Category Archives: Travel Diary

Sunset on the farm

Another panorama from our weekend at a friend’s farm near Gingin.

This was just around sunset.   The kids were having immense fun running through the grassy fields.   The other adults were setting up the campfire.   I was wandering around with my tripod and Cokin filters trying to get an interesting shot!   This result is a crop from a 10 image stitch – I think I ended up using about 7 images in the end.

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Gingin Farm

We were extremely fortunate a few months ago to be invited to a weekend holiday at a friend’s farm near Gingin.

It was so peaceful away from the city.   Here’s a 9 image stitch of the lone tree in the paddock just after the sun dropped under the horizon.    The kids had started a campfire and we feasted on marshmallows for the rest of the night.

Riding the Nice ferris wheel

In Nice, we came across a beautiful ferris wheel, or Grande Roue in French. As we attempted to go up all tall things on our trip, we hopped on to see the view from the top. However, from living in over-safety conscious Australia, I was worried about the lack of safety harnesses, railings and the flimsy door to the car once we got in – especially since it went quite high!

I found a list of some nice 360 images of the Ferris Wheel here too:  http://www.360cities.net/image/ferris-wheel-nice-france#115.93,16.46,110.0

The old town in Nice, France

I loved wandering around the streets of the old town in Nice, France. The colours of the buildings are so vibrant compared to the dull gray of our high-rises in Perth and other modern big cities. This image reminds me of the narrow streets, the colours and how close the buildings were to each other.

Here’s a view of an old building up into the clear blue sky in Nice, France.  It was a clear day, but it was cold!

Eiffel Tower

The Eiffel Tower is one of the most photographed structures on the planet.  It’s actually much bigger than I expected.  When you’re standing under it, it’s just overwhelming you with its magnificence.  I loved the geometry of its structure and here’s a few shots I took (whilst trying to fend away people selling trinklets!)

The sacrifices of a family holiday with 3 girls

We were fortunate enough to have a 2 week holiday in Japan recently.  It was the most amazing experience for our family, and I know I haven’t blogged much about it yet, but plan to (life has just been too busy lately!)

Looking back, when travelling with a wife and 2 daughters, there are just sacrifices that have to be made.

Take Akihabara for example.  We are up to Day 13 of our holiday.  Here I am, a computer geek, in Tokyo, in Akihabara – the “Electric City” – basically blocks of multi-storey shopping centres filled with computer, electronic and hi-fi shops.   It’s finally my turn – this is the place “I” want to go to.  Total paradise right?

Akihabara after exiting the subway

Not when you have 3 females dragging along with you.  We get out at the train station, I’m just overwhelmed.  They look at me with the “OK, where do YOU want to go now?”.

At first I think in my head, “I don’t know!  I just want to spend the next month walking through every shop here browsing!”

But then reality hits me, I unfold the large map we picked up and make a quick decision, “We’ll just walk down this main street on one side, then back up the other I guess, then head to the train station.”

But then the girls find some trinket shop where they get stuck.  Great!  I’ll quickly run down one of these side alleys, but without mobile phones to contact each other, I can’t get far.

I remember my friend in Perth saying he found a shop that sold really cheap new and second hand computer audio equipment.  I’m excited about trying to find it.  But just looking at the number of little electronic shops, I wouldn’t know where to start.  There’s ones that sell just home made speaker kits, ones that sell wires and connectors only, ones that sell GPS’s only *sigh*.

And then we pass a couple of maid cafes.  And spruikers for maid cafes.   If the kids and wifey weren’t with me, I’d be sipping coffee and having crepes in one, pretending to be a master, attempting to communicate with my slave maid in broken Japanese, maybe re-enacting some scene from Final Fantasy 12.  But my wife gives me that look, says “That’s just weird, we’re NOT going in there”, and pulls me along 🙂

Maid Cafe poster in Akihabara

The kids start complaining that they’re hungry.  We spot a McDonald’s, so I convince wifey to go with Miss 9 and Miss 10 (now Miss 11) to buy some chips while I sneak in 5 minutes of browsing the latest laptops and mobile phones at another shop.

That’s about it.

We eventually make our way to the train station and disappear off to Ginza.

I make a mental note to come back here without wifey or kids in the future.

Luckily at Ginza, I convinced wifey to split so I can visit the Sony showroom by myself.  But by the time we figure out which exit to take out of the Ginza train station, I have about 20 minutes to browse the many floors and exhibits it has before it shut.   I try out some the 3D TV sets, which we now have demos of in Perth anyway.

*sigh*

Just wait till you hear how much time we spent in toy shops!

But then again, maybe I can’t complain – Wifey didn’t get much or any time to browse clothes shops either 😉

Contributing to Trip Advisor

If you’re planning on travelling and you love to plan your own holiday, two internet sites that you HAVE to visit are Trip Advisor and Virtual Tourist.

These two great sites have a wealth of information and reviews on hotels, things to do, tips and traps.  And the best bit is that it’s all user created content – that is, reviews and articles from people who have travelled to those locations!

It’s no secret that I use these sites for planning our holidays, including our most recent one to Japan. 

However, I’ve been quite slack in “giving back” to the community, so this past month, I’ve decided to get off my lazy “behind” and write a few reviews.  And they’ve now been approved!

The Prince Park Tower in Tokyo – http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g1066451-d579136-r61995634-The_Prince_Park_Tower_Tokyo-Minato_Tokyo_Tokyo_Prefecture_Kanto.html

Oyado Koto no Yume in Takayama – http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g298113-d1444349-r61991869-Oyado_Koto_no_yume-Takayama_Gifu_Prefecture_Chubu.html

Hotel Granvia in Kyoto – http://www.tripadvisor.com/ShowUserReviews-g298564-d1071189-r61987683-Hotel_Granvia_Kyoto-Kyoto_Kyoto_Prefecture_Kinki.html

Pretty boring – I rated them all 5 out of 5 as they were all really great places (that we chose because of other reviews on Trip Advisor!).

The process to enter a review is quite simple.  You can also upload photos that you’ve taken.  I’d recommend uploading photos WITHOUT family members/people in them if possible 🙂  After you’ve submitted your review, it can take a while (few days -> couple of weeks) to get approved by someone else, and then it’s on the site for all to refer to.   I don’t think you can edit or remove your review once it’s on there, so make sure it’s all correct before you submit!

Hopefully other travellers around the world can use the information I posted to help them choose their final hotel!  I think I might backtrack and add more reviews…