DRIVING TO THE END

Monday 5th July

Spent today in and around our camp in Mildura sorting out our gear for the big move north tomorrow. Good to tidy up all the gear, yet another cold night but sunny day.

Sun set
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DRIVING TO THE END

Tuesday 6th July

Left Mildura around 10 and headed for the SA border. Were searched for fruit and vegetables and then the police checked our entry permit and then 100 metres in we had the Covid test ( my first one). Should get results tomorrow Wednesday but basically we are free to roam SA for as long as we want. We decided to book into a paid caravan park in Morgan to enjoy some power and hot water. Another cold and early night. Although tonight we had electric heating in the van so watched tv for a few hours. Off to north of Port Augusta tomorrow.

Stopped behind Roz and Rogers car at a road work block.
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DRIVING TO THE END

Sunday 4th July

Spent a full day in Mildura. Travelled into town to check it out. Fantastic parklands along the Murray full of people, dogs and steam boats. Blue sky’s but still very cold.

Back to camp mid afternoon and cleaned up things and prepared dinner. We had steak, cauliflower and carrots ( have to use up all the fruit and vegetables before crossing the border into SA on Tuesday).

Early night and in bed by 830pm. Going to be a cold night – forecast 2 degrees.

And below is our home for next 3 months and Cath – forgot to post this on Friday.

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DRIVING TO THE END

Early start packing up at 630am. Warm in bed last night but lot of condensation on our ceiling. We were on the road by 720am. Long way to go today. Stopped for coffee at Minyip (home of the flying doctor) and bought some bread, bananas and dog food at the local IGA. Interesting sculpture in town roundabout. Long drive through many towns and past several of the painted silos found in this part of Victoria. Also drove through Warracknabeal (home of Nick Cave). Finally arrived at Merbein common near Mildura. After searching for our friends camp spot we set up our home for next 3 days. A great free site on edge of Murray river ( Victorian side of course).

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DRIVING TO THE END

FRIDAY

July 2

We had been building to this day for many months and finally left Cape Woolamai at 930am. Coffee picked up in San Remo and hit the road to Ballarat. A great lunch with friends from CVA. First full fill up of fuel on the outskirts of Ballarat.

We finally found our way to a free camp site at Great Western for the night. No access to toilets or showers so managed with our own porta loo, water etc, bought some fish and chips in nearby Stawell. Very cold night but managed to be warm in the pod with a one dog night.

No pictures today.

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Driving to the End

Hi all.

Given our inability to travel overseas in the past few years and possibly the future we have decided to bring our Australian travel plans forward to the present.

Together with several of our Island friends we have pieced together vehicles and caravans of different shapes and sizes and will travel in tandem but also split up and meet again at agreed locations further along the track.

After much planning Cath and I are hitting the road July 2 (tomorrow). We aim to have lunch in Ballarat with some of my old work colleagues. Then onto Great Western for first night.

Our big aim is to travel for 3 months and subject to Covid making it difficult to enter some states we want to move west through South Australia, north to Northern Territory, west to West Australia and then south through Perth region and eventually head east across the Nullarbor and back home to Cape Woolamai late September.

We have purchased a second hand Jayco Jpod and modified it to hopefully provide a great home for us and Pooki.

We hope to create an interesting blog again using this site with interesting stories about our adventures on the road together with and will also add a lot of pictures.

There will be lots of camp cooking and staying at ‘free’ sites so we need to use our batteries and solar panels along the way. We will also stay at several key caravan parks along the way to enjoy a little more luxury and recharge ourselves as well as the batteries.

So check out this site when you want to see how we are travelling.

Here are a few pics of our set up.

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Cath and Ian’s travels 2018

Monday 5th November

Last full day in England and on our travels overall.

Today we walked into Windsor to visit the Castle, the home of the Queen and past Monarchs for 900 years.

There were queues waiting but we were in after about 25 minutes wait. Then around another 20 minutes to get through the security similar to what you experience in most airports ( not Berlin airport though – that had its own level of security).

The castle and all its various buildings and gardens are in fantastic condition and in a constant state of renovation and care. I understand some of the current works are still a result of the large fire in November 1992.

We received our head set to guide us through the grounds and buildings. We were able to take photos in most places but not in the State apartments where we moved through a series of special purpose rooms including –

The Waterloo chamber, the Crimson Drawing room, the Queens Drawing room, the Kings Drawing room, the Queens bedroom, Dressing room, Garter throne room and more and more.

There are apparently over 1000 rooms within the castle.

The Queen was in residence whilst we were there but we strangely did not see her.

Within the castle is also St George’s chapel where the wedding of Prince Harry and Meaghan took place. We were able to see the chapel in detail and it was amazing. We have seen many cathedrals, churches and chapels in our travels but this exceeded them all in both atmosphere and structure. Of course, it is also the burial place of so many past royalty including the Queens mother and Princess Margaret.

After 3 hours of wandering in awe we had had enough and started to find the exit and somewhere for lunch and also to rest the aching legs.

Our aim was to spend the afternoon on the Hop on Hop off bus but after waiting for some time, Mike called the company and was told it wasn’t running as the season had ended. April was the next bus. Not sure if the hundreds of tourists in town realised that since the pamphlets and posters on the bus stops advertise the off season. Anyway we wandered down to the river and decided to take a short cruise along the Thames whilst enjoying a brandy and dry and a pint of ale. This was our last day of our great adventure.

Windsor is an interesting and pretty little town but there seems to be an usually large number of people living and begging on the streets especially in the Castle area.

Whilst we have seen first hand sad homeless people in many of the places we have visited here in Windsor it was hard not to think that these people were perhaps not the genuine article.

I am writing this blog post on Tuesday morning and today we will be leaving Windsor in mid afternoon and heading to Heathrow airport (about 20 ks) ready for our Qantas flight home at 8.55pm UK time and 7.55am Melbourne time.

So no more blogs until a few days after we get back.

Hope you found our travels interesting.

We are looking forward to being home and seeing our family, friends and of course Pooki.

It will be great to feel the warmth of our summer and to soon walk on our beaches and for me (given Cath already had found work) to start looking for work in order for us to pay for the next adventure.

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Cath and Ian’s travels 2018

Sunday 4th November

We are staying in a pub called the Windsor Trooper. Our room is behind the the pub and very quiet until 6 am when the first planes start landing and taking off at Heathrow every 45 seconds or so until late in the evening. The wheels are still lowered, an indication of how close to the ground they are. Still we don’t mind as it makes us realise we are close to coming home now.

Today we had a full day in Windsor with Jai and Mike (my cousins from Stroud in the Cotswolds) and decided to explore London so travelled by train to Waterloo station.

We walked down to the Southbank along the Thames and wandered along enjoying the stalls, the street artists and the fantastic vibe that is London. We wandered around the Eye, Houses of Parliament, Downing Street, Trafalgar Square and so much more. We then decided to take Jai and Mike to see Churchills war rooms, which we had visited on our last trip but it was going to be a 45 minute wait so decided not to wait. Jai and Mike will visit it without us on another trip to London.

Had a jacket potato for lunch at a pub and continued walking, ending up at Shakespeares Globe theatre which Cath had seen 2 years back with Frances and Gail, and was very keen to visit again. This was a fantastic experience. We had a great guide who explained the reason the Globe had been built and how, where it is situated was once outside of London city, as theatre at that time was considered the devils work. It was built for the common people to attend at low cost and basically enjoy themselves, drinking beer and eating whilst they watched, or more importantly listened to the various plays. Our guide described their behaviour was not unlike what you would see at a football match today.

We left the Globe theatre around 430pm to discover it was getting dark but decided to keep walking along the river to get a view of Tower Bridge. We were now a long way from Waterloo station so decided to take one of the many water ferries that plough up and down the Thames. This was great fun and for about 6 pounds each and after 4 stops along the way we reached our stop right under the London Eye and found our way back to Waterloo station. We eventually arrived in Windsor where we had a great evening meal in Zizzi’s, an Italian restaurant and fell back into rooms at 9.45 exhausted.

Tomorrow our exploring will be centred on Windsor and Elton.

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Cath and Ian’s travels 2018

Saturday 3rd November

A travel day again today ( sorry for late posting) so no pictures.

Checked out of Molloys Pub at 930am dragging our cases down to the taxi rank we had spotted the day before, for our trip to the airport. Like the taxi driver who had brought us from the airport on Wednesday, this driver was great and spoke to us about his home town of Dublin and his travel adventures.

We were travelling Air Lingus (on a BA ticket) back to London and were relieved when we checked in our cases and had no issues with the weight.

We landed at Heathrow at 130pm. We had researched the trip from Heathrow to Windsor by train or bus, however, after walking about 2 k’s around the airport, this was clearly not going to be easy. It was going to take 3 trains or 2 buses and several changes to get us where we needed to be and it would cost us about 30 pounds.

So, we tried the conventional taxis and found they had a flat rate of 40 pounds but that avoided all the changes and took us to the hotel door. We took advantage of this service and were here by 4 in the afternoon.

Jai and Mike arrived about 30 minutes later so we had a great catch up in the bar for a while before sorting out our rooms and coming back to the bar for dinner.

Food was good but it turned out to be Karaoke night and after witnessing one guy sing one song we retired to bed as soon as we could.

We are planning to visit London tomorrow on the train.

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Cath and Ian’s travels 2018

Friday 2nd November

Second full day in Dublin.

We walked to Trinity College from our accommodation to arrive about 930. Amazing place with what appeared to be a student graduation with students in their gowns and parents looking proud and taking pictures.

We found the library and after a few minutes in a queue we were in to see the Book of Kells from the year 800 together with many other ancient books and documents together with some amazing documents and personal letters from WW1 visible only under glass.

Then up the steps to the library proper and the ‘long room’ which has 200,000 books shelved to the roof and only accessible by long ladders.

Our second aim today was to visit the Irish Emigration museum close to the Dublin docks. Again another great and interesting place to visit covering the amazing history of the Irish, their troubles, the potato famine and the various economic and political ups and downs. Of course all of these issues have led to millions of Irish travelling and settling in so many parts of the world and there was a mine of information about the effect this had on the destination countries.

We finished the visit with lunch in one of the adjacent cafes along with hundreds of local office workers.

We then jumped on our faithful bus to get to Temple Bar to visit the famous bars and Irish shops. We managed to get into the Temple bar pub and get a little video and some pictures. We had no hope of getting a seat or even getting to the bar to get a drink but the atmosphere was great. Next stop was Quays pub another 20 metres down the street where another band was playing and we managed to get a seat so had a drink and enjoyed the music for a while.

We then walked the rest of the way back to base and waited to have dinner downstairs in Molloys bar where a live band was playing Irish music at 7. We had our fish and chips, another drink and tried to listen to the music but had to give up after 3 songs as the crowd was too loud (mostly office workers having their Friday night drinks). We went back to our room to prepare for our return to London, where we are catching up with my cousin Jai and her husband Mike for a couple of days before flying home on Tuesday evening.

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