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Category: holidays

A Tourist in Salzburg

I’m falling behind, I’m actually in Munich, but you’re going to hear about the schmaltzy day we had in Salzburg. We finished the day classy with the Moose’s last concert in the Mozarthaus in St Gilgen, but before that…

It’s hard to resist the stalls every few metres selling glüwein, so that afternoon we didn’t. We then hailed a two pony chariot for a half hour circuit around the altstadt of Salzburg.

The driver was from Texas, but he had either not spoken English for a really long time or he was raised by coyotes, because he was very hard to understand. “That be the man monastery”, he said, waving up the hill. “And that be the woman monastery”, indicating the Nonnberg, famous for its starring role in The Sound of Music.

The Sound of Music was the biggest thing to hit Salzburg since Mozart, it’s responsible for a large slab of its economy. It would have been remiss of us not to go on a Sound of Music tour then, remiss. I did actually manage to watch the movie for the very first time a couple of weeks before we left, so I was an expert.

Our tour guide sounded a lot like Michael Douglas as Liberace in Behind the Candelabra (which I watched bits of on the plane in between dozing) only prerecorded. I guess he’d probably run the tour a gajillion times, and it sounded like it. I can do you an imitation when I get back if you like.

It would have been worth it just for the scenery. Look, here’s a swan frozen in the ice. I’m sure it could have left any time it wanted to.

Did you know that if you skim a stone across a frozen lake in the direction of the back gate of the Von Trapp house it makes a kind of almost birdsong like pinging sound?

The gazebo had to be moved from the grounds because of all the tourists wanting to dance around it in the middle of the night, but it’s still on display in the grounds of Hellbrunn Palace. It was permanently locked after an eighty year old tourist broke her hip trying to dance on the seats inside. There’s always someone who’ll ruin it for everyone.

The bus then headed for the countryside, with bonus group singalongs! through some breathtaking scenery to Mondsee where the von Trapp wedding was filmed. This place has it all, snow capped mountains, lakes, cute houses, polite drivers, and extraordinarily ornate churches.

If this had been the first I’d seen I’d have been a little overwhelmed, but I now realise that’s just how they make churches around here. I think they chose this one just because it didn’t have a road going right past the entrance.

The tour guide also gave us a bit of background to the real Von Trapps, for which he apologised, revealing that he’d had hate mail for doing it in the past. How dare there be a real story! The Nonnberg really was where Maria had been a novitiate when she was hired to look after the Von Trapp kids and you can’t go in the today because it’s still a working abbey. But they really didn’t live where the movie was filmed and they didn’t escape the Nazis by climbing over the Untersberg because if you did that you’d actually be going to Germany. And Maria eventually died in her eighties of eating too much cheese, getting gangrene in her stomach and refusing to go to the doctor. There’s a lesson there for all of us.

The tour was totally worth it for many reasons. They encouraged you to buy a beer at ten in the morning for the scenic bus ride. You got to drive past the world headquarters of Red Bull. You got stories of how weird American tourists can really be (who has time to watch the Sound of Music TWICE a day every day?). There was a bit of Mozarty stuff thrown in for free. The scenery. And I’ll have a tour guide impression to do at parties, something for you to look forward to.

Fog and Castles

We’re getting the hang of this now. What we want is castles, atmosphere and castles. Ruined if possible. We’ve had two in the last couple of days.

The first was care of our dear friends the Laciks. We first met Igor over twenty years ago when he joined the then boyfriend’s research group at Sydney University. They share a horrifyingly similar sense of humour, so we saw a lot of him and his then new wife Beata while they were in Sydney, then again when we went to Europe just before we were married. Contact since then has been very sporadic, but the memories were sweet so we were delighted to spend the day with them yesterday. They were very generous entertainers. And you’ll never guess, they have our dogs!

That isn’t Meriadoc. They also had the Slovak national instrument whose name escapes me, but it was like a cross between a didgeridoo and a bassoon, but had a surprisingly high sweet tone.

We tore ourselves away from the dogs and photos of the dogs when they were puppies (they actually have two children too and we got a couple of photos of them and very good looking they’ve turned out too, but the dogs, you know) to go to Castle Devín.

It was really really ruined, there were even Roman bits in it, and made me realise how very little I know about the history of this part of Europe. For the kids the highlight was the well into which you could drop a stone and count to about ten before it plunked into the water in the bottom. The castle is at the confluence between the Donau and the Moldau, so we walked along the banks for a bit until we saw this monument.

Lucky we were with locals, because there is no plaque or explanation. It is made from the barbed wire fence that separated Austria from Slovakia. People were shot trying to cross the border before the Velvet Revolution, there’s another monument nearby with all of their names. I know, really heart stopping.
We then went to have lunch at the highest point in Bratislava, the restaurant in the television tower. Here’s the Muffet and Beata, and you can see the view behind them. That detail behind them is actually a reflection from inside the restaurant, don’t get your hopes up.

Yes, thick thick fog. We may as well have been underwater, but the food was sensational. Igor did threaten to keep us there eating until the fog cleared, but we would have still been there now and who would be running the Bratislava Polymer Institute? It would have ground to a halt. What was happening outside was that the fog was combining with the subzero temperatures to do this to all of the foliage.

Driving back down through the iced forest, Igor remarked that you wouldn’t have been surprised to have a werewolf leap out of the undergrowth and drip blood all over the car, and he was right, it was dead atmospheric. It made everything look black and white and for the first time I realised what an impact Little Red Riding Hood would have made in such a landscape.

Today we headed for Salzburg, but we really had to stop at Castle Dürnstein where Richard the Lionheart was held captive until he was rescued by the minstrel Blondel. Supposedly. It was way up the cliff behind the village and again very ruined, but we got the general idea.

The village below seemed to have an apricot theme. The tiny cobblestone streets were lined with shops selling apricot jam, apricot liqueurs, apricot nectar, apricot hand cream, apricot chocolate (I was tempted), dried apricots (excellent), apricot chutney and I lost focus a bit after that. But don’t think they only sell apricot products.

Though you’ll note the apricot coloured cardboard.
And then on through the fog and many more kilometres of magical iced forest to Salzburg. Of which more presently, I’m sure.

An Awesome Museum

We weren’t planning to go into museums yesterday, just thought we’d wander around Vienna and go gorblimey, will you look at that. And there was a fair amount of that. But then we found ourselves up near the Rathaus and saw that there was a museum of armour And a museum of musical instruments. It was like a museum specifically for us.

When you live in a country that has been ruled by a succession of dynasties over hundreds of years but now you’re going through a period of Western democracy, you tend to have a lot of leftover palaces. This museum was in the Imperial palace, and just the building would have been worth the entrance price.

When we got into the bit with the armour, the Horror was in paradise. We’d hired the English language audio guides and they were very helpful in pointing out the interesting bits because, dear reader, there was a lot of armour. Horse armour, jousting armour, some other horse battle armour whose name started with R, foot fighting armour, ceremonial armour, mix and match sets of armour, squire armour, armour you wore to weddings, armour you had made after you’d spent years eating too much schnitzel.

Hall after hall after hall of it. Sometimes with a five hundred year old painting above it of a prince wearing that exact same armour that was right in front of you. Eventually the Muffet got over it a bit, but that was OK, because then there was musical instruments! I think the best way to describe it is what the Horror said, it looks like in each room they’re evolving. Very early brass, woodwind and stringed instruments, then through all the various permutations people put them through until they became today’s versions. I wish some of them were still around.

For the benefit of my choir, I saw some crumhorns displayed and they do look like they’d be rather harsh. I did love all the keyboard variations, especially this one,

On the right it’s a spinet, on the left it’s a tiny organ, with the bellows at the back and the wind coming out of the bottom end of the keys, towards the player. On top is painted a backgammon board and if you turned it over (it was mounted over a mirror) it had a chessboard painted on the bottom. Awesome.

AND there was a harmony piano, man, I didn’t take a photo. It was enormously complicated with five rows of keys with various circle patterns on them. The idea was to have a perfectly tuned keyboard upon which F sharp was slightly different to G flat. It went out of vogue very quickly because it was too damned hard to play. But that actual one on display had been played by Haydn and Beethoven. That actual one.

You know what? It’s put me off any museum I’ll ever see in Australia.

Well, We’re Here

When then hell are they inventing teleportation. Bugger education, I want government money thrown at dissembling humans and having them reassemble instantly on the other side of the planet. Let’s just say that getting to Europe from Australia is gruelling. The kids were very good, though.

We picked up a car from the airport and drove straight out to Eisenstadt to see our firstborn, the Moose who has been here for a week already on a music tour with his school, perform stuff at the Haydn Hall in the Esterhazy palace. Start with a bang, we thought. But first some lunch. We found a little cafe serving food, there’s lots that just do desserts, settled in, placed our orders, then came to the horrified realisation that You’re Allowed To Smoke In Restaurants in Europe. How uncivilised. The young girls at the table next to us only paused in their smoking to eat. However the first schnitzel of the tour was really excellent, thin, crisp, porky. We’ll have to try turkey schnitzel, that was the other option. Offsetting the smoking is that fact that they sell alcohol on the streets, presumably to stop you dying of exposure as you shop at the Christmas markets. I didn’t get any because I did feel like someone who hadn’t slept for forty eight hours and been subsequently run over by a tractor. Now wonder what the blood alcohol limit is for driving in Austria? Oh that’s right, we have wifi at this hotel, it’s the same as Australia.

Our first palace is the Esterhazy palace. We paid our four euros entry and fought through the Christmas shoppers up the stairs to be just in time for the wind orchestra’s performance. Located the Moose up the back on the triangle and waved frantically at him, causing him to grin broadly and possibly lose his place. I was so busy gazing at my first born that it took me a while to take in my surroundings. Muffet said “mum, look up!” Wow. Classical themed murals painted on the ceiling, been up there since the Baroque when the palace was built. They like their women pretty chunky back then.

In between musical numbers we hired an English language tour of the castle and wandered around the rooms. It made us realise that this enormous place was actually someone’s home. In one room there was a painting on the wall of how the room was furnished when it was someone’s bedroom, and it was actually fairly stark. A single bed up against the wall, a desk and a couple of chairs, an ornate wooden stove and there were three doors leading out of it, as there were in most of the rooms. Not very cosy. And where did he keep his clothes? We realised the richness of the cultural heritage here by the fairly blasé way some of these treasures were displayed, no guards, no security cameras, no velvet ropes, some of the furniture you could touch.

I should also just mention for the benefit of my choir that the Hayden Hall has an incredible acoustic. Our choir director lived in Vienna for a number of years and would have come here often, no wonder he complains about the University Great Hall. The Hayden hall was full of stalls and Christmas shoppers, but when the school was performing you could hear every note from anywhere in the hall. The school music director actually walked around the room while they performed to test it, he couldn’t believe his ears. It was like the music was coming from above. Maybe the Grads should do a European tour.

It was all a bit much for the Horror.

So we bundled them into the car and drove back to our Vienna hotel, the Classic, and it really is. Wood panelled, marble stairs, very cute indeed. Deposited them in bed, then went downstairs to investigate the tiny bar outside reception. Why do we not have more of these in Sydney? Just comfy chairs and people having one drink before going out for dinner, or in our case dragging ourselves upstairs to pass out for twelve hours.


Winter is Coming

For us, anyway. We’re going to Europe. I’ve been in an absolute lather preparing for it on top of the usual end of year stuff, it’ll be a relief just to unburden my brain onto the Internet just so I can see where I’m at.

We’ve booked the tickets, done the passports and travel insurance, and booked some accommodation. Sometimes we’re going to wing it, other times we know where we’re at. Last time I went to Europe the Internet did exist, but only in a very limited form. I could pop into Eindhoven University to online chat to my boyfriend in Sydney for free (split screen, all blinking green text on a black background, just like in the movies!) but that was the extent of it. I think the World Wide Web was actually invented that year. If you wanted to book accommodation, you had to physically lug yourself and backpack there anytime after two and enquire as to rates and bedbug densities. Time consuming. I’ve just got to book a car, but that’s it for the Europe side of things on my to do list. Apart from getting an international drivers license, just in case the husband can talk me into driving. Which means I’ll need a passport photo. Ok.

I’ve borrowed luggage (thanks Aunty Sarah!) and warm coats (thanks Karen!). I’ve paid the phone bills twice. I’ve arranged the house sitter, his girlfriend is coming for coffee tomorrow, even though it’s her birthday. I wonder if she’d like some lemon slice? I’ve had the kitchen and bathroom painted. You didn’t hear about that because it was very uneventful and they were really nice. Didn’t complain about moving the furniture or anything, unlike almost every other tradesman ever. Suspended my gym membership. Used my Athletes Foot voucher to buy a new pair of running shoes before it expired. They weren’t the very best ones I tried on, but the most comfortable ones looked like the kind of thing a unicorn would have nightmares about after eating too much cheese. Why? I’ve done the family Christmas presents, except for my littlest nephew. I’ve bought many many socks. Souvenirs and Christmas presents for our hosts. I bought myself a new handbag, to the universal disapproval of my children.

“What an ugly handbag” said the Horror. “Nice man bag” said Muffet. “Erm” said the Moose. I’ve always wanted a Crumpler bag, it’s light, spacious, waterproof, has lots of secret pockets and they’ve changed the material so it doesn’t wear a hole in your clothes. This isn’t it’s best angle, but I’m very fond of it, so ner.

What have I left to do? Clean the oven and inside fridge. Organise someone to collect the Choir mail while I’m away. Wash everything. Bleach the school shirts. Organise a new internet provider for next year as ours is slowly fading away. Think of something small, useful and delightful to give the kids on Christmas Day. Run down the pantry. Get the dogs washed and de-fleaed. Start packing. Oh, and a lot of knitting. Such a lot of knitting. I’m going to save that for another post.

What I’ve learned about Camping. Part Two. Action.

Most people go camping to commune with nature, wander through the bush, live life in the slow lane. Not if you’re camping with my husband, though. He booked us into every activity Glenworth Valley had to offer. And here’s what I learned.

If you’re a middle aged woman going abseiling for the first time in a long time, the key is to stare at the top of your shoes, no lower. If you’re a small boy, you may need moral support.

If you’re a show off fourteen year old boy, you go down every which way.

Here’s how you remove a bush tick. You kill it first with some strong fluid, as it may be Aerogard Tropical Strength. You then grasp it firmly near the skin on your daughter’s neck an remove it with a firm twisting motion. That’s what Gosford Hospital told me, anyway.

I know diamond pythons are as common as belly buttons north of the Tropic of Capricorn. But they can also be found this far south.

There are about two hundred horses at Glenworth Valley, and I think the Muffet may have ridden or patted all of them. I learned that I really quite like riding. But my legs are entirely the wrong shape. It was a full twenty four hours before I could get them to cooperate again.

If you’re a very small boy, no relation to me, and you ride your tiny bike down a steep slope terminating in a ditch, like this,

you will, much to the horror of onlookers, go over the handlebars and break your bike clean in half. It turns out that one of the little boys in the audience wasn’t crying in sympathy, it was his bike. He was to be seen for the next two days forlornly wheeling the front half of his bike around like a pedal free unicycle. The young trick cyclist was essentially unharmed, you’ll be pleased to know.

The last thing I learned won’t be very surprising. It is that, after a hard day riding and abseiling and feeding people and washing up in a bucket, a glass of aged red served in a plastic cup under a sky full of stars, drunk while reclining on a grassy hillside somewhat dotted with horse pats, tastes mighty fine. Mighty fine.

What I’ve Learned about Camping. Part One. Setting Up.

Contrary to popular belief, it wasn’t my fault we’ve never gone camping. It just that in such an active family we’ve never managed to find a weekend that was completely and totally free of sport. When a long weekend loomed that had been reserved for a family event that was subsequently postponed the time seemed right. Ho for Glenworth Valley.

There appear to be two types of campers. One lot are after a cheap holiday, so they bring along all the comforts of home. A giant tent with multiple annexes. A folding pergola. Tables and chairs. Gas barbecues. Many lights. Flock lined inflatable air beds with pockets so they don’t fling you off if you roll over too incautiously in the night. Their own toilet paper.

And there’s the likes of us who are after the nature experience. I didn’t want to commit to camping too much in case we didn’t like it, so we made do with what we had. We hired a four man tent from reception and brought along a two man tent my husband has grimly retained since childhood in the unwavering knowledge that he would eventually have a family that he would definitely take camping one day. I’m not even sure it’s real tent.

Yes, the banana yellow contraption. It wouldn’t sustain the onslaught of a swarm of monarch butterflies, so it was lucky there was no weather to speak of.

As it turned out, there was a third type camping at Glenworth Valley this weekend. “What’s Confest?” we asked our abseiling guide, Dean, after we’d passed the fourth sign for it. “Well, I don’t know what the C and the O stand for, but the N is for Nudist”, he explained. They were put in the most remote field available, but they still had to ignore utes full of gawkers on their way to abseiling, or kayakers, or the odd string of horse riders. It turns out the Confest is slightly more nuanced than that, but it was definitely a clothing optional event.

To the things I’ve learned. I’ve learned that a child can sleep quite comfortably on ground covered only by a doona, but an adult attempting the same feat becomes rather aware of their hips. A Thermarest or equivalent is the basic minimum requirement for a half decent night’ sleep. I wonder if a yoga mat would work?

I can light a fire.

My dear husband took one look at that and said “that’s never going to light”. What would he know. Nothing. In under five minutes that was a blazing inferno. But apparently I wouldn’t have earned the Scouts badge because I used three matches instead of one. Pfft.

One can make proper coffee camping.

It was more a proof of concept than anything else. We got that pot as a wedding present or something and it has rather languished at the back of the cupboard. I was certainly not going to be drinking instant even if we were going bush. It did work, the handle didn’t melt, but to took ages and was very very very strong. I thought getting a latte from the Glenworth Valley cafe was cheating.

An ablutions block is a marvelous thing to have available while camping. The one in our field was constructed of green powder coated corrugated iron, you pushed one button for a one minute warm shower and that’s really all you need. It was light and well constructed and had three hooks for your stuff and a soap dish and you couldn’t ask for a nicer fit out.

And finally a hammock is an excellent addition to any holiday. A few people brought their own, but we set up within easy reach of an existing one.

I’ll get on to the activities in my next post. Suffice to say they were many and varied.

Kosciusko Chalet

There’s a few different ways to get the snow experience. You could rent your skis in Sydney (remember when you rented your skis and outfit at Rebel?). Then drive up after work on Friday and stay at the caravan park at Jindabyne and drive up to the snow with all your gear every day (that relationship didn’t last). You could do what our friends the Larry Adlers did and gather some buddies and hire rooms at a lodge so they could hang out after skiing together. As this was at Charlotte Pass the only catch with this is you have to bring in most of your food. There is a shop at Charlotte’s, but after it has sold you a joke hat and a bag of freckles it has done its dash. The nearest IGA is about an hour away by oversnow at Perisher.


Or you could utterly lash out and stay at the Kosciusko Chalet.

Man I love staying here. Especially when remembering staying at the caravan park at Jindabyne. You walk twenty metres up the hill to pick up your gear. You ski out the door of the chalet in the morning after a hearty buffet breakfast to the T bar. And because my husband currently has two jobs, we stayed in the Tower Suite. See that round bit at the top of the chalet? That’s the Tower. The round room is a sitting room with excellent views of the mountain, there’s a double bedroom and a kids bedroom where three kids occupy some pretty squeaky beds. Also a bathroom with a fairly tiny but serviceable bath and one of those hotel showers that make you leap about as the temperature touches all points between ten and eighty degrees at random. It’s gorgeous. I can see the top of the T bar from my bed.

We first started staying here when the kids were small, four six and eight. The chalet has a kids club that has actually deteriorated a little in recent times. They used to have a huge room with all the consoles and lots of equipment. They’re now in a quite tiny room with just a Wii, but the staff are still lovely. Anyway, when the kiddies got tired or snow down their fronts you could ski them up to the door, click off your skis, hand in the kid and ski off again all in the space of about five minutes. It was very easy to check on them every hour to see if they’d recovered enough to come back out again. They also take them off your hands at 5.30pm to feed them and you can have them back at 9pm after you’ve enjoyed a three course meal with your dear husband. Awesome.

This year the weather was spectacular for the first time in my skiing experience, so we barely used the kids club at all.

Sunshine all round, cold enough to keep the snow frozen. So it may be that our time at the Chalet is coming to an end and we should start skiing somewhere that has more than two lifts servicing the mountain. I’ll miss the massive stone, the somewhat leaky windows, the gluhwein, the young cheery slightly inept staff, the relative lack of teenagers (most people bring their own), coaxing my screaming knees up the carved wooden staircase at the end of the day, no queues! Maybe we could go for one more year.

Skiing at Charlotte’s Pass

You’re not going to get a blow by blow account of this holiday, dear reader, because we’re at the highest ski resort in Australia and there isn’t any phone reception. None at all. Except at the top of the T bar and if you think I’m going to blog from there, you have another think coming. So we’ve forked out for twenty five minutes of wifi so the husband can check his emails and the Muffet can water her virtual plants.

The one hundred and fifty people who warned me to be careful of my ankle will be greatly relieved to hear I’m still on two feet. Though I do emit small cries of anguish while going up the stairs, but that’d be knees, not ankles. They’ll recover as soon as I stop skiing, and the pain is greatly alleviated by alcohol. You’ll also be pleased to see that there’s enough snow.

There’s a fair bit of shrubbery poking through it, but that’s fairly soft. I’m working on my technique, especially as there’s a couple here that we know who look like something out of a Larry Adler commercial, skis always together, always have their weight on the uphill ski. They make an almost vertical slope look like a stroll down to the shops, rather than the crouching, flailing, clouds of snow, adrenaline pumping epic adventure I make of it. I’m taking on board some advice the Horror’s instructor gave him. He said imagine there’s a killer worm in you boots. You need to squash him against the front if your boots before he wriggles up and eats your knees. Squash that worm.

We’re also prepared for the conditions. It’s pretty fabulous up here at the moment, but the temperature hasn’t got above zero yet. You want all you skin covered.

I’ve also learnt a valuable lesson from the children. If they say “hey Mum, I’ve found a great new way through the trees!”, on no account follow them. Death and despair and getting your skis stuck in a snowdrift when you panic and veer away from a jump will follow.

Look how beautiful it is up at the top of the chairlift.

That’s after you finally get up here. It’s never crowded at Charlotte’s Pass, so the lifties are very kind and slow down or stop the chairlift for young kids, slowboarders, nervous nannas, anyone really. Instead of mowing them down like they do at more commercial resorts.

Well I’ve checked the kids into kids dinner, us adults get a three course dinner while they watch some lame fairy movie, as the Moose would put it. All I need to do is put on my shoes and howl my way down two flights of stairs. I do love skiing, especially at Charlotte’s. I just wish my joints would stop acting their age.

What I’ve learned this week

Well, it has been one of those character building weeks, and I’ve learned a thing or two too.
I know how much my family eats. We had to bring all of our own food, and we’ve come home with just a litre of milk and half a loaf of bread.
A swim in the early morning is a very fine thing. My husband said he’s never seen me in the water so much. We actually have a pool, I tend to avoid it because it’s usually full of kids. The last time I got in to our pool I was immediately hit in the head by a wet tennis ball. But I know it’s vacant first thing in the morning, I should really get out there these very fine mornings and start off with a swim.
Speaking of husband, he’s a pretty good navigator. I know he’s good at maps, because he always tells me so. But I was quite impressed at how he could look at what looked to me like a featureless bit of angophora laden hill and say “around that corner we’ll be coming in to Fishermans Bay”, and be quite correct each time.

My entire family farts upon waking. I’m not sure if it’s just before they wake or just after, but with the rising of the sun each morning came a cacophony of farts. Thank heavens for separate bedrooms at home. Of course, I’m sure I don’t.
The kids like to drink tea. I’m sure I’ve never seen them do it at home, but they were drinking bucket loads of it at sea. Maybe it’s because the tea bags were in full view. At home my husband generally only drinks at from a pot, and it’s quite a palaver to get it ready. Perhaps I should put a container of tea bags on the bench at home. Should kids be drinking tea?
Fishing is boring and/or gross. The bait smells horrible. If you actually catch a fish, then it’s stabbed through some vital part of its anatomy so even if you let it go, it’s scarred for life. But most of the time you’re standing in the blazing sun holding a stick looking like a pillock. Not me, though, I was up on the top deck under the canopy reading about double entry accounting. I know how to enjoy myself.
A thirty second shower can leave you feeling quite clean.
Eating in the open air in the evening breeze is delightful and that’s something else we should do more often. At home we have the added advantage that no cutlery is going to end up in the sea.

There were some things I already knew. My children are not soul mates, and I didn’t really expect that three days confined to close quarters would pass without enough friction to cause much shouting. I know that they won’t remember that bit, but I am quite glad they’re all off to different sporting camps next week, they need a break from each other.

I am looking forward to a long bath and a night of unbroken rest in my queen sized bed in which I am very unlikely to find myself suddenly jammed up against a plywood wall in the middle of the night. I will miss the sound of the wavelets against the boat and the sea breeze through the windows. Goodbye Roger the Ripples houseboat. We have some great memories of you.