All good things come to an end. We have been very lucky, with all things going to our planned schedule, except two slight changes to domestic Ozzy flights which caused no hassle. Weather hasn't always been great, but far more often than not - it didn't do Toronto any favours, but got worse there and in places across the States after we had left them behind.
We really enjoyed our stays with Joy & Peter, Terry & Roz and Lisa & Jason. Christmas was great although we never quite got used to it being in the summer.
Several have asked what was the best thing, no one place was ‘best’, so here's a list...
Best meal: Anantara’s Italian restaurant, Hua Hin
(we also had excellent meals in Sydney’s Lanes and at the
Siam City in Bangkok)
Best coffee: Flat white (almost anywhere in Australia)
Best stays: Oakes overlooking the Falls (for the view)
Oscar’s, Port Fairy(style, location, food ...and shortbread to die for!)
Best time: Great Ocean Road (Ballarat>Port Fairy)
Best memories: Niagara Falls, Bellagio Dancing Waters, Grand Canyon, Monuriki (Fiji),
Great Barrier Reef; Karunda railway/cablecar; coastline near Port
Campbell; Port Fairy; Remarkable Rocks; Anantara pool; walks on the
Best show: Celine Dion
Best surprise: Joe Cocker (his last night in Sydney)
Best 'gadget': Skype – we've been able to call home phones, from wherever
broadband was available, with the entire holiday call cost of less than
Fijians and Thais excel at service, but we found both Oz and US
standards of service were high, and their general helpfulness and politeness
beyond that experienced in UK cities these days ...oh, and we haven't
once been asked if our meal is OK two minutes into it - a well-meant, but
irritating UK habit! We disliked the US tipping expectations (18%!) and
their habit of quoting all prices pre-tax.
Itinerary change? We'd drop the rail trip to New York, lengthen our
stay in San Diego and shorten our stay in Cairns (too hot/humid). We'd also try to miss Thanksgiving week-end for the drive from Las Vegas to San Diego and the fly season on the Great Ocean Road. In fact, we'd have done Australia at a different time of the year had it been practical – between May and November! We'd double-check that the rooms booked had tea/coffee facilities and we wouldn't pack quite so much!
Did we miss anything? ...family, friends ...and English bitter.