An unexpected delay and a spectacular display…

Well, departing Australia was not quite as straight forward as I had hoped.  It seemed too good to be true that everything was going according to plan!  I must admit I was a little nervous of the thick fog which had enveloped Sydney for the previous two mornings prior to our departure day and there it was again when “D-day” arrived!  However, in the end it was not the fog that delayed our departure but a strange unidentifiable smell on the aircraft coming from the cockpit!  Now I could make a number of jokes at this stage but I will let your own mind carry you into that cul-de-sac of thoughts if you so wish!

Anyway the point is, the smell was so concerning we were held up at Melbourne airport while they inspected further.  Luckily there was no down wind effect for us and we sat contemplating the new departure time!  A voice over the tannoy explained all passengers connecting on to international flights should not be concerned as the fog had caused havoc and flights out of Sydney were delayed all round.  So it seemed the fog was now our friend and we might be able to catch up and make our connection in the end!

Some considerable time later and after another four or five announcements up-dating us of the status, it was finally deemed the aircraft was not safe for travel and they would be preparing a new plane for take off as soon as possible.   So here begins the even lengthier delay which meant by the time we were disembarked and re-embarked, everybody’s luggage was moved and accounted for, someone bailed entirely and their luggage had to be re-found and removed, etc. etc…. the departure time really did not warrant the ungodly hour at which we had scraped ourselves out of bed.

In the end we were finally airborne and made it to Sydney in half the flight time it usually takes… (just shows how much traffic there is in the air these days and the buffer they factor in).  However we were still much later than the original arrival time and it was to our great dismay as we watched all the other passengers on international flights be quickly ushered to their waiting aircraft, whilst my husband and I were the only two remaining passengers bound for Johannesburg on the 9.55am flight and it had actually taken off right on time!

There were now two options presented to us, be flown to Perth and hang out until much later that night to fly or stay the night in Sydney and start again tomorrow.   We chose the latter being thoroughly exhausted from all the leaving parties, packing and sleepless nights of late.  Perhaps this was a blessing in disguise!  A day to ourselves to do nothing but take a load off!

So we did just that, collapsing into the bed of our complimentary hotel room for a quick power nap before seizing the opportunity to say good-bye to Sydney!  And what a treat it was when we realised it was Vivid Live, a celebration of Australia’s most iconic stages.  An amazing display of immersive light installations and projections were being used to light the sail’s of the stunning Sydney Opera House, projected onto it as though it were an artists canvas.  Many of the surrounding buildings were also glowing and changing before our eyes.  In the end it meant our good-bye to Australia was much more spectacular than anticipated and we were able to appreciate this great place one last time with a delicious fish supper down at the Rocks, followed by a stroll around the quay whilst staring up at the striking Harbour Bridge and Opera House all a glow with these incredible displays!

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After such an eventful day we slept like babies and the next morning upon returning to the airport we were soon checked in and sitting back flying over the Opera House and on our way!  In the end our big departure wasn’t upset too much by the chain of events that were out of our control and we made the most of the situation.  After all, the next chapter is going to be an even bigger journey and waiting one more day really wasn’t going to make much difference.  If I had been going on holiday for a week I would certainly have been a little more disappointed to lose a day!  Even so, sometimes when events change direction beyond our control it is best to sit back and enjoy the ride, maybe something wonderfully unexpected will happen that otherwise you might not have seen!  I think this example was certainly nothing short of spectacular!

After about seven hours of flying the excitement wore off and the longevity of the flight wore in!   It is a very long way from Australia to South Africa!   At one point I thought it would be a breeze versus the two lengthy flights that usually take me back to England for a visit.  However it is the huge change in time zones that gets you and with there only being one hours time difference between Cape Town and London the adjustment is pretty much the same coming from Australia.  Flying back in time does not take the age off you that is for sure!

Exhausted but with a slight hint of an up curl at the corner of our mouths when we got to Johannesburg, we pushed on with our last burst of energy onto the flight from Jo’burg to Cape Town.  I tried desperately hard not to nod like a dog and slapped my cheeks to stay awake…. (the slapping of cheeks doesn’t work by the way!).  This last leg was an absolute killer because really it was the early hours of the morning for us after an exceptionally long day, even though we had been sitting down for most of it!  Yawning and delirious we finally made it to our destination and looked to the Mother City to engulf us into bed!

What happened next is some what of a blur until I recall waking up in a comfy bed shrouded by darkness to the sounds of pelting rain and crunching thunder!  We came in with one almighty storm and were literally engulfed by rain, slate, waves and water!  Now I am not sure what the elements were trying to tell us here but it was certainly an incredible welcome committee to the Cape with flashing lightning and pouring rain for the majority of the weekend!

I am happy to have made it safe and sound with all our suitcases in tow (fingers crossed for the shipment on the sea) and since arrival it has been a case of taking each day as it comes.  My dreams are very peculiar and adjustments to our new home will take a little time but my eyes are wide with excitement and intrigue.  My biggest fear was for my computer which finally arrived yesterday, one week after me, and hence here I am jumping straight back on my blog and coming at you for the first time from Cape Town!

So here the new adventure begins….

My last day in Melbourne…

The time to depart Australia more permanently than just for a holiday (for the second time round) has finally come!  At one point it felt as though this day would never arrive.  The idea for the next adventure was seeded so many months ago and now the nurturing, plotting, planning, organising and co-ordinating have all finally paid off.  I am out of here!  I am of course sad to go and will miss my awesome friends the most but the momentum has been building for some time and I am ready to get started with eager anticipation for what lies ahead.

I have to say I am some what delirious…. it has been a crazy busy week!  The apartment felt like it would never be empty… the cupboards just kept on giving!  There were endless appointments, phone calls to wrap up business, cancel standing orders, pay bills, sell household items, buy necessary supplies, visit the dentist, doctor and optician, say good-byes… and decide what to pack in the suitcase to last the next few months!  Thankfully the tasks are now completed and the packing is done, all my worldly belongings are soon to be sailing across the seas and tomorrow I will be flying through the sky on the way to Cape Town!

I can’t wait to sit back on the plane, take stock of everything and try to prepare myself mentally for the next chapter.  I guess the three flights from Melbourne to Sydney to Johannesburg to Cape Town should be enough time!  So many thoughts are racing through my brain.  I feel exhilarated and excited but I know I am also anxious due to the intense dreams I have been having.  It is strange how the sub-conscious is so affected.  Even though we think we are coping on the surface, deep down our mind has warning lights flashing preparing itself for the unexpected just in case!

Anyway, must dash as I want to slip in one more coffee on the laneways, say a couple of last minute “see you later’s” and if I still have time visit the Monet exhibition at the National Gallery before the day is done!

I will be in touch from the new destination!

“The purpose of life is to live it, to taste experience to the utmost, to reach out eagerly and without fear for newer and richer experience.”   – Eleanor Roosevelt.

Container ship sailing across the horizon.

One of my favourite habitats in Melbourne…

It is the first day of May, the start of a new month and the start of my last month in Melbourne before the big move to South Africa!!  Thirty days to go!

One of the places I shall miss the most is the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne.  I have spent hours inside this stunning playground of incredible flora and fauna.  Not to mention the many hours running around its perimeter, I will come back to this shortly!  In summer time it is a glorious haven to relax in and many a family, group of friends or united couple can be found in amongst the diverse plant collections and trees with picnic hampers, rugs, balls, books and newspapers.

During these warmer months it is also home to the moonlight cinema and provides a stunning back drop whilst you sink into a bean bag and watch the silhouettes of fruit bats fly across the dusky sky as the movie starts…. particularly effective if you go to watch something more sinister!

Another favourite evenings entertainment here and the reason for many a wry smile has been watching the captivating and dynamic performances of Shakespeare Under the Stars.  The Australian Shakespeare Company present contemporary and unique productions in the enchanting garden surrounds.  Folks settle down on the grass with their array of goodies, and you can bet a fine drop of Australian shiraz or pinot noir isn’t going a miss, before being utterly absorbed, amused and entertained after a busy day.

Melbourne is also a very active city and on the exterior edge of the gardens runs a wide sand track lovingly known by the locals as the “tan.”  You will always spot a jogger or walker circumnavigating laps of the track at pretty much any time of year come rain, shine and even extreme heat!   I have definitely done my fair share of laps and it has helped keep me in shape with all the fine culinary delights and tasty treats on offer in this diverse multi-cultural city of fabulous food.  Another part of Melbourne I shall deeply crave and miss!

The good news is I know there is Kirstenbosch National Botanical Gardens in Cape Town and I look forward to exploring its glorious surrounds with my camera.  Watch out for this blog post in the future!

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Weekly Photo Challenge: Colour.

“Imagine a city where graffiti wasn’t illegal, a city where everybody could draw whatever they liked.  Where every street was awash with a million colours and little phrases.”    Banksy, Wall and Piece.  

I am always excited by the vibrant colours graffiti artists use.  It is an animated surprise to find an unexpected work of art around a corner.  Although it is at large an illicit form of expression, it is actually a pass time that originates from ancient times.   In many instances graffiti brightens up a dark back street or the underneath of a dirty free way.  The message however isn’t always as cheerful as the colours, with underlying social or political stances being sprayed.

An explosion of graffiti colours from the streets of Berlin, London, Melbourne and New York.

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Join in and spread a little magic with the weekly photo challenge.

 

Phoneography Challenge: My Neighbourhood.

The sunrise as I look over from my apartment in Port Melbourne to the CBD.  It’s been over 30 degrees for 9 days…. Finally a cooler change has relieved us!

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Looking out to the bay from down on the ground on the other side of my apartment…

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Just spreading a little magic with the phoneography challenge.