The Mr and I have been on a little motoring holiday to NSW. Being the first of many trips (I hope) of our retirement, it was quite special.
But what made it even more special (for me, and the Mr didn't mind a bit) was being able to attend a bloggers' get-together in Bathurst, organised by the legendary Chookyblue.
And what a gathering it was. People had come a LONG way to be there and it was lovely to meet longtime friends like Chooky and Peg for the first time, reconnect with stitching buddies in the on-line group I belonged to for several years and meet people who were new to me (and of course now I have a lot more blogs to read!) There were swaps and some truly amazing show-and-tells and lots of laughs and friendship. Oh, and shopping - visiting Anni Downs' Hatched and Patched store for the first time was a great treat and yes, some lovely fabrics and such came home with me.
Before Bathurst we'd had a night in Beechworth at a gorgeous B and B (Barnsley House); we'd stayed there before and it was just as good as we remembered. I spent a lot of time sitting out on the verandah off our room, admiring the garden and listening to the birds.
In Benalla we stopped to smell the roses (literally, the rose garden is gorgeous) and admire the statue of Weary Dunlop.
After Bathurst was Mudgee (such a friendly town) and Orange, which is a pretty city with good shops and lovely parks. And some rain, too, which I know many of the blogging girls would have loved to see in their home patches - most of the countryside we passed through was alarmingly dry.
Lunch on the way home was a picnic beside the lagoon in Wagga Wagga, where we lived for a while way back when. It's a really busy town, with some fine old buildings and a good art gallery.
And somewhere along the way we fitted in a stop in Cowra. Cowra is probably best known for the break-out of Japanese prisoners from its POW camp. We'd been there before, and had limited time, so we opted to visit the newish Japanese garden nearby. As a place of reflection, and symbolising friendship between Australia and Japan, it was an attractive, thought-provoking place to visit (and feeding the fish was fun too.)
Oh, and a visit to Hill End, the famous former mining town, was fascinating, not so much because of what's there, more because of what's no longer there. At the height of the roaring days of the goldrushes, Hill End was thriving, with pubs, schools, flash emporiums, a hospital and all manner of entertainments and opportunities. These days, it's very quiet, with a small population.
And I nearly forgot Gulgong - such a pretty little town and its Henry Lawson centre is well worth a visit.
Eight days away from home and it was back to reality - and a mountain of washing. I'm still patting my fabric purchases and reading more blogs and hoping we'll be back on the road again soon.