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Raelene and Chris in Europe

Hi Everyone - welcome to our small page on the internet. Hopefully we will find time to update this site with pictures and stories from the places we have been. We are also using this like a diary so we can remember our time here - consequently it may not always be the most exciting literary work, however hopefully we will have enough adventures to keep it exciting. Please feel free to leave us a message. Love Rae and Chris

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

for those that don't know - we have changed website address for our blog and photos from our travels around australia

visit www.offexploring.com/chrisandrae

Sunday, 28 June 2009

Location: France

Chris and Thomas dominate (well nearly) the Cap d’Ail Biathlon

Yesterday Thomas (good friend from work) and I entered the Cap d’Ail Biathlon and took a courageous second place. Cap d’Ail (literally “the cape of Garlic”) is the next town/beach along from Monaco. The biathlon was run in teams of two and consisted of a 6.5 km run and then a 5km double kayak. The run was easy enough, but 50minutes in the kayak nearly killed me!

Anyway we managed second place (we won’t say how many teams were entered…but it was more than 3) and even got a large trophy presented to us by the Mayor of Cap d’Ail. We then quickly rang back to Thomas house which is near by and watched the Wallabies destroy France in the Rugby. A good day.

As I type, Rae is currently in Leipz Germany for her European Championships. The summer season is upon us which means we will both be traveling lots!

Big hello to everyone

Chris and Rae

Saturday, 27 June 2009

Location: France

Well I (Chris) am officially old. I woke up last Sunday tired, stiff and sore. Not because I had done any exercise…only because I had turned 30 and was now officially an old man. But the birthday wasn’t all bad – in fact it was one of the best ones yet ! Rae needed to be in Switzerland by Sunday (my birthday) night because she had a meeting on Monday morning. So the choice was either spend a weekend in Switzerland together - or be alone at home on my 30th, not a hard choice to make.

We flew out to Geneva from Nice on Saturday morning and then picked up our hire car from the airport. Best bit about the car was the roof made from glass so you had a 180 degree view – was great, although dangerous to look out when driving !

We drove straight from the airport, over the border into the French town of Anncey which was really beautiful. A nice lake and an “old town” (as all the European cities do) which was nice and included a number of canals which were quite pretty. Anncey is actually bidding for the 2018 winter Olympics. We had lunch here and then spent the afternoon wandering around. Then it was time to drive to our accommodation for the night which Rae had booked as a secret. It turned out to be this beautiful homestead in the Swiss countryside which had been renovated into a hotel and included one of the very best restaurants in the country. Rae treated me to dinner which was fantastic and it took us 4 hours to get through the full degustation menu.

The next day we drove back into France again to visit Chamonix and the Mont Blanc area. It was a beautiful drive through the hills and when we reached the town we had a quick trip up to the glacier. The disappointing thing was to miss seeing their famous ice grotto which they dig out each and every year (since 1946) – it was closed for safety reasons. The whole town/area is amazing and is the base for skiing in the winter and hiking in the summer. At the end of the day we drove the scenic route back to Geneva and stayed the night in the airport hotel. Chris was up for the 6:50 plane the next day (arriving in time for work at 9am in Nice the next day, while Rae caught the train to Lausanne for her meeting at the IOC (all about the Olympic broadcasting which she found really interesting).

All in all – a fantastic way to spend a 30th birthday.

Friday, 01 May 2009

Location: France

Yet again an awful long time between journal articles. It is a strange mix of nothing going on , and at the same time too much going on to find time to write about. Most people know what we have been up to – but for the sake of prosperity I thought I would type a little about the latest happenings. I is Chris, because Rae is already back in Australia visiting everyone. It feels a little weird to be sitting in France while she is in Australia – but that is life. In fact we haven’t seen each other for about 3 weeks now.

Firstly Rae visited Mexico and Egypt for work, then before she got back, I went to Jordan for the 3rd leg of my MEMOS course, and then before I got back she had already left for London and then Australia straight after. We have spoken by phone but really missing each other. This summer season of competitions and travel really is crazy. I will let Rae write about Egypt and Mexico – although I think the chances of her typing anything is only about 50/50 at best.

My trip to Jordan was great as was to be expected. Most of the class organized to come one day early and leave one day late – which would give us time to do a bit of sightseeing either side of the course. Strangely the planes from Europe seem to fly in and out at about 1am in the morning which is really weird. Anyway I arrived at 1am – but of course my bag did not feel like making the trip with me !! Standard. Got to the hotel at about 2am and then was up again at 8 to head out sight seeing. Someone who had arrived before me had arranged a bus to drive around 10 of us around – and we did a bit of the local sights including the obligatory stops at the drivers broths art store etc etc. We also visited a catholic church which had one of the worlds oldest maps (made out of tiles) inside. Next stop onto Mount Nebo which was apparently the where Moses died at 120 years of age. Great views over the surrounding land.

After that it was finally onto the bit I had been hanging out for – a good float in the Dead Sea. I think I had seen photos since I was a small did of people floating in the sea and had always wanted to go. It really was fantastic. Funnily some people didn’t know what was actually going to happen – they thought it was a normal ocean – so got a big surprise when they floated. It really is a hard experience to describe – and strange just to float so easily. We made a little test and I tried to see how many rocks I could balance on my chest before I sank – the answer was about 15 (big ones at that). Obviously it is all the salt that keeps you floating (impossible to actually try and stand straight in the water!). But that also means you have to be careful not to get any water in your mouth or eyes…which proved to difficult for me. I first got a bit in my mouth and was nearly sick – it was amazingly strong. Then got just a tiny splash in my eyes and was instantly blinded. Had to swim (float) back to shore and find some fresh water to wash them out with.

Then came a week of classes on Human Resource Management in sporting organizations. I didn’t think I would enjoy the subject – but the lecturers made it great. And we have such a good group of people who are so much fun that we are always laughing. Nothing much to report from the course – I did my 15 minute progress report on my project and it seems to be fine – lecturers all said I was doing good and should pass no problems (fingers crossed) in September.

We had a final dinner on the Saturday which is customary. Was held in the Prince of Jordan’s car museum (I think all Princes must have car museums because there is one in Monaco as well). Dinner was heaps of fun. They paid a musician to play but half way through the night the students had confiscated his instrument and microphone and a bit of improvised karaoke had started…think Kenyans, Colombians, Venezualans, and Fijians all singing songs together – was pretty fun.

The final day – most of us stayed for a trip to the amazing Petra. WE got home from dinner (and club) around 2am and had to be up at 6am to get the bus to Petra. It is about a 3.5 hour drive from Amman where we were staying. Slept most of the way and then enjoyed the stunning Petra. I can’t really explain it – so will let the pictures and video I have posted do the talking for me. The best bit was that it was like a giant playground. None of this rubbish like in Australia where they fence everything off. You were basically allowed to climb around wherever you wanted and there were kilometers and kilometers of caves and rock to explore. I have no idea how the people that lived here caved all that stuff into the pure rock face – probably should have paid to have a guide tell us all about it. Instead I might have to do some reading. We spent about 3 hours wandering around and it really wasn’t long enough – could have stayed for ages – and could have taken thousands of photos.

Eventually we had to go home (3.5 hour drive again). Arrived back at about 8pm and then had to hang around for the 1am flight back to France. Which leaves me back here at home – waiting until Tuesday when I finally get to hope on that really long plane trip and travel back to Australia. Can’t wait to see everyone.

Chris

Sunday, 15 February 2009

Location: Nice, France

Bits and pieces


Nothing major going on here in France for us at the moment, and for once we haven’t really traveled anywhere lately which is a nice change. The main milestone in January was the celebration of our 5th wedding anniversary – time really flies. Amazing to think that we have spent the large majority of our marriage in France not Australia. We hired a car for two days which allowed us to travel around a number of nearby villages in the mountains. On the first day we headed into Italy and had a nice lunch at a hilltop village before heading back to a hotel in St Paul de Vence (one of our favourite towns in France)…afterall it wouldn’t be right to spend the 5th anniversary at home. The hotel was great as was the restaurant we booked in nearby Biot. A one Michelin start restaurant run in a very “family” way so it had a nice atmosphere. The next day we took a drive a long the French coast and generally just looked around a places we still haven’t seen during our time here. You can see all the pictures in the photo section.

The other great news was the train strike finally finished. It last nearly two months with severely reduced traffic meaning getting too and from work was always a hassle and you had to fight with 1000’s of others just to get you tiny patch on the train. I really don’t know how the French do it, but they constantly amaze us with their ability to strike….they will do it for any reason they can find. I think it really is a bit like the “sickey” in Australia – they just want a day off work. In this case the government had bought more trains because they were already over crowded but this meant the drivers had to work longer hours. Instead of 4.5 hours a day of work it was going up to 5. Apparently for the drivers this was not acceptable and putting all our lives at risk…

Rae has had a few adventures over the last month. The first was when she got caught in the middle of a massive demonstration over the violence in Gaza. The protest was huge with 10’s of thousands of people all marching down the main street of Nice. When Rae saw them coming she ducked into one of the main shops…just in time as once she was inside they pulled down the roller doors and locked everyone in for their safety (as always these protest about the war turned violent…which I can never understand….but that is another topic). Rae was scared at first, but then realized there were worse places she could have been locked up – so just started shopping for 30 minutes or so until they were allowed out !!!!

WE also celebrated Australia day with a party at our house with work colleagues. We held it on 7 Feb (and just pretended it was Australia day). We made as much effort as we could and had plenty of Aussie food (or as much as we could find). We had some tim tam packets left over, we baked lamingtons (which worked on the second go and we are now sponge cake experts) anzac biscuit, vegemite on toast, prawns on the Barbie (well actually under the grill) and kangaroo meat – which amazingly we found in the major supermarket here a month back so bought in advance and froze it. It was a great day and to our surprise everyone from worked turned up with something Australian on…too hard to explain so will have to try and post some photos.

Rae also recently had an experience with the French medical system – which we find really good (especially because we basically pay nothing as we are covered for everything through work). Anyway, she needed to have a couple of “spots” taken off her back as the doctor thought they looked like trouble, and it was better to remove them now and prevent any potential cancer. Everything went well and the doctor at the hospital removed them and stitched up the scars, but then when Rae was back in the waiting room she began too feel really faint and sick. She had to get laid down on one of the beds and was physically sick. Not sure what happened but we think maybe a reaction to the anesthetic. Eventually they let her go and she was catching the bus home, when in the middle of the trip she began to feel really bad again and collapsed on the bus. Luckily a few medical students were on the bus and helped her off while the driver called for the ambulance to come and get her. Rae said it was funny because she completely forgot how to speak English or French because she was so disorientated and couldn’t explain what was wrong with her. Anyway she began feeling better, and the students left, before the ambulance came which Rae (very naughtily) didn’t signal as she felt better and didn’t want to go back to the hospital. She made it home and Chris came back from work to take care of her for the day. She is now fine and just waiting to have the stitches out next week.

Still not much traveling coming up – Rae has a work trip to Frankfurt in March, and then we go to Paris as Chris is in the Paris marathon, although hasn’t trained since Christmas so it will turn into a “fun-run” rather than a serious race.

by for now

C & R (celebrating 5 great years of marriage and looking forward to the next 5)

Saturday, 24 January 2009

Location: Innsbruck, Austria

A quick update on my (Chris) trip to Innsbruck, Austria. It was for one week as the second module of my Masters course. The first module was in Lausanne during september 08. Between then and now I had to write a couple of thousand words as part of my literature review and a thousand more as part of the methodology for my project. I think that was the easy part and now I actually have to complete my research and write the findings etc etc.

Anyway - this second module was all about the marketing of sports organistaions. We had 5 days of lectures and cases examples which were great. I did my first degree in this area so really enjoy it, especially hearing from the experts and the real examples. Innsbruck has hosted the winter olympics twice, and just a few months ago were awarded the first Winter Youth Olympic Games so they are very happy. It was interesting to hear about how they marketed their campaign to win the olympics - and also to hear how this area of Austria markets its self to tourists in general. Interesting statistics from the presentations. Austria is split into 9 different "regions" the one Innsbruck is in is called Tirol - and there are more overnight stays each year by tourists in just the tirol area than there are in all of Greece - shows what a big part tourism plays. They also hav a whole department towards marketing sports and winning events and recently hosted games in the European football championships.

But as usual wth these things - it wasn't all about work and lessons (in fact wuite the opposite..). One of the best parts of being in the MEMOS programme is that we have 35 people from all different parts of the world and different backgrounds, but we come together for a week and have lots of fun !! In this case it was hilarious to see all the people from warm climates coming to innsbruck where it was -5 degrees !! I counted at least 7 people who had never seen snow in their life - and many others who were not use to any temperature below about 20. Was great fun becuase our hosts in Innsbruck hooked us up with lots of winter sports activities including ice skating, watching an ice skating match, skiing and a memorable trip down the bobsleigh track.

Of all the activities it is the bobsleigh that sticks in my mind the most. We were not in a "real" bobsleigh (that option is available for much more of a cost). But we were in one that took 5 of us at a time plus the driver. It looked quite tame as you sat in the bob waiting for the start. One of the staff pushed you (very slowly) over the start and down the hill. I had been watching some of the other groups go first and thought it looked very tame...how wrong I was. I was expecting a prerry comfortable ride, but nce we picked up speed around the first corner it was amazing. We felt like really olympians with the bob going right up the side of the track as we speed around the corners at about 1 million k's per hour. Got to the end and wanted to do it all again!!

Won'twrite too much more, but there were so many good things we did and was such a good fun group of people, some of whom are bad influences and make me drink too much. The struggle was always getting up early for the lessons the next day. On the last day we had to publicly present our progress so far and I think the tutors privately marked if we were on target or not...pretty sure I was fine. Fingers crossed.

Anway - the next module will be in April in the country of Jordan. Can't wait for this one. We are all arriving a day early and taking a trip to the dead sea, and then staying a day late and heading out to Petra which looks amazing

Ciao for now

Chris


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Recent Messages

From Auntie Meaghan
Dear Rae & Chris,
I have just received the most beautiful bunch of flowers. Thank you sooooo much.
I have been really spoiled this birthday. Love catching the latest news on your website. Take care. Love and Hugs to you both, Auntie M. XX
PS. Looks like we have to wait another year before your mother is closer to becoming a Grandmother and me a Great Aunt. Never mind...enjoy yourselves while you are still young. Plenty of time for children.......BUT.... don't leave it too long. XXX

Response: Very happy to hear they arrived and that you liked them! We wanted to send them while you were at GC but thought why not extend the birthday! Thanks for the advice..obviously mum is keen!!! Someday we will get around to it! Love Rae x
From Hendersons
Hey Rae & Chris,
Just wanted to say a quick hello from Phil, Jamie and myself. We think and pray for you guys often and glad to hear your still enjoying yourselves. Jamie just turned 2 and she keeps us busy. Take care and keep up the great journals :-)
Love Claire, Phil & Jamie xoxo
Response: Hello Henderson's! So lovely to hear from you. Time has passsed so fast - two years old and a beautiful little girl now! Our adventure here continues and we are very fortunate to be doing what we enjoy. We should be back home for a visit in late April next year so will hopefully catch up then. Love, Rae.
From MEAGHAN
Hi Rae,
Received your parcel last Thursday and the boys say a BIG thankyou. They are down the Coast already. I fly out tomorrow night and Luen and Annette arrived on Thursday. Peter said the penthouse was the size of a house and you can lay in bed and see from one end of the coast to the other. I can't wait. Sounds like you are still having a wonderful time. Anway thank you again for the gifts and love to you both. Auny M. XXXX
Response: Hi Meaghan, Glad to hear the package arrived safely! Enjoy your well deserved holiday...it sounds fantastic! Love, Rae.
From AUNTY MEAGHAN
Hi Chris & Rae,
Love reading your Olympic Updates...look forward to more photos. Spent half the day at work yesterday looking through all your photo galleries. Wonderful !!
Hope it wasn't anything too bad in the food Rae. Glad to hear you are feeling better too Chris.
Love to you both....Aunty M & Co.
Response: Hi Meaghan,
The Olympics were an amazing experience...I sent a package to you for the boys (mainly Mathew) so I hope they like it. Have a fantastic 50 birthday and celebrate in style!! Love Rae
From Kaet
Hey Chris & Rae,
Another year - another Grand Prix - Chris I am expecting some great stories!
Response: How about - it was raining while I sat at home by myself becuase Rae was in Hungary....not that exciting ! But at least Mark Webber got 4th
From Otten family
Hi guys,
Sorry we haven't been in touch for a while. So great to read all about what you have been up to. We are all well. Laura started Kindergarten last week and is loving it. I am teaching year 1 and Nathan is in year 2. All our love.
Response: Hi!! How lovely to hear from you all and to know that everyone is well. Goodness the time flies - Laura was only a baby at our engagement party. Oh my gosh, we are old!!! We are really enjoying our time here and savouring all we can because we just never know when it might change. It would be nice to talk soon on the phone...I will try to remember one weekend soon. Lots of love, Rae & Chris
From Dave P
When are you due back? A BBQ sounds good. We are just starting extensions on our house, so we'll be here for sometime. Hope to see you guys soon. Cheers Dave
From
Hi Rae and Chris, How's it all going? I was talking with Damian and he said you were in Oz for a stint. I am slowly going through your memoirs. It will be good to eventually catch up Cheers Dave P (remember me?)
Response: Of course we remember you!! Unfortunately our time in Oz was so short we did not have the chance to visit Austrade. Definitely when we are back we should catch up for a BBQ.

Ciao,
Rae.
From Shannon
Chris and Rae,

What a great web journal! This is definitely the best travel diary I've seen. And I'm very jealous that you are getting to see so much.

Cheers
Shannon from Canberra
Response: Dear Shannon,

Thanks for the encouragement. We are not sure who reads this now, but it is nice to know someone does!

Ciao,
Rae.
From kristine
hi guys!

only 4 weeks to go now! the nerves and sleepless nights are settling in now!

see you soon,

Kris xx
Response: Cannot wait to see you both! We are sure the day will be perfect and will be honoured to share this special day with you. Just what can I say in the bestman speech?!!
From Kate
Hi Guys,
Just wanted you to know that your site is still being looked at, always good to read your updates! Hope to see you while your back in Oz.
Take care
Love Kate
From ta souer
looking forward to having you home. counting down the days xx
Response: Chére souer,

I will be home soon - 21 days and counting!

Beaucoup bisou, Rae xx
From la souer
salut- ca va? Marseille! oh lala!! thinking of you both and eagerly anticipating your visit. avec amour, xxoo
(ato says hi- "le woof")
Response: Allo chien Ato et ma souer,

Hope you are well, not long now to we see everyone again.

Love, Rae
From Claire, Phil & Jnr
Hey Guys,

Just wanted to say hello and thinking of you. Rae, hope the new job is going well. Look forward in seeing you hopefully in November.
Jnr says hello and giving a few kicks at the same time :-) (only 6 weeks to go).

Take care and we'll talk to you soon.

Lots of Love,
Phil, Claire & Jnr
Response: Hi!

New job is good - although long hours. Can't wait to see photos of Jnr very soon!

Love, Rae
From Jane
Hi Rae & Chris
CONGRATS on your new job Rae, that's awesome!! I hope your first day goes well:)
Luv
Jane
Response: Thanks! All is going well so far, although I really need to practise my french more - they say names way too fast!!

Talk soon, Rae
From Kellie and Damien
Hello. France looks very exciting and beautiful. Congrats on the job Rae. Take care.
Response: Hi guys,

France is definitely nice - at least for a couple of years. My job is going okay, although not a career highlight! Hopefully we can catch up when we are in town.

I also need a wedding date....

Rae
From Kaet
Hey Chris & Rae,

It must be nice actually getting to watch the World Cup in waking hours. We are having a few festivities around the ASADA office including lots of food, playstation football, fuseball table and a miniture net and ball. It would appeal to your competitive nature Chris - somone else will have to step up to take on your champion at everything jersey.
From Spencer Family
HEY LUEN and kids. Loved the pics of the family. you look like you are having a wonderful time. cold and rainy in Canberra . Love Jan
From Jane
Hi Rae & Chris
Just wanted to drop a line and say hi!! keeping busy here in Sydney with Uni and Dave travelling with the army a bit. I enjoy your diary entries, very awesome!!
Luv
jane
From Kate
Hi Rae + Chris
Just wanted to drop you another quick message to say hi. Hope you had a nice time in San Remo. All going fairly well here - looking forward to a few days off over Easter. Think of you guys often - take care!
Love Kate
Response: Hey kate - thanks for your message. The Easter bunny didn't know where Rae lived, but somehoe found me - not sure how that works :)
From
Hi Chris an Rae, Caught up with your lovely mum tonight. She is well and very excited about her upcoming trip. bet you can't wait. Nice to hear that the Nannying went well. I am doing two weddings this term. pics are great. we are all env ious. love the spencers jan, richard, lach and sophia.
Response: Nice to hear from you. We have lost your email so send us an email (Luen will have the address) and then we can send you one back!
From Claire Henderson
Hey Rae & Chris :-)

Thought it was time to say hello on your website. Have had a great read of all your adventures today and i'm so jealous. Brings back memories of my trip in 2000. 6 years ago seems like forever. Keep up the updates and look forward to hearing more :-)

Lots of Love,
Claire & Phil
xoxoxoxoxoxx
Response: Hey Guys - thanks for dropping by. We just remembered we can answer these messages. Congrats on the new purchase as well
From Brad
Hey Chris and Rae,

Just wanted to let you know that I was thinking of you.

Hope all is going really well.

Brad.
Response: Brad - how are things? When are you coming to visit us?????
From Tristan
Hi chris and rae

congratulations on becoming officially french. happy new year and be sure to wear the colours on australia day. Chris - sorry to say I have decided to use my world cup tickets. bring on Brazil!!!
Response: hmmm still no luck with tickets for the Soccer - bugger
From Neil
Hey Guys
Just a quick happy birthday to Rae for Monday 16 Jan.
Hope your both doing well

N
Response: Thanks Neil - hope things are going well back at Austrade? At least Bdays OS are unique !