To sleep or not to sleep…

That is the question.

After 3 nights of listening to a cacophony of snoring, the answer is easy.

Sleep wins!

So I booked a quaint hotel in the old town of Pamplona, and after only a short 2 hour walk from the snoring shed, I’ve arrived.

And whilst it’s not the Sheraton or Hilton, the room is mine, all mine. Honestly, I could do one serious Happy Dance.

I’ve been paying $AU20a night to sleep with snorers, I figure $A65 is worth every cent.

As I write this, I’m sitting in the warmly lit hotel restaurant, enjoying a buffet breakfast. Classical Spanish music plays softly and the aroma of freshly brewed coffee fills the air, creating an inviting atmosphere.

Walking the Camino expends serious energy and when coupled with sleep deprivation, the impact that has on physicality is immense.

And besides, I’ve never been one to conform to the norm and just because one’s ‘supposed’ to stay in hostels when walking the Camino, does not mean one has to!

If the truth be known, I rather wish I’d brought a small tent and sleeping mat, as I feel camping would be more conducive to a good nights sleep.

I’ve seen some pilgrims with pop up tents and sleeping mats; they’re definite smart ones.

Anyway, it is what it is.

With the sleeping decision made, I soon have another decision to make: when to leave the Camino.

Due to my return flight departing Paris on June 17, my plan was never to finish the Camino Francis this time.

Depending on when I choose to leave CF, I may have the option to walk part of the Camino Le Puy, which would allow me to walk through a beautiful part of France. That has its advantages because 1. I love France and 2. it’s closer to Paris and my return flight.

But for now, its a rest day in Pamplona and hopefully a much needed good nights sleep.


Alongside the laughter: reposting travel tales from Blogger….

I love Europe, but I am also Australian, which is somewhat problematic when wanting to indulge that European passion.

On the bright side though, I was also an international flight attendant.  For many years I served the masses from overloaded trolleys whilst hurtling across oceans in a sleek, silver tube bound for new adventures.

Needless to say this employment allowed me to partake in a number of my own, off-duty adventures. Not all were in my beloved Europe, nonetheless, they all offered adventure of various description of which I documented in a blog I no longer use.

A  few posts in particular captured the adventures of a few wintery weeks driving through regions of France, Austria, Switzerland and Germany. Rather than let those moments that were filled with mayhem and hilarity, yet also quiet contemplation melt into cyberspace, I have re-posted here.

Feel free to read on – maybe grab a wine or coffee as it could take awhile…

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the serious business of being a dog…

Being a dog is a very serious business.

It’s a dog’s business to inspect, sniff AND sample all foods a human consumes.

It’s a dog’s business to always accompany the human to the bathroom.

It’s a dog’s business to occupy 2/3’ds of the human’s bed.

It’s a dog’s business to always travel in car with the human.

It’s a dog’s business to love and be loved.

Ah, the serious business of being a dog…



Dogs do speak, just listen to their ears…

Dogs can speak. Just as humans use sign language, I believe so do our 4-legged friends, but instead of using their paws, they use their ears.

If you take the time to listen to their ears, you’ll see they actually speak volumes.

I decided to gather a few images of doggy speak, and who better to demonstrate that speak than my beloved Stanley, Eddie and two other 4-legged friends I met on recent travels?

As I went about my business, so did they: sniffing, sleeping, catching a few winter rays, or simply going about the important business of being a dog.

But I did manage to capture a little of how their dogships communicate – with a little caption ‘translation’…


life, travel

Where for art thou Indian Visa…?

I’m starting to get a little concerned.  Why I hear you ask?  Well it’s like this.

I’m not sure if fate is preparing me for dealing with Indian bureaucracy, which according to a BBC report, is the worst in Asia, or my application for an Employment Visa is simply lying in a slush pile at the Indian Embassy silently screaming, ‘pick me, pick me.’


Whatever the answer, with December 27 approaching at speeds likened to a B777 at 37,000ft, I’m a little worried. For without visa in hand, or more importantly my passport, which is of course lying in wait with my visa application, I’m not going anywhere.

Adding to the mix, I fear the delay is also due to the fact the big, fat man in the red suit is on his way.  Let’s be honest, the festive season invariably causes life outside of gift shopping to cease and only begins again when the contrails from his speeding sleigh have long since dissolved.

So where does that leave me?

Well that’s easy to answer, unlike my beautiful Oscar in the above image, I’m sending out positive vibes whilst patiently waiting, waiting, waiting.

Stay  tuned…



Weekly Photo Challenge: Split-second story…

On seeing this week’s photo challenge I thought of time spent driving through the French Alps with my son, Rob. After pulling over to take a few shots of the scenery, a little dog appeared. He didn’t bark, he didn’t protest our presence: he simply watched and waited.

On a train in Geneva…


Lost in the job hunting jungle…

It’s a jungle out there. Honestly, it’s nasty and it has left me with a rather bitter taste.

Forest near Annecy, France
Forest near Annecy, France

Whatever happened to good, old fashioned honesty and a frank, yet friendly chat with a prospective employer?

Those days are gone. In their place, it’s all about how best you can perform, and I say that tongue in cheek. For it seems that in today’s job hunting jungle you have to bare your teeth, be prepared for a cold and vicious kill (of your opponents) and create a persona that defies who you really are.

As a freelance journalist who has an interest in what’s going on in the world, I decided to put it to the test. So I applied for a position, wrote a resume that highlighted my experience and landed an interview.

Off I went feeling quite good as the position on offer was something I could confidently perform and one in which I had experience.

I arrived 15 minutes early, donned in professional attire and waited patiently to be collected. As I waited, a number of other candidates of various ages joined me. What I noticed was that some of the candidates had chosen to dress somewhat differently to what I deemed appropriate. Forgive me, but I’m of the opinion that when attending an interview, clean hair, unscuffed shoes, and ladder free stockings are the order of the day, not to mention any visible piercings relating to the nose and or face, should be removed.

Not so.

As I surveyed my ‘competition’ I felt I would at least stand a chance considering my experience, (did I mention that already?) and my well presented appearance.

How wrong I was, for after three hours of being subjected to video footage of booze infested party’s and over zealous employees giving endless and dare I say, boring anecdotes of their ‘experiences’, I and and a few other well presented hopefuls were politely told that we did not make the cut. For a moment I thought it might have been another of their little jokes, simply adding to the others they had shared throughout the morning. No, we had definitely been given our marching orders.

So as I sat and watched the ‘successfuls’ stroll past in their scuffed shoes, pierced noses and bare legs, something occurred to me. I had not shared a single word, hello, how ya’ doin’ or even a little ‘tell me about yourself’ with a single member of the selection panel. Instead I had played a survivor in a plane accident, been asked to sell my wares (or the company in question’s wares) and filled out a form saying what city I was in, if standing next to the Louvre.

Yep, it’s a jungle out there: well it would be if I could only get the opportunity to let somebody here my roar. Or at least a little rant.

Ah c’est la vie. Onto the next chapter…


Changing lanes…

Behind the galley curtain…

When settling into your seat to watch the flight attendant deliver the safety demonstration, have you ever thought about what life is like for that flight attendant?

Maybe you haven’t. Or then again, maybe you have. And if so you may have thought how they must truly travel in one of life’s fast lanes. Paris one week, Rome the next. Lazing on a Thai beach before curling up in fresh, crisp sheets on a king size bed in a 5 star hotel. Sounds like a dream right?

From someone who travelled in that lane for close to 25 years, it was life in the fast lane, or as we sometimes said, ‘we live the life of a millionaire, without spending any money – pretty much flying in a nutshell. Well the good bits anyway.

I enjoyed lagers in London, parties in Paris and slings in Singapore. And aside from enjoying the wonderful perks of a high flying job, being a flight attendant was also exciting, rewarding and at times, very humbling.

Sipping caprioskas whilst watching a Roman sunset is exciting. Watching snowflakes float amidst the skyscrapers of New York, before claiming the soil of Ground Zero as their final resting place, as did some 2000 souls on 9/11, is humbling. And seeing a child totally enthralled by the fact that you, the flight attendant have captured clouds in a teapot, is rewarding. (Dry ice + water = instant clouds).

But being a flight attendant can also be very comical.

For instance, try telling an Indian man that the sanitary napkin you gave to the woman sitting next to him was something he really didn’t need? My words were to no avail as his reply, with a swift roll of his head went a little like this. ‘No, I’ll be thinking you’ll be not understanding me madam, I’ll be saying that I’ll be wanting what she is having’ as his head again rolled from side to side. I repeated my words, but they were in vain for he seemed relentless in his pursuit, so in the end I gave up and gave him his much needed package, and as I passed it over I wondered just what he would do with the contents. On my next walk through the cabin, my question was answered. There he was, sitting ever so proudly, with a very large, very white sanitary napkin firmly placed across his eyes! He had peeled off the adhesive label and quite obviously decided that this strange white object was the latest design in airline eye masks. At that moment, between holding back fits of laughter, I was so thankful that he didn’t discover the little white numbers that were housed in the same package and decide to use them as ‘earplugs’.

Flying truly was a beautiful blend of the good, the bad and the downright ridiculous. And for those of you who have aspirations to try life in that fast lane, I strongly encourage it.

I lived in that lane for many years, and loved it. Then I began to question which lane was really the more important one to travel in, fast or family?

So now instead of sipping cappuccinos in Rome, seeing rhinos in the wilds of Africa and waking to the sounds of street hawkers in Singapore, I now wake to the sounds of my beautiful children starting the day and my beloved dogs panting excitedly and the prospect of going for their daily walk.

Yes, I was hostie and I lived in the fast lane and loved it.

life, photography

Sunday Post: Surroundings…

Here is something I wrote years ago for my boys about surrounding yourself with loved ones: they loved it and giggled excitedly whenever I read it …

Excuse me, Pardon me…I do believe it’s time for Tea.

Pardon me, said Flea,
I do believe it’s time for tea,
our friends should be here soon,
so shall I pour a cup for you?

Oh yes indeed, said Bear,
then would you care to share my pear?
Flea replied, Well yes, of course,
and can you spare a piece for Horse?

Oh my, I’d be delighted,
as Horse said, How exciting,
for I’ve brought some chocolate cake,
that we can share here by the lake.

Just then Crocodile appeared,
with a grin from ear to ear,
she carried buttered scones,
and on her feet, she wore orange thongs.

Lion arrived right then and there,
Parading his newly coloured hair
It was purple, like his cake,
which he said was freshly baked.

At that moment Bat flew in
He was sad and without a grin
Oh my, my, I’m very late,
and I’ve forgotten to bring a plate.

Flea said, please do not worry,
you should really not have hurried,
we have just begun to eat,
so please find yourself a seat,

Bat then sat upon a chair,
And chose to try a piece of pear,
That made Bear cheer and smile,
along with Crocodile.

So beneath a big fig tree,
they laughed and drank their tea,
Then right on four o’clock,
They hugged goodbye, and all took off.

Excuse me, pardon me, I do believe it’s time for tea…

dogs, life, photography

Travel theme: animals

Posts that highlight my loveable friend Stanley have frequented my blog and when Ailsa posted this weeks theme of animals, well I felt Stanley needed to star once again. Stanley’s typical day includes a fair amount of ‘travelling’ i.e from the couch to the bed, to the car, to the pool, to the table, to the beanbag, watching our resident kangaroos… ah yes, Stanley’s daily travels.

Chatting to an ant…

Snooze by the fire…

A quick bodyboard in the pool…

An outing in the car…

A heart to heart with Camel…

Letting mum know it’s dinnertime….