This blog started as part of an elaborate wedding present. The idea was that on our trip we should blog from every country we visit, detailing the sights, sounds and smells but most importantly, the beer of what is effectively an extended honeymoon. Around two years later, I hope we have done the idea justice. We have certainly had fun writing it - but moreso, living it!
After getting married in September 2010 we decided to do the opposite of settling down; so we packed up our life, stuffed it in our parent's attic and hit the road for what is essentially an extended honeymoon! We started our trip on 29th December 2010 spending 4 months travelling overland through Europe, Russia and Mongolia to China. After many a train and bus journey we caved-in and flew from Western China to Malaysia, and worked our way north to Thailand and Cambodia. The time came for us to replenish our bank accounts, so we headed to Western Australia for work in July 2011 and lived in Fremantle until February 2012. After a couple of months back home seeing our families and friends, we headed back down-under. This time we headed for New Zealand and we are currently living in Wellington. Our blog started as part of an elaborate wedding present from two of our very good friends. The idea was that on our trip we should blog from every country we visit, detailing the sights, sounds and smells and most importantly, the beer. We have certainly had fun writing it - but moreso, living it!
Saturday, 24 December 2011
Monthly round-up - November 2011
Charlotte at The Pinnacles.
So we're desperately
battling to get the blog up to date and from now on we'll be aiming
to do the blog month by month! As it's the 30th November (when this was written, blame Liam for taking so long to get it published!) it would seem fitting that we are spurred on to recording a little of
what we've been up to this month.
We had a great weekend
away up north taking in the Piccacles. Driving up north (and not
really that far) certainly gave us an insight into what driving in Western Australia is like, We knew there would be an awful lot of nothing.
We just weren't quite that prepared for that much... nothing (and compared to the rest of Australia this wouldn't even register on the nothing-scale). However, every so often there is a corking view of the coast, or of
some amazing white dunes that look like snow capped mountains. We were also amazed at how quickly the
landscape can change after looking the same for hours on end. We
arrived at the Pinnacles just at the right time, as some of the
tourists were departing and the sun was lowering and providing some
cool shadows. The Pinnacles is just a huge area of, well, rocks,
basically, lots of limestone lumps and bumps jutting out of the group
in odd ways as everything else around them has been eroded away. You
drive through, hopping out every now and again for a wander, and it
truly feels 'other worldly', almost as if you're on a film set.
Pretty bizarre. Pinnacles done, we drove on a little further to
Cervantes where we were camping for the night. The campsite was
pretty full but had a BBQ area under a marquee (shelter from the wind was key!) which pleased Liam no end. Cervantes is a small town with some beautiful
coast, we spent our mornings at Thirsty Point and we also drove up to Jurien Bay to bask in the turquoise
waters. There's only so much that you can write about white sands and quiet beaches, but it was pretty swell! On our way back
home, we took a scenic route inland and stopped by New Norcia. New
Norcia was set up in the 1800's by some Spanish Monks who wanted to
'civilise' the local Aborigine population by making them a self
sufficient community. It includes a few huge old buildings and a
Byzantine inspired church; which looks gob-smackingly out of place as
you approach it on the highway. I guess to many Western Australians
this may be the closest to thing to old European architecture that they will ever see. Very interesting nonetheless.
Another weekend we took a day trip
out to York. Well, when I say day trip, we drove for about 2 hours
to get there and it took about 45 minutes to look around, because
most things were closed. Not to say it's not nice, in fact I can
imagine if it was bustling it would have quite a feel to it (usually
in October they have a jazz festival which would have been a perfect
setting for it, but this year it was cancelled). But hey, we bought
a pie, looked at the building that reminded us of old American
movies, sat a while chilling... all good stuff! On our way back we
went to York Wines and did a tasting. It was interesting wine
because the vines aren't irrigated, making for a dryer, stronger
grape and wine. They also use no pesticides on their plants, and no
preservatives or filtration techniques (for all you vegans out there,
no nasty fish or egg products). A pretty amazing undertaking given the dry climate of this area, it means that some years they don't even get a crop. Unsurprisingly they were actually in the process of selling up! We bought a bottle of their stuff
and Liam is now a firm believer that the chemicals that you usually
find in a bottle of red is what gives you a headache the next day.
So there you go.
One weekend we threw
the bikes in the back of the van and headed out into the Perth Hills
for a bike ride around the Heritage Trail. It's mainly on a disused
railway track, and is about 40 km. The trail affords some fab views
back towards Perth and was pretty quiet considering it was a nice
weekend. Despite Charlotte's initial grumbles (my bike's too small
for me, my saddle's too painful – nothing changes eh Dad!) we
finished on a high having freewheeled downhill for about 7 km –
After the last gigs
we've been to being pretty small intimate affairs, we were excited for something different and very excited
to be going to see Fucked Up (sorry Mum), Tenacious D and Foo Fighters at an
outdoor stadium in Perth! Fucked Up were a great warm up, I think they hardcore punk sensibilities confused most of the mainstream rock fans there but it turns out, if
your lead singer is fat and comes out into the crowd to hug as many
people as he can (including climbing up into the seating areas), then it makes for an entertaining show. Tenacious D were funny as always,
if a little predictable by now. And of course the Foos, the Foos! Always a pleasure; even though the
sound was a bit dodgy at the beginning it was pretty good for most of
it and they did a fair mix of old stuff and new stuff (as well as
some covers, which didn't really go down that well!). Finishing
with Everlong just as it started raining heavily was a pretty epic
end to the night :)
Last but not least,
let's discuss the WA Beer Showcase. Now, there isn't much to do
in WA, beyond barbecuing and sunbathing. We therefore are jumped at the
chance to attend anything which sounds vaguely up our street. The WA
Beer Showcase most definitely fell into that category. So off we
toddled to pay $30 to get into what essentially was a trade show for West Australian breweries. Each brewery had a stand
(although there were some glaring omissions apparently due to the WA Tourism
Awards being on the same night) and you got a free glass and 5 free
tokens for samples as you went in. We attended a talk about 3
different styles of beer, which we could also sample. Follow this
with Charlotte being given 3 times as many tokens as she paid for
towards the end, and being given free beer by Darcy who was
representing the Nail Ale stand who we've met before on a few
occasions, and it's fair to say that by the end of the night, we'd
had a few. It was an excellent night though, speaking to brewers
and randomers alike all who were there because of a love of beer. As it was the first event, and how paranoid the local authorities seem to be about granting alcohol licenses (especially as it was in a community space right in the centre of Perth) it was lacking a bit of atmosphere, a bit of live music wouldn't have gone amiss for starters. It was if they were desperate to avoid the beer swilling masses getting wind of the event and turning it into a debauched beer festival. Somewhere in between would be good!
So that leads us almost up to the present, now for our first Christmas abroad in the unfamiliar surroundings of sun, sand, sea.