Monday, 8 February 2016

Xin Nian Kuai Le! May your year of the Monkey be full of Happiness, Prosperity and Adventure


I always get homesick for Shanghai at Chinese New Year. 
Many expats would use the break to get away from China and explore the region. 
I loved being in Shanghai for Chinese New Year, watching the world's
biggest human migration take place before my eyes, the traditions unfold around me.
Then there were the fireworks, nothing like having fireworks go off all around you.
Wondrous, magical! Our apartment on the 29th floor the perfect vantage point.

Happy Year of the Fire Monkey!

Enjoy the fireworks from our apartment in 2011, the year of the Golden Rabbit.

Fireworks, Xujiahui, Shanghai, Chinese New Year

Fireworks, Xujiahui, Shanghai, Chinese New Year

Fireworks, Xujiahui, Shanghai, Chinese New Year

Fireworks, Xujiahui, Shanghai, Chinese New Year

Fireworks, Xujiahui, Shanghai, Chinese New Year

Fireworks, Xujiahui, Shanghai, Chinese New Year

Fireworks, Xujiahui, Shanghai, Chinese New Year

Thursday, 4 February 2016

Love, the joys of repatriation, rediscovering "home"

I love to travel, discover new places, cultures and foods. 
The thrill of arriving in a new city, walking the streets and getting the feel of the place. 
Loved living in Europe, where we could jump in the car and drive to another country for the day.
It was bittersweet, leaving our expat lives behind and returning home to 
Perth, Western Australia a few weeks ago. 
A jumble of emotions and chaos as we packed up our possessions, a collection of our
lives in China, England and Germany all intermingled. 
Nearly eight years all packed in boxes and sent down under.

The repatriation fog is starting to lift. 
The first weeks were a blur of jet lag, couch surfing and unpacking. 
Our list of things to do is getting shorter, the dog is out of quarantine 
and we finally have a car...and internet!

As we settle back into our lives "back home" we look around and realize that, 
even though our city is the most isolated in the world, we won't be popping to another country, or another state for that matter, for lunch or a day trip...it really is a pretty special place to be!

A place where dreams are nurtured and come true.
Bicton Baths, Perth, Western Australia

Our lives are supported by friends who have been around for a long time!
Fremantle Traffic Bridge, Fremantle, Western Australia

See that red ship, on the other side of the bridge, our UK car is about to be offloaded after it's journey across the seas, just a few kilometers from home. Pretty cool to see on the school drop off!
Fremantle Traffic Bridge, Fremantle, Western Australia

Fabulous parks to play with the dog, overlooking the Swan River, 
the city of Perth in the background. 
Dog Park, East Fremantle, Western Australia

A place where you park your car according to shade, not distance, 
even the local birds "park" themselves in the shade.
Magpies, East Fremantle, Western Australia

Wonderful walks along the familiar paths of the Swan River, complete with Swans.
Bicton Foreshore, Swan River, Western Australia

Refreshing water to swim in when the sun gets a bit much for those of us 
who have just left a freezing, German winter.
Bicton Foreshore, Swan River, Western Australia

Rediscovering playgrounds of my children's childhood...and of my own.
Sand Bar, Point Walter, Perth, Western Australia

Many happy memories were made here, many more to come.
The jetty, Point Walter, Perth, Western Australia

We feel as though we are visiting, that it will soon be time to say our goodbyes as we head back "home" as we have done for nearly eight years living abroad.
We will forever be homesick for China, England and Germany,
but this is our true home, Perth, Western Australia. 
We are back and we are going to love getting to know you again!
Attadale foreshore, Perth, Western Australia


Wednesday, 6 January 2016

15 European Adventures of 2015... What will 2016 bring?

My home is a disaster zone of packing boxes, paint cans and piles of stuff to be donated or ditched. 
Part of our lease is to repaint the interior of the house white before we leave. Fabulous!
Just adds to the stress of moving. Throw in Christmas, New Year, a mountain of paperwork
 and a never ending to do list, nerves in our household are jangling. 
In days, our life as expats comes to an end after nearly eight years and three countries.
It is time to move back home to Perth, Western Australia.

We can look back on a fabulous list of adventures over the last twelve months, 2016 will be 
vastly different as we head back to live in the most isolated city on the planet. 
No more driving from Germany to France for lunch!
It is going to be wonderful rediscovering our homeland, more memories to be made, 
adventures to go on and exploring things that have changed.

We have certainly made the most of our time in Europe, 
here are just 15 of the many adventures we went on in 2015

Belem Tower in Portugal on a gorgeous Summer day.
Belem Tower, Lisbon, Portugal


We popped over to Metz in France for lunch one day...because we could.
The cathedral was one of the best I have seen.
Metz Cathedral, Metz, France

We visited Mannequin Piss in Brussels.
Mannequin Piss in Brussels

Spent the day by the seaside in  Lynmouth, Devon.
Low tide, Lynmouth, Devon

On a very hot Summer's day in Germany, we jumped in our air conditioned car, 
went for a drive...and stumbled on this amazing castle..Eltz Castle. 
A medieval castle nestled above the Moselle River.

Eltz Castle, Germany


We popped in to Woolacombe Beach in England, voted the 13th best beach in the world! 
Nice, but I can't wait to dip my toes into the Indian Ocean next week!
Woolacombe Beach, England

Another day trip, another castle! The gorgeous Heidelberg Castle.
Heidelberg Castle, Heidelberg, Germany

The spectacular city of Lisbon, a few days was not enough, I will be back..one day!
Lisbon, Portugal

Enjoyed yet another Fasching Festival in Wiesbaden, so much fun!
Fasching Festival Fun, Wiesbaden, Germany

We drank Bordeaux in Bordeaux and fell in love with the city, 
stayed an extra day to discover more...
Bordeaux, France

We drove through a snowstorm to visit Utrecht, The Netherlands. 
So worthwhile, such beauty and the skies turned blue for us!
Utrecht, The Netherlands

Baden Baden, in The Black Forest was wonderful, the Spring air so fresh and fragrant.
Baden Baden, Black Forest, Germany

We spent a fabulous weekend in Prague, wandered around this beautiful city for hours!
Guard, Prague Castle, Prague, Czech Republic

We took in the views while walking amongst the heather in the Exmoor National Park.
Exmoor National Park, Devon, England

We soaked up the history in Berlin, the capital of Germany. 
Reichstag Building, Berlin, Germany

Stay tuned for some Aussie Adventures...and I will document our European adventures in more detail ... when I have a spare minute...possibly 2017!

Now....back to packing and sorting...

Tuesday, 22 December 2015

Christmas Market Magic....Rothenburg on the Romantic Road

Walking through the city walls into the medieval town of Rothenburg
 on Germany's "Romantic Road" is like stepping back in time to the 11th Century. 
Beautifully preserved buildings and cobblestoned alleys draw you in to discover 
amazing architecture, meticulously carved statues and the most gorgeous 
Christmas decorations imaginable.
This is literally the place of fairy tales, enchanting visitors, young and old.

The Christmas market stalls selling hand crafted gifts and decorations.
Fairy lights twinkling on real Christmas Trees lining the cobblestoned streets.
Homes and store fronts charmingly decorated, the smells of 
Christmas Spices perfume the air.

The Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas Museum and store is captivating
so many special decorations and a true visual delight. 

Rothenburg has been the most enchanting Christmas Market of all, the magical fairytale setting 
hard to beat. The atmosphere of the old town, decorations and market captivating. 
Even on a chilly Winter day it warmed our souls and it was hard to walk to the other
side of the city walls and leave the medieval town behind.

City Walls, Rothenburg, Germany


Rothenburg, Germany

Half timbered house, Rothenburg, Germany

Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store, Rothenburg, Germany

Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store, Rothenburg, Germany


Kathe Wohlfahrt Christmas Store, Rothenburg, Germany

Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Gluhwein, Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Gluhwein, Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Gluhwein, Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Nutcracker, Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany

Christmas Markets, Rothenburg, Germany