Sake to me Baby – Japan Day Ten

Rain, rain, rain, rain, rain. That was the forecast for today. It wasn’t so bad because it wasn’t windy and it was still warm/muggy so not really complaining. I still went for my early morning walk and there were still plenty of people going about their business either walking or riding their bikes with their umbrellas held steady.

We were so happy with the JR pass we’d bought yesterday. Today there were going to be no limitations! Or so we thought.

We hopped on a train for Shin Osaka station (where the Shinkasen leave from)
Mostly the trains have been so busy and normally if their is a seat, hubby lets me take the first free one. This morning another seat opened up between two ladies and hubby gently placed himself in the middle. He was sitting directly opposite me and when I saw the scene before me, I just couldn’t help but laugh.

IMG_0923
He’s six foot seven in case you’re wondering!
Next stop Shin Osaka. We were so excited to be riding on a Shinkansen again!

IMG_0924

We had decided to go to Nagoya. There was some museum that hubby wanted to go to. A Toyota one I think and I had my sights on the Science Museum that had a lot of interactive exhibits. It was forecast to rain all day so that’s why we picked indoor activities.

We got on the train and went all the way to Nagoya. When we were trying to exit the gate, we kept getting a message that the wrong ticket was used. We went to the counter and the guy said we couldn’t use our JR pass, that we had to now spend another 5800 yen  (times four as that was a one way ticket for one person) to pass the gate. So 5800 times four is 23200 which is about $306 AUD.

We left that counter and told the guy “we’ll come back”. Went to another counter and the lovely lady there explained we had a JR West pass and we were not at a station that covered the JR West area. Too bad they hadn’t explained that clearly when we bought the pass!! Or maybe they did and we just didn’t understand.

In any case, we got back on the train without paying any extra fees, and went back to Osaka. From there we got on a bullet train to Kobe.
Although we didn’t actually go into Nagoya, we sure are getting our money’s worth with these bullet train rides.

It was pouring with rain in Kobe as well.


If you don’t know, there was a big earthquake in Kobe in 1995 that brought down overpass freeways and caused immense devastation. You can read more about it here
https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Great_Hanshin_earthquake

This is our third time in Kobe and every time we’ve gone, we’ve ended up having lunch at the Fisherman’s Wharf. It’s a buffet style lunch and the restaurant is on the harbour. You just can’t beat it.!
Here’s a few harbour pics. Still pretty even though it’s raining.


And the view from our table


I took a few pics of the food but there really was a lot more. These do not capture how good this place is!


With full bellies we wandered over to the Maritime Museum and Kawaski Good Times Museum. We’ve tried to come here before but it’s always been on a Monday and that’s when, we’ve later learnt, the museums are shut.

We weren’t allowed to take photo’s in the Maritime part but hubby and I found that section a little boring anyhow. I guess if you’re into ships and boats throughout history you’d like it. Most of it was in Japanese so that made it hard for us to get into as well.

The Kawasaki part was excellent!! Lots of English, lots of interactive exhibits and workers on hand to talk to you about what you were looking at. I just loved it in there!

I’ll just post a few pics of what I saw. I tried to include the dates with the motorbike pics so you know what era they’re from.


They had a replica for the first bullet train in there so I took some pics of that.


And some helicopter as well.


And a robot display.

IMG_0976
It was still raining when we got out. So disappointing. I wanted to walk around but hubby especially didn’t want to walk while it was raining even though it was a fairly gentle rain.

Before going back to our apartment we finally did walk through the Shinsekai area. It seemed pretty dead. Probably because of the rain although there was one section that had a few people in it. I’m glad I walked through there anyhow.

Tomorrow is our last day in Osaka. Hubby and are a both a little sad about that. I feel like we haven’t spent enough time here. The time has just one by too quickly.  I think I actually prefer Osaka to Tokyo. It’s just more laid back and I love the food here.
Speaking of, we still haven’t had an okanomiyaki!!! Hope to rectify that tomorrow!!

For now, Oyasuminasai and hopefully the rain will stay away tomorrow!

Oot and Aboot in Canada Eh! – Day Nine

60531364_2029178610544668_3933936300763119616_n

This morning I took the easy and much warmer way out and used the treadmill in the basement.

If only I’d thought to use this earlier in the week.

It’s in miles so I have to convert but keeping the mind busy makes the time go faster.

HYS-STEAKHOUSE-LOGO-2019

Today we were lucky enough to be taken out to lunch at Hy’s restaurant, downtown Winnipeg.

Just walking into the building was an impressive experience!


We couldn’t go past the NY Steak Sandwiches so all  ordered them but with different sides.


Honestly the steaks were cooked so well!! They were such a pleasure to eat! And I had the veggies and they were sweet and had lot of flavour as well.

IMG_0370

IMG_0375We also enjoyed a delicious bottle of wine as suggested by our lovely server.

For some reason, we don’t have a lot of Key Lime Pie in Australia so when I saw it on the menu, I asked hubby if he wanted to split it and it really was very good!! It was pretty sweet though so I was glad I only had a half serve.

IMG_0376We went for a walk this afternoon and noticed a carnival setting up nearby.  I’m not sure how often it comes by here but I think it’s been set up at some point every time we’ve visited.

IMG_0377
I’ve also noticed School Buses all over the place here! We don’t have those in Australia.
If anyone needs a bus, they just get on a public bus or train.
No special school buses or at least, it’s not the normal thing.

IMG_0378

And while shopping I saw some S’Mores and I’ve never had one so had to try it right?

I was so excited to try it but it was pretty sickly sweet so I don’t think I’ll go out of my way to have that again.

Our time is quickly coming to a close. Too quickly. We’ve returned our rental car and are leaving in the wee hours tomorrow morning so today really is it and we’ll be packing and organising all our stuff.

As this part of our journey comes to an end, we’ll be looking forward to our next leg that begins in Tokyo, Japan.

I hope that you’ll continue on this trip with us.

For now, Good night and konichiwa!

Girls Gone Mild – Day Three

This morning we were back in the gym very early – even though we knew there was going to be a lot of walking today. There’s something soothing about being in an empty gym in the wee hours of the morning (trust me, there is no sarcasm in my words)

IMG_7977As I was making breakfast and going through our groceries I saw a few of our purchases from the Asian Supermarket from yesterday and realised we forgot to open the SoJu!

We saw it in the Korean restaurant we went to yesterday but didn’t drink it so bought a bottle later in the day because we wanted to have some – Will need to make room for that tonight.

IMG_7979
Our plan of attack today was to visit the QueenVictoria Market. This time I checked the opening time online and saw the food and veg sections open at 6am and the rest of it opens at 8am!

That didn’t sound right to me  but we got ready and walked down there. As it turned out, most of the shops were open and trading!

Melbourne has really turned on the weather for us! 22 degrees today and it was such a lovely fresh walk down there.

IMG_8025
We spent a bit of time clocking up steps, walking up and down the aisles but not really finding anything to buy.


I think we got more excited to go back to “our” coffee place. Last year we exhausted their supply of “free to try” chocolate coffee beans. (We bought lots of jars of them too!)

This year, we were excited to be back and wouldn’t you know it, the woman who served us remembered us from last year! She was lovely and I’m sure we were memorable not for raiding their chocolate coffee bean bowl, but because of our lovely personalities and enviable good looks.


IMG_7994

On the way back mumma bear wanted to stop in a kitchen store and I saw this which I thought would go perfect in my kitchen at home!

The only thing missing is the word “permanently”

IMG_7995

The next stop on our agenda was St Kilda so we topped up our public travel cards and hopped on a tram.

A vigorous discussion about whether you had to “tap on” and “tap off” ensued and a local woman thankfully interceded and said tapping off was not required on the tram.

We got to St Kilda and passed the various cake stores. I’m not sure how others feel but those cake stores seem to be better in fantasy than reality. Every time I go there I feel excited to try something but often it disappoints and my mum noted that the cakes at Brunetti looked better.
We didn’t get any cakes.


We ended up lunching at the same place we did last year. Well it was pretty good last year so why ignore a known entity?

IMG_8019

And the food was pretty good!!! Those serves were huge! In fact we were wondering whether we’d be able to take our leftovers with us so when the server came to take our plates away my mum asked “Do you do doggy style?” 
Of course she meant “Do you do doggy bags?” which the rest of us girls quickly restated.
I bet that server will have a story to tell tonight!


My mum wanted to walk to Port Melbourne. Sounds like a good idea in theory but it was so very windy and we were against the wind and walking in a warm sun the whole way.

Of course we stopped for pictures and coffee as we walked.


And finally we were there!! For a brief horrifying second we worried that there might not be a tram from there to Melbourne but thankfully there was.


I’m not sure why the “thumbs up” (Fonzie would be proud) has made an appearance in our photos but we all got into the spirit of it by the end of the day.

I’m not sure about the other girls but I’m pretty sure that I’ve had enough excitement for the day and am looking forward to getting into bed and dreaming about days with no wind.

Now, where’s that Soju…

Roman Around – Day One

Surprise! We’re in Rome!!

I woke up with mixed feelings. Sad to be leaving Greece but also excited for what lay ahead. I’ve been to Italy before but it was too many years ago and hubby has never been at all so this was going to be something new for both of us.

It was sad to leave the rest of our travelling buddies who were going back home today. After being with the group for so long, it a little strange to just be on our own. I kept thinking we were missing somebody.

When the group got to Athens airport we saw that we were departing from different gates and had to go through different security screening areas. We asked the security officer if the gates meet up on the other side as we wanted to know whether we were saying goodbye now or if we would have more time together.
The guard said in a heavy accent “No, it separate. Say bye-bye here”
It was just cute.

The goodbye was too quick and too sad…

The flight from Athens to Rome was only 2 hours and it seemed to go fairly quickly. I had last minute anxiety about speaking Italian so was reading the Italian inflight magazine for most of those two hours in the hope it could increase my vocabulary.

IMG_7272

Hubby and I had researched it and decided we would take the bus to our apartment which is pretty close to the train terminal in Rome.
I tried to take some pictures as it drove along but that never works.

Some of the streets were so pretty with green trees shading us but the buildings are all full of graffiti! We saw the same thing in Greece. What is it with these places and graffiti!

We kept driving and then… out of nowhere, out jumped the colosseum!! I think the whole bus exclaimed at the same time!


It looked pretty impressive. I’ve seen it before but it was still a thrill.

Our apartment is just a short walk away from here and we just fell in love with the building as soon as we saw it!! I was so happy that it was as nice as the pictures we’d seen online. Maybe even better than the pictures.


The picture top right is the ceiling in our apartment. It’s curved like that. Looks pretty good! And the ceilings are so high! It feels like were in a palace. I love this place!!

We were going to rest and take it easy but got caught up in the atmosphere and immediately went out exploring. I snapped at things without knowing what they were. Tomorrow is the “proper” sight seeing day. This was just a bonus walk.

We stopped for some dinner. We really wanted authentic pizza but not sure we got that. The place was ok but not amazing.
We also ordered a bottle of wine for both of us. Although I drink often, I don’t drink a lot and a whole bottle between two… well I can tell you my Italian was flowing after that.

The first picture above is the restaurant we stopped at, the second is our wine, third our meals (pizza and calzone) and last is the complimentary limoncello the owner brought out! How nice was that!
We passed a million tourist shops and lots of them sell these things. I haven’t gone in to see what’s in them, but I’ll just leave the picture here for you to see. Try explaining that one to your kids.

IMG_7289

Without looking for it, we came upon Fontana di Trevi,


It was pretty impressive. Much more than I remember when I was here last.

We are going to go to these sights again so we didn’t linger. In any case, it was absolutely littered with people. We were here in the evening and I’m sure there’s people here all day long but probably especially busy at night.

pain_web_1280x720.jpgI accidentally dropped my phone on a young girls head while trying to take an overhead shot of the fountain.
I still feel bad about that but it probably would have been a little funny watching it as an onlooker.

IMG_7303

I joked to hubby that if we kept going the way we were, we would see all the ancient sights before we even had our first night’s sleep!

We passed by the Pantheon and again, that was quite by accident.

We saw a sign for Piazza di Spagna (Spanish Steps) and decided that would be our last stop before heading back.
It was starting to get dark so I couldn’t take many photos. I was telling hubby how when I was here last there were vendors selling chestnuts at the bottom of the steps and they’re still there! You might see some chestnuts in the picture on the right.


Very weary but I want to show you the fabulous parking that people do here. Why stick to one direction when you have one of these cars?

IMG_7313

Backwards, sideways, parallel. It all works!

Arriverderci readers!

Greece is the Word – Day Seven

Every evening I tell myself “I’m going to sleep in tomorrow” yet every morning I’m up as soon as the sun starts to come up. I can’t help it. I can hear movement outside, I knew the day is fresh and new and I just want to be a part of it.

It is no different here in Nafpaktos. We’re so close to the water we can smell that salty air and it’s so enticing.

We walked straight to the waters edge and continued along the coast to the area where the restaurants face the water. Even though it was early there were still people in the water or enjoying a cup of coffee at the tables.

I took a photo of the pebbles we were walking on. It looks so pretty and is so different to anything we have in Australia.

IMG_6751As part of our walk, we discovered this cute little bakery that made the BEST spanokopita.

That spinach filling was just so full of flavour and cheesy creamy. It was just delicious. We tried to go back for me to take on our journey today but she’d sold out. I almost cried real tears.

We took our spanokopita back to the beach area and found a bench to sit on while we waited for the rest of our group. As we sat there, a couple of cats started to gather round. Normally, when you’re at the beach with food it’s seagulls that start to circle you! Here it’s cats.

IMG_6753
And if you’re wondering, yes we did share with them. When they meow so tragically you IMG_6759really have no choice!

After a Greek Coffee or two, we did a bit of last minute Nafpaktos Tourist shopping before heading up to the castle once again. This time it was open!

It’s such an interesting place.
There’s tons of information on the internet if you’re interested but for us it was just something to think about the people who had walked the same steps we had walked in history. Thinking about when this was a working castle and the jobs people were doing.
There are also amazing views of the coast from up there and yes, it does seem as high up as it looks!


We left Nafpaktos and headed for a village where there was more family waiting to see us. The drive was going to take us through windy hilly roads again. I’m not a fan.

It’s gorgeous scenery though and the hills and mountains are dotted with wind turbines.
IMG_6807
It’s also not uncommon to be stopped by cattle… This happened to us more than once on our journey today!


We didn’t get to the mountain village until well after 4pm. Hubby hadn’t met his relatives before and it was all very special and emotional. We don’t speak Greek and only one of their party spoke English so the translating took a little while but it didn’t matter. It was lovely to spend the time together.
I took some photos from their balcony as the views they have are just breath taking.


They wanted us to share a meal with them so we stayed and talked about old times while eating what they had prepared. Most of what we were having had been grown on their land/property. Even the goat (I’m almost sad to say? Just quietly, it was soooo tasty!)

IMG_6827
IMG_6828

This is by no means everything but there was Greek salad with home produce (the tomatoes were just so sweet!) potatoes, zucchini and feta cheese made from the milk of their own goats.

Everything was just too delicious! I ate way more than I should have just because I needed to taste more!

You may also notice the wine on the table, that was made by them as well.

Time was really moving on now and we were conscious of the long drive back to Athens, but they asked us if we wanted to see their farm. They had to go there to feed the animals.
How could we say no?

IMG_6857
We drove down a treacherous dirt path to get to it. I don’t know how these people use these roads every day…

Everything we saw at the farm was interesting and new.
From the goats to the cows with their baby calf.

We watched the cows feeding. I tried to take some photos but they moved back as we got close.

IMG_6862

Unfortunately hubby is allergic so we had to go and wait in the car but the kids in our group were able to watch the goats being milked and had a go at doing it themselves too! Now that’s an experience they wouldn’t get at school.

Again, the views from the farm are just breathtaking. I seem to be saying that a lot!


Everything took much longer than anticipated and we didn’t get back to their house until well after 10.30pm. They begged for us to stay rather than drive back down that awful road with minimum light but we just wanted our own beds and clean clothes so we left.

We didn’t get back to Athens until after 2.30am.

For the record, I have had my life time share of treacherous road driving.

And now, it’s definitely time for bed.
Kalinychta until tomorrow when hopefully, I will be sleeping in…