Brenda's Overall Trip Highs & LowsNovember 10, 2017 in the United States ⋅
We've been home about a week, so have had time to reflect on our trip and come up with some overall thoughts about the trip. First of all, the obvious: it is WAY better to be on vacation than to be at work. I had a busy re-entry back into my job, as it was an extremely busy week and I had lots to catch up on. But as for the trip itself, here are some of my favorite and least favorite things:
1. My very favorite part of the trip was having David all to myself. It was great to be able have this time to focus attention on us and the trip--not work, tv, video games, chores, etc. I think we make pretty good travel buddies, pretty compatible for the most part. Beber is pretty easy to travel with too.
2. The trip itself. I recognize that most people do not get to travel to far away places like this, especially for such a length of time. I am thankful for that privilege. Traveling helps give one a new perspective on one's own life and the lives of others in the world. So great to see what is outside our little bubble.
3. The Milford Sound flight home to Queenstown. This was so memorable, I am sure I will hold it in high esteem for years until something else tops it. We were so lucky the weather was on our side, and that we had the forethought to book it ahead. The views were astounding and the photos don't do it justice. It was also exciting to be flying in that little plane which I had never done before.
4. We both stayed healthy and able-bodied throughout the trip. I was so afraid I was going to get sick before or because of the flights. I was taking lots of precautions. Fortunately, not even a sniffle or cough. I did have minor issues with spring allergies in NZ, and did have two days of bad back. I of course, had my foot issues, but they didn't really keep my down. With exception of not playing disc golf w/ David one day in Queenstown due to my back, I was able to do the things I wanted. I might have tried Zorbing in NZ if wasn't having back issues. It was a little chilly for that anyway. David did well too, and only seemed to have the sunburn issue that bothered him during part of the trip.
5. First Class experience. I don't think I would have taken the trip at all if I had to do it in coach. With my Restless Leg Syndrome and inability to sleep in planes, it would have been torture. It was worth the wait to save the extra gazillion mileage points to do the long legs first class. I still didn't really sleep, but I was more comfortable, and well fed. Plus the international first class lounges before the flights were amazing. They really helped to get us rested and ready for the long flights.
6. The Wildlife and Plantlife. I really enjoyed seeing all the different wildlife that we cannot see here. Of course the koalas and kangaroos and kiwi were great, but also just the birds that were flying around in the city looked different. Then, of course, were the fruit bats in Cairns, the Cockatoos in Sydney, the fish and turtles of Great Barrier Reef, the colorful birds and butterflies of the rainforest, and the frolicking lambs of NZ. I also liked the Fern Trees, beautiful flowers, and amazing green countrysides.
1. Big surprise, #1 is our full day delay arriving due to flight issues in SFO. I was devastated that we'd have to wait 3 more days to go, but finally it worked out w/ standby and we at least got to get there only one day late. Still was sad to miss a day.
2. Rotorua motel. Since I planned all the lodging for this trip, I felt a bit responsible for our sucky motel here. It put me in a bit of a funk when we got there because all our other lodgings were going so well so far, and the trip in general was too. Rotorua had some cool things in it, but was a little of a let down for me.
3. The long trip to Queenstown. We took 3 planes and all day to get there. When I researched the flights, there were zero flights I could find online with fewer stops from Cairns to Queenstown. Then I hear when we are there that there is a direct flight and better ones. We were so exhausted that day because we had to get up at 2 am to get to airport at 3 am for 5 am international flight. Then had 2 layovers. We did make all our flights, but some were close. Customs in Auckland was a long wait too.
4. The Great Barrier Reef. It was great, but also was hoping to see more spectacular coral colors. It was 90% bleached, with only a few that were colored. I also was disappointed we we had such a large group. There were many times people in the water were kicking each other unknowingly with their fins and bumping into each other.
5. Not sleeping on the planes in first class. When we flew first class on the way to Germany we did sleep, but this time neither of us really did for some reason. Part of the reason we saved and saved for this was so we could arrive to destination nice and rested. That was a bummer that we couldn't. I wonder if I could have if my seat wasn't broken on the trip to Sydney. We'll never know.
6. Not having enough time at Featherdale Wildlife Park. This was the place near the Blue Mtns in Australia where you can feed the kangaroos and wallabies, and where I saw the baby koala. I would have liked to really look at the rest of the park and spend time observing some of them, especially the birds. I didn't even get to see all the exhibits they had before we had to go.
Well, there you have it. Overall, it was an amazing trip and I think not much to truly complain about. Things went great. We didn't really even need anything other than our visa card for purchases there (except if I had cash I might have opted to buy some feed at the wildlife park for the kangaroos, instead I just scraped some up from the ground to feed them).
David and I talked about if we would use our time differently if we'd plan it again. I think if I had the day back we lost, and I could take a day away from Rotorua, I would have flown to Ayres Rock in Australia. I hear it is amazing. Of course that would have put our total to 12 flights for the trip instead of 10.
Sad it is all over, but there will be more Sallee adventures to come in the future.Read more