To choose just one favourite place is not an easy task. My favourite place depends on my mood, the weather or what I am looking for in a favourite place at a specific time. For example, my favourite place for dark night skies, peace and quiet and the best sleep ever is my family home in rural New South Wales. If I am feeling sad and craving solitude my favourite place is curled up on the lounge with Bundy, watching old movies or reading a book. For this week’s photo challenge I have decided to go with a favourite travel destination, one I could happily return to again and again even though it is considered by many to be ‘too touristy’. I’m sure that you will recognise it without difficulty.
For me the pleasure in returning to Venice is watching the sun set over the lagoon, the golden light creates a warm glow that affects all it touches. The thousands of day trippers head back to their hotels and cruise ships, the streets are less chaotic and the soft light of glass lanterns makes everything seem so romantic. During the day I love exploring streets beyond St Mark’s Square, getting lost and finding little gems in which to enjoy an espresso or a bite to eat and a glass of wine.
“The quality of Venice that accomplishes what religion so often cannot is that Venice has made peace with the waters. It is not merely pleasant that the sea flows through, grasping the city like tendrils of vine, and, depending upon the light, making alleys and avenues of emerald and sapphire, Citi s a brave acceptance of dissolution and an unflinching settlement with death. Though in Venice you may sit in courtyards of stone, and your heels may click up marble stairs, you cannot move without riding upon or crossing the waters that someday will carry you in dissolution to the sea.”
― Mark Helprin, The Pacific and Other Stories
O’Reilly’s Rainforest Retreat is located in Lamington National Park in the Gold Coast Hinterland. Away from the hustle and bustle of everyday living, you can choose to spend a day or stay for a while and take the time to explore the rainforest surrounds and soak in some of the most spectacular sunsets.
I had the pleasure of staying there a few years ago and whilst there have been changes to the retreat accommodation, the sunsets remain as beautiful as ever.
O’Reillys accommodation nestled on the hill among the rainforest
Australia Day is a day where Australians get together and celebrate the good things about our nation and being Australian. The date for Australia Day, January 26, was chosen because it is the anniversary of the arrival of Captain Arthur Phillip and the First Fleet from England in 1788. On this day, many Australians join their family, friends and communities for a BBQ, picnic in the park or a game of cricket at the beach, it is a National holiday and if the date happens to fall on a weekend then we get an additional day off to make the most of the event. This year Australia Day was on a Sunday (so I’ve got today off work) which for me, started like any other Sunday with time spent at our local shelter, cleaning up after puppies and dogs, getting lots of kisses and cuddles and taking the dogs out for a bit of exercise. At the moment I have a couple of favourites at the shelter, but there is one particular fellow called Curly whom I absolutely love, he is a British Bulldog/Staffordshire Bull Terrier cross (apparently) and he is loud, barking at everyone he sees and sadly, people find it off-putting and interest in this gorgeous guy is minimal. Curly has a huge grin, is a wriggle butt, a snuggler and a kisser, once you get past the barking and spend some one-on-one time with him it is almost impossible not to love him so my mission (when I am there) is to get him out of his kennel and walking where people can see the other side to this gorgeous little man. Surprise, surprise, I also take lots of photos of him to share on social media 🙂
Even wearing the cone of shame he is still smiling that huge staffy smile
Just look at that cute little butt!
Curly in his cone of shame
Curly’s kisses are frequent
Our two black dogs certainly didn’t miss out on the fun of Australia Day, once the heat of the day had passed we loaded them into the car and headed off to the lake for a walk and a (dogs only) swim. The border of the lake has an excellent walking path, rough 4 kilometres in distance, and off leash park, plenty of outdoor gym equipment as well as BBQ areas and playground equipment for children to enjoy. Being Australia Day, every man and their dog was out and about, the carpark was almost full and a variety of activities were being undertaken by the lake including kite flying. I’m not keen on the off leash area and Maxi doesn’t always react well to other dogs after the initial sniff and greet, instead we redirected our pooches to the water’s edge where they sniffed the rocks and reeds, scratched in the sand and paddled in the shallow water until it was time to go home. As we walk to the car we pass by the remnant of someone else’s Australia Day celebration, careless people had expressed their ‘Aussie pride’ by spray painting a rude gesture on an old lounge and leaving it for someone else to dispose of, this thoughtless and often aggressive patriotism is a side to Australia Day that bothers me and one that has been all too prevalent over the last 10 years. Regardless of the blight on the landscape, spending time together at the lake was a lovely end to the day, I stood and took photos of the setting sun while Bundy pulled on the lead in pursuit of a scent, Maxi was grinning like a fool and the husband stood by, rattling the keys in his pocket, his hint for me to hurry up and put the camera away.