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Hang on!

I always want to look forward to something. Sometimes I don’t know what. Do I just want something to be a little fanatical about? As a kid we have so much to look forward to. A birthday, a coastal low and the thick lines of water being thrown onto the reefs around my home, the first day of summer, the next Christmas, a sense of waiting, a little like desire, something to belong to. Sometimes, now I am an adult, those things have mostly dried up. For a while now I’ve been thinking of new ways, new things, I can be fanatical about. I’ve changed my mind so much, what is it I’m looking for? Is it as simple as something to belong to? I think this trip will be the answer. It will move me beyond looking forward to the next Tim Winton novel or the next album from the growing list of bands that I am in love with.
I want to walk around Paris and get lost. I want to drive alone a country road and take photos of sunsets. I want to sip red wine before midday. I want to wet my feet in the Bay of Biscay and then stand in the Mediterranean. I don’t want to understand other peoples conversation on the train. I want to buy a book from Shakespeare and Co. I want to have lunch in the Luxemburg gardens.
Shae and I fly to Hong Kong then Paris on 27th June. We will be staying in Paris until the 4th June. Disneyland (I know! I am not a theme park person as all. I did try to hide the fact that EuroDisney is near Paris), across to London to met Nora, a balloon ride over Paris. Walking the streets.
From Paris we drive south and end up about 40 minutes outside Bordeaux, in a little village surrounded by forest, called Douzillac. From Douzillac ( we drive to Toulouse and spend the night, it just happens the Tour De France arrives in Toulouse on that day! From Sunday July 13th to Sunday 19th we will stay in the little town of Villeneuve – Minervois. This place looks beautiful, stunningly simple. ( The cities of Carcassonne, Narbonne and Perpignan will be our targets, as well as every quiet corner we can find. Our last four days are back in Paris…But we will be driving up to Ameins, Formelles and Iper, doing little tours of the major Australian sites from WWI (Shae is yawning at that plan…)
It is just 27 days away. Have a look at the websites, let me know what you think…
Any hints on what to see, what to do? Anything I shouldn’t miss?

Diary Entries

Wednesday, 04 June 2008

Location: Lake Resthaven, Australia

I promise you German beer, Austrian cakes, going fast on the Autobahn, German sausages ... and two more countries to see on your trip....How could I say no to my friend Nora??
Nora is unqiue. One of the smartest people- book smart, street smart, whatever way you look at it- I know. One of the last times I saw her we drunk beer in my bedroom and walked up to a bald little hill and laid on the road looking at the stars. Even though the trickle of neatly handwritten letters with soft sugary gum dried up I have still pestered Nora via email about my big plans to travel to Europe.

Nora and I meet about ten years ago, she was an exchange student from Germany, I was a highly unsuccessful school captain. We had agreed to meet in London this year. Just recently I got an email from Nora with a polite and delightful proposal...
I was at the station today. There are still cheap offers available which means 88 Euros return Paris - Munich.
Here is my idea: I could by the tickets for you (because it is a German offer) and give them to you in London. You will be in Paris again the 19th? Catch the train 7:30 arriving at Munich at half past two in the afternoon. We will meet there and explore Munich together. In the evening we take the local train to Passau. You stay the night here at my place with a beautiful view on Passau cathedral. Sunday we will have a look at Passau and the sourroundings. Monday we will drive to Salzburg in Austria together and look at where Mozart was born and see the Alps (2 h drive from here). From ther you catch the train to Munich (1h) and back to Paris ... (or Su Salzburg /Mo Passau)'

I've been intrigued by Europe, but Germany in particular. I guess the stories of fighting two world wars against the country might have excited me as a kid, but meeting Nora fixed my idea of Germany as a place I needed to visit and consider myself. Now I will be and I can not wait...

Saturday, 31 May 2008

Location: Australia

My call for suggestions and ideas about what not to miss had the desired effect. Most people I know have been overseas, particularly to Europe, and I am such a nervous novice. I wanted some insights...

Tegan suggested a strip club while in Paris...How will that go down with Shae?? Well...Dinah was simply elegant in her suggestions: 'You dope! It’s your bloody holiday. As if I give a shit about where you are going or what you will do! I’m NOT having a wonderful trip to gay Paris.'
From Dean - The only advice I have was:
1 - I know you guys have it all set out but I reckon the best travel you can do is venturing into the unknown. I have made itineries in the past and you kinda know your trip before you get there. So yeh, if you have any spare days leave 'em blank and venture somewhere. Your gana have a sic time none the less.
2 - Make sure we catch up. Always good seeing mates os.

I am a little OCD, and Shae has a mild case of paranoia about the whole trip. You see the wedding was her little job, project. This trip is mine. I've had to be a little over prepared to reassure Shae. Really if she wasn't prepared to travel with me I would be backpacking through South East Asia, India, Chile, Eastern Europe...

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Recent Messages

From Shae
someone's excited?
From Robyn Dorney
You lucky lucky people. I am soooooooooo jealous. Stunningly beautiful isn't it.
Have you found the quintessential hot chocolate yet?