Posts Tagged ‘Holidays’

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year!!!

Monday, December 28th, 2009

We finally managed to get away from the office for a whole 11 days. The saddest thing is that we are already halfway through. Anyway, it’s great to be away, enjoying spending time with the families.

Yes, we took my family to meet Steve’s family, although some of them had already met in Spain. But my parents hadn’t met his Mum and they were all looking forward to it (or so we hoped). It seems it went well and no major disasters happened although we have the advantage that we can translate what we want, so we’re a big part in avoiding them, as long as Andrew and Helen are not around, since they speak very good Spanish.

We first went to the Gold Coast, where we spent a night in Surfers Paradise. Beautiful location, right on the Esplanada. We took my parents to a Surfing Club, so they could experience Aussie culture first hand. They loved the whole idea and the food was delicious, so that was a plus, since my Dad is pretty fussy with anything that isn’t Spanish food.

The day after, the 23rd, we headed for Stanthorpe, Steve’s hometown. His Mum was waiting for us, completely excited. Don’t know how she does it, but she looks younger every time we see her. We also spent some tim with his two brothers, partners and his two little nephews, who are gorgeous (I mean the nephews, Flynn and Joseph). Hopefull Junior, our little baby, will be as well behaved adn they are.

And the 24th, when we celebrate Christimas Eve in Spain, our biggest celebration of the whole season, we organised a traditional Aussie barbecue with the two families. together. It was really good. My parents couldn’t believe that in the middle of the Northern Hemiphere winter we are still wearing summer clothes and enjoying high temperatures. It will be a real experience for them. They are enjoying themselves, although they are finding spending Christmas during summer time a bit weird. Well, I haven’t been able to get used to it and still miss the cold, the snoe or the winter clothes. I don’t think I will ever be able to get used to it completely.

On the 25th we had a lovely Christmas lunch at a restaurant, so nobody had to cook for 11 of us. But first, it was the presents exchange, which I’m sure everybody enjoyed. However, it’s always more exciting when there are children in the family and although we all had lots of presents, including Junior, we were all mesmerized with Flynn and Joseph opening theirs. I loved all of mine, mostly the 160GB IPOD my lovely boyfriend, yes, I mean Steve, gave me. And in case you are wondering, no, nobody got drunk or started a fight.

It was time to leave Stanthorpe again, heading to the Sunshine Coast for a couple of nights, where we were planning to visit Australia Zoo. However, today has been raining heavily and sadly we decided to give it a miss. Besides, the accommodation we chose for those two nights (Beerwah PUb, the only place we could find available for less than five nights) was absolutely disgusting and we couldn’t spend more than one night there, even though we had paid for two. Luckily we got some money back and right now we’re enjoying the luxuries of our 29th floor balcony overlooking the Brisbane River and the Story Bridge, where, hopefully, we will be able to see the New Year’s Eve firework up close.

And, by the way, TODAY IT’S MY BIRTHDAY. I’m too vain to say how old I am, though, so I will keep you all wondering.

Hong Kong on our way back to Australia

Tuesday, January 13th, 2009

But of course, we didn’t fly directly from Madrid to Cairns, and since we had the chance to choose another stopover, we decided to go for Hong Kong. I didn’t know the city and Steve had been there so long ago, when it was still under the British rule, that he expected many things to have changed.

Steve eating noodle soup We got there early evening, but as any good Asian city, shops and restaurants were still open, and lots of people were still out and around. I love that in a city, maybe because Madrid is “open” 24 hours a day, if you know what I mean. Even though we had eaten lots on the planes, we couldn’t really miss the opportunity to try real Chinese food, so after leaving our luggage at the hotel, we set off in search of a nice traditional restaurant. Easier said than done, since many of the restaurants we wanted to try didn’t have an English menu and we didn’t want to end up eating stomach or something even worse. But finally, in one of the street markets Hong Kong is full of we found this little eaterie where some of the patrons spoke a bit of English and helped us choose. The food, we both had some type of noodle soup, was absolutely delicious. If any of you make it to Hong Kong, be ready to try noodle soup, these people love it and it’s, by any means, one of the most common dishes in any menu.

We wondered around the city for a few hours, stopping at a couple of street markets and we made it also all the way to the harbour, from where the views of Hong Kong Island are just breathtaking, as you can see in the photo.

View of Hong Kong Island from mainland

The next morning we got up early to make the most of the only day we had in Hong Kong. There were only a couple of “turist attractions” I wanted to visit. The first one of the Big Budha, in Lantau Island, and go up to The Peak, in Hong Kong Island. But we also wanted to have some spare time to walk the city, which is the best way to see it.

View of Hong Kong Island from mainland According to Wikipedia: The statue is named Tian Tan Buddha because its base is a model of the Altar of Heaven or Earthly Mount of Tian Tan, the Temple of Heaven in Beijing. It is one of the five large Buddha statues in China. The Buddha statue sits on a lotus throne on top of a three-platform altar. It is surrounded by eight smaller bronze statues representing gods or immortals. Like the Daibutsu in Kamakura, Japan, the Tian Tan Buddha is an image of Amitabha Buddha.

The Buddha is 34 metres (110 ft) tall, weighs 250 metric tons (280 short tons), and was the world’s tallest outdoor bronze seated Buddha prior to 2007. It reputedly can even be seen from as far away as Macau on a clear day. Visitors have to climb 268 steps in order to reach the Buddha, though the site also features a small winding road to the Buddha for vehicles to accommodate the handicapped.

Tian Tan Budha The Tian Tan Buddha appears serene and dignified. His right hand is raised, representing the removal of affliction. His left hand rests on his lap in a gesture of giving dhana. The Buddha faces north, which is unique among the great Buddha statues, as all others face south.

In addition, there are 3 floors beneath the Buddha statue: The Hall of Universe, The Hall of Benevolent Merit, and The Hall of Remembrance. One of the most renowned features inside is a relic of Gautama Buddha, consisting of some of his alleged cremated remains. There is a huge carved bell inscribed with images of Buddhas in the show room. It was designed to ring every seven minutes, 108 times a day, symbolizing the release of 108 kinds of human vexations.

The Tram that takes you to The Peak is one of the steepest trams in the world, as you can see in the photo. Normally, we wound’t do such a turisty thing anywhere, but the views over Hong Kong from the top of the peak are worth it. We didn’t stay there long as it was really cold and windy, and we weren’t prepared for it. But we were lucky enough to have two of the most famous Chinese icons posing for us. Nice, isn’t it?

The Peak Tram Jackie Chan

Bruce Lee Back in mainland Hong Kong we started another search for some food. After walking for what seemed like a very long time, we finally found this place, which was both full and had its menu written in English. Steve went for a safe western option, but I had another of those famous noodle soup with seafood. It was very tasty. On the drinks menu we saw “Salty Lemon Seven UP” and decided to try it. It was a bit disappointed as it tasted as a normal seven up, although Steve said he could taste a bit of salt. I think it was his imagination. I went for an almond milk drink, very nice.

After filling our stomachs we decided to go back to the hotel to get another coat, we were pretty cold. But once in the hotel we were too lazy to go out again and stayed in. At 8pm we were in bed thanks to the jet lag. But we woke up around 12am hungry and guess what? We ended up eating McDonalds in bed. Completely unforgivable!!!