Brisbane

The L to R of Windows and Doors

Sign Post to Linton

Linton

Sorting photos from A-Z makes sense, and now that A to K is done – L to R is next.  The L to R of windows and doors provides a link to the past; to days gone by when my feet weren’t so deeply planted on home soil. Back then I would pack up and go someplace new, on nothing more than a whim. Now I sit here and wonder what happened to that carefree attitude? Oh well, back to sorting thousands of photos alphabetically. 

L is for Linton, a quaint little village 30 kilometres south-west of Ballarat, Victoria, and the home of my BFF (that’s, Best Friend Forever). When I visited my BFF last year we went for a long walk around her ‘hood. As often happens when I’m travelling, I stop to say hello to someone or make a comment about something, and suddenly I’m engrossed in a deep conversation.

It happened.

As we were walking past a house with a verandah  (I love verandahs!), I stopped to take a photo. A lady walked towards us and I couldn’t resist commenting on how beautiful the cottage was. I soon discovered that I was talking to the owner of this little piece of history, aptly named ‘Peacock Cottage’.

Local Linton Artist

Pam Farey is a local artist who bought Peacock Cottage and transformed it into a beautiful gallery of her work.  My BFF and I were lucky enough to be invited in for a guided tour of Pam’s incredible Artwork, and the beautiful windows and doors of Peacock Cottage.

Looking out the front door of Peacock Cottage with a stained glass window on the right side
Looking out from the inside of this beautiful door and window

From L to M

M is for Miami, Florida. While I was in Miami in 2016, I was flabbergasted by the beauty of the lights from the buildings, lighting up the night sky and the water. 

Buildings in Miami Florida lit up at night with the light shining on the harbour


M is also for Melbourne, voted the most livable city in the world for seven consecutive years, up to (and including) 2017. Don’t worry Melbournites, the score didn’t drop by much in 2018 (depending on which survey you look at).  

This fabulous door in Melbourne was just begging to be photographed. It looks so old and mysterious.

You could easily let your imagination conjure up a fabulous story about this door…. hmmm, that might just be a story in the making. 

A green door with studded panels and decorative hardware

And on to N…

N is for Noe Valley, San Francisco, one of my favourite places, where bay windows abound. Noe Valley has more than its share of buildings that resemble the Painted Ladies that feature on postcards of San Francisco. Donut and Bagel shops are on almost every corner, and anyone who knows me well knows I can’t resist donuts or bagels. Or coffee, milkshakes, chocolate (but that’s another story). Looking back on the photos of Noe Valley brings back memories of happier days, in what seems like a lifetime ago, but, life goes on…

Street scene in Noe Valley with bay window above a donut shop
Church & 24th Noe Valley

N is also for New Delhi

Arches and unusual shapes highlight the windows in this building. Most of my photos are taken from the window of a moving vehicle, and this photo is no exception. I wish I had been able to take a closer, better photo, but at least I got this much. 

Building in New Delhi with rectangle and arched windows

O is for?

O Well, O could be for a lot of places – but none that I have any photos of. I’m going to have to use a little creative licence with O, and talk about a building that starts with the letter ‘O’. 

Inside Old Melbourne Gaol with cell doors each side and skylights above.
Old Melbourne Gaol

The Old Melbourne Gaol (yes, in Melbourne) is now a popular tourist attraction.

As you wander in and out of the open doors, you can read the story of an inmate who called that particular cell – home – often for a very long time.

As Aussies, we all know the story of Ned Kelly and his gang. It seems that old-mate Ned drew his last breath right here in the Old Melbourne Gaol, in November 1880. Even though he was a notorious Bushranger, Ned Kelly has become a bit of a hero in Australia.

Bullet-proof Vest

Right or wrong, Ned was an enterprising young lad and is best remembered for his iconic armour, designed to protect him from stray bullets. In the final showdown with the Constabulary at Glenrowan, Ned was wounded, but the rest of his gang were not so lucky and didn’t live to tell the story. Ned might have survived the shootout, but couldn’t escape his fate at the hands of the hangman at the Old Melbourne Gaol, on that eleventh day of November. 

From O to …. P

P P could be so many places, but it is especially Picton on the South Island of New Zealand. Ferries transport tourists and travellers from the North to the South Island (and back), arriving at Picton on the southbound journey.  

The Edwin Fox Maritime Museum building has windows and doors that tell of sailors coming and going, and travellers making their way to the south. From Picton, Christchurch is a (long) scenic drive away.

Windy? Are you kidding?

On this cold windy day, I was (not) patiently waiting for the ferry. After a fabulous weekend in Christchurch, it was time to return to Wellington, on the North Island. Windy is probably an understatement of the weather conditions that day. The ferry was delayed because of the almost hurricane strength winds that closed Wellington Airport for hours. So we waited, and waited, and waited…

We finally left Picton for the journey north and arrived safely, albeit very late.

Museum building in Picton with water in front

And on the other side of the world?

P is for Pike Place, Seattle, and no trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the Pike Place Market. When I was in College, a long time ago, we were shown a training video of the fish market on Pike Place. Watching the fishmongers throw the fish to each other and engaging with customers, I figured one day I would go there and see that. Yes, I was at College studying to be a teacher, and No, the video wasn’t suggesting we throw students to each other!

My trip to Seattle in December 2017 was the second time I was witness to the antics of the famous fish market. The first time was in 2005 – but Seattle is such a beautiful place – I couldn’t resist going back again. 

While not exactly a window or door, the photos above are an indulgence to my memory of the fabulous Pike Place Market. 

Did someone say coffee?

A more significant door on Pike Place, well – for me anyway, is the door leading into the original Starbucks. And yes, I did go through the door, and I did have my favourite coffee in that very special Starbucks. Of course, I couldn’t leave without buying a mug to add to my collection of coffee mugs from around the world.  

Window of Starbucks store in Pike Place Seattle
This is where it all began 

A Starbucks on every corner…

I spent a lot of time in North America in 2005 and 2006, and somehow Starbucks featured heavily in significant decisions being made at the time. The fact that there seemed to be a Starbucks on every corner probably contributed to the statistics of that happening. The morning ritual for two years was first a coffee (at Starbucks), and then the day could begin. Well I guess not a lot has changed since then – my day still starts with coffee – just not a Starbucks. And that’s mainly because we don’t have a Starbucks on any corner here in Murwillumbah. But also because my trusty Rocket Giotto and Dancing Bean coffee beans make a mighty fine cup of Joe, right here at home. Bellissimo!

With P done and dusted, it is on to …

Q

Q is for Queensland, and I have spent a large part of my life in that sunny state. With so many miles of golden sand and surf, I seem to be lacking in the windows and doors department of my Queensland photo collections. Well, apart from the ones I highlighted in the A-E of Windows and Doors in an earlier post. 

Queensland by Night

Since Brisbane is the capital of Queensland, I think it is appropriate to add another Brisbane photo. Besides, the building is kind of at the top of the Queen Street Mall, and Queen starts with Q, right?.

I’m always in awe of the colours that light up the walls of the Treasury Casino Brisbane, at night. From my vantage point on the Victoria Bridge, one cold night in July, I was able to capture the beauty of these doors and windows. 

Treasury Casino at night with red lights showing up the doors and windows

Meanwhile, back in the US of A

R – R is for Rainier Beach, Seattle. When I think of doorways in Rainier Beach, there’s one that I would walk through every day of every week, if only I could. And that door is the door that leads into the Redwing Cafe  – my favourite place for coffee and avocado toast in Seattle. 

Front of Redwing Cafe in Seattle with Christmas decorations in the window

The photo I took doesn’t do justice to the entrance of my caffeine-haven for more days than I counted. If Redwing Cafe was open – I was there. When I stepped inside I was welcomed by friendly faces that were more than just baristas and chefs. A cafe can be popular for the food, or the coffee, or the friendly staff; Redwing is special because of all three –  oh, and the handcarved timber decor, which is spectacular, and beautifully carved by Shawn.

I bought the Redwing Cafe T.Shirt!

I’m so glad I bought the Redwing t.shirt. Every time I wear it I’m reminded of the place that was the highlight of my trip to Seattle. Seattle is full of iconic places, including the Space Needle and Pike Place Markets, but it is the beauty of the people you meet that really stands out. Anthony, Su, and your amazing Redwing Cafe team (and Jennifer, Shawn and Jackson) – I miss you all!

Organinsing photos isn’t as hard as I thought it would be. I’ve  completed A to E; F to K; and now the L to R of windows and doors. All I have to do now is sort out the S to Z, and I’m all done. 

Easy!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 0 comments
The F-K of Doors and Windows

The F-K of Doors and Windows

The F-K of doors and windows is a journey through some of the places I’ve visited here in Australia, and across the world. Some of the photos might need to be viewed with a little more imagination than others – but – most  fall neatly into their assigned category.

F Well, this kind of qualifies in the F category. A stroll down Flinders Lane Melbourne opens up a whole new world of ornate doors and windows. How beautiful are these?  The curves, the panels – it all adds up to a beautiful piece of architecture and craftsmanship – or – should that be ‘craftspersonship’?

On to the G’s…

G The Treasury Casino is on George Street Brisbane. The windows and doors are stunning and provide the perfect backdrop for the colours that magically transform the Brisbane night sky. It doesn’t matter what angle you view this building from – its beauty is exceptional, especially at night. The former life of the building was a Government Office, dating back to 1886.

Old brick building, the Treasury Casino Brisbane, with red lights highlighting the sides of the building.
George Street Brisbane: Treasury Casino

Oh gee – Microsoft Windows!  

Buildings on Granville Street Vancouver at dusk with the Microsoft building highlighted in a bubble
Granville Street  Vancouver

H is for….

H Hamilton, Brisbane. The Kookaburra Queen entertains diners as it steams its way along the Brisbane River. The light coming from the windows on the old Paddle Steamer is reflected beautifully on the water at night. If you find yourself in Brisbane, you can dance the night away on a dinner-cruise onboard the Kookaburra Queen.

Old paddle steamer boat on the Brisbane River at night with the lights from the boat reflecting on the water
The Kookaburra Queen at Hamilton, Brisbane

I – well – it has to be India

I India! What comes to mind when we think of India? The Taj Mahal, of course. The magnificence of the buildings has to be seen to be appreciated. The windows and doors that make up the total experience of the Taj Mahal are spectacular! Just to stand in the shadow of this romantic building is amazing.

White dome-shaped ornate arches of the Taj Mahal in India
The Taj Mahal – India

And then, onto …

J

Jiangsu – well – Nanjing to be precise, but it comes under the broader heading of Jiangsu. I’ve been to a lot of places, but obviously not many starting with the letter J. I love the way the new buildings can be seen through the archway of the old. Not exactly a door or a window, but I love the colours on the old structure. The colours in this elaborate entrance would welcome even the most weary traveller. 

Typically old Chinese colourful arch structure with modern buildings behind it.
Jiangsu, Nanjing – China

On Jefferson Street you can stand and peer in this window and watch the experts mould the sourdough into delicious sourdough bread at the Boudin Bakery. There’s nothing better on a cold day in San Francisco, than going to the Boudin Bakery for soup in a sourdough bread bowl. Just thinking about it brings back so many memories…

Baker shaping sourdough into buns at Boudin Bakery San Francisco
Boudin Bakery, Jefferson Street (San Francisco)

The journey ends at K

K Kangaroo Point in Brisbane – home of the beautiful St Mary’s Anglican Church. The windows, as expected in a building like this, are spectacular. I sat in the church recently (at a wedding) and was mesmerised by the colours. I was grateful that the bride was a little late because it gave me time to take photos and admire the beauty of the stained glass.

Old stone church with stained glass windows in Kangaroo Point Brisbane
Kangaroo Point Brisbane

As I meander through the twenty-plus thousand photos I have stored on my i-Devices, I wonder why I have so many photos of doors and windows? So far I’ve covered the A-E and F-K of doors and windows, so stay tuned – the journey will continue until we get to Z.

By the way, if you know any place that starts with the letter Z, please let me know in the comments section below. Otherwise, we’ll only get to Y.

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 3 comments

That Didn’t End Well!

October – here one minute and gone the next. I can remember sitting here at my keyboard on the first day of October, all bright-eyed and bushy-tailed, ready for the Ultimate Blog Challenge. Now I’m sitting here on the last day of October wondering what the heck happened? Where did October go? And all I can say is – well – that didn’t end well. 

It always sounds so easy. Just post a blog each day, for a month. What could go wrong? 

Life!

That’s what could go wrong – and it did! I knew I was in for a busy month; I just didn’t anticipate how busy it would get. The committee I’m on needed attention – a little more than usual – and WordCamp happened. Add to that a sick neighbour who needed assistance and you’ve got a whole lot of too-tired-to-write nights. 

Okay, WordCamp Brisbane 2018 was only one weekend – but it entailed a lot of planning. I live about one-hundred and thirty kms from Brisbane. At the very least it takes about one-and-a-half hours to drive there, but factor in road-works and heavy traffic – and you’ve got a more realistic time of close to two hours. Now that’s a little too far to drive to and from each day, so the first planning that had to be done was finding accommodation. With the first morning being a seven-thirty start, the accommodation was needed for Friday and Saturday nights.

The Options…

I looked at a few options, but because I was driving there, I had to find accommodation for my car as well. Has anyone found car-parking in the city that didn’t necessitate mortgaging the house to pay for it? The options weren’t too exciting:

  • Park on the other side of the river and drag luggage across the bridge (at least the parking is more affordable on the south side) 
  • Park in one of the parking stations in the city and be prepared for the hefty cost at the end of the two days (at least I’d be on the right side of the bridge)
  • Phone the hotel and see if they have parking and would it be affordable (I seriously doubted both)
Photo of Level 4 Row 1 of the Myer Centre Carpark
A photo of the carpark is a good reminder of where I left the car…

The last option won

I chose the Ibis Styles Hotel (right next to the Myer Centre) for two reasons:

  1. I have AccorPlus membership which gives me discounted accommodation; option of using my accumulated points; free WiFi; discounted food in the restaurant; priority check-in; 
  2. Location – the Hotel is: an easy walk to QUT (Queensland University of Technology), the venue for WordCamp; in the heart of the city; oh, and did I mention there is a Starbucks on the corner? Getting my morning coffee is not an option – it is a ‘survival-choice’. 
But first, coffee! 

A call to the Ibis Styles Hotel on Elizabeth Street cemented the deal. I could park in the Myer Centre carpark for $20 a day, as long as I remembered to have my ticket validated at check-out. Bargain!

Then there was the planning of what to pack for the weekend. I usually take three cases when I travel: one in case it is too hot; one in case it is too cold; and one in case it is just right. And then there is my technology bag, which usually weighs more than the other three put together. This time I had to economise. Even though the hotel is next door to the Myer Centre, I still had to drag my luggage from the carpark, through the shopping centre, out onto Elizabeth Street, and up to the door of the hotel. I ended up with one small bag for clothes and my usual large backpack for technology. It worked.

And WordCamp?

Two days of non-stop learning! Even though it meant more than two days away from writing (remember all the planning?), I figure it was a great investment in my blogging. What I learned that weekend will help me work faster and smarter – not harder.

WordCamp is all about using a WordPress website which is great for Blogging
Looking towards the path leading from Z Block at QUT
QUT – Z Block

So even though October has gone and the Ultimate Blog Challenge didn’t end well, I came through relatively unscathed – although exhausted – and a lot better off, knowledge-wise.

Life is a journey, and every moment taken for learning is a giant leap forward. 

Maureen Durney

So until we meet on another Ultimate Blog Challenge – this is me signing off. And now I’ll go back to just ‘blogging’. 

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments
Fall!

Fall!

Here in Australia, we call it Autumn, not Fall. And where I live, there are no extreme differences between any of the seasons. Autumn is recognisable by the array of leaves on the ground, and being able to sleep comfortably at night for the first time in months. And yes, Autumn does signal colder days to come, but nothing like the cold days of the Northern Hemisphere.

An Autumn day in Brisbane

In some parts of Australia, like Central Queensland (CQ), there are seemingly only two seasons: Hot and Cold. But in Melbourne, you can have all four seasons in one day (or, so the saying goes…).

Kids Don’t Feel The Cold!

Out in Central Queensland, it would be hot one day, and then cold the next. That’s how you would know it was winter. Autumn had been by-passed – there was no in-between. Just hot, and cold. I’m not talking – Northern Hemisphere big-heavy-coat-cold, just an extra-layer-of-jumper cold.

When I was teaching in Queensland, the only sign of winter, as demonstrated by most of the students, was the addition of a jumper (sweater) early in the morning. They still wore shorts! Some of them would pass an occasional remark about how cold it was, but didn’t connect wearing shorts, to feeling cold. Long pants seemingly got in the way of running fast at recess. And by lunchtime, the jumper would either be safely stowed in their bag or lost in the playground; usually the latter.

A beautiful Autumn day in Murwillumbah NSW

Cold One Day – Hot The Next

And the reverse occurred at the other end of the season. Cold one day, and hot the next. The only sign of Spring was the emergence of new buds on trees. But temperature-wise? – hot!

Spring has sprung, here in Murwillumbah

I can’t account for other parts of Australia because my experience is limited (mostly) to Queensland and the northern end of New South Wales. However – there are places in Southern parts of our beautiful Australian landscape that apparently have distinct seasons. Trees put on seasonal colours that are seemingly spectacular, and the early morning chill creeps in and warns of colder days to come. Nice places to visit – but I wouldn’t want to live there.

The Beautiful Fall Colours of Boston

Speaking of nice places to visit, one of the most memorable journeys I have taken, was Boston US, in November. I was mesmerised by the beauty of the Fall colours. A travel-buddy that I had met while on the cruise from Southampton UK, shared my enthusiasm. On a bus from the cruise ship, to and from Salem, we must have driven the Fall-hardened passengers crazy. We (two Aussies) darted from one side of the bus to the other, cameras poised, trying to capture every golden leaf along the way. It was spectacular!

This photo doesn’t do justice to the beauty of the Fall trees in Boston 
Or this one….

Do we have spectacular Autumns (Falls) here in Australia? Yes! But not where I live. Beautiful – yes – but not Boston-type spectacular. Would I swap where I live for a place that has distinct seasons? Probably not. I love the way our seasons just ease gently into each other here in Northern New South Wales.

Oh, and yes, I did turn my heater on last winter – about three times, I think. And only for about an hour each time.

And that’s the way I like it!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 14 comments
The A-E of Windows and Doors

The A-E of Windows and Doors

I can be walking down any street, in any city, and be captivated by an odd shaped window or an ornate door. Luckily my iPhone is always in my pocket, so the camera is always ready to capture the moment. The downside is, I now have thousands of photos of windows and doors! When I look back on the photos, I often wish I could open some of those doors, or peer in the window to see what is on the other side.

Should we go there?

A journey through the photos of windows and doors that clog up my digital albums would not only fill these pages, but probably bore you in the process. So I’ll break the journey by sorting the photos into alphabetical order. The hardest part will be deciding which photos make it into the blog – and which ones will be left behind.

The A-E of Windows and Doors

A This beautiful building, with lots of windows and doorways, is in Amritsar, India. I’m sad that I didn’t have time to stop and get a photo from the best angle, but at least I got this much. India has some of the most amazing buildings. Obviously there is more than a touch of British heritage in the architecture of some of them, but the beautiful materials used, brings the focus back to India.

And, on to B…

B  This is window-and-door Heaven! The old Bank of New South Wales building (the one on the left) is on the corner of Queen Street Mall and George Street in Brisbane (Australia). The building on the right is the Treasury Casino. If old buildings are your thing, come to Brisbane and take a walk around the Central Business District. You’ll be amazed at the number of beautiful old buildings.

Crazy, I know, but…

…this is one of my favourite photos from the Queen Street Mall. I’m sure real photographers would quickly point out the photographic errors, but I love the lines and angles I captured in this photo. Oh, and of course, the windows!


Another B Building…

B is for Boston, USA, and the windows in this fabulous building reflect the amazing colours of the sky and the autumn (Fall) foliage. It also takes me back to my childhood. I used to have blocks that looked a lot like the colours and shapes in this building.

C Christchurch, New Zealand – the city that rebuilt itself after a devastating earthquake. I love the rustic look of these doors, as well as the shape of the glass panels. One of the advantages of photographing windows, or glass doors, is the bonus image in the reflection. 

D Devonport, New Zealand. On a very cold day in September, these windows offered some hope that there might be a warm fire glowing on the inside. If you find yourself in Auckland, take the ferry across to Devonport and investigate some of the beautiful buildings. 

Ellis Island Immigration Museum

E Ellis Island, NY USA. When I visited the home of immigration almost two years ago, I wondered if any of my relatives had walked through the door, or looked through the windows of this building. My grandfather left Sweden when he was young and sailed around the world many times before settling in Australia. Having taken the DNA test offered by Ancestry, I know I have a link to the USA, and I’m guessing it might be through some of the Swedish family that we have no knowledge of. Who knows, maybe their new life started right here in the Immigration building on Ellis Island.

What is your favourite thing to photograph?

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 2 comments

Day 21 – UBC – Does it Matter Where I Sit?

When I visit a friend or relative’s home for the first time, I usually ask “Does it matter where I sit?”. Everyone has their favourite chair, or seat in the house, and I am wary of plonking myself down on my host’s favourite chair. And one of the most common questions asked of writers is: Where do you write? Like the rest of us, writers probably have a chair or place that they prefer, while writing. I know I do.

Old Habits Are Hard To Break

We all have habits, right? Some good, some not-so-good. And some of us are more bound by habits and routines than others. My morning routine of ‘coffee first!’, is sacrosanct. Pity help anyone who stands between me and that first coffee of the day. Once I’m caffeinated – I’m fine, and the immediate vicinity is once again a safe place to be.


Part of my routine features the chair I sit in to write. My favourite chair in summer is by the door, leading out to the verandah.  The chair is comfortable and rocks just slightly, and with a breeze coming through the door, writing is easy.

My Outside Space

If I want to write early in the morning, this is my ‘go-to’ place. Of course, there’s another little habit that goes with that seat – when I sit out there, I have to have a coffee beside me.

Where Do You Write?

Inside? Outside?

On the Move

While travelling this great planet of ours, I’ve discovered a few places I like to claim as my writing-chair. Top of the list would have to be coffee shops and cafes.

Here are some of the places I’ve sat, with iPad and keyboard stragically placed, and churned out a blog – or two. Usually while sipping about eleven or eight coffees.

My Local

Re Cafe Nate: my neighbourhood coffee shop in Murwillumbah. It can get a bit busy here because the locals all know how good the coffee, food and service are, but it’s a great place to write; thanks Josh, Desley and Don.

West End Brisbane

Between The Bars: West End, Brisbane. This is my home-away-from-home coffee shop. Great coffee and great service; thanks Nick and Mal.

Seattle: WA

RedWing Cafe: Seattle, US. Tucked away in Rainier Beach, this is the best place for just hanging out and writing, on a cold winter’s day. The coffee, food and service are outstanding. And that’s all the encouragement I needed to sit and write. Thank you Anthony, Sue and the fantastic team who kept me fed and caffeinated while I wrote, early this year.

Berhampore (Wellington) NZ

Rinski Korsakov: Berhampore. What can I say? This was just the cutest place – with a table in the front window for people-watching, when inspiration waned. Luckily, there was no shortage of great coffee and carrot cake, when I frequented Rinski’s in September 2017.  Thanks Jet!

Where do Famous Authors Write?

J.K Rowling, author of the Harry Potter books, came up with the idea for the series while on a delayed train, but wrote in cafes in Scotland. Could it be the coffee that provides the inspiration?

If you have ever asked a writer – “Where do you write?”, what was their response? Do they favour cafes, or a park bench? Do they prefer a log cabin in the woods, or a bench on a busy street?

My guess is, writers have a favourite place when it comes to the serious business of writing. Inspiration, on the other hand, can happen anywhere.

Write On!

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Writing, 2 comments
Brisbane River Lights

Brisbane River Lights

When you find yourself in Brisbane at night, go to where the light shines brightest – on the Brisbane River. The lights from the buildings on each side are reflected on the water, providing a palette of shimmering colours. The Brisbane River lights up the dark night, while providing the best views of the city.

Words describe as much as they can, but the photos tell the real story. As often happens, I didn’t have my good camera with me on this trip, so the photos are opportunistic moments captured with my iPhone.

Tall buildings in background with Brisbane River in the middle of the picture
Ordinary buildings by day, become spectacular buidlings at night

Ordinary buildings by day become towers of magical colour by night.

The Fast Way….

If you have already eaten, or plan to eat later, then the best way to see the Brisbane River at night is to get onboard the CityCat. Stopping at most of the terminals along the way, the CityCat gives you the option of disembarking and exploring on foot, or staying onboard for the round trip. Either way, from a vantage point on the deck or a seat inside, you’ll be mesmerised by the light-show as the lights of the city buildings are reflected in the water.

Take the CityCat

The CityCat is one of the ferries that ply the Brisbane River. The Brisbane River is the longest river in South East Queensland and flows for 344 kms, from the Brisbane-Cooyar Ranges to Moreton Bay. As the river meanders through the city, RiverCat ferries link Hamilton at one end, to the University of Queensland at the other.

There is no better way to experience the beauty of Brisbane

Iconic structures of old, mingle with the new; each one significant in their own way. The lights from the buildings light up the darkness as they spread across the water, and light the way ahead.

From the dock at the Northshore Hamilton Ferry Terminal, Eat Street becomes a haven for pedestrians in search of local and International culinary delights. If you are hungry enough, you can leave the CityCat at Hamilton and take an easy eight-minute, flat walk to Eat Street. But you’d better bring your money with you as you will be overwhelmed by the choices of dining options at Eat Street.

From the water-side of Eat Street

Brisbane Night-Lights are Spectacular

Brisbane City at night is hard to beat, and the CityCat provides the best platform for viewing, and taking photos. There’s a Kodak moment at every turn.

You can see history depicted in the colours that light up the Story Bridge each night; the different colours represent an historical event or raise awareness of future ones.

The Story Bridge in all its splendour

And Then There is the Slow Way….

If time is on your side, then the best way to see the city is on the Kookaburra Queen, where you can eat, drink and dance the night away while viewing the Brisbane River lights. There is something special about being onboard the old paddle-wheeler: the sound of the wheel churning through the water; the romance of standing on the deck of this grand old-lady of the river; the food. It all makes for an evening that is hard to forget.

You’ll need to set aside about three hours for the cruise on the Kookaburra Queen. The trip will cost more than the CityCat. but the very reasonable price tag of most of the packages includes dinner and entertainment. With the onboard dance-floor primed, you can trip the light fantastic as you make your way along the river. And the light-show on the water provides the perfect back-drop.

And, back to the CityCat….

When you don’t have three hours to spare, take the CityCat, where the light-show from the Brisbane River lights won’t disappoint you.

It doesn’t matter where you start your journey, the CityCat will lead you through the magical wonderland of Brisbane River lights.

So, what are you waiting for?

Grab your camera and a couple of friends, and make Brisbane your next night out. Oh, and don’t forget to share the photos you take.

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, Travel, 0 comments
What’s News?Letter – First Edition

What’s News?Letter – First Edition

My What’s News?Letter (first edition) is about to make its appearance on your computer or mobile device screen. Like all new ventures, I imagine the news will get better with time, so you’ll have to suffer through the teething problems with me. A snapshot of the life of a blogger (very broadly speaking) will unfold each week. Don’t forget to subscribe on the form at the bottom of the page.

Tragical History Tour – What happened last week?

The highlight of the past week was making contact with someone I met on my trip to New Zealand last September. Alexis was working at The Churchill restaurant in Wellington, and as usual, I couldn’t resist asking where her accent was from. Alexis hailed from Austin in Texas, so she affectionately became known as Alexis from Texas. I gave her my card and suggested she contact me when she made it across the ditch to Australia on her working holiday.

She did, and we met for lunch at Byron Bay. From there we arranged to meet in my home-town on Friday, and to have Alexis stay over for a night on her way to the Gold Coast. It was really nice to not only catch up, but to get to know Alexis better. She is an inspiration to all who consider travelling solo, no matter how young or old you are.

What’s News?Letter

Getting Down to Business – The Week Ahead

Plans for this week involve a reasonable amount of travel, and given how cold it is today, I’ll be grateful for the warmth of the car as I drive to the north side of Brisbane, mid-week.

Monday: COFFEE. Take some photos for an article I’m writing and spend at least a couple of hours actually writing the article.

Tuesday: COFFEE. More writing. Possibility of driving to the northern end of the Gold Coast to pick up a neighbour who may need a ride home. Pack for week away on the north side of  Brisbane. Watch ‘Who Do You Think You Are?’ At 7.30pm on SBS – the only show I’m seriously following on my big screen TV – or any TV, actually.

Wednesday: COFFEE. Drive to the north side of Brisbane. Another coffee along the way – thank God for Drive Thru Coffee. Some writing (hopefully) when I get there. Unpack and settle in.

Thursday: COFFEE. Not sure what will be on the agenda, but I’m hoping it will be some down-time, coffee in hand, as I write from my favourite table at the Beach Shak. I’ll also factor in a walk along the beach (have you ever wondered how little exercise writer’s get?).

Friday: COFFEE. Same as Thursday – probably.

Weekend: COFFEEWatch This Space! No plans made, so anything could happen.

So that’s it, folks. My week, in a nutshell (nutshell – how appropriate!).

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Posted by Maureen in Blogging, 0 comments
It’s The People We Meet That Makes The Difference

It’s The People We Meet That Makes The Difference

 “One of the great things about travel is that you find out how many good, kind people there are.” — Edith Wharton

Travel enriches our lives, but it’s the people we meet that makes the difference. It isn’t where we go that makes travel so enriching, it’s the people we meet that bind the places together with the fabric of life, that makes us richer for the opportunity to go beyond our tiny corner of the globe.

It’s The People We Meet That Makes The Difference

My recent trip to Seattle wouldn’t have been as enriching without the people encountered along the way. So many of the wonderful people I’ve met in my travels would have remained strangers if I hadn’t found a way to talk to them. Everyone has a story to tell. Luckily I seem to have a knack for finding a way to start a conversation with just about anyone. And I have formed many new friendships because of it. A comment here or there opens up the world, but also makes the world a much smaller place in the process.

it’s the people we meet that makes the difference

Louis from Brisbane

While having breakfast at the Cheesecake Factory, 700 Pike Street, a young man was ushered into the booth next to me. I could hear his conversation with the waitress, and since I’m fascinated by accents, I was tuned into his – slightly English – with a touch of Aussie. When you are a long way from home, an Aussie accent is the golden thread that links you with the homeland you are missing. When he finished his discussion about the menu, I had to ask, “Where are you from?”.

Where Is Australia?

As usual, an Aussie’s initial response when travelling is simply, ‘Australia’. It’s a big place, and for most Americans, ‘Australia’ is usually enough. Even those less travelled Americans have a reasonable idea of where Australia is, or at least they’ve heard of it. With a little more probing I discovered that my dining-neighbour was actually from Brisbane. Now that’s a little closer to home, given that I live about 100 kilometres south of there, and it is my nearest major city. Louis’ fascinating story of life in a military family resonated with me – having spent many years ‘married’ to the Australian Defence Force, and the travel involved in a military lifestyle. Louis was on his way to Las Vegas, but needed advice on the best means of getting to the Airport.

Giving Directions Like A Local

Feeling more like a Seattle-local than I deserved to, I knew exactly how to get to the Westlake Station and that the Airport Link was probably the easiest, and least expensive way to go. Whether he needed it or not, my travel-buddy and I took Louis under our (collective) wing and walked with him to the station, helped him buy a ticket, and bade him farewell as the train approached. He seemed genuinely appreciative, but I’m sure he would have made it on his own. After all, he seemed like a very capable young Aussie who had followed in his father’s military footsteps.

it’s the people we meet that makes the differ

David Montague entertains travellers at Westlake Station Seattle

Local Talent

Once Louis was safely on his train to the Airport we made our way back to street level, but as luck would have it, a musician had taken up a key position mid-way. And in true travel-friendly style, we stopped to listen. My travel-buddy is a classical music fan and the instrument David was playing was a little unusual – or at least – the way he was playing it seemed unusual. A lengthy conversation ensued, culminating in my travel-buddy being given a CD of David’s unique music. A few extra dollars found their way into David’s instrument case in appreciation, and we continued our journey to higher ground. We had just made another American friend to add to our growing collection of global-friendships.

it’s the people we meet that makes the difference

Olga, from Belarus

Olga From Belarus

And who could forget Olga! When we stepped into the Cheesecake Factory that morning, Olga was our waitress. When we left at the end of the meal, we felt like Olga was an integral part of our Seattle eperience. Olga is the kind of waitress who takes an already good meal and turns it into a great dining experience. It’s no wonder the Cheesecake Factory is such a popular place for Seattleites to dine. Great food and even better service from outstanding staff.

it’s the people we meet that makes the difference

Lyn – a great ambassador for the Cheesecake Factory

And The Beautiful Lyn!

The reason we decided to have breakfast at the Cheesecake Factory was Lyn. We had ventured in for a late-night snack the night before and were greeted, and taken very good care of, by Lyn. Before we’d even studied the menu that late night, Lyn arrived with a basket of absolutely delicious bread samples. It made the task of exploring the menu so much more enjoyable –  there were so many choices. Because we weren’t overly hungry, having eaten much earlier, we apologetically settled on a milkshake. Lyn understood completely and was back in no time with our fantastic shakes.

Lyn Was More Than Just A Waitress…

she beamed happiness! It seemed that making diners feel comfortable was her mission in life. And her mission was accomplished when we promised to come back again. Breakfast at the Cheesecake Factory was sealed for the next day. You can imagine how we felt at seeing Lyn pass by our table the next morning. She remembered us, and stopped to say hello. I may have asked her if she had slept there the night before, but she assured me she had actually made it home for a few hours sleep.

That’s What Makes A Great Dining Experience!

And just to reinforce what a great place the Cheesecake Factory is, Lyn’s two daughters work there as well. That says a lot about a restaurant. The Cheesecake Factory is high on my list of places to eat in Seattle – in fact – anywhere in the US that is lucky enough to have this great chain as a dining option. I can’t guarantee that other places have staff like Lyn and Olga, but I look forward to hearing from travellers who have experienced the Cheesecake Factory in other cities. Does Seattle have the best staff? I’m hoping to test the theory every chance I get in my future travels across the US of A.

And It’s What Adds The ‘Enrichment’ To Travel

It’s about the people: the Louis’, the Olgas, the Lyns and the Davids of this world, who contribute to the richness of our travel experiences. The buildings and landscapes of foreign places will live on through the photos we take, but the people we meet make a lasting impression because of the way they made us feel. Many will become friends that we stay in touch with.  Others will be thought of from time to time, rekindling the same warmth we felt when we met them.

From The Heart – I Thank You!

To all the beautiful people of Seattle, and especially the ones I’ve mentioned in this and other posts – thank you. It might have been just a kind word or gesture, but it created a lasting memory of a city that cares, especially about travellers with strange Aussie accents, like me.

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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 3 comments
Day 6 Blog Challenge – Thank You For Making A Difference!

Day 6 Blog Challenge – Thank You For Making A Difference!

Making A Difference!

How often do we say to someone we meet, “Thank you for making a difference!”

My personal experience is – ‘not nearly enough!’ And I meet people almost daily who make a huge difference in my life; I just don’t tell them that they do. Maybe in subtle ways they get the message, but they need to hear it loud and clear.

Today I’m going to shout out to some people who are changing my world, one coffee at a time.

Seattle

I arrived in Seattle on the 11th day of December. It was cold! Probably not cold in local terms but definitely cold in Aussie terms. When I left Australia on the night of 11th of December, it was hot! No, it wasn’t the shortest flight across continents in history, or space travel, it’s just the quirky bit about crossing the International Date Line that landed me in the US of A seemingly two hours after I left the fair shores of Brisbane, Australia.

But here I am in the beautiful city of Seattle, meeting some really amazing people. All have had a profound effect on me but there are some who have made a bigger difference in my life than they will ever know.

This Is A Shout-Out To RedWing Cafe!

My second home in Seattle: The RedWing Cafe

Collectively, the staff at RedWing Cafe have been responsible for maintaining my sanity, and therefore the safety of others, for the duration of my holiday. Individually, they brightened my day every time I made the twenty minute trek down the hill from 63rd Avenue S to be greeted by a warm smile, friendly hello and large Cappuccino as I walked in the door.

God Bless You All At RedWing Cafe

Anyone who knows me well or keeps up with my blogging, knows not to approach me before I am caffeinated. Am I addicted to coffee? Yes! Generally I have just one cup of coffee a day, therefore I don’t think my health is compromised in any way because of the addiction; the safety and well-being of family, friends and the general public? Now that’s a different story. My one cup of coffee, best partaken of early in the morning, is the difference between:

  • civil and grrr!
  • pleasant and ‘stand clear!’
  • ‘Hi there’ and ‘just give me the coffee and no one will get hurt!

Anthony co-owns RedWing Cafe with Su; Bringing a successful business to 9272 57th Ave S, Seattle

Su and Anthony brought their vision of a much-needed cafe to the Rainier Beach area at 57th Ave S. Their dream has made a huge difference to the lives of the locals who call this area home.

Su (and Anthony) own Redwing Cafe;

It Really Is A Serious Problem

The severity of my addiction goes beyond having a hot beverage of caffeinated liquid in either a ceramic or paper cup. If it was that easy I could simply make a cup of what is generally considered Instant Coffee, within minutes of opening my eyes each morning, and the world would be a better place for everyone. But since my discovery of the Cappuccino, especially a large one with a double shot of espresso, the instant variety is no longer a part of my vocabulary. It just doesn’t happen!

It’s Complicated!

There are Cappuccinos, and there are Cappuccinos! There are some that I struggle to describe in terms of real coffee and there are some that I would walk over broken glass to get to, well, almost. It comes down to how conscientious the Barista is about their craft – and believe me – pulling the perfect shot is almost an exact science. There is a little wriggle room, but not much. My heroes at RedWing Cafe have perfected the craft of pulling the perfect shot and consitently provide the ideal combination, every time. Steamed milk blended expertly with the perfect shot; what more could I ask?

Danielle greets everyone with the same great smile that says ‘Welcome! We’re glad you’re here.’

The Coffee Is The Best!

This is a great photo of Danielle but trust me, she looks even better with a large Cappuccino In her hand; as long as it has my name on it. Danielle, you make great coffee!

And it isn’t only about the taste of the coffee; RedWing Cafe provides the perfect place to sit, either alone or with friends, and just soak up the incredible atmosphere.

Just one of the beautiful tables handcrafted by the very talented Shawn

It’s About The Ambience …

From the amazing tables lovingly handcrafted by Shawn out of a maple tree that once shaded the owner’s backyard, to the menu that specifically caters for vegetarians and vegans but is equally enjoyed by those other people (the carnivores).

The menu caters for all tastes and a variety of dietary needs

Master Craftsman

I was lucky enough to be sitting at my favourite table when Shawn called in for a coffee. His craftmanship is reflected in so much of the outstanding decor at RedWing Cafe. Warmth and comfort emanate from every table and piece of timber on an otherwise cold, wet Seattle day.

Shawn called in for a coffee and stood humbly by one of the outstanding tables he carved for the cafe.

It all works to make RedWing Cafe my home away from home and the perfect place to write. My favourite writing-space is upstairs in either of the two back corners, but the downstairs section works just as well.

Ed is always ready with a smile and warm welcome

Everyone at RedWing Cafe makes a contribution to creating the perfect place to enjoy a great coffee and spectacular food.

Tyree takes care of the food department and makes the best Avocado Toast on the planet!

The combination of fabulous coffee, food and exceptional staff make RedWing Cafe the place to be in Seattle if you are in need of a great place to hang out.

Franky keeps everything running smoothly in the kitchen and dining room.

Franky, Tyree and Brett make sure hungry diners enjoy the best food, every time. Did I mention the Avocado Toast? You really haven’t lived until you’ve tried this RedWing Cafe speciality.

Brett creates another breakfast culinary masterpiece for a diner on-the-run

My apologies to the many people behind the scenes at RedWing Cafe that I either didn’t meet or have the opportunity to photograph; just know that you all contribute to creating a great dining experience and I thank you all sincerely.

Tristan is just one of the great Baristas who keep the coffee coming in my direction.

Thank You RedWing Cafe For Making A Difference

Judging by the people I meet at this amazing place, I’m not the only one whose life has been changed for the better by the staff at RedWing Cafe. I may only be passing through Seattle for a short time, but I will be holding up each and every one of the inspiring staff of RedWing Cafe as a yardstick by which to measure cafes in the future.

RedWing Cafe – I Thank You – And I Will Return

Ready to write!

To sit at my favourite table again and indulge in a Cappuccino and Avocado Toast, surrounded by such happy and dedicated people will be all the incentive I need to return to Seattle. I look forward to walking through the door and greeting you all with “G’Day – I’m Back!”

Until then, keep doing what you do best:

Making a difference in people’s lives, one coffee at a time, at RedWing Cafe

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Posted by Maureen in Travel, 13 comments