Ah hindsight…what a wonderful thing.

This extremely exciting post all about packing, what I packed and what I wished I had packed!!

I packed for 13 weeks away approx 13 kgs of luggage. We both have a main bag and then a mini day pack and a satchel/handbag. Carl often puts his satchel into his pack when travelling. I have a wheely bag and can put my day pack on that and wheel away hardly carry anything! We did send a box of stuff off from Warsaw – Melanie arranged the postage and the box only cost about $25 which was great. It was a wine box – the type that holds six bottles and in it we packed a few bits and pieces including a dhurrie I bought in Turkey, some small Turkish carpet bags (and I honestly can’t remember what else!!). It hasn’t turned up in Canberra yet – but we did say that we weren’t in a rush for it! In London we bought a post box and filled it with knickknacks and my Birkinstock felt slippers. It weight about 3 1/2 kilos and imagine our shock and surprise when we were told it would cost 85 pounds to send!! Needless to say we have it still! Carl is carrying about 17 kilos now and I’m carrying about 15, so still heaps of room for small, weighty items in NY. But I really just want to buy things in Morocco I think/hope, although I don’t know what so far!!

Anyway – back to packing

  • 1 pair of jeans
  • 2 black cotton t-shirts
  • 1 3/4 sleeve black t-shirt
  • 1 red/black cotton top
  • 1 black/white thread cotton skirt
  • 1 black/white spotted cotton cardigan
  • 1 black Kathmandu fleecy
  • 1 blue goose down Kathmandu jacket – packs into a small bag/light and super warm!!
  • 1 pair swimmers- black and white spots
  • 1 black and white spotted long sleeve cotton shirt
  • 1 black/red cotton dress (made in Nepal, cross over top, black belt tied at the back)
  • various pashminas, scarves – 4 in total
  • 1 pair 3/4 black leggings
  • 1 pair black footless tights
  • 1 pair black opaque tights – patterned
  • shoes – my trusty black Keen Mary Janes (I wear these almost every day- fantastic shoes! If cold I wear with black socks), a pair of Adidas runners (on their last legs- intend to ditch in NY when I buy a new pair), pair of thongs. Looking forward to ditching the runners- only really keeping them for Spain/Morocco as a second pair in case my MJs get soaked)
  • socks – 3 pairs black cotton ankle socks, 1 pair red short gym socks.
  • 2 bras – good ones that I can rinse out quickly. But getting sick of these two…
  • 7 pairs of knickers – I like good knickers- you get what you pay for. My 7 pairs are all Jockey Parisienne knickers (my current faves!)- they feel great, different colours, cotton gusset, easy to wash overnight if needed

Rationale: :)

I thought that I would have a mix and max range of clothing. I thought black t-shirts would be a great idea in that I could do a David Attenborough type dressing – always be wearing a black top so that it didn’t matter if I wore the same top for two days in a row, and that black goes with everything. the scarves/pashminas would add some colour and variety and warmth. What I forgot is that I don’t really wear black t-shorts a lot, especially not with jeans and runners (think Michael J Fox/Fonzie!!).

I knew I would need a range of clothing for potentially very hot and then quite cold weather. I thought the 3/4 leggings and footless leggings and tights would mean I could layer the skirt and dress as needed.

What I wished I had bought…(and these are things I can visualise in my wardrobe..)

  • another pair of pants- perhaps a pair of cotton trousers (yep I have a few pairs at home I can think of right now!). I am comfortable in jeans and trousers! If not a pair of long pants- then a pair of capri pants or even a pair of cotton shorts for those hot HK/Turkey days!
  • coloured cotton tops – long and short- to wear with jeans, pants, leggings, even the skirt
  • a plain black cotton short skirt
  • I want colour!!!!!!!!!!! especially with tops!

So far I have bought (clothing wise)

  • another pashmina in Istanbul (honestly my pashmina obsession is becoming ridiculous !)
  • another cotton skirt – I got in Barcelona- it’s from Nepal which I know is crazy…and yep- black and red and greens . Thicker than my other cotton skirt and will layer well.

what I didn’t need to bring…so far

  • black and white spotted shirt and black and white spotted cardigan. I’ve only worn both a couple of times – and really only when I am so over the other clothes I have or if things are dirty! I thought that I would wear these more when I needed to dress up a little bit more??
  • I haven’t worn the black opaque tights (but they hardly take up room)

What I have learnt…

We do wash our clothes too much. When travelling I often re-wear a t-shirt, usually after a day or so airing it out. Unless it really smells – most tops are fine worn twice (even three times at a pinch. I am not a smelly perspiring person as a rule!) . And jeans- I reckon I wore my jeans for almost 2 weeks without washing- and they were just fine. It wasn’t hot and they were great. I know I have read things online about people never washing their jeans. I could never do that. Unless you spill something gross, jeans are OK for a couple of weeks! lol

I can handwash or machine wash with any soapy stuff – so far I have used shampoo, body wash, soap. If nothing- just a soak in hot/warm water! And I always wash in cold at home…

New York in November will be colder…looking forward to some clothes shopping there! Want jeans, runners…

 

Did I mention colour?

kx

PS – one day later. Forgot to also mention I also have a pair of sleep shorts and singlet. And I found another pair of socks. Black and white spots. Do you sense a theme???


We haven’t been in London a week yet, but this part of the trip feels different somehow.

Not at all sure why. Perhaps its because it’s the first place we have been to in this trip where I can understand people as English is the first language. I’m not trying for clues or guesswork or miming to get through. Having said that we have got through with English everywhere really…in parts of Turkey and in Warsaw it was sometimes harder, but not impossible. So in not having to concentrate on language so much I can relax more? Maybe it’s just because it is all a bit familiar. I lived in London for most of 1985. I have lived in England for three separate times in my childhood/youth.

Week 6 of travel and I feel quite exhausted! It seems the less that we do, the tireder I feel. Having said that we haven’t had a single day when we haven’t *done* something. But can you live a day without doing something anyway?? Is that living? But London has meant some really lazy mornings which for us is pretty unusual – followed by some lazy evenings as well.

In keeping with the mantra “we can’t see everything”…we wrote down a few things that we did want to do…and we do seem to be getting through that small list.

We went to the London Eye – expensive and a great view, but honestly – I probably wouldn’t do it again. The whole experience takes about a 30 minutes and it’s so slow that you don’t at first realise that the view becomes more 3 dimensional as you go higher. After going on the Eye we caught a river bus to Greenwich. It is great seeing London from the river and the Thames is so very interesting. The view from Greenwich Observatory was great, and on par with the London Eye … (different view of course).

We have been to some of the museums and galleries that we both wanted to see – the London Museum, Natural History Museum and the Tate Britain. The Natural history Museum was great, packed on a rainy Saturday. The British government initiative (Labor?) to make these museums and  galleries free is excellent – the NHM was packed and noisy, but how wonderful to see a museum being used! I felt a real thrill in the NHM. I said in an IG photo that I felt like I was channeling David Attenborough – and it did feel like that. Yes the stuffed animal/bird displays are getting old, faded and tired looking.  It was poignant, sad looking at dodos, passenger pigeons and a thylacene. And we have done this – allowed animals to become extinct. Killed off whole species through hunting or destroying habitats. The history of museums/galleries and collecting and displaying is interesting in itself.  Sometimes I do wish I had gone into curation & museum studies.

And walking! We just walk and walk. Some evenings my legs ache. I would love a pedicure and a good foot massage (hope to get a good massage in Morocco – I just don’t have the time or money to consider a London massage!). I love walking. Could walk all day. And do. My ‘moves’ app on my phone is out of whack as my phone has been on flight mode since leaving Australia so it is permanently on Australian time. This means our walking day over here typically spans parts of two days. I think when we are back home I will add up all the steps and just divide by the days away to get some kind of idea of our walking. Of course the days when we travel distances  by plane or bus or train there are not many steps – but I do like to keep an eye on my daily steps!

Spend last evening with my cousin Richard. Such a lovely person – we met up again this morning – went to a great Gothic exhibition at the British Library and then had a late pub lunch. I don’t want it be 29 years before we meet again.

Missing the kids. I chat with them through FB most days or every day or so. They are doing their own thing. I suspect I miss them more because I miss lots of things – home, the Canberra spring, the normal, usual routine of life…I’m in the different space. Not them. I love thinking about them and knowing that I have two amazing, beautiful children. That sustains me.

Slightly annoyed that I not getting on the laptop more often to simply get stuff stuff down. But that’s just the way things are…I think I should just call these posts ramblings. Unformed. Not especially pretty. But a bit of a breather in a way.


They used to be called trucking companies, but in the last ten (?) or so years they have become logistics companies – which I guess does describe what they do. Move stuff around. Lots of stuff. In all directions. And keep tabs on it all. Tracking.

So far as well as flying we have been using both buses and trains to get from city to city. It depends on the timetable and the price. I think I prefer train – certainly the train in Czech Republic was just so quick and smooth and wifi :) We reached speeds of 160 km an hour. Kinda puts our train system in Australia to shame (although to be fair we have huge distances and almost no population).

We bussed it during the day from Praha to Stuttgart which was great. 9am to 4.30pm  with a couple of stops along the way. Yes motorways, but scenery! So many solar farms and wind turbines (the turbines here are humungeous!) and biofuel crops (Carl’s words).

And trucks. Loads of trucks all with their different slogans and mottos and web addresses and logos.

We collected logistics slogans during that bus trip (these are the ones that are in English). It just seems so exotic seeing trucks from Denmark, Slovenia, Russia, Hungary, France, Spain, Czech Republic, Germany…the list of countries is seemingly endless.

Anyway…the slogans.

  • ‘innovation in motion’
  • ‘logistics fulfillment’
  • ‘valuable goods in competent hands’
  • ‘try it with us’
  • ‘the art of moving…Smidl’  – Smidl is a Czech trucking/logistics company
  • ‘TNT…sure we can’
  • ‘the right partner for your deal’
  • ‘intelligent logistics’
  • ‘the culture of logistics’
  • ‘optimum solution’

And that’s what i love about new places and travelling…it’s sometimes just the small nuances. Sometimes it’s bigger things too.

Different. Same. Similar.

Fun!

x

Who would have thought I would ever post about trucks??

 


We are currently in Prague, staying a in a great spacious apartment just minutes, no seconds from  The Old Town Square. I have the window open and there is a piano accordionist playing below…sounds just amazing. No kidding. I couldn’t have wished or planned it.  Slow old songs. The type of music you associate with piano accordions. This morning when we were crossing Charles Bridge we heard/saw another piano accordionist playing…but he was playing Vivaldi’s Four Seasons. Not your typical piano accordion music but he was an amazing musician.

Today I also continued my trend of only ever eating Nutella in places other than Australia. I have never eaten Nutella in Australia. It’s true.

But I have eaten Nutella in 3 places so far…

  • in 2004 I ate Nutella and banana pancakes in Pushkar, India. They were just delicious and the first “western” food I had eaten really while travelling in India. A memorable first place to have the chocolate hazelnut spread!
  • in 2014 in Istanbul – the pretzels that you can buy for 1 Turkish lire. You can have a Nutella one for 2 TL. And I did – although they could have been a little more generous with the spread.
  • in 2014 today in Prague. We stopped at a cafe on the other side of the river. We spotted our first “Illy” coffee sign on our travels – and although we haven’t been hanging out for our usual coffee – every few days we do get a flat white. The coffee tastes different anyway, because no one uses fresh milk and everyone in Europe (so far) seems to use UHT milk. And on the menu were Nutella crepes. So we both ordered some and I had mine with cream and ice-cream, and they were delicious! Thin crepes, Nutella, icing sugar, cream and ice-cream. An instant creamy sugar hit!

I wonder when and where the next Nutella fix will get me….

It just can’t be in Australia.

That’s the rule.

My rule.

xx


Well 16 days in our travels and what to say?

Just snippets at this stage as I thought I would blog on my phone –  but by the time i have checked and responded to email and posted some daily pics onto Instagram – I want to be doing other things and not be on my phone.

So first time on the laptop in ages, and the words flow faster…

Hong Kong – great public transport, loved the Star Ferry and getting the hang of the trains/metro. Went on the Peak Tram up to the top of HK island for amazing views. Didn’t really see any Chinese temples or historical sites, but we did eat dim sum at a 1 Michelin star restaurant – One Dim Sum – which was excellent, thank you Juliette! Beautiful sui mai and steamed rice sheet rolls. We ordered 10 meals!! Probably should have had 6 or 7, but we finished them all off. Mooching around streets and shops. Couldn’t quite get over the density of HK. Just incredible sights of high rise apartments that must house 1000s of people. Really friendly, helpful people, and I enjoyed seeing many Western folk who obviously lived and worked there…Hot? Oh, just a little – early 30s every day- but a real feel of 10 degrees hotter with pretty fierce humidity.

‘copy watches, copy watches’

Istanbul

I feel a sensory overload in a way that I felt in India…different but same. And I think it’s just that overload of sights and smells and experiences that is common with travel. The processing of it all is both wonderful and exhausting. I admit to not realising just how huge Istanbul is…so I have checked and it’s one of those huge cities – in the top 6 populous cities of the world. But what an amazing and rich history. Exotic, both Euoprean and Asian

And the call to prayer…Where we have been staying in Istanbul – in Sultanahmet – the call to prayer is loud and wonderful. It echoes and replies to other call to prayers from The Blue Mosque and other surrounding mosques. The first call to prayer is around 5am and the last for the day is about 9pm.

Sultanahmet is in the old city near The Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya. Easy walking distance to so very much – the Hippodrome, The Grand Bazaar and the Spice Markets. We have visited them all as well as the Topkapi Palace and walked over the Galata Bridge on a hectic Saturday afternoon when it felt like half of Istanbul was out with us!

Travel is that mix of planned and serendipity. Chance and exploration. Good and bad.

Yesterday we met up with Lucy and Brenton. Lucy is a friend of Jacks and the whole family are good friends from preschool days. We jumped on the ferry to Princes Islands. The ferry was 90 minutes each way and packed with both locals and tourists. The islands are a great day trip away from the city and I imagine a great summer holiday for those rich enough to have a house on one of the islands. And who could know that we would see the sun setting behind Sultanahmet and The Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya. Just magic. One of those truly memorable times.

And the Blue Mosque and Aya Sofya and Ephesus and so many of the buildings and places that we have already seen are just so detailed and huge (or small) that you can really only take photos of parts of them…the intersections of lines and columns and ceilings and spaces.

So a bunch of snippets for now.

And I haven’t even touched on our hot air balloon flight over Goreme/Cappadocia or our remarkable day at Pamakkale and Hierapolis and then our day at Ephesus.

Pics on Instagram and Flickr (Flickr photos are Instagram but I also post a few panoramas that don’t work on IG). I’m handwriting brief notes each day for later.

Truthfully not giving work a single thought. Missing the kids. Missing lovely family and friends. But loving this.

x


#heyho2014 #cbr

31Aug14

Hashtags a go go
Decided on #heyho2014 and then a separate # of the place.
Travel to #Sydney today. Overnight stay. Then flight to #HongKong in the morning.
Already feeling a bit emotional about leaving the kidlets/young adults. Izzy keeps hugging me telling me how much she loves and will miss us.
I love that we love!

And Bowie’s song is going through my brain this morning…’Soul love’

Love is careless in its choosing
Sweeping over cross a baby
Love descends on those defenseless
Idiot love will spark a fusion
Inspirations have i none
Just to touch the flaming dove
All I have is my love of love
And love is not loving.

I don’t know why!
Safe travels to all…whatever you are doing

image

xx


It’s been list after list just lately.
But the list I had not anticipated was the emotional list…felt quite teary yesterday saying goodbye for three months to Carl’s mum – and then it happened again today when saying goodbye to my parents. I guess I’ve been so caught up in home, work, farewells (was out to dinner 4 times last week), that i hadn’t really anticipated the emotional state of leaving family, home, friends, work for three months.
So there it is.
And this time next week – we’ll be in Hong Kong.
I guess it’s sometimes only in leaving that you pause to think – what a lovely bunch of family and friends I truly have…
big hugs and kisses to you all xxxx
me
Me last week- first time ever in about 35 odd years that I have had hair with no colour in it- and no surprises…I’m gray baby!




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