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Dorro's Travel Page

Our travel log each year to keep you in touch.
Chris & Lloyd

Diary Entries

Monday, 23 May 2011

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Well here we are in Barcelona airport about to embark on the marathon journey home - 26 hours of flying but 8 hours of waiting!
Hard to believe after the planning and anticipation that it's all drawing to a close. What an amazing holiday it has been - both of us agree the best we've ever had. We've been to vastly different places and stayed in some amazing hotels, and travelled in style in between.
Barcelona was very low key. Yesterday Lloyd had nausea and diarrhea and was confined to bed all day so our planned visit to Cal Pep, a restaurant, was shelved. This morning we took a reminiscent walk down Las Ramblas and through the Boqueria (food market), but had to check out by 1300 so now it's all done. We're so looking forward to home and seeing everybody. Love you all heaps. ¡Hasta pronto!

Saturday, 21 May 2011

Location: Barcelona, Spain

Now our second day/third night in Barcelona. Lloyds conference finishes at midday tomorrow so we'll do some sight-seeing. I did a lot of walking yesterday (yeah!!!, the ankles and hips were no problem) on a mission to find a fecking post office. When I did get there I was confronted by a rude pig of a man who kept talking over the top of me rather than speak more slowly so I could understand him better! Anyway, eventually, after stuffing up the first form, I luckily encountered someone much more obliging, and we successfully completed business all in Spanish. I've been really happy with how well I have communicated and have understood reasonably well, in spite of the very different accent here compared to Latin America.
Last night we dined at a 2 Michelin star restaurant called Lasarte. Absolutely beautiful, and reasonably priced. Libby, Lloyd has devised a challenge for you and Stuart to take on in retirement(not too many sleeps now!), which he will explain on our return!
I feel guilty about lack of activity today, but I'm ready for home.
The weather here is gorgeous - good time of year.
Adiós amigos. Hasta pronto. ¡Todos cuidaos mucho! xxxxx

Wednesday, 18 May 2011

Location: Adare, County Clare, Ireland

Can't believe it's already our last night in Ireland! :(
What a wonderful time we have had, enjoying the ultimate in indulgence and golf. The only negative has been the 20 knot (about 60 km/hr) winds that have battered the west coast this week! Quite a different experience to last year.
At Doonbeg we wimped out of Sundays golf and spent a delicious day vegging out in front of the fire, reading, then spent an hilarious evening with a random older woman who latched on to us. She was from South Carolina and subsequently her sister also arrived - Pat and Betty-Jean, both in their 60s traveling with their 85 year old mother.
Next day we played golf in the afternoon. As you will see from the photos it was very cold and windy - constant roar of the wind and pounding ocean. Many of the holes almost impossible into the wind. Lloyd played brilliantly and scored 40 points, so finally dealt with his unfinished business. I didn't play particularly well but had some flashes of brilliance, including getting out of ridiculously high bunkers. Played again the next morning - not quite as windy but still tough on the exposed holes. Similar results to previous day so the Lady of the Links crown has slipped, now its Lloyd of the Links.
Then drove to our last destination, Adare Manor and Golf Resort. Another amazing place - it's certainly been a very special holiday. Played golf today here, a beautiful parklands course, but still windy - about 45km/hr. Rated top parklands course in Ireland. Amazingly the bodies have survived our 180 holes of golf. Next game back at home!
Drive to Dublin tomorrow and fly to Barcelona tomorrow night.
Missing you all and looking forward to home. xxxxxxxx

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Location: Doonbeg, Ireland

How I love this wild place where leprechaun's roam and blarney prevails. Doonbeg is magic today with the beautiful coastline; and fearsome windy (2-3 clubs) south-westerly gusting to about 40 km per hour. The daylight saving allows tee times as late as 1720 and the sheer unspoiled "natural" beauty is spiritual and humbling. (wish I could play golf as well as I bull shit)
Connemara is a little area in north Galway on it's border with county Mayo. It is James Joyce country and extremely Gaellic. The topography is both Irish and reminiscent of the Scottish Highlands. We stayed there in a castle on the river Cong for the last two nights-acceptable enough until we get home. Had a great drive through picturesque towns and villages along narrow lanes and by fast flowing rivers and still Lochs. Connemara Golf course is considered one of the three hidden gems on the west coast and is a flat links course with the usual pot bunkers. The inward nine is unequalled and one readily retires to a pint of the worlds best beer (Smithwicks of course).
The only negative of an experience like this is the unmasking of the gene for gluttony always existing only just out of site at least in my genome. USA primed us and now Ireland feeds (and feeds) us. Oh for the Irish breakfast!!
My knees are causing problems and unfortunately limiting us. Guess I will have to bite the bullet.
Apologies for leaving SWMBO to do most of the updates; sloth and gluttony are bedmates. LD.lg

Saturday, 14 May 2011

Location: Doonbeg, County Clare, Ireland

Left Chicago on Wednesday night. Flight delayed 3 hours because of thunderstorms, 2 of those hours spent sitting in the plane! Good flight once we got going, arriving at 1045 in Dublin.
Picked up hire car and drove 3 hours west to County Mayo and a village called Cong where Ashford Castle is. An amazing place built in 1228 offering superb accommodation and service. Over indulged yet again and loving it. Spent 2 nights here with some sight seeing. Too wet and windy for golf.
Arrived this afternoon at Doonbeg ( green doesn't suit you Benny and Simon). Better weather here but insanely windy. Took forever to drive only 90 km. Thought we'd be clever and avoid the narrow winding coast road we travelled last year, only to drive further on equally narrow roads! That's Ireland, to be sure!
Off to dinner now and golf tomorrow morning. Praying for all body parts and functions to survive!

Tuesday, 10 May 2011

Location: Chicago, USA

Last 2 days have been pretty laid back. Dramatic change in the weather to high 20s previously low teens and I think I was the only person in Michigan Ave without a coat and scarf as I battled by MMSs with the changing temperatures from street to store.
Thought I'd lash out and get my hair styled as well as colored but no real difference :(. I guess theres only so much you can do with a sow's ear!!
Organized a dinner for the last night with some other GC gastros.. Sitting at the table next to us were 3 guys one of whom was an old associate of lloyds from the 80's!! What are the chances of that! Of all the joints...... Anyway it proved a little expensive as we moved to drinking Hill of Grace, and Lloyd foolishly bet his mate that his recall was more accurate. Needless to say it wasn't, and there went another Hill of Grace!! Could have been very messy but we got away before that happened.
Last day did a cruise on Lake Michigan which was beautiful, and now we're ready for the next leg!
Talk to you all from Ireland, to be sure!

Saturday, 07 May 2011

Location: Chicago, USA

Quiet day. Went to dinner at an unusual restaurant called iNG. We were a little apprehensive when the cab pulled up in a very shabby warehouse district and no overt signs of restaurants. We found the discreet entrance, the restaurant set up similar to Longrain with long tables. We opted for the tasting menu with matching wines- mostly good but instead of using Blumenthal type 'tricks' to enhance the food experience, some of was in conflict. The prime example was the last of 3 desserts, aptly named Breakfast. It looked just like a crispy rasher of bacon with a fried egg and hash brown, but the bacon was a crispy biscuit, the egg panna cotta with pineapple jelly for the yolk, and the hash brown was a coconut macaroon. All very tasty but truly weird to have the visual expectation in conflict with the taste !

Friday, 06 May 2011

Location: Chicago, USA

Played golf this afternoon at a club called Harborside International where they have previously played the US Seniors Open - so right up our alley!
Needless to say it was windy with occasional brief showers and the course is basically a links course but an obscene number of very long bunkers. I played off the whites as the reds play too short a course (only around 4600 metres). However I only scored 10 points on the front 9 as playing tees further back with strong winds took me from one hazard to another. For my sanity and Lloyds well being I changed to the reds and scored 22 points. At the 18th Lloyd was 1 point up and I needed to win to be able to consider getting 2 puppies. I managed to sink my putt from off the green for a bogey and 3 points, which I did with finesse, leaving Lloyd having to sink his putt for a par and 2 points, but the poor baby missed :(
Had a quiet night at the hotel as had no sleep the night before as our room was apparently the only one on the 28th floor not invited to the massive parties taking place around us. Shouting and fighting till 0330, especially the room next door. Another reminder of our aging.....intolerance!
Lloyds conference starts tomorrow so activities will no doubt slow down. I am uploading photos to Facebook as I can't now upload the files to planet ranger
Love to you all. Xxxxxxx

Thursday, 05 May 2011

Location: Chicago, USA

Beautiful morning in Chicago but very fresh. We have certainly gone from one end of the spectrum to the other in terms of weather. In Palm Desert and Vegas it was hot but very low humidity - less than 10% - and such a contrast to Queensland. For the first time in months I didn't have one Menopausal MuckSweat but now were back to higher humidity they've returned to haunt me!! Yeah!
Temperature here around 10 to 14 during the day. Today we braved the open double decker bus to do a city tour. We were blessed with a bitter and twisted, cynical tour guide who was a natural comedian so we had great fun and gathered a great overall view of Chicago. Including a recommendation to a restaurant, The Grand Luxe Cafe, where they have the record for the most expensive martinis ever sold, $900, because the olives had rubies and sapphires secreted in them! We opted for the more basic menu - mini burgers which were delicious and freshly baked hot beignets served with a trio of sauces - chocolate, raspberry and cream. Beignets are a cross between a profiterole and a doughnut. Yummy, but not for daily consumption as we struggle to fit into our clothes.
Tonight we went to a play/musical for which one of the presenters was Whoopi Goldberg (no she wasnt there, just financed it). It was called White Noise and was a very confronting subject around the extent to which you will compromise values in order to succeed. Lots of politically incorrect subjects and language, but a great play, albeit only average singing and dancing.

Wednesday, 04 May 2011

Location: Chicago, USA

Travelled to Chicago today - 3 hour flight and we're now another 2 hours ahead making the time difference 9 hours. Arrived late afternoon so headed to the John Hancock Observatory as it was such a beautiful day, albeit cold. Magnificent 360 views of Chicago and Lake Michigan and a beautiful sunset as we sipped (actually make that guzzled) our G&T (previous day an AFD)
Our hotel room is a big disappointment - no real surprise after the Bellagio - it is at the conference centre, we hav a spectacular view over downtown, but the room is pretty basic. Busy planning our stay here. Lloyd doesn't start his conference till Saturday. Even planning a round of golf ( what tragics!)

Tuesday, 03 May 2011

Location: Las Vegas, USA

Last day in Vegas - both spectacular and a spectacle. It has such an incredible energy reminiscent of the excitement of the Regatta when you were a kid. So much of it has been brilliantly done and of great quality, but then there's the underbelly of gambling, sex etc and an annoyance for the geriatrics - constant cigarette smoke.
The Bellagio has been a magnificent indulgence - opulence, decadence and impeccable service.
Lloyd didn't mention that Shadow Creek which we played yesterday, had been built from flat desert. There were rolling hills, lakes, undulating fairways, elevated tees and gullies designed to psych you out. Apparently over 20,000 trees were shipped in and the end result is a magnificent course.
For our last night we went to a brilliant show by a ventriloquist, Terry Fator, who won America's Got Talent. Absolutely hilarious and so talented.
All in all we had a ball in Vegas and definitely worth a trip for pure escapism and entertainment
Sorted out the iPad accessory and will upload photos soon

Monday, 02 May 2011

Location: Las Vegas, USA

Shadow Creek- a piece of Georgia built in the desert in 1989 for $49M. Initially it was just for the owner of a few Vegas casinos and he lived on the 18th hole. He allowed the high rollers to play and even now most of the rounds are complementary.
Off the front tees, there are no ladies tees, it is 6000 m. And off the blues 6600 m. The back tees are just over 7000 metres. Course record 60 off the blues (Fred couples and tiger woods) and 66 off the back tees. The club does not list any record for the white tees so I suppose my 95 yesterday sets the benchmark.
Chris had 24 points and that was off the white tees 6000m. Pretty good. But winners are grinners and my 29 pts. was enough to give me a victory. Chris and I are currently 3 a piece.
The course is truly beautiful with bent greens and manicured fairways. It wa s not difficult and if one was playing to potential 36-40 pts. would have been achievable.
The post game Gins were like a Spanish pour and an afternoon siesta was essential.

My take on Vegas:
Glitzy, booze, sex, unbridled capitalism at it's best and worst, architectural excesses and brilliance; it certainly has the wow factor.
I still can't get over the money wagered on one card in either blackjack or poker- $25000is maximum bet and this is not in the high-roller room. The hotel is geared towards gambling and to get in or out of your room you have to go through the casino.

One of my highlights was the drive from Palm Desert to Las Vegas. Within 20 mins. Of leaving the oasis that the Coachella Valley is we were in badlands I was waiting for rattlesnakes apaches and bandits; it was just so desolate. How can people live there and what do they do?. Ld

Sunday, 01 May 2011

Location: Grand Canyon, USA

Today was an exceptionally early start. Picked up by limo at 0600 for our helicopter trip to the Grand Canyon at 0700. Picture perfect day but a little fresh.
Only six of us on the flight, we flew out to the Canyon arriving on the floor of the West Rim about 45 minutes later. The Canyon is over 400 km from Las Vegas, and itself spans a distance of over 400 km - the distance from the Gold Coast to Coffs Harbour.
It's width varies from 1 mile to 29 miles at various points. We landed at a narrow point and went on a short boat trip on the Colorado River to view its spectacle from below, cliffs rising above for 1250 meters. It truly was an awe inspiring experience.
From there we flew to the Sky Walk - an elliptical glass platform which extends 70 meters out over the Canyon over 1200 meters below. Staggering to see the fear of many people, in particular men! Lloyd and I embraced it, completely fearless, and had a number of photos taken - no cameras etc allowed in case they are dropped and cause damage - even had to wear theatre boots! At this stage I had hoped to load photos on line, but the accessory I bought for the iPad doesn't work with my camera :(. Still working on resolving that problem.
Flew back to Vegas at midday. Amazing how small the strip is - not even the length of Surfers (Broadbeach to Main) and looks like a mirage rising from the desert particularly since it's a replica of so many iconic landmarks from around the world.
Last night was fantastic also. The Cirque du Soleil performance Love, based on Beatles hits was staggering and breath-taking, not just because of the athleticism of the performers, but the way they evoked the illusionary mind-altering effect of the substances in use by the Beatles when they wrote a lot of their later hits. Unbelievable and a must see if you're over here.
Catch y'all tomorrow. Xxxxxxx

Friday, 29 April 2011

Location: Las Vegas, USA

Headed off to golf at Royal links, a course that has recreated some of the famous holes from links courses that have hosted the British Open, even down to a replica castle for the clubhouse. Very well done, not tacky as you might expect. It was insanely windy - gale force with gusts peaking at 60 km per hour made for a very challenging round of golf. We played with a random guy who I swear was the human model for Barney from the Simpsons!!!! Very large O shaped man. He nearly got wiped out by a pine tree which blew over on to his cart as he travelled just a few seconds behind us! He was OK but the cart was pretty misshapen!
I played well with 37 points and Lloyd had 34. His knee packed it in so not sure we'll make the round at Shadow Creek - the very upmarket course which was the focal point of coming to las Vegas , but hopefully he will rally.
Tonight we went to see Steve Martin. Initially we were disappointed to find out that it was in his new role of blue grass musician and song writer, but the music was great and it was still very funny. His comedic timing is so good.
Las Vegas is so over the top it's beyond tacky and is really quite exciting. Planning a quiet day tomorrow with a show tomorrow night called Love - no I was not scheduling a night of unbridled passion into our trip - it's a cirqu du soleil show based on Beatles music
By the way, to those of you who recall my visit to Melanie - she saw Lloyd playing golf in very strong winds with castle nearby!........... Food for thought

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Recent Messages

From Nicole
Hey guys, sounds like you have had a wonderful time and the golf lords have been kind to you.

Enjoy Barcelona, how long are you there for? I bet you are excited to try out your spanish Chris, probably fluent by now. Lloyd, how is your spanish coming along???? Better than Simon´s I bet. Well we start lessons on Monday for 5 days (2 x 2hr sessions per day)...hopefully we can learn more úna cerveza por favor´.

Lots of love
From Alex
Bring me back a case of Smithwicks!
Response: Too late, we're in España
From Simon
I hate that you are in Ireland without me......I miss those beautiful golf courses.....Are you at Doonbeg yet??? Dad, make sure you take Driver on the 6th and go for it.......You will know what i mean when you get there...Currently in Rio. Fantastic place but we have been really unlucky with the weather in Brazil. Hope the knees and the ankles and the menapause are holding up!!
Response: Just arrived 2 hours ago. Playing tomorrow morning. Bodies holding up but stewing under the extra weight!
From Kate Dorro
Hi you guys! Looks like you're having a great time! I hope lots of photo's are being taken!!!

My job is going well. I'm learning heaps! Pay is so poor for how much work we have to do but i'm really enjoying it!!

Can't wait to see you. Keep up the posts!
Response: Hi Kate
Glad the job is going well. I've posted lots of photos on Facebook as I can't upload to this site from the iPad. See you soon xxxxxx
From Alex
Just a little golf update: Benny and I played in the monthly medal on Saturday. Twisted was looking certain to post a winning score coming into the 17th hole, but then produced a classic choke to finish with a net 71. You'll be very surprised to hear that there was no hissy fit or even that trademark grunt/growl of his. I also played well and ended up beating him with a net 70, which was the leading score at the time, but sadly victory was not to be. I'm down to 7.7 now, well on my way to the target of 6.4 before Simon returns!
Response: Very impressive Al. We're just departing now for ireland and looking forward to more golf. Good luck in the exams! Xxxx C
From Simon
If you are looking for a game in Chicago play Cog Hill.......I saw that on the television last year and it looked amazing.......My golf glove tan has vanished.....i am depressed x
Response: Unfortunately booked before your message! Besides Cog Hill is a long way out of Chicago. Playing harbourside. By the way photos on Facebook. Xxxx
From Simon
Awkward....Can we pretend i never wrote that.....I would still be leading though......xx
From Alex
Hey guys. It sounds like you've had an awesome time so far. Not much news back here. Delivered my last bub today, so I'm glad I don't need to worry about that anymore! I also stole that Stephen Fry audiobook without realising you'd left it for Ben! Don't fret, it has subsequently been returned to its rightful owner! How do you rate the courses over there compared to here? And what was the reaction of the people in Las Vegas to Bin Laden's demise? Keep having a blast and tell dad to harden up.
Response: Cheeky buggar!!
Shadow Creek was superb. I soundly beat Chris despite my numerous infirmities. She seems to think having to play off the same tees as me was the explanation but I won't accept that.
Glad you got your numbers. Always a relief.
Knees are lousy and the disappointing thing is that they held up so well when we were on the Mornington peninsula in February. Also have developed a cervical radiculopathy left C6 if my calculations are right.
Love. Dad
From Simon
hmmmm....let me do the maths here....130 points divided by 4 rounds = an average of under 30 points!! This tells me that i would be in a comfortable lead....Sounds amazing guys!! I hope dads knee holds up....xx
Response: Now let me see 130 points divided by 4. Um gee that's hard. 4 into 13 goes 3, let's carry the 1. Now 4 into 10
That's even harder. Maybe that is 2.5
Answer 32.5
Am glad I went to a good school that taught maths!