Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Matt and Betsy's visit

I had very good intentions of going to the gym after work tonight.  But I knew if I did that then I would never write this blog.  So here I am - sacrificing my own health and well-being = to bring this much-anticipated blog.

My first US visitors were my best friend, Betsy and her husband, Matt (also my very good friend).   My plan was to write down everything funny thing that Betsy to put in my blog, but I would have been writing non-stop so I gave up on that pretty quickly! Hopefully a few good things come to me along the way.

Betsy arrived on a Thursday afternoon so I met her at Southern Cross station.  Completely uncharacteristic of my usual self, I was late so Betsy actually arrived before I did (It's okay, I never got around to making a welcome sign anyway).  I've found that relying on public transportation has turned from a very punctual person into someone that is always running late.  Just call me Autumn :)

Betsy had Thursday and Friday to explore Melbourne before we were on to our next adventure.  Highlights from Melbourne include:
  • St. Kilda
  • Coffee on Acland Street
  • Dinner at Biero in the city (my first Scoopon used!)
  • Betsy's day of exploring the city while I was at work - she didn't get lost and even made it back to my apartment on her own to get her suitcase which was still in LA when she arrived
  • Drinks at Beer Deluxe in Federation Square with Val, Graham, Steph, Emma, Rockey, and Charlotte
One of my favorite things when visiting friends in their new home is meeting their new friends so I was really glad that Betsy got to meet some of the EY group Unforunately we had to be up at 4:30 a.m. to catch a flight the next morning so had to be responsible and cut the night short.  (I was even the one that said we needed to leave - I didn't even need Kelly dragging me home!)  At least now Betsy can put a face with a name when I talk about my EY start group.

Betsy and I on St. Kilda Pier

The Kuecker's coordinated their trip around the Labor Day weekend in Australia.  Kelly and I had Monday, March 14 off so we took off Tuesday and Wednesday also to give us extra time to visit Adelaide and Kangaro Island. I had read about Kangaroo Island in "1,000 Places to See Before You Die" and have been wanting to go for a long time. Luckily the Kuecker's let me plan part of their trip around things I wanted to see (instead of seeing the same touristy things over and over with my guests).  And the even better news was that my friend Belinda lives in Adelaide so we got to see her too!

Kelly, Betsy, and I flew to Adelaide early Saturday morning where Belinda was waiting for us (thanks for getting up early to come get us Bel!!!)  We went back to Belinda's house to drop off our bags and start the day with a sausage roll from the bakery across the street and then we were off to the Barossa Valley.  For those of you that drink any Australian wine in the states - it is probably from the Barossa Valley.  Jacob's Creek and Penfold's are a couple of names you might recognize.  We went to both of these wineries!  Our in the Barossa Valley was absolutely gorgeous!  Blue skies, perfect temperature, and AMAZING scenery!

We visited 5 wineries and had lunch in Tanunda.  Anyone that was on Facebook that day probably saw your news feed filled with Belinda checking us at each place visited.  Again a big thanks to Belinda - she planned out our route, drove us around, took pictures on my camera all day, and never had a single drink.  She really is the best!!  Here are a few pictures from the day:

Our favorite for the day - Grant Burge

Betsy and I at Grant Burge (Betsy holding our first wine purchase of the day)
Saturday night we met up with some of Belinda's friends at a bar in the city.  One of her friends was in a band so we got to be groupies - dancing up a storm in front of the stage.

Sunday we went to a wildlife park where Betsy and Kelly got to hold koalas (I sat this one out as I had already done it).  I think this was the highlight of both of their trips as I have never seen either of them smile so much!

Matt arrived Sunday evening and we we welcomed him to Australia with a delicious meal - Pizza Hut all-you-can-eat buffet (if you know Belinda at all you aren't surprised by this - she loves her Pizza Hut buffet!)

Monday morning we were up bright and early to catch a ferry to Kangaroo Island.  Kelly just told me I have to be done with my blog by 9 so here is a very brief recap of our visit:

We started the day at Seal Bay.  The seals were awesome!  We didn't pay the extra to go down on the beach with them but instead chose to watch them from the boardwalk.  The seals were still super close - one of them nearly walked right up to us and another was actually sleeping under the boardwalk!  My favorite was seeing a mother and baby seal slide down a sand dune....the baby squealing all the way down.  I wish I had a video!

Seal Bay

Next we made our way to our rented house in Vivonne Bay (voted best beach in Australia a few years ago).  Although the weather wasn't too warm we decided to check out the beach.  It was beautiful even if the water was freezing.  (Sorry everyone, I didn't bring my camera).

Monday night we attempted to go to the penguin walk in Kingscote but sadly it wasn't the right season and we only got a few glimpses of any penguins (Luckily I took Matt and Betsy to the St. Kilda Pier upon their return to Melbourne and they got to see several penguins up close!)

We drove to Flinders Chase National Park to see Admirals Arch and Remarkable Rocks.  Admirals Arch brought another chance for some seal viewing and the Remarkable Rocks truly were remarkable!  We had fun taking lots of pictures here - including attempting a picture holding Matt up (we did not succeed).

Group shot at Admiral's Arch

Remarkable Rocks - failed self-timer picture
After Flinders Chase we went to Little Sahara.  Sadly I don't have any pictures of this because my camera was dead and Kelly hasn't posted any pictures on facebook yet.  Little Sahara is this huge sand dune in the middle of the island where people can go to sandboard of sled.  The climb up the dune was hard work!  We had a bit of troubles with our sled (it didn't really slide, just got stuck in the sand every few feet).   Matt, Kelly, and I each attempted to sandboard.  Matt actually did really well - he made it almost to the bottom before wiping out.  I think Kelly and I made it about 8 feet and 5 feet respectively.  I don't think professional sandboarding is in our future, we better stick with auditing.

We checked out of our house and headed to a wildlife park in the middle of the island and then checked out another beach and one last winery before heading back to Penneshaw to catch the fairy back to Adelaide.

A few other memorable moments on KI:
  • Matt's first encounter with a kangaroo occurred at about 10 PM as we were driving back from Kingscote.  That's right - Belinda hit a kangaroo!!! 
  • Apparently Belinda has something against kangaroos because in addition to running one over with her car, she also left the gate open at the wildlife park and two nearly escaped.  Don't people know how to shut the gate!
  • Belinda yelling "It's not my car" everytime something went wrong with the car - brakes screeching, running over kangaroos, etc.  (The car we took to Kangaroo Island is the car Belinda has been driving for two years.  One of her friends is letting her borrow the car while she is living in Adelaide).
Well, my internet allotment time for the night is almost over so I better wrap this up.  I will do my best to not wait another month before my next blog. 

To Matt and Betsy - Thank you so much for coming to visit me!  You have no idea how much it meant to me (even if it did make me a little homesick when you left)  Thank you for cooking for us on Kangaroo Island and for bringing me Diet Mountain Dew.  I love you guys!

1 comment:

  1. Love it!

    P.S. It was the kangaroo's fault...