Writers Block

I have not written in a while mainly because life got in the way…

New jobs (2 to be exact), a trip home, a trip to Ireland, friends got married and one visitor from home. Its been a crazy half a year. I am finally settled into my role at work and slowly gaining my me time back.

I worked hard at developing some great habits of self care and being present (mindfulness). I have let them all go the last couple of months. I am slowly building it all back up. Over the next few months I really want to put my time back into my exercise and mindfulness. A lot of my energy goes into work and will continue to but I need to make sure I take that step back so I do perform well at my day job.

Do you ever feel sometimes life takes a hold of you ?

Goals for September:

  • Keep writing, even if no one is reading it it really helps me unwind after a long day
  • Exercise more often, I have already signed up for a PT session once a week
  • Get back out more in the outdoors and take the camera
  • No phone before bed, try reading instead
  • Get into work earlier, usually can get a bit more done if I am in earlier
  • To not stress the small stuff and just work on focus
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Annapurna Base Camp Part One

Day 11 (continued)

We were on a flight and in Pokhara in the blink of a eye.
MK was very quiet, our guide was still smiling and I was trying to keep conversation going. It was just soul destroying after a year of dedication that we were not even going to attempt the Everest Base Camp Trek. After a short taxi ride we arrived at our hotel. In the space of our 20 min flight the travel company had changed all our arrangements. We were now doing a 10-day trek to Annapurna Base Camp.

 

In the hotel room we called home and checked in. We freshened up before meeting Raju in the lobby. Raju took us down to Lake Pokhara. It was very over cast and the mountains were hidden behind the clouds. The lake had lots of colourful wooden boats waiting to take people out on the water or transport them to the temple in the lake. It was a quick trip to the lake before Raju took us out to dinner. We asked a few questions about the hike and if he thought we made the right choice. After dinner we headed back to the room for our last night of comfort because the next day we would be finally putting our walking boots to the test!

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Day 12

After a lovely breakfast in the hotel we packed our duffel bags and headed back down to the lobby. We met our Sherpa who had caught a bus from Kathmandu overnight (8-hour bus ride) to be here this morning. He was a young lad wearing trendy clothes, skinny black jeans and a purple v-neck T-shirt. It was his first hike as a Sherpa. We all got into a mini bus and headed to the police station to collect our permits for the trek. Once all the paper work was done, we began our 2-hour car ride to the start of the trek. By this point we were not fazed by the road works, busses backing up along the edge of cliffs and cows in the middle of the road. We climbed all the way up to the top of a valley then began going down on a incredibly bumpy road. At one point there had been a landslide and a huge bolder was blocking the way. One car at a time had to slowly and carefully drive around it. We finally reached the start of the hike. We bought rope and a plastic sheet to cover our duffel bags. Our Sherpa tied up the duffel bags with the help of some more experienced Sherpa and carried them with the weight on his head. It is a sight to be scene. Raju explained to be a mountain guide you have to have at least 2 years’ experience as a Sherpa beforehand.

With all our bags secure we began. It was not long until the heavens open. Quick pit stop to put on our water proofs and collect our passes for the national park. We walked through a small village then on to a windy road which went up and down. We crossed a river and stopped for lunch. We were so used to eating big meals we had a sandwich each and a can of soda. Such a big mistake for me. I was so full after lunch I struggled to get going again. My day pack was also to heavy for me to carry. The next two hours were long and hot. It was incredibly humid and raining, it was very sweaty with the rain coats on. It was a slow incline all the way up to our first tea room. The scenery was rolling valleys rich green fields with small villages set in to the valley side. We had to climb up through the village we were staying in. It felt like it was never ending steps, but little did I know that tomorrow I would be climbing 1500 steps. Finally, I saw Mike and Raju sat outside a tea house, day one was complete. I sat down MK was laughing as I had steam coming off my head. I was so hot but as soon as I had sat for a few minutes the cold set in. Raju got us some water and a local tea. The tea was delicious and really warmed us up. The tea house was in our first stop of the trek Tikhedhunga. We went to our room which was a dark room with two single beds either side of the room. There were posters on the wall of places around the world. The beds have thin foam strips as a mattress and the bedding is dropped off in your room later. We both had a shower and got ready for the night. It wasn’t as cold as I thought it would be. We didn’t need thermals on. When we came out of our room the clouds had rolled in and the beautiful view had disappeared. We sat on the balcony with other guests. Raju came up to take our order for dinner and our order for breakfast the next morning. The choices for dinner are the same in every tea room. It is a choice between the local Nepalese food and western. MK chose the Nepalese food every night and I was not as brave and ate pizza every single night. I didn’t have to worry about any issues in the toilet area. Raju came back after dinner and gave MK and me a plate of apple and pomegranates. Whilst we tucked into the fruit Raju explained the plan for the next day. The next day was one of the toughest out of the 10 days. We would be walking uphill for 7 hours and conquering 1500 steps. At the top we were told we would have a fancy tea room. The owner of the tea room loved to share his jokes and stories with us about his guests. Once he had finished, we headed to bed. I was a bit worried about bugs so I had a bug proof bed outfit on in bed which consisted of sweat pants tucked into socks, t-shirt tucked into sweat pants and ear plugs. MK was not so fussed just sleeping in his undies!!

 Day 13

It was a early start. I was a bit anxious about the challenge that lay ahead on this day. It would really test my training. Breakfast was great and with a full belly we packed up our bags and set off. There were a few groups walking the same way as us and the whole day we just kept passing them. We soon realized that a few of the groups were like us an had changed their plans as they could not get to Lukla for the base camp Everest trip. The morning was spent slowly making our way up the never-ending steps. They were very uneven which made it hard for me to get into a rhythm. I was super slow but Raju kept saying ‘ slowly, slowly’ ‘bistarai, bistarai’ to us which did keep me going. MK was fine and walked a lot faster then me. We would take breaks as the sun in the morning was incredibility hot. Raju provided us with a cucumber at one of our stops, freshly picked from a farm we were walking through….so fresh and delicious! We passed through marijuana farms as we carried on climbing up through the valley. After lunch we only had 2 hours of walking left. I could not believe it we were nearly there. After lunch I pushed on and kept up with MK and Raju I just wanted to get to the tea room. The village came in view and just like the night before we had to walk up the entire village as our tea room was right on top of the village. I had exerted all my energy on the last stretch of the walk which meant it took me 30 mins to get up to the tea room. It was a big building and it looked more like a hotel. There was lots of construction going on in the village getting all the accommodation ready for peak season. This village seemed like it was built for tourists. This village was popular because of the trek we were doing and because this was the last stop before Poon Hill. Poon Hill is a popular shorter hike. MK was already checked into the room and chilling. I did some stretches as my legs had begun to ache slightly. It was so cold in the room we took off our wet clothes as we waited for the Sherpa to catch up with us. Obviously, this day was so tough for every one and it took our Sherpa another hour to reach our tea room. By this point i was wrapped up in the spare bed keeping warm. We had an ensuite in the room which was very fancy. There was a pair of little shoes in the bathroom for us to wear. We soon realised why when we flushed the toilet and it flooded the bathroom. After a warm shower (my last shower of the hike) we went downstairs. The dining area had a huge fire pit in the middle of it. It was lovely and warm in there and people had all there walking gear hung around it. I began to journal and MK was on his phone. We just relaxed and reflected after a long day of uphill walking. Same routine for dinner, we would eat then the fruit came out and a cup of tea. Raju explained about the next day and taught us how to play a local card game. This card game became very important to us all throughout the rest of the trip.

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Day 14

We were up at 5AM in the pitch black. We would be using our head torches this morning as we did a short hike up to Poon Hill to watch sunrise. We had to bring our big down jackets as it would be cold at the top. It was also our first taste of walking at high altitude. Torches on we started to walk up to the top. It was very busy with lots of other groups going up hoping to catch a glimpse of the mountain range. I again was back to a slow pace and focused on my breathing. We saw a peak for the first time walking up and MK got excited and rushed up to the top which did leave him short of breather due to the high altitude.  Everyone was gathered at the top looking around at all the clouds. I didn’t really know what to expect. Then for about two minutes the clouds parted and a entire mountain range of peaks appeared.  I have never witnessed anything like it in all the traveling I have done. Raju was as excited as we were. He had my camera and was snapping away while explaining to us all the different mountains. We took lots of pictures and soaked up the view. In a blink of an eye the clouds rolled back across and it was gone. We had so much adrenaline from the morning we quickly descended back to the tea room talking about what we just saw. We learnt later on we were very lucky to see the whole mountain range as the weather is very temperamental. A couple of hours later after a feed we were back in the walking boots and heading off for our next 7-hour day. The day began with a steep incline up out of the village and then we walked downhill until lunch time. We walked next to a river the whole way down the valley. Along the way we came across a section of the path covered in small rock formations which from first glance looked like grave stones. Raju explained that hikers staked the rocks on top of each other as a symbol of luck. We walked across a very old looking wooden bridge to our lunch stop. The heavens opened and we did feel a little smug being inside while we watched other hikers get caught in the rain. Well as you probably guessed we started to walk after lunch and the rain retuned in full force. This part of the day we had to climb up a step path which was now slippery and in some small areas had a waterfall hitting your face from the rain bouncing off the rocks. I had a break with some of the Sherpa’s, one of them told me it was his first and last trek. He did not like the walk at all and was exhausted. I noticed he had blood on his clothes, he had been bitten by a few leeches along the way. The rain got heavier and the path got steeper. I decided that not looking down or behind me was my best option for getting to the top. I trekked on until I saw the tea room. Raju as always was waiting for me and as always MK was already in the room. MK did have his first leach on him which we got off and out of our bedroom. We spent the whole night in the dinning hall as the rain continued. There was a huge fire pit covered in clothes drying from the days wet walk. The room kept us nice and warm until bed. I did not shower as MK had spilled my shampoo in the last tea room which meant my hair for the next 8 days took on a life of its own.

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Day 15

In the morning at this tea room we woke up to the clouds parting and an incredible view of the valleys and one mountain peaks called ‘Fish Tail’.

It was still raining when we left the tea room. It was a slow decent as there was lots of mud and slippery surfaces to contend with. We walked through a forest then across a farm until we reached a steep part of the valley and walked down a windy path. The best bit about this walk is you can see where you are walking down to and then the steep climb up waiting for you on the other side. Once at the bottom of the valley we started to climb up again. We had lunch at the top in a tea room and we even saw a line of horses carrying goods up to the villages ahead of us. It was either by person or animal that anything and everything would be transported up to the villages from this point on. We passed a primary school and some children hanging around outside the school. Raju asked them why there were not in school…they just giggled and asked MK and I for chocolate. On this day there was a section of the path which split into two levels I went on the lower level and Raju yelled for me to go back on to the higher one as the ground was weak and it would slide from beneath me. It did scare me a little but also made me thankful to have such a experienced guide looking after us.We were so high at this point all you could see was clouds. Our tea room came into view at the top of the village. It was the best tea room we stayed in. We were told we got the honeymoon suite, which I think meant double bed. They also had a barista machine so for the first time in the trip I had a great coffee half way up a mountain! When we arrived in the tea room there was a bit of panic from people. We later found out a hiker had fallen down a waterfall and died. The mountain police where searching the river for her body. The thought of what happened to this hiker stuck with me the rest of the trip. I also could not work out how she fell and at this point no one knew any more information. It was a terrible tragedy that happens a lot on these mountain tracks. Raju walked us down into the village. Along the way the dogs of the village decided to join us which made my day. Raju told us to wake up early in case the clouds moved over night as at this point in time there was no view. 

Kathmandu Take Two

Day 6

We had a very lazy day. We just chilled out watched some movies in the hotel room. Late morning we ventured out to Thamel for a coffee and some postcards to send home. In just two days we would be starting our hike so we were just trying to relax.

In the evening we met Raju for dinner. Raju led us through Thamel to a restaurant. We were served local Nepalese food and watched a traditional dance show. It was great to get to know our guide Raju. We discussed the hike and he answered any questions we had. Raju has been a guide for 10 years so his knowledge on hiking in the mountains was endless.

Day 7

Today we had a day tour around Kathmandu. We met our guide at the hotel and then she lead us to our driver. Our first stop of the day was The Monkey Temple. The temple was the oldest temple in Kathmandu. It was actually built before Kathmandu existed. As you can imagine there were monkeys everywhere. We walked up to the top where our guide explained the concept behind the Buddhist Temples. She also told us in the earthquake the original temple was the only bit which survived and everything else had to be re built. This temple gave us a great birds eye view of Kathamandu. Our next stop was to visit a real living goddess called a Kumari.

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The Kumari is selected at birth and she lives in a building on the second floor as she is not allowed to touch the ground. People come from all over to see her. A few times a day she will come to the window to give people blessings. Unfortunately when we showed up she was having a nap…she is only 3 years old after all. We did see a photo of her. They are a goddess until they get their first period then they return to the local village and a new Kumari would be selected. Just around the corner from the Kumari was the Royal Palace. There is no longer a royal family in Nepal but the palace is still there and is currently being rebuilt after the earth quake. There was a Hindu festival going through the area we were in. It was a long line of women all dressed in orange and chanting whilst carrying small vase on their head. They were walking on the pavement in bare feet whilst passers by would throw water on there feet to keep them from burning from the red hot pavement. We followed the parade back to our car and ventured on for our last Buddhist Temple of the day.

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Before we had lunch we walked around Boudhanath Stupa. The Temple was surrounded by shops. The first shop we visited sold medicine bowls. The owner of the shop gave us a demonstration on how they work. I sat on a chair and he placed the bowl on my head up side down and began to hit the bowl. The vibrations from the bowl worked there way down through my body giving me a relaxing feeling. He then moved the bowl to my knee and did the same thing the vibrations felt amazing. MK had his turn and the man put the bowl on his chest and back. The next shop we went into sold paintings of the circle of life. Each painting was so detailed and you had to be trained to a certain level to be able to paint the circle of life. Monks would draw them in the sand and it could take weeks to create and at the end of the process they would just destroy it. The detail of the pictures was incredible. The circle of life is about life always changing and how nothing in life remains the same. After checking out the gallery we headed to lunch. At lunch our guide chatted to us about our lives in Australia and she told us about her two children. She then asked us if we would like to visit the Hindu temple and see them do the cremation of the bodies. I immediately was not keen on the idea but MK said we should go as this is why we were here to experience new cultures.

 

 

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The last stop of the day was to visit a Hindu Temple. You can not go inside the temple unless you are Hindu. We had a walk around the grounds of the temple then went around to the back. At the back of the temple is where they cremate bodies and bath them in the river which leads to the Ganges river. It was extremely emotional to watch families say good bye to there loved ones. I did notice other tourists taking photos which I did find very strange. For me it was a moment to take in for yourself and not through a lens. We were watching someones funeral and watching people at their saddest moment. The guide took us back to the hotel for us to enjoy our last night before flying up to Lukla (the start of the Everest Base Camp Trek).

This night we went out for a big carb dinner and then came back to the room to pack our duffel bags. Our day packs had to be 5KG and our duffel bags had to be 15KG and no heavier. It was pretty hard to fit all our essentials in and keep it under 15KG. There was a weighing scale in the lobby of our hotel, we did a few trips to the lobby weighing the bags. We had to get up at 4AM. I was pretty nervous about the flight to Lukla and it took me a while to get to sleep my brain just wouldn’t shut off. Our big adventure was about to begin.

Chitwan National Park.

Day 3 (continued…)

The bus was pretty comfy and we had air conditioning. We were pretty confident we would survive our 8 hour trip. Leaving Kathmandu we slowly made our way through the busy roads, cows and people trying to sell us food through the bus window.  Once we had left the city we drove down a windy mountain road. The edges of the road were just sheer drops down. I was so glad we were on in the inside of the road for most of the journey to Chitwan. About 4 hours in we had a pit stop and some food. I bought some biscuits and MK had some traditional Nepalese food. It was like a Indian veggie samosa. The rest of the journey to Chitwan was on a windy road which followed along side river. There were some pretty narrow bridges we had to cross in the bus and some hairy moments when the bus would over take another bus on a corner. The next stop was in a busy town and all the tourists on the bus got off, but not MK and I we just sat there. We had been told to sit on the bus until the last stop so we did. Maybe we should have used our common sense and got off when all the other tourists did. After the town the bus went out into rural Nepal dropping off the local people. On the last stop we got chucked off by the ticket boy with our bag…this did not look like Chitwan.

 

We stood in a small village surrounded by dirt roads, fields and a few huts. There was a lady who was trying to get MK’s attention and a man stood behind us.  It did not take us long to figure out the lady was just trying to sell something to us or worse. I turned to my phone and saw we where a hour from Chitwan. I called the hotel and gave the phone to one of the local people stood behind us. The hotel asked the villager to flag down a tuk tuk for us to get to the resort. About 10 minuets later a tuk tuk drove through and stopped. Finally we were getting out of this village and heading to the right destination. The tuk tuk driver agreed a price and I showed him the map. We were about to leave when two motorbikes pulled up with men on the back. They got off the bikes and ran up to the tuk tuk window and started to hand us Nokia phones asking us to wait. We realized they were all arguing over who got to drive us. It got a bit intense when more and more villagers started to surround the tuk tuk and they were asking us to get out so they could take us. In the end we just asked the driver to go. A hour later we were in Chitwan national park and at our hotel. The hotel manager was very confused on how we ended up where we did. We showed him our tickets and he explained the bus company we were on sometimes turns into a local bus and you have to change…lesson learnt, always follow other tourists!

We were staying at the Chitwan Village Resort just outside of the main village. Whilst we had some dinner the hotel manager ran us threw our options for our stay. We had one full day in the park. We decided to do the Jungle Trek in the morning, watch the elephant baths and then go for a jungle Safari in a Jeep in the afternoon. That night after a long day of travel we headed to the village to watch the cultural show. The show was a hour of traditional dances put on by the local people. After the show we had a early night as we had a long day of exploring the park the next day.

 

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Day 4.

We woke up early to have breakfast before our jungle guide came to pick us up. Our jungle guide picked us up, a man called Ram. We hopped into the car and drove into the park. The first part of the morning was going down the river in a traditional kayak. The kayaks where trees hollowed out. They were used to transport goods across Nepal until roads were built. When the roads were built the people used the boats for tourists. We climbed inside the tree boat and floated down the river with our guide and a local steering the boat. Only a few seconds into us leaving the river bank we spotted our first crocodile sunbathing. The next 10 minuets were full of crocodiles in the water and on the river bank. The craziest thing was seeing locals picking grass and just meters away there would be a big crocodile chilling on the river bank. We arrived at the Elephant Sanctuary. The sanctuary was not what we expected at all. The elephants where all chained up. We do not support that at all. We just smiled and nodded as our guide took us around, they are very proud of there elephants and how they take care of them. It didn’t seem it was our place to bring up our views on elephants being chained up.

The jungle hike started from the back of the Elephant Sanctuary. Before we began the trek we had a safety briefing from Ram. There were two basic rules…

  1. If you see a Rhino, hide behind a tree
  2. If you see a elephant, run in the opposite direction

It was at this point I became a bit nervous about the next two hours. The grass was long as it was coming to the end of Monsoon season. It was humid and we were walking under the midday sun melting. I did get a leach on me but Ram was quick to remove it off my leg. The jungle was beautiful and we saw a lot of deer. I am relived the only animals we saw on foot was a group of deer. Mike did spot some tiger footprints in the mud as we were coming to the end of the hike. We crossed the river in a wooden kayak again and headed back to the hotel. On the way back they showed us the elephants bathing in the river but again it was not something we really wanted to see as they let tourist climb on them. We had a few hours for lunch and then we met back up with Ram on the Safari Jeep.

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Again it was just MK and I on the safari tour with Ram. We drove through the national park for 3 hours. Ram could spot a deer in the bushes miles away, he had eyesight like a eagle. There was no sign of any Rhinos. After 2 hours of driving around taking in the views we had began to loose hope on seeing a Rhino. We were on our way out of the park when Ram spotted a Rhino. We drove right up to it as it munched on the grass. It seemed un-phased by us approaching it in the jeep. We took a few photos then all of a sudden many other jeeps came roaring up to the Rhino. Ram asked us if we could leave in case the Rhino spooked. We left the jungle on a high seeing a Rhino that close was incredible. It was so big and I was also so relieved we did not see one that morning whilst on foot. Our guide explained they do charge and tourists have died.  Traveling back to the hotel we got caught in a huge down pour. Luckily I had my rain jacket, not so much for MK who got soaked, but we didn’t really care after just seeing the Rhino. On our last night we had dinner in the village centre and had a early night as we had to be up early again for the bus back to Kathmandu.

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Day 5

Our tour company had phoned the hotel to ensure they made sure we got on the right bus after our disaster on they way to Chitwan. We were basically hand held to our seats, which I didn’t mind as I was nervous about us missing something on the way back.

The bus ride back to Kathmandu was pretty terrifying as the driver seemed to love taking over on corners, it was raining and we were on the edge of the road the whole way back. MK went to sleep and I was so jealous as I just wanted to wake up and we would be back in Kathmandu. The last bit we slowly made our way up the mountain road with the drop just getting higher. I tried to just look out the front window and not to the side. I was so relieved when we got back into Kathmandu. The bus pulled up on the street we had left a few days prior. I saw our guide Raju waiting for us. Raju walked us back to the hotel and let us know about the plan for the next day.  We would be having a day to ourselves in Kathmandu and our welcome meal in the evening with Raju.

Blue Mountains Ruined Castle

Over the July long weekend we stayed in Sydney to save some pennies and to do a hike. As you all well know we are training for base camp trek in September. We have already done a few hikes over the past few months. The hike we did this weekend was to the Ruined Castle via The Golden Staircase.

The hike is located in the Blue Mountains just outside of Katoomba. You can actually hike to the Ruined Castle from Katoomba. We started from the Gold Case Staircase car park. It took a hour and  half to drive to the starting location. Setting off a bit later then planned in the morning  the car park was full when we arrived. We ended up parking up the road about 1KM from the carpark. The road down to the carpark is very bumpy and has huge pot holes I would not take a low car down this track, we saw a few people struggling with their cars. The weather was suppose to be dry during the day… do not do this walk in wet weather with the steep inclines it gets slippy.  Be careful and please read all the information provided on the NSW National Park website (link at the bottom of this blog). It had rained the day before making the ground still a bit wet.

The start of the walk takes you 800M down the Gold Staircase. This path is steep and has steep inclines and steps to tackle. There is a railing around most of it but there are parts without so please be careful. MK did slip on our way down as one of the rocks was slippy but luckily he didn’t slide anywhere. The views as you go down are beautiful ,I didn’t get my camera out as I was to busy looking where my feet where going. Once at the bottom of that section you walk 3.5 KM to Ruined Castle. This is a easy path its flat most of the way and no sheer drops. It goes through a rainforest type environment, it looks like how you would picture a enchanted forest as a child. When you reach the Ruined Castle camp site there is a toilet. After the campsite its a 600M steep incline up to the Ruined Castle Rock. There were lots of walkers on this path and on top of the rock . The rock was extremely busy with people having there lunch.

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We completed 10KM in 3 hours but I would advise 4/5 hours as we did not stop for lunch and were rushing to get back. Lucky for us as we got back to the car the heavens opened, so we missed the downfall. If you are a experienced hiker and good with heights you would enjoy this walk for sure. Below is the link to all the official information you need to complete this hike.

Hiking is getting easier for us and our legs are not hurting the next day either which is a great sign. Our hiking boots are getting warn in and no blisters which is another good sign. I have a fear of heights and I have been working to conquer this and control my fear. If you read the Mt Kosciusko blog you will know I froze when I had to climb over a snow bank…well I made sure on this hike I fought through all my fears and had no wobbly legs. I am extremely happy with how I handled myself on this hike as I was way out of my comfort zone height wise but kept a good strong grip on my fear.

information on the walk CLICK HERE

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Refugee Week Aus

I am completing one of the challenges for Refugee Week next week to raise awareness.

I will complete as many of the 20 simple tasks during next week. I’ll also put a photo up of everyone I complete. A few people from work have also joined me on this task.

Why not see if you can complete any?

Link For 20 Simple Tasks

Be sure to let me know if you do!

What to do this weekend (Queens Long Weekend 2018)?

One plus to living in Sydney is there is never a long weekend to far away. The June long weekend for the Queen’s Birthday (we don’t even have this off in England) is just around the corner. I am staying in Sydney for this long week… I decided to put a list of some of my favorite things on this weekend.

Vivid: The light festival is still going over the long weekend. The bridge, the opera house, circular quay, the rocks, the botanical gardens and even more will be lit up with huge displays. Take a night to wrap and wonder around. Also have a go on the hands on exhibits in the rocks.

China Town: The China Town markets are on the Friday night. Go for dinner in one of the great restaurants and if you are feeling brave try out one of the karaoke rooms in China town. Recommendation for food would be the Noodle King.

Lunar Park: Go and be a big kid at the theme park on the harbor. Looking over the lights of vivid as you go on the Ferris wheel or play in the big fun house. There are the old fairground games as well if you are feeling lucky and want to win a big stuffed animal. There are lots of places to grab something to eat as well.

Cockatoo Island: It is your last chance to catch the 21st Beinnale of Sydney art festival. Catch the ferry over and wonder around the exhibits before having a hot drink taking in the city skyline views. There is a really clever mirror exhibit which is very trippy.

Watsons Bay Hotel: This long weekend the famous hotel is holding a Rose brunch. Grab a few of your girlfriends and head over to watch a winter sunset while sipping on some Frose.  Brunch and bottomless rose for two hours….a great way to spend afternoon with the ladies.

Merivale Bars: For all of June Merivale are offering 49% off drinks every day between 5PM-7PM. Check out their website to see were your closest bar is!

Newtown Chili Festival: The event is being held in The Bank. The day will consist of chill BBQ’s, chill cocktails and a chili eating contest. If you think you are brave enough. You will be warmed up that day for sure with all the chili activities planned.

Farmers Market: Inner West has a new farmers market. There will obviously be delicious food on offer throughout the market but they will have live music playing as well. The market has a pasta making demonstration this weekend. They run every Sunday 8AM -2PM and all of the market is under shelter.

Blue Mountains: Hiking in winter is possible. Jump in the care and head up to the mountains to do a bit of hiking. Some great trails to look up would be the Grand Canyon Loop and the Ruined Castle hike. Always prepare for hikes and make sure someone knows where you are heading and don’t hike alone.