??Journey or destination??

Exploring life experiences at home and beyond – Destination Happiness


Cinderella 2014

You stumble upon a random letter on the path. You read it. It affects you deeply, and you wish it could be returned to the person to which it’s addressed. Write a story about this encounter.
Today’s twist: Approach this post in as few words as possible.
Here’s my attempt at using only 50 words to (hopefully) tell a story. This is a huge challenge for me as I always seem to be excessive in my word usage. Oh and it’s not a message on a path but a scene played out in a café.

He: “Should’ve known rushing off without leaving her number meant a no show.”
She: “Hello, I know it’s odd but I’m meeting a man, Ted, at your café and I’ve no way to contact him. I’m late but am almost there.”

I wrote her message …but his table was empty.


No stronger bond

Writing 101: A Room with a View (or Just a View)
Today, choose a place to which you’d like to be transported if you could — and tell us the backstory. How does this specific location affect you? Is it somewhere you’ve been, luring you with the power of nostalgia, or a place you’re aching to explore for the first time?

Today’s twist: organize your post around the description of a setting.

If I could be transported to any place right now, I’d take that journey to the white house with the gables and the picket fence. This is how my mum used to describe our family home to taxi drivers that would bring my mum, nanna and 2 sisters home from many a shopping trip. There was always much pride about her home. This house was built of wood that my mum told me was log cabin design. My parents built this house before I was born. When the days of aluminium cladding of homes in Sydney began to trend my mother would get very angry at salesman that wanted to cover up that beautiful timber. I know eventually my dad won out and those magnificent gables were clad in aluminium. My dad didn’t like getting up on a very tall ladder to paint the wood. I never said anything to my mum but I didn’t actually see a Iot of difference in the aluminium to the wood. We grew from kids to adults. It was a place for carefree times- a cubby house (big enough to rent out to tenants we laughed about as we got older). Cats came and left families of kittens under the cubby – always a source of fun – until they would be taken away to ‘a party for cats’ never to return. I remember well the afternoon my dad installed a mini Putt Putt style golf course for us using empty plastic flower pots as the holes…and remember Mum’s face displaying much less happiness than ours when she saw her flower beds somewhat disturbed. Then came the swimming pool!! We also had a small hill – like dome in the centre of our block which was fun to ride scooters over. Buried beneath this was my dad’s first car that he refused to part with. Metal occasionally made its way to the surface of the dome. We also had his second car parked in the yard, rusted and draped at times with choko vines. Colour tv came to this house long before it came to others. This brought with it a lot of new ‘friends’ and visits from family as we shared this gem. Dad always loved up to the minute electronic devices. Food was a source of nourishment used for celebration, commiseration and of course family meals around the table. So many happy memories – my strong family bond was cemented at in that home.

And so it was …my family home…now the home of another family. Time moves us, shapes us, gives us depth of character and in our case seeded a family bond that lasts beyond time.


Should I stay or should I go?

I’ve been absent from the blog world (or let’s say not as engaged as I enjoy being) in the past few months. I thought being on a traveling holiday I’d have so much time to write and read. Reality was, it gave me enough antidotes and material for a long, long time.  Reality was I spent so much time with my mouth agape in wonder as I raced around not wanting to miss one thing that in fact I had little time for those things. My mind is over-brimming with such wonderful memories.

But I’m back in the real world and have time to dabble again.
Today I was reading through a blog I follow “Me – Who am I?” and then started to reflect. I started writing a comment but it turned into a bit of a novelette so I’ve put it here instead. Take time first to read the blog post here to put my comment in context .
I too have experienced moments when I’d love to run away but I know I’d be back so fast- before people even realised I’d actually gone, but I think it’s selfish reasons that may keep us (me) here.
Do we stay because we need the love and support of a few close people to help us wander through this odd thing we call life – or do we stay to help others battle through and be their prop? Do we stay, maybe, so at the end we aren’t alone – or do we really stay so at the end we can offer comfort to others in our final moments? The first thoughts are ‘about me’ reasons in my opinion. The question I ask is – Should we stay to stop pain for others – or go and be true to ourselves?
Could running away not be ‘reinventing yourself’ rather allowing yourself to be who you want to be, not who you are expected to be?
I’m a stayer, I like order and I’m not a risk taker. Jumping can mean a fall for the cautious while others may be willing to take the chance they will have a strong enough leap.
So, would I want a loved one to leave if that’s what they know they must do for their happiness?
I’d like to think I’d much rather see a loved one move on leaving me behind to seek their happiness even if that life can’t contain me for whatever reason, than stay merely out of a sense of duty – for in doing that they are living my dreams not their own -but a goodbye would be nice because I like order in everything including ending (selfishly).
But…if it’s my kids – well I shall stalk them to the end of the world and back!! Nothing will ever be large enough for them to hide behind from me hahaha (selfish!! YES!! )
And… a chance to use one of my photos of the sun rising over Mt Vesuvius and the Bay of Naples- a volcano that in its time has left man in pain and total destruction.friends

Your thoughts?


The hills are alive with the Sound of Music

Armed with as much Google information as I could find and my own knowledge of this delightful musical we ventured  to Mirabell Garden in Salzburg and I began my own Sound of Music adventure. With a huge grin and light steps I entered the garden, the husband just walked at regular speed. He admired the beautiful floral gardens. I on the other hand, eyes widened with delight like a child seeing a Willy Wonka chocolate river, wanted to run everywhere to see it all at once. Yes, the gardens were beautiful. The colours of the flowers were like hundreds and thousands sprinkled all over a cake. This vision was only spoilt by a silver coated mime act and a clown busker. Cruel, because to get into the gardens I had to pass by both. I’m terrified of clowns and masks!

me running

Those of you who are Sound of Music fans will recognise this garden as featuring very much so in the song ‘Do- Re- Mi’ . So , lets start at the very beginning…


I ran to the Pegasus  fountain. “Photo please! ” I called out as I sang parts of the song while skipping around the fountain. Hardest part was waiting for others to disappear to get a shot of just me  so I settled for a at least having a photo.



Off I hopped, up and down the steps, singing Do – Re -Mi. Having read many others’ experiences here suggesting to wait until the crowds passed so as to not look silly, I said ‘YOLO’ and belted out the song loud and clear while demanding more photos . At the time of posting, somehow the photos of me singing on the steps have just ‘disappeared’. Hmmmm, oh well a memory still etched hard forever in my brain and probably those of others who stared watching my show haha ( and lucky no video for YouTube haha)!

use steps notes


My next mission was to find the gnome section of the park. This park has no signage that I could find so we just had to keep wandering.I found it on an upper level. The gnomes stand around a circular pathway in the gnome garden. I tapped the head of the gnome with glasses…of course singing again… and knowing the Von Trapps had done this before me , my hands tapped where theirs once did.



I sang too, as I skipped along the walkway covered in clinging vines forming a cool canopy.


That will bring us back to Do

Oh and we made a trip to the Residence Square to splash a horse in the fountain.

I’ve always longed for adventure
To do the things I’ve never dared
Now here I’m facing adventure
Then why am I so scared?

P1030051The hills are alive with the sound of music
With songs they have sung for a thousand years
The hills fill my heart with the sound of music
My heart wants to sing every song it hearsbrian ph 2453

Our guided  tour hour finally arrived (yes, I did a guided tour too!) and we were helped aboard by our own Austrian styled Maria and we were off!!

First stop was the gazebo. As she spoke about its history I decided the best photos would be before the bus crowd encroached so I walked ahead and got my photos listening with one ear to her stories . I must admit I seemed to know them all from interactions with my friend Google and from having read the book STORY OF THE TRAPP FAMILY SINGERS by Maria Augusta Trapp. By the time The Husband arrived from the talk I was ready to sing and sing I did! I tried to tell him the lines of Rolf’s to sing but he wouldn’t, so I sang it all as I ran around the outside pretending to jump from seat to seat. A lot of the bus folk watched and I’m sure they were thinking how weird great my reenactment was.



I am sixteen, going on seventeen. I know that I’m naive.
Fellows I meet may tell me I’m sweet, and willingly I believe.

use gazebo

Before hoping on the bus I hid behind a tree for a photo. This tree was one  the little Von Trapp children dangled from as their father drove to the house with the Baroness.

                        “Oh, it’s nothing – just some local urchins.”


No, I wasn’t going to climb the tree as the Von Trapps had, my excuse… the bottom branches were out of reach :)
From there we did a drive – by of the convent ( scene areas not open to the public)  Nonnberg Abbey. P1030038

We zoomed past Fronburg Castle, the backdrop to where Maria sang at the gates before entering, where the Nazi flag was ripped down and the car was pushed through the gates in the dark as they planned to escape. When we zoomed past  the gates were wide open.

P1030021Next stop was then onto the residence as seen in the balcony pink lemonade scene  where the Baroness hints about marriage and where Maria and the children toppled from their boat. Not prepared to be authentic in the icy water ( which I tested by hand ) I still had a backdrop photo and a balcony zoom.

The Baroness:  : Not too sweet, not too sour.
Max: Just too, uh… pink. 

P1030027A.K.A     Leopoldskron Castle 

P1030035Where is the boat?

By now the weather turned cold – watched the external temperature indicated in the bus, drop from 23C to 15 and the heavens began dropping icy raindrops. We stopped for a photo opportunity looking over the lakes regions the ones seen in the movie introduction. They were beautiful. Yachts with white sails raced across the blue water top. This water, green of the countryside and light colours of the building stood in contrast against the backdrop of a black stormy sky.
















Our tour then took us to the abbey where Maria married the Captain. I must admit I always wondered why her wedding march was “How do you solve a problem like Maria” seems a little cruel . Or, did it mean pass on a problem to solve it, in this case pass her on to the Captain? The rain was bucketing down now, little gullies ran through the gravelled walkways. The abbey was closed to the public, not sure if because of the rain or if it’s a regular thing, so I looked from afar and did what any sensible person would- headed for a cafe to sit out the storm. This was an hour stop so there was plenty of time.brian ph 2486
Had a delicious hot chocolate and an apple strudel smothered in vanilla sauce ( custard).  I tried to get whipped cream on the side but with no luck.

brian ph 2492


We raced back to the bus. By now our umbrellas were purely decorative as the wind whipped the rain from all directions. On the drive from the lakes and homeward bound  the  CD soundtrack was played and with the exception of Maria and myself the bus was silent – but we made up for it :)

 This day was  a highlight of my trip. So glad we did the gardens early because at the end of the tour it was very wet to visit.

If you get the chance I’d thoroughly recommend the tour conducted by Salzburg Sightseeing Tours. It was run on time, the coach was clean and the hostess was informative and captivating.

And, so I leave you with…

So long, farewell, auf Wiedersehen, adieu
Adieu, adieu, to yieu and yieu and yieu




Time to go ….Tim and Ally

Well the Travelling Mcs are now in Austria just the two of us now, as the kidults returned home on Monday.
We were only in Frankfurt as a transit point transit really , a connection for flights and trains. We did venture into the old city of Frankfurt for a day though and got caught up – literally – in the European iron man championships. I say literally because I slinked through a barrier ( I wanted to get across to the river and there was nowhere close by) and was ambling along the pathway with plastic cup debris lining the edges, when I heard this man ringing a cowbell…yes a cowbell !!! warning me off the track…as a herd of cyclists whizzed past me at speed. Turns out this is why my family hadn’t followed my lead of slinking lol. We eventually escaped the madness. How unlucky for them I thought, in a city where the average summer temp is 24C they score a day of 31C.
We drifted down the River Main on a boat trip for 100 minutes , in terms of view the 50 minute trip would have been a better option. We sat up on the top deck for the first half of the journey then headed down stairs for food to consume for the next leg of 50 minutes.
We trudged in the heat along un sheltered pathways then, in the hope of catching the Appleveiss tram, a tourist tram that goes around the city and the fare includes a ‘refreshing’ ( that word caught our eyes on this hot day )glass of apple juice or apple wine and a pastry – what’s not to like? Unfortunately after waiting for about 30 minutes we discovered the tram wasn’t running by this day due to the iron man competition :( We weren’t the only disappointed people at the tram drop.
Ate a huge lunch/dinner then headed back to the hotel so the kids could pack for their flight.
Airports are emotional places…exciting for many who are off on adventures, scary for some who are going somewhere for maybe a less than nice reason or frightened of flying, sad for those seeing love ones off on their journey wherever that be too and exciting for those ready to go home from an adventure. We fell into the lags two categories. The kidults were excited to be going home, to see partners and pets they had missed for three weeks and to get back into their regular lives. Travelling is wonderful but there really is no place like home. Of course I fell into the second last category. I had tears watching my kidults as they waved goodbye having passed through customs and then heading off to their flight gate. They are confident seasoned travellers having made many trips overseas both together and with their friends. For me it’s the first time the tables have been turned and it’s me in the foreign country while they are home in Australia. I know I will miss having them on this last leg of the trip. We all had a wonderful three weeks full of laughs and adventures.
Anyway my sadness was short lived as I boarded the train at Frankfurt to Salzburg.Sound of Music land here I come!






Giving thanks for elasticated waistbands

Or 3 days in Salzburg -though in all fairness this is just the tip of the iceberg…and I have enjoyed every mouthful. A continent that knows how to give a decent portion of cream and sauces!!


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20140709-223151.jpg     20140709-223137.jpg



Arrivederci Italy

Leaving Italy behind our adventure took us across the Austrian border then into Germany heading to Munich. The scenery was beautiful in a different way to that of Italy. Old style buildings of three storeys high gave way to chalet style homes. The water and fairly flat topography wax replaced with huge alps and as we approached closer to Munich they become snow capped. Window boxes of pretty coloured flowers still adorned the windows and balconies as they had in Italy.


The countryside.          20140705-183658.jpg


Aboard the train – dining room


Border crossing  Italy to Austria      20140705-183736.jpg


Arriving at the hotel we had the most simplest of dinners…SUBWAY. We didn’t arrive until close on 8:30pm so by the time we had settled into the hotel none of us felt like dressing for dinner, let alone sitting in a restaurant. Besides, eating subway sandwiches at our hotel gave us the chance for a bit of a relax and early night, something we have had few of in our travels ( time to sleep when we get home!)
Thursday we did a girls / boys split. Brian and Tim headed to Allianz Arena while Ally and I headed into town. We visited the Jewish Museum , the National Munich Museum and watched the Glockenspiel clock display it’s dancing story at midday. With the rain bucketing down, not an umbrella between us ( it was slightly overcast when we had headed off early in the morning) and very infrequent awnings on buildings we began to realise while we had strolled slowly we had in fact covered a very large distance from our hotel. We laughed all the way back to the hotel as the rain got heavier and arrived back as drowned rats and began sorting through online restaurant menus to pick our evening’s dining.

City wall


20140705-184015.jpg  Glockenspiel Clock on the new town hall at Munich

Seems the fare here enjoys a lot of offal, calf heads and pork in large knuckles- with the exception of Brian, even white sausages were beginning to spook us.
We found a restaurant ( we like to try the local fare within reason) and had the best night. Without googling we ate white sausages, frankfurts, veal rissoles, sauerkraut and mashed potato for Tim and I , vegetarian rissoles for Ally and a huge meat platter for Brian, followed by amazing desserts of apricot strudel and cream puffs ( my amount of cream too!! ) . The beers the boys had were litre steins. The meals here are huge – and I’m not that each to stump :)


20140705-184206.jpg Sausages

Pork knuckle , chicken and dumpling.        20140705-184222.jpg


In my excitement to eat dessert I must have forgotten to take photos hahaha

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Pisa – town of a leaning tower

Today the heavens opened on us. We left Florence in brilliant sunshine using the local train line to Pisa. At a Florence,as in Rome and Napoli , the gypsies sell their knowledge of how to work the ticket machine to unsuspecting tourists…but that’s not me :) The ticket machines in fact are easy to use offering instructions in several languages but to be honest the way the gypsies work you would think at first they are help staff from the railway .

We headed off on a train not dissimilar to this of the interurban style we are used to travelling in to a Sydney. The trip was about 30 minutes into the one hour trip when really dark clouds appeared. Then a sprinkle of dots splattered the window, then a torrential downpour. The seat in front of us had a broken window and the rain poured in, luckily the windows on this train have curtains so they became a rain block. Just before we arrived at Pisa a gypsy girl boarded the train and handed everyone a card telling us she was poor and needed money to help because her brothers were sick. A few minutes later she returned to collect the printout and or cash donation. In my case it was the printout only.

With it still raining at Pisa we raced to catch the Hop on Hop Off bus to see around the town.
We got off at the iconic tower. I felt compelled to take some of the traditional styled photos , along with all the tourists doing the same. We’d ignored the raindrops and got a bit wet. This seemed to help my very bad , in need of help hair. (I got on the plane in Sydney bound for Italy and on arrival my hair was fully dried out and in bad condition – I dread the trip home. I fear I will need to have all my hair cut off and I’m scared !! ) .
Here is my artistic display of that iconic tower :)



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