Meet Pete & Em :: Poppy & Sage Photography (Australia)

We kicked off a new series in January featuring traveling photographers from around the world (most recent feature here). We make no secret of the fact that we love travel. We love learning about other cultures. We love contributing to a smaller, more interactive space. With this in mind, we are going to be sharing local stories by local photographers from around the world throughout our posts this year.

For this month’s feature post, we are featuring… well, ourselves! We are showcasing our hometown of Brisbane, Queensland. We posted on this topic previously (here); we do have a different slant for the topic of our hometown this time as most of the recommendations are close to Brisbane City itself. These recommendations also feature a heavy smattering of parent influence but our toddler might disagree. If this post was left to 2-year-old Chloe, it would probably feature our local dog park at the top. Some recommendations will double-up with our previous list - these are possibly the ones to put at the top! We pride ourselves on having a transparent business model. We think that you will find our view of our hometown to be transparent, too. Warning: this post contains Aussie sarcasm. We hope that you enjoy!

Brisbane soaking up the afternoon light; the view from our home hence the suburban addition of the power-line! We are incredibly grateful for our city - the perfect (for us) hometown to raise a family. (Poppy & Sage Photography)

"Tell us about where you live": We live in Brisbane, Australia’s third largest city (behind Sydney & Melbourne, Australia’s largest & second largest cities respectively). Descriptors & phrases you will hear about Brisbane, our river city, include that it is liveable. Family-friendly. Affordable. Cosmopolitan. Has a laid-back lifestyle. Offers enviable weather (except for our humidity! Try to avoid December-February). Is a rapidly emerging global city.

"What makes your town, state or country unique?": Possibly one of the most most unique elements of Brisbane is the Royal Queensland Show, or Ekka, our largest cultural festival. Actually, it is the largest one in our state of Queensland. Ekka, richly steeped in traditions, has been an annual show since 1876. On average, 400 000 people attend. We shared our 2017 Ekka experience in posts here & here. What is not pictured is the “Ekka flu”, the sickness that unfortunately seems to be inevitable & prevalent around that time of the year.

"If I traveled from the opposite side of the world, what should I visit in your town, state or country?": Our recommendations (below) are pretty much limited to inner ring suburbs (up to 5 kilometres from the city centre) making exploring our city feasible. Brisbane is a sprawling city and outlying suburbs can be up to one hour drive (or more depending on peak hour traffic) from the central business district. Aside from Brisbane City itself (check out the Botanical Gardens in the heart of the city), here are our recommendations on both sides of the river:

North of the River:

Eat Street Markets consists of a series of shipping containers offering internationally-influenced street food & drinks. Plenty of entertainment on offer, including an outdoor cinema.

James Street is a chic & trendy fashion hub. Excellent spot for a stroll and some window shopping if indulging & escaping is part of your holiday plans.

Northey Street City Farm, a non-profit community farm in the heart of the city, is our home away from home. It’s our local backyard. It’s where we unwind and clear our head.

Northey Street City Farm & immediate surrounds (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Northey Street City Farm & immediate surrounds (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Northey Street City Farm & immediate surrounds (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Northey Street City Farm & immediate surrounds (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Northey Street City Farm & immediate surrounds (Poppy & Sage Photography); this is a tea set that Em made with Chloe (our toddler) and a local Brisbane legend, Bob, out of clay. Bob runs a local playgroup program and has done so for 13 years (we have been going for 2 of those). Bob is an artist with an extensive curriculum vitae (incorporating many international adventures, including USA and China) and an unbridled passion for creating a safe, welcoming space for children. All children are welcome to explore and develop and grow with as few limitations as possible. On this particular day, little Chloe wanted a tea set. By the time this project was completed, we had a tea pot, tea cup & spoon, sugar pot (full of sand) and an almond-shaped nut bowl (thanks Bob!). We love our local playgroup and the seemingly limitless opportunities for investment in little ones and making memories. :)

South of the River:

South Bank Parklands cover 17 hectares of river-front land and feature free swimming facilities, walking tracks, picnic spaces and more. Very family friendly.

The Queensland Museum offers free entry to permanent exhibitions. Visit Brisbane describes the museum as, “The State's centre for natural history, cultural heritage, science and human achievement”.

QAGOMA (Queensland Art Gallery/Gallery of Modern Art) also offers free entry to permanent exhibitions. Usually worth popping in and losing yourself for a couple of hours.

Queensland Art Gallery (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Queensland Art Gallery (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Queensland Art Gallery; “Under the Jacaranda” by R Godfrey Rivers. Here is part of the description for this painting: “Completed 13 years after Godfrey Rivers arrived in Australia, Under the jacaranda 1903 offers a view of early twentieth-century life in Brisbane, with the subject reflecting a popular genteel European tradition of ‘taking tea’ in an attractive outdoor setting. The work depicts the artist and his wife, Selina, under the shade of a jacaranda tree in full bloom in the Brisbane City Botanic Gardens. Rivers captures the majestic form of the tree, emphasising its distinctive colour with the contrasting green vegetation and the sparkling accent of the red umbrella”. (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Queensland Art Gallery; an exhibit we came across during the current exhibition of the 9th Asia Pacific Triennial of Contemporary Art (APT9). (Poppy & Sage Photography)

"What is something quirky we would find in your town, state or country": The fact that our city has been built around a murky river (well, an estuary to be precise), attracting monikers like “brown snake” because, quite frankly, you can never have too many references to our deadly wildlife. Ah, we are grateful to live here - truly.

Brisbane River in the rain (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Brisbane River in the rain (Poppy & Sage Photography)

Since our city is pretty laid-back, you can be walking along Queen Street one moment and experiencing Sheppard live the next (can personally testify; they raised the roof with Geronimo). Brisbane is a bit of an unassuming city and we love that. We hope it never changes in this respect.

"Coffee or chai/tea?": Our coffee scene isn’t as strong as some other Australian cities so we are going to go with chai tea. The best place for this is at The Three Monkeys. It will be served to you in a bowl. Just go with it. Oh, and pick a table all the way out the back of the cafe. You will find a cosy back garden where time slows down and you will want to return stat. :)

"Best breakfast cafe?": The Low Road Cafe. This is a must. Please don’t fly halfway around the world and not partake here. We mean, there is a very good chance that you will pass the cafe on your way from the airport to the city so just.make.the.pit-stop. We have been going to the Low Road Cafe since they were kind enough to offer a highchair to tired & harassed parents. We heard a rumour that after writing “Kick Me” on the back of the highchair, they threw it under a passing train on the nearby tracks. Needless to say, we haven’t seen that white highchair in a looooooong time. Top tip (nothing to do with food as you can pick anything here): just be a decent human and they won’t publicly shame you on their facebook page. They probably won’t remember you, either, so there’s that, too.

"Three reasons for why someone should visit your town, state or country?": 1) What you see is what you get; Brisbane is not pretentious. 2) The Low Road Cafe; we are yet to find a cafe in the world that gives us the same comforting postprandial hypotension to kick off our day and, at the same time, promises to ruin our next event if we choose to book it with them (we never said that we don’t have Stockholm Syndrome). 3) Brisbane is family-friendly; a big deal for us now that we have a little one.

Advertising for “A Suburban Obsession” at the State Library of Queensland (Poppy & Sage Photography)

"Train, bus, car or walk?": If you live here (backstory because it’s complicated), it comes down to where you live. Brisbane is still ironing out the public transport options in general. If you are here for travel, you might be able to get away with public transport (we have made sure that most of our suggestions above have been public transport friendly). Outside of the city, car hire will be the most reliable option and will allow for greater flexibility in outer suburbs; just keep alert but not alarmed for parking signage (fyi: our parking ticket officers take their job seriously). The central business district itself is conducive to walking but make sure that you slip, slop, slap, seek & slide (slip on a shirt, slop on the 50+ sunscreen, slap on a hat, seek shade or shelter & slide on some glasses; Australia is the melanoma capital of the world after all).

"Best accommodation?": We wouldn’t know for sure as we haven’t experienced Brisbane accommodation outside of our living quarters! In terms of luxury, Sofitel is highly rated and about as central as possible to Brisbane City. Otherwise, Airbnb it and get to know some (more likely than not) friendly locals!

"Must-see vantage point?": Mt Coot-tha Lookout offers panoramic views but is over-rated. There we go; we said it. It can also be a little bit inconvenient to get there (some advice here; parking at the top is at a premium). Our local council is currently redeveloping the Mt Coot-tha site to include a treetop canopy tour, a scenic zipline tour, & an Indigenous cultural heritage tour and skywalk. In other words, watch this space (the treetop canopy tour is expected to be open as early as sometime this year). At the base of Mt Coot-tha, however, are some very pretty gardens: we shared some of our small adventures here and here. They are really nice gardens to wander in for a few hours.

"Who is the most note-worthy person to come from your hometown?": Geoffrey Rush. Possibly? Well, he was actually born in Toowoomba (down the road and around the corner) but he went to school & university here in Brisbane so that sort of counts, yes?

"Number one thing you miss when you're away?": It is hard to beat our climate for most of the year. You thought we were going to say the Low Road Cafe. We would but they don’t offer us a highchair. :p

Brisbane looking pretty at blue hour (Poppy & Sage Photography)

If you come and grace Brisbane with your presence, feel free to hit us up for fresh/season-specific recommendations. We would be only too happy to help.

Meet Jenn :: Jenn Terrell (United States)

We kicked off a new series last month featuring traveling photographers from around the world. We make no secret of the fact that we love travel. We love learning about other cultures. We love contributing to a smaller, more interactive space. With this in mind, we are going to be sharing local stories by local photographers from around the world throughout our posts this year.

For this month’s feature post, we had a chat with Jenn Terrell based in the United States. Readers are in for a treat as not only is Jenn lovely to converse with but her work has been internationally recognised (including by National Geographic Your Shot & Vogue Italia). We hope you enjoy Jenn’s feature and her inside scoop on her part of the world: Arkansas, United States. All images below were taken by Jenn and cover food, art and people found in her corner of the world. Enjoy!

This image was published by Vogue Italia and involved the following vendors:
Photographer: Jenn Terrell
MUA/Planner/Creator of the amazing crown: Veronica Jaquelinne Lopez
Model/Queen: Lagrea K Higgs
Gold Dress: Rosie Rose Designer
Venue: The Ballroom at I Street

 
 

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Tell us about where you live: I live in Bentonville, Arkansas in the United States.

What makes your town, state or country unique?: Bentonville is the location of the headquarters of Walmart. Because of that, several people travel to Bentonville each day for business, etc. On any given day you can hear a number of accents from different people at local stores. Bentonville is also in the Northwestern part of the state. There are lots of beautiful trails, mountains, waterfalls and more all over the state.

Jenn took this image of Hubert Neal, Jr painting in his studio. He is a Belizean American artist currently living in Bentonville. His work can be found at hubertnealjr.com. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

Jenn took this image of Hubert Neal, Jr painting in his studio. He is a Belizean American artist currently living in Bentonville. His work can be found at hubertnealjr.com. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

If I traveled from the opposite side of the world, what should I visit in your town, state or country?: Definitely visit Crystal Bridges Museum of American Art. The place is a never ending wonderland of art. It is an amazing place!

Beautiful Bentonville creating the backdrop for this image. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

What is something quirky we would find in your town, state or country?: I would say find people and talk to them, especially in Arkansas. Make a friend, grab a great cup of coffee and hit the trails or relax by the lake. I have also had a lot of luck thrift shopping here. I have found everything from a leather coach laptop bag for $25 to vintage cameras with lens that work on my personal camera.

Coffee or chai/tea?: There are lots of coffee shops in Bentonville and Northwest Arkansas in general. My favorite, hands down, is Onyx Coffee Lab. The one in Bentonville looks like something out of this world. The coffee is amazing and even the signature drinks are very unique. The vibe inside is really nice, too. It is great for photoshoots or relaxing with a friend.

Food recommendations?: The food here is also amazing! Many of the restaurants downtown are owned by chefs or have an executive chef. My personal favorites are Oven and Tap Restaurant (pizza and other delicious entrees), Little Beans (El Salvadorian Food), and Table Mesa (Mexican).

Best breakfast cafe?: The Station Cafe is great for that old school cafe vibe with delicious pancakes and biscuits and gravy. So good!

Three reasons for why someone should visit your town, state or country?: Three reasons to visit Bentonville are easy! One, Crystal Bridges Museum of Art. Two, you will make friends and, three, enjoy amazing food!

Chef Aria Kagan presenting at a Brightwater Salon event where an artist is paired with a chef for a night of food and art. Brightwater is a local culinary school. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

This image was taken at a Brightwater Salon event where an artist is paired with a chef for a night of food and art. Brightwater is a local culinary school. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

Any local legends?: Every now and then Alice Walton (daughter of the creator of Walmart) will come into Onyx and grab some coffee. I have also seen her on a golf cart in the Neighborhood Walmart parking lot.

There is also the Bentonville Film Festival every spring. Celebrities from all over come to Bentonville for it. You will see celebrities in the restaurants downtown and out and about. Once I saw Jon Heder (the guy who played Napoleon Dynamite) at Oven and Tap.

Jenn’s description for this image: “The gentleman looking out the window is Eric Trautman. He was my first landlord here and just a gentle soul. He has helped several local artists get their start”. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

Train, bus, car or walk?: Bentonville is a smaller town so renting a car is probably the best option. That or getting an uber everywhere.

Best accommodation?: 21C Hotel is definitely the best in town. Celebrities stay there when they come in. If you are looking for something a little more budget friendly, there are plenty of Airbnbs in town that are fabulous. Eureka Springs is also only about an hour away and it is a gem of a small town. There are lots of treehouses and cabins that can be rented there.

This image was taken outside of 21C Hotel. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

Number one thing you miss when you're away?: When I leave, I will miss Onyx Coffee, the amazing food and the great people that I have met in Bentonville. Tanyard Creek (15 minutes away) also has a beautiful waterfall that only takes a short hike to access.

Jenn tells the story behind this one: “I took this photo of Laverne Cox in Fayetteville (20 minutes from Bentonville). Her lecture was part of a series put on by the University of Arkansas. They bring in amazing speakers like her periodically”. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

This image was taken by Jenn of her friend, Roxana. Roxana is from El Salvador and they met in Bentonville. Jenn says of Roxana, “She has been one of the most amazing people to know”. (Photography by Jenn Terrell)

 
 

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You will find Jenn here:

Meet Matt & Grace :: Playground Love Weddings (Italy)

We are kicking off a new series today. We make no secret of the fact that we love travel. We love learning about other cultures. We love contributing to a smaller, more interactive space. We are going to be sharing local stories by local photographers from around the world throughout our posts this year.

For today’s post, we had a chat with Matt & Grace from Playground Love Weddings in Italy (seriously - check out their work for some stunning & emotive photography with impeccable attention to detail!). We learned a bit about their part of the world. It was too good not to share and, if you are anything like us, you are adding Matt & Grace’s recommendations to a well-loved travel notebook stat. Enjoy!

 

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Tell us about where you live: We live in Bellagio, a small town in the center of Lake Como. Lake Como is one of the most beautiful lakes in Northern Italy. It is full of old villas and breathtaking landscapes.

 

What makes your town, state or country unique?: Bellagio is timeless. The lake is full of small towns, like Varenna and Lenno. Como is the only big city and it’s a mix of cool urban life, mountains and lake.

 

If I traveled from the opposite side of the world, what should I visit in your town, state or country?: In Bellagio, you should visit Villa Melzi and its gardens. In Varenna, Villa Monastero and Villa Carlotta. In Como, you have to take the funicular to Brunate. There are so many places!!!

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)

 

What is something quirky we would find in your town, state or country?: There’s only one small island on the Lake, called Isola Comacina. The island is full of ruins of churches from the past centuries and has a restaurant; here you can drink a coffee flambé.

 

Coffee or chai/tea?: Let’s take a walk and reach the Caffè Sancassani, in Visgnola. It’s a hidden gem with a mix of traditional pastries — try a “cannoncino”— and healthy, fresh-baked cookies.

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)

 

Best breakfast cafe?: Bar Rossi , in Bellagio, is absolutely the most charming place for a breakfast coffee in front of the lake. The interior is furnished with wooden carved furniture that will transport you to the beginning of the last century.

 

Three reasons for why someone should visit your town, state or country?: You can visit an amazing place, full of history. You can take a boat and relax by yourself or you can go on a hike on the mountains. And, last but not least, the food is amazing! One of the typical products of the lake is the oil and it’s totally amazing!

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)

 

Any local legends?: Every year there’s a carnival in a small city called Schignano. It’s a crazy, funny & legendary event where people wear traditional masks and costumes.

 

Train, bus, car or walk?: In Bellagio, you must absolutely walk. For example, you can reach Punta Spartivento, the panoramical point, in just a few minutes’ walk from the city centre. Then use the boat to reach Varenna, Lenno and Como.

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)

 

Best accommodation?: Villa Serbelloni

 

Must-see vantage point?: Brunate in Como and Punta Spartivento in Bellagio.

Photography by Playground Love Weddings (Villa Melzi, Italy)

 

Who is the most note-worthy person to come from your hometown?: Alessandro Manzoni, a famous Italian writer, who lived in Lecco. But one of the most famous from the lake is George Clooney, isn’t it?!

 

Most colourful character in your hometown?: In Bellagio, you can find some sculpture of a really talented artist named Abele Vadacca. You can meet him at work in his studio-gallery in San Giovanni of Bellagio.

 

Number one thing you miss when you're away?: The fog on the lake during the winter time.

 

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You will find Matt & Grace here:

Christmas in Brisbane

We have been spoiled. We have enjoyed a European Christmas previously.

We spent Christmas itself in Dresden with wonderful friends. One memory (it has been five years, after all!) that we cherish, in particular, was perusing the Dresden Striezelmarkt, Germany’s oldest Christmas markets. That Christmas really set the benchmark for us.

Christmas in Brisbane is… well… hot. Humid. Steeped in commercialism

HOWEVER, Brisbane has a beautiful Christmas experience to offer in and of itself. To be honest, you really do not have to look too far for opportunities to make some lovely memories. As our Lord Mayor Graham Quirk is quick to point out: “Brisbane is a great place to live, work & relax - it’s a safe, vibrant, green & prosperous city, valued for its friendly & optimistic character and enjoyable subtropical lifestyle”. These characteristics & attributes are reflected in our unique celebration of Christmas.

FURTHERMORE, many of Brisbane’s Christmas events are free and family-friendly. You can find things to see & do in The City, South Bank and Roma Street Parkland. (If you are keen to see what we get up to in Brissie, jump on instagram and follow the hashtag #MerryBrismas.)

We have compiled some images below from our 2018 Christmas in Brisbane. We hope you enjoy!

There is something that is a quintessential part of Christmas for me (Em): Pete’s (very rum) Rum Balls. They are one of the highlights of my year. Pete has truly perfected his recipe. (One of the best things about them is that they are not geographically limited!)

We like to say that Queensland is “beautiful one day & perfect the next”. However, we experience extreme heatwaves & explosive storms during our summer months. One thing is for sure, though: if you are looking to escape the snow, Brisbane is a safe bet!

We indulged in a pizza cook-up at Northey Street City Farm. The catalyst was random musings during a community playgroup; everyone’s individual contributions came together perfectly. This will be a lovely Christmas memory for years to come - for both parents and children.

Brisbane Arcade usually looks pristine and welcoming but is particularly stunning at Christmas-time.

Queen Street Mall, including the Myer Centre animated Christmas window display, is worth looking at during Christmas.

Regent Theatre’s foyer is another recommended Christmas-related spot to check out.

The South Bank Christmas Gift Markets are quirky and inviting. You will want to stay for a while.

King George Square boasts The Christmas Tree and the City Hall Lights.

In conclusion, our city is beautiful and well worth a visit during Christmas. <3

Travel Diaries :: Prompts for the Journey Home

We have shared a couple of musings from our travels (here & here). We are continuing that theme today but from a different perspective. We have mentioned previously that we are not diary-type people but that we do enjoy chronicling our adventures. In fact, we make it a priority. On our way home, we pen our final thoughts: the good, the bad & the ugly. It is our way of summarising the cliff notes - or the key events & experiences, if you like - while they are still fresh.

On our way home from Europe, we interviewed each other with some of the following prompts:

Our holiday in review:

  • Most exciting moment

  • Most depressing

  • Most notable

  • Most life-changing (neither of our answers were very philosophical, by the way!)

  • Most confronting

  • Most relaxing

  • Most stressful

  • Most awkward

  • Most challenging

  • Most humbling

  • Places we must revisit

  • Most interesting people

  • Best hotel moment

  • Worst hotel moment

  • Strangest food

  • Best sugary treat

  • Biggest highlight

  • Favourite city

  • Least favourite city

When we visited India, we adopted a different approach. We made a list of things we would not miss about India and things we would. Here are just some of the things we listed that we would miss:

  • Friends/adopted family (both)

  • Curry for breakfast (Pete)

  • Organised chaos (both)

  • Polite hospitality (both)

  • Colours (both)

  • Masala chai tea (Em)

  • Architecture & art (both)

  • Roti, garlic naan & paratha (both)

  • Constantly exploring (Em)

  • Nat Geo in person (both; wonderful experience to see places we had only read about previously come to life)

  • Beeping horns (both; we actually adapted to the background noise and, in the end, it grew on us)

  • Eating with your hands (Pete; we were really nervous about this aspect of Indian culture upon arrival but we ended up adjusting within days and grew to enjoy this further tactile extension of the eating experience and found it hard to believe that we had been concerned in the first place)

Just reading through this list makes us want to go back to India stat. We are so glad that we recorded these feelings & thoughts while they were still fresh. The following two sentences sum up how we feel about documenting our travels. If you do not record these adventures, you may regret it one day. If you do record your adventures and you never look at your writings again, at least you had the choice. Do future you a favour and write it all down. Furthermore, you just might find that your trip home feels that little bit shorter. Or it could just be the “return trip effect” but that’s a different story. Happy & safe travels! :)

Travel Diaries :: Corrie Ten Boom Huis & Anne Frank Museum

We recently wrote a post addressing today's obsession with presenting a perfect & happy image (literally) on social media platforms, such as Instagram, and musing about the somewhat forgotten art of storytelling (perhaps with less filtering?) by way of handwritten diaries. We wrapped up the post with this: "We vote for both: enjoy and share with the world your highlight reel on Instagram (after all, holidays are usually a huge investment so enjoy reliving those memories over and over!) but also treasure those raw and gritty handwritten travel diaries over a glass or two of red (after all, those genuine and authentic moments are priceless)! Who knows... we might even share a story or two or three from our travel diaries this year. <3"

We are going to share below one of our journal entries from the 3rd of January, 2014. We had just visited both the Corrie Ten Boom Huis & the Anne Frank Museum:


"Today we set out to see the Anne Frank Museum (AFM), the Corrie Ten Boom Huis (CTBH), and go on a canal tour. We got 2 of the above done. However, although we only got 2 done, I feel as though I reached my saturation point today ... so much to write about! Firstly, we went to the tourism place across the road from Centraal Station to find out where the CTBH is located and how to get there (public transport). It turned out that it is in Haarlem and about 10 minutes walk from the Haarlem Station. As the CTBH stopped tours from 3 pm and the AFM closed at 7 pm, we decided to go for the CTBH first. We bought a day ticket for the train and got on for Haarlem.

On the way, the ticket officer asked for our tickets. We produced them. She took them from us and promptly got upset with us. It soon became apparent that we had (unwittingly) purchased a ticket for the tram and bus instead of the train. To make matters worse, it was with another company. How we had made this mistake was that most of the ticket machines required payment by card. The machine from which we purchased our tickets was one of the few we could find that accepted cash. Well, the situation could have been worse; the ticket officer, after we explained that it was our second day in the Netherlands, took the tickets from us and explained that we would have to buy new tickets at the station. So we did.

Image was taken by us during our holiday adventuring. (You can purchase original Ten Boom watches here.)

We headed for the Corrie Ten Boom Huis. It was a beautiful neighbourhood. It was surreal walking the streets Corrie and her family walked. We found the museum and I was so surprised to find that the jewellery shop is still open and trading under the Ten Boom name still. They were selling watches in the window - Swiss, et cetera - and some were just 'Ten Boom'. It was great to see.

We lined up with 3 Americans for the next tour starting in 5 minutes. A very friendly American lady welcomed us in for the tour and directed us to the living room. It was ... surreal. Having read the 'Hiding Place' and watched the film, it was hard to process that we were sitting in the living room of the Ten Boom's home. The tour guide talked us through the main parts of Corrie's story and, as she got to different sections of the story, we moved to different parts of the house. We got to Corrie's bedroom where the hiding place is. Pete and I stepped in. At one stage, while Pete was in the hiding place section of Corrie's room, the tour guide pulled down a curtain and closed the cupboard door to the opening into the hiding place. While it was dark, she started knocking on the wall and Pete later said the experience was unnerving and made the story of the 6 Jews 'held captive' in there for 47 hours more tangible.

We walked to St Bravo Church where the Ten Booms went to church. They were busy setting up for a winter festival tonight and we were fortunate enough that they were playing the pipe organ containing 68 registers and featuring 5,068 pipes. Mozart played the organ in 1766 and G.F. Händel also played it (the Christian Müller organ).

We went and had a high tea (of sorts) at Bij Babette just down the road from the CTBH. We indulged in delicious scones and an amazing green tea called 'The Love Potion'. We asked our friendly waitress to surprise us with a tea and she delivered.

Next stop was the AFM. After the cosiness and warmth of the CTBH, I found the AFM a bit sterile and detached but it was a powerful experience nonetheless. Such a strong story and very glad we went. It was particularly sobering to see Anne's name in a huge, fat in memorium book lising every Jew (103,000) who was killed in the Netherlands during the war. To think that so many people died senselessly was staggering and upsetting.

It was a buzz to see Anne's diary in the flesh - to see her handwriting with corrections, et cetera. It made it all so much more real. Another little thing that stood out to me was on a picture Anne had put on her wall of a pretty young lady (from a magazine or paper, I assume). It was black & white, of course, but Anne had coloured the lady's lips with a pink pencil. It was a reminder that she was just a girl doing girl things."


"Forgiveness is an act of the will, and the will can function regardless of the temperature of the heart." ~ Corrie Ten Boom

We must learn from history.

Crisp, Curated Instagrams & Muddy, Unfiltered Diaries

We recently read a very endearing article (here) by Danny Wallace from Conde Nast Traveller regarding the evolution of holiday memory collection. In the good old days, handwritten diaries were standard. In today's culture, carefully curated images and stories are the norm. In the good old days, diaries were written for the person writing it (if intensely personal). Or perhaps for friends and family, as well, but still a controlled audience. One major purpose of Instagram is to share. Widely. In so doing, the world becomes a smaller place - in theory, at least. A side-effect is relinquishment of audience control unless the account is private. Memories are recorded with different target audiences in mind. Funnily enough, the content usually reflects this.

In our day to day life, we are not big diary people personally. Our calendar serves the only day to day purpose we need: keeping track of bills, appointments, sessions, etc. However, when we travel, we make keeping a diary a priority to the point that we actually plan part of our day around our diary. Every night, we try to find a quiet spot where we can have dinner (?glass of red) and record the details of our day. Every single day. We have found that if even 3 or more days pass, your memory of what happened when can start to fade and drift into differing recollections of what took place between observers and subjects. We record the good and the bad. We record the anticipated and the unexpected. We record the happy times and the sad. It's therapeutic in a way and clears your mind so you're fresh to welcome a new day of exploration and adventure. It also means we won't ever forget e.x.a.c.t.l.y what our holiday was like. This is why Danny's article resonated with us, we assume. We found this paragraph particularly pertinent:

"I think we’re in danger of only documenting the things we think we’d like to remember. The things that paint our trip the way we think the trip should have gone. The things you’d Instagram. But it means we risk turning those memories into a stylised highlights package or a magazine spread, when what makes it real and important are the small and everyday memories that slip between the cracks. Often, the things that make your trip memorable are those very things we forget, maybe because we mistakenly choose to. Those seemingly pointless, perhaps even, on paper, dull details that – when taken and put together – make up a wonderful whole."

We vote for both: enjoy and share with the world your highlight reel on Instagram (after all, holidays are usually a huge investment so enjoy reliving those memories over and over!) but also treasure those raw and gritty handwritten travel diaries over a glass or two of red (after all, those genuine and authentic moments are priceless)! Who knows... we might even share a story or two or three from our travel diaries this year. <3

Our own travel diaries to date; 302 pages worth.

Our own travel diaries to date; 302 pages worth.

Restless Legs & Itchy Feet

As well as portraiture, we enjoy travel photography. There always seems to be fresh inspiration around every corner. We aren't big on numbers but we have been to 20 countries to date. We are currently interspersing our regular Instagram posts with some shots from our international travels. If you enjoy travel photography as much as we do, we think we will find a lot to talk about over there. We welcome all tips, recommendations and local insights. Safe travel to fellow explorers! And hello from sunny Brisbane! :-)

Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Udaipur, India

Berlin, Germany

Bern, Switzerland

Liechtenstein

Pisa, Italy

Paris, France

Karnataka, India

Brisbane, Australia... our beautiful home. To date, we have been to Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. We are keen to keep exploring our own country as well as more international adventures. ^_^

Wedding :: Destination & International

We hope everyone is having a great start to 2018. We are. During this annual holiday period, we have been reminiscing about some of our recent travel memories. We were trawling through some of our albums and were reminded of a beautiful Indian wedding we attended. Our attendance was quite random and not planned and, like most adventures in India, has a story behind it.

India is so unpredictable and we find that aspect a bit intoxicating. We love traveling to different parts of the world for different reasons. Sometimes it's the food. Sometimes it's the people. Or architecture. Perhaps it's the culture. Arts. History. Or landmarks, to name a few reasons. India? It is delightfully chaotic and, if you hang around for long enough, you might discover a method to the madness.

Back to the wedding. We were staying in Kerala at the time and our accommodation was with a beautiful family. We had met the son, Ebin, here in Australia and his family welcomed us into their home. We were spoilt and treated like family for several days. We have so many lovely memories from our stay that we will treasure for our lifetime. On one of the days, Ebin's family invited us to a friend's wedding. We went along for the ride and it was such a unique experience!

The bride and groom were very happy and full of personality. The food was incredible. Furthermore, in Kerala, you will find Christians, Hindus and Muslims all living side-by-side. They are neighbours. They come and go in and out of each other's lives. They celebrate with each other in the good times and they support each other when things are challenging. This wedding was no exception. The guests came from different religious viewpoints and ways of life but managed to respectfully support their friends on their special day. It was quite remarkable and the uniqueness of the situation was not lost on us.

We love immersing ourselves in different cultures. There are always lessons to be learned and new perspectives to be gained. Now that we have a little one, we are committed to investing in the next generation of open-minded and respectful humans. Travel is certainly an excellent opportunity for achieving these goals. At Poppy & Sage Photography, we welcome destination and international weddings. We are happy to discuss the finer details so feel free to message us with any questions: admin (at) poppyandsagephotography.com.au. Take care and happy, safe adventures! <3

Restless Legs & Itchy Feet

As well as portraiture, we enjoy travel photography. There always seems to be fresh inspiration around every corner. We aren't big on numbers but we have been to 20 countries to date. We are currently interspersing our regular Instagram posts with some shots from our international travels. If you enjoy travel photography as much as we do, we think we will find a lot to talk about over there. We welcome all tips, recommendations and local insights. Safe travel to fellow explorers! And hello from rainy Brisbane! :-)

Rohet Garh, India

Brugge, Belgium

Bregenz, Austria

Braunwald, Switzerland

Zurich, Switzerland

Prague, Czech Republic

Berlin, Germany

Florence, Italy

Brisbane, Australia... our beautiful home. To date, we have been to Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, South Australia and Western Australia. We are keen to keep exploring our own country as well as more international adventures. ^_^