AUSTRALIA

Vacay break: let's take a brief holiday from the food blogging shall we?

I want to share some photos from my recent 2-week trip to Sydney (where gorilla monkey was born and raised) and Byron Bay...

Let's start with Byron Bay: a place that evokes images of splashing waves, scrunched-up surfer hair, trippin' hippies, happy rays of sunshine and a Never-Ever-Land. But we discovered a different scene.

A hop in the SUV, a whizz of the wheels hitting toasted asphalt and a whipping of cool wind brings us instantly to the countryside of Byron. Suddenly it's rolling grasslands, cows and sheep, trees and birdsong. A quiet, moody and romantic pasture.

These photos are from The Fig Tree, a cottage that's just a left-hand-turn up a hill on the road to our rented villa. It's such a popular wedding venue that it's booked daily through April. When we rolled up the gravel driveway we saw the preparations under way; a barefooted Japanese lady leisurely bundling the flower arrangements while kids jumped and played around the swing set under the eaves of a great old tree, overlooking the valleys beyond.

And then the 1960s trailer! What a coincidence that on my last Australia visit I saw a book called My Cool Caravan, a photo collection of retro trailer owners and collectors. Maybe not so coincidental; more like proof of Australians' good taste and appreciation for all things lovely and leisurely.