Yosemite National Park – California

On our way home from New York we stayed in San Francisco and picked up a hire car the next day for a 5 hour drive to the Yosemite Valley and Yosemite National Park (passing through the Stanislaus National Forest). In Yosemite National Park we had booked 3 nights at the Yosemite Lodge at the Falls – we probably didn’t need the third night except that one of the days turned really cold and wet, so as luck would have it the extra day allowed us to make up for the day we couldn’t do so much due to the weather. So 2 full days is plenty of time to see the sights – unless you plan to go camping, hiking and mountain climbing, etc.

The area is beautiful and scenic but if I were to rate it against other National Parks we have visited – such as Yellowstone and the Grand Teton Mountains National Parks, I would put Yosemite just behind them for preference when it comes to ‘Must Do’s’. This is in no way meant to turn people off going to visit because everything is great when talking ‘National Parks’ and they are all worth visiting but they are just very different. Yosemite definitely suits the outdoors types that likes to rock climb and scale mountains.

The scenic drive takes just under an hour in a loop which is one way for a good part of the drive – so if you miss your turn off you will find yourself driving for another hour to correct the mistake. But hey it is pretty country and we drove past the same spot a few times.

Be aware that you are at 6,000 feet or thereabouts at times and this can make for some very cool weather depending on the time of year you go – we were there in the Autumn (Fall).

Again, we hope you like the photos – we had fun taking them…..

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New York City in Autumn (Fall)

After about 20 hours of flying from our home in Queensland to New York City (stopping in LA overnight to regain some bodily functions), we finally arrived at JFK International.

New York has changed in many ways since our last visit and probably the most noticeable change was the technology being used in Times Square – looking a little like Las Vegas with all the huge video screens and lights. Of course some of the other changes are the 9/11 memorial and the new, just opened, One World Trade Centre which is a fabulous building to visit (I won’t spoil it for you but make sure your video is switched on ready to go when you get in the lift going up and also going down – an experience worth filming).

Times Square is still buzzing as it always has but at night it takes on an atmosphere not unlike daylight with all the illumination created by the huge advertising screens.

We returned to New York after some years on this visit to see our son now living in Brooklyn and enjoy (or try to survive) the famous ‘deli’ sandwiches of New York. I had at least 10 different Reuben Sandwiches and have to confess that I am hooked. We tried them everywhere – including the famous Katz’s Deli where Meg Ryan made orgasms over food famous. I would like to especially mention also the Brooklyn Diner on Times Square where we ate a couple of times and was not disappointed – if you like hot dogs, try their ’15 bite’ hot dog or maybe try the Turkey Reuben.  Enough talk about all this food – I’m getting indigestion just reminiscing and I haven’t even mentioned the ‘All you can eat’ crabs and lobster rolls we had with nice chilled beer – enough already!

The weather was kind and with a real chill at times but the chill was welcome because leaves won’t turn unless there is a chill and one of my priorities on this trip to was see Central Park in the fall. It didn’t disappoint.

Most of the usual things tourists do in New York have already been done before on our earlier trip but can anyone pass the Statue of Liberty and not take a photo? Especially when I was lucky enough to pass it on sunset crossing to Staten Island on the ferry.

Meeting some of the local New Yorkers made the trip special – whether it was a lady’s bare backside with the letters NY painted on them or locals playing chess in Union Square or the local fisherman at Coney Island we met – it added the ingredient to the trip that cannot be duplicated elsewhere.

We hope you enjoy some of what we experienced in the photos below……







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USA Part 4

Canada and Alaska 2015

It has been a little while since my last post but the wait might have been worth it. We have just returned from our second trip travelling through Canada and Alaska by bus, train and ship.

The trip started in Victoria, British Columbia, Canada and ended in Vancouver, British Columbia 21 days later. First leg was a ferry crossing from Victoria Island to Vancouver – then from Vancouver by bus to Banff and from Banff back to Vancouver travelling on the Rocky Mountaineer over a 2 day period (stopping overnight in Kamloops). Once back in Vancouver we boarded the Noordam (Holland America Line) and cruised the inside Passage to Alaska stopping at Juneau, Skagway and Ketchikan (visiting Glacier Bay on our way).

Photos that follow show part of the journey and some of the beauty of this trip – the photos do not convey the pure excitement and thrill of the trip and the awesome sights we experienced first hand but they do give you a taste of what is there. The only way to know is to go….


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South Island of New Zealand – Autumn 2014

New Zealand is such a beautiful country and the people there are warm and welcoming. Of course Australians and New Zealanders have many things in common with their historical British links and being part of the British Commonwealth but the scenery of the two islands of New Zealand – particularly the South Island – is breathtaking.   It doesn’t matter what time of year you visit New Zealand you will find it’s scenic beauty equal to, if not superior, to almost anywhere on earth. Best of all you can drive around New Zealand’s South Island scenic grandeur easily within 2 to 3 weeks – all the time feeling safe and ‘at home’.

This trip was our fourth to New Zealand and our third to the South Island. However, we were on a bit of a mission this time – keeping a promise to an elderly lady of 93 that we had made some years ago to return and see her again. The lady is Mrs Barbara Peryman, the Great Grandmother of our Granddaughter who is living here in Australia. We had promised to return to pick up an antique silver tea set made in 1806 (the year before the death of Admiral Lord Nelson at the battle of Trafalgar) and deliver it back to our Granddaughter in Australia to be kept in the family as an heirloom for future generations.

I mention Mrs Peryman here because I want to tell you about this remarkable lady – the widow of a survivor of Stalag Luft III and the ‘Long March’ from Poland to Germany during the second World War. You will recall that Stalag Luft III was the prisoner of war camp that the famous movie the ‘Great Escape’ starring Steve McQueen (and many other stars) was based on. Basil Peryman, Barbara’s husband, was a New Zealand airforce pilot who was captured and imprisoned in Stalag Luft III by the Germans and survived the war to eventually return to New Zealand. Not everyone in the prison camp was selected to be part of the escape party and many of those that were selected did not actually get out that night but Basil was there and Basil suffered the harrowing ‘Long March’ out of Poland during one of the worst winters that Europe had experienced in more than 40 years – a tale of great courage and endurance.

Meeting with Barbara Peryman was just as memorable for us as the rest of the scenic trip (and in many ways more memorable), I couldn’t post our photographs of New Zealand without mentioning this dignified and wonderful lady.   The scenery of New Zealand leaves an indelible impression on you that you will take with you forever and, for us, similarly the stories Basil and the living dignity of Mrs Peryman will stay with us forever also. We also met up with Mrs Peryman’s son Gerald in Invercargill and was enthralled with the story of his father Basil and his extraordinary connection with the famous ‘Great Escape’ prisoner of war camp and the Long March. I feel privileged to have met Mrs Peryman and doubt I will ever meet another person in my lifetime that will be of the calibre of this truly beautiful lady. Despite her age she is articulate and can hold a very intelligent and engaging conversation.

Yes, the tea set is now in the hands of our Granddaughter and the story will go on.


Sad update:

Today, 22nd June 2014, we were shocked to learn that Barbara Peryman had passed away after suffering a severe stroke at the age of 93.

I have spoken to Gerald, her son, and passed on our family’s condolences. Sometime before she died she had an opportunity to see my blog entry about her and her husband and I am glad she did.

There is a lot more to tell about Mrs Peryman – she was a very interesting person. For now though Colleen and I would like her family in New Zealand and Australia to know that she will be missed by many others as well as those of her close family.

If there is any possibility of Barbara once again being re-united with Basil, I’m sure it is already been arranged and nothing would make her happier – of that I am certain.

Love to you Barbara from all of us in Australia.



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UK Cruise 2013

We might think that photos of the usual tourist locations such as those found in London are ‘overdone’ – we have seen them so many times before. Why bother taking more photos of  ‘Big Ben’ in London for example – well, all I can say is, just try to stand in front of this iconic structure with a camera and see if you can resist the urge to take just one shot of it. I have been back to London many times and I can’t resist it.

London is steeped in history that has, in some way, affected almost all corners of the globe and the sights of London remind us of a time when opulence in architectural design flourished without remorse.

This last trip to ‘old blighty’ was not just to see London however, we were doing a cruise of the UK and London (after a few days earlier in Dubai) was just the initial stage of our journey.

So most of the shots in this section of my blog below are of London and the other pics will show some of the other ports and surrounds that we visited on our UK cruise which ended in Amsterdam.

For those that are interested – these Photos were taken with my new full frame camera – the Canon 5D MKIII.


















Note the ‘learner’ (L Plate) in the fast lane?





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China – the sleeping giant- as it was once known, is no longer sleeping. We all know that!

Our first taste of China was Hong Kong a few years earlier but our first visit to ‘Mainland’ China was in Shanghai and from there we traveled to Beijing (the great wall of course) and then on to X’ian to see the Terracotta Warriors and the ancient tombs in the surrounding areas.

Shanghai, the ‘Old’ section on one side of the Huangpu river and the ‘New’ and spectacular futuristic architecture on the other. In Shanghai we stayed on the ‘Old’ side , at the Peace Hotel on the Bund (the strip that follows the Huangpu river where lots of locals and tourist congregate during the day and beautifully lit at night). Classed as one of Shanghai’s ‘Grand Old’ hotels, the Peace Hotel features some of the historical aspects from the colonial past from the 1920’s and 1930’s. It may not be the best hotel that we have ever stayed in but it has character. You definitely feel the vibe of the pre-communist period.

The ‘Great Wall’ speaks for itself with so much known about it but what probably surprised us most was the incline of some sections of the wall. It was near vertical in parts and required a deal of effort to traverse – more energy on a hot day than I could muster to be honest but plenty of others showed that is was worth the effort, going quite a long way and reaching some very lofty parts of the wall.

Xi’an was one of those gems that you see rarely in a lifetime. To think that the tomb contents were only a relatively recent discovery was even more amazing. The work that has gone into their restoration has to be seen to be appreciated. Each soldier having his own distinct look and face was astounding – no cheap template mass production work done back then. There are many more tombs to open but the Chinese are being sensible and only opening those that they think that they can care for adequately – each tomb has a huge amount of relics held within.

We enjoyed seeing China but be warned – every person on our trip was given counterfeit money as ‘change’ when they purchased goods from street vendors. Some paid large amounts for goods due to the large denomination notes that were being exchanged. So carry an amount of small denominations to reduce the need for change. I was the only person in our group that did not encounter fake money because I did not purchase anything from street vendors unless I paid the exact price (no change). The locals know you are not used to dealing with their currency and even after looking closely at the good and the bad money I could still not pick it – they are excellent forgers. Be careful. Note: you will not be able to pass the bad stuff off either – they are not going to take it off you somewhere else – you won’t fool them.

Hope you like these….


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