Birthday Invitation – Saturday 19th May 2012


The weather forecast had proved wrong again. There was no further rain and we set sail from Ionousses in sunny clear warmth. The waters were very calm and the lack of wind meant that we had to motor.
Today is Louise’s birthday. I can think of no better place, and no better way to celebrate than sailing around Greek islands. Today we make it to Chios. Most Greek islands have several ways to spell them using the English alphabet. I have never been to any of the islands we visit on this trip and each one is different and interesting.
Within two hours we arrived at Marmaro on Chios. The harbour is tiny with no other yachts or motor boats, only small fishing boats.

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There are a string of six tavernas and bars along the quayside and a tiny town square with a few further cafes and shops, most of which are closed for the afternoon. A complete windmill stands at the Northern corner by the sea and another, sail-less wreck lies further in the inlet.

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John and I go to explore the town and find a further restaurant deep within the village. Tis has a swimming pool and is set amid allotment gardens. We walk up to the church and admire views.
Meanwhile, Louise and her husband go on their own and admire a lady’s garden. Before they know it they are invited in for oranges and drinks, and shown collections of model boats. What a wonderful way to spend a birthday. This family went out of their way to welcome Louise, advising her on other parts of the island to visit and chatting with her for nearly an hour.

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We wanted to find somewhere a little special for Louise’s birthday meal. This can be quite hard in remote and less frequented spots. We walked to various restaurants only to find limited menus or that they were not serving food at all. In the end we went back to the middle of the village and re-found our swimming pool restaurant: To Aypskinma. We were the only patrons, but what a feast we enjoyed! Our hostess grew much of her own food, served with great pride and cooked well. It was a brilliant evening. Tiny spinach balls, cheese pies, stuffed courgette flowers, Imam aubergine, veal and chicken, followed by home made cherry conserve and yogurt.

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Changing scenery and a salad bug – Saturday 7th April 2012


Robinvale looked little better in the morning light. Our room was totally not equipped for eating, although it had a toaster and kettle. There were no spoons, or plates, so we ate our muesli, mixed in the yogurt carton and used a teaspoon, eating straight from the carton itself. We may have hit rock bottom!

On the road by 9.00: farm, vineyard, bush, outback. The wind had dropped sufficiently for the sky to resume normal coloring and the red soil remained on the ground. Cruise control helped the scenery pass, and not another car either way.
Remote, eh?
Hundreds of miles melted behind us.

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Gradually the world turned greener and gold mining towns came into view.
Dunolly is such a contrast to Robinvale. It has charm, ‘antique’ shops, and a cafe with pie and coffee. I love it!
Maryborough is really large by comparison, with an ex-mining college, a station and two main streets with shops!
Our bed and breakfast is a Victorian house with massive high ceilings and small windows, making the rooms dark even though they are well proportioned..
We walk into town and chat to two sisters who are doing up their mum’s garden. They tell us all the eating establishments in the area and we choose the most expensive as a treat.
The Supreme Court had a simple menu, steak, chicken in Parma ham, fish of the day. We both chose steak. It took over half an hour to come, but we understood. The restaurant was very busy; it is Easter!
When it came, John began eating and a beetle, one cm long crawled out of his salad onto the table, where I beheaded it. Of course we told the waitress, who was very sorry and said unhelpful things like, “That’s the third bad thing that’s happened today. We have been very busy.”. And “sorry!”
We agreed to have another, they offered us some more drinks. We only paid half price for the food. Still, just as we were thinking we had reached civilization… Yuk!

Travel plans – Wednesday 14th March 2012


All the time we’ve been in Melbourne we have struggled to establish a mobile wi-fi connection with the best range within Western Australia. More by luck than judgement we have ended up with both Vodafone and Telstra. We spent ages trying to hire a campervan for two weeks. I’m not sure if I’ll take to confined living, so 2 weeks is plenty.
My wonderful Melbourne friend has agreed to hold some of our stuff, to reduce weight, until we get back to Melbourne on the way to Sydney and then home to UK.

Every thing is washed and packed.

What will Perth hold? And which way shall we travel when we get there? And…what will it be like in a campervan?

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We begin with a night in the YHA in Perth and treat ourselves to a meal out. The Korean restaurant was full, and no wonder. The BBQ set in a table with meat to cook yourself was fantastic. It came with 7 little saucers of potato, chutney, vegetables, soy sauce. For $24 it was a bargain. There are not many bargains to be had in Perth.
In our one night it appears a bold, busy city with everything you could think of. It must have grown considerably in the last 5 years because everything seemed so new.

Looking forward to tomorrow and getting the van!