Friends and travels

29 10 2012

We had a busy weekend just gone. On Saturday I drove to Perth to drop off the latest batch of community quilts I’d finished, and to pick up another ten. Then it was off to the airport to pick up Dave, our good friend from the US (he’d flown in from Auckland via Sydney that day after spending a few days in NZ speaking at a conference). And then I drove Dave home to our place (it’s a 90 minute drive each way if the traffic is good; I left home at 9 am and we got back about 2 pm).

We spent lots of hours chatting and catching up, then we all went out to dinner to our local steakhouse (well, it’s a 50 km round trip, but local enough!). As usual the steaks were AMAZING, and then Dave finished off with his Australian favourite, Sticky Date Pudding, which he said was the best he’d ever eaten. High praise indeed, as he’s eaten plenty of them each time he’s come to Australia. My husband and I opted for home-made ice-cream at an ice-creamery in town (mine was a to-die-for mango sorbet!). Then home and to bed. Dave had been up for about 20 hours straight at this stage, and we had to be up early next morning to drive back to Perth.

Why were we driving back to Perth the next day, and how come Dave only stayed with us for just one night? Well, it’s all to do with a train and a conference. Dave’s done The Ghan each way from Adelaide to Darwin, but had only done the Indian Pacific from Sydney to Perth and wanted to complete the loop by catching the train from Perth to Sydney. As he and I are both speaking at a conference in Sydney at the end of this week, we both needed to get to Sydney. He couldn’t leave Auckland any earlier, and the train only goes on some days of the week. Thus the lightning trip to Perth (and he really wanted to see our new house, thus the extra trip to our place). Once we’d put him on the train, we high-tailed it out to Perth Airport to catch our flight to Sydney– my husband and I are taking a few days break in the Hunter Valley wine region before the conference. We’ll meet Dave again on Thursday in Sydney.

Our flight to Sydney was delayed about 30 minutes as there was a BIG electrical storm (lots of lightning) that came through while we were waiting to board. We were on the PER-SYD flight that uses the 747 and I’d been able to get us a Business Class upgrade on Qantas frequent flyer points a while back. So we were in the upper deck of the jumbo. It was the full upgraded Business Class too — with the lie-flat beds, etc. just like those used for international flights. There were only 24 seats in the upper deck with two toilets and two attendants. Very nice. Dinner on the flight was spicy dhal soup,  fillet steak with a panko and rosemary crust, thinly slivered and layered carrots, broccolini and onion, followed by Maggie Beer passionfruit ice-cream with almond biscuits (tulles?) and a sticky white wine. Absolutely delicious and all served on fine bone china (yes, I could see my fingers through the soup bowl) and with proper cutlery. I felt like a very full balloon after all that wonderful food 😉

We landed at SYD after 9 pm, some 30 minutes late (as a result of the delay out of Perth), and got our bags and picked up our rental car to drive maybe 200 metres to the hotel we stayed at overnight (Stamford Plaza Airport Sydney). Nice room, good hot shower, but the water pressure was a bit lacking. Parking was included (the carpark under the hotel is a real maze and very awkward).

We left about 10:30 this morning headed towards the Hunter Valley. We’ll stay in Cessnock for three nights as it’s spitting distance from the winery region.

My husband had a very sore neck/left shoulder as a result of the flight and driving to Cessnock, so when we got here we asked the receptionist about Chinese or sports massage. She gave us a flyer for Thai massage, so we went there and both had a 30-minute head/neck/shoulder massage. I think it was my husband’s first massage and he moaned and groaned an awful lot! (I was invited into the room while he had his massage) But I think the upshot was that he thought it was good! He was amazed by the strength and dexterity of the tiny little dot of a lady who massaged us both. After a good hot shower and lots of water, he’s now sleeping the pummeling off 😉

Oh, lunch was in Gosford at the Trackside restaurant. We shared a Mexicana pizza ($14.50 for a large) and it was more than enough for the two of us.

Bruises on the second day after the Thai massage…



One response

29 10 2012

Sounds wonderful! Excited to “come along”! 10 more quilts!?! The ‘Community Quilt’ project certainly keeps you in top form!!! But, as you have pointed out, the more one does the better one becomes and I definitely understand how your expertise has come along and is at such a grand level!
Such a whirlwind visit from your friend but not so unlike many of our days recently!!!! Hugs and enjoy!!!! Doreen

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