Kalli, New York City -> DC -> London


Posted Apr 2, 2007, 9:20 am
Hello all.
I jumped out of the basket at the local supermarket a few weeks ago and into Bec's shopping trolley ready to discover the world. I've just been waiting for my tag to arrive and for Bec to get herself organised to register me and start my adventures.

I love listening to Australian music, eating gum leaves, having long sleeps in comfy corners of lounges, handbags, cars and beds, and dream of travelling the world one day!

Posted Apr 2, 2007, 10:40 am
Thought I might show you some of the other things I've been doing while I've been waiting for my travelog to get started.
First of all, I decided to research this Toy Voyaging thing I seem to have been signed up for. Sounds like a lot of fun! Especially when I found out that Cassiopeia is going to come and visit soon. Bec says that she will take us to Taronga Zoo (as long as we promise first not try and jump into the Meerkat enclosure like a certain child she took there last year!) - I'll get to see a koala and Cassiopeia will get to see some turtles! Yay! I've been reading Cassiopeia's travelog - she's been having lots of adventures, hope I get to have some soon too!

Posted Apr 2, 2007, 10:46 am
We've also been investigating travel details for a family wedding Bec has to go to in Brisbane. This'll be the first time I get to go on a plane. Bec says its not too scary (except for the landings - which she hates cause they hurt her ears). Hope my ears will be ok. They're pretty furry, so that should help. Maybe Bec's mum will let me hold her hand because she hasn't been on a plane for maybe more than 30 years! She's pretty nervous too! We're also going to hire a car and stay in a motel. I probably won't get to go to the wedding, but I guess I'll hear all about it later.

Oh yeah ..... I've found out I LOVE Easter eggs (especially ones made of REAL chocolate - beats gum leaves by a mile!!)

Posted Apr 2, 2007, 10:53 am
mmmmm Easter eggs - surely I haven't finished all of those already!?!?!?!

Posted Apr 6, 2007, 3:38 am
I met the Easter Bunny today and asked for lots of yummy Easter eggs for Easter. Hope I get some......

Posted Apr 6, 2007, 3:40 am
I also had a terrifying experience today. I was sitting near the computer checking out the Easter Show and suddenly had a big black wet nose right near me. Luckily my aunty Stef whisked me out of harms way quickly as this dog likes to eat fluffy toys!!

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 2:27 pm
Yay! Actually been somewhere special today - The Royal Easter Show at Homebush in Sydney. We got up bright and early and got on a bus that took us into the showgrounds.

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 2:30 pm
Our first stop (after getting a locker) was at the showbags pavillion. So many showbags. How on earth was I meant to choose which ones I wanted? I managed to eventually narrow down my choices .... hope I'll get them all in the locker.....
Hey and look - I've found a new friend!

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 2:39 pm
Next we went on the newest ride at the show - the Observation Wheel. Its the biggest one of its kind in the southern hemisphere and its 50m tall! I was a bit scared while waiting in line - koalas don't tend to go so high and I've never been on a carnival ride before, but seeing as it didn't seem to be spinning too quickly and it was all enclosed it was alright. We got to see all the showgrounds, the Sydney Olympic stadium and even the skyline of the city far off in the distance. I think that if the sky hadn't been so cloudy the views might have been better.

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 2:43 pm
Pretty soon after getting off the ride my paws got a bit sore - there was a lot of walking around (which koalas aren't used to) and I only have short legs, so I decided to hitch a ride. Plus the view was a lot better from up here!

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 2:49 pm
Plus being up high kept me at a safe distance from the animals. I've read about too many Toy Voyagers having close calls with animals, as well as my experience with Angel the toy eating dog yesterday to want to get too close to the animals in the exhibits! The little piglets were cute, but vicious at feeding time. I've never heard such a noise. Koalas are much more civilised creatures! I really liked the little kids (baby goats) but was disappointed not to get to go to the farmyard nursery because it started to bucket down rain and my fur would have gotten too wet!

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 2:56 pm
We just had to liberate a bear from this store. There were just so many there to choose from. His name is Bondi and he's trying to decide whether or not to go off to see the world.......

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 2:59 pm
It was also time for lunch, so we went to the grandstand to watch the horse events and eat a Dagwood Dog (old show tradition, or so I've been told). Very yummy, but you have to be very careful not to get sauce in your fur! Luckily someone had bought a cushion so I could see over everyone's heads. It's not always easy being a short koala!

Also met some more new friends. I'm very, very happy that the character at the back won't be coming back to my house with us. I think he's a bit too scary and rough. He's got tattoos and everything.

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 3:03 pm
When I felt a little more rested it was time to do a bit more exploring, but it started to pour down rain. Luckily (seeing as I hate to get my fur wet) we were near the fresh food pavillion and I could go in to check out the displays. This was my favourite and its all made out of the produce of the area. And the butterflies wings moved!! Don't know if you can see the snail but it was made out of a pumpkin!

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 3:06 pm
BTW I'm now one-fifth of the way towards completing a mission - I saw a live koala! You weren't allowed to take photos near it, so hope this is okay. 1 down, 4 to go!

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 3:13 pm
Then it was time to go back to the grandstand and get ready for the nighttime events. It rained and rained and rained while we watched the dog events and the rodeo and it got really cold. The rodeo was a lot of fun, even if the American team beat the Aussies tonight (by just 2 points!)  :(

I really enjoyed the precision driving team - loved the roar of the engines! Too bad they couldn't do their full show because it was too wet.

Now I'm home again and exhausted. Going to have a big long sleep once I've posted this and wait for the Easter bunny to come. Still hoping for a nice big Easter egg!

Posted Apr 10, 2007, 5:28 am
Well, the Easter bunny came, and look what I found - just what I asked the Easter bunny for! - but Bec says that small koalas shouldn't eat large chocolate eggs and that the big egg belongs to her. She says that the small eggs are more likely to be belong to a small koala. I'm not sure I agree with that view.

Posted Apr 15, 2007, 10:27 am
Another day out - and this time the sun was shining. Yippee!
Sadly, CK and I spent a lot of the day in a shoulder bag while Bec and her sister checked out the Bridal Expo for her sister's wedding. No photography allowed. Don't completely understand all the fuss about weddings - its not something that koalas really know a lot about!

Posted Apr 15, 2007, 10:40 am
Finally however we were released from the captivity of the bag when it was time to go outside and into Darling Harbour  for lunch. It was a beautifully sunny day and many families were out having picnics and fun on the water.


Posted Apr 15, 2007, 11:09 am
Then we walked down towards the Pyrmont Bridge which is a swing bridge that pivots in the centre. We were lucky enough to see it swinging around to let a boat through, but my official photographer managed to cut me out of the photo!

(She's asked me to explain that due to the sunny conditions it was extremely difficult to view the LCD screen and her sunglasses were causing problems with looking through the viewfinder!)

I enjoyed looking at all of the boats in the bay on our walk to the ferry wharf, but didn't want to get too close in case I fell into the water!

Posted Apr 15, 2007, 11:12 am
We also went past the new Wildlife World which is like a zoo where they have Australian animals I begged to go and visit so I could see the koalas, but we didn't have enough time to go there. Maybe another time??

Posted Apr 15, 2007, 11:18 am
We caught the ferry from Darling Harbour around to Circular Quay - a much nicer view and some time to rest the feet after all the walking we'd done already.

It was a beautiful day to be out on the Harbour. The sun was shining brightly, there was a nice breeze and we managed to get a seat on the upper outside deck to enjoy the views of the docks where the container ships come in, the Harbour Bridge and the Sydney Opera House. Did you know that the Harbour Bridge turned 75 last month?

(Again, apologies for the poor photograph angles like nose shots!):thinking: :thinking:

When we got back to Circular Quay station we had time to enjoy the view from the platform before our train came in to take us home.

Note - for some reason the photos keep going in the wrong order.
1= view from station,
2= Opera House
3= view of Pyrmont Bay from ferry
4= Harbour Bridge

Posted Apr 16, 2007, 2:01 am
Kalli has gone very shy all of a sudden, but she would like to thank you for the honour of being made ToyVoyager of the Week.

Posted May 5, 2007, 11:14 am
Cassiopeia has been visiting with us for a while and today the weather was so nice we decided that instead of going to the local park we'd take her for a drive to the coast.


Bec was experimenting with the GPS navigator she was just given, so we went on a very interesting drive to get to the beach by following the way it wanted us to go, but finally we got there. Unfortunately you can't see it in this photo, but there was a beautiful sail boat crossing right in front of this road which runs almost right down to Cronulla beach.


Posted May 5, 2007, 11:47 am
When we got to Kurnell we had to stop and pay for a ticket to pay for taking the car into the National Park.


This is a very special place in Australian history as it was the landing place of Captain James Cook in 1770. He was
supposed to make astronomical observations, but Captain Cook also had secret orders from the British Admiralty to find the southern continent. Apparently European explorers had been looking for "Terra Australis Incognito" which means the  "Unknown Southern Land" for over 200 years.
(We found lots of information about Kurnell and Captain Cook here.)
We were a little confused when we got there as to how to find Captain Cook's landing place, which was what we really wanted to see. Luckily Stef (Bec's sister) had thought to pick up one of their dad's guide books so we were able to work out where we were and which way to go.

The first thing we found was the Solander monument.


Can you see us?

The monument is in honour of a Swedish botanist who travelled with Captain Cook on the Endevour as an assistant to Sir Joseph Banks (who the area we live in is named after - Bankstown!!) Just off shore from here is a concrete pile marking where the ship was anchored (but you can't see it in this photo!)


Right near this monument  is another one - this one is for a man named Forby Sutherland. The council area that Kurnell is in is called Sutherland Shire and is thought to be named after him. It's funny, how if he hadn't been the first European to die in Australia he probably would never have had his name in the history books because he was just a seaman on the ship! He died of tuberculosis


Posted May 5, 2007, 12:23 pm
We kept walking saw a number of ships in Botany Bay as there is a major shipping terminal here, as well as an oil refinery and other industrial terminals. Sydney Airport is also just alongside the bay.


Eventually, we came to Sir Joseph Banks' monument. He was the head botanist on the ship and collected many plant specimens here. So many (over 800 never before seen specimens in fact!), that he thought it was such a great place for plants and he had Captain Cook change the name for the bay from Stingray Bay after the number of stingrays they’d caught there, to Botany Bay. When Banks rose to a position of power in England, he used his influence to send a settling fleet (of convicts and soldiers) to Botany Bay, ready to create a power base for Britain in the South Sea.


Posted May 5, 2007, 12:39 pm
Finally we made it to Captain Cook's landing place. A huge obelisk was built here in 1870 to mark 100 years since he landed here.


Here's one where you can see us a bit better!


But this is not Captain Cook's actual landing place! It is really out across some rock pools and surrounded by water.


It is assumed that Cook landed at low tide, as when it is high tide this point is surrounded by water and Cook would have had to have been carried ashore by his men and there is no mention of this in any history books! Anyway, we bravely set out to cross to the landing point and saw tiny crabs scurrying deeper into their rock pools to hide. We had to step carefully as to not get our feet wet or fall off! But, here we are!!


And this is what we had crossed to get here!


According to the plaque, Cook's nephew, Isaac Smith, who was a mid-shipman is thought to have been the first Englishman to step ashore on April 29, 1770.


Posted May 5, 2007, 12:53 pm
We walked back to car and drove further into the National Park. We passed a sign for Yena Picnic Area so thought we'd have a look. Bec was glad that they were driving her 4WD and not her old little hatch as it might not have made it across the bumps!
When we got to the bottom there was a fantastic view of the sea.


We drove a little further up to Cape Solander (you remember - the botanist with the monument?) where if you are lucky you can see whales on their way to Antarctica. The sign said that they pass between May and November, but it must still be too early for them as sadly, we didn't see any.


The view was still beautiful to look at!


The Cape marks the entrance to Botany Bay.

This was as far as we could drive. We would have liked to have seen the lighthouse, but it was a 1 hour walk and it was already 4 o'clock and too late to start, so we decided to head home.

Posted May 5, 2007, 1:00 pm
On the way home we made a slight detour to show Cassiopeia Cronulla Beach. We decided to stop at Wanda Beach because there was plenty of parking (sometimes you can't find anywhere to park in Cronulla that's close to the beach!)

Wanda is an Aboriginal word for beach or sand hills, but the sand hills aren't very big any more because of all the sand dredging they've done in the area.

We decided to sit and watch the waves come in for a little while, which was very relaxing, especially with the sun just beginning to set.


All too soon it was time to start heading home before the traffic got too heavy, but we had a very enjoyable afternoon.

Posted May 7, 2007, 11:10 am
Another beautiful weekend day and time for a new adventure!

"Hmmmm. Where can we go today?" asked Cassiopeia.


"Let's go visit Wollongong," I said after checking the guide book. So we got our driver (Bec - and her mum who wanted to come too) and headed off to the the third largest city in New South Wales.


Our first stop was at the lookout at Sublime Point.

It was such a beautifully sunny day we could see all the way down to Wollongong and a long way out to the horizon. Don't worry - Bec's mum had a firm hold on my paw the whole time that I was taking in the view!



Can you believe that in the time when they cut down trees for the timber industry around here, they hauled it up the steep mountain passes by bullock train?


Posted May 8, 2007, 1:39 pm
Our next stop was the Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong. "Nan Tien" in Chinese, literally means "Paradise of the South". This is the biggest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. It also has the largest terracotta tile roof of any building in the southern hemisphere.


This is the Great Compassion Hall and has thousands of tiny statues of Buddha on the walls. The Buddha inside it is a symbol of great compassion and listens to people’s prayers to relieve suffering. Outside is this sculpture of Skanda who protects the Dharma and the objects of the Dharma. (Being near that sword was a little bit scary!!)


There were also lots and lots of statues of different Buddhas in the beautiful native gardens around the complex. We especially liked looking at this collection of statues. We thought they looked like little children.


Cassiopeia  had her photo taken with a different one to me.

We didn't go into the main shrine, which is the larger of the two shrines, but here I with one of the lions that guards it.

This shrine is at the back and houses the Five Dhyani Buddhas – The Buddhas of Confidence, Longevity, Wisdom,  Inner Beauty and Peace as well as 10 000 smaller Buddhas!


It was getting very hot and we were all getting thirsty and hungry, so we left the temple to go into Wollongong to buy some lunch.

Posted May 8, 2007, 1:45 pm
We left the temple and drove into Wollongong. It took a long time to find a parking spot because Wollongong is a very popular place to visit on the weekend, especially when the weather is nice.


We found a spot up near the lighthouse and walked down to the harbour to get fish and chips for lunch (a tradition for Bec's family when they visit Wollongong).


We walked back up to the lighthouse to eat our lunch and watch the yachts sailing on the ocean.


Behind us were some large cannons. I wondered what they were  for. It turns out that in 1879, the government was worried that Australia would be attacked by the Russian fleet, so they put these cannons in Wollongong Harbour to protect the harbour from attack. The cannons were never used (there was never an attack!) and now they are sealed up. This point is also famous for its lighthouse. If you look really carefully at the photos from Sublime Point you might be able to see it!



Posted May 8, 2007, 1:52 pm
When it was time to leave Wollongong we home up the old highway which is the much more scenic route than the expressway. The old highway follows the coast and goes through many of the old coal mining towns (the whole region's main industry at one time was coal mining).

Here we are outside one town called Coledale. There is a school right on a cliff overlooking the ocean right near here that Bec thinks would be a calming place to teach with this view!!


We considered trying to make a run for it with the car keys before realising that our legs would be too short to reach the pedals! Oh well, maybe one day they'll make a car suitable for adventurous koalas & turtles!!

Posted May 8, 2007, 2:01 pm
As we wound our way closer back to the top of the mountains we could see many funny looking creatures hanging around the cliff face - they were hang gliders!!! Of course, we had to stop and have a look. The point was very crowded with spectators. The view was great, don't you think?



This point is called Bald Hill and is important in the history of flight because in 1894 a man called Lawrence Hargreaves was the first man in the world to fly with the help of four box kites on the beach below here. Now, it is very popular for people to go paragliding and hang gliding up here. They even give lessons! I wonder if I'll ever be brave enough to take one. It looks like a lot of fun and it must be nice to float on the breeze like a bird.

This is a map of where I went today (we went through all these towns!):


Posted May 19, 2007, 2:37 pm
The kinder kids went to visit the art gallery today, so Bec let Cassiopeia and I come along. We didn't get to see a lot (because the kinder kids were very busy and excited about being out of school on their first excursion!) but we got to see the scenery out of the bus:


and the statue out the front:



Posted May 19, 2007, 2:40 pm
Time to pack to get ready for our trip to Brisbane. I can't wait to go flying for the first time!


Posted May 19, 2007, 2:49 pm
Here we are at the motel. We had an excellent flight into Brisbane airport and then just had to wait in a queue for the luggage and to get the hire car. Unfortunately Bec did not enjoy the flight as much as I did so she forgot to take photos of us on the plane:(


The bed doesn't feel that comfortable to sleep on. Guess I'll have to curl up on someone's pillow.

Across the road from the Motel is a paddock with cows. If it stops raining we might be able to get a photo with them. It is very strange that we aren't that far at all really from Brisbane (Queensland's capital) and it's as if we're in the country!


We came across this strange little bird at Sydney airport. His name is Reggie, and he thinks he might like to be a ToyVoyager too.  Stef (Bec's sister) is going to take care of him.

Posted May 20, 2007, 12:51 pm
It was a very cold and dreary morning. Nothing like I'd been led to expect from Queensland weather, but still we went for a drive to check out some of the local sights.

Our first stop was the beach at Redcliffe.


A marker at the beach said that Redcliffe was named by Matthew Flinders (an early Australian explorer)  after the colour of the sand / cliffs. You can understand why!


There was a stage near the beach and I thought I'd pose in one of the windows with the ocean behind me. It was a bit tricky because the wind kept making my ears flap and move me around, but eventually it worked!


It was so windy that a man who was surfing with a kite kept getting lifted very high into the air!


Posted May 20, 2007, 1:00 pm
Then it was time to head back to the Motel so that the 'humans' could get ready to go to the wedding they'd flown up here for. We hoped that by dressing up we'd be allowed to go too,


but Bec said it would be rude to go if you hadn't received an invite, so we'd have to stay behind.

So, we had a little party of our own. Made even better when they bought us home the Bonbonniere to share.


Posted May 20, 2007, 1:04 pm
We got to the airport bright and early and returned the hire car before getting in the very long line to check in - there were a lot of people travelling out of Brisbane airport to all different places in Australia. When we finally got through the line we went upstairs to have breakfast before sitting and waiting for our plane. We passed the time reading, doing crossword puzzles and watching the people and planes going past.


We were disappointed to not get any window seats for the flight back (we had to sit in the middle of the plane), so, again, no photos!

On our way home we dropped Cassiopeia off at Stef's house for a visit then, headed home for a rest.

Posted May 27, 2007, 6:28 am
Today we took Cassiopeia on a turtle hunt at the creek in one of our local parks.

When we got to the park it was very, very quiet. There were no children there, which we thought was a bit strange! As we got closer we could see why - the council are building new play equipment and it was all fenced off. It looks like it will be a fun place to go and play at when it is finished! (And there are no more tunnel slides where adults will hit their heads trying to help children not be scared to come down!!)


The swings were still in the open so Cassiopeia and I had a bit of a play.



After a little while of swinging (which I have to say I really enjoyed!) we walked over to the bridge in the hope of spotting the turtle.


Sadly, while we saw lots of ducks and pea hens the turtle (and the huge eel that normally lurks there) were no where in sight!


We walked up to the corner store for some groceries and when we got back a man and his little daughter were feeding the ducks. We hoped that this might entice out the turtle, but all we saw were very greedy ducks and ducklings!


Posted May 27, 2007, 6:41 am
Today Cassiopeia and I had a little fun at home.

We played in the garden

Visited Froddo's pond and chatted to the fisherman who lives there

And had some afternoon tea together. I made a very popular Australian snack - Vegemite on SAO Biscuits with lots of butter. As much as I really enjoyed eating mine, I'm not all that sure Cassiopeia really liked it. I guess its an acquired taste (common to most Aussies).

Posted May 27, 2007, 6:49 am
We went to Taronga Zoo today!!

Here we are waiting for our train

We had a 'all-stops' train which was a bit frustrating as both Cassiopeia and myself were so eager to get there!

Posted May 27, 2007, 6:58 am
We had a little wait for the ferry to come in to take us to the zoo, so we took in the view of the harbour and snacked.


Posted May 27, 2007, 7:50 am
I always enjoy travelling on the ferries on Sydney Harbour. There are so many things to see and its such a relaxing way to see them, especially when the weather is nice:

The Harbour Bridge

The Sydney Opera House

The city skyline and the Royal Botanical Gardens

Fort Denison, which once upon a time was an island used for punishment of the convicts and was nicknamed 'Pinchgut'. Then, in the 19th Century the British Government was afraid Australia would be attacked by the Russian fleet, so they built the fort here to protect the harbour.

The tallest building you can see on the right is Centrepoint tower. I'd love to see Sydney from the top of that building. Oh well, a koala can always dream, can't she?

Posted May 27, 2007, 7:52 am
When we got to the zoo we had to wait in a very long queue before we could get to the ticket booth - the ferry only goes to the zoo, so pretty much everyone who was on the ferry was in the line! (Except for the people who had decided to catch the bus up to the top - the zoo is built on the side of a hill)

Eventually we got our tickets and got on the Sky Safari which carries you up to the top of the zoo and is the best way to travel (beats the bus any day!). From it, you can see parts of the zoo from the sky.


Look at all those gum trees!

Posted May 27, 2007, 8:00 am
Our first stop was the koalas and I am now another step closer to completing one of my Life Missions.

All of the koalas in this part of the zoo were very active. We even saw one jump from tree to tree! (Bec's kicking herself that she didn't have the camera set to video!!)



I also took the opportunity to read up on my family.

Did you know that we climb up the tree in bounding movements by holding on with our front paws and moving our rear legs up together?

We saw more koalas in the round koala walk-about enclosure. In this enclosure you can walk up a ramp that takes you up to the koala's level. All of these koalas were sleeping.


So, that's one mission 2/5's completed!

Posted May 27, 2007, 8:26 am
Our next stop was at the reptiles and amphibians so that Cassiopeia could complete one of her life missions , but the snakes scared me, so I stayed hidden away.

I was much happier when we got to see the other animals, especially the giraffes. They have such great tastes in food! And look at their view!


The Seal Show was a lot of fun to watch and sit for lunch and I was glad we'd chosen seats away from the front rows as the spectators sitting there got just a little wet!

We also saw the Kodiak bears, who were out and about for a change. Did you know that they are not one of my relatives? They're mammals and I'm not a bear because I'm a marsupial - I have a pouch and they don't!

We were all very sad not to be able to see any penguins :( so Cassiopeia and I decided to have a little bit of fun and pretend to be penguins. What do you think?? Did we succeed?

We worked our way back to the Australian animals where we saw more koalas

Hyperactive echidnas that were just running around and around

Rock wallabies


and an emu who kept sticky beaking into the car park over the fence.

Posted May 27, 2007, 8:35 am
Some of us were getting sore feet and tired, so it was time to get back on the Sky Safari for the trip back down to the ferry.

This is the view from Athol Wharf where the Taronga Zoo ferry comes in. Not bad huh?

We had another very relaxing ride on the ferry. Can you see all the groups of people doing the Bridgeclimb on top of the bridge?

And, look, thats the "Friendship" the ferry we took to get to the zoo this morning!

We thought it was a very appropriate name for the ferry to have, seeing as in the time Cassiopeia's been here we've become such great friends!


Posted May 27, 2007, 8:42 am
We had some time to take in the view from the station platform while waiting for our train, but we were all feeling a bit sad because it was Cassiopeia's last adventure with us - she has to move on to visit Crizle on Monday.


Posted May 27, 2007, 9:12 am
Well, Cassiopeia has climbed back into her travelling box and headed off on her way to continue her Australian adventures with Crizle in Brisbane, so we are all feeling a little flat.

I've had a surprise though. To keep me from getting too lonely and as a memento of Cassiopeia's visit here, Bec found us a new friend at the zoo yesterday.... Shecky!

Posted Jun 6, 2007, 9:36 am
I went into school today with Bec because we were leaving straight from there to go to Port Macquarie to visit our family there. While I was at school I helped the kids with their sports lesson (I'm a bit blurry because I was dancing to the music!):


and one of the kids drew a picture of me. Is it a good likeness?



Straight after school we got picked up by Stef and started the long drive up the coast. Normally the trip takes about 5-6 hours. Tonight being Friday night the trip took closer to 7 hours. I'm not a fan of traffic jams!!


Posted Jun 6, 2007, 9:40 am
Here I am at our Aunt and Uncle's house. They have a beautiful view of the mountains surrounding Port Macquarie! (if you ignore the power cables!!)



Posted Jun 6, 2007, 10:22 am
I was very lucky this morning and got to visit the Koala Hospital in Port Macquarie. Koalas get bought here if they've been hurt by a car or an animal, or by bush fire, or if they're found very sick in the wild.  They are kept in the hospital until they are fully recovered and then they are returned to the wild. Joeys (baby koalas) are also looked after here and are taught how to behave like koalas. Visitors to the hospital can walk around the outdoor care yards and watch the koalas eat, sleep, and if you're very lucky, move around. (We were lucky - a lot were awake while we were there!)

Can you spot the koala in the tree?

This one's a little easier to see! He's very old.

Of course we made a donation to help care for the koalas.

We've also decided to sponsor a wild koala (who was cared for by the hospital). You could read about him  here if you like!

This all puts me a little bit closer to fulfilling the first of my life missions!

Posted Jun 6, 2007, 10:36 am
In the afternoon we all drove up to Crescent Head to watch Bec's cousin's Rugby Union team (The Vikings) play. They're the team wearing black, green and yellow.


Neither of us were very sure of the rules, but it was fun game to watch anyway.

While we were watching the game we heard a strange noise. We looked behind us and there were cows being herded into the paddock next to the football field! That's when we really knew we were watching a country match!


It got a bit cold in the later stages of the game so I found the esky bag a great place to get out of the wind and still keep an eye on the play.


The team won 34-0! Yay!

Posted Jun 6, 2007, 10:53 am
Sadly, our weekend is over and we had to come back home. On the way home I noticed something on the highway that I hadn't seen on the way up because it had been dark when we got here.
There were strange cables hanging over the road every kilometre or so.


It turns out that they are glider cross overs to help the sugar gliders cross the freeway. As gliders cannot fly across the four-lane expressway, crossovers allow them to partially cross, land and then complete their crossing.

Also, the fences along the highway looked a bit droopy on the top.


This is to stop koalas and other animals from crossing the freeway and getting run over by cars and trucks as it is very hard for us to get over. To help us get across the freeway safely there are specially designed underpasses under the freeway that we can travel through. Pretty well thought out huh?

I also thought I'd introduce you to one of my travel companions. We kept warm in the back seat when the temperature started to drop later in the afternoon.


Posted Jun 10, 2007, 9:06 am
Two new voyagers have come to stay! Yay! Company while Bec's at work!

Sadly the weather has been shocking since they've arrived


so we've had to shelve our plans to go to Canberra for the long weekend and entertain ourselves at home.


It's tricky being the Monopoly Banker when you've only got short legs!

Dominoes was much more my speed!


Posted Jun 11, 2007, 9:19 am
The weather had greatly improved, so today we took Elisabeth and JamaBana to La Perouse for lunch. One of Bec's oldest friends is leaving this week for a 13 month trip around the world, so we took her too, but I don't think we've convinced her to register a ToyVoyager!  :(

Anyway, we had lunch at a beautiful cafe right on the water (the yellow building)


and then set off to explore this historical area.

This is Botany Bay


and if you look very, very closely across the bay in this photo you'll see Captain Cook's landing place at Kurnell where we went with Cassiopeia  a few weeks ago!


Elisabeth became very excited when we spotted this monument. It is dedicated to Comte de La Perouse who arrived in Botany Bay in January 1788 with orders to annexe any parts of 'New Holland' ie New South Wales / Australia that had not been claimed by England. Unfortunately he was a week too late, as the First Fleet had just arrived  and claimed the whole of New South Wales for England! La Perouse sailed away a few weeks later and was never heard of again.


Anyway, besides the French connection, the reason she was so excited was that the other side of the monument is engraved in French! (You can read the English side more clearly here if you're interested)

The buildings you can see off the point are Bare Island Fort, which was built in th 1880's to defend the bay from an invasion by the Russian fleet (people at this time were very paranoid about the Russians at this time!!!!!) but there were lots of faults in it, so it was later used as a home for war veterans (poor guys!)


Posted Jun 11, 2007, 9:25 am
We were getting worried about the storm clouds that were getting darker and darker by the moment, so decided to head for home.

On the way we made a little detour to the Nurse's Church at Little Bay, which is one of the most beautiful churches in Sydney (in Bec's opinion) despite the fact that it is not a cathedral. It's nothing to look at from the outside, but the interior is beautiful.



Posted Jun 11, 2007, 9:29 am
Anyway, back home again where I noticed that the orchid had finally flowered

The orchid belonged to Bec's grandfather, then Bec's great-grandfather and then Bec's father, and now that they're all gone it's very sentimental.

Posted Jul 22, 2007, 11:29 am
Today would have been Bec's dad's 60th Birthday, so the family went out to do one of his favourite things - fish & chips at Brighton, watching the planes take off. It wasn't the greatest day to be at the beach (just a little cold & windy)!!

-Bec's mum couldn't resist feeding the seagulls. Suddenly we had a whole flock gathered around us!

- Looking towards Sydney Airport

- Some people decided it was a good afternoon to play beach volleyball. We decided it was too cold to sit around and watch them!

- The First Fleet Memorial (the first British 'settlers' who were mainly convicts and soldiers). Barclay has a much better photo in his Travelog.


Posted Jul 22, 2007, 11:33 am

Posted Aug 23, 2007, 10:43 am
We've been busy with hosting detail, so I haven't had the chance to  keep myself updated!

Here are the chick's Bec's had in her classroom. They're between 10-14 days old.


Posted Aug 25, 2007, 8:15 am
Today when we went to go grocery shopping we noticed that it was the day for the Revesby Craft Fair, which Bec and her family hadn't been to for a while, so we decided to check it out first.


I was a very lucky little koala. Knowing that the weather will still be very cold when we go to the USA and Canada early next year, Bec bought me some travelling clothes.

What do you think?


Posted Sep 7, 2007, 8:49 am
I went to visit the farm one day
I saw a koalaacross the way
And what do you think I heard it say?

(You can hear the music here)

I'm another step closer to completing my first mission! We saw this Koala at the farm!

So, that's
1 at the Easter Show
1 at Taronga Zoo
1 at the Koala Hospital
1 at the Farm

so only 1 more to see before the mission is complete!

Posted Sep 7, 2007, 9:21 am
We've just realised that one of my missions has been completed!

Mission - To meet 6 ToyVoyagers

Method of completion - Only foreign ToyVoyagers were counted, and I have met Cassiopeia, Elisabeth, JamaBanaDukLuv, HoppyVanderHare, Boone Racoon, Twinette Kani and Mei, which actually makes 7 Toyvoyagers in all!

Photos (Evidence)
1http://farm1.static.flickr.com/249/514482924_56b7955279_t.jpg 2http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1334/580580844_32dba039f0_t.jpg 3http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1203/560178631_40c2d1ba9d_t.jpg 4http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1035/935583550_66e5d48438_t.jpg 5http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1149/1340036873_d1267221f3_t.jpg 6http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1026/1340036091_ca667de3a2_t.jpg 7http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1260/1340035309_89507c57be_t.jpg

My first ever mission to be completed!

Posted Nov 6, 2007, 5:57 am
Today is the first Tuesday in November, which means that it is Melbourne Cup Day!
Melbourne Cup Day is Australia's most famous Tuesday. At 3.00 pm AEST, on the first Tuesday in November, Australians everywhere stop for one of the world's most famous horse races - the Melbourne Cup.

It is called "The Race That Stops a Nation" and even those who don't usually bet try their luck with a small wager or entry into a 'sweep' - a lottery in which each ticket-holder is matched with a randomly drawn horse. (Bec had a small win in the $1 sweep at work, but doesn't know how much she's won yet!)

Us ToyVoyagers decided to get in on the action - one problem though, we had no money  :( so we just had to pick a horse to barrack for. I chose Master O'Reilly(#11) I put on my hat (hats and fascinators are very important for ladies at the Melbourne Cup) and prepared to watch the race.


Then it was time for the race to start. It was so exciting!

And, guess what!  :o
My horse my horse didn't win or place. I was a little disappointed :(, but still it was a fun afternoon.


Posted Dec 9, 2007, 12:02 pm
I'm very honoured to have been window #1 on the advent calendar. In case anyone's been wondering what I've been doing since the last time I wrote I've been:
Making holiday plans (my haul from the Backpackers & Travel Expo)

Keeping Bec on task with her school reports and preventing her from procrastinating too much by adding music to iTunes! I had to be really strict as she'll look for any excuse to avoid doing them!

I've spent some time communing with nature

And of course playing host!

Sadly, my little sun hat went missing at school. I hope I can find a new one soon!

Posted Jan 2, 2008, 4:09 am
I woke up on Christmas morning to find a present in the stocking Taro had made for me.

Next I got to open the present that had been put under our little TV tree for me.

It is very difficult to get wrapping paper open without opposable thumbs and not rip it, but I tried my hardest.

And look, I wonder what it is?

Ah-ha a Koala sized banadana to replace my missing sun hat (It never even turned up in lost property. My little friend at school was devastated!)

At lunch Taro and I popped the Christmas bon-bons

before we all enjoyed Christmas pudding and custard.

In the afternoon I took on the job of guarding the presents that hadn't been given out yet.
Like my head band?

Posted Jan 23, 2008, 5:46 am
We were on our way up the coast to Port Macquarie when we passed this sign on on the side of the road, so we stopped and waved 'hello' to Nikki (Prowl_Worshipper) & co.


The Pacific Highway is the main road north from Sydney heading to Brisbane. It is a very busy road and was once very dangerous but there has been lots of work done on it. Of course, this means delays



Posted Jan 25, 2008, 11:46 am
It's important to keep hydrated when travelling by car in the summer....

We played tourist and went to check out the sights.

This is Town Beach. Port Macquarie has a LOT of beaches!

We followed the road along the coast. What a great view!

Look at this road sign! It tells passing motorists to look out for koalas near and on the roads. How thoughtful!

I kept my eyes peeled for koalas in the trees as we walked to our next stop at Harry's Lookout, but unfortunately didn't spot any.  :(

I did however find a koala sized swing!

So, here is Harry's Lookout. Harry was a squatter who lived here in a caravan for more than 20years despite the council trying to move him on. When he died they made a memorial for him and renamed the lookout. Very strange.


You can understand why he'd want to live here. It's beautiful!

Part of the memorial is this great carved table and chairs setting. Apparently a lot of people either get married or have their wedding photos taken here.

Our next stop was Tacking Point Lighthouse.

It was VERY windy here. You can easily see why a lighthouse was necessary on this point.


On the beach below there was a junior Surf Lifesavers competition taking place. We felt a bit sorry for the competitors as the waves were really high and strong.

Then it was back in the car again, this time to drive inland.

Posted Feb 6, 2008, 6:36 am
Big Brother Mountain has nothing to do with the TV show! There are  three mountains in the range - Little, Middle and Big.
It was a long and winding drive to the top.

The view from the top was not as spectacular as usual as the weather was closing in. It was so windy all the humans looked slightly as if they'd had a shock with their hair standing up everywhere. They should have been sensible and worn a bandanna too!


Do you know what this is?
It's an environmentally friendly drop-dunny! (i.e. A public toilet!)  A regular site in bush environments.


Posted Mar 6, 2008, 12:16 pm
Our last night at home for a long time.
Bags are all packed, after lots of angst of what will actually be needed and here we sit sweltering in some last minute summer humidity, following weeks of cold, wet and miserable weather.
Tomorrow night we'll be in San Francisco.
How exciting!


Posted Mar 16, 2008, 4:49 am
San Francisco is a very leg tiring place to visit. Luckily I spent a lot of time in my tour guide's bagpack. Only problem was, my tour guide was quite often so wrapped up in taking in the sights herself, she kept forgetting to take photos of Cassiopeia and myself.
These are what we do have:
On our first day we went to Coit Tower. Coit Tower is the tallest point above the city and sits on Telegraph Hill, which is San Francisco's tallest hills (and there are a lot of hills in San Francisco! Some of the streets are so steep there are stairs for the pedestrians instead of pavement)
Coit Tower was built with money donated by a woman who had been greatly impressed by the firefighters after the 1906 earthquake and she wanted a monument built to them. So, the tower is designed to look like the nozzle on a fireman's hose.
Inside Coit Tower are lots of beautiful murals that were painted in the 1930's showing life in San Francisco and rural California. Cassiopeia had her photo taken in front of one of the San Francisco city scenes.
We rode the cable cars another day, but tragically no pictures - I really have to talk to my tour guide about this situation!  ;)
We went to the "Bendiest Street in the World" - Lombard St, which has 8 hairpin turns to cope with the steepness of the hills. When cars drive down they have to keep to less than 5miles per hour! Apparently a year or so ago a limo tried to go down (and the driver should have read the sign at the top that said no large vehicles!) and got stuck and to get it out, they had to cut it into pieces!
Monday we went to Alcatraz. That was a really interesting place to visit. It was interesting to learn about all the attempted escapes. There's never been proof of a successful escape from the island - although some bodies were never recovered from the bay, so maybe they did make it? Did you know that when Alcatraz was an operational prison, the guards and their families lived on the island? No - neither did I, until we met a historian called Jolene Babyak, who grew up on the island because her father was the associate warden there! It was very windy on the ferry out to the island, and even windier on the way back.
We took the audio tour of the cell block. It was very interesting and full of interesting facts, but the problem was that you kept being sent to the same place as everyone else to look at some photos or a decorated cell and so every where you went you were in a crowd.
One of our final destinations during our time in San Francisco was to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge. We went out here with two new friends we'd made in the Hostel from Ireland and Italy (one has offered to take me to Barcelona & Verona when I'm finished this trip - how exciting!)  It is very, very big and very, very, very busy and very, very, very windy out there! It was very lucky that while we were the there the skies were clear and there was no fog. (But it would have been just as spectacular if it had been a little foggy too!)

So, that was my time in San Francisco. It is a lovely city to visit (with the exception of the hills!)

Next stop - Oregon.

Posted Mar 17, 2008, 12:36 am
Stop 2 - Oregon
Linda (BunTraveler) picked us up from Hostel in Portland early this morning and drove us down to Eugene. It was fun to meet up with the other ToyVoyagers who are staying here too - Dilbertand Cliff. It's a regular TV party around here sometimes!
In the afternoon we went on a sightseeing trip of the town, and got to see the places we've read about here in real life.
We saw the Johnson McMurphy House and went up Skinner's Butte to see the town from above. Then we saw Skinner's Cabin. We couldn't believe that such a tiny building could house a whole family! It was interesting to read all the historical information and consider how brave the early settlers must have been to come here.
Spring is coming to Oregon and everywhere you look you can see daffodils sprouting up.

Posted Mar 17, 2008, 1:02 am
Today we went to visit the Oregon Coast. It was cold and overcast, but luckily it only rained when we were in the car so we were able to get in lots of good sightseeing and photo-ops as well. The trees are interesting here. Because the weather is so damp, they grow moss all over them.
One of our first stops was in a town called Florence. It has a great historic bridge, that crosses over the Siuslaw River.
The gulls here are HUGE! They're easily 2 or 3 times the size of any gull I've ever seen before!
Then we went right to the coast where it was really cold and windy! We jumped out of the car for the pictures, got rained on a little,  and jumped right back in again. Brrr!


Posted Mar 27, 2008, 2:40 am
We went to visit a park to meet some ducks and Canadian geese. There were also lots of pigeons and sea gulls there. The seagulls in Oregon are huge - easily 2 or 3 times as big as the seagulls in Australia.


Even though we had no food to feed them, the birds came up nice and close to meet us. Poor Dilbert even got his ear bitten!

After we'd had our fun with the ducks we walked over a bridge and found ourselves over the Willamette River. It looked like a mini Golden Gate Bridge to me! Despite the rain and cold we saw lots of people out jogging and power-walking. We were just eager to get warm in the car!


Posted Mar 27, 2008, 2:47 am
Today we got to have the pleasure of seeing some more of the countryside. Our host's host took us to the King Estate Winery which was a little drive away from where we were staying. On the way we met a cow who'd somehow gotten out of his paddock and was trying to figure out how to get back in (or maybe he was trying to work out how to get into his friend's paddock? We're not sure.

The winery estate was very picturesque. I loved looking at all the view from the carpark on the top of the hill. The winery building itself was also pretty.




An important reminder for those of us from world where Keep Left is the rule....

And a bit of fun from us TV's from all over the world...

On the way home we stopped in at Cottage Grove to view the beautiful wall murals on the side walls of some of the businesses.


Posted Mar 27, 2008, 3:04 am
Today we visited Granville Island which is has a big market place and lots of touristy type stores and art galleries. We also visited the Granville Island Brewery and tasted some of the beers.

To get to Granville Island we had to cross False Creek by ferry. The ferries were tiny little boats, they probably hold at most, 12-15 people. They are that tiny that when they dock, they are held still by the driver and not tied onto anything.

Part of Granville Island is the sea village, where there are just houseboats!
We had a great day!

This is the Burrard St Bridge which goes slightly over Granville Island. Doesn't it look a bit like the Sydney Harbour one?

~I will update with photos when I get home!~

Posted Mar 16, 2009, 11:50 am
Today we set out on an Adventure with two new friends we made yesterday - Bec (yep, another one of them) & Michael. Surprisingly Michael once went to school with my Bec's cousin in Australia! Weird huh?
It was interesting visiting Stanley Park, One minute its like being in a rainforest, then the beach, then a park... We spent the whole day there, 7 hours walking and hiking. Luckily I was able to hitch a ride, otherwise my paws would be extrememly tired!
This is Inukshuk, the 'Spirit of Man' - a signpost for travellers; a place where food has been stored; a memorial to an important event or an aid in hunting. The main idea is to let other people know that someone was here or as a symbol of friendship. Fans of the winter Olympics will get to know this symbol well in 2010!

Other sites from our walk today...
The beach with North Vancouver in the background. The weather is not the greatest, but one thing we are quickly learning about Vancouver in spring... if you wait for the rain to stop to go out and about you won't see very much at all!

The Lion's Gate Bridge
and the reason why its called the Lion's Gate...

We checked out the First Nations Totem Poles

And, I got to meet a SQUIRREL!!!

Posted Apr 11, 2009, 4:06 am
Today we went sight seeing around the oldest part of Vancouver, which in someways is like The Rocks in Sydney - was run down but has been refurbished and made trendy again. We were near the Steam Clock when the hour struck and got to watch its performance. All the information says its the only Steam Clock of its kind in the world, but we discovered by doing a Ghost Tour that a Japanese tourist was so impressed with the idea he built one and it is on display in Yokohama!

We did a little souvenier shopping and found it a little confusing with the fact that the sales taxes are added at the till, so the number you have added up in your head is not correct! I sampled some Maple Candy, nice! Its a lot like butterscotch in taste and apparently putting Maple Syrup in your coffee is better for you than using sugar. Who knew?

Soon it started raining again (something we are getting quite used to around here!) so we went up the Harbour Lookout for a while. Good views, even with the horrible weather!

Posted Apr 11, 2009, 4:21 am
Good Friday today and surprisingly most places are open. A day to do something really touristy - we decided to go to the aquarium.
The Vancouver aquarium is amazing. We spent ages watching wildlife from the northern Pacific Ocean (we made the decision to skip the south Pacific exhibits). Best of all they have a great hands-on exhibition to teach you more about sea life and how the animals live, hunt and breathe. It was tricky to get unblurry photos so you'll just have to take my word on it as to how amazing the exhibits were!
My favourite exhibit in the aquarium was the sea otters. I could have spent the whole day there just watching them swim, eat, bathe and play. Everytime I ended up back near their enclosure they were doing something different.
The main reason for going to the aquarium though (a major splurge on this portion of the trip) was to see the Beluga whales. I wasn't expecting them to be so white - they are practically glowing. Especially when you view them from the underwater area. And for such large animals they move so gracefully!


We watched the show and learnt how they use their melon (the front part of their head) to help them communicate and that they aren't very good at jumping seeing as they have blubber the thickness of a rubber mattress around their middles!

A tiring day. Headed 'home' to the hostel to meet up with a friend from home and plan the rest of our time in Western Canada.

Posted Apr 12, 2009, 9:44 am
Up bright and early again this morning to get the ferry to travel across to North Vancouver. Luckily this ferry is a lot bigger than the ones that go to Granville Island! Here we met our friend from home and caught the bus up to Lynn's Canyon and Capilano Suspension bridge.
This is the world's longest suspension bridge and walking across it is quite a challenge. Even without anyone intentionally making it move it bounces and swings like huge bouncy castle.

We were determined to get all the stamps on our 'passport' so that we could get a certificate saying we'd crossed the bridge and tried out all the parts of the attraction. My human companions were a little concerned about the heights of the bridges in the tree tops walk, but it was nothing to an old hand like me!

We also met some more totem poles, including this one with a cut out for touristy photos. Being a tourist, how could I resist?

Posted Apr 12, 2009, 10:03 am
Well, for the last few days I have been hard at work completing one of my missions - To experience snow.
It started with an overnight stay with our friend's housemates for Easter Sunday and a very early bus trip up some windy roads and delays due to the roadworks in place to make the trip between Vancouver and Whistler a lot easier for the 2010 Olympics.
On arrival in Whistler we had the whole day to wander around before we could get the afternoon shuttle bus out to our new hostel home. We explored the villiage and window shopped before checking out the Olympics display.

Bob sledding sure looks scary and they say the run here in Whistler will be the fastest run yet!

On our second day in Whistler we went snowshoeing. I'm glad I got to ride in the backpack as it seemed like quite a tiring sport. (But fun!) At the end of the trek we were rewarded with hot chocolate at the mountain top restaurant. I was totally amazed at how high the snow piles were. I've never seen anything like it before.

This is the hostel we have been staying at. Its pretty rustic! But perfect for the location!

Cassiopeia and I had a play in the snow. Cassiopeia tried teaching me how to make a snowman but we were pretty unsuccessful!


Back to Vancouver - next stop New York!

Posted Apr 12, 2009, 10:18 am
After our red-eye flight across the continent, a long wait for the shuttle and an even longer trip around Manhatten dropping off other passengers we finally arrived in our new 'home' in New York.
Tonight we met the people we'll be travelling with for the next week or so and made the trip to the top of the Empire State Building to see the lights of New York.
On our way we stopped by Times Square. It was hard to get a TV photo with the crowd and flash, so this one will have to do!

Posted Apr 12, 2009, 10:29 am
Back over the US / Canadian border again today, but first we experienced the falls from the US side. Cassiopeia was extremely excited because she was going to be completing a mission today!
On the US side it is a nature reserve with walking tracks and two small buildings catering to tourists like us. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Not so the Canadian side. Can you see all the restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions on the other side?
(These aren't the 'big' falls - I didn't know until I got here that there are more than one set of falls at Niagara!)

These are the American Falls which are a little smaller than the big one everyone knows. It was so cold! We were very disappointed that we were there too early in the season to ride on the Maid of the Mist boat or go down in an elevator to the Cave of the Winds behind the Bridal Veil Falls.

Once the humans in our group had passed through the border and had their passports stamped we were able to see the "big" Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side and some very impressive rainbows. They were stunning! We were a little confused when we saw a couple throwing their shoes over the side. Does anyone out there know why they might have done this? If anything, it was colder on this side of the falls / border than on the other, mainly because it was so windy and we were getting soaked from the spray from the falls. Ouch!

Posted Apr 12, 2009, 10:34 am
Today we visited Toronto but had a hard time doing any site seeing because of the weather. A little bit of rain is not a problem, the problem was that it was so overcast we couldn't see very much at all!
See what I mean?

We'd been told that Lake Ontario was beautiful and that there were great views to be had. Sadly, this was all we could see.

As for the CN Tower..... we were looking forward to checking out the views from the top seeing as it is the world's tallest tower, but instead all we could see was our own in reflections in the glass thanks to the fog.

Posted Apr 13, 2009, 8:51 am
Next stop: Montreal!

Oh my goodness! I have never been so cold before in all my life. I am feeling very grateful to buntraveler for my warm woolie jumper! The temperature today was -2C (I don't even want to know what the wind chill factor was!)


And I know I wanted to experience snow - but the ice around here certainly makes life difficult. Its very easy to tell who the locals are and who the tourists are. The locals charge ahead (and even jog!) while we carefully pick our way along the pathways!

We were very taken by the buildings and the feelings of being in a 'foreign' country.

This is Montreal's Notre Dame. Hard to believe that in just a few weeks we'll be visiting the 'real' one in Paris!


Posted Apr 13, 2009, 9:13 am
Back in the USA again, this time to experience some small town life in Stowe, Vermont. On our way here we stopped to experience the factory tour at Ben and Jerry's. Mmm - icecream...

This afternoon we went cross-country snowshoeing (a little bit easier on the legs than alpine snowshoeing!).

Behind this wall of snow is the hotel where we are staying tonight. Isn't it sad when the snow gets all muddy and icky?

But this view (from the back of the hotel's carpark) is spectacular!

Posted Apr 13, 2009, 9:51 am
Today was a very, very busy day as there were heaps and heaps of things we wanted to see in Boston and only one day to do it all in! Boston is a very interesting place to visit as many of the events of the American Revolution took place there and luckily for us tourists many of the sites are found along the Freedom Trail, which is marked by a red line or bricks embedded in the ground.

This is the Boston Library (not a part of the Freedom Trail, but historic anyway!). It was the first library to allow public borrowing.
Probably a place Bertold would be interested in!

Across from the Library is this beautiful church - Trinity Church which is one of the oldest churches in the USA and was once voted as the most important building in America for it's architectural style.

Back on the Freedom Trail we visited nearly all the sites in Boston related to the American Revolution, including the Old State House, where the Declaration of Independence was read to the public from the balcony for the first time in Massachusetts on July 18, 1776,

and the North Church where the famous "One if by land, and two if by sea" signal is said to have been sent during the famous ride of Paul Revere.

After completing most of the Freedom Trail we jumped on the train and headed out to Harvard University. After seeing so many movies that have been set here, it almost all looked familiar!

Then we had to rush back into Boston for our final outing of the day - watching the Boston Bruins play the Buffalo Sabres in an ice-hockey match at TD Banknorth Garden. It was a heap of fun, even if we didn't get to see any big fights between the players. The match was one of the last games before the playoffs (which the Bruins had made it to the night before) and it was also Fan Appreciation Night, so the crowd was pretty excitable. Great atmosphere!
Sadly, the Bruins lost (0-3) but still we had a great time!


Posted Apr 13, 2009, 9:56 am
This afternoon we took in the sights at the Museum of Natural History in New York. It was very cool. Bec didn't get any photos of us inside the museum though (for some reason, all this time later I can't recall why!) All we can say is that it was very cool, and they have a great website if you want to see more!


Posted Apr 13, 2009, 10:00 am
Today we had a very exciting day. We had to get up very early and catch the subway all the way down to the very tip of Manhattan to get in a long line to buy our tickets to go and visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It was a very cold wait but very worth the time taken.
We were all very excited as the ferry got closer and closer and closer to the statue and she just got bigger and bigger and bigger!

It is amazing how big the statue really is! Her Height from top of base to torch is 46 metres, her hand is 5 metres long and her index finger is almost two and a half metres long! In the museum under the monument they had a full scale replica of her foot.  Look - I am not even the same height as her toe!

This is the original 1886 lantern of the Statue of Liberty. They had to replace it when this one started to leak.

Posted Apr 13, 2009, 10:08 am
We all needed some time out after our very hectic day yesterday so we took a wander through Central Park. It is amazing - once you're in there you can almost forget that you are right in the middle of one of the world's busiest cities! It was the perfect way to recharge the batteries (and fun to see some of the famous sites from different movies and tv shows too!)

Bethesda Terrace:

This is the dairy. It was built so that children from the tenements could get free milk. Nowadays its the information centre. It reminds me a lot of a gingerbread house!

And the literary fun in the park

The lake where Stuart Little went sailing:

Hans Christian Anderson with the Ugly Duckling:

It was a great day - so nice to walk and take in the fresh air! (well, as fresh as the air does get in New York anyway!)

Posted Apr 20, 2009, 9:00 am
Today, sadly, was Cassiopeia's last day travelling with us.
To make the most of it we started the day bright and early at the Empire State Building. Sadly it was a very hazy day, which made it very hard to see anything clearly from the viewing platform (starting to get discouraged by these towers after our experiences in Toronto!)
For a city that is so well known for its skyscrapers, its amazing how most of the biggest ones are in the one area.

We'd decided against the expensive audio tour, so I can't really say what everything was that we were looking at, but it was a pretty good view despite the haze and the smell of the smog!

Our next stop was a ferry trip on the Hudson River, where we got to see the amazing Brooklyn Bridge.

A different look at the city skyline...

And we got another look at the Statue of Liberty.

Posted Apr 20, 2009, 9:12 am
Our last full day in New York...

After dropping Cassiopeia off to continue her travels we headed back into Central Park to visit Belevedere Castle, something we hadn't had time to do the other day.

The views from the top are pretty special (in someways better than those from the Empire State Building!)

After a visit to The Met, we headed out to visit the UN Building.

This of course is a replica, but you can just see the Aussie flag peeking out. We missed out on seeing the real flag as the bus stop is at the Z end of the alphabet and by the time the tour was over all the flags had been bought in for the night :( So, this is as close as we got.

This of course is a symbol of what the UN stands for... an end to conflict and world peace.

Posted Apr 20, 2009, 9:27 am
Yet another very early morning start, this time we had a bus to catch - to Philadelphia where we're spending the weekend.

As Philadelphia is 'the birthplace of the American Revolution' we were keen to see the famous sites, but not so keen on the rain that poured from the sky, drenching all of us in the queue waiting to get in to Independence Hall!

This is where the Declaration of Independence was written and signed. Well, maybe not in this room exactly... but in this building.

Next stop, the Liberty Bell, where I was examined very closely before being allowed in!

Posted Apr 20, 2009, 9:52 am
Another day, another early start, another ride on a Greyhound bus... this time to Washington DC.

First stop.. The White House, which is actually a lot smaller than I'd imagined it to be!

Following the White House there was a little wandering around while we waited for it to be time for a free walking tour of the monuments to start.
First stop on the tour was the Washington Monument. Its not so clear in this photo, but if you look carefully at the monument you can actually see where work on it stopped during the Civil War - the top part is a different colour to the bottom as the rock came from two different quarries.

Our next stop was the World War Two memorial, which is interesting as its not just for the American soldiers who fought in the war, but also for those who worked on the homefront and all of the Allies.

Then we moved on to one of the most famous sites in all of DC (not that most of them aren't famous, but you know what I mean!) - the Lincoln Memorial

and the Reflecting Pool - a major "Wow! I'm really here!" moment.
Having gotten there right on dusk, the pool was especially reflective!

We also visited the Vietnam Veteran's memorial and the Korean War Memorial, but by that time it was getting too dark to take clear photos.

Posted Apr 20, 2009, 10:00 am
After a thought provoking morning at the Holocaust Memorial Museum a walk in the open (under the first blue skies we'd seen in a while!) was more than called for, so a walk around the Tidal Basin to the Jefferson Memorial seemed like a very good idea.

And it was. The cherry blossoms were out
and it was just so peaceful sitting on the stairs of the memorial and soaking up some sun while watching the world go by!

Posted Apr 20, 2009, 10:22 am
Did you know that the zoo has free entry and that they have pandas there? Two very good reasons for going we thought, so after figuring out the train ticket machine we set off on a little adventure to find our way to the zoo.

A fellow Aussie, looking a little lonesome in his enclosure. As hard as we looked and looked we couldn't find the wallaby that was supposed to be in there too.

A-ha a Panda, one of Bec's 'missions' ticked off!

Some very active Red Pandas. In some ways they reminded us of puppies!

Some more time spent with the pandas.... Actually, a lot of time spent with the pandas!



And some more time...

Finally we could move on to check out some of the other animals:

Tiny turtles

And, orangutans on their "O Line", which criss-crosses the zoo and allows them to travel from one enclosure to the other (the area below the platforms are electrified so that they can't escape!)


Some more turtles. I couldn't help but think of how much Cassiopeia would have liked it here!


Posted Apr 20, 2009, 10:33 am
Looking at the map we discovered that the National Cathedral was quite close by to the zoo, and being big West Wing fans, decided that it was worth a visit. It took a little work getting there - the bus routes aren't all that clearly marked, so we ended up on one of those hop-on, hop-off tourist buses  :rolleyes: as that seemed like a good idea at the time!
The Cathedral was very impressive (as most cathedrals are)

Most especially, this stained glass window, designed in honour of the moon landing. It even has a small piece of moon rock in it!

Posted Apr 21, 2009, 5:18 am
Our last day of sightseeing in the US started with a bright and early start to get into the line for tickets to tour the Capitol. The tour was interesting and we learned a lot about US history and government.

We followed it by getting a ticket to go to see the government in action, but unfortunately they'd all gone for lunch. We eavesdropped on a tour by an intern and learned even more.

Posted Apr 21, 2009, 5:25 am
Our afternoon was spent checking out some of the Smithsoneon Museums - the Museum of the Native American and the Air and Space Museum.
While they were both interesting, the Air and Space Museum was the more interesting of the two. We looked at the Spirit of St Louis and were amazed at how tiny the plane was. Lindburgh must have been extremely brave to even contemplate crossing the Atlantic in it, let alone doing it!

Here's a model of the original lunar landing module.

I imagined life on the moon....
but in the end decided that it just wouldn't be for me!

Posted Apr 21, 2009, 5:29 am
An overnight stop in New York, then a run thru Dulles Airport thanks to a storm and delayed flight and we're on our way to London!