Z – Zoo # A – Z Challenge

Zoo are a great part of traveling to me. Visiting other countries or areas and seeing new animals for the first time. I am never disappointed as they come in all shapes and sizes. My latest favourite animal to meet in a zoo were housed in the Arctic Tundra section of Toronto Zoo. It was winter so they were at home in the cold weather  and needed no special cooling unlike the polar bears in Australia.

Arctic Fox

Henry 1 yr old Polar Bear

Henry 1 yr old Polar Bear

Arctic Wolf


I love to go to a zoo

To get up close and view

The local animals —big and small

As they live their life behind the wall

Happy with the food on the menu

Y – Yangtze River

What’s your travel style? Are you itinerary and schedule driven, needing to have every step mapped out in advance or are you content to arrive without a plan and let happenstance be your guide?

My husband and I like to mix it up a bit. We are solo travelers who like to have accommodation pre-booked and make other things up as we go. If necessary and possible from Australia I will also pre-book transportation between our destinations and some special activities we know we want to do. In Canada however I booked internal train and bus tickets when I arrived in the city involved. It work well as their was no shortage of trips—China however due to the language barrier and time of year was a different story. This travel was arranged with some difficulty from Australia but worked well.

As solo travelers one of the great things is deciding on the day what you feel like doing. There is no rush as we allow ourselves plenty of time to immerse ourselves in each city as we don’t like to be rushed. The more different the culture I think the more important this is. Because we are getting ourselves around in foreign cities it makes us more mindful of our surroundings as we have to get ourselves back home to our motel.

When we first found out we were going to Wuhu we were so excited because it was on the great Yangtze River. We could wait. The Yangtze is the longest river in Asia and the third longest river in the world.

  1. Nile
  2. Amazon
  3. Yangtze

The Yangtze is also the longest river flowing through a single country—China. It begins high in the mountains in Qinghai – Tibet Plateau and flows west to east into the East China Sea. We first saw the Yangtze from the 5th floor of our hotel. I couldn’t believe how wide and busy it was. So many boats and junks. A few days later we spent several pleasant hours walking along its foreshore—just the two of us and this majestic lifeblood river. On the bucket list now is to cruise the Yangtze—one day.

#A-Z Challenge


X – XXXX Island # A – Z Challenge

XXXX Island—once known as Pumpkin Island—in 2012 was the 6th most expensive island in the world.  This was the time XXXX beer took out a lease to use the island for beer promotion. Described as the blokiest place in Australia—XXXX Island is open to men and women. You cannot buy a holiday here however, the only way to spend time on the island is to win a place. The key is to enter a competition and write in 25 words or less why you want to spend 4 days there. XXXX Island on Keppel Bay is natural, rustic and not luxurious but definitely full of fun. There appears to be something for everyone as long as you are happy to cook your own food and drink XXXX Gold.  The island accommodates 24 guests and 4 staff.  As there are  no power points on the island to recharge anything or to straighten or blow dry one’s hair you are guaranteed to slow down from the rat race. I’m good with either so bring it on—better start practising my writing skills and enter. You never know. Let me know what you think.

#A-Z Blogging Challenge

W -Wuhu # A – Z Blogging

Wuhu China is off the usual travellers map. It is an isolated rural city on the Yangtze River in Aunhui Provinence—one of China’s poorest. As we were travelling to this university city in Golden Week—the national Chinese holiday week we needed to arrange a private car from Nanjing airport. Our four days in Wuhu were well worth it. The hospitality of the people was amazing as they rarely see white people as they called us and we were instant celebrities. Wuhu was our first experience with the Chinese culture and we loved it. With only 2 million people it was easy to get around.

V – Veiled Virgin # A – Z Challenge

She is the most beautiful piece of art I have ever seen. The Veiled Virgin, a statue of the Blessed Virgin Mary is crafted from Carrara marble by Giovanni Strazza. In 1856, she was brought to St John’s  Newfoundland by Bishop Mullock—the then Bishop of Newfoundland. He described her as ” this perfect gem of art.” I had the pleasure of viewing her at the Presentation Motherhouse in St John’s where she has resided since 1862.

The Veiled Virgin can only be viewed by calling at the Motherhouse between certain hours and these change according to the season. To be able to see her, my husband and I needed to come back again as we were originally told the wrong day—disappointed we thought we should return but nearly didn’t, as we were not really sure what we were going to visit. We were well rewarded for our effort, seeking refuge from the snow spending half an hour in her company.  Her thin veil of marble is exquisite, the detail in her crafting incredible and I was fascinated by the way it looked like her eyes follow me around. It was a humbling and inspirational experience to see the Veiled Virgin and learn about the history of the Motherhouse, from the Sister showing us through.


U – UGG Boots

The classic Australian footwear is the UGG boot. These unisex boots are made of sheepskin and come in various styles and colours. The name comes from the title ugly boot which is how they were originally described. Ugly and comfortable. The exact history is unknown although they become popular when surfers began wearing them once they were out of the water.

UGG boots

Photo Credit; Google images

In 2014 UGG  Australian Made Since 1974 in conjunction with Swarovski crystals produced the world’s most expensive pair of UGG boots with a $15,000 price tag. Personally, I think all that glamour despite being fashionable takes away the traditional practical comfort of the UGG. I would be too concerned the crystals would fall off and spoil my beautiful boots. Today was the first day this year in Australia it was cold enough for my UGGs. I put them on and immediately felt the love and the trigger for this celebration post was born.

To the UGG—we will always love you.

Most Expensive Pair of UGG Boots

Photo Images: Google credit

#A – Z Challenge

T – The Band Played Waltzing Matilda

Today marks 100 years since the ANZACS landed in Gallipoli. To me this song written by Eric Bogle in memory of these brave heroes says it all. The addition of footage from Gallipoli reminds us of the extreme reality of the situation. Every time I hear this song and remember their sacrifices, it brings a tear to my eyes as I am grateful. Today, on this special anniversary, my feelings are even stronger.

Thank you to all who have fought for freedom—not only for Australia but around the world. Without their sacrifices the world as we know it could have been a very different place.

# A-Z Challenge

R – Reginal Express (REX) Airlines

Last month I fly to Lismore, Norther New South Wales with Rex Airlines. To me it was just another small airline and the only way for me to get where I wanted to go. Boy was I wrong. REX is Australia’s largest independent airline and services 52 destinations around Australia—South Australia, Queensland, Victoria, Tasmania and New South Wales.

REX was born in Wagga Wagga 2002 after the Ansett Airline collapse shut down the ability of people in regional areas to fly. The people of Wagga Wagga had been able to commute to Sydney daily prior to this with Hazelton and Kendall Air. We had actually lived in Wagga Wagga until two weeks after the 2001  Ansett collapse and my husband had flown to Sydney regularly with this work. I cannot imagine how frustrating it would have been in the six months before REX began flying and people needed to drive for 6 hours to do business in Sydney.

Move forward 12 years and the airline that was born out of need is rewarded for its efforts. In December 2014, REX was awarded ‘Best Australian Regional Airline’ in the Australian Traveller People’s Choice Awards. To my surprise REX has also been recognised as a top performing regional airline by Aviation Week and Space Technology Magazine in the world for the past 6 years and is one of the top 5 carriers in the world.

My experience with REX was very pleasant and even the delays which were out of their control were handled well. Nothing was too much trouble and I do believe they deserve their standing in the industry.20150330_154733


#A -Z Challenge

Q – Quebec City #A – Z Challenge

Christmas Day last year my husband and I spent in  Quebec City. According to Google—it was the 2nd most guaranteed place in the world for snow to fall on Christmas Day as well as be on the ground. We were excited. After more than half a century we were going to have our first white Christmas. Great in theory however the weather didn’t want to co-operate. For the first time in over 20 years Quebec City didn’t have a white Christmas. We had a great day wandering around exploring the Plains of Abraham, Chateau Frontenac and Old Quebec City. We were even lucky enough to experience a light dusting of snow as we were walking home from Christmas dinner—I was in my element.

#A -Z Challenge

P – Pretty # A -Z Challenge

Write about anything you’d like, but make sure that all seven colors of the rainbow — red, orange, yellow, green, blue, indigo, violet — make an appearance in the post, either through word or image.

In New Zealand I found some bright and surprising sights that covered all the colours of the rainbow. They all brought a smile to my face.

#A-Z Challenge