Be Back Whenever


“A few of our favorite things …”

Now that the trip is coming to an end, we reflected over a gin and tonic about the good and the bad of the last 8 months. For what it’s worth …

  • Favorite “normal” places we visited – Seychelles (Mark);  Split (Susan)
  • Favorite adventure – Rwanda trekking with gorillas
  • Least favorite “adventure” – hike across Le Curieuse Island in the Seychelles
  • Least favorite town – Bundi, India
  • Least favorite “things” during the trip – Food poisoning (Susan); Bad tour guide in Bundi and Kota

Best place for a drink

  • Beer in Serengeti
  • India Pacific train
  • Catamaran to MONA in Hobart
  • Beer while watching the total lunar eclipse from the rooftop in Bundi
  • Wine on the twilight sailing yacht in Fremantle

Best place we stayed (Other than with friends)

  • Meridien in the Seychelles with an oceanfront room
  • Sheraton in Koh Samui – best A/C of all!
  • Meridien in Koh Samui with a plunge pool

Worst Hotel – Bundi Vilas Halewi

Best Hotel Lounge – Bangkok Westin

Best flight – Munich to Bangkok in First Class on Thai Air

Worst travel day – Port Macquarie to Hobart – 4 hours of flying time turned into a 14 hour trip

Best restaurant

  • Steak at the Jail House Inn, Launceston
  • Mexican food at Terminal 21, Bangkok after 5 months of no Mexican food

Best restaurant view – Indique in Jodphur

Worst food – Colonel’s Retreat, Delhi – Susan’s food poisoning location!

Worst roads – India, hands down!

Rudest person on the trip – UK couple on the train in India

Weirdest person we ran into on the trip – the Indian guy who stared at us for 4 hours on the Indian train

“Glad it wasn’t me” event – Aileen not getting her luggage for 5 days on the safari

Great coincidence –  Aileen didn’t have her phone charger and she used her phone to take pictures. Mark had his camera since he used his phone for pictures.  He loaned Aileen the camera but didn’t have the charger for it.  Annie from Tennessee had a charger that fit the camera! All was well in the photography world.

Unexpected experiences

  • Twilight sailing in Fremantle on a yacht and dinner at the Fresh Water Yacht Club
  • Seeing 2 kills in Serengeti by 3 lionesses. They killed 2 wildebeests
  • Landing in Mwanza, Tanzania, to clear immigration leaving Tanzania
  • Food Walks in Delhi and Jaipur

Little too close for comfort – the airline we flew in Tanzania crashed a plane into Ngorongoro Crater National Park just a few days after we used them

Illnesses – 4 colds (2 each) and 1 case of food poisoning and 1 sprained wrist

New friends and acquaintances

  • Avijet – Indian in Ranthambore NP from CA – works for EAS
  • Ana – met in Split – anesthesiologist from Singapore/Malaysia/Cambridge
  • Nora and Juhis – Finland met in Seychelles
  • Rob and Justin; Sonya and Graham – Australians met in Split
  • Peter from Melbourne via Rob and Justin
  • Gayle and Mark – Sydney
  • Margarida – Sydney Sheraton clerk from Portugal
  • Ben and Belinda – from Geneva – met in Golden Monkey trek
  • Uta – from Germany met in Tanzania
  • Ryan from Malta – met in Edinburgh
  • Clifford – from Madagascar – doing laundry in Bangkok
  • Suchin Shah – from South Carolina – sells RV’s
  • Per and Lise – from Norway
  • Debbie and Tim – from London

No devils spotted in Tasmania

Tasmanian Devil warning sign

A slightly marked up warning sign for Tasmanian Devils. The creatures are nocturnal. These go along with the koala, kangaroo, and wombat warning signs.

After the travel day from hell, we started 7 days of exploring part of Tasmania – Hobart, Port Arthur, and Launceston.  Hobart is a lovely little town right on the water with a big port. Every Saturday, the Salamanca Market with local products and arts is held on the waterfront and it was packed!  We figured the entire population of Hobart (about 220,000) was there but then we found out that the Royal Caribbean Cruise ship, Innovation of the Seas, with 5000 passengers was in port.

At the Hobart marina, we found a police boat named for Mark. Wickham, Australia is way up in the northwest near Broome.

sculpture of women prisoners in Hobart

This sculpture was on the waterfront where the convicts from England arrived. Some were women and children.

After our shopping excursion, we went on a search for a few microbreweries. Mind you … this was a beautiful Saturday afternoon about noon when our walk started.  We found T-Bone Microbrewery about 1:15 it doesn’t open until 2 PM.  Why would you waste a perfectly good beer day by not opening?

Lots of stores close in Hobart about 2 PM on Saturday and are not open at all on Sunday.  It was a holiday weekend and pretty quiet except for the cruise people!  This didn’t give us much hope of finding an open micro-brewery but we ambled down the street to Shambles (They were open!) and had some pretty good beer.

The taps in Shambles Brewery

Shambles Brewery taproom in Hobart, Tasmania

Taproom in Hobart Brewery

The bar in Hobart Brewery

The next day, Sunday, off we walked to Hobart Brewery, another brewery with a great location by the cruise port in a big red barn on a large lot.  They don’t take advantage of any of this – only open on Sunday afternoon for a few hours, no music, not even any snacks.  The co-founder and head brewer is from Colorado and you would think he’d have a few business ideas for the brewery – as in having more than beer there!

Then there’s the whole issue of brewery paraphernalia – as in not much if any at all!  Mark loves t-shirts but try as he might, craft brewery t-shirts were hard to find.  Most of the breweries we visited in Australia could take a few marketing lessons from U.S. craft brewers – t-shirts, glasses, bottle openers.

Many restaurants in Hobart had a line on their menu “10% Surcharge on Saturday and 15% surcharge on Sunday and holidays”.  We learned that restaurant servers get paid more if they work on Saturday, Sunday, or holidays and the restaurants want to cover their costs.

MONA ferry with champagne

MONA is the Museum of Old and New Art in Hobart. We took the ferry to get there. You can pay more for the Posh Pit seating and enjoy champagne and coffee on the 25 minute trip each way. The coffee was in the morning. On the way back, we only drank champagne. The museum has lots of interesting art to accompany the architecture.

Our Tuesday excursion was to MONA – Museum of Old and New Art – in Hobart.  We took the 25-minute ride and then tackled the 99 steps UP from the dock to the museum.

MONA is an interesting art museum to say the least! One piece of art was a guy with tattoos as a piece of art.

Tuesday morning we left Hoabrt, after we picked up a car at the Avis office. We headed out of town after a few times around the block and around the round-about (The Google map lady is less than useful with 3 lanes of traffic heading into a roundabout.) on the way to Port Arthur Historic Site.  This is the site of a British prison for convicts in the 1800’s. It’s a large site and it’s easy to spend an entire day there with various talks and tours.

Port Arthur prison

Port Arthur Historical Site – one of the main prison buildings. The scenery looks a lot like West Virginia/Western Maryland minus the water. The roads are equally winding and hilly in places.

Until we arrived at the Historic Site, we thought the Port Arthur Shootings happened in the town of Port Arthur. The shootings that led to complete revamp of Australia’s gun laws happened at the little café on the Historic Site   Harry who’d we met at the Twilight Sail in Perth was at the Port Arthur Historic Site on the day of the shooting. He wanted wine with lunch and didn’t stay at the Café when they didn’t sell wine. This was the only reason he missed being at the shooting.  To celebrate and remember, he drinks a glass of wine very day for lunch.

After Port Arthur we retraced some of our path and then headed north to Launceston with a stop at Ross – 42 degree latitude marker, Wool Centre, Bridge built by convicts.  This part of Tasmania has very little traffic – more sheep than cars or people.

The bridge was built by convicts in Ross, a small country village. Ross sits on the 42nd parallel SOUTH of the equator.

Chocolate Factory sign

How could we not stop at the Chocolate Factory? Yes, we bought some.

Day 1 in Launceston had us driving to Low Head along the east side of the Tamar River to visit the Low Head lighthouse and Pilot Station.

Low Sound Lighthouse

Low Sound Lighthouse overlooking the Bass Strait. Penguins live near here but we didn’t see any during the day.

Mark and Susan

Another one of spectacular selfies – proof we made it to the Bass Strait.

We crossed the Tamar River and drove down to Green’s Beach to say we’ve been to the Bass Strait. The tide was out; the beach is deep and wide.

Wines for Joanie

On the way back to Launceston, we drove through some of the Tasmanian wine region and made a stop at Wines for Joanie since Susan’s Mom is Joan.

After 3 days in Launceston, I directed Mark on a different route to get back to Hobart to fly on to Melbourne.

Tasmanian Devil scuplture with suitcases

This sculpture is in the Hobart airport near luggage claim.

At the Hobart airport, Susan’s bags were swabbed for gun powder along with 2 other peoples’ bags – all using the same swab. What was the security lady going to do when it came back positive?  She’d used the swab on at least 8 different bags!