The Australian Pelicans Are Making An Entrance at Gosford, NSW

I PELICAN YOU!

They are just so adorable to ignore, so I am dedicating this blog post for my new favorite bird, aside from the Philippine Eagle (well, I am bias, lol).

After being in Central Sydney for 3 days all by myself, I got tired being a lone wolf so I moved to Gosford, NSW to visit my distant Auntie Perla, with her husband David in their beautiful farm house. I went to visit on winter season so as an Asian woman I’m still inept to the weather, just because it made me lax.

They asked me where I want to roam around, but since I am not really familiar with the countryside so they suggested that I get to watch Aussie Pelicans or known as Pelecanus conspicillatus as scientific name.

With Auntie Perla who I love dearly.

Believe it or not, it was my first time to see pelicans in my life, only until I visited Australia! See, how travel can improve your geography, and even Ornithology in an instant.

We drove nearly 45 mins to get to the Pelican Feeding Program. The show started at 3:30 PM, daily. Entrance is free, donations are encouraged to buy new ration of fish.

Over the years, Pelicans show has become synonymous to Down Under and has attracted thousands of tourists each year.

Pelican troops are mostly seen in a coastline of Australia, New Zealand and some parts of Indonesia. They are carnivores and can consume up to 9 kg of food per day, the good news is they are not picky eaters. Their population is about half a million (stats may change as you read this, I am not an expert), and can live up to 25 years! Well, that’s honor roll in their breed.

The podium was slowly filled with thrilled spectators ready to flash their camera to capture their quirks and tricks — and an estimate of 60-80 pelicans obliged waiting to be photographed.

Pelicans in my eyes are like Miss Universe Title holder – elegant, award-winning, and knows how to strike a pose on camera! Here are the proofs.

The next time you visit Australia, I highly recommend this activity — and for a moment forget the tedium of everyday life.

The Many Faces of Sydney Opera House

Now, let’s move to a new continent –this time in Australia!

My 2-week trip to Australia was sort of post-birthday celebration for myself and catching up with friends (Aussies and Filipinos) in Melbourne and Sydney.

From Melbs, I took an overnight 8-hour train ride and arrived Sydney the following day. I stayed at Holiday Inn Darling Harbour to be closer to main landmarks.

The city is lovely, modern, fast-paced, intimidating and bold.

I was able to visit the Opera both day and night. But I prefer the night scene since it gives you a different spectrum of the charm of the most iconic landmark of Sydney, and of Australia.

SAYING HELLO AT DAY TIME

I visited the Opera with lesser crowd before lunch time. I grabbed a cappuccino on my way (Aussies are known for their love affair with coffee), spent 2 hours just relaxing in the area and appreciate Sydney and its entirety.

Sydney Opera, of course, was part of the menu that day. As I slowly walk to the Opera, the energy just swayed me for a dance. It’s much prettier in person, than I expected. It’s oozing with sex appeal (no pun intended).

My unapologetic feeling that I have more personal connection with Sydney Opera House than when I saw Eiffel Tower for the first time.

LIGHTNING UP AT NIGHT!

My Hotel Concierge informed me that I should pay a visit to The Opera at night to see the illuminated iconic sails which opens all year-season for public viewing at 8:30 PM and ends at 9:30 PM.

And I gave in.

The overall vibe is enigmatic and lively the place is swarmed by family, friends, couples and soloist like me, who couldn’t careless of my romantic date night with the Opera.

I really love the energy around it – street music, fireworks, delish restos ready to serve you, array of coffee shops to keep you company and lots and lots of gimmicks performed by locals artists to lure your fancy. Oh, and the sexy Aussie accents I hear that added another flavor to my gladdened trip.

It was a sight to behold – figuratively and literally. Such an eye-candy I’m willing to keep, forever.

On my next visit, I plan to do a cruise around the city. I missed the opportunity as I forgot my ATM pin (badtrip) so I had no choice but to stick with my budget for another week.

Thanks Sydney, you were fantabulous.

Discover Armenia: The Monastery of Geghard, Garni Temple and Symphony of Stones

Note: This is the last installment for our Armenia Tour for this week. Enjoy!

These three tourist destinations are located in Garni Village outside of Yerevan that takes 30-45 mins by drive while an hour if you choose to take a public bus. Take advantage of its proximity and explore these sights in one go for a day tour.

HOW TO GET THERE?

Public transportation in Armenia is easy to go around. To get to Garni, from downtown Yerevan, take a bus #43 or #43 and hop off to another bus station with #284 bus that will cost you 100 AMD per way.

The Monastery of Geghard

This monastery is inducted as UNESCO World Heritage site with its medieval architecture dated back 4th Century AD — this is time that Christianity has been adapted by Armenian people. The monastery contains churches and tombs founded by Gregory of the Iluminator. Tombs, however, are not allowed for public viewing.

The overall appeal screams gothic (I mean it in a good way), standout, mysterious and palatable.

Garni Temple

Garni temple or Temple of Garni as known by many is one of the simplest structure during the pre-Christian era of Armenia. According to history, the temple is dedicated for Mihr – the son of God influenced by Areminian mythology and the only long-standing architecture that survived widespread destruction.

This temple according to popular belief is not a temple but considered as “tomb of Roman appointed King of Armenia”

To manage your expectations, nothing much to see here but considering its historic narrative is enough reason to visit this temple.

Funny story: I heard from locals say “Kim Kardashian went here to visit” LOOOL. I wouldn’t be surprised if one day this will be named after her. Kiddin’

Symphony of Stones

This place is hidden ecological treasure in Armenia, the rock formation is a natural phenomenon that transcends the collection of its own.

According to Locals, the word “Stonehege” is actually an Armenian word and felt they should be given credit for that.

From Garni Temple, cross the street and walk through the path on your right side going downhill for 30 mins. There are no clear signages getting through the area but it’s easily recognizable. If walking isn’t a favorite hobby of yours, another another option is to ride a taxi for 2,000 AMD per way.

Carpe Diem.

Trekking at Lavister Anapat, Armenia and Overnight Cave Experience

I was approached by two young Gen Z teenagers – Anaida and Anot if I was interested for a city tour. I was adamant at first, but my hunch tells me I should give it a shot. They were students who just wanted extra money for themselves while on a break. I gave in and paid 45,000 AMD or 93 USD (extremely cheap) for a day and a half tour that includes a trek to Lavister Anapat transportation, trekking guide, food and lodging at the cave.

The following day, Ana picked me up from my hostel at 9:30 AM and went straight to bus station going to Lastiver, her mom, Lilith joined us on this trip.

How to get there?

Take a bus #42 or 46 and ask your driver to drop you to Northern Bus Station, ticket costs 100 AMD which you need to pay directly to the driver, travel time takes 20-30 mins from main city, Yerevan.

From the Northern Bus Station, you will take another bus, one-way ticket is 2,000 AMD per head for 2-hour travel time. Lavister Anapat is 120 kilometers up north.

On the way, a breathtaking lake and mountains covered by snow will mesmerize you throughout the trip. I never expected Armenia to be that gorgeous. The weather can be unpredictable, in the morning it can be unbearably hot while it’s cold at night.

We stopped somewhere to buy GATA a local Armenia bread.

THE TREK

We arrived at Syunki Province around 12:30 PM and we were welcomed by our driver who drove us to the Anapat Mountain — the uphill side can be perilous and narrow and can only be traversed by experienced local guide.

We wasted no time and start to trek 6 kilometers up north with our guide, Vahag.

Look at that mountain on your left side.

After two long hours, we finally arrived at the destination, the nature and the sound of birds chirping were jovial episode – a momentary lapse of chaotic city life we used to. There’s something about outdoor activities that synonymous to carefree, liveliness and serenity.

What a beauty.
It feels like a movie setting come to life.
See, how narrow the entrance to the cave. I couldn’t remember how I get myself in.
This is how the sleeping cabin looks like — sleeping bags are readily available and the good news is there is no wild animals living in the area so it’s totally safe

When it comes to your “loo habit”, this may be a challenge for you. There is no toilet built in (read: hello caveman life) but you have the nature all to yourself to enjoy! *wink

L-R: Ana, Lilith, Vahag and myself. The absence of living outside of the digital world forced you to be creative and appreciate the company of friends.

To entertain ourselves, we decided for a Truth or Lie and Q&A game which Anaida translates my narrative from English to Russian for everyone’s understanding. We kept the fun until 12 midnight laughing, singing and eating until we passed out. I felt really belong even I knew them for days.

The following morning, they prepared a bonefire then indulged our palette with delish local food like Dolma, Kebab, local cheese, Gata, etc.
In this photo: Ana, myself, David and Lilith. It was taken with no bathing, no toothbrush and no food. Hello, cave people! Hihi

We descend at 12:00 PM and arrived safely back to Yerevan around 3ish – enough time for me to recover from lack of sleep and energy.

Now, who said that Armenia is boring? Naaah. It’s really up to us how to take advantage of the situation presented to us. Glad, I did!

PS: If you wish to do this trip, please hit me up so I can arrange one for you. I just want to help them, whenever possible. Thank you.

The Painful Memories of Armenia Genocide

I did a half-day city tour on my own exploring and decided to head off to Armenia Genocide. The museum opens at 11:00 AM with free admission but donations are very much welcomed.

I’m not really a big fan of museums in general, in fact, when I visited Paris I had zero interest entering Louvre (weird, I know), however Armenia Genocide Museum is an exemption to the rule.

People closest to me can attest, that I’m not an emotional person but as soon as I enter the museum – it deeply moved me. The gruesome and powerful images brought so much insoluble pain to me. It adds to the experience the overall surround and its melancholic music.

This memorial complex is dedicated to the victims of the Armenian Genocide, on the hill of Tsitsernakaberd

Gentle Reminder: For tourists, please respect the sanctity of this place (research won’t hurt), this is not a place for any “artistic jump-shot” or “model” around in front the memorial symbol. Please wear our proper decorum at all times.

Here are some powerful images I’ve taken inside the Museum.

My heart goes to all the victims of Armenian Genocide in 1915. I couldn’t fathom the intense and tantamount sufferings of innocent people including children who were clueless to the gravity of this horrifying part of our history.

This tragic event depicts the fright of mass murder of 1.5 million civilians in 1915 to 1923, which is known as Armenian Holocaust. Males were hanged to death and deprived of basic necessities like food and water.

Take a moment to pray and reflect.

May this part of our history remind us to mourn to those who suffer, give thanks for the the bravery of others, and take massive responsibility to denounce the cruelty of the world we live in. Let history be our guide to humanity.