We flew Vancouver to Sydney direct, a 15 hour flight that wasn’t nearly as bad as I had feared. A little reading, a little movie watching, a little eating, a little snoozing. Repeat. And again. All on Air Canada economy class. We lost a day on the way to Australia and found it in the return home. Funny how that works.
Once back in Sydney, we boarded a cruise ship for s 12-day cruise around New Zealand. We visited ports-of-call on both the North and South Island...
...Fiordland National Park where we viewed wildlife, waterfalls and glacier-carved fiords from our deck.
The cruise ended back in Sydney where it began. We decided to stay one more week and spend some time on the Gold Coast.
It is always the people we connect with along the way that make the journey memorable. We got to know many wonderful folk who were on the outback tour with us...mostly from the USA and UK. Though we will likely never meet again, we are left with great memories.
And then there were the friends we traveled with.
We have traveled with Dave and Janet since 1973, when we went on a missions trip together to Guadeloupe and Haiti. Since that time we have have visited many places together...including Africa, London, Paris, Iceland, China, Israel, Hawaii and California. Our friendship has survived business ventures, building projects, raising our families, school carpools, and all those many trips we have taken together. They are forever friends and so easy to travel with.
I have a niece living in Brisbane, and our plan was to meet up with her at the end of our travels. Unfortunately, she has not been well for some time and our planned rendezvous did not happen. What a disappointment for us all! My heart goes out to her as she deals with debilitating back issues and chronic pain.
We were however able to connect with a few other folks along the way. Karen and Carla grew up in our community, picked raspberries for us in their teens and also played ball on a ladies ball team with me. How could it be that both sisters married Aussies and have made their home in Sydney? Karen invited us all for dinner one night; Carla and her family were there as well. It was so nice to see them again, and meet their families. We won't soon forget our eel-fishing adventure in the creek next to their place that afternoon...or the lovely evening around the table.
In Auckland, we met up with Sandy who was my next-door neighbour as a kid. She moved to New Zealand when she got married and we lost touch until last year. When she heard we would be in her part of the world, she volunteered to be our tour guide in Auckland.
What a fabulous time we had with her and Ian.
We arrived home yesterday to the aftermath of a winter storm. The first order of business after leaving the airport, was to dealing with a flat tire a mile or so down the road. Thankfully we were back on the road before long. The sun was shining and the storm had just passed through, but things had not been so calm earlier on. Cars and trucks were strewn along the median of the freeway.
Not everyone got where they were going! We were thankful to be home safe and sound once more. We found our way in through the garage, and today we shoveled a path to the front door.
I'll be sharing a few 'tales from the trail' as I unpack my photos.
Thanks for stopping by!