Wednesday, February 18, 2015

Australia 2015

I have now been in Australia for almost a month. I have not blogged because this is my 6th trip and I only like to write about new experiences. But just a quick overview: I did go to visit my friends in Tasmania (the gals I met in Darwin - a few blogs ago!) - we picked up where we left off and had a wonderful weekend. I got to see more sights, went on a boat, stayed in what they call their shack (not really a shack). I even got to see a platypus (apparently a rare occurrence).

Shack outdoor area
Out for a Thai dinner!

In Sydney I stayed with Gaille for a few days (had to tent it more like glamping as I had a mattress) her house is in the middle of renovations - it will look amazing when finished. We went to the Sydney zoo finally and I got to see gorillas -but after seeing animals running wild in africia a zoo environment is just not that exciting. Marianne treated us to an afternoon sailing on a tail ship in sidney harbour. They tried to get me to climb the mast - but oh darn I had the wrong shoes on! We also went to see Dirty Dancing on stage and it was fabulous. Lots of great dinners and bbq's.

Yes that is the Harbour bridge behind the giraffe!
Gaille and Marianne

While I have been here Marianne and Brian have sold their house (first she tells me she is leaving work so that ends the staff travel - then they sell the all inclusive - are they trying to tell me something!). I will need to look for new friends who work for qantas!

Now what I really want to tell you about is my trip to Broome Australia - not somewhere a lot of people get to:

Broome is a coastal and pearling and tourist town in the Kimberley region of Western Australia, 2,240 km (1,390 mi) north of Perth( Perth is about 3500km west of Sydney). The permanent population is estimated at 14,436, growing to over 45,000 per month during the tourist season. Broome has a wet and a dry season - February is the wet season and the low tourist season hence the reason I got 5 star accommodation (Cable Beach Resort and Spa for $75 a night).

This is suppose to be the wet season but there has been very little rain and the temperature is in the mid 30's every day with a 70 - 90 percent humidity.

Flying in I could see the beautiful color of the Indian Ocean - later dipping in my feet to find the water is very warm. However, I will not be tempted to do a full body dip as there are stingers and jellyfish - so unfortunate as it does look inviting - guess I will Just stick to the pool!

Resort Pictures


My room


My verandah
One of the pools and waterfall
What is a pool experience without a drink.
Low season 4 people sharing the pool
Yes these are real flowers growing on the trees!

Broome is situated on the traditional lands of the Yawuru people. The town has a deep history based around the exploits of the men and women who developed the pearling industry, starting with the harvesting of oysters for mother of pearl in the 1880s to the current major cultured pearl farming enterprises.

At first, aborigines were enslaved and forced to dive naked, with little or no equipment. Especially pregnant girls were used as they were believed to have superior lung capacity.

When slavery was abolished, Asians and islanders were given the dangerous job instead. Especially Japanese were valued for their experience. The riches from the pearl beds did not come cheaply, however, and the town's Japanese cemetery is the resting place of 919 Japanese divers who lost their lives working in the industry. Many more were lost at sea, and the exact number of deaths is unknown.

Very brave magpie going after my breakfast

There are lots of pearl farm tours - however since I have seen pearl farms in Thailand and Vietnam - this time I decided to purchase pearls!

Broome was attacked at least four times by Japanese aircraft during the Second World War, and the worst attack was the 3 March 1942 air raid in which at least 88 people (mostly civilians who were refugees from the Dutch East Indies) were killed.

The West Australian mining boom of the 1960s, as well as the growth of the tourism industry, also helped Broome develop and diversify. Broome is one of the fastest growing towns in Australia.

I could have stayed at Roebuck Hotel and bar they had rooms for $75 a night too! The place looks like one of the first scenes in Crocodile Dundee!
Area of Broome as I spent the day walking around - yup no people , low tourist season - picked up a few bargains in the local Best for Less Store while trying to escape the heat - ok I thought it was a good excuse!

In 1889, a telegraph undersea cable was laid from Broome to Singapore, connecting to England. Hence the name Cable Beach given to the landfall site. Cable Beach is a 22 kilometres (14 mi) stretch of beach near Broome - it is not only one of the most magnificient beaches I have ever seen but it also has the most amazing sunsets.

One must ask - why is no one in this warm water!

about 25 Feb. 2014, a 12 foot (approx. 4 metre)-long saltwater crocodile caused a brief-but-excited shutdown of this beach to all public swimming - this could be one of the reasons!

My toes love the warm water - tempting!
Amazing sunsets

One tour attraction is a camel ride on Cable Beach - I think riding a camel in the sahara desert is more suitable!


Broome although out of the way is a beautiful place to visit and there are lots of tour options Available especially if you want to see more of the outback - although nothing is cheap so bring your pocket book!


Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Touring with Youssef - part 2

Youssef was promptly ready at 10am to take us on our day adventure. First we drove to the town of Safrou.

Sefrou is located about 35 km (22 mi) southeast of Fez. The town, much smaller than its tourist-filled counterparts, smaller, and perhaps more charming than towns visited by a majority of travelers. Sefrou, which stands at an altitude of nearly 1000 meters (3000 ft), has streets lined with trees and a cool breeze that tends to blow even in the summer (not the day we visited). The town is historical because it was a major stopping point for traders making their way from the Mediterranean to the Sahara Desert. And, the town was a melting pot of culture as Jewish Berber Moroccans and Algerians had been settling there since the 13th century. And, because so many people passed through this town that sits at the base of the Middle Atlas Mountains, business flourished.


First we visited yet another frien of Youssef. An 85 year old moroccan lady who lives basically in a cave, she lives here by herself and says her husband died a couple of years ago at the age of 113! She was lovely and very gracious serving us moroccan tea.

Showing us how she carries a full bucket of water on her head
Her home


We had an opportunity to watch the local ladies do there laundry - no machines here, they put the laundry in buckets of water and then stomp the laundry with their feet.
We visited beautiful waterfall and swimming hole in this area - I believe this water is used to provide electricity for safrou.

We drove to the middle Atlas Mountains and visited on of the few lakes in this area - hard to believe this is morocco, it looks like a scene from Canada.

Young boys were canoing and kayaking

Beautifully dressed horses - they are hoping to attract tourist for a ride!

We would have preferred to ride the donkey!


Youssef resting at our lunch spot in the middle Atlas Mountains


Another interesting place we visited was Ifrane, a ski town. It’s called Little Switzerland and the photos below show why is got this name. It looks like a small Swiss village. Mischliffen is nearby and is known as the Moroccan Aspen. This ski resort rivals the ski resorts in the Alps. There is also a private moroccan university located here but with an annual cost of 10,000 euro most Moroccans do not have an opportunity to attend

Views in mountain area

We went to a park where we had a chance to feed the monkeys

Not the morocco I expected???
A souk we stopped at on the way home - lots of great looking fruits and vegetables

Youssef invited us to share a meal with him again this night at 7:30 - off to the cafe again

Delicious couscous tangine - everyone shares out of the one dish
Mag wanted to taste the food at the next table - moroccans love to share food!

After dinner the men again smoked cigarettes with the wacky stuff! Then it was time for us to say goodbye to Youssef - in case you are wondering we gave Youssef equivalent of 100 euro each to thank him for the most fabulous couple of days - he was very appreciative and asked me to look him up on Facebook so we can keep in contact!

Tommorrow off to Rabat our last stop in morocco.