Pretty, funny, yummy and cute...Do we always have exceptional views?


Cute.  Last evening I took this photo through the glass of the window in our living room when we happened to see this rabbit on the shore of the Huon River.
Our heading for today's post certainly connotes the theme of most of our desired photos; pretty, funny, yummy and cute.  On occasion, we get lucky and acquire of shot of a scene or situation even we consider to be acceptable.

Both of us are always on the lookout for photo ops not only when we're out exploring but also on days when we're staying in, frequently looking out the window for possibilities. 


Cute, boys and their cars!  Tom and a 1962 Ford Galaxy 500.
Unfortunately, the set up of this otherwise ideal vacation home isn't perfect for photo taking when indoors.  Views of the Huon River in front of us is somewhat impeded by the glass of the windows which don't open adequately for photo taking.

The main floor of this upper level unit (in a two unit house) has a door to a small veranda but most of the river views are blocked by trees and vegetation.  However, we are able to capture a stunning scene through the glass of the windows which don't open adequately for a glass-free shot.


Funny.  Extra large calf nursing from almost same-sized mom.
As a result, the above photo of the rabbit was taken last evening around 7 pm through the glass of the windows.  I didn't expect it to be as clear as it was due to the distance and also the water marks on the glass after a number of rainy days.  

Tom always calls it "safari luck" when I get a good shot, while I have a tendency  to fluff my feathers a bit over finally learning to get it right after all these years.  With a less-than-professional camera and my amateurish skills I suppose that on occasion I'm lucky under the right circumstances.


Yummy apples.
While researching vacation homes we don't necessarily list an easily accessible, view-rich veranda as a criteria. However, when we discover its available, its a definite bonus.

As most of our long term readers have observed, in most cases, we have some type of view in itself an important criteria which we've learned from past experience.  Only in a few cases over these past 51 months have we lived in properties without a view.


Pretty scene.
In only four of our past vacation homes were we dealing with a lack of an astounding view including Kenya (a basic backyard view), Morocco (living in the souk with no exterior view except from the difficult-to-access rooftop), the second house in Fiji (a backyard pool view only) and Phuket, Thailand (a backyard pool view only).

As we continue on, we find ourselves fine tuning our criteria but cost and availability are often factors in determining the prospect of achieving such a finite expectation.

Yummy looking baked goods.
When booking hotels for only one or two nights, we're seldom willing to pay extra for a view. Although in many hotels we've been fortunate to have stunning city views, bodies of water or mountain views.  Without a doubt, views have the potential to make or break the quality of the experience.

In Morocco, living in a riad (a two story house with an open air center courtyard) we didn't have a single window looking outdoors.  Instead, we'd look up to the sky as shown in this photo below:
Looking up at the sky, day and night, is a rare treat, from inside the riad, defined as traditional Moroccan house with an interior garden or courtyard. (This huge house was for the two of us only).  For more photos of this property, please click here.
Don't get me wrong, the house in Morocco was amazing.  However, the lack of a view had a definite impact on the quality of our experience.  After awhile, one can feel a little trapped especially, as was the case in that particular location, it was impossible to rent a car with no parking available in the souks. 

In any case, it was a good experience from which we gleaned a lot of knowledge adding to our repertoire of interesting (to us) times in our world travels.  We've accepted that location is not always perfect for the nuances that work best for our needs.



Pretty scene of the Huon River near our vacation homes in Castle Forbes Bay.
 As for this location, the property, the views, the landlords and the people in the area, we couldn't ask for more.  Comparable to Penguin, some of the most friendly people on the planet live here.

Already, after only a little over two weeks since our arrival in the Huon Valley, we've been sending email back and forth to people we've met along the way.  Of course, meeting locals requires a diligent effort on our part to get out to locations that attracts locals to ensure face-to-face encounters.  We're always seeking such opportunities as evidenced by our photos.

Pretty roses growing in the yard..
Today, rain or shine, we're heading out to another of those events where locals may be found mulling around, photos of which we hope to share over the next several days.

Rain or shine, snow, sleet or hail, have a safe day!
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Photo from one year ago today, February 1, 2016:
Cloudy, rainy view of Mount Taranaki in New Plymouth, New Zealand.  For more details, please click here.

Why do we book hotels along the way?...Final Market @ Franklin...


The Seed Vault's heirloom seeds. (Non GMO).
In a perfect world, we'd never have to bear the expense of staying overnight or longer in hotels throughout the world.  In some cases, we have no alternative when there's a one or two day gap between cruises.


Pretty flowers outside the Palais Theatre where the Market @ Franklin is held the last Sunday of each month.
While
heading directly to a vacation/holiday home after a flight or cruise, it may not be necessary, unless we're facing a long drive from the pier or airport.  In these cases we decide if a one night stay in a hotel may prevent us from undesirable stress in trying to find the property at night.


Local wood button maker display.
We easily recall the night we arrived on the island of Madeira in May, 2014. (Please check this link for details for the ultra long flight).  At the time, we were too embarrassed to admit we couldn't find the vacation home in Campanario until 3:30, two hours after we'd picked up the rental car.


Local artist display with proceeds sent to the Tibetan Refugee Support Program as shown in next photo.
The prior night we'd each only slept three or four hours and by the time we were searching for the correct turnoff, I'd considered suggesting we pull over somewhere to sleep in the car until the sun came up.


More handmade goods with portion of sales donated to charity.
But Tom's determination to bring the situation to a satisfactory resolution made him forge ahead until we finally found the house.  We never made it to bed that night until 4:30 am only sleeping a few hours.  We ere anxious to get up, unpack, check out our new house and surroundings and head out grocery shopping.


Local artist supports the following refugee organization.
It was this experience that taught us two things; 1). Stay in a hotel rather than risk becoming stressed; 2). Don't be embarrassed to report our foibles to our readers. 


Custom made buttons displayed on these fancy shoes.
That incident was almost three years ago and since that experience, we've spent many nights in hotels when there was a risk for being stuck driving on dark and unfamiliar roads in the middle of the night. 

No doubt this has added an expense we hadn't anticipated early on in our budgeting.  Now, we're diligent in including this expense when we deem it an often necessary element in getting from one point to another.


Handmade doll shoes.
We always try to focus on our motto as shown at the top of our page which reads, "Wafting Through our World Wide Travels with Ease, Joy and Simplicity."  We never wanted or expected this life to be stressful but reality prevails. Sometimes it is.

Our biggest attempt at eliminating stress, considering those aspects over which we have control, is on the days we're boarding a cruise.  Its one thing to miss a flight.  But, to miss a cruise embarkation is another matter altogether.  Can you even imagine the stress of finding flights to get to the first port of call in another country to board at that location? 


Homemade chocolate treats.
W
e've heard of many scenarios when this occurred for a variety of reasons, most often flight cancellations or delays.  To avoid this risk, we seldom plan to take a cruise without staying at a nearby hotel the prior night.

Although we must mention that we're we are taking that risk with our upcoming cruise from Hobart to Sydney in 29 days.  We're flying from Hobart (45 minute drive to the airport from the Huon Valley) to fly directly to Sydney on a less than 90 minute flight taking a taxi to the pier from the airport.


Once outdoors, we investigated handmade items from additional vendors including this woodworking display.
Based on the fact this flight is in the morning and there are other flights from Hobart to Sydney that same day, we decided to risk it.  A motivator was the fact that the hotels in Sydney for that date were over AU $397, US $300 per night plus the cost of dinner.  It didn't make sense for the 90 minute flight.

Upcoming on November 22, 2017, we had no choice but to book a hotel when we'll be flying from Costa Rica to Miami, Florida after which we'll have an hour drive (with traffic) to Fort Lauderdale for the next day's cruise. 


Various crafts for fundraising.
In this particular case, based on the "free" one night we'd accumulated using our site, "Hotels.com" located here on our page, it made a lot of sense to stay overnight in Fort Lauderdale.  The next day will be the US's Thanksgiving Day, when we'll board the cruise for another 30 night back-to-back cruise which ends in Buenos Aires, Argentina.  Whew!  Another month long cruise!

With our Hotel.com free membership, every 10 hotel stays using the site, we receive one free night.  We have used several of these accumulated free nights (which value is determined by the average price of the past ten night's stays).  Its worked well for us so far.


Wood handled tools for the ""barbie."
Of course, we haven't yet booked the flight from Costa Rica to Miami but will do so over the next few months.  The above mention hotel booking is complete.  Its important to mention, for our less experienced travelers, that flights generally can't be booked more than 330 days prior to the desired travel date. 

Today, rainy with an intermittent cloud cover, we'll stay put.  Tomorrow, after posting, we're planning on visiting the town of Geeveston for an exciting popular annual event which we'll be sharing the following day.

Be well.  Be happy.
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Photo from one year ago today, January 30, 2016:
In the early evenings baby alpacas got together to play, running through the paddock, making us laugh over their playful anticsFor more photos, please click here.

Part 1...Fabulous time out and about...Many new acquaintances...More new photos...


Upon entering the Market @ Franklin we immediately met Natalie who's  natural bath, skincare and beauty line, Naturally Spellbound, is made with all organic products and essential oils.  Natalie can be reached here
After yesterday's post discussing our occasional lack of motivation to get out and the fact that it was a blissfully sunny day, we decided to "hit the road."  With our vacation/holiday home located on a long highway with few outlets to other areas and, not feeling up to spending a few hours in the car, we headed back to Franklin.


The Market @ Franklin is held the last Sunday of every month in the historic Palais Theatre in Franklin, Huon Valley, Tasmania.  This attractive venue may be rented for weddings, celebrations and other events.
A few days ago we'd spent the afternoon at the Australia Day celebrations in Franklin, Tasmania.  Grace, the alpaca products vendor, directed us to the brick building and on Main Street where on the last Sunday of every month, a comprehensive farmers type market is held.  She encouraged us to attend when sensing we'd certainly get a kick out of it.


As we moseyed along the rows of displays, this display caught our eye, especially after we were offered a sample.
Grace was right.  No more than moments after entering the door of the historic Palais Theatre we encountered Natalia who not only represents her fine products (photo shown here) but also is the organizer of the year round event as shown here:

"The Market @ Franklin

The Market @ Franklin in the Palais Theatre  on the last Sunday of the month all year round. Come along and enjoy a great market day out, and inspect the wares, crafts and fresh produce of Huon Valley's locals.

The Huon Valley Growers and Makers Market features 30+ stalls showcasing and selling the best produce and craft of the Huon Valley including seasonal fruit and vegetables, free range eggs, jams, chutney, honey, cakes, pies and olive oil, plants, seedlings and herbs, ceramic wooden and textile crafts, jewellery and alpaca products. 
For stall enquires please contact Natalie via email: natalie@simplyspellbound.com.au"




After tasting the naturally "smoked" sea salt, we couldn't resist making a purchase from Smoked Salt Tasmania.
We chatted with Natalie for quite awhile, taking photos of her beautiful display and reveling over this wonderful area of the Huon Valley.  As is the case of many we've met in Tasmania their roots started in one of the big cities in Australia's mainland.
Much to our pleasure we engaged in a lengthy conversation with Miffy and Don, the owners and creators of this unique product, Smoked Salt Tasmania. For more information on the most delicious salt on the planet, please click here. They may also be reached at Facebook: Smoked Salt Tasmania. What a delightful couple!
Many have shared that they'd longed for the less hectic lifestyle of big city life to eventually relocate to Tasmania for a simpler, easy paced life on this remote island.  Less than a two hour flight to Sydney and more to other big cities, many locals have found the move to Tasmania fulfilling in many ways.



There were a few home grown vegetables left but we had all we needed.  We arrived at the market around noon after we'd uploaded the day's post.
After we left Natalie, we headed toward the many other booths/displays offering a wide array of fine products.  The vendors couldn't have been more friendly.  Once again, we ran into alpaca farmer and product maker Grace.  Seeing her once again was comparable to running into an longtime friend.




Cute, homemade little felt booties. 
As we continued on our way, it didn't take long to meet the delightful couple, Don and Miffy, who innovated the delicious, Smoked Salt Tasmania, a bag of which we couldn't resist purchasing at a cost of AU $15, US $11.34. 



All the displays were set up beautifully and overall, prices were reasonable.
Naturally aged in barrels (without the use any of the popular toxic smoke seasoning or other chemicals) the smoked salt is made using natural sea salt harvested in Tasmania.  The sample we were offered on a little slip of paper sent our taste buds on a frenzy.  I couldn't wait to get back "home" to use the salt in some way for our dinner.  It was indeed a flavor bursting treat.



More items included in Julia's display.
Not only did the product excite us but after our lengthy conversation with Don and Miffy they invited us to visit them at their home in Snug.  We just may do that during our remaining month in this area of Tasmania.

After viewing all the remaining displays, drooling over a few food offerings, we headed back outdoors where additional items were offered for sale.  With too many photos for one day's post, we'll include the remaining photos in tomorrow's post.

The homemade cupcakes looked delicious.
Rushing a little today with Marguerite, our cleaner, arriving shortly, we'll wrap it up for today and see you tomorrow with more.  Cloudy and rainy, we're heading out for our weekly grocery shopping in Huonville in order to be out of her way while she cleans.

Have a peaceful and yet meaningful day!
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Photo from one year ago today, January 30, 2016:

Many signs and names of towns are were based on the indigenous inhabitants of New Zealand, the Māori who's language has had official language status, with the right to use it in legal settings such as in court, since the Maori Language Act 1987. There are around 70,000 native speakers of Maori out of a population of over 500,000 Māori people, with 161,000 of the country's 4 million residents claiming conversational ability in Māori." For more photos please click here.

Historical carved statues along the river....Australians never forget....More new out and about photos...


The opposite side of the above carving shown overlooking the Huon River.
Although its summer in Tasmania its not sunny every day, nor is it warm.  It seems the sunny days alternate with cloudy days with an occasional few sunny days in a row.
We were fascinating by the tree carvings along the Huon River.  This particular statue is in memoriam to all of those who fought in the Boar Wars from 1899 to 1902.  (Zoom in to read plaque).
The locals find the sunny warm days to be "hot" but from whence we've come over these past years, its definitely not "hot" to us.  There's no need for air con in Tasmania.



We walked along the shore of the Huon River spotting this kayaker.
Recently, we've been using a floor fan at night we found in a closet.  It was a bit warm with the heavy duvet on the bed and the fan running on low has left us in perfect comfort.  The noise from the fan is soothing as well.


Pretty scenery along the river banks.
There is an air con/heating unit in the lounge (living room) but we'll never use it during our remaining 31 days in Tasmania.  Its comfortable with the screened windows open during the day.  By dark, we close them as it cools down considerably.


River overlook,
We've yet to use the pristine swimming pool.  It hasn't been warm enough to inspire us to swim.  Nor have we embarked on any walks in this immediate neighborhood although we continue to drive throughout the area to explore. 

Mother and child wood carving.
The property is tucked away from the main Highway A6 which winds through the Huon Valley.  We don't hear traffic noise since there simply isn't much traffic but the narrow winding two lane road is hazardous for walking.  We've noticed cars and trucks zipping along at quite a pace, often locals familiars with the bends and turns.


Plague on carving, "Timber-getting became a major industry"...
I must admit, after the busy period in Penguin, we're enjoying some quiet time.  Neither of us are feeling overly motivated to go our sightseeing, although we make a point of getting out every few days to explore and take photos.


Roses blooming in front yard of home across the road from the river banks.
As we've mentioned many times in the past...we're just like you.  We don't always feel like sightseeing.  Staying "home," cooking a nice meal, throwing in a load of laundry, working on projects (for us, future travel research and bookings) is our definition of a good day. 


We continued on the river walk for more impressive river views. 
In a funny way, staying put for a few days grounds us. Without a home of our own nor a place we return to for repacking and laundry creates an environment of seeming everyday life which has proven to be an important part in preventing us from becoming "bored" or "tired" of traveling.  Does this make sense?

In reality, our style of living is exactly how we want it to be, on our terms including when, where and what we prefer to do with our time.  We dine when we're hungry, sleep when we're tired and talk when we feel like talking.

The Huon Manor Bistro located across the road from the river was closed on Australia Day.
We always provide one another the space to become mindless in an online game, to browse online for hours at a time or in saying "no" if one of us wants to do something and the other is not up to it for one reason or another.  

Perhaps, this laissez-faire attitude and easy paced attitude is what makes this journey work for us.  If we didn't strive for the continuation of our playful harmony each and every day, one could quickly become anxious to return to a "normal" life, living in one location, having an established home.


Gorgeous yellow roses.
Neither of us have lost one iota of enthusiasm for our nomadic lifestyle of world travel.  Sure, we discuss the future with its hard reality that someday we'll have to stop due to health concerns. 


It was a cloudy day but views were good anyway.
For now, we're happy, content and filled with a childlike wonder of what is yet to come whether its a quiet day at "home" or the excitement of a new adventure.  Its all good.

Hope your day today is good as well.
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Photo from one year ago today, January 29, 2016:

The Sugarloaf Islands and Paritutu Rock, located in New Plymouth as seen from a distance from Okurukuru Winery.  For more photos, please click here.


Culture in Australia...Australian diversity...Continuation of Australia Day photos...


This fish mascot wandered about the celebration for photo ops.
In June, 2015 we posted a brief history of diversity in Australia at this link while we were living in Trinity Beach during our first foray into life on the continent.  Australia has a rich indigenous history some of which may be found at this link. 

"Smallest Pancakes in Town"
Unfortunately, we've had little opportunity to get up close and personal with the indigenous citizens of Australia as we have in some other parts of the world.  However, we've had more readily available contact with the non-indigenous citizens, comprising over 90% of the population, easily encountered in day to day life.

Homemade jellies, jams and condiments.
Now in Tasmania for three months with only 3% of the population as indigenous citizens, interacting with their traditions is equally unlikely as it was when we lived in the mainland with 6% of the general population whom identify as Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islanders.

During our many months living amongst the Aussies we've found a unique culture that emerged over the centuries as people from many lands migrated to the continent seeking a new and better way of life.  All these cultures are revered and held in high regard. 

Clever and pleasing-to-the-senses soaps.
This morning,  Prime Minister Malcomb Turnbull made an eloquent speech honoring the Chinese New Year, Year of the Rooster, and the Chinese people's influence and value to Australia.

Not unlike many western civilization, the melding of nationalities contributes to a distinct persona that may be clearly defined over the centuries.  That culture in itself is different in many ways from our experiences in our old lives in the US and in many countries in which we've lived over these past 51 months.

Food or soaps?  Soaps!
After living in Trinity Beach, close to Cairns, Australia for three months, spending a few months on cruises with mostly Australian passengers, we've come to the point of having somewhat of a grasp on Australian culture.

Whether its their easygoing style of living, ways in which they've embraced their love of their homeland, their penchant for humor and lightheartedness, their seriousness and determination in dealing with important issues, and their commitment to integrity and ethics, the Aussies embody a special demeanor we've found to be enchanting.

Tom checked out the baked goods but resisted.
From this university site, we gleaned the following description of the Australian culture which we found clear and concise:

"Australians are generally laid-back, open and direct. They say what they mean and are generally more individual and outgoing than many other cultures.  You may think that most Australians live in the 'outback' out in the country. In fact, more than three quarters of Australians live in cities and in urban centres, mainly along the coast.
Some key values that reflect the Australian way of life include:
  • Freedom of speech
  • Freedom of religion
  • Democracy
  • Equality regardless of sex, marital status, religion, nationality, disability or sexual preference
  • Peacefulness
  • A 'fair go' (equal opportunity) for all and support for the underdog.
In most practical ways, Australia is an egalitarian society in that there are no formal class distinctions. There is no segregation between people of different incomes or backgrounds and everyone is free to live where they like, attend university and follow whichever religion and occupation they choose. (Continued below).

There was a long queue at the ice cream booth.
What are Australians like?

In the workplace and among friends, Australians generally call each other by their first names. When meeting someone for the first time, it is usual to shake the person's right hand with your right hand. People who do not know each other generally do not kiss or hug when meeting. Australians show respect by looking people in the eye, however they don’t stand as close or have as much physical contact (such as hugs and kisses) as other cultures.

You may find that your Australian friends have difficulty pronouncing your name, at first. Be patient and prepared that you may need to repeat your name or say it slowly at the beginning. As friendships develop, you may find that your friends give you a nickname, which is very common in Australia and is a form of endearment.

Sport Culture

Australians love their sport and most people watch the finals of major sporting events, even if they don't normally have an interest in the sport. Popular events include the State of Origin and Melbourne Cup.

Men and Women

 
Men and women are treated equally in Australia. Women make up nearly 50% of the workforce and most women remain in the workplace after they marry, and many after they’ve had children. Women are also free to breastfeed in public.

There are no social rules regarding friendships or dating in Australia. Friendships with members of the opposite sex, and social events with both sexes are common. It is also common for couples to live together before they are married, or for men and women to live in a share-house together.

People in Australia generally don't have servants, and men and women equally share the cooking and domestic duties in the home. (Continued below).

The batter fried mushrooms smelled delicious.
Language

Australians often use humour and are considered to be quite sarcastic. The Australian sense of irony may be difficult for you to grasp at first but you'll get used to it. The Australian accent and use of 'slang' may also be confusing, but if there is ever anything you don't understand, just ask.

Aussie Slang

  • Arvo - afternoon
  • Aussie - Australian
  • Barbie - BBQ/barbeque
  • Bloke - man/guy
  • Boardies - board shorts
  • Brekkie - breakfast
  • Brizzie - Brisbane
  • G'day - good day/hello
  • Goldy - Gold Coast
  • Mozzie - mosquito
  • No worries - no problem/that's OK
  • Roo - kangaroo
  • Snags - sausages
  • Sunnies - sunglasses
  • Telly - TV
  • Togs - swimsuit/bikini
Of course, there are countless Aussie expressions that are far removed from our familiar use of the language.  Its never a matter of what's correct use of the language.  Instead, it revolves around cultural language differences from one country/continent to another.

Homemade pillows and casual furnishings.
We've enjoyed the Aussie's use of the English language as unique and entertaining from our own experience such as:
  • When moving from one home to another, they say "move house."  Whereby in the US its referred to as "moving."  That simple difference makes us chuckle over their easy use of the language.
  • They don't say "sports" in reference to sporting type activities.  Instead, the say "sport" in reference to any such activities. 
  • Comparable to the UK, when referring to a  person "in the hospital," they say "in hospital" a simple dropping of the word "the" in the sentence.

Scented handmade soaps are popular in Tasmania as personal and gift items.
Its these little nuances that make us smile.  There are endless examples of these types of language differences which ultimately are easily understood by unfamiliar visitors.

Pretty bouquets.
We've found that Australian news, although serious when appropriate, is often hilarious over the more lighthearted storylines.  At times, they may use a swear word or slang expression we'd never heard from newscasters in our old lives. 

Handcrafter products made with wood.

On each occasion, we find ourselves laughing out loud, loving the ease and humor they include in telling a story. Even their locally produced TV drama series illicit a sense of humor and lightness.

Although we're a bit isolated in this remote area of Castle Bay Forbes in southern Tasmania, with little interaction with locals on a day to day basis, we can't help but grasp every moment possible to spend with these special people.

Enjoy the upcoming weekend!
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Photo from one year ago today, January 28, 2016:
The grapes were robust and ripe for the picking at the Okurukuru Taranaki Winery near New Plymouth, New Zealand.  For more details, please click here.