Along the Great Ocean Road

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If you are ever in the Melbourne area of Australia,

a trip along The Great Ocean Road cannot be missed.

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There are several ways that you can explore The Great Ocean Road. There are one-day {quick!} tours, three-day {more relaxed, covering more ground} tours or you can do it yourself. Because we were not renting a car on our own, hadn’t stopped to research what to see and why and only had two weeks in Australia, we opted for a one-day tour (approximately 13 hours including pick-ups and drop-offs).

There are so many tours to choose from and they all run around the same price. So I went to my trusty TripAdvisor for some, well, Trip Advice.

The most highly rated tour was by Outback Billy. What seemed to set him apart was not only his personality, but also the fact that he is a zoologist. He could point out everything along the way. {Did you know that 80% of all of the plant and wildlife in Australia can’t be found in any other country?!} But alas, after emailing him, we learned that he was not available the dates we’d be in Melbourne. {For the record, and your own planning purposes, I emailed him on July 22nd and the our trip was in the beginning of September.}

However, he did recommend that I try Escape Discovery Tours. And I did book with them that same day. They were a little bit more expensive than the other tours; but what I liked about Escape Discovery is that they only do small groups – allowing only up to ten people. They also stopped for a nice dinner (included). All of the other tours I read about made a quick McDonald’s stop on the way back (not included) – NOT what I’m in Australia for!

On August 7th, I checked the status of my confirmation {a minimum of six passengers is required for the tour to take place} and saw that my booking had been canceled. I emailed to inquire about this and was told that they were switching systems and it should have be fixed by the end of the day, that they did indeed have my reservation. We never heard anything again. I did know that most tour bookings are booked at the last minute. So, while in Melbourne, the day before our tour was to take place, I wanted to confirm the reservation was still a go. I opened up my email to find an apology email from Escape Discovery. There was a mechanical issue with the vehicle and they would have to cancel. They recommended another tour company.

That is how we ended up with Go West! We called immediately and luckily, they had just two seats left. The benefits of this company: a small group size {not as small as ten, but not as big as a large coach!} and free Wi-Fi on the bus! At the time of our tour, no other Great Ocean Road tour company offered this. Here is what we could expect:

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Like most of the other companies, Go West picked us up at our hotel. I can’t imagine getting back after such a long day and then having to try to find public transportation back to our home base. I was grateful for the pick-up and drop-off!

This is the “Awesome Bus” that carried us along The Great Ocean Road. Well, that is what our knowledgeable guide, Travis, called it. So who could argue if it wasnt?!

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We had another beautiful day in Victoria! We had been told many times how lucky we were because the weather around Melbourne can be cold and windy or even hot and windy and unpredictable! But because of the mild weather, there were no surfers to watch (very little wind at Bells Beach). Nor did we see any fur seals nor whales which can sometimes come into view. But despite all of that, the views were beautiful!

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WARNING: I took a ton of pictures of Rob on this tour. So be prepared. This is going to be fun! Haha!

 He, on the other hand took photos of Asian tourists taking pictures of other Asian tourists. I will NOT be posting those!

Travis let us know when it would be a while until our next restroom toilet stop. No, Rob did not pop into these trees to relieve himself!

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But… he must have forgotten that Australia Has More Things That Can Kill You Than Anywhere Else. His curiosity got the best of him. He did come out alive!

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We both did opt to use the actual rest stop next to where the Awesome Bus was parked.

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Look at this perched house along our route. I bet there are some pretty great views from there!

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Yes, as shown below, Rob does like long walks on the beach. Or, short ones. Hands off, ladies! He’s mine! ;-) {Notice how he is the only one wearing shorts?! He didn’t bring any pants for the entire trip. That would have made a cold night watching the penguins if they  wouldn’t have given us gear to wear!}

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And this might be one of my favorite photos from Australia. It just happened to be parked at one of our stops.

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There was a lot of hopping on and off the bus, which was good because sitting on a bus all day would have been miserable. Travis had a fun soundtrack playing in our Awesome Bus that went along with our tour. Like playing Please Don’t Call Me a Koala Bear when we were off to see some koalas and then when we got…. On the Road Again…

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We stopped for some morning tea and cake. Rob and I walked along the rocky shore. We found the shapes on the rocks quite interesting:

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On one of ours stops, another American on our tour said, “I can’t believe the color of this water. It’s not what I expected. It reminds me of the Caribbean!”

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We stopped for lunch in Apollo Bay. A menu was passed around before arrival so that Travis could call our orders in to be ready when we arrived. I wasn’t sure what to order but decided to go with the Pad Thai. I hadn’t yet had any Asian food in Australia. And I saw that Travis had written his name next to it, so it had to be good, right?

Nope. Probably the worst Pad Thai I’ve ever had. Rob didn’t really like his sandwich either. The bread was okay, but he found the beef in it to be pretty gross. Oh well, can’t win ‘em all. I bet it’s difficult to service all the crowds that stop through on the Great Ocean Road tours. But we did see this cute little dog on the sidewalk. His one black eye and two black ears reminded me of Sophie Jean!

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There was also some koala spotting there. Later, I heard someone say, “Did you see the koala run across the road?!” What?! Apparently, another tourist had scared the koala down out of his gum tree and he ran across the road to a pine tree. I felt so bad for the poor koala. Everyone was looking at him in that tree now and he was stuck there. How would he get to his eucalyptus? I was angry. Why can’t we see wild life – in the wild – from a distance and give them their space?!!

Then it was on to the Twelve Apostles. But there is a controversy of how many there actually are.

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Nonetheless, the rocky shores and formations were beautiful!

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We also enjoyed a guided walk through a beautiful Temperate Rain Forest.

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And viewed the ocean from stunning cliffs.

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At one point, we could take these stairs down to Loch Ard Gorge, where an old shipwreck took place. But with my fear of heights, there was no way that was happening.

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Maybe it doesn’t look like a big deal, to you, but do you see how tiny those people are on the ground?

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Instead, we walked some trails in the area…

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And enjoyed the views from above…

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Travis is a great story-teller. He told us shipwreck tales as well as how this “London Bridge” fell down! (The two pieces used to be connected.)
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In fact, I could tell that Travis had been doing this for a while. It turns out, he has been a guide for every one of Go West’s Tours.

When we got out as far west as we could for the day, we made our way back on an inland road in the dark. Some people slept, others uploaded their photos from the day over the free Wi-Fi. And we did make that McDonald’s stop on the way back. There were other fast food and take-out restaurant options, too. I opted for Red Rooster. If I was going to have fast food, it was going to have to be from some Aussie fast food chain. I got it to go so that Rob could try a McMate at McDonald’s. Jealous of Aussies, I am, though because their McCafe has an actual espresso machine! Silly, I know, but I just can’t do coffee at McDo.

It was another grand day by the sea. Upon arriving back to our hotel, our heads hit our pillows pretty quickly. The next day would be our last in Melbourne and it was time to say good-bye to Barb and Tony. :(

Other posts on our trip to Australia:

Cheers~
Carrie

Thirsty Thursday in Melbourne

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It wasn’t a Thirsty Thursday, or even a Thursday at all, when we spent a night out with our Aussie friends, Barb & Tony, in Melbourne, Australia. But today is Thursday and it might even be a Thirsty one. So I’d love to share it with you.

Tony, knowing that I love wine, researched a few places before we all met up in Melbourne. He said he found a wine and cheese bar called Milk the Cow right in the St. Kilda area where we were staying. How sweet is that?! It was a beautiful early spring evening in September  and perfect for a ten-minute walk.

The sun was still out when we arrived. And an available table gave us the opportunity to take a nice little seat outdoors. I started with a glass of bubbly:

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Apparently, my bubbly wanted to be the star of the show and blocked Tony’s face out of the photo!

Rob opted for a little Scrumpy – a favorite style of cider.

{Don’t worry, that Aussie Cider post is still to come!}

 And then the cheese… Oh the cheese!!!!!

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We opted for a spread to share, with as many local, Australian cheeses as possible. And do you think I can remember now what they all were? It doesn’t matter, though. I loved them all! {The fact that I grew up in Wisconsin and am also a Francophile probably has something to do with that.}

After we milked the cow, we decided to hop around a little and stop for a bite to eat elsewhere if we found ourselves still hungry. We found an Irish Pub to continue the tradition that my friend Jen and I started back in 2000. You can never go wrong in an Irish Pub no matter where you are in the world! But we had to prove to Jen that we were there. Do you see the Irish flags and Magners Cider banners hanging from the ceiling?

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And if you think we are pulling one over on you, the pub was called The Wee Chief on Fitzroy Street. We didn’t stay for long. It was so loud in there and we had only so much precious time together. So we wandered back toward our hotel, stopping to look in all the bakeshop windows along the way. St. Kilda is known for them!

At the suggestion of Rob, we finally stopped back at Abbey Road, which is where Rob and I had lunch on our first day in Melbourne. As much as I loved my lunch there, I was kind of reluctant because I wanted to try something new. But I didn’t want to be a drag and didn’t have any better ideas, so in we went.

And I’m so glad we did!

It was the perfect place to grab a table, have a drink and eat a little late night nosh. 

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Rob found another cider! Or was that mine?

What was perfect about that night at Abbey Road is that there was entertainment. It was either 50s or sockhop night or something. All of the staff was dressed up for the occasion. The ladies wore poodle skirts; while the men rolled up the short sleeves of their white t-shirts to tuck a pack of smokes inside. And the music! It was timeless. The musicians captivated the crowd playing past 50s hits such as Rock Around the Clock. They delighted us with songs that we all knew and loved and that made us smile, sing along and dance a little in our seats.

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And enjoy we did. We might have even stopped for some late night dessert from one of the bakeshops on the way home. ;-)

Although we stopped at some great places in St. Kilda that night; it’s definitely true that it’s not where you are that truly matters, but the company you keep.

Other posts on our trip to Australia:

Cheers~
Carrie

 

 

It’s Not a Bear. And That’s Not a Bat.

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This is the cute and cuddly Australian animal post!

But first, a topic that is quite important and serious:

Okay, so not that serious, but now you know that a koala is not a bear!

They may look cute and cuddly like teddy bears; but koalas are marsupials. You know, the mammals that carry their undeveloped young {called joeys!} in their pouches. {Well, the females do.} So yes, in that sense, koalas are like kangaroos.

Now… On to the koalas at the Ballarat Wildlife Park.

Koalas tend to sleep 18 to 22 hours per day! Perhaps that is one reason why they look so sleepy and adorable. They need their down time. Therefore, they are not loose about the park like ‘roos and emus. Instead, you can spot the koalas in in trees inside the enclosures.

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But, there are a couple ways you can get closer look!

The Wildlife Park has guided park tours and shows throughout the day. A guide will bring out one of the koalas and tell you everything you didn’t know about them.

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You may even get to pet one!

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The other way to get a closer look is to book an Animal Experience! 254

When we found out it was only around $20 for an “experience” with a koala, we were all in.

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It may feel like it’s a bit expensive or an extra cost to get a closer look when you’ve already paid your entry fee into the park. But it truly is due to the welfare of the animals. They need to make sure that there is a koala who is available, awake and receptive.

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During your koala experience, you can take as many photos as you want. Our koala is named Matilda. {That immediately had me thinking of the song Waltzing Matilda.} She was so sweet! In Victoria, you can’t hold or carry around the koala. That can only be done by trained professionals. That’s okay, because we had heard that they pee on you! Instead the guide will put her on a perch and hand her some gum branches to nibble on. Then you squeeze in next to her and stroke her fur. I will never forget the smell of the eucalyptus leaves as she munched on them!

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The photographer told us not to be shy. He said that we should get as close as we could because she wouldn’t mind the cuddle!photo(3)

The cost of the animal experience is a steal, really, because up to four people in your party are welcome to go inside the enclosure to meet the animal. Trust me, the koalas just might bring about a permagrin, just like the kangaroos!

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The photographer was kind enough to take a photo of us with Barb and Tony and Matilda with our camera.

And here’s a photo of our professional take-home photo:

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Then, it was on to the wombat, which is not a bat at all. I asked my nephew this weekend if he wanted to see the picture of the wombat I held in Australia. When I showed him this photo he said, “Hey! That’s not a bat!”

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Honestly, I wasn’t familiar with the wombat until going to Australia. A wombat is another marsupial! Obviously, we chose to do the Wombat Experience as well, that is why we got to hold Pickles the Wombat.

When I posted some photos for my friends and family on Facebook, some said she looked like a big rat. But she felt was oh-so cuddly!

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Others told me that I was squeezing poor Pickles to death. But that is how we were told to hold her! Just listen in our amateur video:

And I just might still have that permagrin

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Now wombats are not bats, but something we saw later in Cairns are… They are called flying foxes. Figure that one out! ;-)

Other posts on our Australia trip:

Cheers~
Carrie

 

 

 

 

 

Meals: Past & Future

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I pinned  this recipe for a Slow Cooker Apple Cider Pulled Pork over a year ago. I finally made it last weekend. What made me finally take action? I had few extra Honeycrisp apples in need of some transformation. The Sunday night Packer game on TV last weekend meant we could eat in. Rob was game. Plus, my crockpot broke and I needed a reason to use my new one. This one has a timer and I found it for a steal at only $29.99 at Costco!

Here are some thoughts about the recipe:

  • It’s very easy.
  • That is a lot of cider to add to your Slow Cooker! My Crockpot manual says to fill it 1/2 – 3/4 full. After adding all that cider, mine was almost full. But the water I added didn’t cover the pork fully as the recipe suggests. (It still turned out just fine.)

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I served it with an super easy and delicious Blue Cheese Cole Slaw{Note to self: Only make 1/2 next time. This makes more than I can eat in a week before it gets soggy.}

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I also broke out my box of Red Lobster Cheddar Bay Biscuit Mix that I bought specifically for Rob. He’d heard about these biscuits, but had never been to Red Lobster because he’s allergic to seafood.

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For the record, they weren’t all that great. Not nearly as good as I remember them from 15 years ago. They were too biscuit-y and did not as much flavor as I remember. There’s a copycat recipe to make your own here.

Here was my plate:

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See those sauces? The recipe suggested serving this with barbecue sauce. You may or may not know how I feel about barbecue sauce. Or the fact that I found one I liked while in Charlotte. I think it was mustard-based, so I picked one up at Trader Joe’s and put it right along our Pig Polish from Charlotte for a little taste test.

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I actually liked them both; while Rob preferred the Carolina Gold.  What can I say? I didn’t mind them at all. After a couple of days of leftovers though, I was done. Rob commented that the pork really didn’t have any flavor before putting the barbecue sauce on it.

I probably wouldn’t make this again. I’d rather drink my hard cider than use up four bottles in my slow cooker. I can make pulled pork other ways.

Last week, I also tried Running with Racheal’s husband Dan’s Spinach and Feta Turkey Burgers! Mmmm… Yes, I kept eating that coleslaw all week…

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Because I don’t usually like my burgers reheated, I kind of repurposed the leftovers throughout the week. For breakfast, I sliced a turkey burger in half and added it to my 90-second Breakfast Sandwich, slathering on a bit of leftover Jalapeno Cilantro Hummus from Ansari’s.

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For lunch, I made a Greek Turkey Burger Salad with spinach, tomatoes, cucumber, feta and chopped tomatoes. I could have also added kalamata olives and red onion. Here it is before adding my Tzatziki Sauce:

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I may just add the spinach and feta and Dan’s seasoning blend to ground turkey or beef without making patties and using it to top some Power Bowls soon!

Let’s move on to this week!

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Food

Dinners:

  • Monday – Since Rob and I are still on the eat-on-our-own kick, I’m finally going to try Biz’s award-winning Buffalo Chicken Chili! I’ll have leftovers all week for lunch!
  • Tuesday – Last week, I didn’t make the Roasted Butternut Squash, Onions and Red Potatoes that I had planned because I had so much leftover blue cheese coleslaw. Luckily, those are all vegetables that keep well so that I can make the dish this week to accompany my last two Chicken Thighs I need to cook up.
  • Wednesday - Leftover Chicken Thigh & Roasted Veg
    Thursday –  Breakfast for dinner - Eggs with Asparagus and Pesto, perhaps? I have eggs on hand, some asparagus I chopped up and froze to keep it from going bad and a jar of pesto in the fridge.
  • Friday – Poker Night. I wonder who will win the Koala this month?
  • Saturday - Rob’s Birthday – I think he’s finally chosen Borough, but that could still change!
  • Sunday – Packers v. Vikings at TCF Bank Stadium in Minneapolis. I’d love to go to this game because I’ve never been to this UofM Golden Gopher Stadium yet and this would be the perfect opportunity before the new Vikings Dome is built. But alas, more Vikings’ Season Ticket Holders would rather gouge Packer fans coming across the border than go to the game themselves. :(

Lunch:

  • Leftover Buffalo Chicken Chili
  • Snacks – the usual fruit, nuts or string cheese and dark chocolate

Breakfasts:

Fitness

  • Basically what I’ve been doing is 5 days of run-walk intervals (more walking than running to apease my back) and this 30-day Arm Challenge. I’ve unintentionally added some additional rest days. But at least I’m doing it!

What does your menu look like this week?

Cheers~
Carrie

 

Australia Has More Things That Can Kill You Than Anywhere Else

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I once read that Australia has more things that can kill you than anywhere else.

For starters, the ten most poisonous snakes are found there.

In April, when I realized that we would have enough miles for two free flights to Australia, I figured my most difficult obstacle would be to convince Rob to go. He’s afraid of spiders and had told me a 1000 times that he wouldn’t go to Australia because he had heard how big and deadly his eight-legged friends are there.

Despite my constant, “Well, we wouldn’t be camping in the Outback!” rebuttal, he countered with the long-ass plane ride.

Imagine my surprise when I finally suggested it that his only concern was getting enough time off from work.

Truth be told, he wanted to see the native Australian wildlife as much as I did!

We got a taste wandering through the Royal Botantical Gardens in Sydney. Then, we watched a wallaby hop across the road in front of our van before a penguin parade. And feeding the kangaroos at the Ballarat Wildlife Park certainly was a highlight.

But the Wildlife Park had so much more! Some of these animals might even be dangerous in the wild…

So let’s begin.

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This flightless bird {which is part of the Australian Coat of Arms, along with the kangaroo} can be dangerous if he feels threatened in the wild. They have strong legs {that can run up to 35 miles per hour} and sharp claws on their feet. But, at the Wildlife Park, they were just hanging around like the kangaroos, so we offered to feed them, too.

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The huge beak freaked me out because when I held out my hand with food, she came down with a swift, deliberate peck that looked like she would take my hand off. Fortunately, the beak was not sharp and I survived; but this is definitely not something I would do in the wild!

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Crocodile

Barb and Tony warned us how much bigger the crocs were in Australia as opposed to the alligators in the the American South. At first glance, I thought we had stepped back in time. I remember asking, “Are you sure that these aren’t dinosaurs? They look prehistoric!” Rob and I were in awe.

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These crocs were in the water in another room behind the glass. I found it strange that a tourist tugged on the door to this croc’s room. When he found it was locked, he said, “I wish we could go in there!”

Are you crazy!?

This female croc, Bella, was the smaller of the two.

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From the Ballarat Wildlife Park website:

FACT:  Did you know saltwater crocs have a jaw pressure of about 3500 pounds per square info for an average male? This is compared to 335 pounds per square inch for a Rottweiler and 400 pounds per inch for a great white shark.

Here’s a{n amateur} video of Bella, the smaller female croc. The first couple seconds of the video where her eyes and head slowly, stealthily rise from the water are frightful!

Then there’s the big boy. This is the one the crazy tourist wanted to get near…

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Echidna

I wasn’t familiar with the echinda until going to Australia. They are small egg-laying mammals with strong claws and hollow spines, sort of like a porcupine.

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Chances are that they won’t hurt you, as long as you leave them alone. We took a tour of the Great Ocean Road along the Southern Australian Coast later that week. The photographer on our tour spotted an echidna from the bus. Our driver slowly drove by so we could see it, but would not let us stop to get off. I think that was a smart move.

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Tasmanian Devil

My generation grew up with the crazy cartoon version of a Tasmanian Devil. The real thing looks nothing like it.

Aussies {pronounced ozzies} call them Tassie {pronounced tazzie} Devils. You know how they like to make everything sound cuter by adding an “ie,” right?! Do a Google Image search of Tasmanian Devils and you’ll see that they really are kind of cute. Well, until they show their teeth!

Per the Ballarat Wildlife Park website:

There is terrible facial disease that has whiped out 80-90% of Tasmanian devils. This is a facial cancer that can be passed from devil to devil through biting.

They are now endangered because of this. If I remember correctly the guide told us that there were something like only 1000 remaining? Don’t quote me on that. I couldn’t find anything to back that up. While the Tassie Devil isn’t exactly like it is portrayed in the cartoon version, they do display a similar temperament when they feel threatened, making a lot of noise and baring teeth.

But to me, this one just looked like he was wandering around aimlessly and nervously!

The guide in the photo below was feeding this little devil some mice while telling us all about them. See that bird in the photo? That’s a magpie. That was the bird with the unique sound Rob and I stopped to observe in the Royal Botanical Gardens in Sydney. Yeah, the ones that were swooping down on us. We learned later that these can be nasty, ruthless little birds sometimes. Byclcists wear spikes on their helmets to keep the magpies away! During this presentation, the magpie took one of the mice right out the tongs as the guide was feeding the devil and flew off with it!

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The wildlife park also included exhibits with deadly snakes, none of which I cared to photograph. However, I think Rob was grossed out, but pleased that the spider below was not alive, but only a specimen. My hand is in the photo for size comparison!IMG_0918

While not all of these animals would necessarily attack you, they could still be dangerous in the wild. But it is all fascinating, no? And we won’t even get started on the sharks, box jellyfish and extreme desert heat that can also kill you in Australia.

Come back Monday to hear about the more cuddly-looking animals we saw at the wildlife park: the Koala and the Wombat!

Other posts on our Australia trip:

 

Cheers~
Carrie

Once in a Blue Moon – Thirsty Thursday

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You may have probably did not notice that I skipped Wine Wednesday yesterday.

{Kangaroos are a bit more exciting, no?}

I think I’m going to let go of those Wine Wednesdays. Maybe I’ll do one from time to time or maybe I’ll do a Thirsty Thursday post once in a blue moon or so. That way, I can write about wine, coffee, beer, tea, cocktails or whatever else strikes my fancy.

I’d rather write about what’s itching me at any given time anyway. It’s a little more freeing. Let’s throw out any “rules” I’ve imposed upon myself!

So welcome to this…

Thirsty Thursday

{To be posted once in a blue moon.}

Speaking of blue moons…

As a semi-beer snob who prefers to drink only craft beers and locally whenever possible, I’m willing to admit that I have guilty pleasure:

 

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Rob doesn’t like wheat beers; but I do. And I love Blue Moon, especially in summer with a nice slice of orange. It’s kind of like Fruity Pebbles cereal. But kind of not. You can find it on tap most places, especially if there are no local or craft beers to be found. In those cases, this will be their “specialty” beer.

To be truthful, we found Leinenkugel’s Sunset Wheat to be more flavorful when we did a side-by-side taste test with Blue Moon a few years back. But that’s even harder to find on tap now that Summer Shandy seems to be their distributed summer beer of choice.

Although Shock Top is supposed to be similar as well, it’s just not an option for me. Blech. {Although I was pleasantly surprised by Shocktop Pretzel Wheat at the German/Beer night at a St. Paul Saints game this summer…}

I digress…

I’m not huge into Sampler Packs of beer, in general, because I find that 50% of the beers in the pack usually disappointment me. But when I saw Blue Moon’s Fall Sampler Pack, I was intrigued. There were three beers in there that I was dying to try:

  • Harvest Pumpkin Ale
  • Caramel Apple Spiced Ale
  • Cinnamon Horchata Ale

Although Rob isn’t usually a fan of wheat beers – the exception being Cherry Wheat, he was game to try a few with me. The first two up:

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Caramel Apple Spiced Ale

I took one sip of it and handed the bottle over to Rob. I didn’t like it at all. I’ll take a cider instead, thank you very much. But now that I think about it, I always found the concept of Redd’s Apple Ale pretty strange, too. Why not just drink cider? Rob didn’t think the beer was great either, but okay enough to finish it. I will be using the other bottle for cooking!

Tip: If you want a Caramel Apple Hard Cider, take 12 oz (a bottle) to 16 oz (a pint) of cider (Angry Orchard is good for this) and dump in a shot of Smirnoff Kissed Caramel Vodka. I came up with this creation a couple of years ago when they had that vodka on hand at the now defunct Burnsville Ale House. The bartender was wondering how we could possibly use it. Ta da! We got a few people drinking those at Rob’s 40th birthday party!

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Cinnamon Horchata Ale

Love this! I let Rob have a sip, while he finished the Caramel Apple Ale. Then I hid the other bottle of Cinnamon Horchata to save for myself another time. {I’m so greedy!} This beer is brewed with long-grain rice for a creamier texture. This was my favorite of the Sampler Pack.

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Then, on another day where the temperatures dropped and we dreaded the oncoming snow and polar vortex, I decided to say, “Goodbye,” to fall with the Harvest Pumpkin Ale.

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Harvest Pumpkin Ale

I have really high expectations when it comes to pumpkin beers due to my undying love of Southern Tier’s Pumking. Although we had a pretty incredible Imperial Pumpkin Ale at Dangerous Man that could give Pumking a run for its money. Since they only serve at the brewery and do not distribute, we were lucky to get it before it was gone! And the Schottky Pumpkin Ale by Tin Whiskers Brewery in St. Paul, is worth a try, too!

With so many good pumpkin beers, my expectations were low for this one. But I was pleasantly surprised. I can appreciate this beer for what it is. And I would drink it again. You definitely get the pumpkin flavor with the wheat in the finish. Nice job, Blue Moon.

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Still, when I picked up this Sampler Pack, something caught my eye on the way to the cash register… And I just had to grab it:

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Let’s just say a few things here:

So much so, that before all of this cold and snow came in, we were planning a little road trip to Central Waters. I think that’s going to have to wait…

How do you feel about Sampler Packs (for anything, not just beer!)?

Cheers~
Carrie