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Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts
Showing posts with label holidays. Show all posts

Wednesday, January 04, 2012

The holidays are here, and for many women that means that the to-do lists are seemingly endless. Not only do we have our normal everyday tasks, such as running the kids to school, cleaning, cooking, and grocery shopping, but we also have additional tasks such as gift shopping, home decorating, and even writing that annual Christmas letter.

Although the holidays are a busy time, it is still important for every wife and mother to take time for herself – for her own sanity's sake and for the well-being of others around her. Because we all know that if mom's not happy, then no one is. So if you are finding yourself wound a little tight this holiday season, give yourself a break and do one, or a couple of the following for yourself:

Hit the Salon

There is almost nothing better than getting a great cut and a fabulous manicure and pedicure to match. If you are finding yourself feeling a little frazzled, pull up Anywho's reverse phone number finder, find the closest salon near you, and book an appointment ASAP. Having that time to be pampered will definitely ease your mind, and will get you looking great for when you are ready to take on the next task ahead:

Go on a Date

If sitting alone isn't a good way for you to de-stress, take a night out with your hubby. There is a good chance that both of you haven't got to spend adequate time together during the holidays, so taking the time to have an intimate evening together can be just what the both of you need to unwind.

Take a Ladies' Night

There is no doubt that you aren't the only woman in your circle of friends that is stressed from holiday planning and preparation. Instead of just taking a night to yourself, consider blowing off some steam with a few close girlfriends and having a ladies' night. Either you can all get dressed up and go out, or avoid the cold weather by sending the kids and hubbies away and having a good ol' fashioned slumber party fully equipped with chick flicks and cocktails at someone's home.

The holidays are hectic. Friends and family members are always dropping by or needing to be visited, there are Christmas cookies to bake, and endless shopping that must be done. Although the holidays are often stressful, they are also often a time of great joy. Just make sure to give yourself some time to enjoy the holidays so that you too can look back with fond memories.

~ Guest Post ~

Monday, January 18, 2010

There is something about being on holidays that messes with the space-time continuum.

1. Time goes waaay to quickly.

2. Alarm clocks become increasingly redundant because for some reason I decided that 3pm was a good time to wake up, and 3am was a sensible time to go to sleep.

3. Calories do not count because I tend to get more exercise on holiday. Being out and about and walking all the time, those chocolate mint sticks have negative calories. That's my story and I'm sticking to it.

4. Time is taken up by difficult matters such as whether to play golf or go to the park and go for a walk with hand weights.

5. After 2 days of being outdoors my Neapolitan tan (red, white and brown) indicated that I might benefit from the use of sunscreen.

6. Exactly three days before holidays end, I remember that I really wanted to do this or that and I have officially run out of time.

7. Exactly 1 hour after holidays end, I am planning for my next holiday.

Wednesday, July 08, 2009

Holiday! Celebrate!! I have had that song in my head this morning and I can't understand why. Perhaps it's because I-NEED-A-HOLIDAY!! It's bitterly cold here, I'm sure I am getting vitamin D deficient from lack of sunlight and well, I just need to get away.

So where would I like to go? Hmm. That's pretty easy for me. I'm a beach person. I'm also a luxury and comfort person - that is, you won't catch me in a tent or a caravan park for nuts. Why? I like amenities. Baths, showers, extra robes, hot chocolate and cable tv. Don't judge me, that's just the way I roll. And... I'm a golf person. Anyone who has read my blog knows that. Actually a golf nut is more to the point.

What kind of a place ticks all the boxes? Myrtle Beach Accommodation - the average high for Myrtle Beach in July is around 91F (33C) and average low is 71F (22C). The Myrtle Beach Accommodations overlook the sea and the beach is only a short shuffle away. But the big drawcard for me would be the golf courses - Robert Trent Jones, Greg Norman, Jack Nicklaus and Arnold Palmer have, amongst notable others, contributed to the design of the Myrtle Beach golf courses. Tidewater golf course (also known as the "Pebble Beach of the East") would be my pick for a round. Myrtle Beach Hotels have a number of golf packages that include rooms, green fees and breakfast. Heaven!!

Brought to you by Horizon Myrtle Beach

Wednesday, April 30, 2008

When I go looking for a hotel, the first place I will go is online. It's quick, easy and you can compare so many different deals simultaneously. Could you imagine trying to do the same thing with a stack of yellow pages and pen and paper? Should you be travelling to Europe, you may be looking to find a Paris Bed and Breakfast in the vast expanse of Paris Hotels. The question is how to find the most appropriate Hotel Paris for you. It could be a traditional family-run bed and breakfast rather than a generic chain hotel. Bed and Breakfast Paris provides a secure search with no booking fees so if you want a little more than a standard tourist experience, you may want to give them a try.

This post brought to you by Bed and Breakfast Paris.

Tuesday, September 04, 2007

It's taken me a long time to write more about Hobart. Apologies. I have been very stressed and busy with various things. Back on track now...the story continues...

We arrived at Salamanca Market with a triple hangover. The colours and sounds of the vibrant market jarred my nerves until the second Guinness kicked in (see picture below). I held an unlit cigarette in my hand to quell the craving, knowing that lighting it would start an unstoppable chain reaction of nausea. A meal would fix us up, we thought, heading to Irish Murphy's. Little did we know of the culinary crime waiting in store for us.

1. Parliament House, Hobart
2. The surrounding gardens / entrance to the market
3. Salamanca Market
4. The Guinni (plural for Guinness)

The tradition of lasagne has been carefully passed down through Italian families for generations. That is, until it reached Irish Murphy's. Hungry and hungover, we waited 45 minutes for this abomination to the Italian tradition, and food in general.

Exhibit A: The Vegetarian Lasagne

I don't know if the scale is apparent here but check out the size of the fork, then the "lasagne". The "lasagne"was two small halves of stuffed capsicum, each half the size of my palm, or even smaller. The chef had decided to buck tradition by including no pasta nor any recognisable lasagne ingredients, except cheese. This $12.00 morsel contained carrot, capsicum, a tiny bit of cheese, all swimming in a splat of Heinz Big Red Tomato Soup. Nevertheless we ate it hungrily and laughed about it for the rest of the trip.

I must say, the chef's attempt at Nouvelle cuisine, with the focus being on flavour, tasted no different to any bizarre concoction I have made for myself after a night on the piss.

Irish Murphy's beautiful sandstone pub was made by convicts many years ago. The Irish theme is entirely apt for the colonial atmosphere. The sign out the front proudly boasts "The Best Craic In Town". Perhaps they were referring to the vegie lasagne.

The staff were friendly and warned us about the size, we should have realised. They gave us free salads which was just as well, I was nearly crazed with hunger. The Guinness and the perfect shamrocks were a nice touch as well.

I will leave you with some images of Salamanca Market and Kelly's steps on the way to Battery Point. The whole experience was very European - if you are not planning on going to Europe, this is your next best bet! The last image is a street performer we dubbed "The Angel of Salamanca". It has a nice ring to it, don't you think?

Wednesday, June 20, 2007

If you are staying in Hobart for a short or extended time, I would recommend the Hobart Midcity Hotel. The location is perfect, right in the centre of town. Prices per night are reasonable - you can find good rates on Flight Centre Hotels, the site on which we booked our holiday, or you can try Wotif for good last minute deals.

The Hobart Midcity is a 3.5 star hotel - not too fancy but better than some hotels I have seen! Full rate is approximately around $160 per night at the moment. We found a special deal online - 4 nights booked and 1 night free so it would have been approximately $85 per night.

This is a picture of the standard room. We had asked for a smoking room and were presented with a non-smoking standard room. When I made a point of the fact that we booked a smoking room and showed him the email I received confirming this, he upgraded us to an Executive / Deluxe room. I didn't realise the difference between the rooms until I compared these pictures.

Standard Room - official shot:

Our Actual Room:

Hehehe! Bonus!! Anyway, I can definitely recommend this particular room, I can't comment on the other rooms. This room was huge, comfy, secure and just what we were looking for. Room service had a good menu, prices were reasonable (eg. $4 for a toasted sandwich) and the menu included standard pub fare such as wedges, hot chips etc. I can't comment on these meals as we never ordered room service during our stay. I have mentioned the mini bar in an earlier post - the prices are not prohibitive, but they are just enough to make you pause before you open the bar fridge. I have also mentioned Austar (Foxtel) TV, 24 hour golf and movies was a nice touch. When the temperature dropped, there was a column heater, a wall heater and an electric blanket. The spacious cupboards contained an ironing board, fan, heater and various other useful items. Oh, and did I mention they give you a lot of towels?
My rating for this particular room - 8.5 out of 10. I only took marks off for the majestic view of the carpark. And the bed could have been a tad comfier. But overall, it was a nice place to plonk a suitcase.

Wednesday, June 13, 2007

The last time I went to the Cat and Fiddle Arcade I was very small. Nevertheless, when I walked into the Cat and Fiddle Arcade on the 25th of May, I had a strange recollection of the place. It seemed somehow familiar. There was something charming about the place. There's that word again. Something about seeing the Cat and Fiddle Arcade and the cow jumping over the moon - it made me feel like a kid again.

This video shows the cat playing the fiddle, then the cow jumps over the moon. Apologies but the video ran out before I could capture the dish running away with the spoon. (silent, no sound)

If you are ever in Hobart, take your kids to see this. They will thank you for it. Yes, it's quite old and it doesn't have TV screens or a big lightshow. But all the kids standing there, in awe and opened-mouthed said it all.

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Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Hobart is a difficult city to describe, unless you have been there. It reminds me less of a city and more of a town, like Geelong - for example. However I can think of no city or town in Victoria that can compare to Hobart. It's just totally different. For example, coming over the Tasman Bridge felt like coming into a mini San Francisco - it just has that sort of layout. The hills are covered with houses, sloping down towards Hobart itself. Everywhere I went in Hobart sloped either up or down, except for the docks and Parliament. Hobart can be great for burning calories as you are either walking up or walking down, wherever you go. Each way I looked, I saw a hill or a valley. It just happened to be covered with roads and houses.
When first arriving in the city of Hobart, I described it as a "Wonderland". It has a strange feeling to it that is hard to explain. It feels like the past, I suppose. It's 1996 and that's a good thing. I loved 1996. A strange Neverland of dreadlocks, skateboards, punk rock, death metal, punk fashions that don't look try-hard, independent music shops, and best of all, a pub called Trout that seemed like the Punter's Club resurrected. It kind of had that grungy feeling of safety. We saw beautiful buildings untouched by redevelopment. "Quaint" and "Charming" were words that came to mind. It's also got a certain something. I don't quite know how to explain it. It needs to be taken seriously, I think. You can't joke about a place like this once you have been there.

The weather was hilarious. It wasn't cold. 19 degrees was the warmest and 16 was the coolest weather during the holiday. It got down to 12 degrees one night. I have heard so much about Hobart weather and to luck upon unseasonably good weather is quite amusing. On the first day we arrived in Hobart, it was windy. The biggest hazard was avoiding getting a chip packet in the face.
The Hobart Midcity Hotel was great. It had a big bath, you could smoke in the room, great shower, mini-bar, reasonable room service prices and to our delight, Austar TV. I didn't know what that meant until I flicked around the channels a few times. It means Foxtel.
One of the most useful things in the hotel was the "Do Not Disturb" sign. We left it up the whole time. And every day we got a new, ridiculously big bag of white towels, soap, and an inordinately large amount of shampoo left outside our room. How much shampoo does one person need? It's like getting a Christmas present every day.

The bath was fantastic. It was the most relaxed I have been in ages. The first and throat clenching terror I had felt on the plane just melted away.

The mini-bar was very handy - the prices weren't too bad considering the convenience. $9 spirits, $5 Boags, $2.80 chips, $3.75 water. Okay the water and the spirits were kind of overpriced but considering we could grab any one of these items when the shops and the city had basically closed for the night, it wasn't such a big deal.
Also, we got 1 free night at the Hobart Midcity, saving something like $130! We booked it through the Flight Centre accommodation website, which finds some great deals from time to time.
The New Sydney Hotel was right across the road from the Midcity and had a great selection of beers. Many people have warned me about the Boag's vs Cascade rivalry. I didn't know that Boag's made an excellent low calorie "Blonde" beer. I did know however, not to confuse it with the Cascade Blonde we had at a place called Maloney's near the docks.
Somehow, I did it anyway - asking the bartender if the Boag's Blonde in my hand was a Cascade Blonde. He looked at me as if I was mad, then there was a pause.
I said "I just made the biggest Faux Pas ever, didn't I"
He looked at me with half pity, half a wry smile. "Yes you did" he said, and walked off.
The New Sydney had an outdoor smoking area as you can't smoke inside anymore. How annoying. At least the weather was okay. Here is a piccy of the outdoor smoking area at the New Sydney (which became a nice place to stop off from time to time!)

I'll leave this post in a beautiful setting, outside at the New Sydney Hotel drinking a Cascade Blonde.

Argh! I mean Boags!!!


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Wednesday, June 06, 2007

My partner and I decided to go on holiday to Hobart, Tasmania. It was quite an experience and we had a ball.

...except the flight....

When we boarded the plane I did a double take. I have only ever been on overseas flights, never interstate. 747s and 767s were the scope of my experience. So when I stepped onto what looked like a V/Line bus with wings I thought there had to be some mistake.

During takeoff I came to terms with my own mortality, solved several philosophical dilemmas, found religion and finally accepted my place in the scheme of things.

It's amazing how fear can focus the mind.

I didn't want to play anything on my mp3 player for fear I would forever associate the song with the blind terror I was feeling, thus ruining it forever. I thought sweaty palms were a bit of a myth. Now I know. My hands looked like I had just washed them.

Here is a direct quote from me during the flight:

"my a$$ is in my throat" Quote unquote. Without the dollar signs of course.

Oh yes, and the Captain. The untouchable, shining brilliant captain whose skill and precision holds your life in his hands. When we put so much faith in these people we are bound to be disappointed.

What I expected to hear from the cockpit:

(say in smooth calm voice) "Good afternoon Ladies and Gentlemen, this is your captain speaking. The weather conditions are fine, flight should be smooth and we'll be arriving in Hobart shortly."

What I actually heard sounded like the last rites:

(say with Aussie nasal twang) "G'day folks, I'll try not to talk your ear off for too long....Ah.. we're travelling at an altitude of 35,000 feet. Unfortunately there are 70 km winds coming up in front of us so there'll be some turbulence. I'll try to keep it steady for you."

At this point I nearly lost consciousness, contemplating the effect of 70km winds on a plane the size of a large airport shuttle bus.

After the captain's announcement I decided to have my last supper. As soon as I saw the hostesses wheeling the tray down the aisle I contemplated a double shot of vodka. Why not? What did I have to lose? I settled for a VB that refused to pour and gave me a mouthful of froth. Maybe it was the altitude or maybe I was already foaming at the mouth.

"Here's to the Skypub" we said, trying to make a clinking sound with our two plastic glasses. Looking out at the top of the clouds spread out like a doona below us, a strange feeling of calm enveloped me. Suddenly I felt invincible. If anything happened, I was no longer concerned. The beer had done its work.

Another thing that kept my spirits up during the journey was the presence of a little girl, maybe 2 years old, cheekily grinning at us. She would cry, fuss and struggle but when she turned to us and we smiled at her, she stared and stopped fussing. Her Mum said "Can you guys keep smiling at her for the whole trip?" The little girl had a cheeky 2-bottom toothed grin, stripey trousers and huge blue eyes. She made everything all right. Even during my most heart-stoppingly panicked moments, I gathered the energy to turn my head and do a trick with my sunglasses to stop the little girl from crying. I know why she was crying, too. She did it every time my ears felt the pressure and started popping.

At one point we really did feel like we were about to go into outer space. So as we descended from the clouds we couldn't help humming the Star Trek tune (old series of course).

When the flight landed they rolled out "the stairs" onto the tarmac. I loved this. It made me feel like the president of the US or something. Or the First Lady. All that was missing were our security team and photographers. I resisted the urge to wave. It probably would have just red-flagged me for security.

When I arrived I said "this is the smallest airport I have ever seen. It was the size of 2 RSL clubs.

Strangely the police presence at Hobart International Airport (is that an oxymoron?) seemed set up for the arrival of a Columbian drug lord. I wanted to pat the cute beagle sniffer dog but I don't think it would have been appreciated. Anyway, all the sniffer dog could smell was the residual odour of fear from the other traumatised Jetstar passengers.

The flight cost a mere $39 each. It was one of those special web fare deals. Needless to say it was more relaxing on the way back.

I was vaguely amused through all my fear. All I could think about was the part in "Beavis and Butthead do America" where the plane starts to take off and Beavis freaks out and says "Hey. Hey what's goin' on?" and then totally freaks out and screams "We're gonna die!" Then he eats all the medication from the old lady's handbag, bursts into the cockpit and ends with Butthead trying to pick up an air hostess and eventually rolling down the aisle because they have invaded the cockpit, sending the plane off balance. If this were real, I would be Beavis and my partner would be Butthead. I could just imagine him saying "what's your problem, Beavis?" I could have easily put my jacket over my head and roamed the plane asking "Are you threatening me?" Who knows where I could have ended up. I don't think airline staff are known for their sense of humour in such situations.
Thank God for the Jetstar air hostesses. Their calm and nonchalant manner made me realise that this was a routine 1 hour flight, they had done it a thousand times, and I was panicking unnecessarily.

Next installment...Hobart!

Wednesday, April 18, 2007

I loved being on holiday, it was like having a pressure valve released. I felt like a new person after 12 hours of being away. I do however have mixed feelings about staying at the Great Ocean Hotel (aka Top Pub) in Apollo Bay. I guess I could start by summarizing the good and bad points : -

1. The balcony overlooks the mountains and the foreshore. And you can hear the ocean. And you can see the golf course from the balcony and out of the hotel window.

2. The beds are comfy. Good mattresses. I slept like a log every night.

3. Guest soaps and guest towels. Very cute - old world charm etc.

4. Ye-olde building, wood panelling and if you pretend hard enough, you could be in a seaside English town. Apart from the flies and the drunken a@#$holes yelling various obscenities outside the window. Except that some of the drunken a@#$holes WERE English backpackers. And Scottish. And French?!?! In fact, we may have been the only Australians staying at the pub. The noisiest and nastiest loudmouths running rampant in the street were Australian however - possibly even locals. Scary stuff.

5. Okay, I think I've inadvertently switched over to the bad points. Oops. Okay, when we turned up at the hotel, lugging bags and wanting to just crash and go downstairs and have a beer, the guy at the counter said "here's your key" with a big smile. So I go upstairs to find an unlocked room with no bedding on the bed, no towels, no soap, nothing at all. A mattress protector on the bed mocked my tired legs and brain. I thought, what the crap do we do now?

So I go downstairs and tell the guy. He acts like it's no big deal. I slowed down my speech and said "So the room I specifically requested and that you told me would be ready - is not ready. On the day we said we would be arriving." He looked blank and said "yeah?" like he didn't understand. He was about 20 years old and his arrogance was starting to get to me. "So what are we supposed to do now?" I asked.

"Oh, yeah. You can have this room instead. It's nicer anyway. I don't think the cleaner's been in this week."

Fine, I thought. Trudging up the stairs again, we looked at this room. It had no TV and no curtains and the sun was streaming in like something out of Raiders of the Lost Arc.

I ask you. How the crap could you get any sleep when you get full sun at around 6:30am? We'd wake up suntanned! So I trudged down again, quite composed under the circumstances, and told him there were no curtains. He gave me yet another key. Another guy from the hotel was a bit more helpful, he told us he would call the cleaner and try and get our original room ready for the next day of our stay.

I opened the door and found yet another room with no TV, no table and no mirror. My partner and I looked at each other and both thought "stuff it! This will do." We realised they were not likely to get it together to fix up the room we originally booked. And we were right. They did, however finally get the room ready and let somebody else stay in there instead of us. At that point, we couldn't be bothered worrying about it anymore.

6. Oh, yeah, I forgot to mention the bathrooms. Ha!!! The shower head in the female showers was busted. In fact, it has been that way for over 18 months - the last time I stayed in the hotel! How much trouble would it be to get a wrench and fix the dang shower head? I ask you. Here is a picture of me trying to have a shower in this ridiculous contraption:

And here is a picture of our room. It was designed for 2 people (double bed) + 2 more people in bunks. How cosy. The bunks gave us somewhere to put our luggage, I suppose!

Excuse the mess, there was hardly any floor space!

On the second night, the hotel completely ran out of toilet paper. It was getting late and we went downstairs to ask for it to be replaced. The guy we spoke to (another employee) said "I've just knocked off." Well, that's great but could you get someone to help us? I mean just because you've knocked off, and are getting pissed at the very place where you work, it doesn't mean that the problem has gone away. Around 6 people staying on the floor without toilet paper for the night? Or more? It doesn't bear thinking about. So after hunting around for ages and asking various people we finally got someone to do something about the TP situation. At this point we should have been getting paid by the hour!

Then, later that night, the same guy from the desk on the first day let a bunch of loud drunken thugs from off the street into the hotel. They proceeded to rush up and down the halls banging on the walls and doors bellowing "any good looking Sheilas here?"

1. People actually say Sheilas?
2. I'm glad I was asleep with the door locked. My partner was glad of this as well. He was on the balcony at the time, watching these thugs run rampant through the private halls of the hotel, while the guy who WORKED there leaned over the balcony yelling obscenities at people in the street at the top of his voice.

But despite all these bizarre experiences, the price of the hotel was good ($60 per night for the room) and we had a brilliant relaxing time. I wouldn't recommend this place wholeheartedly, but it was kind of ok. The 20 year old guy got a complaint from yet another guest about the obscenities and the balcony situation and ironically he said to us "what does he expect, staying in a pub?"

Hmm. Well, I suppose I expect a basic standard of accommodation. A room that is made up when you arrive, a shower that works, toilet paper in the bathrooms and a certain level of security from unhinged thugs on a drinking rampage.

In terms of the star rating system, for a backpacker hotel, I'd give it 1.5 stars.
* = Clean basic accommodation with simple furnishing and facilities.
* * = Moderate accommodation with comfortable furnishings and facilities.

I took points off for no TP, grotty shower curtain and no mirror etc. I added points for the comfy bed. That's as much as I can give them, I'm afraid. At least until they can get the place in order and take it a bit more seriously.

Wednesday, April 04, 2007

I fell in love with the Hyundai Getz we used to get to Apollo Bay. Rented from Budget Rent-A-Car in Geelong, the total cost for 4 days (more like 5, actually!) hire was $290. Organising the rental was no problem, the people were courteous and the car was in good shape. The only surprise occurred when I arrived at the pick-up point and found out the car was an automatic. As a lifelong manual driver, I found this unsettling. But, it turned out to be a blessing in disguise - it was easier to drive and considering the number of corners I had to navigate, actually made the drive more enjoyable. By the end of driving from Geelong to Apollo Bay through Winchelsea and Skenes Creek way, I felt exhilarated and now I want to drive more. We came back from Apollo Bay through Marengo, Gellibrand and Colac. Now dubbed "The Third Way", it is, in my opinion, the quickest, easiest and most pleasant drive from Apollo Bay to Geelong.

If you are ever in the area, make sure you stop off at the Winchelsea Roadhouse. The people are very friendly and they sell these great 7-packs of vitamins (Nature's Way Energy Multi) that kept us going throughout the journey and the rest of the holiday.

Here is the Winchelsea Roadhouse in all its glory:

If you ever go there, say hi to the very funny lady who works there. She is quite a character!

Tuesday, April 03, 2007

I have to add this to my previous V/Line post - the fares are VERY reasonable. It cost me $6.10 to travel from Melbourne to Geelong. When I think about it, that's actually cheaper than an all day Zone 1&2 metropolitan ticket. The fare I managed to buy was for off-peak travel. The journey started on Thursday 22 March at 2pm. If you happen to get a peak ticket, it will still only cost you $8.60, which won't break the bank.

Monday, April 02, 2007

I would like to say I enjoyed the trip from Melbourne to Geelong travelling with V/Line. But...(and there was always going to be a "but") the trains don't seem as quaint and old-worldly as they used to. I'll start with Spencer Street Station, where the Journey began. Actually, it's called "Southern Cross" Station now which I think is bollocks. What the hell does that mean, for a start? Southern Cross? The station is located at Spencer Street. Spencer Street made sense. Now a whole bunch of tourists from overseas are lost in space trying to work out where Southern Cross station is supposed to be.

Here is a picture of the "new and improved" Southern Cross station:

I call it "The Birdcage". And I think that's being nice to it. It looks like a great big dirty chicken coop. I don't know whose bright idea it was to change the station into a large barn but I liked it better before.

The glossy photos of Southern Cross don't actually show the crapness of the design. I suppose it's trying to be "modern". You know what? It's a nightmare. You can't find anything. The staff are unfriendly. The V/Line ticket counter is hidden underneath a secret passageway that requires a map and lots of legwork to find. I can't stand it.

The old Spencer Street station was cute. And daggy. That's what's wrong with Australia. It's daggy but it doesn't want to admit it. So it tries to be modern and cutting edge and ends up looking even more dorky. Come on Australia, embrace your inner dag. It's okay.

Here it is (*sigh*) The old Spencer Street. Complete with kiosks and seating areas for people to congregate and greet or farewell loved ones.

But now, to the actual journey itself. My partner and I were crammed into this tiny carriage (only a 3 carriage train!) with a whole bunch of other travellers. Why there were so many, I will never know. The Swimming perhaps? The Airshow? Don't know. All I know is I don't want to go through that again. We were seated next to an obnoxious lady who actually picked a fight with us because we had a lot of luggage. Then she put her feet on our bags, then insulted us. We were flabbergasted. And we had to ignore the scheming harpy for 1 whole hour. That is not easy when someone is goading you and making nasty comments every 10 minutes. What a cow. Actually scratch that. I like cows. What a horrible banshee of a woman. I think she came from South Geelong and I hope to never run into her again.

So apart from the nasty woman and the crowded carriages and another weird lady eating a sandwich very loudly in front of us, the trip was forgettable.

I remember a time about 18 months ago where we got a V/Line train from Geelong to Melbourne. We found a quaint carriage with a hallway and sliding doors to these little booths, like in those old movies. It looked a little like this one:

The window had little curtains and the snack car was still active. I miss the snack car ladies and the conductors with the whistle. Perhaps those days are over. Are we moving forward? No. We're regressing and devolving (is that a word?). V/Line used to be charming. I hope one day they will be again.

Thursday, March 29, 2007

Yep, that's the situation. Blogstipation has set in. I think it's a combination of a number of things. Going on holiday, experiencing so many things in a short amount of time, waiting for photos to be developed, I feel like I'm in a kind of post-holiday limbo. I have so many things to write about that I don't know where to start. It's very frustrating I must say. I have to start somewhere but there are so many things to say - I don't really know how to convey the feeling of sitting on the balcony of the Top Pub in Apollo Bay, looking at the foreshore, listening to the waves and watching a spectacular lightning show play above the mountains. I don't know how to explain the stress evaporation that happens to me every time I am near the ocean breathing air that comes fresh from the mountains and the forest. I can't fully convey the feeling of freedom I felt while driving a car for the first time in a year. I want to show you the other-worldly "hobbit-like" sleepy hollow called Gellibrand. The land that time forgot. Weeping willows, dappled sunlight, an old hotel and a picturesque valley. Blossoms, ferns, majestic hills and valleys that exceed imagination.

Well, now that the creative metamucil seems to be working, I will leave you with a photo of the hotel where we stayed for 4 nights and the road that led to such a beautiful sense of freedom.

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Tuesday, March 27, 2007

I apologise for the lack of posts - I have been on holiday. Actually I'm not sorry I was on holiday so forget that last sentence.

The itinerary:

Thurs 22 March 2007:
- Train to Southern Cross, V-Line train to Geelong
- Pick up car at Budget Rent-A-Car
- Drive to Apollo Bay
- Check in at Great Ocean Hotel (a.k.a. "Top Pub")

Fri 23 March 2007:
- Golf at Apollo Bay Golf Course (18 holes)
- Check out pub, decide it's not worth hanging around, sit on balcony with a few beers

Sat 24 March 2007
- Golf at Apollo Bay Golf Course (18 holes)
- Dinner with Grandma and Dad at Middle Pub
- Drop in at Grandma's house
- Back to hotel, check out the 2 pubs in town (yikes!), sit on balcony with a few beers

Sun 25 March 2007
- Golf at Apollo Bay Golf Course (18 holes)
- Visit Grandma & Dad

Mon 26 March 2007
- Check out 10am - Ocean Road Hotel
- Coffee!!!!
- Drop in at Grandma's to say goodbye
- Drive down Ocean Road, through Lavers Hill, Gellibrand, Colac and to Geelong
- Spend ages trying to find a service station to fill up in Geelong
- Drop off car at Budget Rent-A-Car
- Get to V-Line depot 5 minutes before train departs for Melbourne
- Southern Cross Station - Melbourne

And that was the Apollo Bay holiday!

I have so much to write about so this is the first of many posts. I will be reviewing many things, including the Top Pub, Budget Rent-A-Car, V-Line, and the Apollo Bay Golf Course. I need to develop the photos to give a better sense of what I am talking about. Yes, I am using a film camera, not digital. This is not for any particular reason other than I had no camera and I bought one of those disposable Kodak cameras with flash ($24.00). When the photos are developed I will be reviewing the camera as well!

My first review is the luggage from Strandbags:

The Skyway Montlake - $72.00 (on special!)

If you are thinking of travelling anywhere, get a piece of luggage that has a handle, wheels and is lightweight. It makes a huge amount of difference when you are navigating Southern Cross station to not have to put your shoulder out. Especially when it's a hot day and you are sweating like anything and can't find a place to buy a bottle of water. That's when a wheelie suitcase comes in handy. I had 2 other bags and they were a nightmare to carry on my shoulder. Trust me. Get wheels and a handle. This was the best piece of luggage I have ever owned. Brilliant! Lots of compartments, made from micro-ballistic nylon material and with a zero-gravity frame. Okay, the description they give it makes it sound like I'm taking it on the next space mission. And micro-ballistic (do they shoot it with a little gun?) sounds like something you would see on MythBusters. But it is a good suitcase and I recommend the crap out of it.

P.S. This is not the sort of thing I would recommend buying on Ebay. I got this at Strandbags because the people know what they are talking about and because you can actually check out the compartments and see for yourself. The photos on Ebay don't give the best idea of quality and size. Also, a suitcase is not the sort of thing you would want to compromise on...

Until next time....more photos and reviews to come.....

Monday, February 26, 2007

You may remember my post "AVIS Messes With Family Catch-Up". This was a ranting piece (most of my posts are rants - I can't help it) on the difficulties I encountered while trying to book a few days car rental. It is really not that difficult for most people. I know this to be true because people give me strange looks when I explain the ridiculous situations I have been faced with. I shall prevail. I know this because I watched Rocky about 10 times.
Okay, so if you have the background on the AVIS story, I vowed never to use them again even though they had given me pretty good service in the past. So I decide to try their competitors, Budget Rent-A-Car. Yippee! I thought. This will be easy. I went to Budget's website and that's where the fun started. Is it just me? Or does the website not work in either Internet Explorer, Firefox OR Opera? I mean, they are the main ones, aren't they? It doesn't say in fine print at the bottom "this site will only work with Obscura Minimus v2.7"....or does it?
I wouldn't know because I can't get in to the fricken' website!!! I'm still on the first page, pulling my hair out and saying:

But no. Sadly it will not yield to my dulcet tones. I have to try other methods. So I did. Somehow I guessed the URL of the contact page and managed to slip in the back way. Then I wrote a detailed comment pointing out the fact that their website does not work. At all. On the three main internet browsers. (Unless you have Safari, yes I know but I can't afford a Mac at this time so jolly well done for those who have one...)
So, I submit my comment. No response for days. So I write an email detailing the same points and send it. No response again. Is it still there? Did Budget close down when I wasn't looking? I suppose at this stage you are saying "listen Nerd Girl, just get off the dang computer and use the know, the little white thing with the handle and the twirly cord..."
Yes, I know. can't get the internet specials unless you use the internet. If you call them you don't get $5 off per day or whatever the deal is supposed to be. Again, I wouldn't know.....because THEY WON'T LET ME IN!!!

I will call them, however. This can't go on forever. Perhaps there is some funny setting that I haven't tweaked on my internet browser. It keeps on telling me JAVASCRIPT (Void). I am pretty sure this means one of two things. Either I am a luddite or their website has got mistakes in it.

I'm not going to call them yet because I'm still grumpy. If I call when I'm grumpy, I'm likely to get a brick-wall officious *^%#@^*%&*&#^I'm not going to call them yet because I'm still grumpy. If I call when I'm grumpy, I'm likely to get a brick-wall officious *^%#@^*%&*&#^$&*#$ person on the other end of the phone. I think that's how the universe works. If you put out anger you get a%$%#@^holes in return. The laws of the universe should take into account that sometimes when you are in a hurry to book a holiday you are likely to be stressed and people should just jolly well be nice to you anyway because you are under a lot of pressure.
amp;*#$ person on the other end of the phone. I think that's how the universe works. If you put out anger you get a%$%#@^holes in return. The laws of the universe should take into account that sometimes when you are in a hurry to book a holiday you are likely to be stressed and people should just jolly well be nice to you anyway because you are under a lot of pressure.

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Wednesday, January 17, 2007


It began so simply. A catch up with Dad and my Grandma in Apollo Bay. My partner and I called up AVIS because in February last year we used them to drive out of Melbourne for the night. On that occasion the whole transaction was seamless. I booked on line, got a receipt number, I really couldn't fault them. They even offered an upgrade to a bigger car but I declined because I like to drive a manual!!

This time around, well I don't know what it was. Perhaps the computers were down, at least that's what they said. Perhaps someone on the switchboard was having a bad day.

It started well. We booked 4 days hire for a Hyundai Getz. They calculated the cost at about $159, which was fine. Hunky-dory. Tickety-Boo.


The fiasco began when we called back to change the date to the week before to sync up with my sister coming down that week. Simple, you would think - adding one extra day, and moving the booking back 1 week.

The woman on the switchboard told me it would cost an extra $190. An extra $190 for 1 day!!!!!!!! That's more than the 4 days put together!!

I pointed out the insanity of this proposition. It seemed to take a while to sink in. She couldn't understand what it was that I was objecting to. Then she got confused, told me the "computer was down" (it was more likely that she was down) and tried to get me off the phone.

With steam coming out of my ears, I called back, hoping to get a more helpful person. I explained the whole situation again and the lady said she couldn't do anything right now, could she call me back tomorrow?

I took great pleasure in cancelling the booking. The relief was wonderful. But it begged the question, where's the holiday? I still haven't caught up with my Grandma, I still feel bad for giving her the wrong filter replacements for her water purifier jug!!! I shall redeem myself today and send up the right ones!! Another January Christmas present. Oh well....

To be continued....