Well, COVID is dying down and people are beginning to travel again, so I feel a bit more inclined to share my travels once more. I even have a friend who is heading Down Under in a couple of months. So here we go again:
Trip 4:August 3–4
Time to return to Australia. It seems to not be a place I can easily get out of my system.
Since it is clear that I have headed to Australia in August each time, I thought I’d mention that there are a number of reasons. First, it’s off-season, so the airfares are cheaper—and, just as importantly, I’m not battling crowds of tourists everywhere I go. Second, it’s winter in the top half of the country, which means days and days of dazzling sunshine. Then spring begins September 1, and while it can be cold and blustery in the south, it’s not cold compared to Chicago – and it’s usually in full bloom and quite a delight to see. So while it might not be the ideal time for everyone, it is for me.
(Of course, my first trip, when I was there for six months, I got to see more of a span of seasons and weather, but that was a different trip. Only important thing to remember is that you can’t really do the north in their summer—January and February—the monsoon season. But if you’re just heading south, summer is dandy, as well—though it can be toasty.)
My flight to Los Angeles was on time. First order of business was to hike over to International. It’s funny—as soon as I headed downstairs from my arrival gate, I had one of those travel flashbacks. It had been nearly three years since I’d hiked this same route, but in reverse, making my way to Domestic after about 25 hours en route home from Bali, and suddenly, the walk seemed as familiar as if it had been yesterday.
As you may remember, if you’ve read the tale of trip #3, not all travel days are this easy, but this was a breeze—or as much of a breeze as anything can be that involves a 15-hour flight. But this was happily uneventful. An inadequate amount of sleep the night before made sleeping on the LA to Sydney leg of the trip pretty much guaranteed, which makes the flight seem a little less long.
I was looking forward to seeing Australia again but also to visiting friends from previous trips. I would of course visit Judy and Geoff on their lovely ranch, and Nikki and Richard had outlined a grand adventure to remote areas still on my wish list. In addition, a friend from back home, Brian, had married a lady, Mardi, who is an Aussie, and he moved to Sydney, so I had someone new to visit.
And then, at long last, Sydney Harbour was passing below me and we were landing. I’m back in Australia! Brian and Mardi were waiting for me in customs, and we headed for their car. The drive through Sydney was lovely—much familiar and much changed. Out to the suburbs and home.
Their house is charming. Mardi took me for a quick tour of the house and of her small but lovingly arranged garden of indigenous plants. Fun to see so many of the flowers and shrubs that I knew from previous trips. Then a cup of tea, some delightful conversation, and finally upstairs to bed—because sleeping on a plane is not the same as really sleeping.