My Top 5 Places

Thanks to all those who participated in Wednesday’s blog link-up.  I hope you discovered some new blogs that you love, and in turn your blogs have more readers too.   The linky is still open so it’s not too late to sign up.

This week I’m joining in Kate’s Listography again.  The topic, “My 5 Top Places” is a tough one for a couple of reasons.  If I list the most exotic places I’ve been to, will that make me look like a dinner party dickhead?   “You haven’t lived until you’ve been to Positano.”

Also, do I love a place for the actual place itself, or for the people and the experiences I had there?   And how could I possibly limit this list to just five places?

So it’s a tough one, but I’ll try.

Seville, Spain 
In 1999, I was living in London.  My boyfriend (now husband) did a trek through Morocco while I went to Portugal.  We agreed we’d meet at midday on the first Wednesday in September at the entrance to Seville Cathedral.  Too bad the cathedral has four main entrances.   In the days before mobile phones, this was most inconvenient.

Seville is a beautiful city.  It smells of oranges.  I will always associate it with seeing my boyfriend after time apart.   And unlike Portugal, no toothless men flashed at me in Seville.  Or anywhere else in Spain for that matter.

Where I grew up (implying I have since reached a level of maturity)
I grew up on a cotton farm in the north-west of New South Wales, Australia.  That part of the world is very flat, mostly dry, with black dirt and the bluest ever sky.  It is beautiful. The sun has baked the landscape into submission, so that the colours are bleached and muted.  The night sky is carpeted with the southern stars and the sight will take your breath away.  My grandparents and cousins lived down the road (when I say “down the road” I mean quite a few kilometres away), and there was nothing like sitting on my grandparents’ verandah, drinking beer and solving the problems of the world.  My friends “from home” are still very important to me.

I finally found a digital photo of home.
This is my Dad having a quiet moment after a paddock BBQ.

Like many parts of rural Australia, it’s home to some very cool town names.  These include Wee Waa, Lightning Ridge, Come-by-Chance and Pallamallawa.

I went to boarding school in Sydney at 11, so I’ve not lived there full-time since then.  In fact our farm was sold a few years ago, and this still breaks my heart.  Home for me now is where my husband and children are, but where I grew up is another kind of home and that’s always with me.

In a photo album somewhere in Japan, there is a photo of me in the nuddy.   This is not why I love Japan, I hasten to say.  I love Japan because it was my first real travelling experience.  A good friend of mine was living in Yamanashi-Ken, so I was based at his house and travelling around, staying with Japanese families.

If you have body issues at all, go to Japan and be cured from them.  For people don’t invite you out for coffee, they invite you for a bath.  And bathe I did.  That is why there is a nude photo of me in someone’s album, because at one onsen some girls asked if they could take a photo of me.  I’m sure I didn’t have to say “yes” but it’s done now.

I could write a whole post about Japan, but it would be so long you’d curl up and die before you’d get to the end.  But I’ll share this little story with you: I got caught up in a festival and a mob of men literally carried me away so I was hopelessly lost, before putting me on a table and dancing around me, chanting.  God knows what they were saying. “The girl from the photo!  The girl from the photo!” or “Sausage legs, sausage legs..!”  Who knows.

Well if you don’t love Sydney you are weird and we can never be friends.  I am a proud and annoying Sydneysider.  Sydney is beautiful.  Getting the ferry to work is one of life’s pleasures.  In summer it smells of jasmine and frangipani.  It’s where I met my husband, where we got engaged, we married in the Botanic Gardens and it’s where our children were born.  Our house is there.

It’s not perfect.  It’s frigging expensive and I don’t get the world’s obsession with Bondi.  Nowhere is perfect, but Sydney nearly is.  Told you I was annoying.

“To be bored of London is to be bored of life” and never a truer word was said.  It has everything.  Except the sun.  And beaches.  But still, mustn’t grumble.  London is an incredible city – the museums, the galleries, the pubs, the shopping, the history, the buildings, the parks, the people, the proximity to so many other wonderful places.  People will say Londoners are not friendly and I could not disagree more.  Reserved, yes.  A Londoner will not come bounding up to you and try to lick your face.  But in my experience, London is a friendly city.

Except on the tube when two girls threatened to rearrange my face and everyone pretended to not hear what was going on.  Ah, memories.

So, what do you think?  I hope I don’t sound like a dinner party dickhead.

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