It is with some shock that I see how long ago it was that I blogged. I have not fallen off the face of the earth but I have been planning to circumnavigate it. For some eight years we have been planning a grand round the world trip and this is now to come to fruition in November. Originally we had grandiose plans to visit every continent but
(a) Dennis retired a little earlier than planned so we have a slightly lesser fund
(b) we realised that we might be taking on too much
So, it being Dennis' retirement trip he got to choose his favoured destinations - Australia and New Zealand. Well, fine. I mean no offence, but whilst they are beautiful they are not exotic. But of course you get stopovers. So I was able to add San Fransisco. Not exotic but with very exciting benefits ( read on), so why do a 2 days stop over. How about 12?
Coming back - a few days in Hong Kong. Six actually. And I always wanted to go to Japan so, as flights go into Narita from Sydney why not do a couple of nights in Tokyo before Hong Kong? And of course ,once you are in Japan you have to use a train, so since I always wanted to go to Kyoto we could pop in for a few days. And then its not far from the Peace Park in Hiroshima and that Miyajima island with the shrine, the picture of which have fascinated me since I was a child.
So I managed to get the trip exoticised just a little bit! it is now going take just shy of three months with Christmas with relatives in Tasmania. Since New Year we have been able to start booking elements of it and planning how to spend our time. We used Trailfinders to sort out the round the world ticket, and have added on some short internal flights and one between Osaka and Hong Kong because we ran out of miles on our RTW ticket.
Florentine, our agent, rang to say that when we looked at our travel plan on line we could see a flight from HK to Gulin. She said she knew we weren't going there but the cheapest way to bet the flight from Osaka was to buy an airpass which required the purchase of at least two coupons. So she bought the cheapest one she could find for us to no show on, because it was still cheaper than the next fare up for the Osaka flight. Dennis thought that made sense. I thought that I was paying something for a flight I was not getting on and maybe there was a flight on this coupon I would want to get on! Turns out for £57 we can go to Shanghai - China here we come! And best of all that means the long flight home is not a night one but departs mid-morning!
So, I have been having great fun micromanaging the details of this trip - an activity which will continue for some time to come. This week I was practically hyperventilating with excitement about California. The plan is to start in San Fran for three days, then we go to Berkeley where Diane is going to meet me after we look at all the bookshops and take me shop hopping in the area with at least 4 shops included. You can't do that where I live. We are going to go to her house for 2 nights and she is going to invite all her quilting friends to bring show and tell. then I get to go through Napa Valley and Sacramento to my penpal's in Auburn. She wants to take me quilts shop hopping. Well, if you insist. Then Dennis gets his turn and we go to Salinas for the John Steinbeck library and to Monterrey for the coastal road and the largest aquarium in the USA. He loves fish. I am happy to watch him watching fish. After I just pop to the quilt shop I found 2 miles away... then back to San Fran for dinner with Julie and another 3 nights in the city. Some stop over!!
So California is pretty much done. I am also grateful that Helen and Erica and Lisa have offered to meet up for quilty things in Wellington and Sydney. I have also found a textile artists studio with a flat above that we will stay in in Nelson. Jenny has offered to give me details of all the textile artists in the area to visit and says I can come and see what she is doing too. She is just down the road from the World of Wearable Art.
But, if you have any details of quilty things - or even just things Dennis might like! - so food, politics, general culture shopping etc in any of the destinations I mentioned ( or more specifically, for Down Under, New South Wales, Tasmania, Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington, Nelson, Christchurch, Queenstown and Te Anau) please leave a comment. It would be appreciated.
So today, Dennis is going out to watch rugby ( he must be mad it is white out there!) and I get to book car hire and quilt. Is there something wrong with me that both are as fun to me as the other?!) The quilt at the top of the post is for my City and Guilds and was taken a few days ago. Today I intend to make progress. I shall report tomorrow!