a day in the yarra valley

a day in the yarra valley

i recently travelled down to melbourne to catch up with schoolmates. rather than do our usual circuit of lattes in carlton and cocktails in city laneways, we opted to spend a day out in the yarra valley and sample some chardonnays and pinots.

upon our friend's friend's recommendation, we made tracks for the Yeringberg winery, and found upon our arrival that we'd stumbled upon their once-a-year cellar door opening and their 150th birthday! as the photos below will attest to, their tasting room was in a beautiful rustic barn, as old as the winery itself and still housing all of the old barrels and equipment. 

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a little trip to murrumbateman

a little trip to murrumbateman

f you made me choose between living in the city or the country, i'd probably choose the city every time (although ask me again when i have the luxury of being retired and am 'fed up with the youth of today' and i might answer differently). that said, there's plenty to love about the country, and for photographers - that includes the awesome scenery that you just don't see in the city (okay... canberra).

murrumbateman has always been a fascinating area to me, and it was great to get out there without wine on the agenda - not that a riesling wouldn't have gone down nicely! as hard as we tried, and within the capabilities of my mazda 3, we couldn't get any closer to the canola field, but i'm told there's plenty more around...

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much deliciousness @ canberra's thai food and cultural festival

much deliciousness @ canberra's thai food and cultural festival

so we went and checked out the Royal Thai Embassy's 11th Annual Thai Food and Cultural Festival today (along with most of canberra, it seemed!). as always, it was a busy affair of massaman beef, pad thai, mussel omelettes, satay sticks, and mango sticky rice, not to mention the free flowing chang and singha beers - had i known they were selling for $4 i would've made more of a day of it!

the main stage area also kept everyone entertained in between courses, with constant rotations of cultural performances that ranged from traditional dancing (who knew you could see ladyboys in yarralumla...) to muay thai and stick fighting. if you haven't been to this great event - don't miss out next year! 

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cambodia pt 4 - the rest

cambodia pt 4 - the rest

a short selection of the rest of my photos. truly an amazing country - friendly people, beautiful countryside, great food, and a wicked history. can't wait to go back and see how's it all changed in 10 years...

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cambodia pt 3 - angkor rat

cambodia pt 3 - angkor rat

as we reached siem reap, not only did my craving for more grilled rat increase, it also felt like the 'main event' of our time in cambodia was approaching - the Angkor temples. history and cultural significance aside, there's not a lot i can say about the Angkor area other than it is simply spectacular - words can't even describe the sheer size and magnificence of these structures.

we were lucky enough to have two full days here, which included a warm sunset on top of the Pre Rup temple, and a sunrise the next morning in front of Angkor Wat itself. it took me about half an hour to jostle my way to a spot at the front, but it was worth it in the end...

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cambodia pt 2 - food, the old fashioned way

cambodia pt 2 - food, the old fashioned way

as we headed west out of phnom penh towards the small town of battambang (about 100km from the thai border), the dusty, pothole-ridden back streets of the city turned into a super-green expanse of countryside. it didn't matter that our bus was playing video clips of cambodian pop music ( google 'khmer rap boyz') or that the driver didn't lay off the horn for the entire 5 hour trip - nothing could draw your attention from the view out the window.

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cambodia pt 1 - a sobering start

cambodia pt 1 - a sobering start

'3 years, 8 months, 20 days'.

speak to any Cambodian about the Khmer Rouge and at some point you will hear these words spoken with both anger and sadness. it's a period they would rather forget - a period of mass genocide, repression, and disregard for human life - but it seems like it will forever be a part of the Cambodian identity.

and so it was during our first day on a recent trip to Cambodia that we saw the mass graves of The Killing Fields, stood in the torture rooms of the S-21 school-turned-prison (blood stains still visible and the smell of ammonia filling the rooms), and heard the harrowing stories of the regime. not a usual start to a holiday, but certainly gave us a solid reference point for the next two weeks we would be spending in the country....

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