Wednesday, July 14, 2010

Home again!

Well, it was fun while it lasted, but lo and behold, here I am once again in my dear hometown of Melbourne. Hmm, that sounds more dismal than it should. Actually, I'm very happy to be home - I love Melbourne dearly, and though I (obviously) adore travel and do it as prolifically as I can afford to, the places that I've been where I would be happy to live can probably be counted on one hand, and I don't honestly think that any of them can compare to my current place of residence. I wouldn't rule out longer trips, or even extended stays elsewhere, but I can't help but suspect that Melbourne will always be my home. I do love it so - it's a wonderful place to live.

Anyway, enough of that waffle - I'm now going to subject you all to a different kind of waffle: what I did in the latter third of my trip!

On July 5th we shoe-horned ourselves out of bed painfully early and made our way to the airport, and by mid-morning found ourselves in New Orleans. I honestly think that of all of the places that I visited on this trip, New Orleans was my favourite - it's beautiful, has so much character, and a really great vibe to it. Also, when I compared to some of the other places I'd already visited, it really drove home to me again just how diverse a nation the US is - New Orleans and Boston are very different places!

Unfortunately we only had a few days to stay, but we packed as much into our days as was humanly possible. Of course, we started by wandering around the French Quarter and seeing the sights there. We also met up with the very lovely Cadence, who was awesome enough to meet up with us and show us around to a few places (thanks again!). One of the places we went was The Quarter Stitch, a yarn shop in the French Quarter. I bought some lovely yarn there, which is not particularly surprising, but what was surprising was how beautifully our purchases were wrapped up for us. Alas, I don't have a photo that entirely does it justice, as by the time this shot was taken the poor package had been squished into my pack for over a week, but to give you a rough idea:

Why yes, those are ribbons, and those pink things on the left are cut-out tissue paper hearts inside the bag. I saved the tag, and it now has its own little place on the wall next to my desk. Yarn shopping aside, over the next few days we wandered far and wide through a couple of other areas of the city, ate gumbo and beignets, and did a tour of some nearby swamps (alligators!).

On Thursday it was off the airport again, and by mid morning we were in Houston. We had a poke around the Space Centre, and then went out for delicious tex-mex and margaritas in the evening. The next day it was off to San Antonio. We saw the Alamo, so now I can remember it (sorry, lame joke I know...)!

The next day we looked at some of the missions in the San Antonio area, and then went tubing on the Guadalupe River. Tubing was tremendous fun (how can you really go wrong with floating down a river, drinking beer and nibbling on fruit and snacks), though things did take a turn for the somewhat dangerous near the end - I collided with a girl stuck against a tree, was thrown from my tube, and got my foot stuck in some underwater tree roots, which had the unfortunate effect of making it rather difficult to come up to the surface for air. Thankfully I got free quickly - once again, I'm so thankful for being a strong swimmer. So that was some excitement at least!

The next day we packed up and headed back to Houston, where I was equipped with a peanut butter and jelly sandwich and turned loose at the airport. I sat through four (yes, four) flights, and then, some enormous number of hours later, found myself back in a rather wintry Melbourne.

All in all, it was a fantastic trip. I got to meet some wonderful people and see some amazing places - I know this is getting repetitive, and I'm beginning to run out of positive adjectives, but long story short, I count myself extraordinarily lucky that I was able to have some of these experiences, and I definitely left a lot of places thinking 'Wow, I have to come back here...' The wanderlust, it is strong in this one.

As for the yarn I acquired along the way, and the knitting I did on the road; I'm allocating them separate blog posts, because I don't want to weigh too heavily on everybody's attention spans, but hopefully they'll be up soon enough. So now all that's left to do is go and finish unpacking, and to say thanks again to everyone who I got to catch up with (especially Rebecca, who drove me countless places and never strangled me, despite my irritating tendency to talk to inanimate objects). Thanks again everyone - should you ever find yourselves in Melbourne and need a couch, a tour-guide, or a personal baker, you know who to call on!


Cadence said...

Yay, pictures! That is an AMAZING shot of Andy and the cathedral! It was so much fun to spend the afternoon with you and Rebecca. Thanks so much for meeting up with me, and I'd love to do it again if you ever return to New Orleans. I'm so glad you enjoyed your stay here!

choperena said...

I'm so glad you are back home safe. Isn't San Antonio wonderful? I absolutely love it! I lived there for a while when I was little, and my brother still has a house a couple of blocks to the right of your picture. Maybe, someday, I'll manage to actually find a job and move back there (or Austin). It is just a completely different world than up here in the NE!

And tubing is such a fun and relaxing experience. There's a water park named Schliterbahn that is the bomb! They have a bunch of rides, and then you can just let yourself loose down the river and chill.

Abby said...

I am so very impressed with this trip! It looks like you planned it out very well and made excellent use of your time.

And to top it off, you're back safely home sweet home!