What lifts you?

Connect 4. Always Connect 4.


Location: The Rocks, Sydney

Insta: @kelseymontagueart


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

Would it be Christmas without this?

Spotted in Darling Harbour on my most recent visit to Sydney.


It is still hard to tune into the Christmas spirit when all my family are back home in the UK, and with it being so damn hot outside. I’m used to wearing three layers to stay warm and dry and hugging a cup of coffee/tea… or a mulled wine as I shiver around the glorious Christmas markets that occupy the city centres. It’s a great change in lifestyle of course, but I need pictures like this to remind me of what is around the corner. I mean it is Christmas Eve after all!

Crazy.

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

My Melbourne flight got cancelled because of the storms…

It was looking all promising after finally arriving in Sydney. I met my friend from England near Central Station, it was great to see him again after saying goodbye in September of last year. The short delay I had flying from the Gold Coast to Sydney because of the dust storms on the first day was inconvenient, but now this seems like nothing.

The storms haven’t just delayed our flight to Melbourne, but cancelled it.

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So far I have had a great trip. Sydney and the Blue Mountains, then back to Sydney in a five star hotel for the night before flying to Melbourne for four days. This is my first visit to Melbourne however the weather has kind of ruined our plans. We are going to have to improvise.

The worst part about this is that it’s just a bit of rain! No strong winds, no lightning that I can see, just a downpour. I trust the people making the decisions know better than I do, and I have to go along with the decision to cancel altogether. It isn’t all flights though, just a few which is even more frustrating.

I am not going to mention the airline that cancelled and screwed us over (I will tell you about that in a moment, and I am sure some of you Aussies will happily take a guess as to which airline it was) as I don’t want this to be a review blog. This is the same reason I didn’t go into great detail about the stay I had in the Pullman in my most recent post. But what we were instructed to do after our flight was cancelled was to call the customer service helpline provided in the email and go from there.

That we did.

I was told over the phone that we could either be transferred onto a flight in two days time or cancel and get a refund. We didn’t want to have to pay for a hotel for another two nights and miss this much of Melbourne, so we cancelled and got a refund in the hope of finding another flight or an alternative. After that we went to the airlines service desk to see how we would go about getting our bags back.

Upon arriving at the desk we were then told that if we didn’t cancel over the phone we could have been transferred onto a flight in two days time and got accommodation included! This was not mentioned during the call and because the refund was already in the process of being provided, we couldn’t change our decision. So here we were, no flights available the following day and no free accommodation for the night.

Faaaantastic.

Our options if we want to get to Melbourne are either wait for a flight in two days, or get the train down. A train taking 12 hours. We got the train back into Sydney in the rain and booked a hostel for the night whilst we thought about it. Yep, I know I said we wouldn’t book a hostel on this trip but it was the most convenient for us. Seeing my friend have to stay in a hostel for the first time certainly made the night more entertaining that it would have been. That and the food we bought in Sydney’s China Town certainly brightened up our very wet evening.

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But you know what, we really didn’t complain as much as we could have. In fact as we were leaving the airport, we hardly mentioned it again. We got on with it and didn’t waste a breath on what we couldn’t change. I think this is important in times like these, to understand that if it cannot be prevented, remain optimistic. A negative attitude really won’t change anything apart from make us even more miserable and if the worst thing we are going through is a cancelled flight, then life really is good.

In hard times, remember that life could be much harder.

I will speak to you all soon with an update on our next move!

 


 

Featured Photo by W on Unsplash

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

I got club lounge access!

During this trip to Sydney and Melbourne I did not stay in one hostel despite that being my norm all the way down Australia’s east coast. My friend hates them. I agreed we wouldn’t stay in one and that was that. I do however work in hotels, and therefore get great discounts in many hotels around Asia Pacific. In fact, each hotel we stayed at during this time was within my hotel chain and despite not being as cheap as it would have been in a hostel, it really wasn’t far off.

Most of the time.

After taking the train up to the Blue Mountains for the bargain price of $2.50 on a Sunday, we made our way back to the city and booked the Pullman Sydney Hyde Park. This is just five minutes from Museum Station and a great location in the CBD. Here is a view from our room, overlooking Hyde Park and the skyline. To the right of the second image the Sydney Tower Eye can be seen, the tallest structure in Sydney and the Southern Hemisphere’s second tallest observation tower.

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We bagged a room on the club level floor, when looking for hotels with my discount this one came up and for the rate it was, it was 100% worth it. It came to $185 per night, so between two of us in an executive twin bed room with executive lounge access, it was a great deal. It isn’t often I stay in hotels, especially five star, so being able to enjoy the service instead of providing it in my job was great.

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I am a backpacker and therefore to justify spending money on a hotel of this standard leading up to Christmas, I really needed to make the most of the lounge.

So that I did.

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It wasn’t huge, but it didn’t need to be as there were only a handful of people there when we arrived. In fact after a few drinks we all got chatting, we met some nice people and shared stories. The gentleman serving us both nights was pleasant, ensuring we had another drink once we finished ours and reminded us to make the most of the food and drink just before he closed up. Trust me, we did.

 

Soft drinks and snacks were available 24/7 of course, and breakfast was included each morning. The benefit club lounge breakfast has over the standard breakfast in hotels is that despite being more limited, it isn’t as hectic with everyone fighting over the buffet. From here it is a much more relaxed environment with some of the best views Sydney has to offer.

Could you tell I was in my element?

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Sadly I won’t be experiencing another five star hotel any time soon. Back to hostels and saving as much as possible, but it was sure worth booking. Everything in moderation including moderation, and this kind of experience is what we live for, right? This was a great stay and a good end to our trip to Sydney. Thankfully the rain held off, we were warned of some big storms heading our way. Nothing yet, we will just have to wait and see…

 

Have you stayed in club lounge before? What has your favourite hotel experience been to date? Let me know and as always, see you in the comments!

 


 

Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

We found a cool hidden street in the Blue Mountains!

I visited the Blue Mountains again with my friend whilst in Sydney. For $2.50 on a Sunday it is a must, and my friend notified me of a street he really wanted to see in this small town via some online research. I had no idea about it, but I am glad we went on the search for it here in Katoomba.

It is smack bang in the middle of town, however being a fairly sleepy town nothing makes it stand out without keeping your eyes peeled. Beverly Place is the street and more information can be found by clicking here.

The street isn’t a particularly long one, but it is crammed with art of all styles and messages. Some of the art is more hidden than others, so it is important to check every wall of each building to not miss anything during the walk. Here is a gallery of the art, click on any image to enlarge.

What do you think of the art? It was a hidden treasure in the city and I am glad I discovered it on my second visit. Have a favourite? Let me know!


Thank you again to all my followers and regular readers, and hello to you if you are new to my blog!

New to this site? Click here to visit my About My Blog section

Want to keep up with my travels? Click here for my Travel Diary

Want to introduce yourself and your blog and discover new ones? Click here for my meet and greet page.

Happy blogging,

Sam

The journey started here.

I was looking through my older posts for a ‘throwback’ post, as I have so many posts that I would like to share again that have sunk into the murky depths of daily blogging. It is nice to remind myself how far my blog has come, and what got me here.

I was searching for posts that I shared on this day in 2017, exactly a year ago and at the start of my Australia journey. It turns out I didn’t post at all in the whole month of October, my last post was this one on 31st August. I didn’t post again until my visit to the Blue Mountains outside Sydney in November. The whole of September and October was spent job searching and getting to know the city I temporarily called home.

But this was nice to read. I remember this train journey so well, probably because it wasn’t my usual train journey despite being a familiar route. It was one that had my sister and mother waving to me from the platform and knowing I wouldn’t see them for a long time. I cannot wait to see them again in January, this time they are visiting me and I cannot wait for them to see Sydney for themselves.


When I first thought September would be the most realistic month for me to save enough to travel at the beginning of the year, it seemed so far away. Now, here I am in first class (at the amazing cost of £30), on route to London.


A slight jump as I sit down, realising that the seats recline. And… I don’t have to sit next to anyone! A free glass of white wine recently topped up and a pretty decent duck wrap. I’m not used to first class, I’m looking around to ensure I am not doing anything that will expose me as an economy traveller. So far, so good.

Then, autocorrect proved itself to be the devil as I described what I was having on the journey to my mother.

My mum has a new phone number. I don’t have a new mum.

As soon as you leave the station in Durham the most beautiful view awaits. How many routes around the world are this beautiful?


I’m roughly half way through my journey to London. That of course is hardly a dent in my journey to Sydney. The wine makes this a great start. The next 72 hours are going to be tiring, but worth it. It’s a shame to leave my family however it is a great opportunity now for them to visit me in a place they have never been. That is the best way to look at any goodbye, an opportunity for a new hello. This time, the same hello, just on a new adventure.


 

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Should I add a Street Art page?

I loved the Elon Musk street art that I shared yesterday, and it has motivated me to ask you lovely readers something that has been on my mind for a while.

Should I add a ‘Street art‘ section to my blog? I regularly add these to my posts whenever I find some on my wanders, and I think it would be nice to add a page at the top of my website alongside my About/Daily Ramblings/Travel Diary sections so anyone with an interest can find all the related blog posts in one place. I love street art and most of the works have the artists name alongside them, so it would be a little publicity for them.

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I think it is cool to discover these hidden around cities and if you are around these areas, find them for yourself.

I would appreciate feedback on this, I personally feel it would go well alongside my photography and I can relate to many of the messages in such pieces of art.

Have a great day and I hope to hear from you soon!

Sam

Artist- @katiemarieshriner on Instagram

A Zelda reference in street art?!

Just a quick update on this post for those that may have read it whilst I lived back in Sydney (and for those that are new to my blog!). The artist behind this piece is Reg Mombassa, a New Zealander that moved to Australia and has a distinctive style of art that can clearly be seen in the image above and below. Thank you to Mark Holsworth for the information, I have linked both Mark and the artist here so you can go and check out their pages.

This is what I love about the internet, I have moved from Sydney to a rural town way up in Queensland temporarily and I am still able to find out information about the artwork around a construction site from people I haven’t met in person, located anywhere in the world. What a time to be alive.

I hope you are all have a great weekend!

Sam


I like the street art here, although it doesn’t seem to be art that was been created by a passer by. But then again, would a construction company bother to make their workplace more aesthetically pleasing with art? I am doubtful, but remain optimistic. Also, would a hard-hat help in an accident involving that GIANT metal container 30 odd feet above them? Again, a little doubtful. One of their hats actually fell off shortly after I took this shot, rapidly reducing the life expectancy for a few seconds. He survived.

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It sure makes the area prettier. In fact, it made me pay much more attention to an area that I wouldn’t have paid attention to at all. The scene in the piece is very strange. I can see the Harbour Bridge in there, can you spot it? Also the tree on the right of the image takes me straight back to my childhood. For any Nintendo 64/ Zelda fans out there, it has a rather striking resemblance to The Great Deku tree that dies in the beginning of the game. Spoiler alert, although it has been twenty years.

This was a very emotional moment for childhood me. (This is actually the graphics from the more recent 3DS version, I wanted to let this be known)

Saying that, it is pretty remarkable that the graphics that were used on a large console have now been revamped and used on one not much bigger than an iPhone. They probably are capable of these graphics on a smartphone now. But this doesn’t take away from the fact that this was a game ahead of its time, showing what is possible by pushing something to its limits. Something I feel I need to do more with myself, using my capabilities to the best of my capability. It would be a waste not too, a Ferrari wasn’t made to be driven around country roads at 30mph, so why should we limit ourselves?

So that is the inspiration I take from the art located at Wynyard in Sydney’s CBD. If you get something else from the image, let me know. I would love to hear it.

One thing I have noticed since I have been blogging is that I have not played video games. At all. This isn’t really possible whilst travelling and I am sure that if it was possible, it would have serious repercussions for blogging. Gaming can be addictive and with games becoming more and more movie-like in graphics, I am not surprised. I wouldn’t be surprised if gaming becomes more popular than cinema… Has it already? Why watch a movie when you can be in control of one? When I am done with my travels I may get back into it. Video games are an art form, and one that really inspired me as a child.

If a twenty year old video game had the ability to still inspire me, I can only imagine what the future holds…

Hello, I’m in Ayr!

Where? I hear you ask. Or shall I say, whayr? This small town has me very limited as to what I can do, so bad jokes it is.
In all fairness, it is what I expected from this small town. In fact it is a little bigger than I actually thought/dreaded. It has a Coles and a Woolworths, a few bars to cope with the demand that is only there on weekends from the few backpacker hostels that occupy the town. That and the odd few locals that have a beer after work, mostly guys in high visibility jackets.


I am starting my 88 days of farm work here, days that I need to accomplish if I am to extend my working holiday visa for a second year. So a little info about this small farming town:

This is where it is in Australia.

From Townsville it is an hour drive south, from Sydney it is a 22 hour drive north. Basically, if I was to drive to Sydney and you were to fly from London, it would be a pretty close race. That is how vast this nation really is. I’m sure some of you folk know what this is like in your home countries, but being from the north of England, I guess an equivalent drive would have me somewhere in Spain. 

That euro-trip would in fact be shorter.


It has a population of 8,281 people. Aboriginal people make up 7.7% of the population and Italian is the second most common nationality in the town at 2.1%.

There is very little to do here, other than farm work, consuming alcohol or sampling the local KFC, McDonald’s and Domino’s. There will of course be some local eateries that I will try at some point, however the signs don’t dominate the streets like the global brands. I guess that is to cater for backpackers and make them feel at home, wherever home was. 

There is also ten pin bowling, I almost forgot that. 

The hostels here are all workings hostels, focusing on getting backpackers farm jobs to extend their visa. This is a great opportunity to meet like minded people all hating their new farming jobs together over a cold beer and some acoustic guitar. I guess the farm work is necessary as young people leave these towns for the big cities, leaving a vacuum in the farming industry. A second year visa option fixes this.

This feels like proper Australia. Different to Sydney, much smaller and more rural. Farm work will be a completely new experience for me, one that will be challenging but I am sure rewarding. I think for my future posts I will start with how many days of farm work I have left, it will help me keep a log. For now, thanks for reading my little insight into my temporary home! 

I’ll see you soon, if the animals are friendly to me here that is.