Australia: Homecoming

As promised, here is the last in this holiday series.  Nick still has to publish his report on his river tracing adventure (I won’t let him forget it!!) but other than that, this is the final chapter in our honeymoon epic.

The flight home was completely uneventful but it was a crisp 7°C when we arrived back in Melbourne.  Our flight was on a new A350 plane which Nick was very excited about. The seating was spacious and the audio/visual set up was the best I have ever seen.  The screen resolution was so sharp, I could have cut myself on the touch screen!

However, due to our very late boarding and simple exhaustion, neither of us took much advantage of the movies on this flight.  Instead, we checked out the completely flat lying beds and clocked up some solid sleep – ready for landing in Melbourne.

As we had eaten in the lounge, neither of us took up the late supper option either (really, it was a FULL dinner with dessert as well) but we did have the breakfast.  Oddly, I feel that the food on this flight was inferior when compared to the meals on the flight out of Melbourne.  Nick concurred and we also both thought that the service was a little rushed and haphazard this time around (Nick was only served his breakfast as I was finishing mine, he was served a coffee with his meal but I had to use the call button to get a coffee well after I finished my breakfast etc) but really – if these were our biggest issues, we were still coming way out in front!

Trip Highlights:

  • Japan: as a whole.  I loved the culture and the people and most certainly, the food.
  • Beitou – hot springs! I would love to come back here one day and luxuriate in the hot springs again.
  • Yukatas – for all the hotels that provided us yukata to wear, I loved this. They were so comfortable and nice!
  • Chopsticks – its safe to say that Nick and I both upped our chopstick skills. We liked it so much we have resolved to eat more meals at home with chopsticks
  • Public transport – the public transport systems in each country we visited made Australia look like a sloppy hot mess honestly.  I was SO impressed with how cheap and easy it was to get around. Even as foreigners we never had a single issue getting around.  I can’t imagine the same is true for visitors to our country sadly.
  • Ryokans and Monastery Stay – these humble places we stayed had the most interesting histories and the most delectable foods.  Highly recommend!
  • Resort stay – sometimes, it IS nice to glam it up.  Our stay in Beitou was doubly wonderful because of the accommodation.  Not feasible for a WHOLE trip, but its nice to try the finer things in life.
  • Taroko Gorge – simple stunning.  One of the most beautiful places I have ever had the privilege of visiting.  Nick and I were so impressed with the scenery there.

Lessons Learned:

  • Ichigo ichi-e (一期一会 “one time, one meeting”) – this is a concept we learned in Japan which will stay with me forever. This really resonated with me and its one of the loveliest things I have ever heard. I will strive to remember this in my day to day life.
  • Try everything – you’re offered a strange food that you have never heard of.  Try it! You’re asked to sleep on the floor. Give it a go! Naked bathing? Sure, why not? At worst, you won’t like the experience but how often are you given a chance to sample another culture?
  • Airbnb is AWESOME – I was slightly worried that our airbnb stays would be awkward experiences but they were absolutely delightful. In addition to being miles cheaper then traditional hotel stays, we were given a true insight into how the locals live. Especially true for our Hiroshima stay with Junichi, you get to meet some wonderful people.
  • Drink more tea – it’s good for you! Nick and I have been sharing a pot of tea everyday since we have come back home.

Travel Tips:

  • Carry-on only – not only was it more comfortable for us when we were in transit, it is always nice to breeze past all the suckers people waiting at the carousel for their luggage.  We were almost always out of the airport before the carousels even started unloading.
  • Don’t bother with a hairdryer – Nick was right on this call.  I will never bother packing a hairdryer again. Maybe a hair straightener though – or hair products in general.  My hair was a frizzy mess most of the time!
  • Also, toothbrushes or any shower amenities – your hotel has you covered.  Even our airbnb stays had us covered.  I didn’t need to break out my own toothbrush for the whole trip. Sensitive skin can be an issue for me, but none of the soaps provided by the hotels made too much bother for my skin so I would also not worry about shampoo or conditioner.
  • Check your host country’s national holidays – this only caught us out once, but we did have a hard time booking transport and activities in Hualien, Taiwan due to a national holiday period.

All in all, this was the most wonderful trip I have ever been on in my life.  Probably because I got to share it with my best friend and the love of my life, Nick.  I can’t wait for the next trip and I hope you enjoyed the adventure as much as we did.

Hope Soars Above the Clouds has amused and entertained, we hope to soar again soon.

 

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