Monday, 31 August 2015

Day 354...

SUNDAY 23.8.15 - I am thankful for... My iron

Sunday is my ironing day. After all my washing is done and before I start work Monday morning. I've never really had a problem with ironing, it doesn't bother me really at all to do the ironing like it does some people. I am quite thankful for my iron. I've had it since I moved, it still works and it's a great colour. I noticed when I was travelling how a lack of irons in hotel rooms annoyed me. I guess I just have more clothes that require ironing than not. I honestly can't image not having one. First world problems aye?

Day 353...

SATURDAY 22.8.15 - I am thankful for... Discovering new music artists

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As I mentioned in yesterday's blog, my cousin and I went to see his favourite artist in concert tonigt. When he asked me If I wanted to come I was like yeah, why not. I love live music. Now I'll admit, I'd never heard of this guy, but my cousin assured me if I like the genre I'd like him. Being a muso (like a foodie but for music) I like pretty much all genres of music. Well except for maybe heavy and death metal, you can have that screamo music back thanks. Sure enough, it didn't disappoint! The supporting artist was a local guy named Mike Waters. Beautiful voice and excellent guitar skills, nothing else was needed. Reminded me a bit of Passenger if you know his music. The main event was a guy called Andrew McMahon, an American artist from Something Corporate and Jacks Mannequin fame, if you know who they are (I didn't). His music is kind of alternative, indie rock I guess. He was even brave enough to come out into the crowd during his last song. I really enjoyed it, definitely my kind of music. Except maybe the part where I was accidentally head butted by a drunk guy, but oh well. Tonight I am really thankful for discovering new music and artists. Andrew McMahon, I think you have a new fan.

Day 352...

FRIDAY 21.8.15 - I am thankful for... Pizza

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My cousin has come to stay with me for the weekend because we are going to see one of his favourite musicians in concert tomorrow night. Tonight however I was lazy yet again, and suggested we get pizza for dinner. In my defence, I do have to get going to youth tonight so time was limited. I haven't had it in a long time so why not! I'm not going to lie, I am partial to a good pizza and garlic bread. And better yet, getting it delivered makes it so much easier! I am thankful for pizza tonight, for it's yummy goodness and easy accessibility. Just as long as I don't eat it too often.

Day 351...

THURSDAY 20.8.15 - I am thankful for... My education

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Education was (and still is) something highly valued in my household growing up. My mum, an aunt and an uncle are teachers and another aunt is a librarian. As a child I had to be on deaths door to have a day off sick because my mum thought school was so important. Now, as an adult I see the importance a good education is and I highly value it too. We are so very lucky to live in a country where every child goes to school. Some children probably don't think so because they find school boring, and because it's compulsory to attend, find a thrill in skipping school. That is such a shame because a good education really opens door for your future. This day and age both men and women have so many opportunities to follow a path of their choosing, something people just a few generations before us didn't have. Then there are those children in developing countries who can't afford to attend, yet would jump at the chance to learn something for their future. I am very thankful I was able to have a primary, secondary and tertiary education, all with the full support of my family. It was definitely not easy, but nothing is life worth having ever is.

Day 350

WEDNESDAY 19.8.15 - I am thankful for... Salt

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Salt. Or sodium chloride if you wish to be scientifically correct. That white chemical compound that has been used for many centuries as a way to preserve or season food. Salt is actually quite diverse in its uses. Not only does it enhance the taste of food, but you can use it in boiling water, poaching eggs, for cleaning pans and other metals, preventing mould build up and, if you are so inclined, salt is said to keep away evil spirits! Hundreds of years ago, people use to build up their communities around where they could find salt, to use themselves and to trade with it. Did you know the term 'salary' comes from the Latin word for salt because the Roman Legions were paid in salt, which was more valuable than gold in those days? So hard to imagine considering we can just duck down to our local store and grab a packet of it at usually a cheap price. How lucky are we to have such easy access to something most of us would use daily? Today I am thankful for salt, for its history, it's variety of uses and it's easy availability to us.

Day 349...

TUESDAY 18.8.15 - I am thankful for... USBs

Ahh the good old USB. What would we do without it? How would we transfer files or keep a copy of them? Mine was certainly handy throughout uni going from my home computer to the computer lab. Do any of you remember using floppy disks? You know, those square black things with the silver bit at the top to protect the where your data writes to? I used them in primary school and a bit in high school. Let me say, USBs are certainly a bit easier and a bit more reliable than floppy disks. My boss is leaving soon for another job (everyone is leaving! Well not everyone, just my two goo work friends) and I keep forgetting to take in a USB to collect the files I might need from her before she goes. Hopefully writing this blog will help me remember! So today I am thankful for USBs and their useful storage capability.

Day 348...

MONDAY 17.8.15 - I am thankful for... My car radio

Music is a great way to get you up in the morning. That's why I love listening to the radio on my way to work. Sometimes I get annoyed with the talking, so I switch stations just so I can listen to music all the way to work. Without my car radio, I wouldn't be able to do so! Attached to my radio is a port so I can also plug in my Ipod in case I have specific music I want to listen to. I can't imagine not having anything to listen to in the car while driving, I'd be so incredibly bored! So today I am thankful for my car radio and Ipod port, so I can listen until my hearts content while travelling in the car.

Sunday, 30 August 2015

Day 347...

SUNDAY 16.8.15 - I am thankful for... Charities

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Yesterday, while I was walking through the city, I was stopped by a woman wearing a UNICEF shirt asking if I'd like to contribute to their cause. I informed her I already sponsored two children in developing countries and gave regularly to half a dozen others. Her response was "well that's nice but what about us? Can't you do the same for us?". At the time I was really incensed. I felt like she was implying that I don't give enough financially and when I declined giving to them that made me a bad person. I walked away quite annoyed at the exchanged that happened between us. Today, as I read a letter from my sponsor child I realised that she probably wasn't attacking me personally but rather was just very passionate about an organisation she believed in. It's so important that we have people passionate about all different causes to advocate for them. I am very thankful we have these charities for causes both nationally and internationally. If we all just chose something we are passionate and donated to that cause by whatever means, the world would be so much richer for it.

Day 346...

SATURDAY 15.8.15 - I am thankful for... Different languages

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Because I was a little bored last weekend and keen to do something this weekend, I put the call out to see who was available to catch up and hang out - well it was a text but you know what I mean. One of my friends suggested we go to the Arab Film Festival. Why not? Something really different. We ended up seeing two Egyptian films, one short and one feature length. They were both in Arabic, obviously, but the subtitles were easy enough to read. I really enjoyed both films! They were both light hearted and a little funny, the longer film reminding me of Love Actually a little. I love listening to different languages. I've tried learning French on several occasions, and tried to pick up bits of Spanish, Portuguese and Arabic when I was travelling. Different languages makes the world a much a more interesting place, don't you think? One day, I'd like to perfect another language, whether it's French or otherwise. This makes me so thankful that there are so many different languages spoken by people all around the world. Besides, I do like a guy with a bit of an accent ;)

Day 345...

FRIDAY 14.8.15 - I am thankful for... Fire

Bonfire. Marshmallows and chocolate. Good company. A recipe for a great youth night. The temperature was quite cool so a night around the fire eating, chatting and doing bible study was a great way to cap off the working week. Fire is a great way to keep warm and always reminds me of camping. Makes me want to go camping now! However, it is also quite powerful and destructive, so demands a great deal of respect when working with it. That's why our was in an old washing machine drum, good way to contain it safely enough. Tonight has made me thankful for fire, even if it scares me a little.

Day 344...

THURSDAY 13.8.15 - I am thankful for... Hair

For those that know me really well you know I'm very fussy about my hair. I take great pride in making sure it looks good and in place everyday. The photo above is obviously not an everyday hair photo but was taken of my best friend and I after we had out hair professionally done for our other bestie's wedding, all hair perfectly placed. Sometimes I get frustrated when it doesn't sit the way I want it too, and this morning was one of those mornings. I only have short hair at the moment, but there was that one bit that just wouldn't sit right! Today though I was reminded of how we take our hair for granted so easily. People undergoing chemotherapy treatment for example, tend to loose their hair during the course of their treatment. I have friends my age already experiencing baldness, a lot younger than the average person. So whilst I'll continue to be fussy with my hair, I'll also be thankful I have hair and plenty of it.

Day 343...

WEDNESDAY 12.8.15 - I am thankful for... Pepsi Max

Yes, yes I know. Just because it has no sugar in it doesn't make it good for you. I am well aware of that. However, I still really like it. It's about the only soft drink I drink, I just really like the taste of it. I'll never claim to be a health nut or the have the best diet in the world, but I do generally eat well with just a few things that are not so good, which I don't have every day. So today I am thankful for Pepsi Max, for it's taste and availability. And also very thankful that I don't drink too much alcohol ;)

Friday, 28 August 2015

Day 342...

TUESDAY 11.8.15 - I am thankful for... Babies!

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Tonight I had dinner at my good friend's house and met her newborn baby for the first time. I was meant to visit them on the weekend, but had a bit of a sniffle and didn't want to chance passing anything on as her bub is not old enough to be immunised yet. It's their first child so I think it's fair to say that they are both absolutely besotted by their little boy... and exhausted! He is quite adorable, however I love babies and think all babies are adorable. I really do think all life is an extraordinary gift and it's to be treasured. I did have a little hold, but it wasn't long before he needed another nappy change and was whisked away by dad into his room to do so. It was a great evening to being able to visit them, have a chat and see how everything was going. I am so thankful for babies, for new life full of promise and purpose.

Day 341...

MONDAY 10.8.15 - I am thankful for... The kindness of others

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Oh boy, today was painful! I got home from work at about 3:30am and got up to go back for the normal work day at 6:30am. 3hrs sleep. YUCK! But that is part of what we do. Emergencies come when they come, no rhyme or reason to it and being part of the on call team means sucking it up and doing the best job possible at whatever time of the day. I told my colleagues I'd be a few minutes late to work as I let myself sleep in for half an hour. When I got to work my colleague had bought me a coffee and banana bread to help kickstart my morning. How thoughtful was that? I offered to pay her back but she refused. Even though by the days end I was absolutely wrecked, I'm thankful that my day started off with such a kind gesture. I'm very blessed to work with such wonderful people.

Day 340...

SUNDAY 9.8.15 - I am thankful for... Chopsticks

I was lazy tonight, I had 2 minute noodles for dinner. Which turned out to be a good thing as as quick dinner meant I had eaten something before I was called into work. Whenever I eat noodles though I feel I have to eat them with chopsticks and have done for as long as I can remember. Is it easier? More fun? I'm really not sure but eating them with a fork just feels wrong for me. I'm also glad I can use chopsticks because I do love to eat sushi every so often so it's definitely a handy skill to have. So today I am thankful for chopsticks and that I am able to use them. Hopefully one day I can travel to Asia and really test my skills!

Day 339...

SATURDAY 8.8.15 - I am thankful for... The Borgias TV Series on DVD

On call this weekend. Again. However I can't complain seeing as I've only just come back from holidays. Due to a shortage of staff it looks like I'll be doing a bit more on call than I usually would. At least for the next little while. Besides doing the house work, I decided to get The Borgias on DVD to watch throughout the weekend. TV series are great because each episode is usually only an hour long so you can watch one, go away and do something else and come back to it. A few friends of mine have seen it before and liked it and I do love medieval history so thought I'd give it a go! I did like The Tudors so I like it so far! I'm thankful for The Borgias TV series that's keeping me company this weekend.

Thursday, 27 August 2015

Day 338...

FRIDAY 7.8.15 - I am thankful for... Little friendly reminders

As I mentioned in a previous blog, my good friend and colleague left to go and work overseas. When I returned back to work on Monday, it was kind of sad to see her side of the office so bare. However, all this week I have been discovering little reminders of her, little presents she has left me with little notes describing what they are for. This one pictured is probably my favourite, with me in Australia and her in the UK. So very cute. It has been nice finding something new nearly every day, and I'm really thankful for it.

Day 337...

THURSDAY 6.8.15 - I am thankful for... My travel mug

I'm trying to drink more tea and less coffee, so I bring my travel mug to work almost every day as an incentive to use it. It doesn't happen everyday but I'm getting better. A friend of mine gave it to me for Christmas a few years ago and I've only really just started using it. I think it's really the cute, the owl with the glasses. So today I am thankful for my travel mug, for the reminder to try and drink more tea than coffee to try and be healthier overall.

Day 336...

WEDNESDAY 5.8.15 - I am thankful for... Popcorn!

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Cobs organic popcorn is probably one of my most favourite snacks to have. The flavour is lightly salted lightly sweetened and it makes for such a tasty and easy snack at work which isn't too unhealthy. I originally used to buy the packets at Boost Juice stores but now they sell big packets at my local supermarket. Winning! So a short one today, but I am thankful for popcorn.

Day 335... about one month to go

TUESDAY 4.8.15 - I am thankful for... U2

My favourite band in the whole universe... U2. I have my best friend to thank for that, she introduced me them to me when we were probably still in primary school. They have been around as a band longer than I have been alive, but there's just something about their music and their lyrics that really speak to me. I can't name a song of theirs I don't like. When I was 19 I had an opportunity to go to my first ever U2 concert for their Vertigo Tour. The concert was meant to be held early on in the year, but due to one of the members experiencing an illness of a family member, it was postponed until towards the end of the year. Little did I know that same year I would go through one of the most difficult times in my life, being very unwell and diagnosed with a heart condition. Looking back on it now, the U2 concert at the end of the year was a really significant blessing for me. It was almost a symbol of the struggle I'd been though, coming through it on top and finishing it all off with this amazing concert that I was actually able to really enjoy in good health. I was also able to attend their U2 360 tour which was just as incredible. Not only are they are great band though but the members are also involved in a lot of charity and aid work. So, listening to one of their CDs this afternoon I can be thankful for U2, for their music and there contribution to those in need. Too bad they weren't in Dublin when I was there.

Wednesday, 26 August 2015

Day 334...

MONDAY 3.8.15 - I am thankful for... Money in the bank

I don't know how I did it, but I managed to come home from my holiday with money! Basically, I over budgeted for my holiday. Not that I'm complaining, it' nice to start back into the normal routine of life on top. Sadly, not everyone is as fortunate as I am. Even though we live in a first world country, there are many people who are struggling to make ends meat here in Australia. People who live from pay check to pay check and rarely have any saving in the bank because of their circumstances. I am so thankful today that I have money in the bank. I only hope I can use it to do something good.

Day 333...

SUNDAY 2.8.15 - I am thankful for... Being able to wash my clothes easily

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I awoke this morning to an ENORMOUS MOUND of washing waiting for me. I guess travelling for 5 weeks will do that. As I was sorting my clothes into loads I remembered when I first moved into my apartment I still live in and the issues I had with the washing machine, which came with the unit. One day it decided it didn't want to do the spin cycle anymore so my clothes came out sopping wet. My real estate agent at the time was a bit slow and took 2 weeks to organise a repairman and another 2 weeks for the new parts to arrive. A whole month of half hand washing my clothes. In the middle of winter where it took days for clothes to dry. It was not fun! Makes me very thankful that I can wash my clothes really easily now and blessed I am to have a washing machine that works, or just a washing machine at all! Not everyone can say that.

Tuesday, 25 August 2015

Day 332...

SATURDAY 1.8.15 - I am thankful for... My own space

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I am an introvert by nature. It took me a long time to realise that it's not necessarily a bad thing. I like people, I like being around people and spending time with my loved ones. However, I need my own space from time to time. I need time to spend by myself and no-one else. It's how I switch off and recharge my batteries so to speak. After 5 weeks of travelling I haven't had much time to myself at all, so I decided to come home tonight so I have a day to myself to do the housework and washing before I go back to work Monday. I am thankful I don't mind being on my own and needing my own space. It's a very healthy thing.

Day 331...

FRIDAY 31.7.15 - I am thankful for... Eat Street Markets

This marvellous creation, my friends, is a rocky road funnel cake! It's a waffle topped with cream and ice-cream decked in all sorts of goodies, depending on what sort of funnel cake you get. I shared this with my sister at Brisbane's Eat Street Markets where we and my cousin spent the night after dinner. Situated in Hamilton, the open air markets cover a wide range of cuisines of snacks, dinners and desserts as well as specialty stalls of all sorts of cool and quirky products. I got the coolest watch from a lady who makes jewellery out of spoons! There's such a laid back vibe there with some of the stalls in converted shipping containers I had heard so much about it that when I came back to Brisbane and had a spare night, my sister was quick to suggest it. So glad she did. I am very thankful we made the trip to Eat Street Markets tonight. I will definitely be back!

Day 330...

THURSDAY 30.7.15 - I am thankful for... My mum

*Stole this pic from my mum's Facebook, a few years old but I love it :)

Call me crazy, but I decided that with my leftover spending money I would fly to Brisbane for the weekend to surprise my mum. It was her birthday last week whilst I was overseas. Actually she was overseas too in Canada, but knowing work will be hectic when I get back I'm not sure when I'll get the chance to come back again. You might think I'm crazy because I landed back in Oz at 5am this morning, and flew out to Brisbane at 6pm tonight, after going home, sleeping, unpacking and repacking again all in about 10hrs. Even being delayed mid air (thinking GET ME OFF THE PLANE!) it was all totally worth it. She was really confused at first, after my sister called her to the front door claiming she'd found a "lost child". I'm sure a lot of people say this but to my sister and I, our mum really is the most amazing woman we know. She has dealt with more in her life than anyone should, yet still chooses to see the good in her life and be happy. She has also gone back to study in the past few years and is currently doing her honours whilst on long service leave! Her kind and compassionate yet disciplined natured has let her thrive in her job as a teacher of autistic and intellectually impaired children, traits that I have aspired to all my life. If I can be half the mum she is when I have children I will be happy. Oh and she is a great cook, I still can't get her chocolate slice recipe right! Oh did I mention she can sing? I could waffle on and on about how great she is, but there are not enough words to do her justice. I am so incredibly thankful this woman is my mum and that I got the chance to surprise her tonight :)

Monday, 24 August 2015

Day 329...

WEDNESDAY 29.7.15 - I am thankful for... In-flight Entertainment

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Today was spent in mid air, flying. I don't know how people got through long haul flights before in-flight entertainment. Thankfully my flights are broken into two, with a 2hr stop over, but it's still 9hrs and 14hrs each. I am so very thankful for in-flight entertainment. I haven't been to the movies much lately so it's been quite handy to catch up on newer movies I might have missed at the cinema. First world problems aye! Don't get me wrong, I still like to read and sleep, but the extras help. Short and sweet one today, but still very thankful.

Day 328...

TUESDAY 28.7.15 - I am thankful for... Going home

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After almost 5 weeks of travelling, it's finally time to say goodbye to Europe and head home. I feel like I've had an amazing trip and feel ready to go home - besides living out of a suitcase does get annoying after a while! I think my facebook post sums it up perfectly:

"I have danced a jig at a wedding and drank Guinness in Ireland, spent quality time with my sister in England, fell in love with tinto de verano and flamenco in Spain, conquered the souks in Morocco and swam in the ocean off Portugal. I have caught up with old friends and made new ones. I have done and seen things I never thought I would. I have travelled solo but was never alone. And now I am ready to go home, sign of an epic holiday."

But I still, and always will, call Australia home.

Sunday, 23 August 2015

Day 327...

MONDAY 27.7.15 - I am thankful for... One last walk in Ireland

Dun Laoghaire. Pronounced Dun Leary, which I never would have guessed but glad I overheard someone say it. Today was a damp an dreary day. Nether the less I was keen to go for one last walk around the town, one last walk around Ireland. I spent the morning in Dublin shopping and went to see the Book of Kells, an amazing piece of artistry. Then after lunch I waited for the rain to dissipate a little and off I went on a walk around Dun Laoghaire. The town is right on the coastline, with a marina close by. I had the privilege of walking down one of the piers to the lighthouse, to a great view of the town from the water. I have really loved my time here, Ireland being one of my most favourite places to have visited. I have no doubt I'll be back one day, but who knows when that will be. I am incredibly thankful that the rain stopped long enough for me to have one last walk before I start the journey home tomorrow. Until next time Ireland!

Day 326...

SUNDAY 26.7.15 - I am thankful for... Relaxing afternoon at the spa

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Ermagerd, sperrrr! I had quite an early start this morning to fly from Madrid back to Dublin for a few days. I've booked myself into a beautiful hotel in a very nice town called Dun Laoghaire, just south of Dublin. I also booked in for a massage at their Sansana Spa. Walking in I was shown a dressing room where I changed into a robe and slippers. So comfy! As they were running slightly behind I was shown the 'Relaxation room' where there were water beds or normal beds to relax on, a sauna and steam room as well as tea and coffee. The room was so beautiful, dimly lit with soft music playing in the background. After almost falling asleep on the water bed I was called in for my massage. Again, I was so relaxed I almost fell asleep, but fought so hard not to so I could enjoy the massage I paid for! I am sooooooo very thankful for my afternoon at the spa. After a crazy few weeks a bit of R&R was what the doctor ordered.

Saturday, 22 August 2015

Day 325...

SATURDAY 25.7.15 - I am thankful for... The people I have met on Contiki

Our last coach ride. Our last hotel check in. Our last dinner. Inevitably our last day of our Contiki tour. I'll admit, I was a little apprehensive when I initially booked the tour. Being a little older than your average Contiki traveller and on my own, I wasn't sure what to expect. But I needn't have worried, the whole thing was an epic success! Not only did I see, do and experience things that I never dreamt of, but I met some amazing people, including our tour manager - anyone who thinks being a tour manager is easy, you are grossly mistaken! I've never found it hard to get on with people but I feel I have made some life long friends on this trip, and hope to keep in contact with them for many years to come. Unfortunately I didn't get a photo of the entire group, so used this group photo that our tour manager posted on our facebook page. It was deinfinately an experience I am very thankful I have had. If you've ever thought of doing a tour? Do it! I couldn't recommend it more.

Day 324...

FRIDAY 24.7.15 - I am thankful for... The beach in Cascais!

If you don't know by now my love for the beach then you either haven't been reading my blogs or haven't taken any notice. I LOVE THE BEACH! So today whey we had the opportunity to go in the Portuguese coastal town of Cascais, I jumped at it! The water was very cold but the weather and sunshine was just glorious. We must have spent at least an hour here, in and out of the water, lying on the sand and I even my a mermaid tail out of sand for my friend. Very good even if I do say so myself. Afterwards we did a bit of shopping and had amazing gelato. I could not have asked for a better day, seeing it is pretty much the last day of the tour as we drive back to Madrid tomorrow. I am so thankful for our beach day. As it's winter in Australia, I won't be going to the beach again for a while.

Day 323...

THURSDAY 23.7.15 - I am thankful for... Individual national flags

Have you ever stopped to wonder about why we have national flags? While some look similar, every country has their own unique design. Flags represent a community, organisation or nation that share beliefs (sometimes!) goals, rules and regulations - saying we belong. I love how each flag resembles their country and usually has some meaning behind all the different features. Pictured is the Portuguese flag. The green represents the hope of the people while the red represents the courage and the blood of Portuguese people who have fallen in combat protecting their nation. The circle represents the armillary sphere which was a device used by sailors like Henry the Navigator or Magellan who ventured out to discover new lands. Afonso I was considered the first King of Portugal when he defeated the five Moorish kings (represented by five blue shields - the white dots symbolise the five wounds of Christ) and their seven enemy fortresses (the seven castles) and drove them out of Portugal. So much history and meaning in one flag! It's amazing how much sense a flag makes when all it's components are explained to you. Today, in Lisbon I am thankful for national flags and learning the meanings behind them, especially nations not of my own.

Wednesday, 19 August 2015

Day 322...

WEDNESDAY 22.7.15 - I am thankful for... Our coach and driver

I'm having such a wonderful time on my tour and it's almost coming to an end. Of course it would not have been possible without our coach and our coach driver. We've been fortunate to be in a brand new Mercedes-Benz coach that has been very comfortable to travel in. The driver has also been fabulous and we have arrived safely at every destination. Then of course there is also the coach mascot Paco or Abu when we were in Morocco. Isn't he cute? I'm so thankful to have had a comfortable new coach and a skilled driver for this trip.

Day 321...

TUESDAY 21.7.15 - I am thankful for... The Rock of Gibraltar

Breakfast in Tangier, Morocco, lunch in Gibraltar which is part of Britain and Dinner in Seville, Spain. Three countries in one day! It's pretty awesome to comprehend. The highlight was definitely the Rock of Gibraltar. Though we didn't spend too much time there, it was definitely worthwhile. From spectacular views of both Spain and Morocco across the see, to the magnificent caves, it is definitely a must see if you're in the area. The best features are the monkeys that live on the rock. They are cute, not very shy and even a little cheeky! Two girls on our tour found that out the hard way when their ice-creams were snatched right out of their hands. Literally! I was happy I was able to get some great pictures of them, the monkeys I mean. I am so thankful I was able to come to Gibraltar today. I'll admit it's not somewhere I have ever considered visiting but am glad I did.

Day 320...

MONDAY 20.7.15 - I am thankful for... Camel rides!

Today was our last day in Morocco, we leave to go back to Spain tomorrow. Whilst I have had a good time here, exploring different places and trying unique new things, I feel I'm ready to move on and see somewhere new. However, before we leave we were treated to a sunset camel ride on a beach near Tangier. I have been able to ride a camel before, but just the whole experience of doing so on an African beach during sunset was pretty special. To top it off there were two baby camels that followed their mums everywhere. So incredibly cute! I am so thankful to have this camel ride experience. It sounds so exotic, and it kind of was!

Tuesday, 18 August 2015

Day 319...

SUNDAY 19.7.15 - I am thankful for... Arabic architecture

When I travel I really like seeing all the different types of architecture. Arabic or Moorish architecture is definitely no exception. We've seen many buildings and palaces filled with extraordinary and colourful mosaics as well as these rounded door frames and windows - a very typical and distinctive feature common for this era of building. There's just nothing like it in Australia, it's very different and incredibly beautiful. I must have taken a million photos of doors, windows, roofs and mosaic tiles! I feel extremely blessed to be here and see all this. Who knows if or when I'll be back again.

Day 318...

SATURDAY 18.7.15 - I am thankful for... Lunch stop on way to Marrakech

Driving from Fes to Marrakech we were fortunate to have some time to have lunch. I can't remember what it was called, but it was a 5 star hotel with this awesome pool and an area outside to eat lunch. Swimming was sooooooo good! The temperature was perfect and the weather divine. The only small hiccup was my food came out quite late, and one girl didn't even get her meal before we had to leave. Besides this though, I am thankful for this lunch stop we had. Just a little touch of luxury. 

Day 317...

FRIDAY 17.7.15 - I am thankful for... Arabian Nights Dinner!

What a day! It's been amazing exploring the city of Fes in Morocco; a unique and eye opening experience. Whilst exploring the Medina or Old City we came across a carpet shop, leather tannery and lastly, a clothing store. Most of us took this opportunity to buy an authentic outfit for our Moroccan dinner tonight. For the girls, an Arabian princess looking costume in all different colours (I wanted teal but settled for purple when the gentleman couldn't find it - pictured) and the men a Djellaba (pronounced ja-la-ba; long gown) with a fez hat. I must say together we looked AWESOME! And probably pretty weird to the locals when we walked down the street in our outfits. Spot the tourists! The dinner itself was delicious and the entertainment quite good. I really had a good time doing something and eating foods that are a little different. I am very thankful to have had this experience with this group of people. I may not have done so otherwise if I had travelled without a tour, and would have missed out on something special. 

Sunday, 16 August 2015

Day 316...

THURSDAY 16.7.15 - I am thankful for... The Ferry to Morocco

I'M IN AFRICA!!! GAH!!! I can't believe I can say that. We arrived in Morocco this afternoon, and to help get us there was the Spain to Morocco ferry. It was quite a pleasant journey too, only one and a half hours really. Our tour manager also made it very easy by directing us on where to go and what to do and by taking our passports to the little man in the corner of the ferry. So we made the trip without an issues. I am so thankful we had a ferry to get us here to another continent and I can't wait to explore it!

Day 315...

WEDNESDAY 15.07.15 - I am thankful for... The ability to walk

When I travel I love being able to walk as much as I can. That way you can go as fast or as slow as want, taking in your surroundings as you go and finding cool places you may not have seen if  you were on a bus or train. This morning our group did a walking tour of Granada; through Albaycin or the old Arab quarter, the Cartuja Monastery and Capilla Real, the royal church where Isabella and Ferdinand of Spain are buried. Then this afternoon we toured the Alhambra, a fortress come palace that boasts some spectacular architecture and more views. I can't help but think how difficult it would be to see and experience all these places without being able walk. I must have done over 20,000 steps today, easily! I am so incredibly thankful I was able to walk everywhere today. All these places I have been to so far have had the experience enhanced by walking as much as I'm able to.

Day 314...

TUESDAY 14.7.15 - I am thankful for... Amazing views...

Holy Toledo what an amazing view! It is actually a view of the city of Toledo, where we had a break on our way to Granada. We stopped at the lookout first to observe this breathtaking view. This photo honesty doesn't do it justice. During my epic journey across Europe so far I have been witness to many of these incredible views, of landscapes I have not seen before and am not used to. It's hard to fathom just how different places around the world can be, which makes travel all the more interesting and more worthwhile. I am so thankful to have seen these spectacular views, and I'm sure before my time is up I will be seeing some more. 

Day 313...

MONDAY 13.7.15 - I am thankful for... Churros!

Our first day in Spain and what's the first thing we do? We go and try Churros! Of course, I've had churros before in Australia, but we needed to try some authentic Spanish ones. They most certainly did not disappoint! Our tour manager did warn us that one serving was enough for a few people, however we decided to have one serve each. This plate shows three serves, each with their own cup of dipping chocolate. Yeah, we should have listened to our tour manager! But we did enjoy them and were able to take them away with us for later. I am very thankful for having the opportunity to eat churros in Spain. How incredibly blessed am I?

Wednesday, 12 August 2015

Day 312...

SUNDAY 12.7.15 - I am thankful for... Spain

Bienvenida a Madrid! Welcome to Madrid!

I'M IN SPAIN!!! I can't believe it. I'm in another place I've never been on my epic adventure. Today started off on a sad note though. It was hard to say goodbye to my sister and her partner, I had such an amazing time with them and will miss them. Flight went smoothly and even though my cab driver didn't speak English and my Spanish is EXTREMELY limited, I made it to my hotel quite easily where I found this cute little message on my mirror in the hotel room. We had a meeting and met our tour manager this afternoon who gave us the overall picture of what was happening. And my roomie seems pretty cool too! A group of us decided to get straight into it and we headed into the city where we had a drink and a chat. I have to say, tinto de verrano (red wine in lemonade) may be my new favourite drink! Yum! All in all I'm thankful that my first day in Spain turned out so well. I have a feeling this is going to be a great tour!

Day 311...

SATURDAY 11.7.15 - I am thankful for... Being OK to do nothing

*Picture from - exactly how I felt today!

Unfortunately I'm still not 100%. NOT HAPPY JAN! So today my sister and I just hung out together at her house before going out this afternoon for her friend's birthday. When you go on holidays, especially overseas, I feel there's this pressure you put on yourself to get out there and do as much as you can because you've paid for it and you're only there for a limited time. Ultimately though quality always outweighs quantity. It was nice to just spend time with my sister, who I hardly ever see, and chill out and relax. I leave tomorrow so for me it was a great way to finish our time together. I'm very thankful for not doing much today. Next stop, Spain!

Saturday, 8 August 2015

Day 310...

FRIDAY 10.7.15 - I am thankful for... Afternoon tea at Great Fosters

My sister organised for us and one of her friends to come to Great Fosters for have high tea. This grand hotel boosts a luxurious high tea and it certainly didn't disappoint! The weather being so wonderful we were able to sit outside in the gardens. We started with a glass of bubbles (very nice) and had plates of both sweet and savoury treats. The food was amazing and more than plentiful. There was so much left over! We even saw a wedding party taking their photos in the gardens. I love seeing brides and grooms on their wedding day, a happy occasion! I had such a great afternoon I forgot to take photos, this one above being the only one of the front of the hotel. My sister's friend took a photo of us so hopefully I can get a copy of that one. All in all a splendid afternoon was great food and great company, something I am extremely thankful for.

Day 309...

THURSDAY 9.7.15 - I am thankful for... Hampton Court Palace

After such a long day yesterday, I was grateful to have a sleep in and easy morning. My sister was working half the day so I hung around at her place until she came home. We spent a few hours this afternoon at Hampton Court Palace. Originally belonging to the Order of St John of Jerusalem it was redeveloped into a palace in 1514 and eventually became the residence of King Henry VIII (probably one of the most well known English monarchs) in 1529. It continued to be inhabited by the British Royal Family until the 18th century. Nowadays its a museum and sometimes used as a film set. My sister and I had a great time exploring the numerous rooms and sprawling gardens, though the famous 'first tennis court in the world' was closed for maintenance. Shame. There was even a room purely devoted to the making of chocolate! I need a chocolate room in my house! And a chocolate chef for that matter. Given my love of history I really enjoyed exploring this palace, and sharing the day with my sister made it all the more special. We even capped off the day with a late lunch/early dinner at this great Italian restaurant. I am thankful for Hampton Court Palace and places of history like this, and for the afternoon I was able to spend with my sister. The only other thing I could have asked for was to not be sick so I could have joined her and her partner at the pub tonight.

Wednesday, 5 August 2015

Day 308...

WEDNESDAY 8.7.15 - I am thankful for... Mystery

There are some things in life that we just don't know about. Mysteries that puzzle us through the ages. I saw one of these today. I spent the morning at Winsdor Castle, walked through the Roman Baths in Bath, had lunch in Lacock and finished the day here, at Stonehenge. How this magnificent structure was built is sill a mystery, one that may never be solved. I must admit it is pretty impressive when you see it in person, especially considering it was built possibly 1000s of years ago. As I was looking at it, thinking about how it might have come to be, I was actually intrigued by the mystery surrounding it. I think the unknown origins add to its allure. I am thankful there are mysteries like this in the world to make it a more interesting place. Maybe science will discover how Stonehenge and other mysteries structures came to be, then again there are some things in life that are better not knowing.

Day 307...

TUESDAY 7.7.15 - I am thankful for... The British Museum and Harry Potter Studio Tour!

I honestly couldn't decide between these two places I went to today so I am thankful for them both!

Ever since I was a little girl I have been fascinated by Ancient Egypt. All my school history assignments were on the subject and I researched interesting fact about the civilisation when I could (told you I was a nerd!). I was, and still am amazed by the ancient Egyptians; the people, the culture and their advanced technologies for their time. So needless to say when I visited the British Museum today I was like a kid in a candy shop! I've never had the privilege of seeing so many authentic artefacts before. There was also a exhibition about four different people in different social classes, detailing what their individual lives would have been like living in ancient Egypt. It was AMAZING!

Anyone who is a Harry Potter fan and has the opportunity to go to London MUST do the Warner Bros Harry Potter Studio Tour. The books came out when I was a child and I practically grew up with the movies, so it was a no brainer that I would do this tour whilst I was here. I arrived early (you are allocated a time to enter due to its high volume of visitors) so I decided to hit the gift shop first. A friend of mine who had been just days before did warn me that I'd want to buy everything. She was right. I. Wanted. EVERYTHING! Needless to say a big portion of my holiday spending money was spent in the shop, on myself and gifts for others. The tour itself is just incredible. You just walk through at your own pace. All the sets, costumes and props you see are originals that were used and worn in the films, no replicas. There is so much to see and do, including riding a broomstick and tasting butter beer (yum!) you almost feel part of the Harry Potter world. What a genius idea transforming the set into a museum of sorts. It will be enjoyed for many, many years to come!

Sunday, 2 August 2015

Day 306...

MONDAY 6.7.15 - I am thankful for... Cough Syrup

*Picture from

I knew it would happen. I prayed it wouldn't, but somehow it was inevitable. I am sick. A chest infection actually, and I have this incessant cough which sounds dreadful. Before I went to the airport I picked up some cough syrup from the chemist. Obviously it's not going to cure my infection (thankfully I already have antibiotics for that) but it is reducing the frequency of my cough, so I only sound like I'm dying a little bit. Rookie error though, I had it in my hand luggage and it was picked up at security and had to be tested, with me pleading for them not to take it off me (between coughs). So even though I am unwell I am thankful that the cough syrup seems to be working. Let's hope I can shake this quickly!