Saturday, October 31, 2009

Port Arthur

Oct. 31 – p.m.

The rest of our day was spent at Port Arthur, a penal colony that was set up in 1830. The first boys' prison in the state was begun to keep the children out of the adult prison and also to teach them a trade and to read and write. Many of the adult prisoners also had schooling. They left England as illiterates who could only sign with an X, and some became teachers for the youth in the boys' prison or for the children of the staff. The picture is the adult prison.

And the tour begins

Oct. 31 – a.m.

I was actually up and at breakfast at 7:00!!!!!! Not being a morning person makes this a significant accomplishment. After breakfast was a tour of Hobart given by a local tour guide who spoke Australian with a faint German accent. It was an odd combination that I didn't expect but enjoyed. The picture is of a house in Hobart that was built by the prisoners.

First day in Australia

Oct. 30 – p.m.

We've had lunch and a short flight to Hobart, Tasmania during which we all slept. The only thing we did today was have dinner as a group and then go to bed. I struggled with trying to get the computer to connect to the internet but had no luck. Maybe tomorrow...

On another continent

Oct. 30 – 7:03 a.m.

Hurray, we've landed in Melbourne! We're in Australia! We've crossed the international date line and the equator. And our luggage made it with us. Considering the mess in Cleveland as we switched from one flight to another, to another, it was a concern that the check-on baggage wouldn't make it, but it did. We are extremely pleased! Customs was so busy that they started letting people through by just asking, “Are you bringing in any food?” With an answer of “no” we were on our way.

The flight to Australia

Oct. 29 or maybe 30 – middle of the night

Have we crossed the international date line? Is it the 29th or 30th? We can't tell. Sleeping on this plane is quite the ordeal, but each of us is entertained by a screen mounted in the seat in front of us. We can watch the plane fly by viewing a live feed from a camera on the tail (can't see anything at night except the flashing light on the top of the plane), watch movies, listen to audio books and all manner of things. It certainly helps to pass the 15 ½ hours that we will be in the air.

The plane

Oct. 28 – 11:00 p.m.

The plane to take us to Australia, an Airbus, is HUGE with two levels. Judy and Richard are in one of the middle sections with window seats, but Phyllis, Bill and I almost out of the plane. We are in the next to the last row of seats in the middle of the plane. The good thing is that we are near the toilets. The bad thing is that we are near the toilets – there is a lot of noise and traffic as a result.

The trip begins!

It was wise of us to arrive very early at the airport. Our plane was delayed and we were going to miss connections. Thanks to two very dedicated women, one at United and one at Continental, all five of us were able to fly on the same flight to Los Angeles with plenty of time to connect to the Quantas flight to Melbourne.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Only one day to go!

The excitement builds for all of us as we are only one day away from departure. My carry-on luggage is slightly overweight, so must move some stuff to the check-in luggage. That has a weight limit of 50 pounds and at last weigh in it was around 40. Plenty of room to purchase stuff! In a little more than 24 hours we'll be on the plane on the way to Chicago. Wheee!!!!

Monday, October 5, 2009

It's getting closer!

For the last several months, Overseas Adventure Travels has been sending out updated flight itineraries every couple of weeks that just had minor changes. Finally there is a major change. Instead of flying from Cleveland to Cincinnati to Los Angeles, we will be flying Cleveland to Chicago to Los Angeles. It will save several hours in layover time, and the return flight home will get us back a couple of hours sooner. We are all pleased with that part. Only 23 days left until we leave! Judy is counting down by hours, but I find it simpler to count days - the numbers are much easier to remember.