Two Twingos and a Cottage

We left Edinburgh in a rental car – an orange Renault Twingo. “What is a Twingo?” you ask. Well, I can tell you because I looked it up. The name is a combination of the words “twist,” “swing,” and “tango,” and supposedly refers to the fun nature of the car. It is a nice zippy little thing. We headed north to Stirling and then up to Doune to do something that we both wanted to do very much—visit the castle where Monty Python and the Holy Grail was filmed. Continue reading “Two Twingos and a Cottage”

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Scotland the Brave

Edinburgh, as many of you know, is my favorite city. There are other cities that are flashier, prettier, cleaner, but for my money nothing feels like home away from home like Edinburgh. As we pulled into the outskirts of the city I began to get unreasonably excited even though I had slept no more than two hours combined upright in the cramped bus seat next to the giant man across the aisle snoring like a bear. Continue reading “Scotland the Brave”

How Come Every Time You Come Around My London Bridge Wanna Go Down?

It is remarkable that only a tad over 100 years have passed since the first flights of the Wright brothers. Air travel has come so far since then. However, it still sucks. We began in Cairns by dropping of the campervan, a bittersweet moment, and getting a taxi to the airport. We felt pretty fancy since we’ve been taking nothing but public transportation. I almost forgot what taxis do. “You mean to say,” I wanted to ask the cab driver, “that we can get in this car and you will take me directly to my destination with no stops and without having to sit next to any obnoxious/smelly/frightening people?” Continue reading “How Come Every Time You Come Around My London Bridge Wanna Go Down?”

Cairns – It’s Not Pronounced the Way It Looks

After leaving Daintree we decided to give Port Douglas a try. We had heard good things about it and it seemed like a good place to chill out for a couple of days before heading to Cairns. We also heard from one of the immigration officers that Port Douglas was a much better place to go out to the reef from. We had the impression that Port Douglas would be a sort of laid back beach-bar kind of place. That impression would be wrong. Continue reading “Cairns – It’s Not Pronounced the Way It Looks”

Hey Noah, Where Did You Put Those Plans for the Ark? Or Death to All Mosquitoes

We got to Cape Tribulation which is part of Daintree National Forest by crossing the river on a car ferry. Very nice. The 40 kilometer drive from the river to Cape Tribulation through the national park was breathtaking. In some parts the rain forest canopy almost completely obscured the sky above making it seem as if we were driving through a leafy green tunnel. Our specific destination was what turned out to be the appropriately named Noah Beach where we had reservations at the campground for two nights. Continue reading “Hey Noah, Where Did You Put Those Plans for the Ark? Or Death to All Mosquitoes”

The Dream Continues…

We read about Paronella Park in the guidebook and it looked like it was worth a visit. The guidebook stated that there we would find, “the ruins of a Spanish castle…the culmination of the dream of Jose Paronella. In 1929 he began the monumental project that, in addition to the castle, included a tea house movie theatre, expansive ‘pleasure gardens’ and even a hydro electricity plant.” The pictures that accompanied the description were convincing. Continue reading “The Dream Continues…”

Leeches Suck

I feel compelled to start this autobiographical narrative the way that many of my students like to begin their narratives: Have you ever had a leech stuck to your leg? Well I have.

We were quite pleased to get a prime spot in the Wooroonooran National Park campground. (I admit, the name is a bit unwieldy). The park is within the rain forest area and in that respect it did not disappoint. Fairly early in the morning we headed off on a hike to the falls. Continue reading “Leeches Suck”

How Much is That Koala in the Window?

Cardwell is another one of those Australian towns that, minus the different accent, might be mistaken for a town in the mid-western US. Sad looking buildings? Check. Shops that close at mid-day on the weekends? Check. Locals eying us suspiciously? Check. We stayed in Cardwell because we wanted to go to Hinchinbrook Island which is close by. Our plans were thwarted by the steep price of $85 per person for a ferry ride there.

The most exciting thing about Cardwell is what happened before we got there: I got to hold a koala bear. Continue reading “How Much is That Koala in the Window?”

Getting Old in Cape Hillsboro

Cape Hillsboro turned out to be one of the best beaches we’ve seen. We got to the park early in the morning and were pleasantly surprised at how gorgeous the beach was. We immediately took a walk to explore the place, and came upon a trail that led from the beach up to a lookout and back down to the campground. It was hot out, but the trail was full of life. Brush turkeys (which I cannot say without sounding the way that Jimmy Walker would say, “jive turkey”) scratched in the dirt searching for food. Continue reading “Getting Old in Cape Hillsboro”