Hello, I’m returning to my blog after a long gap. In August, I went ‘home’ to England to see my elderly parents, family and friends – more about that in future posts – and returned to Australia via a few days in Frankfurt (ahh, Europe…) at the end of September. I came back suffering the usual dose of continental confusion! Where is home, what is home, where do I want to live/retire? Those long-haul flights don’t help; they merely intensify the feeling of distance between Australia and everywhere else. When I first get back, I remain suspended in some kind of limbo, my head and heart still in my mother’s kitchen while my physical self has landed on Australian soil. Sometimes it’s a schizophrenic existence having two parallel lives across a large divide. But I am glad to say I’m feeling far less conflicted than when I first returned.
There’s nothing like springtime blossoms, a beloved dog with floppy spaniel ears, a bunch of fabulous friends and a busy new job to anchor me back here. I’m now a month into my new job and it’s varied, fun and stimulating but busy, client- and deadline-driven so I don’t always have much juice left over for blogging.
That was what was such a treat when I was away; how I relished keyboard-free time without the constant need-to-know pull of social media, without deadlines, word counts and writing commissions. Seven weeks without my mobile ringing – can anyone remember what that is like?! I only went onto international roaming a couple of times: once when I spilled red – very red staining to purplish blue – fruit tea on my sister’s brand new carpet and missed the train to Margate as a result; and the second time when the return train from Margate was delayed due to a trespasser on the line.
This trip was more luxurious than previous European trips. I travelled Premium Economy which, although nothing like as comfortable and pampered as Business Class, was well worth the investment in terms of the overall travel experience (in fact I got a great price as my itinerary involved a hop-skip-and-a-jump 10-hour layover in Hong Kong both ways and a stop in Frankfurt). The food is a bit better, the seats are longer and wider and recline further than in economy minimising sleep-sabotaging episodes of neck slumping, and, with fewer people, there’s more air to go round.
I also ditched Airbnb accommodation in favour of hotels as, frankly, I am over shared bathrooms and kitchens and self-catering. Lovely as the spacious attic room in Krakow (November 2014) was, when I ran a bath it leaked all over the floor as the tub needed sealing with silicone. Then the window-less broom cupboard-sized shower room stank of damp. You get the picture.
No, this time I stayed in a boutique hotel in Margate with funky chandeliers, sea views, great food and cocktails, and in Frankfurt I went to a family-run hotel just outside the city complete with pool, spa and sauna, patisserie, chocolate shop, fabulous restaurant and flirtatious barman! Again, that’s another story. But don’t get too excited…
Anyway, back to my November 2014 visit to Krakow, a gem of a city packed with history and interest. And full of museums. Hence my travel feature commission titled ‘Behind the Scenes at the Museum’. I ran around Krakow in an adrenal whirl packing in as much culture, caffeine and culinary delights as I could in the three days I was there. No time for luxuriating. Hopelessly conscientious (I was a bit of a swot at school…), I visited all bar one of the museums mentioned in my article. So I was particularly pleased when my article was finally published last month in travel magazine Get up & Go. If you’d like to read it, click on this link:http://emag.getupandgo.com.au/?iid=130929#folio=62