Friday, November 29, 2013

Collingwood Laneway Beauty

She's tucked away in a laneway off a side street from Smith Street. I spotted her as I walked around this week's neighbourhood in Melbourne. Amazing!

Thursday, November 28, 2013

Peru And My Wanderlust

As a constant dreamer of travel, and someone who is always on the lookout for the next trip idea to grow as a little seed in my mind, and develop into a serious yearning, and then a plan, I am a sucker for blog posts, travel stories, and footage of potential places. It doesn't take much for me to start to long for some months free ahead to put together a trip to the Central and South Americas, which is definitely a trip I want to take one day. Peru is very high on that list, for all the usual reasons.

The Inca Empire. And Macchu Piccu, of course!

Although this video package from Marca Peru opens up a lot more to me than the hike or train into home of the Incas and Macchu Piccu. A lot more!

The history and cultural aspects of Peru I think I had a vague notion about, but the colours and diversity of this footage makes me want to know more! The ancient culture, and the fact that Peru is home to one of the greatest civiliations of all time, being some 5000 years of history, is mind-boggling!

That emerging shot of Macchu Piccu, though, gets me every time!

I would love to check out the city of Lima, and then as a Loreto school girl here in Australia, I would have to check out the Amazon River from the north-eastern town region called Loreto. Down south I would be keen to get to Cusco, the "birthplace of the world", and gateway to get to Macchu Piccu. I would imagine that kind of rough idea of places would lend me to plenty of unexpected adventures in between!

Live it for real! I want!! Love the hook - totally increases my want to go! I dare you to watch the video, and not be enchanted by Peru! Impossible!

This is a Sponsored Post, but my travel lust, wonderment at the sight of Macchu Piccu, and the dreams of going to South America are entirely my own!

Wednesday, November 27, 2013

Women Are Persons! in Ottawa

Does the word 'Persons' include female persons? This was the questions posed by five Canadian women in 1927 and again in 1928, in a petition to the Canada Supreme Court, with the goal of having women appointed to the Senate. Well, recognised as "persons" first within the Canadian Constitution, then to represent their constituents in Parliament.

These five women became known as The Famous Five, or even The Valiant Five, and really led the way in Canada, and indeed the former British Empire, for women's rights and recognition.

I came across their statues at Parliament Hill in Ottawa on my visit last year, and have since read up a little about their plight, and backgrounds.

The 5 included Emily Murphy, who was the first female judge in the British Empire, being appointed Magistrate in the Edmonton Juvenile Court. Nellie McClung was a teacher, a social worker, and elected onto the Alberta legislature. Irene Parlby was the second woman in Canada to hold a ministry position, and also had worked with the Red Cross during World War I.

Louise McKinney was the first women elected onto the Legislative Assembly of Alberta, which was also the first woman in Canada and the British Empire. Henrietta Edwards was an advocate for working women, served with the Red Cross also, and working within property law to protect women and children and their rights.

Eventually, in 1929, the Court decided that yes, in fact, women were "Persons", and the decision became known as the 'Persons Case'.

Four months after the ruling, the first women was appointed to the Senate, although this was none of the five that led the campaigning.

The work of these five women, regardless of their personal views on other matters which seems to be a focus in the reading I have done about them, clearly paved a path for women's rights in Canada and the Commonwealth. And their personalities seem to be captured in this lasting monument to their role.

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

Great View Of Melbourne City

I was out tonight, at the Cullen Hotel for a Nuffnang blogger event, so I don't have a proper post....but this was the view I had! I think it could be one of the most perfect views of the Melbourne skyline I have seen!

Wow! Just when I think I couldn't love my city any more.....!

Monday, November 25, 2013

Holi - The Festival Of Colour

One of the highlights, and most anticipated dates of our India trip, fell on my last full day, being 27th of March this year - Holi. A Hindu religious festival and a celebration of the beginning of Spring, it's a national holiday and something I had wanted to experience for some time.

Holi is where coloured powder, and water, is thrown at each other on the streets, and everyone is fair game!

We were in Delhi for the day, and after having plotted out the clothes we could each throw out at the end of the day, and gathered our courage and went out to get amongst it.

Being a group of white tourists, especially with a few women in the group, meant we were popular targets for a "Happy Holi", and being smeared with coloured powder on our foreheads. Being sprayed with water, or coloured foam, or a variety of other coloured paints, and being dumped with water from the balconies above. All in fun, mostly, but it's certainly not for the faint hearted!

The girls in our group were particular targets, with touches to the face, the attempt at a full on hug, and then the surprising grope. It's didn't take long for us all to figure this out, and start keeping a distance between ourselves and the Holi well-wishers.

I certainly would not have done this alone, or in a smaller group. The hassling does go too far at times, and being in our big group protected us all, really.

But being out to enjoy the festival, it IS like a massive water fight as kids, with colour flying everywhere. The progression of our photos and colour coats was pretty awesome. We gave as good as we got, buying more coloured powders along the way, and painting the foreheads of anyone who would let us. It was a lot of fun!

I braved my camera, and it survived, and I managed to get plenty of photos. I took minimal things with me, and we only ventured into the small laneways of the bazaar not too far from our hotel.

We made our way to a central point in the bazaar, and having had enough of the attention and running low on powder, we decided a rooftop drinks break was in order. We managed to find a bar that smuggled beer to us, and had a lovely session away from the action, where we got to marvel and laugh at each other's colours. And for the first time, get a proper look at ourselves!

My, were we all a sight! Such a laugh, and so fun to be part of!

Sunday, November 24, 2013

Aussies Up 1-0 - The Home Ashes Series

I have just made it to the airport after four days of cricket, and managing to see the last wicket of our first Aussie win in what feels like forever - and more importantly, a convincing first Test win in this home Ashes series.

The 'Gabba test is the first for the Summer, and what a cracking, and frankly unexpected start!

I flew up on Wednesday afternoon, and B and Jess arrived over the evening, ready for Day 1 the next day. We booked an Air BnB apartment, which was easy, and worked well for us.

Meeting Ben and Simon for a breakfast drink, before making our way to our seats, the atmosphere was electric, as it should be at the beginning of an Ashes series.

The Aussies batting first, there were many stumbles at the crease, and some worries returned from the series mid year. Some steadying from Haddin and Johnson had the day ending on a good enough note. The score was 8 for 273.

Jess and Andrew joined us for Day 2, ticking off the Test venue for them, as we showed them the full experience. Across the road for beers at the German Club at Lunch - and then amazingly a cracking day of Aussie bowling. At one point the passage of play had resulted in England offering 6 for 9! Unbelievable!

England all our for 136, and then the Aussie openers had a happy little run making session, with Warner closing the day on 49.

Today and yesterday started with a walk across the Story Bridge, taking in the city sight, before getting to the 'Gabba.

Yesterday gave us Aussie run joy, with a century from Warner, then Clarkie, and a half ton from Haddin. A whopping 560 runs ahead of England, for the last innings.

This morning we arrived at the ground knowing we just needed 8 good balls. And the rain to hold off. We got the wickets, just in time for me, despite two rain delays, one storm with thunder and lightening, hail and sideways rain. And an Ashes win!

What an exciting feeling. The team seemed more together than they have been for some time, and the Summer is looking very good!

Many of the Waving The Flag family had traveled up or across, or even internationally, for the match, and these last 4 days have been amazing, hanging out with some of my very favourite people.

A win in Brisbane is always a great way to start, and we are looking forward to the next  in less than 2 weeks.

Saturday, November 23, 2013

Project 52: Sunday Afternoon

This Sunday Afternoon was my birthday, so I put together a day of treats within Melbourne city. The afternoon found me at the National Gallery of Victoria, with a glass of pinot gris and a couple of flavoured macarons overlooking the wall of water, with Nicole. This was after wandering through the Art Deco Fashion exhibit, and checking out the Disarm! musical performance. A lovely afternoon!

This post is part of Project 52 with Jess from FuShMuSh.

Friday, November 22, 2013

Luna Park, Melbourne

I can't actually remember actually visiting Luna Park in Melbourne before. Having been past it a gazillion times, I couldn't recall actually going in and experiencing it for real. This I fixed when Chrystal was in Melbourne visiting, and I played guide for a day or two.

Walking through under the teeth of that iconic face sitting in prime position in St Kilda, we took in the rides and smells and layout. Then we joined the line for the Scenic Railway, for our ride along the rattly, ricketty tracks all around the complex. This ride was faster and thrilling in bits, a little more than I expected!

Thursday, November 21, 2013

Mojito Masterclass

Being invited along as a blogger to learn how to make mojitos to a Masterclass was something too good to pass up. Finding that it was being held at Fitzroy's new piece of Cuba, Los Barbudos was

We learned from the enthusiastic bar staff the history of rum, including tastings from some of their favourite bottles. They have 91 bottles of different rum in their bar to date, and their passion for the white and brown liquor from different select parts of the world was clear.

They then got down to talking about the mojito, and explained that as research prior to opening their bar, they did a trip to Cuba to experience the real thing. Their telling of stories took me right back to the world of free pour rum, dancing, and Mikey's bar in Havana.

Explaining that the Cubans keep their stable drink pretty simple, rather than the elaborate concoctions some bars in Melbourne have made them, they took us through the steps.

The finest Sugar available is first, and then fresh lime juice. Some ice and mint at this point, before using a muddler - a tiny baseball bat here, keeping in theme with the bar - to break out the mint flavour.

A significant swig of Havana Club Rum, before topping up with Soda Water. Mint on the top again, for garnish. Just like they they do in Cuba.

I paired up with Marlee from String Of Events to make ours, working through the steps. Following the recipe, or there-abouts, we produced a pretty authentic mojito, from my memory.

Mingling with bloggers from Melbourne, and playing with the baseball props of the bar, we also sampled another version of the rum cocktail, with honey, which was the Canchanchara and delicious!

This rum bar is fast becoming a favourite of mine, and the obvious passion for rum by the boys behind the bar make it even more so!

Wednesday, November 20, 2013

Top 5: Places Of Worship Around The World

Churches, mosques and temples are always places which feature heavily on a tourist guide, and for good reason. They are such important spiritual and cultural places for a city, and for a community, and you can learn a lot about the people from a place by walking through their place of worship.

This post has actually been an idea I have had in drafts on the blog for some time, with a firm list that I had jotted down. But since then, I have been to India and Burma! And so now, as I come to write it for National Blog Post Month so many options for a Top 5 come to mind! It's much harder to decide on five than I had first thought!

Sagrada Familia in Barcelona is and surely will always be number 1. Still in construction, having begun in 1882, I have seen the progress through photos of when my three sisters have visited at different intervals since I went in 2006. I have the romantic idea of going back to see it as a finished piece - which was going to be for my 40th, but based on current completion expectations, it may be closer to my 50th now!

There is so much more to it than I could explore in 2006, but then based on the plans, there is still so much more to be added. Truly remarkable church, and fest of art and architecture.

Walking into the Hagia Sophia in Istanbul in Turkey will always stay in my memory as one of the most breathtaking church and mosque. This building has actually served many, built in 537, it served as an Eastern Orthodox Cathedral, then a Roman Catholic church, before it was then converted to a mosque in 1453, eventually becoming a museum as it is today in 1935. Definitely number 2 for this list.

But then, things get a little tricky! So many options from the places I have been (and I am not even contemplating places I have not been to!).

The Angkor complex, and iconic central Wat, can't not be on this list. Cambodia is one of my favourite place in the world, and crawling over this temple will always be something special I have done, even though I have visited three times now! It's still incredible, and there are always new aspects to see, different temples to visit.

The Golden Temple in Kyoto was another place of worship that sprung to mind fairly instantly. My visit there in 2005 still brings memories of peace and stillness, walking down to the waters edge through the wooded pathway.

Sticking to images of gold, Amristar in India and it's Golden Temple also needs to be on this list within the Top 5. Walking around the pool, and watching the people come to this most important Sikh temple was seriously awe inspiring. And so, so beautiful.

The spots around the world that I have been agonising about whether to slot them into this list include St Anne's Cathedral in Belfast with spire through the middle of it. I have entertained the notion of including the bizarre White Temple in Chiang Rai also comes to mind, and then needed to refrain from adding a host of individual temples we discovered in Bagan.

Of course, as an atheist and sports nut, it kind of goes without saying that the Melbourne Cricket Ground would be my personal preference as a most important and significant place of worship! For footy, for cricket. For hopes and dreams. For feats of strength and courage!

I sure there are a heap of holy places that I am missing, or forgetting through the strong memory or experience of these listed above.

What would yours be? Or where have I not included, that I should have?

Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Hellenic Republic

The Greek neighbourhood restaurant by MasterChef's Celebrity Chef George Calombaris had been a long recommended, and desired dinner destination, so when the family was to see off Katie to her UK adventures, this was the venue picked. Hellenic Republic sits in a nonchalant area of upper Lygon Street, not something you stumble upon, but make a point of getting to.

I joined the table as the start of our banquet was served, with olives and pita bread with taramosalata, Tyri saganaki with peppered figs, and kalamari. I was given a quick run down, and regardless of the pronunciation and our memory of the items on the plate, they were delicious!

We had ordered the Dexiosis banquet, where each serve was delivered to the table, to share.

Next was the seafood delights, with grilled fish (swordfish), the scallop skordalia crusted, and a Cypriot salad that had us all swooning. Look at those pomegranates!

The kitchen is open for view, and buzzing with frenetic activity. Our servers were cheeky and attentive, and somehow guessed why we were out for dinner together as a family - we must have hinted at reservation, surely! Chats about family, family position, and who was what, kept us enchanted and delighted.

Next serving made us quiet again, with the meat of the day, roasted potatoes, a cabbage salad, and tzatziki. Oh! So good!

Amazingly, we had room for dessert, although frankly, I don't know how! The selection was the chilled rice pudding, which was lovely. Our lactose intolerant member got to have the Greek doughnuts with walnuts and honey, and we each had a sample and were a little envious!

A perfectly lovely family dinner, and send off for our little one. This Greek spot is worth the drive to get to!

Monday, November 18, 2013

The Enchanting Jantar Mantars

Jantar Mantar is supposedly "abracadabra" in Hindi, and the sites of the same name in Delhi and in Jaipur which we visited certainly created a lot of mystery and alluded to a lot of magic.

In Delhi, the instruments of one of Maharaja Jai Singh II's five observatories around India are red, and magical. Measuring all matter of celestial things, these structures were built in 1725, and are reportedly bang on with accuracy with what they are measuring.

The Jantar Mantar in Jaipur is just next to the City Palace, and was built in 1728, are cream sandstone, and include each of the astrology signs which points line up to the stars.

Like a grown up playground, each instrument, many huge in size, can be walked around, or through, and the wonder is hard not to get caught up in. They are beautiful, and yet a world of mystery.

These structures in Jaipur have been restored and thus, are the best preserved. They have made the World Heritage List. Each one has the description of what it is measuring, and how, even if these are pretty complicated. You can take a guide to walk you through each one, if you have the time.

It's fascinating that such space and massive structures were devoted to the stars and the movement of the sun and moon, in such important places within each city. A complete enchantment of peace and wonder.

Sunday, November 17, 2013

Project 52: Sunday Lunchtime

On this particular Sunday I was on the way home to Ballarat to visit all of my remaining possessions, to swap out some work clothes, some weekend clothes, and collect some other bits and pieces I wanted from my storage room at my long suffering mother's house. I was changing locum roles the next day, so needed some more corporate attire, and I was getting bored with some of the other bits of the contents of my pack!  But I needed to eat before I hit the road, and discovered that the location of Mr Burger was on the way! Perfect!

My love of the food truck craze continues! The truck was parked alongside Edinburgh Gardens, so I got to sit out and enjoy it. This was my first feed from Mr Burger, and it was pretty hearty and very good. Perfect for the drive down and back on the Western Highway.

This post is part of Project 52 with Jess from FuShMuSh.

Saturday, November 16, 2013

The Rubble Of Christchurch

Seeing the state of the Cathedral in the centre of town in Christchurch in August was pretty confronting. It's in ruin. That gorgeous spire toppled in the force of the earthquake in February 2011, and that gaping space where is was smacks you in the face with the reality of a city still far from rebuilding.

Walking around the city centre, you could be mistaken that you have wondered into a modern day ghost town - there is such limited activity, very little people, and not much is functioning and open.

Many building facades are still being held up with shipping containers, as funds and the engineering expertise is gathered to repair and rebuild.

There is also a mall in town, next to the actual mall, set up in containers, so that businesses can continue to trade - Re:Start is a genius pop up shopping precinct which is such a symbol of resilience for this city.

I had thought the idea of a touristy exhibit about the quake could be in bad taste when I first heard about it, but after walking through the streets to Re:Start, I decided to visit to get a better understanding of these 2 quakes that happened in a tight time space, and has effectively brought this city to a standstill.

Quake City steps through the experiences of the quake, the loss, the damage, and the aftermath. It made it the sights out in the street make sense, and honoured the lost 185 lives in the Feb 2011 quake. Personal accounts, pieces recovered.... Incredibly sad, and powerful displays, I spent a bit of time here taking it all in.

Back out into the streets, I continued walking around the town centre, getting a view of the ruins.

Amid all this rubble and sad devastation, there is hope - and art! Every other corner has a community arts project, bringing colour and life to an area stripped of so much. 

Friday, November 15, 2013

Dan Sultan In Castlemaine

The temptation to see Dan Sultan play the collections of songs from his forthcoming album again was too hard to resist once a show was announced at the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine. Such a gorgeous, and intimate feel venue, and he also has a special connection to the town, which makes the show even more heartfelt.

Michelle and I had dinner at The Western in Ballarat, before we drove across. The Western has been done up recently, with stripped back walls, stylised fittings, and an extensive menu.

The drive took me back to the old work days of covering this countryside, with rain, a rainbow, and then the sunset colours over the countryside.

Joining the standing crowd, as the seated patrons finished off the final dish of their meals, Kali joined us, and we sampled the wine from the bar.

Once Dan took the stage he was so talkative, and confessed that he was nervy, which made him more chatty. He introduced the room to his grandmother, in the audience, and told story after story about each song for the night.

The two sets, broken with a break for all, opened with Caroline from his first release, before he shared a host of new tracks he has newly recorded.

Just one song from Get Out While You Can, he performed Old Fitzroy at keys, and poured so much emotion into it, it felt like everyone was holding their breath. Amazing.

He returned for a final song for an encore, the newly released Under Your Skin. So edgy and different to his other tracks.

I cannot wait for this new album, but have to until early next year according to the press Dan has done in the past week.
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