europe and australia

We visited Europe where human history goes back to forever.

A place of castles, cathedrals, museums, art galleries, iconic structures and statues, cobblestone roads, crumbling facades, Roman ruins, different languages, different currencies, labyrinths of metros and lots and lots of people. And did I mention castles and cathedrals?

There’s the Louvre, Eiffel Tower, Big Ben, Tower of London, Grand Canal, Colosseum, Sagrada Familia, Stonehenge, Buckingham Palace, Arc de Triomphe, Schönbrunn Palace… The list is endless.

Europe is a place where humans have made their mark.

I am from Australia where human history goes back around 40,000 years with the Aborigines, so it is said, and 228 years of European settlement. Apart from the Sydney Opera House and the Sydney Harbour Bridge, iconic structures made by human hands are few and far between.

kakaduNatural icons, on the other hand, abound: the Great Barrier Reef, Ningaloo Reef, Uluru, Kakadu, Karijini, the Bungle Bungles, the Twelve Apostles, the Snowy Mountains, Mount Augustus, Lake Eyre, the Great Australian Bight, Daintree Rainforest, Eighty Mile Beach, the Nullarbor Plain… The list goes on.

There are jarrah, karri and huon pine forests, deserts and vast spaces devoid of people. We also have kangaroos, koalas, dales-gorge-karijiniwombats and numerous other animals indigenous to Australia.

One national language is spoken. One currency is used. No metro. A few museums and art galleries. And you can’t see all the sights in a day or two. You can’t hop on the metro or tram to see one or another. You have to travel months in order to see all the sights Australia has to offer.

I think I can sum up my thoughts thus:

Man made Europe.

God made Australia 🙂

the best-laid plans

The best-laid plans of mice and men / Often go awry
—Robert Burns

How we order our lives. We plan, we manipulate, we prioritise. And yet one bird can throw all our plans to the wind.

It took an hour to drive my brother to the airport last night for his 12.30am flight. When we arrived, we duly lined up at the end of the already long queue only to be told that the flight had been cancelled. The plane which Dave was to board had hit a bird en route from Brisbane and had to be diverted to Melbourne.

Poor Davo. This was his first flight since 1985 and he was not at all familiar with the idiosyncrasies of 2012 airports. I had gone through his on-board luggage and ditched the packet of matches, the two cigarette lighters, the two 6v batteries, the pliers and one or two other things that I thought may not be allowed.

He had packed and repacked his bulging case, adding and taking things to make sure he was under his allotted thirty kilograms. And then to have his flight cancelled was not a good re-introduction to the world of flying.

After the hour and a half slow torturous progression through the winding maze to the check-in counter, Dave was rescheduled to fly today at midday. We drove home, had a good sleep and this morning, when Dave checked the Qantas website, he realised that he was booked on a flight to Sydney, not Brisbane. He then had to find out if he was booked on a connecting flight to Brisbane, which thankfully he was.

My husband and Dave travelled the hour again to the airport this morning. I received a message that he had ‘made it thru all the check in stages lol’.

Dave was not the only one inconvenienced. The other passengers on the flight had also made plans: the man behind us was going to a funeral in Goondiwindi, a young teenage girl was very distraught because she was going to miss a birthday party unless she was booked on an early flight the next day. As one woman in the queue said: ‘Everyone is travelling for a reason.’

How true. Everyone had made plans, but a lone bird had made them all go awry. How precarious is our life.