Travels with Tim and Lisa

"If my discoveries are other people's commonplaces I cannot help it – for me they retain a momentous freshness" (Elizabeth Bowen)

Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Last post: dinner at L’hippocampe, Noumea, New Caledonia Friday 8/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 8, 2017

Our last meal in Noumea was at L’hippocampe at Le Meridien, next door to our hotel.

From the picture of the seahorse on the restaurant menu, I at last realised why it was called L’hippocampe, and also why there is a part of the brain called the hippocampus!

It was all very nice, and although all the senior waitstaff spoke English well, it was especially nice to be able to speak French with a very nervous young waitress who had only a very basic grasp of English.  It reminded me of the smile of relief from a young Russian waitress in St Petersburg who had only the most rudimentary of English at her disposal, when I was able to order in Russian.  What I’ve learned on my travels is that it doesn’t matter if my French/Russian/Spanish/Italian is terrible: it only matters to them that their English is terrible, and that is because it’s their job and they are judged on it.  It must be so very hard to have to struggle with English in your first job, so no wonder they are anxious about it.

Anyway, thank you to Laura, my teacher at the Hampton Community Centre, you smoothed our way many a time on this short trip!

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WW2 Museum, Noumea, New Caledonia, Friday September 8th

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 8, 2017

And in the afternoon, we went to the WW2 Museum…

It’s interesting to see the ‘same’ history from a different perspective.  In Europe, if Britain’s Commonwealth allies get a mention, they often forget about the Anzacs, and New Zealand in particular.  But in this museum, the Aussies and the Kiwis were welcome allies against the Japanese, especially before the Americans joined the war.

Can you spot the difference?  Hint: there’s more difference in the hats than in the flags.

IMG_2701 (768x1024)It was interesting to learn that when France capitulated, New Caledonia came under Vichy law but – not keen on that at all – they had a coup toute suite and joined the Free French under De Gaulle.   And say what you like about De Gaulle, he knew how to do a rousing call to arms and heaps of New Caledonians including tribal Kanak chiefs enlisted and fought bravely against fascism.

I learned all this and much more from reading the signage, which is much more detailed in the French version.

They didn’t really have much in the way of actual exhibits, but there were two jeeps:

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and some bits and pieces from a soldier’s kitbag (including a book on how to speak ‘Egyptian’ in a few days…

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and what appeared to be a genuine army issue washbasin (with modern facilities discreetly behind the doors!

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Maritime Museum, Noumea, New Caledonia, Friday 8/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 8, 2017

We’ve had a great day today, starting with the Maritime Museum…

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Noumea, New Caledonia, Wed 6/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 6, 2017

Idleness has crept upon us, and we have done nothing but go to nice places for nice meals, admire the views and read books.

Shameless, yes I know, but it is too hot to do anything else.

Here are today’s photos from a restaurant called Le Roof:

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Noumea, New Caledonia, 5/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 5, 2017

Well, we haven’t made it to the aquarium yet: we were going to stroll down after lunch but it’s too hot so we think it’s time to loaf about with a book…

We’ve sampled breakfast here at the Chateau Royal (*pout* not a croissant to be seen because *sigh* they do ‘American breakfast’ buffet) and then we had lunch at the Meridien next door, which was very nice in a laid-back beachish kind of way.

Then, triumph!  I asked a passerby the way to the shops to buy some water, and not only did she understand my French, but she understood mine! And so did the lady in the shop when we got there, Laura – my French teacher – can be proud of me:)

Today’s photos:

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Noumea, New Caledonia, 5/9/17

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 5, 2017

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Bonjour from Noumea!

Voila les photos de Hotel Chateau Royal – from the balcony in the very early morning.

(We had to be up early yesterday for our flight here: it’s only a three hour flight with a tailwind, but these days we have to allow three hours to check in at Melbourne Airport, so it was a long day).

So… we arrived last night in time for dinner at the hotel restaurant. They have a fine cocktail menu, and some jolly nice wines but I haven’t brought my phone with me so there are no pictures. We had an early night, our only adventure so far being that I locked us out on the balcony and had to call for help to get back into our room again! (I am paranoid about mosquitoes at the best of times, but they have the Zika virus here, so #BigMistake I was being doubly careful not to let any into our room.)

The photos above are views from the balcony just after dawn. I’m impressed by the helipad landing place at the Hotel Meridien next door – no wonder I saw so many of them flying around last night as we drove in from the airport.

I was also impressed by the cruise ship that was docked at the marina you can see in the photo. It was the size of an aircraft carrier! Apparently they only come for the day, can’t quite see the point myself…

Anyway, we are going to do some exploring today, starting with the aquarium.

PS This post is supposed to be on my travel blog! WordPress has changed something, I will have to work it out so my travels are where they belong at Travels with Tim and Lisa.

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Update (Home again #2)

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 24, 2015

My apologies for not updating things here…
This is not really a public blog like ANZ LitLovers or my (now retired) LisaHillSchoolStuff blog), it’s only followed by my friends and family so, pushed for time and not always thinking clearly, I let it slip. I’ve kept up with some friends on Facebook and on the ANZ LitLovers blog and others by email, but I should have got back here sooner in case there is someone out there wondering…

My father has rallied sufficiently for me to come home to Melbourne the day before yesterday, where I wait with some unease for the next phone call summoning me north. He’s only two hours away now, not 36 hours, and I am doing my best to keep that distance to Qld in perspective.

I am blessed with wonderful friends who have taken care of things for me while I was away, and now I am just taking things easy, pottering around in the garden and the kitchen, watching Masterchef but not Australia’s nasty politics on TV, walking the dog with my beloved Tim, and reading and blogging to take my mind off thoughts that threaten to derail me.

And travel? Well…

By coincidence I received Stephanie Alexander’s newsletter today, full of enticing chat about her recent trip to Peru. So tucked away in the back of my mind, for later, for when things have healed, is the idea of maybe taking a coastal cruise to South America. It’s good to have a little ambition like that, to hold on to…

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Home again

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 16, 2015

Hello to my faithful readers: we had to cut short our trip because my father is gravely ill, so we’re now back in Australia after a gruelling 36 hours.

To Stuart at Academy Travel in Australia: you are wonderful. He was in touch within 20 minutes of my text, listened, and then said he would ring back in half an hour with a solution. It was four in the morning in Brussels, and Sunday in Australia. He rang back, and everything was sorted. We were on the train to Paris with connecting flights and kindly considerate treatment from everyone at Singapore Airlines – with a rental car ready for us at Brisbane as well.

*weak smile* The hospital won’t let us in to visit until 10:00am and they are very strict with double-locked doors and all, so we have time for a quick shower and some breakfast…

Bye for now
Lisa

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Museum Boijmans van Beuningen, Rotterdam, Wednesday June 10th 2015

Posted by Lisa Hill on June 11, 2015

Another day, another wonderful art gallery, this time in Rotterdam.

The Museum Boijmans van Beuningen is a little different because it is inclusive of art from outside the Netherlands, and it has quite a bit of modern art, but truth be told, although I quite often like modern art, I tend to find it banal after I’ve been admiring the art of earlier times.  Even major impressionists look a bit limp after looking at Rembrandt and Vermeer, so it’s best left for another day, IMO.

We have to pack for our departure for Brussels tomorrow, so without further ado, here are the highlights of today’s artworks!

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Posted in Art Galleries, Europe 2015, Netherlands, Rotterdam 2015, Uncategorized | Tagged: | 8 Comments »

Yusopov Palace, St Petersburg

Posted by Lisa Hill on September 1, 2012

No time tonight to do more than upload the photos, we’re off to the Museum of Russian Vodka for dinner!

I’ll come back to this later and tell you all the gossip about Rasputin…

Later, (the same night)

Ok, here’s what you need to know.  First of all the Yusopov Family was fabulously wealthy.  They had four palaces, one of which (lucky for them) was in the Crimea, and they just happened to be there when the Revolution broke out and so (unlike all the other aristocrats in St Petersburg) they were able to make their way into the safety of exile.  They were so fabulously wealthy that they had their own porcelain factory – not to make porcelain for sale, but solely for the purpose of making porcelain for themselves and as gifts for their friends.

Mama Yusopov (I forget her name) was star struck, but because of her rank she couldn’t go on the stage.  So they had their own little theatre and a royal box so royal that even the royals weren’t allowed to sit in it, only the Yusopov family.  While on a jaunt to Italy (or was it Spain?) Papa Yusopov admired a marble staircase that was just the thing for his palace, but the owner wouldn’t sell it because he was selling the estate.  No problem, said Papa Yusopov and bought the entire estate, just so that he could have the marble staircase…

However, while they had money aplenty, they were not especially gifted in the brains department.  Rasputin, the Russian peasant who had enormous influence over the Russian court got on their nerves a bit, so the younger generation of Yusopovs in 1916  decided to bump him off.  They invited him to a party, and poisoned him with cyanide.  This failed to kill him (possibly because of a counter-plot in the kitchen) so Prince Felix shot him and left him for dead.

But like a cat with nine lives, Rasputin wasn’t dead, and when Felix came back later to find his victim still obstinately living he shot him again three times.  He and his siblings then wrapped the body up in a bit of carpet with – you guessed it – the Yusopov coat of arms on it – and carted him off to the frozen Neva River.  Alas, they failed to sink him because the corpse stuck to the ice, and the body was found within 24 hours and the murder traced back to the perpetrators.

The Royals were peeved, especially the Tsarina who was convinced that Rasputin’s ‘cure’ for her son’s haemophilia was just the thing, but since the murderers were all relations, nothing much happened, just a brief exile, which (since the Revolution took place within 12 months) was kind-of irrelevant really….

Is any of this true?  Our guide said it was, so it must be, right?

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