Wednesday, December 23
Our last days in Geneva were extremely hectic, with our things being shipped off, farewells to attend, last minute work to get through, the car to sell and the apartment to clean. Phew! Now it's all over and we are making our way towards the next adventure.
Reflecting on our time in Geneva, there are many happy memories. It has been a real journey of discovery. I have learned so much about the world, about statistics and about the mechanics of the UN. I leave Geneva with a sense of achievement and with excitement about the new adventures that life in the Pacific will bring.
I also feel a sense of sadness as we said goodbye to a number of close friends and colleagues who have made our time in Geneva really special. We will miss them, but thankfully the internet makes communication so easy, even despite the almost 12 hour time difference between Suva and Europe.
As we undertake our 36 hour journey to Adelaide, I am looking forward to spending a couple of weeks with family and friends before heading off to Fiji.
Merry Christmas and Happy New Year to all.
Sunday, September 13
We spent the week taking day trips (Dubrovnik and the nearby islands), heading down the hill for a swim at the beach, lounging about on the terrace, reading, playing cards and watching the sunset.
One of the highlights for me was our short drive to the nearby Biokovo National Park. I was expecting us to just park the car and go for a short hike in the pine forest, but when we arrived, we found the park consists of the highest mountain road in Croatia: 23kms of terrifyingly narrow, steep road that took us up to the 1,762m mountain peak. It was an incredible drive and I was grateful to complete it without scratching the hire car. In some places, the two-way road was barely wide enough for one car! Well, that may be exaggerating, but it was a challenging and exciting drive. This video of cyclists making the downhill run gives an impression.
Overall, I really enjoyed the holiday in Croatia, but for a region that relies upon tourism, they could a better job of some things. The food was disappointing and the tourist information was either non-existent or overwhelming. We wanted to buy a nice momento, but struggled to find anything beyond rows and rows of tourist trash markets. However, the people were lovely and the weather was gorgeous. If you like watersports and don't mind pebbly beaches, it is a very affordable and worthwhile holiday destination.
Sunday, August 30
After the conference finished on Saturday, we headed off on a tour of South Africa on the Sunday morning. We were only 5 people in our tour group: our good friend and colleague, Petteri; a young newlywed couple from Malta; and us. Our guide was Thabo, a terrific and talkative South African man from Soweto, just outside of Johannesburg. Together we had an excellent time and saw something new and interesting every day.
Day 1: Durban to Santa Lucia via Shakaland, a Zulu cultural village
Day 2: Santa Lucia cruise and drive to Swaziland
Crossing the border into Swaziland
Day 3: Drive through Swaziland and into Kruger National Park
At the southern gate of the Kruger National Park
Day 4: Safari in Kruger and BBQ in our rest camp
Our huts at Pretoriaskop rest camp
The safari started out a little chilly at 6:30am
Then the animals started to appear....
Day 5: Visiting natural wonders and staying in the quaint mining town of Pilgrim's Rest
Our hotel at Pilgrim's Rest
Sunday, July 19
After a busy three day meeting, I had a weekend to explore Warsaw with Peter and a friend from work. Quite a nice city with an amazing new "old town".
The flower markets just down the road from our hotel were a daily treat of colour and perfume.