We flew from Berlin to Singapore (two nights) and then to meet our mums in Melbourne (five nights). When we booked our flights [to Singapore] ‘Scoot’ airlines [a budget Singapore airlines service] was half the price of anyone else. As the budget was a bit smashed to pieces we decided this would be okay. Then after we thought about it, we realised that on our 12 hour flight, that we wouldn’t get any food or entertainment!! And we haven’t been in any english speaking countries to get any books! After all this time travelling we still hadn’t worked out how to download a movie onto the iPad! Colin had a couple of hours left on his current book and I had a bit more than that on mine, so while it was an okay flight it was pretty long (12hrs) and we counted the hours.
We have visited Singapore before so knew our way around fairly well. We stayed in Katong this time and enjoyed exploring somewhere new. We hadn’t visited the Botanical gardens on our last visit so caught the bus outside our hotel and weaved our way through all the traffic and madness, to this serene place.
As we walked around we came across these two men with huge cameras and ended up chatting to them for well over 1/2 an hour. Teo was 86 and was carrying around a camera weighing 7 kg [as much as my hand luggage!]. His friend Hamis had a very large camera as well. They are both very much into their photography and Teo has published works. Such interesting men to chat too. Hamis has been to New Zealand before so was very happy to chat to us about his visit last year. The quality of their photo (above) compared to my phone photo (below) is amazing – I really should have had a better camera on this trip!
We had been hot in Europe, but it is the humidity in Singapore which completely zaps your energy. Of course the humidity makes all the flowers and plants gorgeous and with rain added to that everything grows like crazy and it is lush and tropical. We found Spanish Moss here!! It has followed us on our travels. The gardens are huge and are just so beautiful. Orchids, frangipani and wonderful sculptures, together with birds and animals (huge monitor lizards are roaming free) which are in abundance in these gardens and which are now a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
We also explored the Peranankan houses, which are cute Chinese influenced architectural houses [two-story] and painted in pastel colours. They are very ornate and colourful and are on the old road to the airport. We had wonderful local food here, and for next to nothing compared to a visit to Orchard Road.
Our Holiday Inn Express was a great hotel and would have been perfect if it had a pool! Lovely big rooms and fabulous breakfast to get your day started. We were able to catch the bus here to Orchard Road for a window shopping expedition. It is just such a beautiful street with all the high end stores.
Our flight to Melbourne (7 hrs) was with Emirates, and it was just fabulous, but with the time difference it had us landing at 1am. It is so hard to get flights that have you taking off or landing at a reasonable hour when you are crossing time zones. The joys of travelling.
So we arrived in Melbourne and collected a rental car. The AirBnB we had booked into very kindly let us check in at 2am as they had no-one in before us. It was in the suburb of Middle Park which is close to St Kilda Beach. Such a lovely heritage property, close to the beach and trams. We crashed into bed for a few hours and then wandered around to the local shops for breakfast. Last time we were in Melbourne we stayed in Albert Park – both such lovely suburbs with the beaches and the park and the trams for trips to the city. After a quick visit to the supermarket, it was time to head back to the airport to pick up our mummies.
The traffic heading out to the airport was horrendous and they arrived before we did! It was such a surreal feeling to be picking them up in a ‘foreign country’ after 395 days. We headed on back to Middle Park for drinks and nibbles before dinner. So much to share, and so lovely to have them in our company. I think that this was such a wonderful thing to do, because we have been so time committed since being back it was lovely to relax with them before the madness began!
We took a drive out to Chandon out in the Yarra Valley. Such a beautiful place to visit and had some wine and cheese. We were lucky enough to have visited here before so it was great to be able to play tourist guide and return here with them.
Mum had plans to visit a friend of hers and I had planned to catch up with my gorgeous friend Tim, so Colin and his mum visited the Melbourne Museum. We all caught the tram into town and then met back at our accommodation a bit later for more wine and nibbles. We planned our next day and decided to visit the Terracotta Warriors exhibition and the Remembrance Memorial. This Memorial is just fantastic, so well done and it should be on the top 10 things to see and do in the city. Beautiful gardens and great views of the city from the top, a must visit destination for anyone visiting Melbourne.
The Terracotta Warriors: Guardians of Immortality exhibition was amazing. I now want to see them in real life! 8 of the warriors, along with two horses have been installed in the National Gallery (along with other items of jewellery, swords, jade …). It was sooooo busy! So there are 8,000 Terracotta Warriors – 2,000 of which have been excavated. Every single statue is different and 700,000 labours spent 40 years creating these amazing statues.
Our Fox family friends, introduced us to Danny & Suzanne (who live in Melbourne) so we organised a dinner to catch up with them. We met at a great Thai restaurant and had a lovely meal and were able to share many of our travel stories. They had not been on our blog list, so were feeling quite unloved! I will be sure to send them this instalment.
So that us – 400 days later … an epic trip and back to reality! As the sun sets in Melbourne, it also set on our trip.
I have one more post planned to ‘finish’ this digital diary … stand by for the conclusion!
Work, travel, save, repeat!