Monday, September 26, 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016 - Victoria, Australia

It was Spring season in Australia now. The weather in Melbourne was still feeling like winter though with temperature of 12 degree in afternoon and 8 degree at night, especially during rainy days, the first few days we reached to this city. My hands and feet were freezing cold each night before going to bed. However, after coming back from Gold Coast and Brisbane, the weather had turned warmer. At least there was sunshine during the day!!! And we were very lucky and blessed with beautiful weather on the day we visited the Tesselaar Tulip  Festival on 24 September 2016.

Flora, my sister and I made appointment to visit this festival about a month before my arrival's. Flora, her husband - Karma, her friend - Sonam, were arranging to take leave from work so that we all could go together to this event. And finally, the day came!!!

Total 13 of us with two cars reached the car park in the morning around 10.30 am. We unloaded our stuffs and headed inside finding great location for our picnic. It was a great space under the big tree, not too far from where the live jazz was held. Mats were lied down and we all settled down.

We-fie :)

Surprise Birthday celebration at Tesselaar Tulip Festival - 24 September 2016

Soon after, Flora took out a flowery box from her bag. It turned out to be the Oreo Cheese Birthday cake, ordered by her and made specially by her Bhutanese friend. Her daughter, Lekdhen, helped up decorating the cake by putting up my name on it. Not only that. She also took out the handmade Birthday card drawn cutely by Lekdhen - Doraemon as the cover, then inside the Koala with birthday wishes as Flora intended to convey for me, plus birthday gift for me - the beautiful necklace with "a tree of life" pendant (I often saw it here but had no idea about the meaning. It sure had so many meanings and symbolized different things religiously and culturally. But for me, I would take it as the life's journey and motivated me to keep living, become stronger and wiser, just like the old tree, no matter how life would challenge me again and again). Name same kadinche-la Flora for your very kind thought towards me.Thank you, thank you, and thank you.

Delicious Oreo Cheesecake from Flora :)

We all sang the Birthday song. I made a wish and blew up the candles. We took photo together to remember this moment. Cake was cut and I had quite a big share for myself. Zimbeh la... which means delicious :)

Suja Desi for celebrating the belated Blessed Raining Day :)

The day before was the auspicious Blessed Raining Day but we could only celebrate it on the day after. Sonam made Desi (yellow glutinous rice with raisin), while Flora concocted Suja (butter tea). We had both after the cake. Hhhmmm..... I felt blessed beyond measure. Although I was not in Bhutan, but I could feel as if I was there :)

Six beautiful ladies in Kira - under cherry blossom tree - Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016 - Victoria, Australia

We were all very full. Now it was time to walk around. Before that, ladies changed their clothes into Kira (Bhutan traditional cloth). It was Flora's idea so I brought my Kira all the way from Singapore so I too could wear it with them :) She even lent her friend's Kira so that my sister could wear them too. So, there we were posing beautifully with beautiful flowers there :)

Bhutanese Picnic Lunch at Tesselaar Tulip Festival - Australia

At 3 pm we all gathered back into our place. It was time for lunch. Both s Flora's and Sonam's families brought Bhutanese dishes into the picnic. They shared it with us too. There were ema datshi (chili with cheese), bean with cheese, potato with Paneer cheese, egg curry, Ricotta cheese with chili, and Karma even cooked beef dried (shakam pa) in Bhutanese style for us despite they were all vegetarian. Both red and white rice were there. It was so delicious. As a result we all ate more than one serving :D Thank you so much everyone for sharing your delicious food with us.

Had tea at Flora's place :)

We went home at 4 pm and stopped by at Flora's place as my nephew's request (he wanted to play with Flora's and Sonam's daughters for a while). Hahaha... So we stopped there and Flora made us a cup of tea/ coffee to warm our bodies in such cooling evening. In a while we all went home. It had been such a beautiful day and let me share the beautiful flowers' photos as per below. Enjoy!!! :)

Beautiful spring blossoms at Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016 :)

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Tesselaar Tulip Festival 2016

Cheers from us :)

Thursday, September 22, 2016

Sydney Itinerary Day 6 - Cumberland State Forest, Leura Village, Blue Mountains, River Cruise and Fireworks at Darling Harbor

At 8.20 am, hubby and I were waiting in front of YHA building, next to the Central train station. Days before that, I registered for a tour to Blue Mountains at a stall near the Circular Quay Station. After comparing few agents, I thought this was the most suitable one with what I required. We paid AUD$236 for two to the above places (exclude fireworks, which was free of charge).

We filled our stomach with a regular cup of Cappuccino from 7-eleven, our favorite coffee, since it offered the cheapest coffee in town (at AUD$1/cup), and made ourselves a quick sandwich made of sour dough rye bread with ham that we bought a night before.

Morning walk at Cumberland State Forest - Australia

The driver cum tour guide drove around the town picking up the rest of the participants before heading to the Koala park. Those who chose to enter the park (by paying additional fee), would enter and see the Australian wildlife animals. The rests who chose not to (including us), were brought to Cumberland State Forest for a short distance walk. The trails were not long. It just took us less than half an hour to walk through it. The place was filled with Eucalyptus trees, growing very high up to the sky. Many birds were detected too filled the place with their sounds. What a calm and beautiful morning to spend with!!! :)

Beautiful spring flowers :)

Nearby the area, there was a shop selling potted plants and its equipment. There were many beautiful spring flowers for sale too! If I were to stay there, my hubby would have bought many of them and plant them back home. Too bad! We could only take the photos with it and record in at the back of our memory :)

Short break next to Nepean River

When time's up, we fetched the rest back from the Koala park, and we were brought to the Nepean River. The driver provided us with juices and cookies.

Picnic lunch at Leura Village :)

In a while, the journey continued. We were brought for an early lunch at Leura Village. Many went into the restaurants available at the site. However, hubby and I chose to sit at one of the bench and had picnic :) We brought fresh salad with roasted sesame dressing and had it again with the bread, ham, and cheese. The air was cool and quite windy but it did not stop us from the picnic :D Just loved to have the simple meal (simplicity was the best!!!) ;)

The beautiful Three Sisters from Echo Point - Blue Mountains, Australia

Finally, we were brought to the Echo Point where we could see the beautiful Three Sisters. Those who chose to pay for the Aboriginal show, were brought to the site (Waradah Aboriginal Theatre).

3 Scenic rides plus scenic walkway at Blue Mountains - Australia :)

After it was over, we all went to take the 3 scenic rides, which was Scenic Skyway (Australia's highest cable car), Scenic Cableway (Australia's biggest cable car), and Scenic Railway (the steepest incline passenger carrying railway in the world), plus the Walkway - where our tour guide explained to us more about the area, the animals, the plantations, and so on.

Watching beautiful sunset from Fantasea River Cruise - Sydney, Australia

After that, our tour was ended. We were driven back to Sydney Olympic Park, and stopped at the harbor there to take our river cruise by Fantasea. I did not expect that it turned up to be the best part of the tour where we could finally see the sunset view from the back of our boat. Oh man... it was simply marvelous!!!

Beautiful houses along seaside - Sydney, Australia

We could see many mansion and beautiful houses along the seaside, where many would even have their own yacht waiting at their doorstep. Many riches stayed there obviously! Just could not stop admiring its beauty!!!

Beautiful night view in Sydney from river cruise :)

The evening sky turned into dark as the sun went down and we were able to see the night view of the Sydney Opera House, Harbor Bridge, and also Darling Harbor, where we stopped.

Our last night dinner in Sydney :)

We had dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe, just the two of us. The appetizer plate alone was enough for both of us plus a glass of local draft beer. It tasted like heaven :P

video

Just nice after that, the fireworks were going to start!!! It was displayed weekly every Saturday at 8.30 pm. Wow!!! It was displayed beautifully with many varieties!

Messina at the Star :)

When it's over, we decided to keep walking to the Star - the Casino in Sydney city, just few minutes walk from the Darling Harbor. Both of us went inside the Casino to see how it looked like. After that, we headed to Messina to have the delicious Gelato again :D This time I chose Macadamia and Italian Nougat. Hmmm... nyummy!!! 2 scoops at AUD$6.80 :)

My hosts in Sydney :) Thank you all of you! :)

We went back using the light rail then train. As the light rail went by, we slowly said goodbye to the beautiful city. That would be our last night there in Sydney. It had wrapped our night beautifully and perfectly. I had no idea when would I return again but for sure, this time, we were really blessed with perfect weather this Spring, perfect accompanies, meeting wonderful people that I had not met for long, delicious food from everywhere,, and not forgetting our hosts - Hadi and Virny - who had allowed us to stay at their home for the past one week there. Thank you, thank you, and thank you everyone for everything!!! We felt very grateful and thankful. Without your help and presence, our trip would mean nothing. Thank you to my sister who had come accompanying us for the first few days of our stay there. Thank you everyone!!! :)

Wednesday, September 21, 2016

Sydney Itinerary Day 5 - Manly Beach

Ferry ride from Sydney Harbor to Manly Wharf

I felt that my stay in Sydney would not be complete without paying a visit to Manly Beach. It was a Sydney's northern beach, took us merely half an hour ferry ride from the Sydney Harbor (Circular Quay train station). The view from the ferry ride was beautiful. It was right for us to sit at the back of the ferry, so that we could capture the beautiful Sydney Opera House from the other side :)

Manly Court House

I went there too seventeen years ago, but could not really remember on what to see or what to do. I did not prepare anything either. Just wanted to go there to take a walk along the beautiful beach, feel the sea breeze blowing upon my face, eat some fish and chips, and relax, just be there, to relax and unwind.

Everyone recommended me to eat fish 'n chips while going to any beach in Australia. I had no idea which stalls selling the nice fish 'n chips. Therefore, I referred to Google this time, and it led me to TripAdvisor who recommended me to go to Fishmongers Manly. I had to turn on the GPS to find this place (11-15 Wentworths Rd), as it was located one block away from the beach, at the small corner, quite a small shop, which opened at 12 pm.

Gourmet Fish 'n Chips at Fishmongers Manly

I asked the staff on what to eat. I would like to have fresh fish (instead of frozen Hoki fillet), so she recommended me the fresh flat fish (battered) served with chips (potato wedges) plus sweet potato chips, and added the salt 'n pepper fresh Calamari, served with sweet Thai chili sauce and Tartar sauce. It was nice! Not many people eating there though. Perhaps due to the location, and it was not the traditional fish 'n chips as what I first imagined too hehe... Nevertheless, it was a great lunch. Hubby and I enjoyed it very much!

Seagulls everywhere - Manly Beach

The weather was very good that afternoon. The sky was blue and bright. We walked along the beach. There were many seagulls down there. Some were waiting for the food, some were flying, some were sleeping on the sand, and so on.

Beautiful flying seagulls - Manly Beach

The above picture was captured beautifully!!! Loved it so much!!! :)

Beach activities - Manly Beach

So, as per planned, we both walked along the beach. It was such a warm but windy afternoon. I had to tie my hair to avoid being messed up :) After a while, we sat down on the wooden bench facing the sea looking at people out there. Just relaxed and unwind... Hmm......

Manly Wharf - Sydney Harbor

We walked back to the Manly Wharf after some time passing through the Corso - the pedestrian road with shops at left and right, and caught ferry back to Sydney Harbor. From there, we walked along the Pitt Street towards the Queen Victoria Building (QVB) to meet my high school friends for dinner.

Dinner at Makoto and had Gelato at Messina - Surry Hills

I finally met up with Putra again (after 14 years!!!) and Sylvia (after 8 years!). We had dinner at Makoto Sushi Bar and Restaurant. Hmm... just knew that Putra did not eat fish. I mean.. befriended him since junior high school time but never noticed that he did not like and eat fish :D But he did not say anything when we said meeting at sushi restaurant. Lol! We almost moved somewhere else to have the second round.

We did though, second round, but not for dinner. It was to have delicious Gelato or ice cream from Messina. They were thinking to go to the Star Casino or the Surry Hill's outlet and at the end Putra suggested the Surry Hill's one. But did not expect the road was really hilly!!! My hubby was not feeling well and had no idea about the road condition. He was having fever and had no choice but to follow. Poor hubby... The Gelato was really good!!! The long queue was worth it. I tried pandan and coconut with salted caramel with the flakes. OMG!!! The salted caramel was really delicious, so did the other one. Loved it so much! Thank you Putra for keeping your words to treat me the ice cream when I visited you there :) So, that was how another day passed by... One more day spent in Sydney. Coming up soon....

Friday, September 16, 2016

Collect memories, not things

Sunrise at Surfers Paradise Beach - Gold Coast, Australia 

"Dear, dear... get up... get up..." whispered me beside his ears, who were still naked with only underwear left on his body. He was still tired from our rigorous lovemaking last night. I couldn't help but to wake him up as the view outside our balcony was so marvelous!!! The sun rays shone the surrounding areas. The beach sound, the cooling fresh air, the flying birds, it was just.... indescribable!!! And I couldn't just enjoy this beautiful scene alone.

"Hmm.... what time is it?" He opened one of his eyes. "It's just 6.38 am," whispered me. "Come on, you gotta have a look on this!" I open the curtain from our room's window. The sky had turned bright. "Balcony's view was even great!!" said me excitingly!

Breathtaking view of lovely Friday morning from the Balcony's :) - Surfers Paradise, Gold Coast

He wore his blue color bathrobe and followed me to the balcony. "Woahhh....!!!!" exclaimed him as he opened both eyes shockingly. "This place isn't just Surfers Paradise, but also heavens on earth for honeymooners like us," continued him.

"Indeed dear!" Look at that view! Oh the flying birds!!! Aren't they beautiful? Remind me of us all the time! We can make this far and it's simply.... unbelievable!!!" told me.

"Nothing is impossible dear! As long as there is a will, there will be a way!" replied him and smiled. He stood behind me with two arms lingered and wrapped upon my body facing towards the beautiful view. His hands grabbed both my arms tight symbolised of not wanting to let me go forever.

Beautiful sunrise!!!

Both of us just stood up there for minutes, watched the sunrise as it showed up slowly from the clouds, and enjoyed the moments together.

He kissed my cheeks from aside. "I love you dear..."

"I love you too...." replied me.

As the sun rose high, the temperature shot up. He knew I couldn't get too much sunshine so he asked me to get inside. But before that, he said, "Dear, let's take a selfie here..., to commemorate our precious moments together," while smiling.

"Sure!" replied me, while smiling too.

"Collect moments, not things."

P.S. This post was inspired by the beautiful view we had over here. As said above, to commemorate and keep the memories. Wish everyone a beautiful and lovely day!!!

Wednesday, September 14, 2016

Sydney Itinerary Day 4 - Nan Tien Temple, Wollongong Botanic Garden, and Wollongong Beach

Day 4 - Nan Tien Temple, Wollongong Botanic Garden, and Wollongong Beach

Train journey towards Wollongong :)

Weeks before flying to Australia, I contacted Yeshi or known more as Yessi Norfe (a young Bhutanese lady who currently resided in Wollongong with her two and half years old beautiful daughter called Daisy Choetsho Droma - whom she called 'Bumchu', who was also a blogger who blogged since year 2011. Find her blog here - Hear My Voice/ Mommy Blog. Obviously I knew her through the blogsphere, most probably since year 2013, when I started knowing few active Bhutanese bloggers around.

Feel like a student again :P

When I visited Australia two years ago, I did no have chance to visit Sydney. So this time, when I had more time to spend in Sydney, I planned a whole day to be spent with her and Bumchu :) So, through Instagram message and We Chat, we chatted and planned our trip together. I took train early in the morning from where I stayed to North Wollongong for about 1.5 hours. From there, I had to go to the opposite platform (platform 1), walked few steps and got into the UOW (University of Wollongong) bus provided for students freely. Well, both hubby and I felt like a student taking that bus hahaha.... :P

Having breakfast while waiting for the bus :)

Once reached the University's bus stop, we waited for both of them for a while. Since we had just missed our next bus, we paid a visit to the nearest loo. We had to change twice before reaching the Nan Tien temple. While waiting for the other bus, we went to 7-eleven to get our caffeine dose, orange cupcakes for Bumchu, and banana cake for myself. Did not expect the banana cake tasted really good! The $1 regular coffee/cappuccino was our favorite too!!! :)

Fo Guang Shan Nan Tien Temple - Wollongong 

Reaching temple, we went inside and prayed. We prayed to Goddess of Mercy or Kwan Im Pu Sha, also known as Avalokitesvara. Upon entering the main shrine, there were students doing some breathing exercise as part of their tour around the temple. We again offered our prayers to the Buddha (there were 5 Buddha statues inside). In a while, we heard what the temple staff explained to those students about the temple and the Buddha statues in front of us, also about Buddhist teachings in general.

Gratitude Bell - Nan Tien Temple 

We went to see the Pagoda and walked up towards the Gratitude Bell. You could 'gong' the bell as feeling gratitude towards your parents. There, we sat down and had a small picnic :)

Playing with Bumchu :)

We saw the other parts of the temple before heading to the bus stop. We just missed our bus so the next one would take quite some time. While waiting, Bumchu was playing with us, acting as shopkeeper and we were all as the buyers. So cute....

Wollongong Botanical Garden - Australia

Yeshi invited us to her rented home for lunch. To reach there, we had to walk across the Wollongong Botanical Garden. Wow!!! Again, we were blessed with beautiful flowers and natures there :)

Delicious Bhutanese meal at Yeshi place :)

She prepared quite a lot of food for us, among them, many were cooked in Bhutanese style, such as; ema datshi, ezzay, dhall, kewa and nutella datshi. Only fried salmon was not. She prepared it all by herself since morning time. Wow!! She also prepared curd water for us to drink. Hmmm.. the food was all delicious la!! Hubby and I loved it very much la!!! Name same kadinche-la Yeshi!!! :)

When Mom gets busy :D

While both of us were busy washing dishes and cleaning up, Bumchu suddenly disappeared. The room became very quiet. And I searched for her. Guess what? She was sitting on the floor inside the shower room helping the Mermaid and three yellow duckie taking a bath. Hahaha... I could not stop laughing looked at the scene. How enjoyed she was with the thing she was doing!!! :D

Wollongong Beach - Australia

At 4 pm, all of us got ready for our trip to the beach. Wollongong was known for its beach with two lighthouses. I went here too seventeen years ago, but could only recall very little about the places. We took a bus there and reached towards evening.

Gift from Yeshi. Kadinche-la :)

We had a stroll along the beach from one side to another. But the wind had become stronger. Hubby and I walked towards the other light house while Yeshi and Bumchu got their way back and waited for us near to the bus stop. We met there after a while before heading back to the train station,

Time to go... will see you again one day...

We had to wait at the train station for about half an hour. While waiting, Bumchu and us were playing and laughing. Oh my!!! Bumchu's laughters!!! It was so contagious and so happy!!! We kept doing that until our train came and we had to leave. She was crying and sad as the train left. Poor Bumchu! I wished I could stay and play longer with you... Thank you very much Yeshi for all your time, effort, lunch, gift (book and post card), and everything you had done for us. It was not goodbye though but would see you again. We'd never know.. Just like how we both could meet up this time!!! :)

Shanghai noodle before going back :)

We reached our station back in another 1.5 hours. Had Shanghai pork soup noodles with pan fried bun before going back to our place and having a good rest. It'd been a long day but it was all memorable la!!! Had recorded Bumchu's laughter on my phone. Could play it anytime I want :D
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