Wed Aug 29

I have been back in Australia 3 weeks now. From the time I got home the weather has been very cold……the last 2 days have been 1 c when I wake – the coldest Melbourne day for 60 years! Most of the time I have been catching up with friends, which is the usual thing when I return to St K. One thing out of the ordinary happened yesterday when I caught the tram from the city to St K. I noticed an older lady who looked suspiciously like a nun (I can tell!). I sat next to her & we started chatting about football (she supported Essendon) & living in St K. After awhile she revealed that she was a nun. I said that I knew & that I was an Anglican priest. We laughed! She said that she knew one years ago called Fr Tony. I said that it was me. Turns out she was involved in AIDS ministry 25 years ago & assisted me in some funerals. We chatted at length – then she revealed that she lived in the block right next door to me. I said that she must come to my place for dinner & we exchanged phone numbers. What an amazing thing πŸ™‚

Fri Sep 14

The weather continues to be crazy & unusually cold. This has not stopped me attending the 2 football finals at the MCG last weekend & the 2 again this weekend. This week was the annual SSC Synod – held here in Melbourne, instead of Sydney. It was good to catch up with my brother priests from all over Australia. The Master General was here from the UK & I discovered that he knew my friend, Joan. It finished with Solemn High Mass last night in All SS. Today I caught up with a former parishioner of All SS, SD, Lynda. We met in the city then caught the tram to St K & had lunch at my place. Incredibly, it is a little over 2 weeks before I go back to SD!

Wed Sep 26

This time next week I shall be in the air, on my way to San Diego. Since my last post I have been busy getting ready for the trip as well as enjoying the footy finals. As well as working out what to take, I have had various people to catch up with & 3 sermons to prepare. I always do my sermons before I leave because this is not easy when I am travelling. The next 6 days will be just as busy. I now go to bed early & wake early, so I adjust to US time. This Saturday is the AFL Grand Final. I have a ticket & will be supporting Collingwood – of course!

Thurs Oct 11

I left Australia for the USA on Wed Oct 3 & had a relaxing 6 days catching up with friends………except for my flights last Sunday. A flight thru LAX was delayed, so I was moved to a flight thru Denver. The connecting flight was also delayed! This was a portent for my flight from SFO to Frankfurt on Tuesday. We sat on the tarmac 3 hours, then went back to the gate & had another 3 hour wait whilst they fixed the problem & got a new crew. I had already changed into my United pj’s & it was quite a sight seeing me in the bus lounge in pj’s, shoes & leather jacket. At least I didn’t have to change when I reboarded the 2nd time!

Eventually we arrived in Frankfurt at 5 pm (instead of 10 am). I headed for my usual hotel & was comforted by an upgrade to a lovely suite. However, I had also come down with a cold. After a few rum & cokes in the exec lounge I quickly hit the sack, only to wake at 2 am. I must still be on Aussie time! This morning I went to a pharmacy & got cold capsules & then spent most of the day in my hotel room, except for a walk in the sunshine. I guess it is a matter of waiting for it to end, which may affect plans I have.

Tomorrow I catch the train to Bonn, where I will stay 2 nights, then back to Frankfurt for a night before flying to Tallin, Estonia. On each trip to Europe I always like to visit a new country & this time it is Estonia.

Mon 15

On Saty I caught the train from Bonn to Koblenz. This is a very interesting city which the French have occupied over the centuries. The Rhein & Moselle rivers join here & the point is called Deutsches Eck. It is considered a symbol of German unification, presided over Β by a huge statue of Kaiser Wilhelm I. Around the statue is a colonnade naming all the states – incl those pre-WW2. Nearby is the impressive St Kantor Basilica. I enjoyed exploring the old town, which has been restored to its mediaeval era.

I caught the train back to Bonn, stopping off at Andernach. This is an impressive town with old churches & city walls. Facing the Rhine is the old city gate & I was fascinated to see plaques higher than my head marking where flood-waters had reached, incl in recent years.

Trains to/from Bonn were late or cancelled all w/e because of an accident on Friday. However, I was able to catch another train to Frankfurt yesterday. Today I fly to Tallinn.

Thurs 18

It has been a nice 3 days in Tallinn. I have always wanted to visit the Baltics & was interested to discover the history & culture of Estonia. On Tuesday I wandered around the old town, which is a fascinating city going back 800 years. Many beautiful buildings & churches, with the old city walls & towers still standing. I finished up at the museum of occupation & freedom. This new museum covers the history of Estonia in recent decades. Established as an independant republic in 1918, it has been occupied by the Russians & Nazis from 1940-1989. It regained its freedom by the Singing Revolution, with no lives lost.

On Wednesday I returned to the old city & spent several hours in the Tallinn City Museum & the Estonian History Museum. Both were excellent modern museums in wonderfully restored historic buildings. Afterwards I walked thru Rotermanni – an industrial area, now revived with modern apartments, hotels, restaurants, etc – like most inner-city renewals around the world.

This morning I walked to Kadriorg Park – a large park around a former palace. As usual, I enjoyed walking thru streets & looking at old buildings, as well as observing the locals enjoying the autumn sunshine. Now to Berlin for the weekend.