Marc's Public Blog - Trips to other locations


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This is a collection of my blog entries related to short or long trips I, or Jennifer and I went on.
I have some master pages for some specific locations/trips:

Paris over many years | Australia over many years | Canada over many years | Japan over multiple trips | Italy in 2011 | France in 2013 | Indonesia in 2013 | Japan in 2013 | Japan in 2014 | Taiwan in 2014 | Indonesia in 2014 | New Zealand in 2015 | Japan in 2015 | Costa Rica in 2015 | Singapore in 2016 | South Korea in 2016 | Japan in 2016 | Japan in winter 2017 | Great Britain in 2017 |

Table of Content for trips:

More pages: October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997



2017/01/28 Winter and Snow in Japan: Nagano's Hakuba and Yudanaka + Shibu Onsen
π 2017-01-28 00:00 in Japan, Japan2017, Trips
After multiple trips to Japan during the spring/summer, it was time to go to Japan during the winter to see the winter festivals, and do some snowboarding in its legendary dry snow. So, Arturo and I made plans for this trip, and our friend Regis joined us.

This started with a longish trip: SFO to Narita, skyliner to Ueno, shinkansen to Nagano, and bus to Hakuba:






In Hakuba, I found Atarashiya Ryokan a short distance from the main bus stop. It was a nice traditional ryokan with breakfast and dinner onsite, and where it was good that I was able to speak some Japanese, because their English was close to non existent :)



Atarashiya Ryokan was walking distance from Happo One lifts, which is good for the 2 days we went there:




>>> Go here for my snowboarding report of Hakuba's Happo-One and Hakuba 47 <<<

After 3 days in Hakuba, we took a bus to a subway/train to Yudanaka, and we stayed at Ryokan Hakura which was excellent and where Onozawa-San took good care of us, and thankfully also spoke better English than I spoke Japanese, making things a bit easier for us :)
The first 2 days we took an early bus from the station to Shiga Kogen to go snowboarding (report here)


the train to Yudanaka was a bit slower and less luxurious than the other trains we took, but it got us there
the train to Yudanaka was a bit slower and less luxurious than the other trains we took, but it got us there

Our rooms at Ryokan Hakura were half western, half Japanese, which was a nice mix
Our rooms at Ryokan Hakura were half western, half Japanese, which was a nice mix

We got to enjoy a very yummy dinner in our Ryokan after our first day of skiing
We got to enjoy a very yummy dinner in our Ryokan after our first day of skiing

the road to shiga kogen's remote bigger resorts was time consuming, nice curved bridge here
the road to shiga kogen's remote bigger resorts was time consuming, nice curved bridge here

At end of the 2nd day, we went to a walk from Yudanaka to Shibu Onsen around sunset, which was a bit of a trek, but a nice city to visit:










the 2nd night after skiing, we had dinner in a local restaurant
the 2nd night after skiing, we had dinner in a local restaurant


Our last day, we didn't have to leave so early for the ski bus, and were able to have breakfast in our ryokan, which was quite good and [Onozawa-San very nicely drove us to Jigokudani Yaen-Koen (Monkey Park)|] and then to the train station (which was welcome considering that my luggage was not fun to take uphill in snowy streets):



Onozawa-San giving us a farewell
Onozawa-San giving us a farewell

Next, was a trip to Hokkaido's Niseko.

2017/01/25 Tasmania Day 11: Queenstown Steam Train and Drive Back to Hobart
π 2017-01-25 00:00 in Australia, Tasmania2017, Trips

We did the steam train ride between Strahan and Queenstown except since we were driving out anyway, and the rack and pinion train ride left from Queenstown, we did an early drive there, which despite the very curvy road, we arrived there in 30mn instead of the recommended 1h drive :)
Since we had time to burn, we drove to a viewing point before finally going to the train, which left by 09:00:




those steam trains were mostly used to move mining product to Strahan to get to ships
those steam trains were mostly used to move mining product to Strahan to get to ships


we got the premium cabin with drinks and snacks :)
we got the premium cabin with drinks and snacks :)



rack and pinion to go uphill and downhill steep grades
rack and pinion to go uphill and downhill steep grades

this is how it works
this is how it works

a few places allow an oncoming train to cross
a few places allow an oncoming train to cross

the little engine is thirsty uphill
the little engine is thirsty uphill





we had a few stops while the engine was getting more water
we had a few stops while the engine was getting more water


we crossed paths with the strahan to queenstown train
we crossed paths with the strahan to queenstown train



a tree fell on the tracks, but the engineers had a chainsaw to take care of that :)
a tree fell on the tracks, but the engineers had a chainsaw to take care of that :)


If you like steam trains, here is a video summary:

When we got back to Queenstown, we got to pan for gold and went to visit the local historical museum:








On the drive out, we went to iron blow lookout, of one of the mining areas:



Then, we had the long drive back to Strahan, which we were able to do at very good pace though :)


I stopped for a quick hike
I stopped for a quick hike



After that we got to the famous "The Wall" art gallery, a huge wood carving:





And back to Hobart for our very early flight home the next morning:


We had a good time and definitely got to see a lot more of Tasmania than last time.

2017/01/24 Tasmania Day 10: Strahan
π 2017-01-24 00:00 in Australia, Tasmania2017, Trips
After finishing our long hike and mountain accent at Cradle Mountain, I drove to Strahan, a quick easy drive without traffic.


Our merc was a pleasure to drive and got us through the twisty roads to Strahan
Our merc was a pleasure to drive and got us through the twisty roads to Strahan

After a quick dinner, we walked to Hogarth Falls but didn't get to see any Platypus
After a quick dinner, we walked to Hogarth Falls but didn't get to see any Platypus

Nice view from our room, the big boat was the one we took for our tour
Nice view from our room, the big boat was the one we took for our tour

Jennifer was happy with our premium cabin and unlimited drinks :)
Jennifer was happy with our premium cabin and unlimited drinks :)



the british built a railroad line that went to the sea to load ships more easily
the british built a railroad line that went to the sea to load ships more easily


we then made it to gordon river and its rainforest
we then made it to gordon river and its rainforest

we got out for a quick walk
we got out for a quick walk


Next we went to mariah island, where many convicts were kept under bad conditions. A ranger gave us a great story of what happened:






Back on land, we had a look at a pine sawmill:




Next, we went to sand dunes to ride an 4WD ATV, that was a lot of fun:




we eventually got to the ocean dunes
we eventually got to the ocean dunes


our ATV guide
our ATV guide

I made it up the sand dune the first time (where others bailed and rolled back)
I made it up the sand dune the first time (where others bailed and rolled back)

Then, we got back to town to see The Ship That Never Was play. That was the biggest disappointment of the day, as well as waste of time. It was really silly and made for kids (only):



Next (yes, long days), we went to another river where we were hoping to see a wild platipus, but we weren't lucky enough:



And this was finally the end of our day. We had a sunset boat trip planned to see some mutton birds and penguins, but sadly it was cancelled, so that was it for our long day :)

See more images for Tasmania Day 10: Strahan
2017/01/23 Tasmania Day 09: Cradle Mountain
π 2017-01-23 00:00 in Australia, Tasmania2017, Trips
We arrived at Cradle Mountain in the late afternoon and went for a couple of hikes after an early dinner to see animals around dusk, and it was an awesome plan that worked beyond expectations. We saw more animals in those few hours than the entire day after that.


nice dinner at our hotel after we arrived and before a dusk/sunset walk
nice dinner at our hotel after we arrived and before a dusk/sunset walk

We found this little guy eating grass and totally unfraid
We found this little guy eating grass and totally unfraid

it didn't even mind being pet, which is unusual as adult wombats are usually not friendly
it didn't even mind being pet, which is unusual as adult wombats are usually not friendly


lots of wombats came out in the evening to go forage
lots of wombats came out in the evening to go forage

more wallabies than we could count
more wallabies than we could count


we were hoping for this water hole to be overrun, but it wasn't
we were hoping for this water hole to be overrun, but it wasn't

but we found some elsewhere
but we found some elsewhere


then I got super lucky and spotted this echidna
then I got super lucky and spotted this echidna


This was a great few hours out, the most wildlife we've never seen. After all that, we got some good sleep and got up bright and early the next morning for hiking the overland track all the way up to cradle mountain peak:










Wild life was limited, most animals stay put during the day:








The problem is that my hiking boots totally failed, the sole peeled off both of them:. I used the very limited amounts of duct tape I had, and then Jennifer's head band, and twisty ties, but honestly it barely held things together:



this is the peak we climbed, it was very steep and rocky at the top, and very hard with my broken shoes
this is the peak we climbed, it was very steep and rocky at the top, and very hard with my broken shoes


the trail kind of disappeared
the trail kind of disappeared

and it got worse from here
and it got worse from here

finally got to the top
finally got to the top


I did an Arturo at the top
I did an Arturo at the top

Getting back down was not fun, especially with my broken shoes. It was actually kind of dangerous since I didn't know when my shoes were going to fail and slip, but eventually we got back to the trail, and finished the loop going towards the lake.




we got back down to the lake
we got back down to the lake



We eventually got back to Rony Creek bus stopped and got a ride back to the parking lot, picked up our car and then I drove to Strahan for our next 2 days.

See more images for Tasmania Day 09: Cradle Mountain
2017/01/22 Tasmania Day 08: Launceston - Mole Creek towards Cradle Mountain
π 2017-01-22 00:00 in Australia, Tasmania2017, Trips
After a night in Launceston, we left reasonably early to go to the nearby Tasmania Zoo as soon as it opened.


Breakfast in our B&B
Breakfast in our B&B

Tasmania Zoo had fun animal encounters, so we did a couple :)
Tasmania Zoo had fun animal encounters, so we did a couple :)





the keeper picked up a female tasmanian devil for us
the keeper picked up a female tasmanian devil for us

I'm not sure I would put my fingers there though :)
I'm not sure I would put my fingers there though :)




Jennifer practised her wombat petting technique
Jennifer practised her wombat petting technique

cockatoos are awesome birds, they always love my sunflower seeds
cockatoos are awesome birds, they always love my sunflower seeds


we then got some pictures with meerkats
we then got some pictures with meerkats

they are very curious and fidgedy
they are very curious and fidgedy


From the zoo, we were originally going to stop at Trowunna Wildlife Park on the way, but given the limited time in the rest of our day, and the zoo we had just seen as well as the animal encounters, we were told that it would be a bit of a repeat, so I drove directly to Mole Creek Caves where we did their 3 cave tours. The first two had quite a bit of overlap but showed different parts of the cave, so doing both instead of one, wasn't an entire waste:














The cave had glow worms, although they were picky about allowing us to photograph them:




After the cave, we drove to Cradle Mountain and did some nice hikes in the evening, but those pictures are on the Cradle Mountain (next) page.

2017/01/21 Tasmania Day 07: Frecynet National Park/Wineglass Bay to Launceston
π 2017-01-21 00:00 in Australia, Tasmania2017, Trips
After a week in Hobart (mostly for the conference), we took an early morning tour bus from Hobart to the northern city of Launceston, but most of the time was spent at Frecynet National Park/Wineglass Bay on the way up.


We had a quick stop on the way, showing an old sawmill:




And we finally got to Wineglass Bay:





beautiful rock beaches, like bay of fires we saw in 2009
beautiful rock beaches, like bay of fires we saw in 2009




and did I mention wallabies?
and did I mention wallabies?




On the way out, we stopped at a winery and eventually got to Launceston, where we met my friend Andy who had driven there, and did a nice walk around Cataract Gorge Reserve:











We then enjoyed a nice dinner at Stillwater with Andy


2017/01/15 Tasmania Day 01-06: Hobart
π 2017-01-15 00:00 in Australia, Tasmania2017, Trips
Time flies, it was my 16tth trip to Australia and New Zealand for linux.conf.au.

After a longish trip to Hobart, Tasmania, the next morning I started with the botanical garden, which I found out later, I had already been to in 2009 during our previous visit to Tasmania, and wasn't that impressive, but it was open before everything else, so I went there:

of course I was up early, so I got to enjoy sunrise
of course I was up early, so I got to enjoy sunrise



I then went to Bonorong Wildlife Sanctuary, which I had seen in 2009 too, but I quite enjoyed it, and I signed up for a couple of animal encounters, which were quite worth it:



got to feed some tawny frogmouth
got to feed some tawny frogmouth


then, we got a baby wombat (they are cudly when they are small, but not when they grow up)
then, we got a baby wombat (they are cudly when they are small, but not when they grow up)



Then went to see the rest of the sanctuary, because it's fun:

some kangaroos were very nice, even if you didn't feed them
some kangaroos were very nice, even if you didn't feed them







Next, I went to Mona, the local museum of modern art:






very small pretty spiders
very small pretty spiders

this male was excited and showing off
this male was excited and showing off

and then the female spider gets conned :)
and then the female spider gets conned :)



they had an unusual wall of vagina plasters
they had an unusual wall of vagina plasters




I didn't take the ferry to museum since I arrived from the north, but I took it back to the town
I didn't take the ferry to museum since I arrived from the north, but I took it back to the town

where you can ride on sheep, because why wouldn't you?
where you can ride on sheep, because why wouldn't you?

The ferry got me back to Hobart downtown where Jennifer eventually met me fresh off her plane:


Another evening, after the conference, we went for a nice dinner, and hiked down from a higher point in town, where we walked down and saw some wild wallabies:





And this was it for Hobart. We had already been 8 years ago, so there wasn't that much we hadn't seen already. We however the next Saturday morning, after the conference was over, we took a bus tour towards the north of the Island.

See more images for Tasmania Day 01-06: Hobart

More pages: October 2017 September 2017 August 2017 July 2017 June 2017 February 2017 January 2017 December 2016 October 2016 September 2016 August 2016 July 2016 June 2016 May 2016 April 2016 February 2016 January 2016 December 2015 October 2015 August 2015 July 2015 June 2015 May 2015 March 2015 February 2015 January 2015 December 2014 November 2014 October 2014 August 2014 July 2014 June 2014 May 2014 January 2014 December 2013 November 2013 September 2013 July 2013 June 2013 May 2013 March 2013 February 2013 January 2013 December 2012 October 2012 September 2012 June 2012 April 2012 February 2012 January 2012 December 2011 October 2011 September 2011 August 2011 June 2011 January 2011 December 2010 November 2010 September 2010 August 2010 May 2010 January 2010 September 2009 August 2009 June 2009 January 2009 December 2008 August 2008 February 2008 January 2008 October 2007 July 2007 February 2007 January 2007 December 2006 October 2006 August 2006 July 2006 April 2006 March 2006 January 2006 December 2005 September 2005 August 2005 July 2005 June 2005 April 2005 December 2004 October 2004 July 2004 June 2004 January 2004 January 2003 January 2001 August 1997