Back To Brrrr

After spending a couple of weeks visiting Australia and basking in their warm summer weather, today we’re Back Home Again in Indiana, and shivering in our typical cold winter weather. We had a great time in Australia, and you can bet I’ll be sharing some of the details and photos in the days to come. I came home with over 1300 digital images in my camera, and surely a few of them are worthy of sharing here.

We also came home with luggage that was stuffed full of dirty clothes plus some new goodies we brought home with us. This shouldn’t be hard for anyone to believe, but I brought home quite a bit of Australian honey (about 3 kilos worth), several bars of handmade cold-process soap, and a bit of local coffee and tea. Of course my wife didn’t come home empty handed either. Those who know her won’t be surprised to learn that she brought home some lovely fabric. And we both picked out a few pieces of inexpensive (but beautiful) artwork to hang on the walls.

collection of Australian honeys (click on any image to enlarge)

Now I can guess what you are thinking: don’t they have their own honey, collected from the hard-working bees of Happy Acres? And don’t they make lots of their very own soap? So why would they travel halfway around the world and bring home soap and honey? My wife was asking me the very same thing every time she saw me grabbing another jar of honey or eyeing a bar of soap!

Queensland tea and coffee

But needless to say our bees don’t make honey from exotic nectar sources such as Leatherwood, Red Gum or Stringy Bark trees. And of course I enjoyed talking to the various purveyors of honey about all the different kinds they had to offer, as well as chatting with some of the beekeepers themselves. It also didn’t help matters any that everywhere I turned there were free honey samples. After all, put me in a honey tasting room and I’m a happy camper! I thought the prices were pretty reasonable too. I paid only $6 Aus. for the 500g bottle of raw honey, which is right in line with prices around here.

And no vacation would be complete without bringing something home for the kids or grandkids. In our case we only have ‘furkids’, so we brought home a couple of stuffed toys for them to play with. I suspect they will just be happy to get back home again from their stay at the kitty day camp (aka boarding at the vet).

stuffed sheep and kangaroo toys

We saw a lot of wonderful sights in Australia, doing a lot of typical tourist stuff like touring the Sydney Opera House and riding the historic train to Kuranda. While there we used almost every mode of transportation possible, from planes to trains to buses, trams, river cats, skyrails and taxis. We met some wonderful people, and saw both man-made and natural wonders. We got our pictures taken with koalas and kangaroos. We visited farmers markets and botanical gardens, and sampled lamingtons and damper bread. We sipped some lovely local tea while sitting in the World Heritage Committee listed tropical Daintree Rainforest. And most of all we had a great time.

Me and Lynda at the Circular Quay with Sydney Harbor Bridge in background

We managed to avoid the brushfires that are currently burning in many parts of Australia, but not the record heat that has plagued many areas. During our trip the temperatures ranged from the very comfortable 10°C overnight lows of Melbourne to the scorching hot 45-50°C afternoon highs in Ayers Rock (113-122°F). After we left Sydney, they recorded their highest temperature ever last Friday with an official reading of 46.5°C (115.7°F). All in all the weather was pretty enjoyable, except for at Ayers Rock where we knew it would be brutally hot.

But now we’re happy to be home again. I came home with a lot of ideas for cooking and gardening, plus a bunch of topics to blog about. I hope you enjoyed this little teaser, and I’ll be back soon with more!



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18 Responses to Back To Brrrr

  1. Jenny says:

    Sounds like you had a lovely time and good experience with local bees. Always wanted to visit that side of the world so maybe one day when we’re ready to retire we’ll get to travel more for fun. Love that you didn’t forget your furbabies 🙂

  2. Marcia says:

    What a great sounding trip. We have contemplated putting Australia on the travel list but may just opt for New Zealand some day. Can’t wait to read more about it.

  3. Amy A. says:

    Dave, it sounds wonderful. I don’t think it is weird that you bought honey. You have to study the competition! Ha ha. So glad you are all home safely. Amy

  4. Sharon says:

    I LOVE that you brought home honey. I bring home strange food items from my travels too. One time I brought home salt from a Farmer’s Market in France. Also, cheese and packages of spices from Italy. And always, always bottles of wine!

  5. Lou Murray's Green World says:

    G’Day, mate! (Pronounced G’Die, Mite!) welcome home. I totally get sampling and buying foreign foods, honey, and soap. It’s what you like and are interested in. Did they turn the waterfall on and off for you on the Kuranda train? That was a hoot. I look forward to hearing more of your travel adventures.

    • Dave says:

      The only waterfall I remember was flowing quite freely when we made a stop there. We had a lot of fun talking to some of the folks. Even though we were all speaking English, we still needed an interpreter!

  6. Oh…Leatherwood honey is one of my favorites! One of our bee guild members brought a jar back after a trip, and let us all sample it. It has such a fabulous flavor. Looks like you found a creamed honey too. I don’t see that as commonly here, although it was very common where I grew up. I can imagine after all that hot weather that coming back to an Indiana winter must be a bit of a shock!

    • Dave says:

      I tell you, I tasted a lot of lovely honeys there. I could have filled a suitcase with everything I wanted to bring back! 😀

  7. Daphne says:

    When I went to Costa Rica last spring I brought back black pepper. I like buying spices. I’d never seen anyone grow pepper before. I’m not a big shopper so rarely bring much back.

  8. Ali says:

    Your trip sounds fantastic! I am curious about all the various honey you tasted, and brought home. I will have to share your honey posts with Dan’s Aunt Sue, a long time beekeeper from the Chicago suburbs. Someday I may try beekeeping… but not yet

  9. Pingback: Bucket List Trip: Australia - Bloom, Bake & Create

  10. Norma Chang says:

    Welcome back. What a fantastic trip. I am looking forward to hearing more and seeing your photos. Wonderful that you were able to visit with the locals. Glad to learn you avoided the brushfires.
    Must be a shock to the system returning to single digit temp.

  11. Liz says:

    Glad to hear you had a lovely time – looking forward to the photos. We have relatives over from England with us at the moment and they are enjoying the extremes of our climate. We have been away with them for the last week or so – camping up near Bright in Northern Victoria which is near Beechworth where they have a honey exhibit – a trip to which was the highlight of our holiday for my 6 year old daughter. The honey obsession seems to be starting early…. although I think it was the 20 plus varieties they had out for tasting that appealed most.

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