Steve's Epilogue

Trip Start Nov 27, 2012
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Trip End May 18, 2013


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Flag of Australia  , Queensland,
Saturday, April 20, 2013

Epilogue

Five months of adventures, new places, interesting people and wandering into the unknown with Del, this is the fantastic memories that come to mind when looking back on our time exploring the wonders of Europe and the UK.

On landing in Frankfurt the cold quickly told me we had truly left Australia and that we were in for an extended period of frozen fingers and cold cheeks. With help from our German receptionist we were quickly given access to the gym area to have a shower, tidy ourselves up after enduring the 24 hour travel time. We left our luggage with them while waiting for our room to be ready and out we went to begin the exploration of the first of many new city.

The hospitality we received from the hotel was to be replicated throughout our entire journey and only made the trip even more enjoyable. Whether it was a five star hotel in Brugge, Belgium or a local pub in Cordoba, Spain, I was struck by the outstanding hospitality the people running these establishments gave us. Their interest in Australia and the long distance that we had travelled to get there confounded many that we had talked to.

Since returning the common question asked of us is what was the best place you visited? To be honest every place we went to had something that made it special. The highlights as I saw it are;

Germany was so varied from Hamburg and Berlin in the north to Munich and Garmisch in the south. I am still stunned by the beauty of standing on top of the highest mountain in Germany, the Zugspitze, on Christmas day and staring out over the snow capped mountain ranges into Germany, Austria, Italy and Switzerland. Or seeing the main street of Garmisch turned into a 1 km road of snow where they held a triathlon for the thousands of spectators. This is where skiers race with rifles over a course stopping to shoot at targets, I am sure you have seen it in the Winter Olympics.

Poland and Krakow with its beautiful square and Christmas markets stand out and the drive to Auschwitz and seeing the places where some of the worst horrors in history were carried out.

Austria with its magnificent mountains and the unbelievable rail journey to Innsbruck where New years eve was brought in with new friends from, the US, Norway, Austria and Australia.

Italia and particularly Sicily with its brilliant towns and heritage and of course climbing to the top of Mt Etna where the sight of a live volcano steaming away with massive winds that continually tried blow me off my feet. Or beautiful Lake Como which is everything that people say of the region.

Switzerland and Interlaken a town with so much to see and do we will have to go back and spend more time there or Lausanne and magnificent Lake Geneva. Not forgetting the stunning drive through the Swiss mountains in and out of the country.

Spain and one of my most favourite cities Barcelona which has one of the best life style you will find anywhere in the world, or the stunning region surrounding Marbella on the Costa Del Sol with its myriad of Golf Courses in particular Valderrama, brilliant beaches and food to die for. Cordoba with its carnival, Madrid with its amazing shopping and San Sebastian in Basque territory with the most brilliant bay are memories inked in the brain.

A couple of breif trips to Gibraltar and the across the Mediterranean to Morocco and the lively city of Tangiers really spiced things up.

France held great memories especially visiting the D Day battle fields and further to the north on the poppy trail, seeing the sites where gallant Australians fought and died in WW1 and the continuing respect the French in these areas still have for those that fought there for their freedom.

The UK, so much jammed packed into such a small area, so much history, so much fun whether in London where you wander the monopoly board of life, Stratford on Avon where you cannot get away from the fact William Shakespeare lived there, or standing with 100,000 people at Aintree watching the Grand National.

Ireland the home of some of the friendliest people on earth with great pubs, the best golf courses I have ever played and spending St Patricks Day in Limerick with locals only happy to have a drink with you and chat as if you have been friends for ever.

Scotland where we searched for the Lochness Monster, the smells of the Tomlinson whisky distillery and the spectacular highlands that we walked or drove through after locals directed us to their favourite spots. Of course Scotland for me was also about golf and having played some of the great courses was something that will give me stories to tell for the rest of my life. Whether it was playing the Old Course at St Andrews twice in one week or being warmly welcomed by the entire staff on a cold and stormy day at Kingsbarns and finishing off at the great course of Carnoustie, the experience could not be repeated.

Most importantly I was able to share all of these experiences with Del. To share this time with her made the trip such a great experience.

Am I ready for the next adventure?        YOU BETCHA!
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