A year in the land of koalas!
December started with an alternation between the Auvergne mountains and the Salon Nautique (did I tell you that I love taking the train to Clermont-Ferrand? Its carriages as well as the Paris Bercy station from which they leave seem to date from a century ago; since I have been using this line, the journey has only gained 10 minutes since 1967! Nothing to do with the TGV and the huge caravanserais that are the Gare de Lyon, the Gare du Nord or the Gare de Montparnasse! At the fair, I signed our book on New Zealand, and met up with my friend Titouan Lamazou, who had published (with the excellent Tahitian publishing house, "Au vent des îles") an album with the same name as ours (published two years earlier, like the previous ones with Gallimard): Escales en Polynésie.
Then we took the Vietnam Airlines plane, for its reasonable fares, and for the pleasure of a day's stopover in Saigon (or Ho Chi Minh City); the beautiful cathedral... was invisible under vast scaffolding, but the historic Post Office, transformed into a tourist market, remains spectacular. We found one of the most spectacular restaurants I have ever seen in a nearby street, overflowing with vegetation and flowers.
A few days in the beautiful city of Sydney, and we returned to the marina where Banana Split was waiting for us, under the good care of Serge and Claudie, two Frenchmen who became Australians a long time ago. In a few days we will be sailing on the waters of the vast Lake Macquarie to test all the equipment that has not been used for three years (border closure), before heading back to New Zealand or Queensland, depending on the equipment and the weather.
In the meantime, we came to spend the end of the year in the Nelson Bay area, with a stay in a super comfortable tent, and a small visit to a koala sanctuary, before going to meet, a little further north, some friends who live in the bush.
Happy New Year 2023 to all!
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