Images to follow soon if not already uploaded.
Friday, April 29, 2016
Images to follow soon if not already uploaded.
|Flower Sacrifice to the Rain Gods|
in hopes of continued fair weather
Friday, April 22, 2016
Only thing is, it's not overseas.
Currently I'm sitting in the back of a friend's Land Rover Defender as we muddle our way towards Brookton hwy; the main arterial of the day's journey to Esperance. After acquiring perishables from Ravensthorpe and camping somewhere between the two we spend the next 9 days off roading home up the coast. It'll be the longest holiday I've taken since going to Italy for Christmas in 2013.
It was just before Christmas when we started throwing around the idea of escaping the daily work/uni grind in favour of an adventure. Initially we had almost 10 people interested in going but conflicting uni breaks gave us the opportunity to scale it back to something more manageable and, from my point of view, enjoyable (ever tired catering for 10 people for a multiple of days, not the most relaxing tasks). We chose dates; long weekend, study week, least possible school holidays and left it there until about a month ago when we realised we had actually better get our acts together!
A couple of planning meetings later and Lady weekend we found ourselves up at my parents' farm on a supply run and trial camp. The vast majority of people I've talked to chuckled at the notion of practising our camping, but to be honest, if I'm going to have problems sleeping in a swag, I'd rather know about it sooner rather than later when I have the time and resources to deal with it. And as it turns out, tapered sleeping bags and swags aren't all that fun, something I've now accounted for.
The past few days have been rather hectic, trying to fit last bits of planning, staples shopping and packing in around labs, a 12hour day at work, and finishing off an assignment (handed in at 8am this morning, our first stop of the day). But now we are on our way and the things we don't have we don't have and that's that. We'll never be more than a few hours away from a decent sized town so we'll be able to pick up what we're missing on the next produce shop.
Saturday, January 11, 2014
Having spent most of yesterday afternoon simultaneously packing my suitcase and helping Tancredi with his homework (italian homework I might add) I woke up early this morning to stuff my pyjamas into an already overly full bag, skull my last italian coffee, scoff down my last piece of Panettone in Italy and head off for the 7am bus to Milan. Sara drove me in to the bus stop and Tancredi tagged along too, despite it being obnoxiously early by Italian standards. He declined several social engagements with his friends last night to hang around the house with me and while his sadness at my departure has been somewhat eclipsed by his purchasing of a new phone yesterday it was pretty evident from his hug this morning that he'll miss me.
After plenty of half asleep photos on Tancredi's new phone Jace and I said our goodbyes and hopped on the bus. This whole morning it hasn't really felt like I'm actually leaving. Even as I was trundling down the stairs with my bag in tow this morning. Although now I am checking in and at the gate it does seem a little more real.
The bus was almost 15 minutes early and the line for checking only a few people long. I was slightly concerned that the 2hours from bus arrival to plane departure would be cutting it a bit fine since I couldn't check in online (my passport expires in 5 months 13 days and you need 6 months for online check in) but i really shouldn't have been worried. For all of Italy's usual disorganisation/mayhem I basically walked straight through, waiting maybe at most 5 minutes at both check in and security. So not more than 30mins after the bus arrived I found my self arriving at the gate. I'm glad Sara convinced me that the 6am bus was too early.
Having received a call from Nonna Irma almost exactly as the bus pulled up when my phone went off again as I got to the gate I thought it would be her once again calling to lament my departure. She is well know for calling multiple times in an hour or even hanging up from one call and ringing someone else in the house straight after. It is a bit if a joke around the house that whenever the phone rings everyone says 'ciao Nonna' before someone picks it up (usually to say 'ciao Nonna' again). It was not, in fact Nonna Irma calling me again but Tancredi, checking when I'd arrived and how my waiting in line was going (he was super impressed how fast I'd gotten through everything.
We chatted for almost 10 minutes, something which I'm personally quite proud of. Talking on the phone in Italian is hard; it's very easy to lose the thread of conversation and not being able to wave arms or have the other person see if I'm understanding or not is difficult. Not to mention my inability to work out what someone is saying if the signal is bad. Mostly we chatted about the airport, Tancredi's plans for the day (nothing beyond getting a micro sim for his new phone) and breakfast. After instructing him to take pictures of things at the markets to email and to eat lots of Panettone for me We rang off, him to have breakfast and me to finish this and nosh a banana.
(i should point out at this point Nonna Irma called me again to make sure I'd checked in and eaten breakfast and coffee and second breakfast)
With the Singapore Airlines sausages (flight attendants) having just boarded the plane and passengers moshing in front of the gate I had best publish then and then plan out my Facebook post for the grand reveal.
Ci vediamo in Australia!
So i was running a bit of am experiment with this blog while I was away (i forget if I've mentioned it before) where by I didn't tell anyone I was updating it and waited to see home long it took for them to go looking for information about my adventures. After several weeks I told my sister and a couple of friends about it but other than that only one person, my boyfriend, discovered it, and that I believe is because I mentioned it on twitter. I didn't cross post anything to Facebook and I kept my email updates to my family brief in the hope they would wonder where the rest was and go looking. But I guess my unreliability in updating when I was in exchange meant they didn't even consider checking.
My sister and I have spent weeks driving hints. Including a direct mention of a travel blog on the same day as mentioning the tediousness of uploading photos using H+. Still no bells rung, which honestly surprised me, I had thought that overnight as all the hint sunk in someone would work it out. So now on my last full day here, as I face packing my bag I have dropped the last hint. A Facebook status mentioning my 'Overseas Adventure'. Now it's quite possible that after all this time my parents have forgotten what my blog is called and it will mean nothing to them but my randomly capitalising letters. So tomorrow just before I head off I shall post a link on Facebook.
My sister has been urging me for a couple of weeks to just tell them about it. But after not being able to cotton on after an abundance of clues I decided it would wait.
Last time I was constantly hassled to update and never did. Once I'd gotten a little bit behind the task seemed impossible. So this time I've approached it differently. I've never been strong in written English, in making things make sense when they're written down, and having them flow. So this time I've approached it more as the telling of a story and less of a blow by blow account of each day and activity. That was where I got bogged down last time. It isn't necessary for me to recount my every action, my every meal and my every conversation. This time I've tried to keep the mood lighter, funnier and centred around specific events. I've found this a much more constructive way of writing. It's as though I've say down to tell someone a story rather than the recount my time here. I even have a little chuckle when reading bit back.
Another thing I've found helpful is updating via email. The internet at Sara's is extremely unreliable at night which is when I found myself updating most in 2011. I'd spent the evening slaving over a post only to have the internet crash 10 times in 15 minutes as I tried to upload. Very discouraging. This time, having a smart phone and internet data I've written all my photos from there and only used my computer for adding photos. I've also done most of my writing whilst pounding it out on the treadmill at the gym. It's a perfect piece of otherwise un used them I can dedicate just to writing with no other distractions other than how many steps I've don't and how long I've been walking for. Due to the nature of typing on a self correcting keyboard whilst walking at 6km/h I imagine there is a significant number of spelling and grammatical errors. I'll get onto fixing them when I'm home, with reliable internet and a screen bigger than my netbook. Although I hope most of the post are at least understandable even with the random errors thrown in.
I've got a few more post to go; tales of my adventures on the city these past few days and stories to go with other photos I've taken. But for now they will have to wait. I'm catching the bus to Milan at 7am tomorrow and have a lot of packing to do as well as having to go out and grab a few more last minute gifts!
Coming over with a 23kg bag 8kg and almost half the bag of which was gifts gives me not only plenty of space but also plenty of weight to fill up. Singapore has changed their baggage limit to 30 kg which is more than I imagine I can fit in my bag! So far I've bought 4kg of books and 2kg of food. So we're already close to half my additional weight and I haven't even checked how heavy the rest is. My job for after the gym.
I really enjoyed my time in the mountains and the novelty of being surrounded by snow never wore off. Who would have thought I'd enjoy tramping through slush when it was -1 out at 4.30pm just to take photos. Well that's what I did one day. It wasn't a terribly good day for taking photos unfortunately, there was quite a bit of fog around but I enjoyed the walk all the same.
One day Sara and I headed up the hill (16 flights of stairs in 1000 steps) to the second apartment to give the keys to people renting it for the weekend. I started taking photos of trees covered in snow while she was explaining things and afterward we decided to just continue on up the hill. And hour later we were sprawled in deckchairs 1890m above sea level waiting for Corrado and Tancredi who were skiing to join us.
We grabbed got chocolates to warm up and a couple of pieces of cake to share as we sat and took in the view. As the pre dusk fog started to settle in we all headed off. I declined Tancredi's offer to go down the pista on his shoulders, and instead made the wall back down the 'road' with Sara. It was much faster going down and before long we almost walked straight past the snow angles we made on the way up. I really enjoyed the walk, it was the same one we had done during summer when I was here last time to the contrast of picking wild berries to making snow angles was quite amusing.
I'm quite surprised how well I feared with the walk. I was in a pair of Sara's old hiking boots and wasn't wearing my orthotics, yet when we got back home the inside of my big toe hurt slightly, a testament to my lack of orthotics. I didn't even have any blistered or anything. Considering last time I was all but incapacitated the next day despite wearing my own shoes and orthotics I think it's safe to say that two years of pilates has done me some good!
The day Sara and I went up the mountain I climbed the equivalent of over 130 flights of stairs, my biggest day yet by more than double! 27 had been just after mining as we trekked home after watching and Italian comedy at the cinema. If it cost only $12 for a standard ticket to the movies in Australia I'd be there all the time too! Fortunately though I live near a small art Deco cinema that has cheap tickets though only a select few films.
The rest if the time when I ventured out of the house I often snapped photos on my phone to email off to my family to make them all jealous of my snow adventures. My only internet access while we were there was through the data connection on my phone and I dedicated most of one afternoon to supervising the very slow uploading of photos to this blog through a wireless hot stop from my phone. The whole thing was done using a H+ data connection, which as I explained to my mum is like the dial up of mobile data. It was a very tedious afternoon.
After 9 days in a beautiful white wonderland I was sad to be leaving but very thankful for the time I had there. My sister and I have resolved to come back for Christmas one year (i possibly have understated to her how hilly the village is and how much walking you do there...)
Tuesday, January 7, 2014
So in a momentary and unusual bit of time alone in the apartment I set out first with the cake and then once that was in the oven with the curry. Previously when Sara had been at the shops she'd called me up to check what meat I needed for the curry asking if chicken on the bone was okay. I pointed out that deboned would be better but she decided we could just cut it from the bones our selves. So whilst periodically checking on the cake of i definite cooking time I set out to debone 5 chicken thighs with the two bluntest knives ever. I should also point out that each was at least 20cm long and half the chicken thighs were frozen. Also I hate raw chicken.
Woke up early for Ski lesson, it was snowing.
Snow continued all day.
I am told this improves skiing conditions for learners as it covers any ice on the slope.
My instructor, Carlotta, spoke reasonably good English, with a few italian words thrown in where she got stuck. We started off on the super beginners slope, that is actually a 'road' yet no one drives on it because it's never cleared if snow. The first few corners I just had to kind if figure out what to do but then Carlotta explained which ski to put my weight on and how to shift my body and soon we were making good time. The end of the super beginners slope spits you out on the actual pista (track) so you go down the last bit of that on the way to the ski lift.
Learnt to walk up hill sideways.
Learnt to walk down hill.
Learnt to fall down.
Learnt to make other people fall down.
Learnt to get up. Sometimes.
Learnt to ski down half hill on arse.