The bucket list

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IT WAS a chance to explore one’s ancestry and discover those parts of the world that had been on a bucket list.

For Shepparton couple, Colin and Sue Mintern their first stop was London. Sue had always wanted to visit the Chelsea Flower Show and their first four days in London coincided with the show.

Sue said it was wonderful. The day started with a little drizzle but soon the sun was out and the flower show displays were at their best.

Sue and Colin were amazed by the huge variety of plants. Even gumtrees featured and indeed Aussie entrants have taken out the best of show in previous years.

After the show it was High Tea at Harrods and some shopping. It was a bank holiday and people were out in force.

It was time to get out of London so they hired a car and set off for Stratford-upon-Avon and then on to Scotland.

Sue’s family was from Scotland and she wanted to see where the family had lived but not before a stopover in Edinburgh and a visit to the castle with its huge cannon, Mons Meg and those views across the city.

They didn’t book ahead but just decided where they wanted to stop for the night, which was usually at B&B’s. Finally they reached the town of Brora where Sue’s family had once lived and nearby was Loth Beg and the old stone house.

There are no relations living there now but it was interesting to see where the family came from. Time now to travel on. They stopped at Dunrobin Castle and Blair Castle before arriving at Loch Ness.

It’s usually a cold and windy place but not today. The sun was out, the weather was hot and although they looked and looked they saw no monster.

Being summer, sunset was 11.30pm. At night it was easy to lose track of the time and go to bed late but the dawn would get you as the sun came up again at 4am.

The next day they drove to the west coast and took a ferry to Belfast and on to Dublin to catch up with some friends from America. They had five days together exploring Ireland.

On their way back to London they stopped at Bath to explore the city and its ancient Roman Baths, then onto Stonehenge. Both Sue and Colin were in awe of the ancient monument, some 5,000 years old. Its incredible history and the vast distances the huge stones had to be moved to create it were amazing.

A visit to Brighton and its pier and on to London for four more days, which gave Sue a chance to catch up with her cousins. They used the Tube a lot to get around, but walking was good as you saw so much on foot…but the hop-on-hop-off bus was the best way to see it all.

They stayed near St Pancreas Station on their final night. The next day they boarded the Very Fast Train and headed to Paris for a further four night stop.

It was a great break. They had dinner at the Eiffel Tower restaurant with fabulous views across the City of Light. They visited Monets Garden, and walked the streets of inner Paris. Colin was amazed at the grand architecture of the many old buildings.

Again the weather was hot and people were out to enjoy themselves. Families would gather in the parks to share a meal and some wine.

Back home, both Sue and Colin just loved there five weeks away but both agree there is no place like home.

Colin and Sue would like to thank Hanna Thompson of Shepparton Travel and Cruise for arranging their adventure.

Until next time,

Safe Travel’n,

Geoff Vallance