We left Shaftesbury and drove the two hours to Oxford to meet the train. All was going well until the last 2 miles when the traffic stopped and crawled forward. We finally got there just in time to met Terry and Jenny. As the traffic was bad we decided to use the park and ride near by to travel into the city; this was a new concept for our visitors. Continue reading Oxford
After the bustle and unfamiliarity of Indonesia it was nice to touch down in Singapore which is much more westernised than Yogyakarta and Surabaya, cleaner, and more familiar as we have been there before. We were looking forward to a chance to catch up on some domestic chores; laundry, haircuts, travel arrangements for our trip across Europe; and also, to catching up with our friends Mark and Jennifer who live in Singapore. At their suggestion we had booked into the One 15⁰ Marina Club on Sentosa Cove just west of downtown Singapore and very close to where they live. We had a very comfortable room with a balcony overlooking the marina. Continue reading Singapore
Our flight from Bali to Yogyakarta was uneventful and we were met at the airport by our local guide Kodar and his driver Anton who whisked us of to our hotel, The Phoenix a colonial, heritage oasis in a hectic city. We were served drinks and sweet cakes and pastries while we checked in and then shown to our room overlooking the pool. That evening we ate in the hotels courtyard restaurant which proved to be very good and very cheap! I’m sure if we had gone out to a local restaurant it would have been even cheaper but how could we resist 5* luxury and food at £5 for a main course? We decided to order a Phoenix Sling, their version of the gin sling, the house cocktail (£6), to our surprise the bar tender was despatched to our table where she set up a temporary bar to mix the drinks in front of us, so we got a floor show with the cocktail – bargain! The food was excellent and we rounded of the meal with a scoop of coffee ice cream (me) and a sample selection of seven deserts (Mark). Yogya was looking good. Continue reading Yogyakarta, Central Java
Our evening flight to Bali was delayed so we didn’t arrive until late on Wednesday night. Our travel agent had arranged a VIP Meet and Greet service to guide us through immigration on arrival. Sure enough there was a woman waiting for us as we entered the airport, she took us to a pleasant waiting room and went off to collect our luggage then she steered us through customs and immigration with barely a pause for checks; we could still see other passengers from our plane waiting at the luggage carousel! Outside the airport it was mayhem, cars, buses, taxis and people everywhere but our woman knew exactly where our car was waiting and before we knew it we had been introduced to our Guide Agung, and his driver whose name we never caught, and we were on pour way to our hotel. Continue reading Bali
We flew from Adelaide to Alice Springs and then straight on to Ayres Rock, a bus took us to the Desert Gardens Hotel part of the Ayres Rock Resort. There is no town of any sort near the Kata Tjuta and Uluru National Park, just an airport and the resort which have been built to serve the thousands of tourists that visit every year. The resort has two hotels, apartments and a campsite and a ‘town square’ with a bank, café, supermarket and souvenir shop. There is a very efficient system of buses and mini buses which link the different parts of the resort and ferry visitors on an extensive range of excursions into the desert. As we drove from the airport we were surprised how green everywhere looked, we had expected parched red dirt, apparently after 11 years of drought there has been a very wet winter here and there was unseasonal heavy rain last week (72mm in 36 hours in some places) so the desert has burst to life, this is a very rare site so we are lucky to have timed our visit to coincide. One guide told us that when it rains hard waterfalls run from the top of Uluru, one of her colleagues had seen this happen four times in fifteen years, she has seen it eight times in six months.