Where to go? How long a trip? We had downsized from our house in Highton to a unit in Geelong West. So, less property maintenance and more travel - lock up and go was our motto.
Since the shift we have toured up the east coast as far as Townsville, stayed for extensive periods in Sydney, Northern NSW and the Gold Coast. We have covered Northern Victoria with Rotary Conferences and Bowls' trips. We loved taking the Ghan train to Alice Springs, Uluru, Darwin, the Kimberleys and Kakadu. We have covered Tasmania with annual two week drives during autumn. A highlight was a cruise on the Dawn Princess ex Melbourne, around New Zealand.
Ruth, poring over travel supplements in the newspapers, was tempted by travel to China or somewhere in Asia. This sounds pretentious but Old Europe made us feel tired all over - we had spent extended times there and then there was the punishing long flight.
We had spent seven day breaks in Singapore, Bangkok and Phuket several times as stopovers on flights to Europe. Asia was comfortable and our eyes turned towards our Near North (known as the Far East not that long ago). Still nothing firm settled into our brains. We needed a catalyst to get us over the line, to make a decision.
The catalyst materialised in the form of Peter and Kay our old friends from The Corio Ski Club and the Glenmona Wine Estate days. While having a coffee with them, Kay said: "We are going to Vietnam". We said, just like that: "We will come with you". So there you are, all travel wonderings were over.
Our itinerary : starting 2011-08-01 was to fly from Melbourne via Singapore to Hanoi. A couple of days there then a night train to Sapa to visit hill tribes. Then back to Ha Noi. A couple more days there then two days on a "junk" on Ha Long bay.
From Ha Noi, fly to Hue for two days then a bus trip over the mountains to Da Nang then Hoi An for two days. Fly to Saigon from Da Nang, a week in Saigon then board a boat for a seven day trip up the Mekong to Siem Reap (to visit Angkor Wat)
On the 25th of August return from Siem Reip via Singapore to Melbourne.