Joined August 2022
  • Day80

    My Camino Magic

    November 30, 2022 in Singapore ⋅ ☁️ 30 °C

    Dearest Reader (as Whistledown would say),

    Thanks for coming on this adventure with me. I've really enjoyed writing this journal/blog and I know it will be a great record of my journey that I will cherish in years to come. Sharing it with you, my Camino family, has made it much more fun than just keeping my own journal. I never would have gotten around to doing that anyway.

    I hope you enjoyed our travels. Hopefully I made you smile or giggle occasionally, maybe I gave you some inspiration or the belief that you could try something new or revisit past glories. It's possible someone learnt a thing or two or developed a new interest or became more curious. Most certainly you know me a bit better than you did before. If I can help you in any way to fulfil your own goals, you have only to ask.

    Some of you may wonder how the Camino, and the time I've had to reflect upon it, may have changed or impacted me. I can't say that it has significantly, or that my life will be changed forever by the experience, only time will tell if that is the case.

    I can say that I am more aware of my lack of health and fitness. This was obvious beforehand of course, but maybe hanging out for six weeks with only fairly healthy people and not achieving my ideal walking goals has highlighted this even more. Whether this is enough to make me change my bad habits remains to be seen. I knew this before I left, and this remains the truth now. The real challenge has always been to come home and maintain any health gains I have made and improve on them. In this sense the Camino was just the beginning.

    In terms of the spiritual side of the journey, I have not awoken to new wisdom or knowledge, discovered the meaning of life or the answer to any other of life's riddles. I have however been reminded of some answers that I already knew.

    These include:
    - Absence makes the heart grow fonder.
    - There's no place like home. (By home I mean Australia)
    - A journey is better shared. While doing the Camino by myself was the right decision, company since I finished the Camino would have made the whole deal sweeter. I remember deciding to only travel with friends a while back but it had slipped my mind. Luckily I got to have special quality time in Rome with Maddie.

    And the most important one - Love is all you need, to give love that is.

    Writing something is also a childhood dream or a bucket list goal towards which I have done absolutely nothing the last 40 years, not even journalling. This may be a first step in that direction, an unexpected Camino outcome when all else was predictable. Cats of Hydra maybe, a Watership Down inspired adventure!! We shall see.

    I also would like to acknowledge my privilege in being able to undertake this journey. Such choices, options and freedoms are not available to all humankind at this stage of our development. I acknowledge the many ways in which I benefit from our past and current culture, systems and practices. I hope I do in some small ways contribute to breaking down barriers and making our land a more equitable one.

    And lastly I also wish to thank my amazing husband for being the best partner in life that anyone could ask for, and for being thoughtful enough to give me a shove off on this little episode. And to my Courtney and my Hayden who have grown into competent, capable, caring adults who don't need their mum quite as much any more, enabling me to undertake this journey knowing they will be safe in my absence.

    Hasta manana till we meet again.
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    Traveler

    what beautiful sentiments ☺️

    11/29/22Reply
    Traveler

    🙂

    11/29/22Reply
    Traveler

    beautiful words

    11/29/22Reply

    Love this Nic! Thank you for sharing yourself. [Therese]

    11/30/22Reply
     
  • Day79

    It's beginning to feel a lot...

    November 29, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    Greetings of the season to you from Athens.

    Traveler

    Georgia is going to be so jealous when she sees these images she really loves Xmas

    11/29/22Reply
    Traveler

    And they were just warming up. in a week or two it will be everywhere

    11/29/22Reply
    Traveler

    so beautiful

    11/29/22Reply
     
  • Day78

    Hallelujah

    November 28, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    More rambling, Leonard Cohen songs in my head, this was his second home for much of his life and he lived here in the sixties. There was a guy wandering around with a real camera. I'd like his photos.

    It's a bit wild and windy on Hydra today and the Aegean Sea is choppy. The day trippers have invaded in the middle of the day and I can hear a tour guide taking a group past my white washed abode. The wind isn't too bad when wandering the alleyways today and I will wander again when the tour groups depart.

    Note my special artwork "Cat on a Grecian Urn"!!
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    Traveler

    love this one

    11/27/22Reply
    Traveler

    awww

    11/27/22Reply
    Traveler

    I thinking calling it, hydra is my fave place we've been

    11/27/22Reply
    Traveler

    ❤️

    11/27/22Reply
     
  • Day77

    More Ydra spam

    November 27, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ☁️ 14 °C

    Hydra has been populated since the beginning of time or at least for a bloody long time. It's biggest claims to fame are more recent however. It was a crucial port in the war of independence from the Ottoman Empire. The tiny little harbour protected a large wealthy fishing fleet and this fleet grew to be an important part of the Greek navy against the Turks. The tiny harbour was strongly fortified by cannons and this remained in Greek hands and kept Greek boats safe.

    While the architecture, food and history of the islands are inspiring, the black sand and pebble beaches are not, and only seek to remind me that the best beaches of the world are in my own backyard.
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    Traveler

    Another post card photo Nic, really good layout with the sea wall running away from you and that headland on the left.

    11/26/22Reply
    Traveler

    A good mantra

    11/26/22Reply
    Traveler

    funny how us Australians benchmark beaches , we are pretty bloody lucky

    11/26/22Reply
    Traveler

    that we are

    11/27/22Reply
    Traveler

    postcard material

    11/26/22Reply
     
  • Day76

    Hydra, Idra, Ydra pronounced 'eedra'

    November 26, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ☁️ 15 °C

    While I'm a big fan of Mamamia, the Greek Islands have never been on my bucket list so I'm pleased to report that in the off season this Greek Isle is a must see.

    I have thoroughly enjoyed my first day exploring Hydra. In the morning I wandered the lanes and alleyways of the main town and after lunch I headed off to experience the coast.

    The island of Hydra is unique because it does not have any type of motorised vehicle except boats. There are no cars, motor bikes or electric scooters, only horses and donkeys. That makes its streets extra pleasant to stroll around. They are mainly narrow, rarely straight and often stairways.

    Everything is whitewashed, stone or both. Many things are in the blue and white colours of Greece and I wonder what came first, the blue and white houses, the Greek flag or maybe it started with the sky, the ocean and the clouds. However it started, Greece embraces it's blue and white with great pride.

    All the lanes are cobblestone and the houses blend into the rock cliffs of the island. My accommodation is on the second floor of a typical three storey home with the shop at the bottom and the family home on the top. The top is by far the biggest level as the building steps up the rocky hillside.

    There are feral cats everywhere or maybe they are just outside cats, free to wander at will? One of my photos contains no less than eight cats.
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    Traveler

    so much paving !!!

    11/26/22Reply
    Traveler

    it's everywhere

    11/27/22Reply
    Traveler

    days of exploring ❤️

    11/26/22Reply
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  • Day75

    To a Grecian Isle

    November 25, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 9 °C

    Because I finished my Camino early, I have a few extra days to spend in Greece. I've decided to head to the Greek island of Hydra. It's not too far from Athens, a 2 hour fast hydrofoil trip away.

    Arriving by metro train at the Port of Piraeus, I was reminded that I was close to the famous Greek Islands. I realised half the tourists I'd been wandering around Athens with had arrived here on gigantic cruise ships for their one day Athens stop.

    There were boats and ferries in every direction and it took me a good while to figure out where mine was, even though it wasn't far from the train station. The signage seemed more aimed a cars approaching ferries to the islands than passengers walking.

    I'd come to the port with plenty of time to spare as I like to give myself breathing space when I have no idea how to get around. Once I knew where to catch my boat, I strolled around the port town. It's a very industrial place with a large shopping precinct. I guess many people from all over the Greek Isles would come here to shop on the mainland. There's an Ikea and numerous other shops of every kind. I am enjoying the Christmas decorations popping up all over Europe this time of year as well. I think I'm bringing the Christmas spirit home with me this year.

    I finally boarded my boat and head off across the harbour as the sun set. I stopped briefly at the island of Poros, which I couldn't see in the dark, before pulling into the harbour at Hydra just in time for dinner.

    My accommodation was just a five minute walk away in a traditional Greek island white-washed building. After getting my keys and dumping my bag, I headed back to the foreshore and found a meal of chicken souvlaki that proved be my favourite meal of the whole trip.
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  • Day74

    More from Athens

    November 24, 2022 in Greece ⋅ 🌙 13 °C

    A few more photos of Athens. I love that orange trees grow fruit on the city streets, the Greek churches which are so different from the rest of Europe and exploring the streets at night with lovely lights everywhere.Read more

  • Day72

    Athena, Goddess of War

    November 22, 2022 in Greece ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    I've made it to Greece and back to Athens, home of philosophy, theatre, architecture and democracy, just to name a few. While the ruins in Rome were over 1000 years old, in Athens the ruins are 2600 years old. Prior to that there were even older ruins but the Persians sacked the place about 2800 years ago and flattened every building on Acropolis Hill. Although the Athenians won the war it took them a while to rebuild. The whole of Athens was flattened once again about 2000 years ago with everything destroyed except the hill. The Romans also had control of Athens for a while but didn't destroy it because they thought highly of Greek history and decided to leave the hill untouched.

    Athena, goddess of war and wisdom, is the protector of Athens and the Parthenon on the Acropolis is dedicated to her. The Acropolis Museum is full of statues of her in battle gear. The sacred olive tree on the Acropolis is also dedicated to her and her symbols include the olive and the owl.

    The Acropolis is in a constant state of repair. I'm pretty sure there was scaffolding on it somewhere last time I was here. The preservation and restoration work has been ongoing since the late 1800's although much of today's work includes fixing earlier renovation attempts. Most of the remaining artworks from the sanctuary are protected within the modern Acropolis Museum with replicas on the actual hill itself.

    The Acropolis Museum ranks as one of the top ten museums in the world and the modern building opened in 2009. It sits on a site overlooking part of Athens on one side and the Acropolis on the other. It has been built over the top of a part of ancient Athens so underneath the museum is an archeological site you can walk through and you can also see some of this as you walk over the glass floors inside the museum. The Parthenon plinths and artwork are displayed inside in their authentic size and placement so that the museum itself is larger the Parthenon.

    The significance of Greek culture on modern life cannot be underestimated and it is clear I am in one of the cradles of civilisation. It is unfortunate that it seems such cradles of civilisation found it necessary to revere cruel gods and that humankind found it necessary to build grand temples and artworks to idolise and appease. These grand places I was privileged to see today only exist thanks to many thousands of slaves, most whom probably gave their lives to the task. True civilisation was and still is a long time in the making.

    I've taken quite a liking to Athens today. I don't remember being as taken with it last time. While I've walked extensively today including the top of the Acropolis, the slopes, several surrounding parks including never ending relics and ruins such as the Ancient Greek Agora, the Roman Agora and many other Roman era ruins, there has been something interesting around every corner and parks and view points everywhere.

    And the food is great. Moussaka, lamb stews, pastries that aren't all sweet such as the veggie pie I had for breakfast, kebabs and gyros, souvlaki, etc. My stomach is very content with more red meat than its seen in a while. I've eaten lots of tuna, chicken and ham while I've been away but rarely any lamb or beef. But the €6 I spent on a glass of red wine wasn't as nice as the reds I had nearly everyday in Spain that were never more than €1.50.

    The reason I'm in Athens at all is because of the very cheap Scoot flights Mel-Singapore-Athens. My flight home cost me $550. So if Athens is on your bucket list I recommend keeping an eye on those Scoot flights. I guess I booked this flight about 5 months ago now. I missed getting the cheap flight to Athens as well as I was a bit slow booking and missed the chance.

    I also recommend Athens in November (and Rome too for that matter). No queues or crowds at the sites, Acropolis entry is half price or less if you pay for crowd jumping privileges. This year at least it's still tshirt weather during the day though cooler at night and I suspect accommodation is much cheaper now too.
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    Looks amazing Nic 🥰 [Rosanne]

    11/22/22Reply
    Traveler

    time we organised a trip together 😕❤️

    11/22/22Reply

    😍🤩😍🤩 will be on the lookout for tickets for sure. [Tanya]

    11/22/22Reply
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  • Day67

    Wandering in Rome

    November 17, 2022 in Italy ⋅ ⛅ 20 °C

    More Rome photos. The good ones are taken by Maddie.

    Yes! [Ruth]

    11/18/22Reply

    Love the pics [Rosanne]

    11/18/22Reply
    Traveler

    I love this photo.

    11/19/22Reply
    Traveler

    I did take that one :) Amazing trees!

    11/19/22Reply
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