Sunday 26 February 2012


Well I have reached a milestone!
Not bad I think, writing 100 posts in less than 9 months! I never thought I would have so much to write about when I wrote my first post in June 2011. Sometimes I would write lists of topics, I would even lie in bed and try and compose little essays for my blog, and wonder whether what I wrote had any interest to anyone out there...
But slowly, I started getting more readers and more feedback from my posts and I started enjoying the interaction with my readers and blogging friends, and I´m having fun!!
That´s what it´s all about - fun and friendship.
At the time of posting this post, 8787 people from 90 different countries have visited! Wow, I find this amazing!
My blog is also a way to keep a sort of diary of my activities, my travels, my life...It will be fun to look back in a few years time and re-read these posts. Also, one day my "future" grandchildren will be able to read about their granny and her activities.
I´m now involved in the A-Z challenge and having great fun writing about my adoptive country - Australia.
On the right under the Australian flag, you will find a link to all 7 posts to date - A to F posts and A again!
Next week I will carry on with the G and so forth, I´m trying to do them alphabetically and have all topics mapped out.

In honour of my 100th post I would like to do a giveaway, which is open to all friends, followers or potential followers worldwide:
I will be giving two of you, a painted wooden box, decorated with the serviette technique, similar to these ones.

- Please leave a comment under this post with your chosen colour/colours, so I can paint one specifically to your taste. If you would like a specific theme for the serviette mention that, as I have hundreds of them, so I might have what you like: eg. flowers and colour of flowers...

- If you don´t have a blogger profile, leave your e-mail address, so that you can be rewarded if you are the winner. (to avoid spam into your account, write the e-mail address in this format:  mary at gmail dot com"

- You can also leave a comment on my facebook page:

- The giveaway will be open for two weeks, closing on Monday 12th March. The winner will be announced a few days later and of course notified via email and on a blog post.
So, participate and good luck!

Monday 20 February 2012

A to Z of Australia - A is for Adelaide

I’ve gone back to A for the simple reason that I have just spent a few days visiting the city of Adelaide and wanted to let you know about it.

Adelaide is the capital of the state of South Australia. It’s about 1700km from Perth and it takes about 3,30h to fly there, and they are 2,30 hours ahead of WA. (We don´t have daylight savings in Western Australia).

It’s a smaller city than Perth, with a lot to see in the neighbouring regions – two distinct wine regions, the Hills, etc. The River Torrens creates a division between the city centre and the suburb of North Adelaide, and both are surrounded by various parks creating a green ring around the city.

As this was my second visit to Adelaide, I tried to see things I hadn’t visited before such as the Botanic gardens, the Himeji Japanese garden and the beautiful older suburbs of North Adelaide and Norword as well as a drive through the northern coastal areas.
I absolutely loved the Himeji Japanese gardens, a small oasis in the middle of the city, in the corner of South Terrace and Glen Osmond Road.

The Lantern in the Himeji garden
The Lake at the Himeji garden
The Botanic Gardens, also in the city are one of the most visited attractions, situated right next to the Adelaide Hospital. The most interesting for me was the Amazon Waterlily Pavillion, a glass house with specially controlled temperature where you can find the Brazilian Waterlilies. The Palm House, another heritage glass building displays plants from Madagascar, and the modern Bicentennial Conservatory (entrance fee applies to this one) houses an indoor tropical forest. There is a huge Rose garden with a variety of roses in various shapes and colours and a beautiful and very cool avenue of Moreton Bay Fig trees (Ficus macrophylla) - Murdoch Drive - (named after the media mogul Rupert Murdoch), which is believed to have been planted in 1866, the oldest avenue of Fig trees in Australia.
Tropical Forest in the Bicentennial Conservatory and Rose Garden
The lovely and cool Murdoch Drive, full of Fig trees
The Amazon Waterlily
A field of Lotus Flowers
In the Botanic gardens you can visit the few museums of its kind - the Santos Museum of Economic Botany - where you can learn all about plant materials: seeds, fruit, dyes, baskets, resins, poisons, etc.
A most interesting museum and I was told the only one in the Southern Hemisphere.
Have a rest and something to eat and drink at one of the cafe´s in the park under the shade of some lovely trees overlooking a lake full of ducks, black swans, fish and turtles, or just take your picnic basket and lie on the grass and enjoy the day.

The river Torrens, north of the city centre, with the Convention Centre at the end.
The Festival Centre with river Torrens on the left
The Central Market, where you can buy lovely fresh produce, meat and fish

Inside the lovely Adelaide Arcade 

Next Friday 24th is the start of the “Adelaide Fringe Festival” with over 250 different acts playing all over the city, and this Friday (17th) on my way home via Rundle mall, (a pedestrian zone where the beautiful Adelaide Arcade can be seen), I stopped to watch a sample of some of the acts, and ended up staying for about 1hour just relaxing and enjoying the party atmosphere.
Adelaide is known as the city of churches, and the State of South Australia is known as the "Festival State", as apparently there is always some festival happening in or around Adelaide.
Sample of some of the Fringe Festival acts in Rundle Mall
We stayed in Glenelg, a coastal suburb, south east of the city centre. Being summer it was always full of people walking around the shopping areas, sitting at cafes or restaurants and a few at the beach, either swimming or fishing.            
Beach at sunset taken from our hotel room

Some of the sun-sets at Glenelg Beach, taken from the hotel Oaks Pier Hotel

Life saving clubs Iron Man competition on Sunday 19th Feb.
Set of 8 Terraced Apartments built in 1884, with 3 floors, in front of Grange Beach
Looking to Glenelg Beach, where we stayed

One of the highlights was visiting the suburb of North Adelaide and Norwood, some of the oldest suburbs in the city, where you can see lots of Victorian houses, all very well preserved. Both suburbs have a "cafe strip" - a street full of restaurants, cafes and interesting boutiques.
In Norwood it´s "The Parade" and in North Adelaide, you find it in Melbourne St and O´Connell Street.

Victorian Buildings, all very well conserved

The only downside I found in Adelaide, was the road infrastructure not as good as in Perth and the public transport system is (for me at least) a bit confusing, with buses that change numbers halfway through their route, buses seem to run late or do not appear as per the timetable... There are two free bus services, one service provided by the council and the other provided by the Adelaide transport authority, but timetables or maps are only available online, so it makes it difficult for tourists to get on a bus they don't know exists or where it stops. I was told this is because the services don't make money, but in Perth we have 3 routes with free buses in the city - Cat buses, and there are maps and plenty of information available.
But I walked and walked and walked, used the tram from Glenelg to Adelaide, asked directions from bus drivers, and on the weekend my husband drove me around to some places further away.
All in all a very enjoyable stay!!

Thursday 9 February 2012

A to Z of Australia - F is for Fremantle

As I was putting the finishing touches to my post about Fremantle, I heard on the 1o´clock news that the Queen Mary II was docked in Fremantle for the day and was departing at 5pm. I could not pass the opportunity to see this grand ship, and to photograph it to go with my post about Fremantle.
So I took a train and waited a couple of hours until her departure to Adelaide.
Photos can be seen at the end of this post and a sequence on the PHOTOS page as well.

                                                           * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *
Fremantle or Freo, as the locals affectionately call it, is the main sea port for Perth, and it´s about a 20min drive from the city centre.
It was named after Captain Charles Howe Fremantle, an English naval officer who established a camp in the area.
A container ship coming in, on the right side the WA Maritime Museum

The same container ship being tugged into the harbour

It´s a multicultural city, with charming 19th century architecture and a fascinating maritime and convict history too.
All of my visitors to Perth have enjoyed spending a few days trailing the tourist spots like the Fremantle prison, the WA Maritime Museum where they have the Welcome Walls, full of names of immigrants and the ships they arrived in at the Fremantle port, or a peep at the weekend Fremantle markets where they stock up on the souvenirs to take back home.
The Welcome wall at the WA Maritime Museum where names of immigrants and the ships they arrived in are recorded

The atmosphere in Fremantle is relaxing, there are a lot of street cafes, fresh fish and chips restaurants by the harbour and a few breweries too. A lot of people that own boats have them in stacking storage in Fremantle.
At night the pubs and clubs are alive with music, lights and lots of people.

Bon Scott- Scottish born who migrated to Australia at the age of 3, lived in Fremantle, died in 1980 and buried at Fremantle cemitery.  He was the lead vocalist of the rock group AC/DC.
The statue of the cray fisherman and behind a few of the Fish and chips restaurants by the harbour

The stacked boat at he harbour

The Round House in Fremantle´s west end, was the first jail built in limestone in 1830 by the convicts, with just 8 cells and the jailer´s residence. A tunnel was later built under the Round House to provide whalers with access to the town from the beach and jetty. In the West end you can see a lot of Georgian and Victorian style housing, and a lot of new conversions into modern style apartment living.
The Roundhouse - first Fremantle prison

The West end, by the Roundhouse - Victorian buildings

An old side facade with a new apartment block built behind it

When a new prison building was built to accommodate the 75 convicts that arrived from Britain in 1850, the Round House was inadequate and a new prison was built, by the convicts once again. It was finished in 1850 and was last used in 1991. The conditions were deplorable, not enough bathroom facilities for all the inmates, hangings were commonplace, and eventually a revolting crowd set fire to it, causing some damage to the ceiling. A few years later is was closed.
The Prison
It is now a popular venue with the tourists, with night Ghost tours, tours to the underground tunnels and inside tours to visit the rooms, chapel, courtyard, and to see the wall art of the prisoners.
Artwork painted on the walls of the cells
A boat built with Porridge by one of the inmates
Prison gates looking into the courtyard

The Fremantle Arts Centre, another building built by convicts in 1860. It was formerly an asylum, today used for art exhibitions and music concerts.

Fremantle Arts Centre

The Markets which were opened in 1897, are opened from Friday to Sunday only and you can find over 150 stalls selling crafts, speciality foods, and a section for fruit and vegetables and fish. Outside a lot of buskers and street performers vie for your attention and tips.

The Fremantle Markets
Nearby the National Hotel, another historic building was almost destroyed by fire in 2007, and though the interior was gutted, the facade was saved and the building has been fully restored.

The National Hotel
Some of the lovely buildings in Fremantle
Fremantle War memorial at Monument Hill has 360º views of Fremantle

As I mentioned at the beginning, I had the great pleasure of seeing the Queen Mary II departing from Fremantle to Adelaide this afternoon. She truly is a majestic ship! There were thousands of people all over the harbour and the atmosphere was of excitement and awe. It was lovely to see a lot of small vessels accompanying the liner to the open sea.

When I grow up I also want to travel on the Queen Mary or a similar one ship!

The WA Maritime Museum with Queen Mary II

A lot of small vessels followed the liner to sea, and passengers waved and shouted "Ozzie, Ozzie, Ozzie" while the well wishers shouted back "Oi, Oi, Oi"

Sunday 5 February 2012

The Liebster Blog Award

Liebster Award
Alyson from Algarve Blog , awarded me the Liebster Award a few days ago. Thanks for award, really grateful for it.
Unfortunately I have been quite busy the last couple of days which accounts for the fact that it took me quite a while to post about it.
Having lived in Germany I know "Liebster" means "dearest" which is quite sweet. This award is given to newcomer bloggers with less than 200 followers to give them some encouragement.

As a recipient of the award the rules are:
1 - Accept the award and congratulate the bestower on her well deserved award -
2 - Link back to her blog
3- Nominate 5 new people, whose blogs I have enjoyed, to receive this award. Don´t forget to notify them.

(Because I had previously received a Liebster award, this time I will nominate 5 new bloggers, although it´s just so difficult to choose from the many talented bloggers I have come across...
You can also copy the Award logo to the sidebar of your blog.

My Nominations are:

1 -  The serial expat diaries -
a blog about a family of 4 on the move, the latest one to Thailand.

2 - Granny´s 1947 blog -
a one-liner´s blog written by a funny granny from South Africa.

3 - Letras á solta - 
    a Portuguese blog about writing, poetry...
4 - Life and other things on my mind - Lian, a young lady from the Netherlands, also taking part in the A-Z challenge. -
5 - Expatlogue -   another expat blog reporting from Canada, also taking part in the A-Z challenge  -
I seem to be attracted to expat blogs, I wonder why?
Have fun and spread the Karma!
Liebster Award