Friday, June 11, 2010

A Fond Adieu Australia

The itinerary for our fifth trip to Australia wasn't the most spectacular on first glance. After all, on previous trips we've visited the Great Barrier Reef twice, Tasmania, Hamilton Island, Fraser Island, the Great Ocean Road and the Mornington Peninsula, flown all the way to Broome, and taken a tour of the Outback with a professional guide. We've also spent a significant amount of time both in Melbourne and Sydney.

This most recent expedition included a flight to attend the Flyer Talk Do in Adelaide for two days, several days in Melbourne, and a road trip through Gippsland.

Yet this visit was equally rewarding and satisfying, due to the hospitality of our Australian friends, and their willingness to show us some fascinating sights we wouldn't have seen otherwise. Of course, our six nights at the Melbourne Hilton South Wharf were a lot of fun too. The lounge for Diamond members is terrific and we enjoyed the views from our 17th-floor room.

Sometimes there was a balloon or two early in the morning. The one on the left is firing up the helium to gain some elevation.

Our evening view was equally spectacular.

We had a lot of fun on a rare rainy Melbourne day attending that food and wine fair in the convention centre next to the hotel with our friends Ross and Jenny.

Bill and Sue walked with us back to the Hilton on our final full day, which included the RAAF Museum and an enjoyable lunch.

And Vikki, the friend of daughter Karen and her fellow Rotary Exchange Student in Strängnäs Sweden a couple of decades ago, changed her schedule twice to drive her four-year-old twins Sam and Jorja in for a visit before taking them to kinder.

Seeing this busy mother and her kids made us even more eager to see our own grandkids again. And here we are at home just a few days later, looking forward to dropping in on Taegan's birthday party tomorrow, and planning a combined late birthday celebration for her and her cousin Avery next weekend at our house, with all seven of our grandkids in attendance.

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