Brad and Mandy are a couple of '50 somethings' who enjoy travelling and plan to see as much of the world while we still can.
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  • Day363

    Tathra and Bermagui

    July 25, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    Left Merimbula and headed back up the South Coast popping into a few coastal towns we have never been to before.

    Tathra is very attractive with a lovely headland walkway down to the wharf and back. This area had been severely damaged by bushfires a few years ago.

    Further up the coast is Bermagui which has nice sheltered bays and river inlet. We liked the look of Bermagui.

    Dropped into Moruya to check out a holiday house owned by a mate of Brads before heading back to Queanbeyan to stay with Luke for a few days before heading back home (also staying put for a bit because bad weather is forecast for the coast. ) The road from the coast at Batemans Bay across to Braidwood was an area that burnt for weeks before Christmas and I can see why as it is totally inaccessible steep, hilly country.
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  • Day362

    Merimbula and Eden

    July 24, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 13 °C

    This is the first time we have been this far down the south coast and we were really impressed with the natural beauty of the area.

    Went to Eden and had a rather nice walk around a lake on a boardwalk. Plenty of bird life from black swans to bellbirds, wood ducks and the usual ibid and cormorants. Visited the killer whale museum where apparently there where orcas that helped the whalers by rounding up the humpbacks so they could be caught. Their reward was the tongue and lips of the whale. One killer whale was called Old Tom and his skeleton is displayed in the museum. Whaling stopped in the 1930's in Eden and of course is illegal in most countries of the world.

    Fish and chips by the marina followed by views from the local lookout before driving out to Ben Boyd tower which may have been a lighthouse or was used for whale spotting when whaling was the industry in this area.

    Finally checked out Pambula Beach, another pretty spot in this area.
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  • Day361

    From the mountains to the coast

    July 23, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 11 °C

    Travelled south from Cooma to Bombala... only about an hour. Nothing much to see at Bombala except it was very cold. It is supposed to be the platypus capital and we did stop at a place where they may be viewed - but not today. I think you would be lucky to see any - they are rather shy creatures.

    From Bombala we headed east towards the coast through some mountainous country that had also suffered badly with the bushfires. The tree ferns however seemed to be thriving. We stopped at a lookout with views towards Bega and there was rather handsome chook that'd seemed out of place in this area.

    Arrived in Merimbula and enjoyed lunch by the river with some pelicans - both rusty arty ones and real. Nice caravan park perched on a cliff top. More exploring tomorrow.
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    Merimbula is a nice part of the world as is all of the south coast [Nod]

    7/24/20Reply
    Brad and Mandy Pearce

    You are not wrong there Nod. Absolutely stunning!

    7/25/20Reply
    Nessy19

    Amazing - great to explore our country 😊

    7/25/20Reply
     
  • Day360

    Snowy Mountains Highway

    July 22, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 12 °C

    Brrrr...... freezing start to the morning with the temperature being either -2 or -4°C depending on whose phone we looked at. What's more, the town is shrouded with fog. We planned to drive the Snowy Mountains Highway to Tumut - a bit over 2 hours drive if you don't stop - and return to Cooma.

    About 5 minutes out of town and the fog cleared to another beautiful winter day - clear and not a cloud in the sky. First stop was Adaminaby, a small town that is home to a BIG thing - a big trout. This town is only about 50 years old as the original town had to be relocated when the Snowy Hydro Scheme went through and would be under water. We drove out to Old Adaminaby where there is still a township but it would have been built after the dam was made and Lake Eucumbene formed.

    Further along the highway we came across a couple of groups of brumbies (wild horses) which was a bit of a surprise. Not much snow apart from a light cover at the higher elevations. This area was devastated by the bushfires last summer and while large areas are regenerating, some sections will take a lot longer...if they recover at all.

    Once we had crossed over the Great Dividing Range, closer to Tumut, the contrast between the two areas was remarkable. Cooma side, the country was dry, brown and quite bare. Tumut side however was green and mostly lush. Tumut itself is a very pretty town and it would have been nice to stay and explore it more but we wanted to get back over the mountains before dark.
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  • Day359

    Cooma

    July 21, 2020 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 8 °C

    Seems crazy to travel to perhaps the coldest region in Australia in winter, but anyway, here we are. As overseas trips are off the cards for probably 12 months or more, it's a great opportunity to explore different regions of our great country. We were in the capital territory with family, so it made sense to explore this region while we were in the area. First stop Cooma!

    A lovely clear (bit cold) sunny day and about an hour run down the highway from Queanbeyan and we arrived at Cooma. We had been told that the Snowy Hydro Discovery Centre was well worth a visit so we stopped there. The scale of the scheme was incredible and is still viewed as one of the 7 engineering wonders of the world. It also is one of the main reasons that Australia became a multicultural nation as workers were brought in from over 30 different countries and settled in Australia bringing their culture and best of all, their food.

    We checked into our home away from home for 2 nights - a cabin in the local caravan park. Fairly basic but being self contained means we can cook our own meals. Then we went on the Lambie town walk, about 5km walk around the town, which took us to the major highlights of the town. Finished off at the Nannygoat hill lookout .
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  • Day10

    Back to the Beginning

    March 13, 2020 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 22 °C

    Rudely awoken at 4.15am " Road is open, we leave at 4.30am" and so begins our journey back to Aswan - 3 hours through the desert, back to our river boat, 20 minutes to pack our bags and off to the airport to catch the 11.30am flight to Cairo and on to Amman in Jordan.

    On the ride to the airport we are informed that the Jordan part of the tour has been cancelled - Jordan has closed its borders - the tour is over and flights will be arranged for return to Australia. Unfortunately, we were heading on to Turkey after Jordan but we felt that it is only a matter of time before the border is closed into Turkey due to the coronavirus, so we are also returning home after only 10 days.

    As it was, our 11.30 am flight did not leave until 5pm. Not sure if this was anything to do with the pandemic, but I think it was because Cairo had a storm the previous day - 100mm in 1 hour - not extraordinary to our standards but because Egypt is so dry, they do not have stormwater drainage. Apparently the airport was closed for 5 hours due to flooding so there was a backlog of flights.

    So, this trip has had it all - coronavirus, cancellations, delays, sandstorms along with some amazing sights. It is disappointing to miss out on Jordan and Turkey but at least we got to see Egypt.
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  • Day9

    Abu Simbel in a Sandstorm

    March 12, 2020 in Egypt ⋅ 🌬 27 °C

    Will this trip is proving to be a challenge for the poor tour guide. We had a morning flight from Aswan to the world heritage site of Abu Simbel. The flight was quite bumpy the visibility poor when we landed but we thought nothing of it.

    Abu Simbel to Rameses II and the smaller temple to Nefertarti (Ramases favourite wife and also Nubian, very dark skinned African Egyptians known for their beauty) is set on the shores of Lake Nassar. This temple complex was moved piece by piece by UNESCO in the 1960's to its current site because it was in danger of being flooded by the newly raised Aswan Dam. Quite a remarkable engineering feat.

    Abu Simbel is remarkable outside and just as incredible inside . The ancient freizes are just so detailed and beautiful, I can understand why UNESCO thought it important enough to spend $40 million to save it from being flooded. Little Abu Simbel was not quite as impressive but was still good.

    A short visit to Abu Simbel and we headed back to the airport for the return flight. By this time, the sandstorm was getting worse and the flight was cancelled. The 40 minute flight will now be replaced by a 3+ hour bus ride back to Aswan. We head off and about 20 minutes into the journey the buses are stopped.... The road is blocked by sand and we cannot continue.

    Can't fly out, can't drive out... looks like we are staying in Abu Simbel until the storm passes, whenever that will be. Hotel is fine located on the lake and would look beautiful on a nice clear day... but the view out the window today is awful. Anyway, it is just an inconvenience for us - bit of an adventure really, but must be a nightmare for the tour guides. Will let you know what happens next installment.
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  • Day8

    Edfu

    March 11, 2020 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 33 °C

    We visited the Temple of Edfu today making our way there by horse drawn carriage. I kind of felt sorry for the poor little horse as they are quite skinny and they probably go back and forth several times a day, a distance of 2 or 3 km each way. The temple is made of sandstone and dedicated to the falcon god Horus.

    Then we cruised onwards to Kom OmboTemple which is an unusual double temple dedicated to Sobek, the crocodile god and Horus, the falcon god. There is also a museum with mummified crocodiles.

    It is getting to the point where we have seen the extent of temples. These two were quite magnificent, but compared to some of the others like Karnak temple they were a bit ordinary.

    Tomorrow we visit the Abu Simbel temple which should be a really highlight.
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  • Day7

    Valley of the Kings and Queens

    March 10, 2020 in Egypt ⋅ ☀️ 30 °C

    Settled into the Royal Lily but before we leave Luxor there are some more temples to visit, namely the Valley of the Kings and Queens

    In the Valley of the Kings we visited 4 tombs. When a king (pharoah) comes into power, workers are commissioned to prepare the burial tomb. Digging, cutting, decorating each chamber and moving on. As soon as the pharoah dies, work ceases and is prepared for the burial. So if a pharoah lives a long time, the burial chamber can be quite long. Some of them are beautifully ornate.

    Next we visited the Temple of Hatshepsut ( say Hat cheap suit), a mortuary temple of the Pharoah Hatshepsut. It is quite an impressive building cut into the rocky cliffs.

    Final stop was Valley of the Queens which is much the same as Valley of the Kings but is the burial place for wives of pharoahs. One tomb even held the miscarried fetus of a pharoahs wife. Incredible to see the colours on the scenes are so well preserved.

    Back on the boat for lunch and we set sail for Edfu. A very relaxing afternoon after the busy morning.
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  • Day6

    Will this day end?

    March 9, 2020 in Egypt ⋅ ⛅ 28 °C

    So we had a very early start - up by 3am, off to the airport at 4pm for the 7am flight to Luxor where we are to join a cruise on the Nile for the next 4 days. So far so good... arrived in Luxor about 10am and as our boat not ready until 1pm, we visited the Karnak and Luxor temples.

    Karnak temple complex is very impressive, especially the massive decorated columns - there are 134 of then, most around 10 metres tall while another dozen are 21 metres tall. Many of the large wall paintings depict stories about people from ancient Egyptian times and it was amazing to see how well preserved they are considering they are thousands of years old.

    The Luxor temple complex was constructed mainly under Amenhotep III & Rameses II, added to by Tutankhamun & others. The front gate has many statues of Rameses and there are several obelisks which really serve the same purpose as a church cross on top of the building or tower, or a minaret on a mosque.

    From here things went a little pear shaped. We headed back to the ship for what was supposed to be a late lunch. Unfortunately, the presence of coronavirus on another Nile cruise ship has meant screening for the virus on other cruise boats. So, back into Luxor while the tour director is hastily trying to organise lunch for us. We finally got lunch at around 3.30pm after not really having anything much to eat all day. Finally we were able to board around 5pm and we all had our temperature taken and a small sample had swabs taken to see if the virus was present.

    After Egypt we go to Jordan (and then Turkey), but some of the tour group were supposed to go to Israel after Jordan. This portion of the tour has now been cancelled. Still going to Jordan at this stage but borders are being closed or restricted every day. No news on Turkey yet but there is a risk they may deny us entry there. Shall cross that bridge if we come to it.
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