Coronavirus has brought our travelling to a halt!
We have decided to come "home" (whatever that means) to the Sunshine Coast in Queensland until this blows over. We are in Caloundra for a few weeks until we move to a slightly longer-term situation at Alexander Headland, where we will wait to see what happens in the next several months.
It’s carnival season around Caleta de Vélez, Spain, where we are house-sitting. I went to the carnival at a nearby town, Vélez Malaga, for the local experience.
The carnival consists of local people dressing up in imaginative and outlandish costumes and dancing in a parade along the streets – it’s a lively and colourful show!
Tenerife, the largest of the Canary Islands, is a major tourist destination for northern Europeans and Spaniards (The Canary Islands are part of Spain).
While most of the tourists head for the south coast, a major secondary concentration is at Puerto de la Cruz, on the north coast.
Here are our house-sitting pets from 2019!
They are a more conventional bunch this year, with no farm animals – they are virtually entirely dogs and cats, with just one picture there of fish in a tank. Usually I wouldn’t bother adding a picture of fish (the interaction isn’t deep), and there were other fish that I haven’t included, but for our house-sit in London the fish were the only pets that had to look after!
As a sub-tropical Australian, I get nervous if sunlight falls on my eyes or face for any length of time.
Obviously, the best solution for this problem is to wear a hat when I'm out in the sun, and the best sort of hat to travel with is a floppy hat!
I love watching flamenco performance. While there’s good flamenco at home in Australia, I’m now in the home of flamenco – Andalusia, in southern Spain, so it’s great to get to see it here.
We’ve landed in a good location for flamenco here in Aguadulce – there is an intimate flamenco venue here in the entertainment precinct next to the harbour; it’s called Entre Flamencos del Puerto.
Churros are a favourite snack all over Spain. They are so popular that there is a specific type of shop for them: a 'churreria'.
Generally, I'm not big on churros - deep-fried lumps of sweet dough are not my sort of thing, even when they are made in Spain. However, churros are part of Spanish culture, and Lonely Planet particularly recommends Churreria Manolo in the La Chanca barrio of Almería, so we decided to give it a go.
We are currently house-sitting a little apartment and a cat in Aguadulce, in southern Spain. It’s a nice long house-sit (two months) so there's plenty of time to settle in and really get to know the area. Aguadulce is primarily a tourist town that relies on its long and wide beaches and calm clear Mediterranean water to attract vast summer crowds from northern Europe, the United Kingdom, and Russia.
One of my favourite aspects of travel is photography, and I’ve had a travel-photography disaster!
I was taking photos while waiting for a ferry at the harbour in Torno on Lake Como in Northern Italy, when I slipped on a slimy rock. I came down really hard on my backside – hard enough to jar my teeth! I didn’t drop my camera, but it nevertheless hit the rocks just a bit too hard for some of its more delicate internal mechanism, and now it doesn’t work.
I’ve recently travelled from Sydney to London, via Tokyo, on an aeroplane. That’s a 10 hour flight and then a 12.5 hour flight, with a one-night stopover in Tokyo to break the long journey.
I was convinced to wear flight socks for the first time, for this journey. That’s because I’m getting older, which is annoying, but a good thing to do, considering the alternatives.
I’m on my way to a visit to Scotland, and to house-sit in Europe.
In my preparations I made sure that I had travel adaptors for the United Kingdom and Europe. But I've realised at the last moment that I’ve forgotten about my stop-overs in Japan in both directions, and, unfortunately, I've discovered that Japan has a power outlet issue that makes it difficult to use a travel adaptor!
We’re on our way to London to travel on to visit Scotland and to do some house-sitting in Europe.
We’re travelling with Japan Airlines, which means changing flights in Tokyo, so we’re having a short stopover there to give us a break. The stopover is more than just a way to endure a long flight – it will give us a little taste of a place that will be very different from our main destinations.
A British friend of mine is coming to Melbourne, Australia, soon, for a conference, and she asked me for suggestions for things that she should see and do while she is here. I put this list of things together for her, plus some general advice on getting around – it’s not definitive, or even the most popular recommendations for Melbourne, but they’re my personal favourites.
Sydney is surrounded, even enclosed, by a vast area of mountainous wilderness. This wilderness is divided into several national parks, the best known of which is the Blue Mountains.
I've flown over the Blue Mountains many times, usually coming in to or leaving from Sydney. I've always been impressed with this expanse of rugged mountains, bush, steep cliffs, and deep canyons, that’s so close to a big city, and I’ve always harboured the idea of visiting and bushwalking in some of this amazing environment.
We are currently travelling from Hobart to a house sit that starts in Canberra.
Whenever you fly out of Tasmania to go to Canberra you’re almost always going to fly to either Melbourne or Sydney on the way, so, as we had a few days spare, we decided to stop over in Sydney. I haven't been to Sydney for a few years so it's a nice opportunity to have a look around again; plus, we're coming here later in the year for another house sit, so we'll meet the house owners while we're here.
Kunanyi/Mt Wellington is a big part of the soul of Hobart – It’s 1270 metres high, and only eight kilometres from the centre of the city, so it looms over the city, and is visible from just about any part of it.
Our house-sit in Lenah Valley is right under the mountain, so we came up with the idea of travelling to the top (there’s a road right up to the pinnacle) and walking back down through the bush to our house-sit.
Last week school students all over the world went on strike to protest the lack of action on climate change. The world's young people are facing life on an Earth that previous generations have severely degraded; the problem is well understood and the effects are so easily observed, there's no excuse for inaction.
While the protest was run by the students, adults were welcome to come along as “supporting adults”, so we went to the protest that was held here in Hobart, Tasmania.
After being away for about six months I am back in Hobart, Tasmania, again for another house-sit, this time in Lenah Valley, in Hobart’s northern suburbs.
We’ve spent our first night in a B and B in Hobart city while waiting for our house-sit to start, so I've had a chance to have a good walk around some of my favourite places in Hobart (I have a lot of favourite places in Hobart): Sullivan’s Cove, Salamanca Place, and Battery Point.
One of the great things about house-sitting is that you are in an area long enough to cross paths with some locally held events. Recently we cross paths with the National Penny-Farthing Championships, which are held in Evandale, Tasmania, not far from our current house-sit.
There are penny farthing races held throughout the day – these bikes are crazy things to watch racing!
Local markets are one of our favourite ways of interacting with local people as we travel around house-sitting. Yesterday we visited the Liffey Valley Markets in northern Tasmania. To complement our trip to the markets, we had a look to see what else was in the area, and we found that there are some bushland reserves that looked worth a visit.
It turned out to be a great day with lovely experiences and beautiful Tasmanian rural and bush scenery.
Bridestowe Lavender Estate in the north of Tasmania is one of Tasmania's most popular tourist attractions, attracting visitors from all over Australia and the world. It’s especially popular with Chinese visitors, since visits to the farm by a famous Chinese model and the Chinese president.
We visited recently and thoroughly enjoyed wandering through the rows of lavender!
2019 is here! And I'm looking forward to another year with travelling and house-sitting.
I've spent a major part of 2018 travelling and house-sitting around Australia and New Zealand, and house-sitting really means pet sitting, so I’ve looked after many different animals during the year. This picture shows most of those pets (there's a few more odd ones such as some extra chickens and the occasional fish that I haven't added).
As with most travel destinations, visitors to Tasmania, especially those who are on a tight time budget, head for the well-known attractions such as Cradle Mountain, Freycinet National Park (including Wine Glass Bay), and Maria Island. These are top places on the typical traveller’s ‘must do’ list for good reasons – they are all beautiful places that you actually should see.
Of course, Tasmania has many more beautiful places on offer that are also very much worth visiting – one of my favourites of these is Rocky Cape National Park.
A large part of central northern Tasmania has rich, red, volcanic soil. Much of this beautiful soil is farmland that produces a range of agricultural products including various crops and dairying.
One of the crops commonly grown here is flowers, especially tulips in the spring. Now, in the middle of summer, the flowers that are here are poppies, grown for their opiates.
If you have ever done a Walking tour of Melbourne you would probably have visited Hosier Lane to see the street art – graffiti-style murals on the buildings of this little back street.
After walking around Hobart many times over the last couple of years I thought I knew it pretty well, but today I was surprised by a pocket of great street art!
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