SANUR, BALI, INDONESIA: SEPTEMBER 13-OCTOBER 12th. Our first week!

Bali, rarely disappoints and especially not when you’ve arrived business class.

Having secured these flights in the Boxing Day sales ( hard to turn down $426 each for business class) we were looking forward to experiencing the ” turn left” when entering the plane.

It certainly felt worth the price tag with the extra leg room, champagne and other little luxuries that we don’t normally have and it was a relaxed and happy couple that arrived in Bali to our waiting driver.


This is our third time to Bali together, James fourth and my fifth in total.

We have stayed in Sanur each time we have been here together.( we’ve also spent time in Ubud and Seminyak).

We feel very comfortable and instantly in our comfort zone, like putting on your favourite slippers and start settling into our 30 day stay.

THURSDAY 14th:

Having announced on Facebook that we were here should anyone wish to catch up it was thrilling to have a message from our buddies Cheryl and Phil Basley from W.A that they were not only in Bali but also in Sanur! With them leaving Thursday afternoon for home we quickly secured a coffee date and were pleased that their favourite coffee spot on the waterfront was also the one we also favour when here.


We haven’t seen them since meeting them on our honeymoon tour of Europe in 2010, though we keep in contact via Facebook. Cheryl is a one in a million sweetheart and Phil is the most gorgeous Aussie fella that anyone who has them in their life is blessed.

That 2010 tour secured friendships that go beyond countries, ages, cultural and religious backgrounds and we are hopeful that there will be a reunion tour sometime, ( will need to get that sorted).
That afternoon was seeing the arrival of Michael and Maani ( James son and girlfriend) to stay 3 nights in Sanur allowing us to have some quality catch ups.

That night we took them to the local night market for dinner, our favourite eating place where chicken soup filled with vegetables is $1 and 10 sate sticks usually less than $2.

It has a great vibe and frequented by locals and tourists.


FRIDAY 15th:

Old neighbours of James and friends to us both Lynn and Steve Bolton have been holidaying in Nusa Dua at the very luxurious Sofitel and had invited us all over for a visit, by coincidence their son Mitchell and Michael share a house together so it was great to all hook up in Nusa Dua for a few hours floating in the incredible pool there.

The pool is accessed from right outside their villa you walk out on the patio and walk into the pool, like an alleyway leading into the main pool via lush gardens and under bridges, totally cool.

That night was football and after a disappointing loss from Penrith to the Broncos, Maani helped make the decision for dinner on the beach. Great choice and very happy bellies that made their way home that night.


SATURDAY 16th:

It has become our habit after breakfast to walk to the coffee shop on the waterfront for a little slice of people watching and relaxing with our coffee and or juice before contemplating what else we’d like to do.

The young folk were off exploring and we met up at the Glasshouse ( another previous favourite of ours) for happy hour ( really 3 hours) cocktails and beers before the boys went on to watch the football, this time Parramatta loosing to the Cowboys! Not thinking that venue is good luck for them to be honest.

Maani and I decided it was time for some girl time and we headed off for Maani’s first facial. The spa was quite professional and although I thought the girls a little firm handed than I’d have liked we both managed to fall asleep while waiting for our masks to dry, so I think you could say it was all told a fairly relaxing experience.

We joined the boys for the last half of the game and then went on to The Porch restaurant for dinner with a stop at the MONA LISA restaurant for desert, we had had coffee there previously and seen they did creme brûlée which James and Maani had, again a first for Maani.
SUNDAY 17th:

Young folk were heading off to Uluwatu for their final days of holiday and we booked a driver to take us to Padang Pai to visit our friend Eric at his and wife Jacqui’s villa there. Unfortunately Jacqui had already returned home to Woy Woy but we had a fabulous overnight stay with Eric.

After being WOWED by their view.



We took off in Eric’s hire car to the Palace waterfalls to swim in the Kings pool and have lunch there. Glorious!





A little snooze back at the villa followed by drinks upstairs before heading off to the resort restaurant completed a wonderful day.


A relaxed morning breakfast on Sunday bought us to time to say goodbye to the Villa Henry at Bloo Lagoon.


Eric drove us back to Sanur and was only fitting that we should take him to our coffee spot before he headed off back to his little slice of paradise. Thanks for the stay Eric it was fantastic.
We dined at the local market that night and slept like babies.
TUESDAY 19th:

After our ritual coffee stop we walked along The waterfront for about an hour before turning back and stopping for a couple of Bintang’s and chatting with a couple from the U.K.

We had arranged for a driver from our guesthouse to drive us to Uluwatu for a five pm catch up with Michael and Maani for their last full night and to watch the sunset from the bar at Single Fin where Michael had made a booking, great idea it was packed and we had a great view as we sipped down a few cocktails and beers and sharing plates before we finished off with dinner there as well. I can highly recommend the pineapple marguerita’s.



We’ve really enjoyed our time with Michael and Maani as we have catching up with our friends as well.

Hard to believe that tonight, the 20 th marks only our first week here.

There are no more catch ups that we know of so we’ll get down to the gritty of everyday life of ” Offtolivetheworld where budgets must be looked at, planning for next few stops must be done and I’d like to get back into my Duolingo Spanish. James has his new beaut Ukele to get out of its case and there’s walks and coffee and books to get read as well. Ahhh life on the road. 

UMINA BEACH, NSW, AUSTRALIA: SEPTEMBER 2nd-13th 2017

In the words of Alan Carr, chatty man. “WHAT A WEEK ITS BEEN!!”

We arrived home to Sydney Australia to beautiful blue skies and temperatures of around 24 degrees. Sunday Father’s Day went up to 29 degrees. 

Though the wind during the week did give some concern and at 3:30 am one night we made the decision to get out of bed and take the awning down.

The awning down, I hear you saying. Yes we are in our caravan for these eleven days at the beautiful Oceanbeach caravan park. 

What a great place for families and I have to say during the weekend when there have been plenty of families in, we’ve been impressed with how quiet the kids are in the morning. Expecting to be woken by 6 am by happy kids laughter it’s been closer to nine before we hear chirpy little voices. 

It was a long day that first day, off the ship on the first list to disembark and by noon we had been shuttled back to Umina where we said a quick hello to James daughter Jackie and her partner Adam, picked up the truck and picked up our caravan from storage at Wyong.

It all went very smoothly and by 4 pm we were set up, had had our first burger and chips from the surf club and were snoozing away for an afternoon rest before heading to stock the fridge early in the evening.

SUNDAY bought those beautiful 29 degrees but not till late morning and after tidying up our little home we were ready to welcome our first visitors David and Janine. Not too long after they arrived my son Scott and the lovely miss Tina joined the party and we headed to the surf club for another of those ginormous burgers.

We walked along the beach a little way and back through the village, saying goodbye to Scott and Tina and having a beer at the local pub before calling it a day.

MONDAY ONWARDS: This is when the foot hit the pedal to the metal and we began in earnest making headway into our long list of “needs to get done” before the 13th.

Doctors,dentists,accountants, real estate agents, travel agents, renew drivers licences, pay bills, car services, hairdressers and so much more.
Catching up with family and friends has also been high on our list and we made dates with as many as we could fit in. It’s always sad to not get the chance to see everyone but our time constraints and what we needed to get done only allowed so much. As it was I was hit by severe laryngitis and a heavy cold within two days of arriving back in Australia and it curbed my ability to even attempt to fit more in. 

Hopefully we will get visits from some people when we’re overseas. Hint hint.

Pleased we got to see the three children whom were in Australia at least once (Chris) twice (Scott) and Frequently (Jackie).
PACKING:

We emptied our suitcases and began the hard and ruthless decision of what to take on our next trip and what stayed behind.

We have a criteria of ” this goes with that goes with everything “.

Toiletries are kept to the total barest minimum as you can buy these anywhere in the world.
As we will be going from Asian hot climates to a European winter we have had to be even more careful about what we take as we need to have enough warm clothing to get us comfortably to the first shopping centre in Germany where we will purchase some warmer pants for our 5 weeks in Europe. 

It’s all about the layers. I have three thermal tops. One which is a polo or turtle neck, one silky thin layer and one Marino. These will also be my long sleeve tops to wear any where needed.

I have two layers of thermal pants, one silky thin and one Marino. Again this gives me the option of wearing them as leggings under skirts and dresses.

I have a buff, gloves and wool beret also packed along with thick wool socks to wear with my apris winter boots which I am also taking with me. And we each have our puffer jackets which roll up to minimal space and a long plastic raincoat which took us ages to find.

I’m taking a few items I’ll ditch once we head up to cooler climes and we can continue to do this as we travel around adding and leaving behind as we find we need to. 
We do hit Australia for two days next February so will be able to do a reshuffle then with clothes we have in storage.

DIGITAL TOOLS:

I’m using TripIt to log our trip details as it gives me the easy option of listing addresses, phone numbers, flight details etc and it instantly logs the flight details once you put in the date and flight number. 

We also photograph lots of details as well as carrying paper copies of necessary items. 

Digitally we both have our I phones (James has also bought an old one for putting in local SIM cards when we feel that’s the best way to go) we paid a $60 yearly prepaid which kept our numbers and gives that amount of credit when needed.
We also have our iPads and James has his kindle, we have a great charger that will take us round the world with all the different connections required for power points.
AND AWAY WE GO:

Before we knew it time had zoomed by and it was time to clean the caravan, and put it into storage till next time we’re home for a proper stay.

We spent our last night at our friend Cathryn’s home with her and Miffy the dog and tearfully waved goodbye on the Wednesday morning of September 13th 2017 as we made final preparations and took the train to the airport after also waving off Jackie and Adam whom had given us a lift to station.
NEXT STOP SANUR, BALI, INDONESIA:

AUCKLAND, NEW ZEALAND. 29th AUGUST:



Our arrival into Auckland was right on schedule and was bittersweet. 

Having been told it was going to be a bleak day weather wise it was a pleasant surprise to encounter clouds clearing to some bright blue and by the time we were off the ship the temperature had risen enough to not need jackets.
It was tainted by a sad and teary farewell to our bestie travelling friends Paul and Michelle as their world cruise came to an end and they go back to reality.

No words can describe the fun having these two mates on board with us has added to our trip. I can’t believe we won’t be dining with them tonight in the dining room and planning our nights entertainment. Only hope it’s not too long before we plan another adventure together.


James and I headed off the ship found a coffee shop and after my first flat white in a long time we booked an uber and headed to Te Atatu Peninsula to my mum and dads place.

Happy to find them both looking well and we soon hopped into my brothers car that he had left there for us to use and we headed back towards the city but veering off to go through the new tunnel and then onto Cornwall park for a delicious lunch.

Cornwall park is a beautiful space with lots of great walking and new lambs were spotted out and about on the hills.



We took the long way home through Mt Roskill, Hillsborough, Blockhouse Bay and Titirangi and enjoyed relaxing before my brother Graeme and his two sons Alistair and Nicholas came over and we left for dinner at a Thai restaurant. We had bought two bottles of wine with us off the ship that we had bought in Italy to help wash down the lovely meal.

Graeme bought us back to the ship and it was nice that mum and dad got to see our home for the last 100 days.


Back “home” James and I had a cuppa up in the bistro and as the Sea Princess left her dock for the final few days sailing across the Tasman to Sydney I went out on deck to take a photo of the city of sails and waved goodbye to a lovely day and our friends and family that we left behind.

BORA BORA, TAHITI, FRENCH POLYNESIA 23rd AUGUST

BORA BORA, the pearl of the pacific, ( black pearls that is), Heaven on earth, paradise, what ever superlative you want to use is not wasted on this dream location. Again we arrived in, about an hour late due to our late departure from Papeete but Captain Aldo said we can stay an hour later to make sure we get our full time here, guess no one is minding if we get in a little late in Auckland especially those having to disembark there.
We had another private tour booked here with our friends from the cruise critic forum and it came highly recommended and BOY were we in for the day of our lives! 

Bora Bora would have to win the most natural beautiful spot we’ve been to and almost the closest to home makes it a special way to finish off what has been an impressive, amazing cruise.

We were met onshore after tendering off by Patrick and his team and were one of three outrigger boats they were hosting for the  day, each taking 12 people.



Quickly we were off to swim with sharks!!! Sting rays!!! and snorkel over coral reefs with beautiful tropical fish in the clearest turquoise waters surrounding lush green vegetation and rising majestic mountains.

What a feast for the eyes, the soul and all senses. We felt we were in a dream and the dream lasted all day.








Over the whole day we circumnavigated the whole island. 

After our three spots for snorkelling and swimming where whenever Patrick needed us to come back to the boat he called us from his shell horn we were off to a beautiful lagoon where Patrick called us over for the opening of the oven for a traditional Hangi style lunch, of suckling pig, chicken with spinach, BBQ fish, plantain, taro, breadfruit, bananas all helped down beer, wine, champagne, soft drinks or juice. 

Then it was time for a bit of traditional fire twirling before we were sadly told it was time to leave. 

A sad but happy group enjoyed the trip back to harbour and we waved our fantastic guide goodbye.

Day not quite over yet! My darling James helped me choose a pair of Tahitian black pearl earrings as my souvenir of our great day and of course I had to wear them for our sail away as the sun went down and we partied on the back top deck as Bora Bora became a distant speck on the horizon but not in our hearts. 

 










PAPEETE, TAHITI, FRENCH POLYNESIA: 22nd AUGUST

As our incredible trip starts to wind down with only a few ports of call left before we farewell all our New Zealand friends and we make the trip across to Sydney we certainly enjoyed arriving in French Polynesia to Papeete.

Unfortunately due to the bad weather we experienced for a few days we arrived over six hours late into port.

We were fortunate that our private tour was able to be accommodated with the later arrival and we were greeted by William our guide for a tour in his comfortable air conditioned van around the island. We were a group of six so extremely easy to stop and see all that William wanted to show us.
Beautiful gardens and waterfalls, a blow hole as we circumnavigated the island we saw lots of the coastline with surfers, paddle boards and locals going about their day. The sand is black here in Papeete and even the locals have been singing the praises of our next stop Bora Bora with its white sands and lagoons.
We ended our day having a walk along The waterfront past the roulette food vans and onto the Bora Bora pub for a beer before walking onto another bar offering pitchers of beer with Paul and Michelle and back onto the beautiful and always friendly Sea Princess and we were all tucked up in bed before the ship finally left dockside late due to refuelling in the shortened time in Papeete. 


The boat in the background the one The Packer family owned, not sure if they still do.

A very friendly greeting by the locals.











EASTER ISLAND, 17th AUGUST


As five out of six ships don’t make it in to anchor off shore and tender their guests off to the island, we counted ourselves extremely lucky that we were able to go ashore.I was even more fortunate as I had excruciating 😖 tooth pain from a crown. Although I had plenty of pain killers was worried it would be Tahiti before I could get it seen too.

The ship organised for us to be off on one of the first tenders and we were met at the port with a sign bearing our name and a lovely driver whom stayed with us to help translate first at the local hospital where we were told no chance that day, and luckily one of the patients told our driver that the private dentist was in town.

So off we went into the local village, down dirt roads with two room cabins surrounded by chickens, dogs and children all running wild.


We stopped in front of one of these cabins and there inside was a waiting room and a completely professional dental hospital.


How lucky was I ! 

The dentist was able to see me half an hour later and after accessing the crown needed a little filing down etc with a script for a few painkillers etc and a hug from our lovely lady dentist we were off to fill script and relax with coffee in town before starting our organised ship tour that afternoon. Couldn’t believe how incredibly lucky I was and was quick to go and thank the staff onboard who made it all possible.
We found a lovely little cafe in town and enjoyed a couple of coffees and toast.


The township and surrounding villages have a wonderful island feel and a nice relaxed charm. 

Our tour guide Chris originally from Virginia but a long time resident, was full of information and gave us a great commentary as we visited Orongo village and Ahu Akivi.
Below picture of the 7 Moai, the only ones of the 900 on the island facing the ocean.
 They think they represent seven young explorers and there is evidence of sacrifices having taken place there as well.



Orongo Village is actually a sixteenth century ceremonial site including the bird man cult. It is very nearby a large crater which was very impressive and totally belied its size.








Tendering in can be quite a challenge and kudos to the pilots on our tenders for getting us in safely. 





Local outrigger crew out for a paddle.

LIMA, PERU: 9th -12th AUGUST.


We arrived early into Lima to allow immigration to be completed for those leaving us for Machu Picchu. But it still was just before midday that we were off the ship.
We had a ships tour booked for our first day here and as usual there’s always a Cathedral or a Monastery to be seen.

This one in the Plaza Mayor had some great crypts as well.


Note all the police on horseback in the background. The president was having a meeting in the presidential palace and they were expecting a protest/ strike from the teachers to come into the square.


Above the Presidential palace.


Below photos from inside the Cathedral.


 



Next we moved on to the church of the saints. Below is Saint Rosa.




We were very fortunate to visit Casa Garcia- Alvarado belonging to the same family for over 100 years and the gorgeous Anna Marie welcomed us into her home and we enjoyed Pisco sours and nibbles in her courtyard. 




Onto Miraflores and the park of love, with great ocean views along the way. 





We stayed here in Miraflores instead of taking the tour bus back to the ship as we were only a few hundred metres from the Central Restaurant where we had a 7:45 pm booking. 

Instead we spent the next few hours in the Lacroma mall, you can’t see it from the road as it’s built under the road and carved into the hillside with the same ocean views. As it got darker the lights of the city came on and transformed the skyline. 



Our dinner was in a very discreet looking building which you could easily pass by.

It was some experience and the menu for our 11 course tastings was all about the different elevations from the sea to the mountains. This year the Central restaurant was voted fourth best restaurant in the world. 










Then it was time to go home to our beautiful and always friendly Sea Princess.
Our second day we slept in and took the ships shuttle into Plaza Salavery and looked at the shops. We weren’t really into doing much more today as we’re both at the end of a cold and were expecting to be leaving for San Martin, Pisco that evening but as it turned out the port authorities in Pisco have closed the port due to bad weather coming and we’re staying another night and day here. 

This will give us the opportunity to maybe grab an uber and do a few extra tourist sites. 
Day three came along and with news from the at. We would be departing sometime early the next morning Saturday 12th.

We took the ships shuttle into the Plaza shopping centre drop off and hired a taxi at an hourly rate to take us to the Larco museum and Huaca Pucllana.

The Larco Herrera museum founded in 1926 was fantastic, set in beautiful manicured grounds with prolific bougainvillea flowering all over the walls etc. 

inside was an incredible collection of Peruvian gold and silver jewellery, textiles and huaco ceramics. Fascinating and you are also able to view their storage collection as well. 





The above photo is of nose rings they used.


After about an hour and a half here we went to Huaca Pucllana ruins, the remains of the Lima Culture. It was developed over the period 200 tom700 AD. 

It is an adobe pyramid of seven platforms which are now completely surrounded by the suburb of Miraflores.

Here the Wari culture is also evidenced along with multiple tombs and remains of human sacrifices as well.






All very interesting and we were glad we made the most of the extra day to get a bit more in. 

We sailed away in the very early hours and hopefully we will make it ashore at Easter Island. Only one in five ships make it in for tendering, so we’ll see how we go.

Due to our extended visit in Lima we had to miss Pisco and also have cancelled scenic cruising around Pitcairn island. Nothing can control the weather and its best to be safely harboured than getting smashed by weather. 

Next stop EASTER ISLAND, as long as the sea plays nice.