Passport to the World over 64 years. Pages from my Travel Diary


A visit to Europe May 23-June 9, 2007

Cruising the Danube - click to read moreWe really had a great visit to Europe, enjoyed Munich and Budapest, but the highlight was our 7 days in MV Casanova cruising the Danube, we can commend that voyage to anyone contemplating such a journey, do not hesitate, get out and DO IT. Read the article.

Melbourne 2007. Our visit to Grovedale Olives, Kangaroo Ground

Grovedale Olives - click to read moreEach year in March, the Formula 1 Grand Prix Circus rolls into Melbourne, our apartment on St Kilda Road Melbourne is but a stone's throw from the Formula 1 circuit around Albert Park Lake. The noise these beasts make is ear shattering, and to avoid that agony we decamp each year and get away to the silence of the Victorian bushland. This year we decided to spend two days at Grovedale Olives, a 25 acre property at Kangaroo Ground, about 40 kilometers from the CBD. Read the article.

The World's Longest Lunch. Marysville, Victoria. Friday and Saturday the 11th. and 12th. of March 2005

Longest Lunch - click to read moreYesterday, on Friday the 11th. of March 2005, Denise and I took off from home in Melbourne to drive to the country town of Marysville, some 95 kilometers or about 65 miles out of the city. Our aim in making our way up here to Marysville was to attend The World's Longest Lunch, to be set up on the main drive into Maryland Country House, built in 1927, it was the first of five Guest Houses built by Eric Dowell. This property covers seven acres, with many beautiful trees, those flanking the main drive almost meet overhead. Read the article.

I climb Croagh Patrick in Ireland on Wednesday the 23rd of June 1993

Climbing Croagh Patrick - click to read moreAt the base is Tobair Padraig, or Patrick's Well, so named for the nearby natural spring, where Patrick is reported to have baptized his first Irish converts. St Patrick's Statue, a stark white figure on a stone plinth stands here, he holds a green clover in his right hand. The statue was erected in 1928, by Reverend Father Patterson, a local Priest, using money donated in America for the rebuilding of St Mary's church in Westport. The faithful stop by this statue to pray for strength to climb to the top of Ireland's Sacred Mountain, Croagh Patrick. Read the article.

A 21 day visit to Europe and the Mediterranean, 23rd September/14th October 2004.

We did not start well, 1.5 hours late as Austrian Airelines lost their computer link with Vienna, leaving check in staff floundering by the need to document Boarding passes by hand. All very frustrating.

Work in progress.

 Read the article.

Sunday the 3rd of September 1939. In Australia, we too were at war with Germany.

I had just gone to sea as a 17 year old Cadet midshipman, and was onboard HMAS Canberra, awaiting the commissioning of her sister ship HMAS Australia, so that with several of my 1936 Naval College Term, we could join her.  Read the article.

Sunday the 2nd. of September 1945. Surrender in Tokyo Bay

My ship, HMAS Shropshire which had fought valiantly across the Pacific and did not lose a man to enemy action was amongst the Allied ships present in Tokyo Bay. Read the article.

Tuesday the 10th. of May and several subsequent days in 1963 - Berlin

I made my first visit to Berlin in 1963, as part of my 3 month world tour for my then employer W R Grace Australia Pty Ltd. Read the article.

Thursday the 10th. of June and several days thereafter. 1994. Back to Berlin, the Wall is now down.

I have come back to Berlin for the first time since 1963, and it is a totally different place, the wall is down, except segments have been kept for history. The best known, a 1.3 kilometre long, East Side Gallery, located between Warchauer Strasse and the Hauptbahnhof, it contains 106 paintings by artists from around the world, and is the largest open air gallery, world wide. Read the article.

Tuesday the 4th. of June 1963. A visit to Rome and St Peters.

I had arrived on my first visit to Rome, and learned that Pope John had died yesterday. Read the article.

Alexandria. British Mediterranean Naval Base. 1940.

Alexandria from its founding in 332 B.C. became an important city of the ancient world. Ptolemy, one of the Greek Generals, ruled Alexandria after the death of Alexander the Great, and Cleopatra, the last of the Ptolemies, used her charms to bring both Julius Caesar and Mark Anthony to heel. However upon her death, Egypt became a Province of Rome. Read the article.

Paris - Friday the 10th. of May, 1968 during the Student Riots

On the 6th. of May, students and the police had clashed in the streets of Paris, official figures gave 422 arrested and 345 police injured. It was against this backdrop I left Heathrow for Paris by a British Airway's flight on Friday the 10th. of May in 1968, the pilot, on take off, stating he was uncertain what lay ahead at Orly airport. Read the article.

Senator Robert Kennedy was gunned down in Los Angeles. Friday the 5th. of June 1968

In my hotel room,  I was watching television and Senator Robert Kennedy's victory speech in Los Angeles. Bobby Kennedy had just won the Democratic Presidential Primary over Eugene McCarthy to most likely give him the Democratic nomination for the Presidency. Read the article.

Tokyo Tower during a severe earth tremor. Friday the 17th. of May 1968

I was back in Tokyo in May of 1968 to visit a Japanese Food Equipment Manufacturer, to compare an automatic pacakaging machine with one I had seen in Berlin, and decided to view this crowded and exciting city from the top of the famous Tokyo Tower. Read the article.

The Qin Terracotta Army Museum, Xian, China. Wednesday the 3rd. of May 1995

In 1995, Denise and I left Australia for Hong Kong arriving on the 28th. of April. We were undertaking a 33 day saga by train and bus, following the old Silk Road which started at Xian thence to Turpan, Urumqi, just southwest from Mongolia, over the border to Alma Ata in Kazakhstan, thence to Uzbekistan to visit Tashkent, Samarkand, and Bukhara. Then through the Ural mountains to Moscow, and finally by overnight train to fabulous St Petersburg. But this diary entry is about visiting the site where the Terracotta Warriors are housed.  Read the article.

Samarkand, sitting in the very centre of Asia. Tuesday the 16th. of May 1995

Ever since my boyhood days I have always dreamed of going to visit Samarkand.

This ancient city which in 1970 celebrated its 2500th. anniversary, squats  slap in the centre of Asia, Alexander was moved by its beauty, Marco Polo admired it, Tamerlaine made it his capital.

 Read the article.

Flying Over Victoria Falls in a Microlite Aircraft. Wednesday the13th. of July 1994.

I was on a visit to Zimbabwe, and arrived at Victoria Falls and found that I could go into Zambia and take a flight over the famous Victoria Falls in the back seat of of a small aircraft called a Microlite. Rather like a hang glider with a motor and an open cockpit. Read the article.

Visit to Moscow, Red Square, and Lenin's tomb.
May 23-26 1995

Kremlin Tower Moscow
Kremlin Tower Moscow
We chugged over the Ural River, dividing Asia from Europe, and finally we pulled into
Kazan Station at Moscow at 1857 ( 6.57 PM ) on Tuesday the 23rd. of May, exactly on time. Moscow has a number of train stations, and they are named after the region from whence the train started, eg, Finland Station, it was here that Lenin arrived from Finland in 1917. Read the article.

Scapa Flow Scotland, the British Home Fleet Base. Saturday the 20th. of July 1940.

Serving in HMAS Australia as a Midshipman, we had weighed anchor off Greenock in the Clyde, the previous evening, cleared the river and proceeded north at 23.5 knots with paravanes streamed in case of any sown German mines. Read the article.

London in the Blitz 1940-1941. I visited London on a few days leave in December 1940, and again in May of 1941.

This time was just before Christmas, and one evening off blasted the Air Raid sirens, I had been subjected to air raids in Liverpool where my ship HMAS Australia was in dry dock, and had not liked the experience. I hated being cooped up in an air raid shelter and preferred to take my chances on the open streets, but this time I was not given any option, but was bustled down into one of the London underground Tube stations with a host of other locals. Read the article.

Kamakura. Saturday the 1st. of September 1945, A visit to the Great Buddha of Kamakura.

The great Buddha statue at Kamakura - click to read the article

I had already been off my ship HMAS Shropshire several times before the signing of the surrender, which was due to take place aboard USS Missouri tomorrow morning. Today I was able to get ashore to Yokahama the nearest city to our anchorage, now in 2003 is it a thriving city of some 3 Million people, and is the second largest city in Japan. But right now it is a place of rubble, having been bombed on many occasions, and Yokahama is full of rusty safes on all the open spaces, opened and empty of whatever contents they may once have contained.

 Read the article.

Bomb Disposal: An unexpected Helicopter Ride. Friday the 10th. of August 1954

We quickly made the journey, and I was secured to the winch, and clutching my box of detonators was soon safely lowered. My Chief soon followed, and off went the chopper. A quick look round and we found four unexploded bombs reasonably close to each other, and soon had them in a suitable pile, the tide was coming in, with waves starting to splash around our heap.  Read the article.

Anzac Cove, Gallipoli Turkey, for Anzac Day Ceremony 25th. of April, 1998

Anzac Cove - click to read the articleIn April 1998, my wife Denise and myself fulfilled a long held ambition when we flew from Melbourne Australia, to Istanbul in Turkey, so that we could attend the special Anzac Day service upheld each year at Anzac Cove, at the spot where Australian and New Zealand troops had waded ashore to tackle the Turkish troops, on the 25th of April in 1915. It was at this site, that the legend of ANZAC had its birth, the word being formed from the first letters of Australian New Zealand Army Corps. Read the article.

Broome, Western Australia, and a Seaplane landing at the Horizontal Falls. Friday the 7th. of August 1998.

Horizontal Falls - click to read the articleWe booked a seaplane flight out of Broome to fly over the wild Kimberley area, and over the wonderful seascape vistas of the Buckaneer Archipelago. We landed on Talbot Bay close to two towering red cliffs, it is here that the outgoing tide will cause water trapped in this bay, to rush pell mell through the small gap between these two cliffs. One can view two separate levels of water during this process, a phenomenon which is known as the Horizontal Falls, a quite unique experience. Read the article.

Denise and I go early morning Ballooning. Sunday the 9th. of August 1998

Our ballon - click to read the articleOur pilot gave his charge another dose of gas, and we gently left the earth, it was a feeling of complete calmness, as we drifted up and up, and unless one watched our moving shadow, as the sun was now up, it was hard to believe we were actually moving. Read the article.

Kakadu National Park. Northern Territory, Australia. Sunday the 10th. of August 1998

Temite mound or Magnetic Ant Hills Kakadu National Park
 - click to read the articleAll along the banks are basking crocodiles, to cool themselves from the strident heat, they they lay in the shallows with their mouths open. The attached photograph taken by Denise shows to what a monstrous size they grow, one should not take them to be slow moving creatures, when motivated they can move with great dexterity and speed. If one were close by, they could snap you up in a twinkle of an eye, and it would be all over very quickly. Although very close to them in our boat, we made sure all our limbs remained within the sanctity of the sides of our craft. Read the article.

Visit to US Capitol and the Senate. Washington D.C. Thursday the 12th. of May 2000

Under the US Capitol's dome - click to read the articleWe duly drove to the Capitol where a huge queue confronted us, many waiting were school children who had travelled from all over the US. Instead of waiting patiently in this queue, Frank, with us in his wake, quickly strode to its head to confront an official there. He obviously still retained his credentials to allow access to this area, he explained his two guests were visitors from Australia, and we were wisked inside to go through the security check and enter the precincts of the Capitol.


 Read the article.

Visit to Marine Art Show. The Flying Angel Club, Mission to Seafarers, Melbourne. Friday the 11th. of July 2003

Mission to Seafarers housing the Flying Angel Club - Click to read the aticleSnuggled down at 717 Flinders Street Melbourne on the western boundary of the newly fashionable Docklands precinct is an unpretentious Heritage listed building, the Mission to Seafarers housing the Flying Angel Club. It is the site for a current Maritime Art Show featuring over 100  paintings that all to the sea.
 Read the article.

Tasmanian visit 2/7th. February 2004.

Hell's Gate lighthouse - click pictures to read the article.Having gained a very cheap air fare of A$39 each way from Melbourne to Hobart with Virgin Blue we set off on Monday the 2nd. of February and arrived in Hobart at 9.30 AM, grabbed a hire car, and settled in at an apartment in Salamanca Place. Early the next morning we navigated with some difficulty out of Hobart to take the road to the West Coast via Queenstown on to Strahan, some 300 kilometers. Read the article.


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