Tuesday, September 30, 2014

Friday Night Drinks By The Sea In Honiara

One of the most beautiful settings for Friday night drinks! In the Solomon Islands, I got to spend time with Fi and Dave, and this was the setting for local beers and a couple of pizzas, as we caught up on our travel stories between seeing each other last. With the sunset, of course! Gorgeous!

Monday, September 29, 2014

Nuku'alofa Market Stacks

The sights of vegetable wares in Tonga were colourful and perfectly portioned, ready for purchase. As I walked along the main road beside the harbour from the outskirts of Nuku'alofa into town, I passed a long row of little stalls set up, displaying their goods.

They were presented on tables and permanent stalls in little purchase-size stacks. From tomatoes, big and small, to baskets of taro, bundles of corn, and neatly aligned carrots.

Yer man here has neatly tied up, even bundles of fish, presumably caught that morning. Ever vigilant with that stick, to keep the flies away!

The scenes at Talamahu Market, right in the heart of town, looked so ordered and uniform. Little piles of each vegetable, carefully lined up and awaiting to be claimed.

Missing the usual chaos of a main food hub anywhere else in the world, the Market was quiet and calm, regardless of the steady flow of people in and out, completing their weekly shop.

One of the main attractions on Tongatapu, the Market also has sections of handmade gifts and jewelry, among the smells of fresh seafood and meats, clothing and everyday basic needs upstairs, as well as a kooky selection of touristy souvenirs.

Saturday, September 27, 2014

Campbelltown Food Trail - Foodie Treats Tour In Suburban Adelaide

If you had have told me that the neighbourhoods of Adelaide are rich with multicultural food experiences before I attended the Words To Go conference, I surely would have scoffed at the suggestion. Despite going to visit the Australian city of churches on an annual basis, I usually only scratch the surface on what this city has to offer. But I can now tell you there is amazing food, all ranges of treats from all corners of the globe on offer! And the Campbelltown Food Trail is the way to sample many of them, for a day out.
A community project, the businesses of Campbelltown City Council are benefiting from a clever idea of running tours around the area to taste their wares - a council showing off their top qualities, in a pretty lovely way!

There are 21 businesses on the list at the moment, and we got to sample six of them, including morning tea and coffee, plus a lunch stop.

After the drive out to the North Eastern suburb, we stopped at Java Lifestyle Coffee and Tea, for coffees and churro treats to start the day.

Next was the olfactory pleasures of Mercato. The nonnas above were sitting, rolling pasta among the shelves of every pasta type you could image. The smells of this Italian gourmet food emporium were heavenly. From cheeses and wines, to coffees, deli goods, and sweets.

Our third stop was a wholesale cake store that was run by a very proud Latin American patisserie, Elbio, and his All About Sweets. A tour of the mini factory was part of our visit, which had us sampling decedent Postre Chaja, Massini Chantilly, and other equally exotically named cakes. We were also present just as the Lovingtons were being dipped into chocolate, and their coconut layer was being added. You can surely imagine the smells filling this room!

Our mini bus then ventured into residential streets, away from any shops or stores, and pulled up out the front of a house. The whole bus was puzzled when we were invited to jump out, and visit a home here.

The Kumar's Indian Cuisine Services is home based, serving home cooked Indian curries and savoury snacks - from their home, aptly labeled The Kumar's At Number 20! Once inside we met the family, as dish after dish was laid out in front of us.

Lunch was three different and delicious curries, with rice, and pakoras. Finished with the surprisingly sweet jalebi - a red coloured curly swirl of sugary treat!

Next up, as our stomachs very getting very full, we stopped into Salta In Bocco, which is another mini factory producing almond breads. The fig and pistachio was a hit, in it's curling, crisp and colourful form.

Amazingly, lastly we had a proper lunch stop, with a sit down restaurant experience at Assaggio, a Mediterranean inspired cafe. Wine and tapas sized tastings were served, alongside pizzas which were very good.

All in all, a very full day trip in Adelaide, pun intended! Such a delight to experience so many tastes, but also to meet and hear from the people behind the businesses. Each visit oozed the love and care each of the owners put into their food, and shed warmth onto their visitors, making them welcome to sample and discover their wares. A really great community run foodie experience in the suburbs!

Jouljet Notes
Serious Tip: Don't eat beforehand, as you'll need room for all the treats available to sample
Time: Campbelltown is about a 20 minute drive from Adelaide city, and our tour of 6 locations with tasting and purchasing stops, was around 5 hours
Cost: A bus tour, like we took, is around $60, depending on how many there is of you, and how many stops you want to make. Or you can download the map of places, pick out the ones that spark your taste buds, and drive yourself!
Quirky Tip: Call ahead and pre-arrange a visit to the Kumar's onto your tour selections if you can. A very entertaining, and delicious stop!

Being a participant at Words To Go, I was lucky to be included in this tour as part of the experience. But all thoughts and flavour recalls are all my own!

Thursday, September 25, 2014

Tonga's Abode Of Love

Looking for a place to go during a respite break in May, I recalled a long ago notion of wanting to visit Tonga, and experience the remoteness and culture that the cluster of islands that make up the Kingdom has to offer.

Just a 4 hour and 40 minute flight from Sydney, I arrived in the middle of the night into this Pacific Island gem with no concept of where I was. An airport transfer took me to the guesthouse I had booked for this arrival time, and when I eventually got to the other side of the island and Nuku'alofa, I was so grateful for the bed and the ability to get some sleep. I could have been anywhere!

The morning greeted me with seaside views, the lapping tide and a view of a rusted, ship hull in the harbour. After breakfast with my guesthouse family, I set out on foot to get a feel for the city I had reached in the dead of night.

I wandered past the harbour, past the market stalls of vegetables on sale and tiny BBQs cooking corn or chickens all along the main road, and took in the smells and sights of this new country to me. People were friendly, and curious about this traveler on her own, wandering about on foot.

Nuku'alofa is the capital of Tonga, and located on Tongatapu island - one of 171 islands in the Kingdom. Nuku'alofa means "Abode Of Love", and with it's small village feel, simple ways of living, and a church on every corner, it was hard not to get caught up in the happy-go-lucky feeling of the place.

Into town itself, I took in the sights of the main street and the quite stores. I walked through the Talamahu Market, before making sure I saw the handful of notable churches, all in close proximity.

At the top of the arc I was walking through the main streets of town was the site of the Royal Tombs, which are not open to the public, but through the fence into the vast park you could spot the statues marking the final resting place of Tongan Royalty since 1893 - starting with King George Tupou I, and including the late King George Tupou V, buried in 2012.

Just a little further along my walk, and back towards the sea, I found the Royal Palace, easily the most well kept building on the whole island. Set within lush green, and heavily manicured gardens, the simple Victorian style is now five times the size of it's original structure, but this royal residence is still the centre piece.

The place of governance and the home of the Kingdom's archives and history, this is the primary landmark of Nuku'alofa.

The weather was glorious, warm and noticeable fresh, clean air - the perfect way to soak in the sights of this remote, simple capital of the Tonga Kingdom.

Jouljet Notes
Getting There: Flight was from Sydney, Virgin fly on a weekly basis
Serious Tip: Have a local tell you about the Royal Tombs, as there are several stories worth hearing
Cost: Flight from Sydney was around $600 each way, night one guesthouse was around $60 and the middle of the night transfer was $20. Walking around town was free, and a local cab back to my guesthouse when I was done was $5
Time Spent: About 2 hours in total, round trip from my guesthouse on the outskirts of town, just wandering around on foot
Quirky Tip: Sitting in the little park areas in town and people watching was actually my highlight of this wander into town - the way to see the goings on of every day life in a place!

Tuesday, September 23, 2014

Pacific Island Tranquility

Walking to the other side of the tiny island of Fafa, the secluded beach faces out into the ocean, with very little humanity to be seen towards the horizon. Such peace and beauty.

Saturday, September 20, 2014

Victory At Newlands - Third Test

The most beautiful sports ground in the world, with Table Mountain as the backdrop, gave us a full test match for the third and final for the Australian tour of South Africa - with an Aussie win, right to the wire.

We arrived at Newlands with the series even after the first two tests, and found that our Waving The Flag crew had the best seats in the house - in a little triangular patch of grass on the bottom tier of the stand. Perfect.

The Aussies won the toss, and set out on a cracking batting pace, to set a target in the first innings. This ran across into Day 2, our traditional Chick Pink Day, where many of us managed a photo in the middle of the pitch, with the SA Lion.

(This photo, and the last one, are from Colin's collection)

Rain, would you believe, ended Day 2, allowing for many Third Session drinks in the nearest pub - where we met Saffas dressed as Smurfs. Almost as weird as wearing pink to the cricket!

South Africa got to have a bat on Day 3, but did not last the day, with Johnson and Harris having great days at work, 4 and 3 wickets respectively.

Setting the South Africans a target of 511, the Aussies declared in their second innings, and set up the remainder of the test as a race the the win/draw.

The task of just 10 good balls to win always sounds easy, but this last day delivered on drama and tension, before the Australians claimed those last wickets to win the series.

A month in South Africa, with three cricket matches, and so much to see, our tour was topped by a visit out to the pitch after the crowds had left. Our group in the centre of Newlands, soaking it in. It was pretty amazing!

Thursday, September 18, 2014

Cape Town Murals

A continuation of my street art finds in Cape Town had me wandering around the city centre, finding spots that I had not discovered last time I had visited this beautiful city. Finding a post that directed me to a few key murals gave me some guidance about where to start the hunt. And the highlights mentioned were still present.

This "All Shall Be Equal Before The Law...." mural was in a carpark in the street with the law courts and legal offices. Powerful and beautiful.

There was also the bakery Charley's, which is painted and so cute, and across the road from that is a brilliant tribute to the late, great Nelson Mandela.

Jouljet Notes
Getting There: Just walk - I plotted out the murals mentioned in the City Sightseeing South Africa Blog post on a free tourist map
Time Spent: About an hour
Cost: Free!
Serious Tip: These murals take you through sections of beautiful city parks, and the legal precinct, so you get a real feel for city life while you wander
Quirky Angle: There were loads more pieces of street art to be found along this trail. Enjoy!

Tuesday, September 16, 2014

Seating On An Island Paradise

This is the deck on Fafa Island, looking out to the ocean. The staff come to you, to bring you food and drinks. Such peace and beauty! It's amazing to me that this place is not better known!

Tuesday, September 09, 2014

Approaching Fafa - My Tropical Island Getaway

There it is! The little island, just off the main island of Tonga, where I stayed for a week. I planned to stay a few nights and maybe explore some other 174 islands that make up this Pacific Island nation.
But once I got there, I didn't want to leave!
On the boat over, which was just over an hour, this was my first glimpse of it, finally figuring out which of the dots on the horizon it was. Moody weather that day made for gorgeous views!

Friday, September 05, 2014

Greatest AFL Footy Game Ever

Being away at work for tonight's Qualifying Final at the MCG is heart-breaking. I have asked around to find the best place to watch it here after work, and Jane and I will draw battle lines and struggle to get through the game after a touch week and rotation retrospectively. There is also a possibility that the island will still be out of beer!

These games, between Hawthorn and Geelong are just so good! Being there 2 weeks ago for the Hawthorn win in season was pretty amazing - just wish I could be there and see the same tonight. Alas!

In our preparation for the Preliminary Final last year, to slay the titan that is Geelong - the team that had at that point beaten us in every match since our amazing 2008 Grand Final win (that’s 11 cracking, but heart-wrenching games!) - the sisters and I had watched the two GFs that we beat Geelong, including the epic and brutal 1989 win. And watching it again left us with no doubt that it is the greatest game of AFL we will ever see.

They just don't play football like that anymore!

The brutality is actually shocking, after being so sensitised to such play seeing the modern game. The hits, the tackles, and of course, those opening moments where Brereton went down. And then amazingly got up, heaving for air...moving back to the forward pocket, and somehow taking that mark and kicking a goal.


The emotion of this 1989 game is so intense. Watching it brought back memories about where we were for it - with Mum being there.

In the Finals month last year there was also a documentary about this match, having many players from both sides interviewed and recalling specific memories of their own. The vivid image of the story of Dipper and Dermie sitting up in hospital together the night of the epic win, will be one that stays with me.

Such an amazing victory, which could have gone either way. Such amazing footy memories, and legend that makes Hawthorn the club it is today.

Here's hoping for a similar victory tonight - but hopefully far less brutal! Go Hawks!

Tuesday, September 02, 2014

Introducing A Jouljet Travel Photo Series

From the Pacific Islands to Eastern Europe, I have managed to complete some pretty cool travel in the middle portion of this year. I want to start sharing my photos with you from these travels...the little moments that have caught my eye and my heart...on a weekly basis.

Truth is, it's hard to keep a regular post schedule going with my FIFO work habits. I cringe when my blog is idle and looks neglected. And I am pretty happy with a whole bunch of photos that I have captured, and shared on Instagram, and am really keen to share them here on the blog. I want to show you some of the amazing places I have seen!

As you can maybe spot here in this collage, I have managed to get to Tonga and the Solomon Islands between work rotations, which were easy enough in my respite weeks, and a reasonable flight time from the East Coast of Australia.  Then I travelled to Eastern Europe for a month of Summer, which added Greece, and the Balkans to my country list - Montenegro, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, and Serbia.

I want to show you the views I have been lucky to capture on my travels. I hope you'll enjoy!
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