weekly photo challenge: express yourself

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To show what “express yourself” means to us?

We thought it was almost impossible to find a photo that showed playfulness and young at heart. Then we found this photo we had taken while we were travelling which is also a big part of who we are.

Give you one guess where this photo was taken…

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Interestingly, when we look up the symbolic meaning for the panda, the search returns with words such as peaceful, positive outlook on life, gentle strength, caring and compassion. These are values we try to live our lives by.

And we will let you in on a little secret…. one of the nicknames we have for one another is in fact: Panda Boy and Panda Girl ;)

Have a great weekend, everyone!  

Any comments are appreciated!

australia day – what will you be doing?

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Another long weekend is approaching us here in Australia. January 26 marks our official national day – what we call Australia Day. It is the anniversary of when the First Fleet landed in 1788 and it was only in 1994, that we consistently celebrated it as a national public holiday.

So what are we really celebrating?

The Australia Day Council explains it as:

On Australia Day we come together as a nation to celebrate what’s great about Australia and being Australian. 

And around the country, Australians spend the day attending community events, watching the cricket (if it happens to be on) or playing backyard cricket, having BBQs, going to concerts, splashing around in the pool or the beach, water sports and sailing…. etc the list goes on! Then to top off the cracking day, there are always some fireworks!

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But there is no right or wrong way to spend the day.

Regardless of what everyone is doing, there is likely to be food involved:

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  1. what Aussies fondly term “a sausage sizzle”: which are sausages cooked on the BBQ, then served with a bread roll, topped with barbecued onion. Sauces are optional.
  2. if not a sausage sizzle, then a BBQ of some sort.
  3. a picnic.
  4. a lamb roast, a leg of lamb or lamb cutlets… don’t forget the mint sauce: weeks leading up to Australia Day, we have regular TV advertisements for lamb.
  5. an ice-cold beer.
  6. at the community events, there is bound to be food trucks of all cuisines. There’ll be gozlemes, dumplings, hot chips, kebabs plus plenty of other choices.
  7. something entirely different because what’s traditional?!

And that is the beauty of being Australian. We are all different and we respect diversity. 

  • We might not all say G’day but a helluva lot of us say, “How ya going?” or “No worries.”
  • We might not all wear cork hats but we certainly love our “thongs” (for our American friends – they are what you call flipflops)
  • We might not all love cricket but there’s plenty of sports for us to choose from.
  • We might not all drink beer but we use beer to batter our fish.

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But Australia Day isn’t just about sports and food, there is a serious side.

On this day, Australians with outstanding achievements are acknowledged. There are 4 categories: Australian of the Year, Senior Australian of the Year (60 years and over), Young Australian of the Year (16 to 30 years) and Australia’s Local Hero. To read more, visit the Australian of the Year Awards website.

Also on this day, citizenship ceremonies are hosted around the country. Those whose application have been approved, make their Pledge of Commitment at these ceremonies  then become Australian citizens.

The Australia Day Council say:

Though 26 January marks this specific event [the landing of the First Fleet], today Australia Day celebrations reflect contemporary Australia: our diverse society and landscape, our remarkable achievements and our bright future. It also is an opportunity to reflect on our nation’s history, and to consider how we can make Australia an even better place in future.

If you are in Australia, what are you doing on January 26? 

Or tell us about your National Day and what you do. 

Tell us how you celebrate.

This was a sponsored post researched and written by Wise Monkeys Abroad for eBay Australia

finisterre: the end of the earth

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Once believed to be the furthest point west on the Iberian coast, Finisterre was aptly named “the end of the Earth”.

Finisterre is also the place that marks an end for some pilgrims of the Camino de Santiago (or Way of St James) who can walk on for another couple hundred kilometres after arriving in Santiago de Compostela.

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We actually had no desire to go to Finisterre when we initially embarked on the walk. But once we started walking, we felt like it was somewhere we had to visit. And then it didn’t seem so straight forward on how we would get there.

The options for us were:

(1) to walk it: unfortunately (or fortunately) we didn’t have the time for that.

(2) to catch the local bus: this was our plan A until we met a fellow pilgrim (about 3 days from finishing) who warned us that he did that the previous year, and it was almost 3 hours on the local bus and then an additional several kilometres of walking. And this was just to get there. So add the same amount of time to come back.

(3) to hire a car and drive there ourselves: there were too many logistical things about this one, so we benched this as a possibility.

(4) to book a day trip tour on a bus or minivan in Santiago de Compostela: this was the most enticing option. And the one we settled for when it came down to decide.

The day we went to Finisterre, the sun was shining brightly and the skies were blue. Upon arriving, often as with popular tourist spots, there is an array of visitors. Yet Finisterre had a different feel to it – it was peaceful somehow. It was calm and it actually felt like we had read the last page of an incredible book. It was closure for us, standing at the end of the Earth and looking out to the horizon.

As we stare out, we can see why during the Roman time, it was thought this was the end of the known world, standing right there… the Earth looks flat and we see nothing beyond.. it’s just water as far as the eye can see.

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Muxia is also another place that pilgrims can walk onwards to from Santiago if they choose. Here stands a church, Virxe Da Barca Sanctuary, which on December 25, 2013 was destroyed by fire after being struck by lightning. We were told that on the Orthodox Christmas (January 7, 2014), huge, powerful waves swept through and knocked over the church. Suspicious or freakish, either way, it was unlucky for this building built right on the edge of the surf. Since then, restoration has been underway and we were able to see the outside of what once was.

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One of the highlights of this part is the healing rock. It is said to have healing powers. Crawl through the hole nine times and it is said to heal a sore back. Lucky we weren’t there for any curing. So why were we even there?

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There really is no better way to end an epic journey, other than to visit the end of the Earth.

Happy Wednesday everyone! 

Please feel free to leave us any comments.

 

weekly photo challenge: serenity

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To show serenity, we automatically think of the countless sunrises and sunsets that have left us feeling serene.

And this one would be the clear winner.

We climbed strenuously uphill for a couple of hours. All the pain, all the hurt and all the weariness were zapped from us when we saw this sunrise over the French Pyrenees on the Camino de Santiago. This was only Day 1 of what was going to be the most amazing thing we ever did.

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 Happy Weekend everyone!

Welcome your thoughts as always!