Brian and I climbed Le Morne Brabant Mountain independently in spite of people telling us that we needed a guide to get to the summit. We took our chances and soon realised that no guide was necessary. We were so glad to have kept up our determination to get to the summit on our own in particular because when we arrived at the summit we lucked out and had it to ourselves…although only for a short time. The views were breathtaking and worth every minute of the very steep climb.
The more I researched about the history of Le Morne Brabant Mountain, the more I felt compelled to climb it following in the footsteps of the desperate runaway slaves who made the caves and rocky trails of this awesome Mountain their home. We had been in Mauritius for over a week exploring its many attractions, driving around in our little rental car and all the time keeping an eye on the weather forecast to ensure a dry and sunny day for our Mountain climb.
Sydney requires no introductions, boasting some of the most photographed landmarks in the world. With iconic buildings, beaches and impressive city skyline, it is no wonder this great city is on so many people’s wish list. It has been on our bucket list for years, in fact it is unbelievable that it has taken us so many years to visit this place. To finally be here was another “pinch me” moment like so many we had on our Australian trip.
If you have been following our journey you know that we had to catch a ferry back to Hamilton Island, backtracking ourselves for our flight with Qantas to Sydney via Brisbane. We have again used the Qantas “walkabout pass”, which has been very convenient and it has also saved us money. The pass can only be purchased in conjunction with the international flight, in our case we did a London to Perth flight, and flew back (another big advantage of the pass) from a different city, Sydney. The internal flights around Australia are very easy to book using the excellent Qantas website and all the internal flights were easy to check in using the Quantas phone app, allowing us to board with electronic boarding passes, again saving the faff of checking in at the airport or finding a printer. Isn’t technology great when it works! We have not been sponsored by Qantas to say this, but our experience was excellent, all flights were perfect, comfortable and on time.
Hamilton Island is a little piece of heaven in one of the most beautiful of Australian landscapes …The Whitsundays archipelago, lying just off the coast of Queensland next to the Great Barrier Reef. Its credentials as being in the centre of the action is what puts this gorgeous Island in everyone’s must-visit list.
The island is served by its very own airport, which is small, but perfectly formed. We flew from Brisbane to Hamilton Island on a very small plane, using our Qanta’s “walkabout pass” . The journey was beautiful with views over the Whitsunday Islands and The Great Barrier Reef.
Brian, Yvonne and I boarded the Qantas flight from Perth to Brisbane and after about 5 hours crossing this huge country from West to East we landed in Brisbane, capital of the sunshine state of Queensland, Australia. Cousin Carol (Yvonne’s sister) was waiting at the airport terminal to whisk us to the seaside town of Caloundra, just an hour’s drive away from Brisbane.
We had never met Carol before, but over the following few days we got to know her well since she allowed us a glimpse into her life and entertained us with many stories about their family move to Australia as “ten pound pom” migrants. She is a storyteller with a big personality and a very generous heart, we stayed at her lovely home in Caloundra from Thursday 9th of February to Monday 13th of February.
Brian and I were beyond excited with our three weeks planned trip to Australia, not only because it was a dream trip for us, but also because we were about to reconnect with Brian’s long lost Scottish relatives on a three weeks trip that would take us to Perth, Brisbane, Caloundra, Hamilton Island, Airlie Beach and finally to Sydney.
Bleary eyed after a long flight from London to Perth via Dubai with Qantas Airways, we landed in Perth at an unsociable 2 am local time and we were delighted to come out of arrivals straight into the welcoming arms of lovely Yvonne, who kept herself awake with copious amounts of strong coffee to greet us so warmly on our very first trip Down Under….Welcome to Australia!!!
Not many places can truly do justice to the tag of “paradise beach”, but that was the exact word that came into my head as we arrived in La Digue, Seychelles
It was always in our holiday plan to visit La Digue, since it is famed for some of the most iconic beaches of the Seychelles, with a laid back vibe and lack of vehicles and traffic. It is also a very short ferry ride away from Praslin, where we had been staying for almost two weeks. Another reason for our visit to La Digue was to meet up with our new friends, a lovely Norwegian family we had been hanging out with around Praslin.
Our time in the South of Brazil was coming to an end, so we wanted to leave on a high note by visiting the Canyons of Itaimbezinho and Fortaleza and also to spend this last few days doing a fun activity with my father, sister and nephews. Unfortunately my brother and his family were not able to join us. These two Canyons are located near the town of Cambara do Sul, only about 1:30 hours from my home town of Canela or about 170 Km from the State capital of Porto Alegre. These Canyons are part of an area with over twenty other less well known canyons of the same geologic range located in the South of Brazil.
The setting for this Big Fat Brazilian Wedding, was Canela in the deep South of Brazil, the land of the gauchos and Bavarian style architecture, a town situated in the green, lush hills of the “Serra Gaucha”. See my earlier post about this little picturesque, Southern town named after a Cinnamon tree.
The bride is my niece Caroline, who like me was born and brought up in this quiet and quaint little town. The groom Benjamin, British, born and brought up in the Isle Of Wight (IOW), just off the coast of Hampshire in the South of England. They were already married in a civil ceremony in the IOW in early May 2014 which I covered in my earlier post, Take 1.
Canela is a pretty and picturesque town in the South of Brazil, located at 837 meters above sea level in a region called Serra Gaucha ( Gaucho Highlands) or Regiao das Hortensias ( Hydrangeas Region) named after its beautiful blue Hydrangeas flowers that frame roads and landscapes throughout the spring and summer months. Located in the state of Rio Grande do Sul ( it means Great Southern River) which is the Southernmost estate of Brazil, bordering with Argentina and Uruguay. Canela can be reached by car or bus, about 2 hours from the state capital city of Porto Alegre. The climate is subtropical humid with summer average temperatures of about 20 degrees C and winter temperatures below zero with the occasional dust of snow.