This Week In The Loft

The Family Trip to Thailand

Travelling on Scoot Airlines to SIngapore
Okay it’s been a while (2 months) since the trip to Thailand.  I’ve been so busy since getting back to Australia that I haven’t had a chance to post much about it.   The trip started on the Gold Coast with my family.  We planned a long time ago to fly on the new carrier Scoot Airlines to Singapore and on ward to Bangkok.  We were going to meet the rest of our family at Bangkok airport.  Here my little brother and my dad are checking out the plane as it lands at Gold Coast airport.

Everyone enjoyed the trip, but agreed that they would rather take a direct flight in future on a full service carrier.  Scoot was okay, but the service wasn’t as good as some other airlines.  Here we all are sitting in the back rows after paying extra for forward row seats.

Singapore airport…  Bangkok airport…  my fellow travellers are getting very tired.   We still have a 2 hour road trip ahead at the end of this to get down to Pattaya.
In Pattaya we stayed at the very glam Hilton hotel.   The hotel actually seems a bit out of place in this beachside town.  But we all enjoyed the beautiful rooms, the club lounge, the pool, the cocktails etc etc.

Pattaya itself is a bit of a fun and wild town.  It’s not really the place to bring your parents, but mine seemed to have a good time.  They really liked walking around the markets and hanging out around the hotel.  My brothers and sisters liked going out to the bars and seeing the night life.  I got a chance to head around the headland to see Jomtien Beach.  I much preferred it over there where there were some nice resorts and it was much quieter.
One thing that I always enjoy in Thailand is the amazing food.   There just aren’t enough meals in the day to get to try everything.  The food, the cocktails, the juices, everything is delicious!  I could go to Thailand just to eat!

Even my dad liked to try out new places.

I can tell that this is going to be a long post about the trip to Thailand so I think I will break it up over several posts.

This Week In The Loft

Europe for Christmas 2012

Model planes of the Oneworld alliance
When am I not planning for an overseas trip?  To round off the year with my 4th overseas trip (I think it was 4), I’m heading to Europe in search of a white Christmas (again).    Last year we only saw light snow flurries in Budapest.   So this year the the plan is to hit up Budapest – Berlin – Bucharest.  And hopefully we’ll see some good dumps of snow while we are away.  On this trip I have booked apartments instead of hotel rooms for most of our stays.  It will be nice to be able to cook our own food and wash clothes as we travel. I’m VERY excited about going back to Budapest.  That city is beautiful!   And we will be in Berlin for Christmas again where we will meet up with some of our other friends from Melbourne.  I’m not looking forward to the 31 hours of flights to get to Budapest though. That’s a killer!
My Oneworld plane collection so far…

This Week In The Loft

Berlin in Autumn

It’s actually my last day in Europe today so I thought I’d quickly update my blogs before I make the journey south to Thailand.
The first thing you will notice when you leave Tegal Airport in Berlin this month is the beautiful trees.   The autumn colours are amazing!   The air is very cool and fresh.   Just the day before we arrived in Berlin the weather forecasted the possibility of snow.   So here I am in Tier Garden, one of the most beautiful inner city parks in the world.  We walked from Zoo Station to the Brandenburg Gate, which is pretty much the entire 7km length of it.   We spotted a lot of wild life in the park….  and not just of the animal kind!
I thought Berlin was going to be about a lot of clubbing, but on this visit we actually spent most of it touring, shopping and eating.   This is my 5th visit to Berlin and I will never get sick of coming here.    I’ve found a great little guesthouse in Schoneberg where I can stay for very little money.    I would like to come back when the snow is falling here.

Here you can rent the vehicles that were once only ever found in East Berlin.

A myth?   Under this residential courtyard is where Hitler’s bunker was built and where he later died.    The position of this children’s playground is where the body was taken and burned.   Pretty grim stuff.   My travelling buddy Chris is very sceptical.

I’ve become a Ka De We department store food court frequent flyer on this visit to Berlin.    Ka De We dedicates it’s 2 top floors to food and wine from all over the world.   I could spend a day there alone sampling the yummy food.

Here I am with Kylie in an east Berlin flea market on a brisk Sunday afternoon.    It is not far from here that we found a long stretch of the Berlin wall still standing.

This Week In The Loft

Paris in the Fall

We had a really nice time in Paris.   Unfortunately our stay was not long enough.   We squeezed quite a lot in to the short stop.   The owner of the apartment commented on how clean it was at the end of our stay.   That’s because were hardly ever there.
Paris was pretty chilly and on and off rainy.  But we survived and managed to do most things we wanted to see and do.   I think I almost ate my weight in delicious pastries.   I still find the French a little bit on the strange side, but I think if I spent more time there I would understand their ways.
I’m finding the trip to be a little bit too quick with lots of rushing about.   Hopefully the next few days will be more relaxing.

This Week In The Loft

Taking 5 to Catch Up

I know I’ve been strangely absent this past month.  It’s only because I have so many things going on at the moment.   I have been balancing a busy workload as well as a few other personal things.   I kinda knew something was not right over the past couple of months, so in November I will be getting another operation on my hip to try to repair it again.   Hopefully this time I will come out of it a bit better.   At least this time I know what I’m going to be in for.
I’m also in the middle of negotiating to buy another property here on my street in Melbourne.  I’m still not sure if it’s the right thing to do.   But I’ll write more about that once all the numbers work out.
I didn’t get the book deal for my photography after all.    But that’s okay.   I will continue to work at being a better photographer and maybe someday I will publish my own book.
And the big trip to Europe is coming up!   I’m travelling there with my mate Chris.   We have finally booked everything and will take off in the middle of October to London, Paris and Berlin.   I imagine lots of beer drinking in Berlin for Oktoberfest…    even though the centre for that is Munich (?).
And the last piece of news is that Loft 2 is finally getting a dishwasher!   I’m piling up the dirty dishes in anticipation of it’s arrival.   No more stacks of dirty dishes around the kitchen.   I was going to buy one when I moved in here with Jake, but I always thought I wouldn’t stay here long.
So that’s it…   a quick update.  I promise I’ll post more often with all these little projects coming up.

This Week In The Loft

The A380 Conclusion

After talking about it so much over the past year I thought I had better at least give you my thoughts after my first ride on the Qantas A380 Airbus from LAX to Melbourne (a 15 hour flight).   Forgive my greasy look above…  I had just flown over 5 hours from New York and was about to take on another 15 hours of flying to Australia.
I was on the newest A380 plane added to the Qantas fleet so it was very shiney and new.   And I’ve gotta say…  that thing is enormous inside!   I am actually sitting against the window in economy in the pic above and there is more space between the window and your shoulder.  So even though I had 2 people sitting alongside me I did not feel crowded.   The seats are quite comfy and the new large TV screens are great, clear and full of movies and TV shows to keep you entertained for many hours.
In the middle of the flight I staggered to the back of the plane looking for the toilets.   I asked the flight attendant if there were toilets at the back, and she said yes, just go past the curtain.   I lifted the curtain aside to find that there was even more plane back there!!!   I was only part way down the plane.   And this big beast takes 45 minutes to load.   About 15 minutes longer than the Boeing 747.
Overall it was nice ride.   It is a lot smoother taking off and landing, and definitely a lot quieter.   I would take the A380 anytime…  but make sure you get a window or aisle seat so you are not stuck in the middle.   The last shot below is a the view from the tail camera on my TV screen as we pulled back into Melbourne airport.   Home sweet home!

This Week In The Loft

San Francisco Day 1

Just a quick post.  I had a quick and easy ride from Melbourne to Sydney to San Francisco.   I slept for 8 hours of the 13 hours trip over here.   Along the way I saw Pam An’s very funny 2 hour comedy show in London on the Qantas entertainment system.   It was the perfect program to watch on a long haul to the US.  And good on Qantas for showing it considering it is all about making fun of the airline industry.
I am staying at the same guesthouse that Chris and I stayed in last year.  I’m pretty sad that Chris could not come along.   But within 3 hours of being here I had already joined Golds Gym (a 7 day membership pass) and met up with 3 friends.   I have a feeling it’s going to be an interesting week here.   I will post pics soon.

This Week In The Loft

USA in May

It’s just 10 days now until I leave to travel to California and New York again.  And I can’t wait!   It’s not so much about the destination anymore…  I just like going on vacations overseas…  anywhere!    I’m sure I will be beating myself up again once I wake up with 4 hours still to go on one of those long hauls across the Pacific Ocean.    The photo above was taken around this time last year as I waited amongst the masses at LAX for my flight to Melbourne.   This trip will give me 6 days in San Francisco and 6 days in New York.   I hope it is nice and warm by the time I get there.

This Week In The Loft

Hilton Honors Member

I couldn’t actually afford to travel this long weekend (with the USA trip coming up) so I brought the holiday to melbourne.  I joined Hilton Honors on Saturday and to celebrate I stayed at the brand spanking new Hilton South Wharf.  I love a shiney new hotel.   The Hilton South Wharf has large comfortable rooms with floor to ceiling windows with great view of either Port Philip Bay or the Yarra River and the CBD.    The CBD is the better view (in my opinion).   This morning I woke up just in time to see 3 hot air balloons float past my window….   NICE!

This Week In The Loft

Weekend in Newcastle

I actually think that keeping busy makes time go faster.   So this month I have been packing in loads of small projects to keep my mind occupied until I leave for San Francisco and New York next month.   So last weekend I headed up to Newcastle with Chris to check out the place.  Okay, so we were there barely 24 hours.  But it was enough time to look around the city, checking out the beaches and the harbour, do some shopping, eat and get back on the plane again.  I was actually hoping to get a swim in the Chifley Apartments “heated” swimming pool but the water was way too cold!    It’s been about 20 years since I was last in Newcastle…  the place hasn’t changed a whole lot.   I had no idea they had so many nice beaches there!