Well overdue for an update.....

Ok......for those of you emailing me for an update I know it has been a while between posts and I have lots to catch up on.....sorry it's been quite hectic for both Clint and I.

So where were we.......

Good Charlotte Concert - April 12th - for Clint's Birthday

The concert was great, Clint enjoyed it. I was not sure what to expect but I thought it was quite good too. The set list was good and I really enjoyed the acoustic part of the show. We went for tea before the concert to a lovely Japanese restaurant also, good food. It was a nice night! And a nice way to properly celebrate Clint's birthday.

Here's a couple of 'selfie' photos from the night:

Wednesday 16th April - Happy Go Lucky film Premiere in Clapham

I won 2 tickets to go see a film called 'Happy go Lucky'. The film is about a primary teacher in her late twenties and her lifestyle in London. I contacted a fellow teacher from uni and we went to see it. It was an interesting film......very London, haha. We had a nice night, and what was better was the tickets were free.....cant get better than that!

ANZAC DAY TOUR with Sammy's Travel.

Day 1 - Monday April 21st: Arriving in Istanbul.

We departed from Heathrow to Turkey on a 6.55am flight. After a four hour flight we arrived in Istanbul, Turkey. We had a transfer from the airport and arrived at our hotel in the early arvo (Turkey Time). We spent a little while settling in and went straight out to explore a bit of the Istanbul city. After our wandering around it was time to meet up in the hotel bar with our tour leader and other tour people. Our tour, the 10 day tour, had 40 people, so we were quite a big group. We had an early night as we were quite tired.

Day 2 - Tuesday April 22nd: Istanbul City Tour

This morning we went on a fully guided tour of Istanbul. We visited the Hagia (St.) Sophia. which had amazing mosaic images on the walls, this place was once a Christian place of worship, hence the mosaic portraits, but was turned into a Mosque later.

Then we saw the Blue Mosque, which faces the St. Sophia, which is another place with amazing architecture.

We also was an Underground cistern, which was built in the 6th century to supply water to a nearby palace complex. This cistern has a total of 336 decorated columns.

In the afternoon we went on the Bosphorus cruise. Which took us along the Bosphorus River. We were able to see the wealthy houses and palaces from this cruise, with much of the history explained along the way.

The night was the Turkish Gala Dinner, provided at the hotel. On this night we got to enjoy traditional Turkish food and entertainment including singing, music and belly dancing. We ended our night at around 10.30-11pm as we were fully aware of our 4.30am wake up call and 5.30am departure to Gallipoli!

Day 3 - Wednesday April 23rd: Istanbul to Gallipoli.

With an early start we arrive in Gallipoli after a 6 hour bus ride, with stops along the way to get refreshments and 'pick flowers' that was what our Turkish tour guide called going to the loo, its kinda stuck!! I love that saying now! When we arrived at Gallipoli we visited Anzac Cove, Lone Pine, The Nek and Chunuk Bair as well as cemeteries along the way.

I think for me the most amazing part was standing on the water side in Anzac Cove, the exact Spot where the soldiers would have arrived on their boats 93 years ago. It was a really surreal moment, especially when someone had so prominently stuck an Australian Flag with a poppy right there in the sand also, what a statement that flag made to all of us Aussies there.

Another highlight was finding the Grave of John Simpson Kirkpatrick, the man who used a donkey called Duffy to help him carry injured soldiers to safety at Gallipoli. This was a story I had taught children in my class, and it was quite moving to actually be there by his graveside.

There was complete silence from our 40 people tour as we moved around the Anzac site, a silence of respect as well as utter disbelief that such a beautiful place, was once, full of absolute terror and bloodshed. Once we visited all the places we hopped back on the bus for a 2 or so hour bus ride back to our hotel.

Day 4 - Thursday April 24th: Day to relax at hotel before departing to Anzac Cove.

Today we got to sleep in and spend most of the day at the hotel in the thermal pool, basically chilling out before our trek to Gallipoli and the tiring 24 hours the awaited us. We departed for Anzac Cove around 5pm - Arriving there around 11pm. We had our thermals, warm clothes and sleeping bags all rugged up for the cold and windy weather we were going to experience. Both Clint and I were both very thankful that we purchased our sleeping bags before the trip, they were worth every penny.

When we arrived at the cove there were people everywhere!!! The seats were nearly all full and there was hardly any ground space at all. Luckily Clint and I and two other people from our tour found 4 seats together and tried to get as comfy as possible for the long night ahead. There was entertainment on the big screens most of the night, also the army bands played as well. Some people managed to sleep sitting up but both Clint and I were lucky if we got 2 hours sleep between us. And when we finally did feel like we could sleep it was time for the dawn service.

Day 5 - Anzac Day 25th April: Gallipoli

The service at Anzac Cove was the moment was extremely moving, its something that is hard to comprehend, being at the place of such destruction and bloodshed. What is more moving is the fact that so many people make the same trip to Gallipoli for the same reason, to commemorate those who lost their lives for us.

By the end of the Dawn service it was now light and we made the trek to the Australian Service at Lone Pine.
Where we were seated it was extremely windy, but this service to me was a lot more moving as it was purely to remember the Australians in the war. After the service Clint and I walked around the surrounding bush of Lone Pine, looking for trenches and just exploring that area. On our way back to Lone Pine a lady asked us if we wanted to lay a commemorative wreath. This was quite special, so I got a photo of Clint placing it with the other wreaths. Before we left Lone Pine, we made sure we signed the attendance book. Hopefully one day one of our children, grandchildren will attend the service too and get to find our names.

We left Gallipoli around 3pm, sunburnt and tired........a nice dinner awaited us back at our hotel and we went to bed shortly after for a much needed sleep.

Day 6 -Saturday 26th April: Edremit to Kusadasi

Today we departed for the seaside town called Kusadasi. Heres a picture of a field of wild poppies, our bus driver let us stop and take photos.

Here we visited a traditional carpet weaving centre where we got to see wool and silk rugs being made. Wow! It was so intricate......and my fave carpet from there, with the nicest colours and pattern had to be an expensive one. $4000 dollars!!! And it was not even that big!!!!

After the carpet weaving we had a Turkish Bath, and oh my gosh, if we didnt know the people in our tour group well enough we certainly did after this experience. But I must say,.....it was an experience I am glad I took part in either way. The process of a Turkish bath basically begins with a sauna.....hot hot room where you sweat (a lot!) then the men get you to lay on a marble stone in the middle of the room and exfoliate you (lots of dead skin there) and then they rinse you off (more like throw buckets of cold water on you). Once they have rinsed you, you are soaped up and massaged, then rinsed again and your done......sent outside to enjoy a warm cup of apple tea. It was surely a 'different' experience.

Day 7 - Sunday 27th April: Ephesus Tour

Today we visited one of the best preserved ruins in the world....Ephesus. This place was absolutely amazing.....it was hard to imagine how people in this time lived.....just look at the photos.
The picture below is apparently the origins of where the symbol for the NIKE tick came from ...... you can debate that fact, just speak to the tour guide :o)

Clint and I on a row of toilets, interesting hey!

After Ephesus we visited the House of Virgin Mary (supposedly where she lived in her final days). We walked through the house and lit a candle at the end. This wall of what looks like toilet paper, is a wall of peoples prayers......quite moving.

We then....in the rain, visited the place of the Temple of Artemis.....one of the 7 wonders of the ancient world.

On the way back from the tour we went to a Leather Production centre....watched a fashion show and then turkish men tried to sell us leather jackets and other goods. While we were here Clint told me to try on a coat.......a $14,500 AUD Mink coat! Heres a couple of pics......haha, thats the one and only time I will ever touch such a material possesion that is so expensive, how mad!!!!! And dont it just look great with my Ghanda trackies!!!!!!!! :oP

Then we went past a ceramic production centre as well before heading back to the hotel.

Down the road from our hotel were a couple of great pubs. We found a cool laid back pub/cafe bar type place that had flavoured smoke pipes. They were quite yummy and we tried the apple and strawberry ones. Heres some pics:

Day 8 - Monday 28th April: Kusadasi to Pamukkale

Today we drove to the calcium terraces of Pamukkale. Although it was wet and freezing we all braved the weather and explored the calcium thermal waters. This was very cool....just check out the photos and you will get an idea why. We headed back to the hotel.......got changed out of our wet clothes and headed to the supposed thermal pool in the hotel that was freezing. That night we went out with our tour guide to a local bar for drinks and most people got pretty piddly.

Day 9 - Tuesday 29th April: Pamukkale to Istanbul

Today we left the hotel and had a long drive back to Istanbul. The tour was just about over and we were all exhausted on the bus ride. Our tour guide took us out to a fish restaurant for our last night out, was cool. We were entertained my musicians, who I thought were employed by the restaurant, but our tour guide told us they were gyspies and were doing it for money. They only left after we payed them tips, then they would head off to the next table to eventually annoy. It was nice at first, then it got irritating.

Day 10 - Wednesday 30th April: Istanbul to London

Last day, had an airport transfer early in the morning. Arrived back in London late arvo and unpacked our things and chilled for the rest of the day.

We are so thankful for our experience in Turkey and are soooo glad we did it! Something both of us will never forget.

Ok........wow......you will never believe it but just the above post including typing and adding photos has taken me over hours. I actually began this post last night and had to save it as a draft cos it was taking too long and it was nearly midnight.

Now to catch up on what we have been doing since........

Thursday May 1st - Matchbox Twenty Concert @ Wembley Stadium

WOW!! These guys just never let me down, always play an absolute brilliant concert and sound just as good live as they do on their albums! The set list was great, one of my fave parts was when they sang Hang and they also played Better Be Home Soon by Crowded House. Rob says they had just come back from touring in Australia and that was the reason they played it.

Friday 2nd May - Started Part Time/Weekend Job at RAF museum restaurant

I'd been looking around for a part time weekend job. I ended up getting a position as a waitress at the RAF Museum restaurant in North London. Its a nice change from my normal routine and will help out with finances as a little bit of extra pocket money.

So those who have been workdering where my blog updates have been theres the answer.......haha.....Both Clint and I have been working 7 day weeks, so free time is quite scarce at the moment. But we are enjoying ourselves still.....and keeping in the back of our mind the trips we will get to make with the extra money we are saving.

Sunday 4th May - Taping of Grand Designs Live

Those of you who know clint would know he is a big fan of the UK TV Show Grand Designs. He never used to miss an episode every Thursday night when we were at home. I had been scouting around for tickets as I had read that they were taping the show live for a couple of weeks. And I managed to get us some. It was cool to see how the taping of the show worked, though the format of the show ofcourse being live was incredibly different to a normal show. The idea was that each night 3 houses would be showcased and the home audience had to vote for the best one. Also during the tapings on site in the London Docklands, they were building a House, sustainable and all that stuff - Clint would know more about it than me. Heres some pics I managed to take.

News from the past week:

Clint: Currently he is working on a fix out of a Motel in central London. He is enjoying his time, working with other aussie carpenters. This job allows him to work 6-7 days a week which is good and to top it off he gets a cheap as 2 course meal everyday for like a couple of pounds!!

Me: Started back at my school doing PPA (relief/planning) cover and I will be there until the end of the school year (July). The school principal approached me last Friday and asked me what my intentions were for the next school year. I stated that I was looking for a more permanent position - possibly for the whole of the school year. She told me to think about continuing what was doing there over the weekend and chat to her on the Monday. On the Monday I approached her and asked for more info about the position, whether it would be the same as what I was doing already. I did state that although I am enjoying the experience of being in a lot of different rooms teaching children all across the school, I sort of missed having my own classroom. Then she said, well you can have your own classroom!!! Shocked me senseless as I was sooo not expecting that, I replyed (probably looking dumbfounded) asking what year level it would be teaching and she asked me what year level I wanted! I said I would love to have the youger kiddies, in Key Stage 1, its like prep and year one at home, and she said I could have a class in Key Stage 1.

So.....basically, I will be continuing at the school for the next school year beginning in September, in my own classroom. I am so excited as I will get to learn a whole new curriculum, take advantage of the great technology of Interactive Whiteboards, get to decorate my own room, and have my own bunch of 30 kiddies!

Hmm ..... thats probably all the news for now, but if you actually got through this post you need to pat yourself on the back!!!! This weekend Clint and I are catching up with Beth, who I went to uni with and are going to see the Waifs, should be a good night.

Thanks to everyone for the emails and especially the photos sent to us through hotmail or those who upload on Facebook. Due to all the great technology like Skype it doesnt make us feel like we are half the way across the world and it is all so much easier.

Take care.......total time to post this update was around 5 hours!!
Bed time