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I'm alive! Hope everyone else is too!

So Ben and I actually got back from Australia a week ago, but I haven't felt like updating partly because Ben had this week off work as well, so we've mostly just continued to hang out; and also because we don't have a proper internet connection yet. Ben can set up his phone as a wifi but obviously I can only use that when he's around, and as my internet time is limited I like to fill it with the really important stuff like checking Facebook and complaining that nobody likes my photos on 365 anymore. Y'know.


I won't bore everyone with lengthy chunks of text about what we did (well ... not right now, anyway), so enjoy a picture book story instead.
The whole 24 hours flying thing was an awful idea, by the way. But on the plus side, we did get to stop over in Singapore's Changi airport for 6 hours, and that airport is COOL. They even had a free butterfly house.

And I found* these awesome rainbow jelly cubs with multi-coloured sponge cake inside them. All they needed was a bit of glitter and they'd have been my perfect food.
* When I say found I mean they were on sale. I didn't just find and eat random cubes of wobbly rainbow.

We arrived in Sydney and forced ourselves to adjust to Australian time by wandering around the (awesome) Botanical Gardens until we could go to bed. We found some horses.

The next day we visited Sydney zoo and Sea Life Centre which were extraordinarily expensive (oh yeh, Australia was awesome but horribly pricey), but fun. In their butterfly house Ben and I acquired his 'n' her butterflies.

This is a rock wallaby. Have you ever seen anything so pretty?!

Inland Taipan, world's most venomous snake.

The next day we left Sydney and drove to Katoomba, in the Blue Mountains. These rock formations are known as the Three Sisters and are a sacred aboriginal site.

For me, the best thing about this area - known as Echo Point - was that it resembled The Vale in my Firebrand story exactly. As in, this view is exactly what Kali would see as she looked down from her village. Somewhere down there, Corbeau is lurking! :)

Also there was this face. This is an entirely natural formation. How crazy is that? I thought you only saw shit like this in fantasy movies!

The following day, we went out on an impromptu horse trek (we'd only booked the night before). Here, we are riding along the very narrow edge of an extremely steep drop down to the river below. Naturally I'm taking photos rather than concentrating on not dying.

This is Ben's horse for the day, Reg the Standardbred. He was grumpy with other horses. :P

This was my little guy, Ceaser the Australian Stockhorse. I think this was taken near to the end of the two hour ride, when C had run out of steam.

The next day we began our journey north, stopping overnight with my friend Kate in Australian!Toronto. This is her beautiful dog, Duke.

We continued our journey to Ross's place in Durunga, near the Queensland border, the next day. It was dark when we finally arrived. Quite a trek! But the next day, there was sunshine and ponies. This is May, Ross and Michelle's Welsh Mountain mare (this is New South Wales, after all).

We stayed with Ross for just under a week, riding ponies during the day and generally having a good time. Ben wrote about this in more depth in his journal, if you're interested. I did find it very hard to begin with; I do not have any background in this style of horsemanship at all, apart from what I've picked up from Ben, and it wasn't very fun to realise that everything I thought I knew is wrong. I was literally having to learn the exact opposite of what I've been taught for the past 20 years. But I was enjoying it a lot more as the week progressed and I definitely feel like I've learnt a lot.

This is me and Birch, a Quarter Horse mare who I rode for the first half of the week. I love how totally out of my depth I look here. I'm like WHAT DO. HORSE GO WHERE. D:

Ben and Riley, his mount for the first part of the week. Riley is an ex-racehorse or, as I believe the internet likes to say, an OTTB.

On the penultimate day, Ben and I swapped horses and loved our new mounts so much that we kept them for the last day, too. I am not a Thoroughbred fan but I adored Riley.


Ben on Birch.

We did a bit of bridleless 'riding', too, which looks cooler than it feels. I don't ever use my reins to balance myself, and yet with them taken away I felt terribly unbalanced - it was really weird. Ben did it much better.

On our last ride we went out for a little hack round the property.

After the long journey to get up to Durunga, we thought we'd split our trek back to Sydney in half by leaving Ross's a day early and stopping overnight in Port Macquarie. But then we realised we'd misjudged how much time we had left, and we actually had another day before we needed to be back in Sydney - so we had two nights in Macquarie. This was a good thing, because every night at sunset an immense group of fruitbats would fly past our fifth floor window on their way out. And when I say immense, I mean it - it took 20 minutes for the entire flock to pass by. There were thousands of them.

Ben is a BFG on the beach, bahahaha.

Then it was back to Sydney where we spent a night before flying out to Singapore. We spent a day there, visited some of Ben's friends, saw dragonboat racing and went to the brilliant Night Zoo where we saw some incredible animals. I even saw fishing cats fishing! :D

So yes, that was our holiday. I absolutely will catch up on everyone's journals; it just might take me a while, as there's nearly a month's worth to go through and, like I say, I only have internet for short periods of time.

Hope everyone's well. :)


( 11 comments — Leave a comment )
May. 27th, 2013 11:16 pm (UTC)
I'm so very jealous of this whole trip. Love all the photos. The butterflies are especially stunning.
May. 28th, 2013 01:59 am (UTC)
I love the BFG reference (plus it's a great picture).

I have to say, that I still think I love chestnuts the most of all colors of horseys. ;)

Your holiday sounded fabulous. Was it hot or cool there this time of year? I have a friend in Argentina who is starting to complain about it getting close to winter there and I have to chuckle when I check the temperature there when she's saying she's cold because it's normally in the low 60s or high 50s. (Since i'm from Minnesota where in the winter is is regularly in the single digits with a windchill of sub zero temperatures).
May. 28th, 2013 09:50 pm (UTC)
Thank you! And I like chestnuts too, especially in the sunshine. :)

Well, we had a couple of cool evenings, but most of the time it was pretty warm - and by warm I mean high teens/low twenties (centigrade). That's a good summer temperature for England, so although the native Aussies were saying it was cold, we found it pleasantly warm!
May. 28th, 2013 09:54 am (UTC)
Looks like you had an amazing time! Awesome pics :)
May. 28th, 2013 09:51 pm (UTC)
Thank you!
May. 28th, 2013 01:51 pm (UTC)
Wow, what a great trip! I keep hearing how expensive Australia is and it's making me nervous. I really want to get out there soon. (note to self: fly through Singapore.)
May. 28th, 2013 06:04 pm (UTC)
So glad you loved my country :) Katoomba is fabulous, I've been there a couple of times and it's STUNNING. How did you find riding in our stock saddles? :)
May. 28th, 2013 09:47 pm (UTC)
I think Katoomba was easily my favourite place to visit. Our motel was only a five minute walk from Echo Point, too; I could have easily spent several weeks there.

Oh man, the saddles! At first I thought they were really comfy, and then we started to trot and I just could not rise. But I couldn't sit, either, partly because my guy had a bouncy trot and partly because I'm useless at sitting trot on anything smaller than 18hh. So I mostly just flopped around hopelessly like some goddamn novice. :P My poor horse...
May. 29th, 2013 12:53 am (UTC)
Glad to hear the trip was awesome. :]
Lovely photos!
May. 29th, 2013 09:05 am (UTC)
I loved hearing your experience of my country too! :)

Your pics are great!
Jun. 8th, 2013 04:04 pm (UTC)
I love that your trip still included horses!! Looks so beautiful there, and sounds like you really had a great time!
( 11 comments — Leave a comment )

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