-122°F). After we left Sydney, they recorded their highest temperature ever last Friday with an official reading of 46.5°C (115.7°F). All in all the weather was pretty enjoyable, except for at Ayers Rock where we knew it would be brutally hot.
But now we’re happy to be home again. I came home with a lot of ideas for cooking and gardening, plus a bunch of topics to blog about. I hope you enjoyed this little teaser, and I’ll be back soon with more!