April 30th - May 18th, 2009, Australia

Our this year's Australia trip included Thomas' mum Ruth ... so we've been three weeks down under and met many many friends ...

Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Well, after a long trip from Germany, we finally came over Australian soil .... where we were greeted by this magnificent sunrise on our way to Brisbane Airport.  After landing and some official business (passport control, etc.), we picked up our car and made our way to the Hotel ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). After settling into our rooms and overcoming a close encounter with a cockroach .... it was onto Elanora and meeting up with Moira and Wray, where we were greeted with champagne and a warm hug ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  ... after spending the day with Moira and Wray, it was back to the Hotel for dinner and an early night ... while sitting outside and enjoying a pre-dinner drink ... we were exposed to a fine example of Australian manhood!!!!!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). The next day, it was the Currumbin Surf Club (best Surf Club on the coast) .... here a view from Elephant Rock ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). .... and lunch with Alberto and Dianne .... here a photo of Moira with her 'son' ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... also enjoying the day were Cynthia and Thomas ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). .... 3rd of May, saw us celebrating Moira's 80th birthday, at the Regatta Restaurant (in Northern New South Wales) .... here a photo of Cynthia ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... a lovely photo of Ruth ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... Thomas with his two special ladies ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... the Birthday Girl .... who would guess she turned 80!!!!!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... and a group photo of everyone there who helped make her day special ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... since Alberto has his own winery, Villa Tinto in the Barossa Valley, a stop at the Ilnam Winery, was of course a 'must' .... while there we enjoyed wine tasting and a bite to eat ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... here a photo of Cynthia, with her 2 mums (?!!) ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... we also managed to catch up with Sandra, Geoff and David and enjoyed a wonderful lunch at 'George's' in Sanctuary Cove .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... here a photo of Cynthia with Geoff ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... and also Sandra and David ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). .... after Sanctuary Cove, we returned to the Hotel and enjoyed a quiet dinner .... in the Radisson hotel, where breakfast is already loudly prepared at 7:30pm to make sure, you don't stay too long ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  ..... we visited Pacific Fair where Ruth discovered Maggie-T, which lead to a shopping frenzy rarely witnessed by mankind!! .... and also Surfers Paradise, where we witnessed the famous 'Meter Maids' in  action ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  ..... you have to feel sorry for the family of this enthusiastic tourist when he returnes home ..... you can already hear him: '... and here I am walking along Cavill Avenue .....'
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... having previously discovered a wonderful 'rib joint' called 'Mike's Kitchen', we had to treat Moira to this amazing culinary experience!!!! ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). .... at Mike's Kitchen with Moira .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  ..... we visited Geoff and Sandra's gorgeous new house in Coomera, where we enjoyed a relaxing lunch .... and a visit from a 'local' (of the feathery kind!!!!) ..... this lovely Rainbow Lorikeet, came to say 'hello' .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... Sunday, Mother's Day (and our last day in Queensland), we visited Q1 .... from where, on the 55th floor, we had this magnificent view of the coast ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... if you ever wondered what an Australian beach is like ..... this is pretty much typical!!!!! ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... as we said, it was Mother's Day .... I think this says it all .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Having decided to treat the mum's out to dinner for this special day ..... we collected Moira, where we took some very nice photos ..... here the 'mums' with Cynthia ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... and not to be forgotten, Wray ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... here we are after enjoying dinner at the Hotel .... which sadly ended with the waitress bringing the bill (unsolicited) to us at 8.30pm!!! .... which made us feel, like maybe it was time to call it a day!!!! .... anyway, after a final drink, we drove Moira home and said our sad farewells .... we are now looking forward to her visit in July/August ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). Monday we flew to Melbourne, Cynthia's hometown ..... after picking up the car and settling into our Hotel, it was onto Manningham City Council, where Cynthia caught up with everyone ......
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... and of course .... we can't come to Melbourne, without visiting Tender Trap for dinner .... here again enjoying an outstanding meal ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). We took Ruth to Chadstone Shopping Centre, which having a Maggie T shop, lead to  Ruth's second shopping Frenzy!!! ... a big highlight for Cynthia, was seeing Jared again and dinner at our Hotel .... where we were served  surprisingly good food!!!!!
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... while in Melbourne, we took Ruth on a Tourist bus and showed her all that this city has to offer .... here a sign peculiar to Melbourne city traffic, to facilitate right-hand turns, without causing traffic jams .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... after our visit into town, it was back to Doncaster and dinner at a local Thai Restaurant .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... on Friday we visited our friends, David and Ally and guess who decided to take up residence in their backyard?? .... enjoying the quiet, interrupted only by us humans ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... having a bit of a scratch ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... and deciding that maybe it's time to move on ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... David and Ally, took the time to show us the devastation caused by the bushfires, only a few weeks ago .... this picture doesn't begin to show the utter desctruction of all in the path of the flames .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... but through it all, it was heartwarming to see the 'great Aussie spirit' fíghting back ..... here someone living in a caravan next to their destroyed home, but proudly flying the Australian flag .... we thought it was a great image ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... and more of the devastation to homes in the area ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... thank you, David and Ally, for an eye-opening experience and your warm hospitality ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... here a photo of Thomas and Ruth, taken on their visit to St Kilda beach .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). When parking in Melbourne city centre, you just can't do anything wrong with your parking ticket ... doesn't matter how stupid you are ... right part of the picture shows the reverse side ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... where they also visited the Shrine of Rememberance, which they found very touching and interesting ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... here a view of the city taken from the steps of the Shrine .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... once again enjoying a wonderful dinner at Tender Trap, with Jared and the Restaurant's really nice owner, Chris, who always makes us feel special ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... we caught up with Cynthia's sister, Glynis, while in Melbourne, on a trip to Healesville ..... here a really cute local resident .... can you see what she's carrying in her pouch? ..... absolutely wonderful!!!!! This baby was only visible for approx. one minute ... lucky Thomas with his new camera ...
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... and another hungry resident enjoying a snack ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... 'hang on .... where's my food gone?' ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... 'ah!!!! here it is ... never too far!!!!' ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... here a photo taken in Mullum Mullum Creek .... this wonderful park sits opposite where Cynthia used to live in Donvale ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... Cynthia and Ruth walking through Mullum and enjoying the weather and the sites ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox). .... it was great for Cynthia to be able to visit Dr Parente with Jared and thank him in person for all he has done for Jared ...... while in Melbourne, it was also great for Cynthia to catch up with Ivana for lunch .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... this sign certainly caught our eye ..... how wonderful to be able to so freely express your sentiments ..... something that we think should be taken up in Germany too!!!! ....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... here again, dinner with Jared on our last night .....
Bild in Lightbox öffnen (open image in lightbox).  .... mother and son ..... it was soooo wonderful for Cynthia to be able to spend most of her time in Melbourne with Jared and try to make up for some of the time they spend apart ..... he's looking good and we are looking forward to seeing him in Deutschland sometime later this year .....

Finally we took our flight back home from Melbourne to Frankfurt ... looking forward to our next trip to Oz!