Greece is the Word – Day One

Spooners and Forkers we’re in Greece!
Kalimera!
Right off the bat, I’d like to invite you to share air travel stories with me. I’m so dreading the flight back. Nothing wrong with the actual flights themselves but the length of them!
We started off in wonderful style. Hubby got us business class tickets on Qantas for the first leg to Perth. Who doesn’t love getting pampered?
Juice before take off, great food and service, all the alcohol you want without judgement.


I looked over my shoulder once or twice at the economy section and felt a twinge of guilt until the curtain was closed. Out of sight, out of mind.
Alas it came to an end.

To prepare for the potential worst, we planned to get to Perth a lot earlier than our departing flight from Perth. Six hours earlier in fact.
What did we do in those six hours? We toured all the food establishments in the airport. Domestic AND International because what else better to do is there than eat when you’re bored?
You know you’ve waited a long time when you hear yourself say “It’s less than three hours to the flight now!” as a positive statement.

People were not shy about putting their feet up as they waited for this late night flight. Oh please, make yourself at home.

We flew Qatar airlines from Perth to DoHa. I’ve got to say, I’m not a fan of their uniforms. A scrunchie? Really? Is it 1986?
We sat next to a very social man from Turkey who was on his way back to Instanbul. Shhh it’s a secret but I recently became obsessed with a Turkish show called “Ezel” and that’s all I could think about every time he spoke. Probably the only person who could understand this is my mum who hooked me onto “Ezel” and other Turkish shows. We’ve even shared a Raki or two together but back to our travel…

After waiting six hours at the Perth airport, we boarded the Qatar airlines flight to DoHa. That leg was eleven hours. ELEVEN. Once we arrived we transferred quickly to another Qatar flight from DoHa to Athens. I don’t know why I thought that flight was only going to be a couple of hours. Wishful thinking probably. It was five hours but the saving grace was that hubby and I were seated next to each other without anyone else. That makes it easier when you want to get up and stretch your legs. You don’t have to annoy anyone to get up.

Next up, we will be enjoying glorious warm weather in Athens!

Highlights of the flight:
The food
The staff
Being podcast prepared
Easiest ever experience of going through immigration and customs declaration.
Explaining to hubby that “Stoled” is not a word. ie, “That woman isn’t wearing shoes, maybe someone stoled them” is not correct.

Lowlights of the flight:
Time
Soreness from sitting too long
People reclining their seats as fast and hard as they can.
Boredom descending into petty squabbles between loving adults.

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Perth Day Three

Sorry that this entry is coming after the fact but between the Wine Tour that we did today and travelling back home, this is the first chance I’ve had to write and upload.

1Today, Friday the 5th of January as I write, is my birthday and not only is it my birthday, but it’s a milestone birthday too so I knew hubby was not going to say anything when I wanted to get up extra early to exercise.

The gym at this hotel is quite good and if you go early enough, there’s no one in there so I get the whole place to myself!
Perfect way to start a birthday!

We took our picture before heading out! (left)

The Wine Tour we were booked on started from Elizabeth Quay so we walked down there from our hotel and had a coffee at the Riverside Cafe. No champagne this morning though as I was anticipating a heavy alcohol day!

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We met our friends and boarded our boat.

It was such a relaxing cruise down the river!

We had coffee and muffins to start off with but it wasn’t long before the wine tasting started.

Here is a picture of the wine’s we sampled on the right and a few from the cruise below.
I forgot to mention the tasting plate of local cheeses that were also provided. Each tray was for two people so it was quite a generous portion!


Unfortunately I can’t remember the name of the first stop. I think it was next to Sandalwood Winery? Beautiful spot anyhow and they had the BEST cider here!! It tasted more like a sparkling white than a cider! Soooo delicious but unfortunately they don’t bottle it yet so we couldn’t buy any.

The food we had was also exceptional. Unfortunately I was too overwhelmed with the place to take pictures of the food but here are a few of our surroundings. By the way, the whole time we were there having lunch there was a line of people waiting to get in!

From here we travelled by coach to another winery.  This time I took a pic of the sign outside so I know it’s Windy Creek Winery. This was another gorgeous spot!!

I tried pretty much every wine they were offering and surprisingly for me, really loved the whites. I don’t normally drink a lot, if any, of white wine.

We were a nice group and by this time, were starting to talk to each other and were getting pretty happy! I took a few pics inside and out. So gorgeous here!

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Hubby is not a wine drinker so I ended up having a few tastings on his behalf – not that you can tell by this selfie on the left…

You can imagine where this is going to lead can’t you?

Back on the coach now to our next spot.

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As per the information from our driver, this tree had been struck by lightening, but continued to grow anyhow!

It was just outside our next stop and quite interesting to look at.

So now we’re at Twin Hill Wines and I’m feeling decidedly happy. Again, I liked the whites more than the reds (surprisingly) but not as much as our last stop. This is a family run winery though and the history behind it was quite interesting. They also provided a very tasty tasting plate for us!
Here are a few pics from our time here. By the way, the ladies behind the counter are mother and daughter.


Next stop was a brewery – Mash Brewing. They also provided us some nibbles and we were able to pick one beer from their list complimentary.

I’m not a beer drinker but it seemed like an interesting place.


I’m not sure you can read it but the pic on the right shows the beer choices we had.

We had one more stop to come and I was quite excited for this one! We were going to Margaret River Chocolate Company and were going to be sampling a few chocolate liqueurs also!

Here are a few pics. Luckily, hubby took them as I was not in any state to be taking photos at this point and was happy to be wandering around about the chocolate. We bought a few things to share later.


Not sure if you can see the interesting clocks bottom right. How cute are they!!!

The chocolate liqueurs ended up being a bit disappointing. We sampled four different kinds and they were all wine based. Although I like chocolate, I wasn’t tempted to buy any of them.

Our tour came to an end and we were dropped off back into Perth CBD.

IMG_5216We had dinner at East Village.

It looked like a really interesting place and the food wasn’t bad, but there was just something missing that I couldn’t put my finger on.


We ordered some wings to share, hubby got a burger and I had a Lamb Greek salad which was ok. The bread was probably the best thing about this. Still warm from the oven!

I had been jokingly saying I still wanted birthday cake and I wanted to see the city lights from Kings Park at night. Hubby, mostly always ready to please, began hatching a plan.

We went to the store and bought some cake. He also got some matches, candles and some sparklers. I still had no idea what he was going to do with these as we couldn’t light the sparklers in our hotel room could we?

I won’t bore you with the whole story but we never made it to Kings Park with one thing going wrong after another and eventually we just walked back to our hotel. Hubby still made it special for me by singing me happy birthday and lighting the candles on my cake!


Sadly our time in Perth was now pretty much over.

I do want to share one last treat before I finish this entry.

Hubby organised for us to fly back on the A330 in Business Class. Oh my!! Look at all this room!!! We could even lie our seats flat like a bed.
The bad thing about this is that you never want to travel any other way again!!!
Thank you Qantas and thanks for reading about our few days in Perth.

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Perth Day One

Well looky here we’re in Perth!
One thing I can say about hubby is that he does tend to spoil me once a year and this year is no different. With an impending big birthday, he’s arranged for a luxury trip to Perth, starting with a business class flight with Qantas.

I try to act like like this is a regular occurrence in front of the cabin crew but no matter how many times I’ve flown business (ok only once before) it still is such an incredible treat. Cabin Crew are just over lovely and my gosh all that champagne without the judgement! I almost didn’t want to get off the plane!

Hubby and I had been a bit snippy with each other all morning and that’s why it was a huge surprise when we’d been sitting on the plane for about ten minutes, one of the cabin crew asked if we were newlyweds! Wow. Well, we were holding hands… Not only are we not newlyweds, but we’ve been together for almost twenty years!

I had been to Perth a few times as a teenager but those times, I’d been driven across. As we walked through the airport to collect our luggage I made some remark about it to hubby. I said “Yeah I’ve been to Perth a couple of times but I’ve never seen the airport because we drove so this is interesting”
Hubby turned to me and said “Oh, so when you came here in 2013 with Esprit (my barbershop quartet) the pilot just parachuted you in straight to your hotel?”
Whoops… forgot about that trip! Guess I had seen the airport after all.

Our plan was to get to the hotel, store our luggage, then go walkabout through Perth CBD. We got to the hotel very early but the lovely staff said as our room was ready, we could go up there if we liked and even gave us an upgrade! Score!

Once we got ourselves settled we walked into the city and as hubby had said he wanted to get me a smart watch for my birthday, we headed straight for JB HiFi and bought me a FitBit Ionic. Do I love it? You bet!

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Hubby’s coffee addiction dictated we found the perfect cafe’ and unfortunately he couldn’t find a Starbucks anywhere so he settled for The Coffee Club.

I found these sculptures outside.

This sculpture group commemorates the 175th Anniversary of Western Australia and symbolises the business people who have built the CBD

From top left
Dutch exploration, discovery, mapping and naming of Swan River – 1697
Anglo – Celtic settlement of Swan River – 1829
Discovery of Gold – 1885-95
Post World War II European immigration – 1945-55
The Millennium Man – 2001

We walked up and down the two malls and more than a few arcades, then headed towards the wharf area. We walked past the interesting Bell Tower and the love locks but didn’t go in there.


I was dying to visit The Lucky Shag again. What a great place that is! By twelve midday it was packed in there! And the weather was just so perfect for sitting around and having a casual drink.

Hubby said “Where to next” and I said “Jacobs Ladder!”
Lucky for both of us he didn’t know what that entailed or we might not have gone that way…

And after walking up the many many steps along with the fitness fanatics, we walked through Kings Park enjoying the beautiful sights. I hope we get to see the views at night at some point on this trip.

IMG_5134We decided to catch a bus rather than walk back and I took the fact that it took us back to Hay St Mall to mean that I needed to do more shopping. Hubby is being a very good hubby so far and walked along with me even though he was starting to get blisters. Yes, he’s a trooper.

When we got back to the hotel, we recharged our devices then bravely took a couple of the complimentary hotel bikes and cycled to and through Kings Park.
IMG_5135Hubby is a lycra wearing, speed demon on his bike and while I have ridden in the past, it’s been many years since and I wasn’t so confident at first. Hubby was so patient though and really it was so much fun and quite relaxing and I was even standing up on the pedals to go uphill by the end of our ride!

Although we had a great day today, we made one critical error. We did pack it, but we forgot to put on sun screen and hubby and I are both burnt quite badly. Funny how it happens before you even realise it! Definitely will not forget the sunscreen tomorrow!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Darwin – Day 2

I slept like a baby last night! Of course it helped that the hotel’s air conditioning was on at full blast.

gum.jpgDarwin doesn’t have daylight saving so it was still quite early when I woke. I remembered the hotel gym opened at 6am so I decided to go down there early and get in some k’s on the treadmill before hubby woke up.

At 6.01am the gym still wasn’t open so I went down to reception to see if perhaps I’d gotten the time wrong.
I wonder if a guest has ever chased the staff about opening the gym before??

Hubby ended up coming down ninety minutes later and after a quick shower, we hopped into the pool to cool down.

We wanted to stay active and looked for a few things to do. We had wanted to go to the Aviation Museum but didn’t want to use a taxi or the bus. It was probably too far to walk with this humidity, so we decided to go to the “Qantas Hangar” instead.

The Hangar was about four kilometres from where we were staying and off we trotted on foot. I think hubby perspired at least ten buckets worth only to find when we got there, that we hadn’t really researched what the Hangar was….
I was more than a little disappointed but oh well, we got to talk to a few locals at the Parap shops and that’s always nice.

We saw a man waiting at a bus stop and asked him how soon the bus was coming. Lucky for us, there was one just about due and while we waited he pretty much told us his life story. Everyone has a story here! It was really interesting talking to him and it made the trip worthwhile.

fullsizerender15The bus took us right back to the Waterfront so we hopped off there to get some lunch. This time we were NOT going to go to the Hot Tamale.

Instead we ended up at Fiddlers Green.

The staff here were fairly friendly. They work hard to entice you in.

Hubby went for a couple of entree’s. SMOKED SALMON BLINIS- Salmon on potato pancakes with dill, Sour cream, capers & red onion jam and a BASKET OF WEDGES – Served with sweet chilli sauce & sour cream


He absolutely loved the potato pancakes. “Why can’t you make them like that?” he asked. Hmmm, I’ll have to try harder. They were really delicious and I know because I was allowed a taste test! I think he allowed it so that I know how to make them….

I went for the THE BOOKIE’S SANDWICH – 150g scotch fillet steak, with onion, tomato Lettuce, mustard mayo & fries

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You just can’t go by a good honest steak sandwich. It was just what I felt like.
The steak was cooked well and the onions and mayo… just yum!
The dining room could do with a bit of refurbishment as a lot of it was looking a bit old and dated.
It was also just a little disappointing that they were so friendly when trying to get us in, but less so when we were actually in there. But, again, you get what you pay for and we couldn’t fault the food.

fullsizerender10After lunch we continued walking and found ourselves walking past Northern Territory’s Living Marine Educational Discovery Centre where outside the building it’s advertised as being Darwin’s most interesting attraction with a quality coffee shop.

I didn’t take a picture of the Quality Coffee shop sign OR the Coffee shop itself… which is really too bad. I can vouch for it though because I saw a percolator on the counter.

Eventually we walked back to our room, changed into our bathers and spent a good hour in the hotel pool along with a couple of other guests.What a nice way to cool down!

We decided to visit Sky City Casino for dinner so after a bit of a nap  refreshing ourselves in our room, we walked to the Casino.


There are a few restaurants to choose from but hubby couldn’t go past the buffet.
We walked in and asked if we could look at the food before deciding if we’d eat here. Is that weird? The server kind of looked at us strangely so I guess she hasn’t been asked that question before!


We saw SO MUCH seafood! We don’t even really eat seafood but we saw enough to know that this was the place for us.

What we did eat was so very tasty! It was really hard to slow down and enjoy but we forced ourselves because we wanted to try a little bit of everything.
My favourite was probably the special fried rice.
They topped up the food regularly and ensured everything we were having was fresh.
The views from the restaurant were quite pretty too!

Unfortunately, where our table was located, we were not able to enjoy the view with our dinner.

What we did have however, was a birds eye view of the dessert table, complete with a chocolate fountain!

It definitely was a hit with the children!
What I loved about the desserts was that they were all small serves so we got a few things between us to share.
They also had a bread and butter pudding. One diner lamented the absence of custard to go with it “How can they have a bread and butter pudding without custard???” she exclaimed to me.
I just shrugged. There was cream and ice cream so that was good enough for me.

We finished off the night with a bit of luck at the Black Jack table. Hubby doesn’t do that often and I’m always nervous when he does but it usually works in his favour.

I don’t have a full day’s worth to make a “Day Three” post but it was pretty funny to see our taxi driver flirt shamelessly  with hubby on the way to the airport. It was like I wasn’t in the car at all!! I’m half expecting a facebook friend request to come through for hubby from the taxi driver… I mean there’s friendly and friendly….

I also have lots to tell you about the Qantas Club lounge that we were lucky enough to use. Qantas club, Business class tickets… I could get used to this life!!

So we survived a couple of days in Darwin during the wet season.
Have you been there?
What your experience been like? I’d love to know!!

Spoon You Fork Me/The Dining Diaries will be returning in the regular format from Monday the 16th of January.

Thanks for reading!

Darwin – Day 1

Diners I hope you’ll enjoy these next couple of entries where I share hubby and I’s first visit to Darwin.
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Seeing as we were only going to spend a couple of days, we just wanted to get a feel of the food and culture of the CBD area and didn’t get a car. Next time, we’ll definitely get a car and really go exploring!

Our trip began with a business class ticket on our Qantas flight. It was hubby’s birthday treat to me!
I’ve never traveled anything but economy class so this was a big treat!

Apart from the extra leg space, we were treated really well and offered some tasty food! As we were on a morning flight, our meal was breakfast and we had a choice of bircher muesli, or bacon and poached egg with mushrooms. Hubby wasn’t quite sure which one he wanted and was told he could have one of each if he wanted. Wow. He just took the eggs. Apart from that though, we had whatever we wanted to drink, fruit salad, zucchini and walnut muffin and probably lots more things that I’m forgetting. They do make you feel very special!

I really loved my bircher muesli. At one point hubby brought his spoon over to taste some.
“NO, NO!!!” I exclaimed in horror.
“But you have to share” he replied while dipping into my muesli
“But it’s my birthday!” I protested weakly.
I only mention this as this conversation was clearly heard by the other business class passengers….
Later I did try to taste one of the mushrooms on his plate but he just growled so I backed away slowly.

We got to Darwin and were immediately engulfed by humidity. People seem very nice here. Laid back and friendly. I’d always heard that and got to experience it for myself.

Walked Mitchell st because everyone says everything is in Mitchell st and started looking at the different cafes, restaurants and bars along that road, trying to figure out which one we were going to go to.
Up to now, although it had been humid, it hadn’t rained.We decided to go into the Ducks Nuts for a drink and while we were there, a huge torrential rain occurred. It was over ten minutes later though and you wouldn’t have known it had happened!
Unfortunately we never got to go back to the Ducks Nuts for a meal. I really would have loved to as it seems like a really cool place.

Kept on walking along the esplanade and eventually found the wharf area. Had to stop for a Sangria at the Hot Tamale

Food prices seem slightly cheaper than Adelaide. Although I haven’t seen the size of the serves yet but that’s my first impression.

img_8162We went back and to our hotel and checked in. I wanted to check out the gym and pool area as I was hoping to utilise at least the gym area.

What you’re seeing in the pic on the left is a look of pure joy as I discovered that the hotel gym, really was a pretty good gym!

Not only that, but no one was in it so I decided to go a few K’s on the treadmill and build up my calorie bank in preparation for dinner tonight.

After resting and freshening up in our room, we ventured out into the humidity once more to see where we were going to go for dinner.

We were told the streets were quite empty because it’s “off” season right now. We knew we would be visiting in the Wet Season but we still wanted to have a look. There were still plenty of people around, enjoying their surroundings and doing whatever they like to do.

We found ourselves back on the Waterfront and I just couldn’t go past another Sangria so we went back to Hot Tamale, this time for dinner as well as a drink….


I commented to hubby that the people you think are going to be friendly and nice haven’t really been, and those you don’t expect it, go out of their way to be nice and friendly to you.If it was hubby’s choice, we wouldn’t have come back here but I’m just a sucker for Mexican food and it was my birthday after all so he obliged.

I decided to go for a Chili con carne. Hubby was pretty undecided. When we had been here earlier in the day he’d wanted to split some nacho’s but I didn’t want to waste calories at that point. Now, for dinner, I told him if that’s what he felt like, he should get them for dinner.
We asked the waiter if it was enough for a main and he said they were even too much for him. He was not a slender bloke so we trusted him and ordered the nacho’s for hubby’s main.

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I think they make the corn chips themselves. They were ok. They had a strong oil taste to them and felt a little like prawn crackers that you get from chinese takeaway stores.
They weren’t bad, just not what I was used to.

I don’t think it’s a serve that’s big enough for a main meal though.

What I did love about this place was that they had Latin music playing the whole time. You just can’t be sad when Latin music is playing!

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My Chili con carne was pretty good.

It was not a huge serve but as I wasn’t running as much as I normally do when I’m home, that was ok.

At one point I looked at my dish and I looked at hubby’s dish and noticed there wasn’t a great deal of difference between them.

We both had braised beef and homemade nacho’s as the main elements on our plates.

After dinner we strolled back to Mitchell st and joined other locals enjoying some live music as “Wisdom”

These guys party like there’s no work tomorrow!

We arrived back to our room with a few naughty snacks and fell asleep while watching some movie playing.

It was a good first day!

Stay tuned for “Day 2” out tomorrow!