Archive for Travel

Emma is in Fremantle!

This Monday just gone (Labour Day), I was just about to finish my lunch when my husband cried out loud: ‘Emma is in Fremantle!’
It took a few moments to gather my thoughts before I realised the significance of what he had said.
Suddenly it hit me.
My niece Emma.
From Canada.
Is in Fremantle.
‘Emma is in Fremantle?’ I exclaimed!
‘Yes, and I’m going to see her with Nikky.’ (our daughter).
I shouted ‘I want to go too!’
My daughter had arrived home around 12:30 with her sleeping toddler, who now, after only an hour of sleep was being woken up and hustled into the car with promises of a family adventure, and snacks. He didn’t seem to mind too much. More than a little flustered, we all packed into Nikky’s car and set off on our journey to Freo. I called my son Merv on the way. He and his parter Toni were shopping, but they said they’d be there by 3pm.

Emma took on a 6 month contract working on the Celebrity Solstice, a huge cruise liner, travelling around Australia, New Zealand and other amazing places. She’s 23, working the gift shop and travelling the world (but seeing nothing, as my husband jokes, having heard about life working on liners). Luckily, she was allowed on shore for a two hour window, and we were all – surprisingly – available to leap into action and see her! My husband had been tracking the Celebrity Solstice for weeks, but stopped 8 days ago while it was moored near New Zealand. And none of Emma’s had emails made it through due to variable internet connections. My husband checked his email at 1:30, expecting it to be a mid night message from his brother Ian in Canada, but lo and behold cousin emma was HERE! I think we beat some kind of record for getting our things together and getting out of the house!

We picked her up at Victoria Quay, and took her for a short drive to the E-shed markets for coffee, nibbles, and stories of her travels. Quite a whirlwind visit, but worth it. She was happy to see us, we think, familiar faces halfway around the globe. And we always love having visitors. We figure we’re the most isolated of the lot, so we like to make an effort when someone makes aaaaaall the way to Perth to see us. I wonder who will be next!

Merry Christmas and Happy New Year

To all of my newsletter readers:

Enjoy your Christmas, family, friends and working mates.

Make a resolution for 2018. And stick to it!

Make a plan for the future.

Make an achievable goal!

Make it happen whatever you wished for!

Make Love not war!

Have a great Christmas!

Alycee Barrett

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My Client and family on a great adventure: Munda biddi story

On Friday 20th October we hit the trails in an attempt to reach Albany from Perth along the Munda Biddi track. A bit over 1000km in total. Both kids are riding their own bikes with no luggage, just their camelback with water and a muesli bar. We have done lots of long distance bike trips with the kids but what’s different this time is that we don’t have the ability to carry the kids or their bikes, they have to ride all the way!

We made it to Jarrahdale after four epic days of riding. The first two days were the hardest, 18km and 25.75km of steep hills and loose gravel. After plenty of walking up hills and helping the kids stay on their bikes we made it to the Carinyah hut. Nice to have a roof during the storm. Day three gave us a break on unseal roads with track closures due to control burning. A long 30.6km to the Wungong hut. The going was long but easier so there was plenty of singing and relaxing breaks. Riding past the fires was something unexpected. This area is great, we rode along the beautiful forests, with amazing flowers and an undulating narrow path, an easy 28km ride finished by 1.30pm. A well deserved lunch at the cafe and a comfy bed are in order. The kids have done a lot better than expected so maybe some ice cream too! We know we have hard days ahead but the attitude of the kids so far give us confidence to think we can make it to Albany.

After 13 days on the Munda Biddi trail. We feel like we have experienced all terrains and weather. The section after Jarrahdale was the hardest with some steep hills on rocky slippery decentes and hills that felt like they were going for ever. The kids did an amazing job riding more than 30km that day. It showed us what we are up for! Since then they have attempted to ride over dirt, mud, sand, rocks big and small, pea gravel (a famous feature of the Munda Biddi), water (not always successful at keeping our shoes dry), fallen trees, you name it! The kids are getting better everyday and we see their skills improving specially the scary downhills when we think are they going to make it down in one piece? Some hills remain a challenge so we walk up, had plenty of cases where it took the two of us to push the bikes and trailers up the hills specially on steep single track. It is exhausting for us as often we ride our bikes up and then walk back down to help the kids. We had a few days of rain, one in particular was so heavy we had to find shelter and set up camp after only 7kms but we managed to stay dry and warm. We had some long days after that, 35km+, and have decided we rather ride less and get to camp earlier so we can relax, do school work or play cards before dinner. The forest and wildflowers around us are amazing. All in all the kids are loving the experience and so are we!

We have made it to Pemberton after getting drenched last night in a storm with hail and thunder. It took us by surprise and we were soaked within seconds so we laughed and kept riding, good character building for the kids. We had done about 650kms till then. We did a detour to visit Gnomesville and had lunch at a nearby winery. We enjoyed warm hospitality from David near Donnybrook and Claire who offered to host us. It was so good to have comfy beds and two great evenings with wonderful company. We met friends Peter and Emily again and the kids had a great time playing with Oscar at the giant playground in Donnybrook. That night we camped by a lake with turquoise water and the kids had a nude mud fight and made sculptures out of the clay from the ground. A couple of days later we made it to Nannup after the longest day yet (52kms) due to a control burn diversion. The kids did a great job and we were all rewarded by a great dinner and room at the pub. Next day we camped at Willow springs which was nice but the bugs drove us mad. From there a hard uphill single track with lots of trees down made our arrival at Donnelly River much later than planned. We enjoyed the village with a feeling of going back in time and the welcoming friendly emus. We had a swim and lunch by the dam and a few treats at the cafe. The ride out of Donnelly River was hard single track and half way thought to the next hut it started raining, it was getting dark and we still had 4kms up a steep hill to go so we didn’t make it to the hut that night. Likely the kids were in good spirits and kept riding in the rain until we found a flat spot to camp. The next day we tackled the switchbacks up to the hut and made it to Manjimup by early afternoon. We slept at the Motor Inn and had Indian for dinner, the playground the next morning topped up a great experience in this town! Quinninup was another great surprise, we met some locals who invited us for coffee and the kids spent a couple of hours reading in the library. That night our friends Tara and John joined us and experienced a night on the trail with us. The weather has been hot and humid and the storms provided some relief from the heat. The kids have been riding well and we all continue to love the trail.

Pemberton was beautiful, and the food experiences were up there with the best so far, we had lunch at Holy Smoke and found the best coffee shop of the ride called Paddock. Next morning we set off towards the Gloucester tree (none of us was brave enough to climb it!). The switchbacks down from there were great flowing single track so fast we had to ask the kids to slow down as we couldn’t keep up with the trailers. So much fun and such a beautiful place. The weather was not that good, but we kept riding all afternoon listening to Harry Potter audio books.
That night a Bibbulmum track hut a few hundred meters off the Munda Biddi was a great find given we were going to sleep in the forest under another storm. We had a fire instead and enjoyed the views of a very pretty dam.
The next day I was not up for a hard day in the trail and was very happy that it was an easier ride along beautiful country, forests and farms. The kids rode without complaints chatting to each other and Nick and I had a great bit of time for ourselves. We made it to Northcliffe for lunch. The town was a pearl we were not expecting to find. The place had a great vibe. A little organic coop, a cafe, a wood gallery and an art exhibition. We found a lady who adopts kangaroos with two 10month old babies being fed on her lap. The kids spent time with the tame joeys and then we all went to see the sculpture park which was another great surprise. We camped at Sid’s camp, made dahl with flat bread and had dinner by the fire. A few people gathered around, the kids played with other kids and was nice to socialise for a change.
The next morning Mimi fell of her bike meters out of the gate due to the very slippery gravel, we are off to a great start I thought. Manu wasn’t in the mood to ride and a million flies followed us everywhere so we stopped every 100m that day…. very frustrating. We ended up camping in a horrible spot on the side of the fire trail when he declared he couldn’t go any further.
The next morning we set off early as we listened to music and sang along for a while. The conversation was very animated this morning. What’s better than a birthday party? Planning for a birthday! We spent hours talking about Mimis birthday, dress up design and cake flavours.
We then met Bernie a rider on his way north. We had lunch at the next hut and after some play time we decided to move on to camp at the Fernhook hut which was 20km away. The going was not so hard but the flies and March flies were so bad they ruined the ride for me. Mimi had a stack on the gravel and managed to park her bike perfectly upside down. She didnt get hurt and popped back up from underneath with a smile on her face. The bike stayed parked upside down…. we all had a good laugh. The last 5kms were mostly downhill along nice forests and I enjoyed that besides the flies. Manu had a great day with no accidents but managed to peel off skin of his knees by falling over at the camp which is kind of ironic after he rode 40km that day with no falls. We all slept on the floor of a cute hut and just as well as there was a thunderstorm outside. After we went to bed we decided to set up the tent inside as the mozzies were vicious.
In the morning we rode off the campsite and crossed a bridge with beautiful cascades. The morning was spent riding along forest trails mostly on dirt roads with sandy patches and lots of undulations which were a bit much for Manu to ride so we walked a lot up the hills. There was a big diversion which cut 28km off our day. The diversion and the huge 40km day the day before meant we could get all the way to Walpole which was a bonus as we were so ready for a shower.
At Walpole on our 16th wedding anniversary we are having a couple of days off the bike staying at a cottage, luckily it has brooms so Harry Potter is in full swing (the huts in the Munda Biddi have brooms too so we don’t have many days without Harry Potter play!). Here we have enjoyed a very entertaining eco cruise, markets, art galleries and spent time with friends Peter, Emily and Oscar. Walpole to Albany was a great final stage. We were hosted by two different families, both treated us like life long friends. We rode along the wow track and loved Greens pool and lights beach. Denmark was also special, we had great food at Rovens and the kids loved the adventure playground. The rode to Albany was also beautiful, spending a night by the Hay river and one in Cozy corner, wonderful spot! And then we finally made it to Albany! Clocked over 1000kms during 38 days (including 3 rest days). Shortest day just over 5kms and longest 52. Had an awesome ride especially the last two stages. Loved the scenery, beaches, forests, huts, flowers, towns and the food at the odd cafe on the way… Have met a lot of great people on and off the bike, new and old friends and experienced amazing hospitality from locals. From wonderful art displays and giant trees to amazing playgrounds and wildlife this ride has been an amazing adventure.

if you do have a story to tell, send it to me and I will publish it too.

Spending a week in Sydney visiting friends and relatives.

I am here in Sydney for only one week to visit a very special friend who moved back here a year ago and I miss her dearly. Eliane and her husband Leo, here I am finally! Also I’ll have the chance to meet up with my gorgeous Italian nephew, Michele, and his girlfriend Pearl, who I will be meeting for the first time. Who else is here in Sydney that would like to go for a coffee with me? Just call my mobile or send and email, and I will come and see you too. I would love to meet you all!

I experimented with Sydney transportation and loved the double decker trains plus the politeness of the locals or other tourists like me.
My hosts are fantastic and tomorrow I am going for dinner with Michele and Pearl. I browsed around Castle Hill Shopping Centre which is as big as the one in Joondalup.

The houses here are very different, and driving around I couldn’t see any Suburbs similar to the ones in Perth.
I feel like I am in another country altogether. My only recollection of Sydney from a previous visit is the Darling Harbour.
I never visited any other locations. Now is my chance!

I am very impressed with the efficiency, cleanliness and architectural aspects of this busy city!

Visiting family in Brazil. Exciting, except the politics.

I am away for a long holidays visiting my family in Brazil.
Experiencing the bosom of my family that I haven’t seen for 3 years.
Pictures worth a thousand words.
So here they are:

Fantastic 20 hours stay in Dubai before going to Brazil

This is a transit Hotel in Dubai on Concourse A, situated on the 6th and 7th floor of the International Airport. I loved the ‘Welcome Mrs Barrett’ written on the TV screen.

The suite is fitted with a 5 star hotel greeting: coffee, tea, free water, fridge, robes, slippers , sewing kit, shampoos, conditioners, cream, bathing cap, shaving kit, soap etc, etc, etc.

Taking the elevator to level 3 you will find the departure level with all of the duty free shops, restaurants, currency exchange, etc, etc, etc.

It has a large king size bed -or larger than!- comfortable chairs, air conditioning and a most welcome large size room that is at least 5×4 meter square.

We had a super comfortable and welcoming stay before carrying on the next leg to Brazil.

I highly recommend it for anyone doing extensive travelling. The restful stay between legs makes all of the difference for me on these long journeys to visit family.

My daughter, son in law, grandson, and my husband recently crossed the oceans to Canada and back, and roughed it by carrying straight through to their destination, but I’ve done that before and this is DEFINITELY the way to go!

Why don’t you try it next time?

Painting Classes. Never too late to learn

Susanna is an artist. She paints and she also teaches painting.
She has a fantastic nature and is easy to learn with her.
If you want to pursue a hobby this is so easy.

So proud of Juliana who he doing a tour in Brazil


Juliana Areias is a Brazilian singer in Perth. She performs everywhere and now is in Brazil on a performance tour.

Juliana is known as the ‘Bossa Nova Baby’, a nickname given by Ruy Castro who is the author of Chega de Saudade, a book about the history of Bossa Nova.

Juliana lives in Perth with her 2 children and partner.

She is now launching her first album called Juliana. This album focuses on Bossa Nova but also introduces other rhythms like Samba, Jazz, American Funk, Pop and “Choro”.

She will be performing in São Paulo, Rio de Janeiro, Salvador, Fortaleza and Brasilia.

Her CD can be downloaded online here and will be for sale at her shows.

Let’s support this marvellous local lady who is a tireless worker and amazing singer!



Here is a short snip of the stint two girlfriends took to the Philipines for 7 days

Here is a short snip of the girls trip in Philipines experiences we had in the My friend Marion Boughton and I had a fantastic 7 days stint in the Philippines.

We enjoyed every minute of it.

We had a few problems landing as the weather was bad, raining very hard with high winds. We flew over and around and around and I was stressed out especially knowing that my husband was ‘watching” where the plane was with a flight-tracker app. We landed 1 hour later.

imageNow, the next bit: where is my shuttle bus? Nowhere to be seen! Never existed! Well, when I booked the hotel online they had one. Long story short, they didn’t have one anymore.

Now the taxi ride: Whenever I travel to some countries the thing I hate most is being conned. I haggle like any other Brazilians do. But the line-up to get a taxi was endless and the rain never stopped. Other groups in the line-up were haggling with other “illegal” taxis and invited us to go with them in this big van. Why not? A Kiwi with his wife, another couple of foreigners going the same way…we said yes!

Later on we found out that we had only been haggling over $15 bucks!
You get so much money for a $100 bill that you feel like a millionaire when changing a couple of hundreds.

A half hour drive turned into 3 HOURS! You have never seen traffic this bad! Obviously I got ill from the motion and smell of diesel etc. I arrived at the hotel looking for a doctor or a bed. I got neither! NONE! OOPS! Wrong hotel! How could that be? Luckily the concierge walked us over to the other hotel which was across the road from this one.

Warning: 2 hotels with the same name: City Garden Grand Hotel, a 4 star, and City Garden Makati Hotel, a 3 star. We were booked into the 3 star. What a bummer! That night I just wanted a bed and planned to move the next day. I had never stayed in a 3 star hotel before.

The bed was good. It had all the amenities. Bath robes, slippers, ironing board, safe, coffee, tea, water, other drinks, just like a 4 star hotel. Marion didn’t want to change hotels so we stayed there.

imageThe people in the hotel were the politest people I have ever met! The breakfast buffet was superb with a variety of cereal, fruits, and hot foods. Anything you would find in a 4 star hotel. Marion said we just needed a clean bed, we were not going to be spending the day watching TV, we would only be there to sleep. So I agreed.

in the evening after all day sightseeing a bubbly always helped to relax. HeHeHe

My birthday was 2 days later and I decided we would have a meal in the penthouse ” al fresco” Restaurant at the City Garden Grand Hotel. The meal was good but the rain and wind and the smokers almost spoiled my birthday dinner. At the end of it we went back to our hotel which had started to look not so bad after all!

I was recommended by a Brazilian friend, Maria Antonia who lives in Doha currently but lived in the Philippines for 2 years, not to stay in Manila but get a Hotel in Makati. Thank you, Maria Antonia, because we went to visit Manila and we were glad that we had stayed in Makati with 5 Shopping Centers stuck to each other – so big that we couldn’t visit all of the shops they had during our 4-day stay. I think if we had shopped for a whole week we would have been in all the shops.

We did a couple of tours outside town, 92 km visiting the countryside. Wood carving, paper mache, embroidery and making paper. We visited Manila on the MRT and LRT but had problems getting back as the LRT had broken down.

imageLets get a taxi? Impossible! A Jeepney, the local bus that fits 50 people in a 10 seater. Impossible! Lets get a tricycle? Okay, but only from one station to the other. Got to the next Station and LRT was still out of order. No taxis. Lots of Jeepneys with 50 people on board. No more tricycles to go to Makati. They are not permitted there. A local young lady offered us help as she was going to the same place and helped us to get this express can that picked up people here, dropped at the next corner, picked up again a few students and dropped at the next place. After a 45 minute ride we arrived at the place where this young lady lived. She then helped us to get a bus to Makati. We finally got one. Mind you, this was a hell of a tour! But it was fun! We risked our lives and limbs on this adventure I guess, but was fun!

I know everything there is to know about the Philippines. Ask me if you need help.

BTW, the highlight of our trip was that we found out we were staying in the Red Light District. Wasn’t that awesome! I saw a couple of strip joints in the back of the Hotel but didn’t think anything of it. Dumb! Well I am a blonde…I can be dumb!
A little note to end: I could not make myself to try the chicken intestines barbecue we saw at the market. Just a pic


A full family fun house, makes me very happy!

I have been having a ball for the past 3 weeks as my niece has flown in from Brazil to stay with us for a week and a half and her son and his girlfriend who live on the Gold Coast have also joined us.

Add my kids and partner’s and baby Kai, and it’s a full house again… Just the way I like it!

It’s hard to believe that Iremar and her son Bernardo were here just 5 years ago for Nikky’s wedding but it was lovely to finally meet his girlfriend Marianne.

We have been to the City and Fremantle, Ive taken them to Mundaring Weir, King’s Park and we even had a full day out to the Pinnacle’s which was very fun.

Apart from the sightseeing there has been plenty of cooking and eating with everyone getting their hands dirty to learn and cook popular Brazilian delights.

Bernardo and his girlfriend unfortunately only stayed a little while but had to head back to the Gold Coast due to study and work commitments but Iremar and myself had a few lovely days catching up and doing the usual things such as shopping.

I am now in Queensland on the Gold Coast to attend Bernardo’s Graduation for University and to become a tourist myself because believe it or not, but I have never been here.

Having an absolute ball and I am back in Perth next week and sad to say my goodbyes but we will see each other again soon, I’m sure!

Around the world and back again and more unforgettable memories

On June 2nd, my husband and I left for a long holidays to visit relatives and friends all over the world.

After so many flights, train, buses, trams, boat rides we have to thank God that we had no incidents or accidents.

From Perth we went to Sydney and spent a day with our Italian nephew Michele, who had spent a couple months with us two Christmas’s ago.

Vancouver was a long and dreary stopover as Air Canada put us on 4 stand by’s after a 14 1/5 hour trip and we finally arrived in Toronto super tired.

We then spent 5 days with all kind of relatives: mother in law, brothers and sister in laws and numerous nephews. There was great dinner parties. Next stop was Brantford where we use to live then Toronto, Cannington, New Market, London and trip Niagara Falls for the day.

From Toronto we took  flight to Halifax, Nova Scotia to visit my ex sister in law, nephews and friends. We also lived in that neighbourhood, so we did a little reminiscing. Had a great time as usual and ate a like a queen. My sister in law Marlene is a superb cook.

After 4 days I went to visit a very special niece in Boston, Ritinha and hubby Maxwell who had taken 3 days off work to spend with me. Then off to Miami for another 3 days to spend with a very dear nephew Carlinhos who had also took 3 days of work to spend with me.

I was then back on a plane and flew to São Paulo, Brazil and met up with my husband who skipped Boston and Miami and went back to Toronto to spend more time with his Mum.

São Paulo to Belo Horizonte and the World Cup begins….

I was cheering for lots of teams:

  1. Brazil because I am Brazilian.  Though after the third goal between Brazil x Germany I was so disgusted with my team that I decided to cheer for the German machine!
  2. Iran because my son Merv was born there. They went home
  3. England because my husband is a pommy. They went home too.
  4. Portugal because my daughter is married to a Portuguese. They went home also.
  5. USA because I have lots of American nephews and nieces.they lost too.
  6. Italy because all my Italian brother in law and the kids. Surprisingly they went home.
  7. Australia because I am Australian. Well, we all knew they were going to play only 3 games since they left home.

But was fun after all. The Buzz during the Cup was incredible. The shops all closed at 4pm as the game starts at 5 so driving downtown with all the shops closes, almost no cars on the streets felt like a ghost town. Amazing!

Every Brazilian was concentrated in one thing: the Game!

It was great staying in Brazil with all my relatives fussing over us. Party every day!

But it was time for the next part of our trip, Europe, here we come!

We arrived in Portugal, had a bit of a sleep and then went out for lunch and got pick pocketed. $200 euros ..that was the worst thing that happened in all our trip. We were very lucky nothing major.

Instead of going to England  which we had planned my husband decided that we would spend more time in Italy. So we bought a couple of tickets and went to Rome and Bracciano to the best Italian hostess of all, Joana Barrett my husband’s sister Stefano, my brother in law also took time off to host us.

Spent a bit of time travelling around Italy to Naples and Florence and had the most lavish lunches and dinners with wine and delicious bread. Gained 4 of the 5 kilos I had lost before my trip but had a fantastic time in Italy.

Then our last leg before coming home: Bangkok. We got a great surprise when Thai Airways upgraded us to Business Class because we had lots of little issues every time we tried to book online. I had a most exquisite experience on business class drinking champagne even before take off.

Our hotel, the Continent Hotel Bangkok deserve their 5 stars in every way. Modern, clean, great staff, lots of smiles. I enjoyed my time in Bangkok and when it was time to leave a pink taxi picked us up at the Hotel to take us to the Airport.

That day it was raining, traffic was at a stand still and with 20 minutes to get to the Airport I need to go to the toilet. Bad!

The taxi driver did not know English. I translate: ” I need to relieve myself” in all languages I knew and the taxi driver still did not understand.

My husband suggested to empty a water bottle and I could use? Suddenly the taxi driver look at my face in his mirror and my hands covering my parts and eureka! He got it and said 5 minutes!

I look around and saw nothing except the highway full of cars an the rain pouring but a few minutes later he stopped the car, opened the door and expected me to go. I had no choice!

I pulled my pants down an relieved myself. Can you imagine me doing this here in Perth on Marmion Ave or the Freeway?
The taxi driver sure had a funny story to tell his family that night. We all laughed!

Then before I knew it I was home. I Arrived Sunday in a bit of daze and just want to sleep all the time especially after waking up at 9:30am during my holidays it is hard to get back to a 6am wake up.

On Tuesday I was up at 7:30am and back to work!