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Wednesday, 22 January 2014

Travelling with allergies part 9: Down under for Christmas & New Year

"Happy belated Christmas and New Year everyone!

Sorry for my silence, been in the wilds and unable to get some posts out, but I promise they're worth the wait!

After successfully managing my allergies through some of the hardest countries in the world I was looking forward to English for the remainder of my trip!

I arrived in Cairns where I spent a couple of days. I visited a large lagoon and public pool on the sea front giving my a feel for the Australian sun which is....HOT!

<3 !
Minus Ollie, I flew into Brisbane just before Christmas where a met a good school friend of mine, Ashleigh, who now lives here with her family. I was quickly made to feel like part of the family - they knew about my allergies from back in the UK so it was just a case of checking ingredients when asked to. Being back in a fully English speaking country felt so good and everything became much easier...finally!

Ashleigh and I went on one day to do some Christmas shopping. I purchased some sweets and chocolate before seeing my first wallaby which was hopping around. I was thrilled to have seen my first wallaby and one had a baby roo making them even more entertaining to watch hopping around the fields!

That evening I happened to check the Bounty chocolate bar I purchased to see it had peanut in its ingredients. This shocked and surprised me as they don't in the UK ingredients but do in Australia! Just goes to show that even though Australia is a lot like England, you can't be too relaxed!

There are free electric BBQs all around Australia, which anyone can use and are a fantastic idea. We enjoyed dinner all together watching the sunset a couple of evenings while cooking chicken, sausages and other delicious dishes.

Christmas lunch was a bit of a mission as it was down to Ashleigh and I to prepare, cook and serve. We spent Christmas eve purchasing the ingredients for 18 people including a trolly full of vegetables! In addition we purchased 5 chickens and 2 pork legs so spent the remainder of Christmas Eve chopping, pealing and getting everything ready to cook the next day.

Me and Ashleigh
Christmas down under began early with the children in the house ensuring we were all awake at 7am for present opening...thanks guys. Attention quickly turned to the mammoth task of cooking all the food. Everything was egg and nut free, which wasn't just for me as another family friend coming for lunch is also anaphylactic to nuts and eggs.

With military precision, everything was served at 2pm and was fantastic with everyone enjoying the meal. Christmas away from go! It was strange but I was made to feel at home and being I'm a lovely, cosy, family home made such a difference. The hot temperature was a very strange addition to Christmas, with not a snow flake in sight,  however the food reminded me nostalgically of home.

Ashleigh took me into Brisbane on Boxing Day which reminded me of London, with the river running though the city with the walkways on the banks called 'South Bank'...and there even was a London eye! We got sandwiches for lunch and I could easily see all the ingredients. On our way back we stopped at a woodland in search of my first koala sighting...mission accomplished!

The sunshine coast living up to its name
For New Year we headed to the sunshine coast to stay with one of Ashleigh's friends who lives there. Eating out in Australia is expensive so we chose to cook our own food which was great for me. We celebrated the start of 2014 in the rooftop pool of their apartment block overlooking the coastline and fireworks. It was spectacular, as you can imagine!

We have planned a road trip together from the sunshine coast to Sydney and back lasting about two weeks.

I already get the impression that Australia is similar to the UK, including its cooking and foods so with language no longer an issue its very similar to living with my allergies back in England. I encourage you all to visit and see this wonderful place and enjoy the wildlife as much as I have... <3 kangaroos!

Once again, happy belated 2014 to you all and check back soon for an exciting camping road trip entry...

Stephen :)"

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