Our typical Aussie Christmas continued with a wonderfully relaxed Boxing Day at the home of our long-time and dear friends the Hannigans – lots of delicious food again with great conversations and cooling off in their pool.
After a recovery day there were more celebrations as it was Sarah’s (our daughter-in-law‘s) birthday.
Sarah’s favourite gift (which was made by our son Ben) was a wonderful “duck cuddling” bench – built from a large slice of raw wood onto which he had attached four short legs. Perfect for purpose!
After gift unwrapping the six of us (our son and daughter and respective partners) went for a fabulous celebration brunch at an outstanding Shakespeare themed restaurant called “Method to the Madness”.
The following day we all drove to Alberton on the Gold Coast to watch Pieter our son-in-law enjoy his Christmas gift – ten laps around a dirt circuit in a V8 Race Buggy, followed by a couple of “extreme” hot lap circuits being driven by a professional driver.
He was very thrilled with the experience and even managed to get the buggy airborne!
In the lead up to New Year our son Ben with Pieter’s assistance, constructed a very mighty and fine fire trailer, complete with tank, pumps and fire hose – an essential item for the New Year’s party as we were planning to have a massive bonfire!
First we had to get permission from the local Fire Warden attached to the Queensland Fire and Emergency Services who came to examine the huge pile of timber that had been sitting in the “picnic paddock” since long before Ben and Sarah moved on to the property.
Judging by the big smile on their faces, Ben and Pieter had had good fun constructing the trailer but even better fun trying it out!
At New Year Ben and Sarah and their best friends decided to camp in the paddock where the bonfire was to be. They started making camp mid afternoon and by 5pm a small village had been erected – complete with gazebos, a fully equipped home made bar, barbecue, tables and chairs, as well as fairy lights in the trees and tents set up for sleeping.
As darkness fell the bonfire was set alight and we soon became mesmerised by the flames leaping up to lick the sky.
The party was amazing! The bonfire was absolutely enormous and there was lots of good music, good laughs and a great BBQ.
Having been in the fresh air for most of the day, by 11.30pm most of us were ready for bed! But we stuck it out and did the big countdown to see in the year 2023.
Shortly afterwards the non campers headed up the hill to our comfy beds in the house leaving the campers to enjoy the fire for a little longer!
As we made our way back up the hill, I reflected on what a great year 2022 had been – visits to some of Türkiye’s most amazing ancient sites including Ephesus, the mineral rich thermal waters of Pammukale and the Ancient Greek city of Hierapolis; a trip to Konya where we witnessed the strange hypnotic dance of the “whirling dervishes”; then onwards to Cappadocia where the fairy chimneys looked enchanting in the sparkling snow and we were amazed at the open air museums where rock formations were filled with caves that were once dwellings or churches, and then on to an incredible six or more-storey underground city. We slid our way down the mountains escaping the minus six (and descending further) temperatures to the coastal town of Side and from there visited old haunts along the coast on the way back to Didim. After driving from Turkey to the Netherlands in our camper van we had a great time with our daughter and son-in-law. Covid restrictions were then lifted by Australia and we were able to pay a long awaited visit there after two and a half years of not seeing our son and daughter-in-law and other family and friends due to Covid restrictions. That was the real highlight!Then back to the Netherlands, a quick solo trip to the UK to visit family and back to Turkey to sail slowly, slowly, from Didim to Istanbul, once again stopping in some amazing places including up the famous Dardanelles Strait. Later on in the season we had lots of guests to stay (which was another highlight!) and explored Istanbul by land and by water (heading up the Bosphorus). We also visited Gallipoli and the City of Troy and made another wonderful trip to Cappadocia (this time without the snow!). And finally back to Australia again for a much longer stay. What a blast we have had – we feel so very lucky and look forward with bated breath to whatever 2023 has in store for us! Happy New Year all!