You know that good tiredness one feels after a hard workout -- when the sweat is cooling off your brow and you are still trying to catch your breath? The adrenaline is pumping through your veins and the endorphins have you high? I feel just like that!
Its New Years Eve 2016 and its time to say bye to Australia. In three weeks, we have taken 7 flights, traveled to three different parts of this vast land and spent countless hours in the sun. The boys have been remarkable travelers, putting up with long flights, layovers, late evenings and busy crowds. Most nights they have fallen asleep after declaring, "That was the best day ever!"
It will take many days, nay months to digest our experiences. For now, here are the highlights, the big moments that stand out to ...
... "Kumano trains!", Advait's name for Melbourne's efficient trams
... Seeing the moon seventy times magnified through the telescope at the Melbourne Observatory
... Walking through the Royal Botanical Gardens, frolicking at the Children's Garden
... Running on St. Kilda beach
... Tree Surfing through five tough high ropes courses at the Enchanted Maze Garden
... Playing at Bell's Beach in warm summer rain
... Hearing the long calls of the Blue Penguins on Phillip Island
... Swimming in the open waters of the Great Barrier Reef
... Diving at the Great Barrier Reef
... Witnessing Vehd lose his underwater camera at the Great Barrier Reef and then seeing two pro divers recover it from the bottom of the ocean
... Walking the trails of Mount Wellington in Hobart
... Eating the best brownie ever at the Taste of Tasmania
... Being entranced in the Newdegate Cave
... Visiting the Sustainability Learning Center in Hobart
... Hand-feeding Kangaroos
... Casting my eyes on the hills and waters of Hobart every evening for a week
... Watching Mary Poppins at the Outdoor Cinema in Hobart
... Walking the rich and vibrant laneways of Melbourne
... Eating the most delicious cherry ever at Stonycrest
These moments have emerged from the landscape of a land and a culture that is relaxed, laid back and wild! Only twenty-three million people live in this island country. They love the outdoors, enjoy the arts and they are funny as seals! We have been met by the friendliest people who have gone out of their way to make us comfortable. We have enjoyed the omnipresence of Asian and Indian foods in places big and small. Its been a treat to watch cricket on TV every evening. Its been heartwarming to see a nation committed to the education of its young, home to some of the best learning places.
Above all, its been humbling to be bathed in a land and held by people incredibly beautiful, strong, rich, vibrant and genuinely relaxed about life.
Goodbye darlings, see you soon, Mate!