Thursday, 28 December 2017

Christmas Celebrations & a Happy New Year

On the 22nd I picked up my husband at the airport from his flight from Sydney and took some photos of the beautiful Christmas decorations at Terminal 1.

Christmas tree, Christmas kangaroos

I unfortunately hadn't been feeling too "Christmasee" and I left the planning too late, so by the time I invited the usual friends over for Christmas Eve dinner or Christmas Day lunch, most of them already had plans, which meant that we were down to 8 people instead of the usual 20 plus!

We still stick to the European tradition of celebrating Christmas Eve with a big dinner, but due to fact that there wouldn't be many attending this year, my daughter in law offered to host Christmas Eve at their place and I would host Christmas Day.  
It would also be easier for them with their baby, so he could just go to sleep at his normal time and not have his routine disrupted.  
Although we thought that at 13 months Joshua would make a fuss over the opening of the presents he didn't bat an eyelid and paid no attention to the gifts. Maybe next year ...

Everyone attending brought along some food for the events, and as usual we had far too much food. The usual Christmas ham and a Portuguese dish of Cod fish with cream sauce were served.
Luckily this year it wasn't extremely hot, but we need to start changing our food options to go with the warm weather instead of slaving for a few hours in front of hot pots and ovens.

 Cod Fish w/cream sauce, King Cake, dessert table Christmas day, Dessert table Christmas Eve, Ham

After leaving my son's house at close to 11pm I still took photos of a decorated house next to his that had plenty of people driving by the whole night. Apparently it was awarded the 4th prize in their suburb. The other house at the bottom of the photo is on the street behind us.
When we arrived home we opened our presents, had a digestive tea and went to bed.

On Christmas Day we had arranged lunch to be ready by 1pm. It was mostly left-overs from the evening's dinner and I just made a Passion-fruit Mousse that would be refreshing for dessert.

Illuminated Houses

One of the couples that attended both events offered us breakfast at their house on the 26th, or Boxing Day. They have a dream house facing a small offshoot of the Canning river.
They had invited some of their friends, and after eating bacon, eggs, beans, fried tomato and toast we lazed around their little jetty feeding the ducks.

Feeding the ducks at my friend's house

On Wednesday 27th I had to work my usual afternoon shift at the Medical clinic, but it was very quiet. Because most of the Doctors have actually taken a few days off, there's just one Doctor which means my two colleagues were quite happy to work without me, which means I only go back to work on Tuesday the 2nd of January.  Yippee!!  

On Thursday 28th, our friends with the house by the river invited their daughter and partner, my husband and I and our son and daughter in law for a Barbecue lunch. We took chicken to grill, they supplied steaks and sausage and my daughter in law brought dessert.
They have a heated pool, but it was a bit windy and I decided not to join my son, daughter in law and grandson in the pool.

View of the pool area and river below

Once again after lunch we sat by the jetty feeding the ducks and this time 8 black swans also came around. It's lovely to see the comings and going of the ducks, the swans and other assorted birds that pop around to be fed.  Of course as in nature, the weaker seem to be driven away by the stronger ones.

Our friend buys special food for the ducks/swans and feeds them regularly at 6am and 6pm, but on a day like today, he just calls them and they seem to know his voice and what's coming of course and we could see them just swimming down the river towards his house.
It was certainly a beautiful and very relaxing day.

Bottom left - a strange bird that looked like a mix of a turkey and goose
Feeding the black swans, a swan up close

Next event will be New Year's Eve at the Portuguese Club, with a dinner and dance.
It's nothing fancy food wise, nor music wise, but I do enjoy dancing and don't really like staying in on this specific day, so I make the best of whatever is on offer.

I hope you all had a Wonderful Christmas and wish you a wonderful end of the year and the best for 2018, with lots of health and happiness.

See you again on Monday the 1st of January for Monday Murals.

As from February 2018 I'll be taking over
the "Monday Murals" meme from Oakland Daily Photo.

Monday, 25 December 2017

Monday Mural - Electrical Boxes V

Another one of Porto's electrical boxes on Rua das Flores (Flowers street) near Sao Bento station, captured when I was there on holidays in August/September 2017.

For other murals from across the world follow this link:

I'm not totally sure but I think this has been painted by tattoo artist Nuno Costa from Porto.

Tuesday, 19 December 2017

End of year parties & Happy Christmas

On Thursday the 23rd November I joined my son and daughter in law for dinner to celebrate my grandson's first birthday. How time flies...

My husband who has been working in Sydney for a few weeks arrived home on the Friday in time for little Josh's proper birthday party with his little friends from day care and play group plus their parents, which was held on Saturday 25th. 

Blue birthday cake for the dinner, my grandson standing while he plays with a new toy, Minions cake made by my daughter in law for the Saturday b/day party

On Sunday 26th, we joined my work colleagues and partners for the Clinic's Christmas breakfast at Mr Walker restaurant  right on the Mends street Jetty, from where you catch the ferry to the city across the Swan River. The restaurant is really well located and I can imagine the city views at night would be amazing.

Perth city across the Swan River from South Perth

Mr Walker - right on the Mends Street Jetty
The Cormorant drying it's wings after a swim, the green area to the top is Kings Park & botanic gardens

When breakfast finished we wandered across the road to Mends street where a street market was being held.

On the corner of Mends Street just across the jetty a new building is coming up. With just 12 luxury apartments I was curious to find the price they were being sold for.
Just check out the Echelon apartments video to see what you can get for a mind boggling AUD$5,6million for a 3 bedroom, 3 bathroom, 2 garage apartment just across the road from the river with city views
I'll have to start playing Lotto, there's only 5 left!!

South Perth foreshore - luxury apartment for sale. The Penthouse apartment on left of bottom photo is also for sale, price on application only...
As we returned to our parked car the Intellibus came past us. The driverless bus has been on a trial for over 1 year and it has a long list of passengers wanting to travel on it. There is someone inside who can take over control in case of need, but up to now it has won approval of all that have ridden on it.

Two weeks ago I finally had some time to make home-made Christmas presents - soap, foot balm and Lemon butter.  
At work the 6 receptionists all make a personal gift - fudge, jam, rocky road, etc and it all goes in a nice gift bag to give to the Doctors. This year the Drs will get a jar of Lemon butter from me.
The soaps (recipe here) and foot balm will be given to friends who will join us at home for our Christmas celebrations.
Christmas Bag for the Drs - Lemon butter & foot balm made by me

Soap making session

Soaps ready

A few Christmas decorations - from houses to Shopping centres

Various Christmas Decorations around town and shopping centres

Christmas Kangaroo at Perth Airport

Another year is coming to an end, and I was fortunate enough to have had a great year, travelling, meeting family, celebrating my grandson's 1st year and all his milestones and good health too.

Thanks for accompanying my journey this year and hope to see you again next year.
So much I saw and did this year is still to be published, but there's always next year.

To all of you I wish a wonderful Christmas and may the New Year be the best ever!!

Monday, 18 December 2017

Monday Mural - We are Torre

Another mural from my trip to Portugal in August/September 2017.
Painted by a young Portuguese artist born in Angola, by the name of  Adalberto Brito AKA Youth One, in 2016, in the suburb of Torre, Cascais, entitled "Somos Torre" (We are Torre".

For other murals around the world please follow this link.

Friday, 15 December 2017

Castaways Sculptures at Rockingham Beach

And I'm back to blogging about Perth although still a bit behind.
This post is about the 10th edition of the Castaways Sculpture Awards at Rockingham Beach, in the southern suburbs of Perth. 
The sculptures were shown to the public from Saturday 28th October to Sunday 5th of November.

I visited Rockingham beach on the 29th of October, on a beautiful Spring day and lots of families were enjoying themselves in the park next to the beach (Churchill Park) while others roamed the sand looking at the sculptures.

All the sculptures were made with recyclable materials and the underlying message was about caring for our environment.

Another wonderful and free public initiative similar to the Sculpture by the Sea, held at Cottesloe beach (northern suburbs) in March.

Rockingham Beach, Church Park next to the beach

The Castaways" giraffes made by Greg James, with hessian, wood, steel, bronze were  for sale at $10,000.
The "Little Mermaid" made with pull tabs by Yuko Takahashi was selling for $3000.
The cubes "Total entanglement of the heart" made of wooden pallets by Sean Adams and "Jelly School", the jellyfish made of plastic, fabric, steel and aluminium, by the John Tonkin Education Support Centre.

"Drag'N'fly" by Kelly James, with aluminium and mixed materials,
"Bell tree", by Eileen Macpherson, Milan Mirkovic and Alex Sheppard, made of aluminium,  
"Obsolescence" by Rima Zabaneh, made with cd's and cable ties, 
"Taking a bath", by David Johansen, made with insulation panel, wood and fibreglass and "Jumbo" by Michael O'Doherty made with aluminium

"Genome" by Ruth Acton, made with aluminium wire, cans, sheet steel wire and forks,
"Birdies" by Carol Clitheroe, made with golf clubs, aluminium steel, plastic and found objects (top and bottom right),
"Scrappy" the sea lion made with scrap metal by Andrew Wilmott, was for sale at $24,400
"No Spring chicken" by Stella Onderwater, made with steel, embroidery thread and polymesh.

"Rescued 11" by Gia Armstrong, made with plastic, aluminium wire, foam, fishing line, plastic sheeting, found objects.
"Visitors" (set of 4 birds), by Zoe Neil, made with aluminium cans, ceramic and wood.

"Fishing Jetty" by Barb Green with fishing rope (found on beaches), aluminium, fencing wire, old jetty timbers.
"Good catch" by Murray Ford made with glass and aluminium (middle left and bottom right), which was my favourite, with the sale price of $800.
"Lost Soles-Lost at Sea"  by Claire Davenhall, made with aluminum, wood, leather, fabric, paper, found objects and resin.
"Inspiration" by Eileen MacPherson and Milan Mikovic, made with steel, glass and wood.
"Ginko" (caravan) by Brett Todman made with aluminum and timber was for sale at $18,000.

The following collage is of sculptures made by children from various Primary Schools in the area, and again the object was to use recycled material and to convey a message of re-use and save the planet.

Works from various Primary Schools in the Rockinham area

Before leaving the beach people could cast their votes for the top 5 sculptures and also hang a message in the (metal) bottle.  
A huge amount of work went into making all of these works of art, hope you enjoyed them.

Rockingham Beach and park, message in a bottle, roaming the sand, birds at sea, dolphin sculpture at entrance to beach

Have a lovely weekend. 

I'm not looking forward to Sunday when a storm is forecast with 20mm of rain on the day, which is more than the normal average for Perth for the whole month of December!! 

And on a good note, I've managed to buy all my Christmas presents (not many presents) and I'm busy wrapping them up. Just awaiting my husband's present as I ordered it online.

Tuesday, 12 December 2017

France - Marseille - Day 5/Last day

It was our last day in Marseille, and when I finished packing, just before leaving the apartment I popped over to the church around the corner to take photos. We had been there 4 days and I hadn't had a chance to go inside.
Located in the 6th Arrondissement,  Church of Our Lady of the Mountain (Eglise Notre Dame du Mont), is a Catholic church built in 1823-24 in the Neo-classical style. Frederic Chopin played on the church's pipe organ in 1839, and the organ is still in existence.

Notre Dame du Mont

House Rules

And I couldn't leave the apartment without a photo of the owner's instructions posted by the door,  most likely done via Google Translate. 
Even with the warning I did fall on the "trap of the house" a small step between the entry hall and the lounge, almost twisting my ankle...

At the arranged time Max (future son in law's Dad) come to collect us and our luggage and drove us all to Martigues, about 40km northwest of Marseille.
On the way we first stopped at L'Estaque, just 10 km out of Marseille to have a look at the scenery from the harbour and to have a coffee at one of the seaside bars.
The charming port village is surrounded by the Chain of L'Estaque Hills (Chaine de L'Estaque).
The French painter Paul Cezanne, who was born in Aix-en-Provence, painted this village in a few of his masterpieces. After coffee we continued onto Martigues.

The harbour at L'Estaque

The hills and harbour of L'Estaque when the plane flew over

Our daughter Karina and partner Thomas lived in Martigues for 3 years before moving to Amsterdam, and although I had visited them there a few years ago, but my husband hadn't.
Founded in 1232, it's nicknamed the Venice of Provence because of it's canals, docks and bridges, making it a very charming town. It's also a lot cleaner than Marseille and it has a country feel.                                                                                                                                             Before having lunch at a restaurant Thomas had booked for us, we wandered around the village enjoying the beautiful sights and the sunshine.

Charming canals, boats, pastel coloured houses and lots of flowers

One of the Canals of Martigues

The Madeleine Church (Eglise de La Madeleine), a Catholic Church classified as a historical monument since 1947.

Madeleine Church

After the walk it was time for lunch at Le Garage restaurant, and no prizes for guessing that the original space was a former garage at 20 Avenue Frédéric Mistral.
It's now an elegant restaurant with first class food, quite unexpected from a small town like Martigues.
Karina and Thomas had been clients of this place before they moved to Amsterdam, loved the food and were aware than the young chef - Fabien Morreale had been a finalist in 2013 of the 4th edition of the culinary show Top Chef.  The restaurant has also been recommend by Michelin guide inspectors. Not bad hem?

His cooking style was inspired by his grandfather with whom he learned how to cook, and he prepares his elegant fusion cuisine in full view of the diners.
The set menu for lunch, changes every 2 weeks and costs 27€ per person, which includes an elegant starter, main dish, (in our case was meat) and an elegant dessert. I couldn't really find fault with the service, every dish would come to the table and be described in detail by the waiter, the food was absolutely delicious, the wine was good and we even got to chat to the the chef/owner at the end of our meal.We told him we lived in Australia and he said he had worked in a hotel kitchen in Sydney for a while and really enjoyed his experience in Australia. Highly recommended!!

Le Garage Restaurante
As we were taking photos of the outside of the restaurant, a Google Street View car drove by filming the street and I managed to get the back of it.

Google street view car

After lunch we drove to the top of the hill to see the apartment building that overlooks the lake where Karina and Thomas had lived.  A very quiet and pretty area.

Karina's former apartment at Boulevard du Tourret de Vallier

Time to make our way back to Marseille, via the village of Carro. 
This tiny fishing village is known for being an excellent venue for nautical sports, specially windsurfing. There is a market on the harbou where fishermen sell their fresh produce daily.

The beach was empty, but the caravan park was full of vans from mainly Belgium, Holland and Germany.
Beaches at Village of Carro, Fishermen's cross 1922

And it was time to drive to the airport in Marseille. We bade our farewell to our daughter and Thomas who would fly home to Amsterdam two days later and thanked Max for his time and patience to show us around his home town.  We had a great time thanks to all of them.

Marseille airport, views from the air over salt marshes and seaside villages
Goodbye Marseille - my husband and I in front of the sign

We arrived in Lisbon in time for a late dinner with our family in Cascais and we were treated to some of the traditional Portuguese pastries. 

Portuguese pastries - almond tart, mini Custard tart, Berlin ball, white beans cake and Palmier with egg custard

The next morning we started packing our suitcases as we would depart the following morning. In the afternoon I accompanied my sister into Cascais and before returning home we stopped at The Rooftop Vegetarian Cafe for a cup of tea and "vegetarian" cake. Owned by a Dutch lady this eatery is spread over 3 floor with the top floor having a view over the rooftops of Cascais and a glimpse of the main beach.

And so ended our 5 week holiday to Portugal and France. We loved every minute, discovering new things, eating Portuguese traditional food that we don't get in Australia, meeting up with friends, being able to reunite the whole family for an event, some of which hadn't seen each other in 20 years, and having our daughter spend time with us for 4 whole weeks. 
It was all and more that I could hope for!!

Flying home

All good things come to an end, and it was time to go back to work...
The Doctors that had visited us in Portugal also returned just a couple of days after me and graciously gifted me a beautiful bunch of flowers (from Dr K) and a pretty necklace (from Dr J who knows my passion for necklaces) to thank me for the time I spent showing them around.
They loved Portugal and were pleasantly surprised with the beautiful monuments, the majestic art museums they visited, the friendly people who were able to speak English and eager to help, the great food that they enjoyed and the cheap prices (for Australian standards of course). They are now spreading the word about Portugal with their patients too.

Flowers, necklace and beautiful words in a Thank-you card
Hope you enjoyed travelling with me around Portugal and France and were bitten by the travel bug.✈
Thanks for joining me.❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️❤️️