Christmas Vacation - Installment 1

Per the usual, I've returned from somewhere with far too many photos and probably not enough witty prose to go along with them.  I'm just going to write the whole story, plug the photos in and keep my fingers crossed.

After my homesickness leading up to Thanksgiving (I know, I know, you have no idea what I am talking about since I never did end up writing a post about Thanksgiving) I was looking for a way to mitigate any sort of celebration or expectation of celebration for the Christmas holiday.  Much like my old industry in the States, the entire country of Australia seems to shut down from Christmas to New Years ((and in some cases two weeks into January) They call it the "Silly Season")) so we were going to end up with about a week and a half's worth of vacation in a city that had virtually ground to a halt.  I didn't need all that down time to get me thinking so we decided to take a vacation.  I started looking a while back for some little shack or cottage on a beach somewhere where we could have a nice week away. I soon discovered that it is nearly impossible to book ANYTHING near a beach for the Christmas holidays - ah yes, and also they seem to charge double over the holidays.

Luckily, our intrepid friends Cristin and her Partner in Crime were also looking to get out of Sydney over the holidays so we decided to holiday together.  We settled on a trip length of 4 days - 2 days in a little historic town  called Beechworth and the remainder of the time in a ski town at the top of the Snowy Mountains called Thredbo.

Joe and I both took the day off work on Christmas Eve - P.I.C (Partner in Crime mentioned above) had to work till noonish so that gave me the morning to pack and get the apartment settled. P.I.C and Cristin picked us up around 2 and we started the drive south.  The drive was pretty unremarkable at the beginning - of course there was much talking and laughter - also some podcast listening and snacking.  I first realised that we were not only going south; but also, back in time, when we stopped for petrol the first time and I saw the pumps were circa 1970.  We stopped for dinner and shopping in Gundagai.  It was a cute little town with an IGA (which was our main reason for stopping there).

After we stocked up on lots of wine and food for Christmas day, we wandered down the main street to "the local" hotel which was surprisingly crowded for a Christmas Eve evening.  We ordered our fish and chips (and, of course, I'm the one with the Corona) and then found a table outside in the courtyard.  As we sat there, we began to notice that people were walking to the hotel from all over the town - it was almost as though the entire town was coming together to celebrate Christmas Eve at the pub.  Also, it should be noted that these folk were showing up in what was obviously their Christmas finery.  We ended up eating rather quickly and then moving on as we felt further and further out of place the longer we sat there.  It was extremely obvious that we were "not from around these parts"and it felt a bit like showing up at a huge party and being the only people that weren't invited.

In Beechworth, we had booked ourselves into a lovely Bed & Breakfast called Barnsley House.  Cristin and I were seduced by the pictures of the rooms on the website - claw foot tubs, private patios, afternoon tea and a bright sunny conservatory just perfect for reading.  After I booked the room, I got a very nice e-mail from "Rod & Barry" informing me that they would be gone on Christmas Day visiting family and that our food was pretty much up to us.  They would make us breakfast of course; but it would be early.  No problem we thought - there are little fridges in the room so we would just buy some groceries and have some snacky sort of meals.

When we went into the IGA to stock up we were slightly horrified to realise that there were only 3 types of meat in the deli case - the whole store was really operating under the umbrella of "slim-pickins".  We called Rod & Barry to check if there was a BBQ we could use - there was not.  We asked if we would be able to access some plates - we would not.  It was around this time that they started referring to Christmas being a "limited service" day.  This did not bode well.....

We checked in very late much to the disapproval of Rod and Barry (both wearing shorts and house slippers - very strange).  We were reminded several times about the early breakfast and told that they needed to leave for their families house by 9:30am sharp!

Admittedly, the house was completely gorgeous - everything was done up perfectly down to the last detail.  It was in a bit of a dodgy neighborhood; but since it was enclosed in a high dense hedge it wasn't really noticeable after you pulled in.

The next morning it was up early for breakfast - there was one other couple staying at the B&B.  They were from Melbourne and were there for Christmas with his family as he had grown up in Beechworth.  They were easy and fun to talk to.  We must have been lingering a bit too long over our coffees; because Rod came over to the table to tell us that we needed to finish up and vacate the dining room so they could lock-up and leave. It was right around that moment when I realised that they were locking the door that led to the back of the house (which included the kitchen, the dining room and that gorgeous conservatory).  We were then left with just our rooms and a small "Guest Lounge" to our disposal.  We settled in to the lounge to watch a movie - there was nice selection of DVDs that were for guest use; but we opened them only to find that all of the disks had been removed and replaced with small stickers that read "Ask Rod or Barry for assistance".  They really were living up to that stereotype of fussy gay couples.  Thankfully I had downloaded some movies onto my laptop so we were able to watch "Love Actually" (albeit on a very small screen).

.......More to Come....

4 Responses
  1. Anonymous Says:

    Hurry up!!! I need to hear the rest of this! I nearly spit my coffee out on the keyboard when there were no DVDs in the cases!
    Love you! Meaghan

  2. Mimi and Joe Says:

    Hmm - I can't decide if you are gently making fun of me or not... Really, if I keep going at this rate, our vacay will take about ten posts ;) Don't worry, I am posting more tonight!

  3. Anonymous Says:

    No, not making fun... it was really funny and well written and I enjoyedreading it and I keep checking back for updates. I'm tired now and, truth be told, a little drunk from my Jersey Shore party. I'm going to harass my husband sexually for a little while and go to sleep, and when i wake up in the morning perhaps I will be able to read more about the fussy gay Australian men.... and you :) Toodles! Love you! Meaghan

  4. Anonymous Says:

    Yikes! Did you cry?


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