I seemed to countdown forever, but the trip finally arrived. My visit back to the UK and a tour of all the culinary delights that I have been sorely missing. Although I should probably clarify here, the purpose of my trip wasn't just to put on the half stone that I did. It was primarily to see family and friends. And if those visits entailed long, leisurely lunches and decadent dinners, who was I to complain?
In keeping with my documented goals of 2013, I again travelled somewhere new in the world. Kicking off the holiday with a weekend in Munich for the, now annual, boys weekend jaunt. Munich is somewhere that has been on my bucket list for a while, but actually for Oktoberfest. That said, even if we had waited a few months I'm not sure even we could have drank many more pints of good German beer.
And talk about good hangover food, I think we had more visits to the Golden Arches than we did hours sleep. Munich itself turned out to be a very beautiful city. Full of big open squares, leafy gardens and the odd beer hall. But a word of advice. If you ever plan to visit the outstanding Allianz Arena (home of Bayern Munich), don't go in searing heat, with a hangover, when there are works and restrictions on the train lines. Just saying.
With regards to hangovers, Steve, shame you never managed the world record, but we always have next year.
After Munich, came England, and specifically beautiful Yorkshire. For the following couple of weeks I gorged myself on traditional English fayre and the Yorkshire countryside. And when I say traditional English fayre I don't just mean pies and pints of Copper Dragon Golden Pippen, but also delicious garlic laced curries of the sort that don't seem to have made their way down under.
Amongst many highlights, some would say the coup de grace was the amazing lamb henry, slow cooked one Sunday morning and served up at lunch with copious amounts of wine. Oh, and cider. And vodka. And port. I think it was a good day, but I'd need to ask somebody else who was there to confirm. If the amount of time it takes you to eat a bacon and black pudding butty is a barometer of how drunk you were, I'd say some were very drunk. At least the alcohol made me forget the rice pudding you could hang wallpaper with. If I was the chef, I'd stick to main courses.
Family, friends and a sun baked Yorkshire treated me well. I ordered sunshine to remind me of my antipodean home and boy did the old country deliver. The 2 weeks went by in a flash of catch ups, belly laughs, food, beer and wine.
Reminding me of who and what is important to me in life I was truly sad to be leaving. If only I could have stayed longer. There were people I missed out on this time, due various reasons, including conflicting holiday plans. I know I will see them all next time, whenever that may be. And there are others I already can't wait to see again, and I know I will, all in good time. I just need a little patience.
For now, I return home with some fantastic memories, ready to face the start of my second year of this Australian adventure. And what a start it will be. Going to the 3rd Lions test in Sydney, which of course is now going to be the decider. Watching Man Utd in the same stadium, some 2 weeks later play a team of A-League All Stars. And celebrating "Xmas in July", an Aussie tradition, in between.
With new motivation, a game plan to be agreed upon, and the aim of getting fitter, the rest of 2013 could turn out to be one of the biggest years yet.
Signing off, the Yorkshire Expat.
Films watched on plane(s)
Killing Them Softly
Stand up Guys
Life of Pi
TV series watched on plane(s)
The Thick of It - whole of season 4 (bloody brilliant)