Down Under Again

Got back from Aus last week. Forgive delay in posting as I managed to smuggle a cold back into the country - in my own head.

So a little photo diary of the trip:

First stop as always was Singapore. We flew Singapore Airlines and I simply cannot overstate how important it is to fly with a good airline when you have special needs kids. We get our priority seating choice, we get priority boarding. We get treated like Royalty when we do board and Liam gets to settle comfortably for the hour or so it takes everyone else to board and secure their hand luggage. We get our child meals and we get the worlds most fantastic economy service. Yes, I wish that they would fly direct out of Dublin - but they don't so we go via London Heathrow or Amsterdam..

This time I booked night flights and that was also wonderful as I got a good nights sleep prior to leaving and a full day to fuss around with suitcases and prepare. Also good to arrive in Singapore in the evening and get a good nights sleep in the Beautiful Crown Plaza at Terminal 3. Imagine this after a 16 hour flight:

"With a link bridge from Terminal 3 at Changi Airport, you'll reach Crowne Plaza Changi Airport in seconds. We can escort you from plane to hotel. You can check in to your outward flight from our Lobby and leave your luggage with us. Book for a night or restful daytime stay"

Lovely bath, lovely room, lovely internet access for Boo. Plasma TV and for Boo; non-stop American Reality show

We checked out at 2pm the next day but since we had another late flight I checked our bags into the Lobby and caught a cab to our second home in Singapore, The Zoo.

Liam is watching a trained Hornbill swoop across the auditorium, in the "Rainforest Fights Back" animal show.  In a country that banks billions in De-forested Unethical Trade Earnings - this was irony beyond belief. 

It was also totally Craptastic!

Very Urban Chinese Malaysians pretending to be indigenous tribesman.  I think they work in Starbucks usually. I was cracking up from the first beats - and actually cried laughing when the "Bad Guy" who was dressed like a member of a Color Gang appeared with a chainsaw - I definitely saw him working in the Apple Store at the Airport later....

When I got to Melbourne my first goal was to get to my Grandpa Mick Johnston's 90th Birthday and have it go smoothly..

Which it did thanks to my nephew Deco who sat with Boo in a corner of the RSL where he could peacefully play with his computer, iPad, eat Pringles and drink coke to his hearts content, while I caught up with all my sisters, cousins, nieces, nephews, uncles, aunts and Gramps and Grandma. 

While still in Ireland I organised with the lovely Jamie at Spirit of Carlton - my Gramps' lifelong Australian Rules Football Team, to get a card signed by players past and present:
which I presented to Gramps at the party. Click on the image to enlarge.

While in Ballarat I was invited to be interviewed by ABC Statewide Drive, and the Melbourne Breakfast Show with Red Symons. (my Little Sister Gab set these up - My new P.R.)

Which meant a trip into the Capital to visit the Australian Broadcasting Corporation Studios on Southbank:

(Home of the Bananas in Pyjamas don't ye know)

After that I walked along the Yarra and marveled at how much Melbourne has changed. 

And not - these clouds yielded rain, but it was sunny enough to tan and really chilly at other times. Very typical Melbourne day.

It really is a little slice of Europe - The Block Arcade Coffee shops between Collins and Bourke St.

Where the staff greet you as you pass - I kept looking around to see if they actually knew me..

But I forewent the charms of inner-city espresso and caught a train back out to my Grandma's in Altona for a lovely quiet visit - and chat. 

And these:

Chocolate Royals!

After that I met my GBF - Micheal, under the clocks at Flinders Street for a walk, a drink in a fancy pub, some shopping and a lovely dinner. But since he's not a blogger we didn't take 100's of photos of ourselves - we just enjoyed each other's company and talked A LOT.

It was a rather perfect Melbourne Day. Which put me in mind of this:

My thanks once again to my Big Sister and her husband Len, Deco, Harry (for giving up his bed) and Amanda for making Liam and I so welcome. 



Katy said…
Glad you had a nice time back home and am digging boo's pork pie hat!
sharon said…
Can't believe there's no bitching about what a long trip it is. You must certainly be a half cup full kind of person.
Glad you had a good trip.
I love the idea of a 'good' airline...hard to find these days, so I use the ferry as you know for the exact same reasons - red carpet treatment, which is so important if the journey is not to wipe out the benefits of the break. Glad you enjoyed it xx
K.Line said…
This is such a gorgeous city - jealous that you get to go there so often! I have to make more of an effort to go to Australia. If only it weren't so far away.

OMG: My capcha is quantas!
Clive said…
Thrilled to hear that the trip went so well and that you got to share in your Grandad's 90th birthday celebrations!

He looks great!!

Hope you're feeling 100% again!

take care
Make Do Style said…
Oh my how Boo has grown! And I love your trips to Aus, it makes me want to go. I feel as if I need to live there - or is that me wishing to leave UK.

Glad you had a fab time and even worked! xx
jazzygal said…
Welcome back Hammie, you were missed! So glad that you didn't miss your Gramps 90th birthday. Wow, that's an incredible age. And a bit of a working holiday too, I see ... can't keep a working gal down, eh?

It's been some years since I've been to Melbourne. And I've been to Ballarat. That's where you "pan for gold", right?

xx Jazzy
Nan P. said…
Ah.... Lunch on a side street just off Block Arcade... Tram to St Kilda (where my friend lives)... The food! The coffees! I remember it well. So jealous!

Glad you got so quality family time, Hammie!
Anonymous said…
Hi there
I can no believe how big he got ! Oh my god...any interest in girls yet?
Glad you enjoyed your trip...planning anything for the summer?
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