Travel friends: near and far

Those who follow me know that I have mentioned friends we met on our 2009 European tour. We have become firm friends since that trip and if you want to know what I am rambling on about, see Ah, Athens. Thanks for the Memories. Anyway, these wonderful people are just some we have met on our travels.

Today I am thinking about Jenny, who we met a few years ago while staying at the Dicky Beach Caravan Park on the Sunshine Coast (about an hour and half from where we live). We are fortunate to own a caravan and we have had many (well, mostly) great times traveling around and have met many interesting people. (See Caravanning … our way, your way, any way for my thoughts on this).

Incidentally, Dicky Beach was named after the SS Dicky which ran aground there in 1893. It is the only recreational beach in the world named after a shipwreck. Dicky Beach is in a most beautiful part of the world and the caravan park is about 100 metres from the patrolled surf beach. Perrrfect!

After 122 years, the wreck of the SS Dicky had been disintegrating and by 2015, the Sunshine Coast Council deemed the remains were too dangerous to be left on the beach. It was an emotional time for the residents and visitors who were on the beach to witness its removal. Below are a few photos of the gradual demise of the wreck of the SS Dicky.

Three people on top of the SS Dicky wreck circa 1900. Photo courtesy Sunshine Coast Libraries – Heritage Library
SS Dicky wreck circa 1967. Photo courtesy Sunshine Coast Libraries – Heritage Library
SS Dicky wreck, July 2015. Photo courtesy Kate Wall

But, I digress. Back to Jenny. It was the second time we had stayed at the caravan park and the previous year we had met Jenny’s family as they were on the site beside us. Well, we hit it off with Jenny immediately. She was from just outside London and was visiting, as she often does, in the school holidays in order to spend time with her son and family. We spent time together chatting and having a few wines (yes, wines not whines). We had a lot in common but mainly a love of travel. Jenny has traveled extensively. Initially with her husband until his unexpected passing and now solo or with friends. This intrepid woman has a great life story and I hope she manages to document it in the near future. I am never ceased to be amazed by her adventures. As I am writing this post, Jenny and a friend are on a ten week cruise from Sydney to Southampton. Go Jenny!

We got on so well that Summer, we exchanged contact details at the end of our holiday. We kept in touch with regular emails and our friendship grew. My husband and I were planning a trip to Europe in 2015 (another trip of a lifetime – had a few of those – very grateful). Of course, I was letting Jenny know of our plans and she gave us some travel tips. She suggested we stay with her while we were in the UK. So, at the end of our European adventure (another story) we left Paris aboard the Eurostar for London.

On reaching Jenny’s home following a train journey from the famous Waterloo station, we stayed in her lovely home and were made to feel very welcome for our entire stay. As we were there in August, Jenny had arranged tickets for us to visit Buckingham Palace. The Queen was away on her usual Summer holiday at Balmoral Castle in Scotland. We deliberately arrived early in order to see the changing of the Guard there, which was magnificent.

Iconic London bus, with Big Ben and Houses of Parliament (Palace of Westminster) in the background, on Westminster Bridge, London, England
Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace
Changing of the Guard, Buckingham Palace

As we had a while until our appointed entry time to the Palace, we decided to have a cup of tea with our lunch at a kiosk in Green Park. Then the rain came down. It had been threatening to rain all morning so it was no surprise. After our lunch we walked over to the Guard’s Museum on Birdcage Walk about 500 metres from Buckingham Palace. We spent a pleasant time there where we learned many interesting facts regarding the guards. I would highly recommend a visit to this museum as it provides an extensive background and history of the five regiments of foot guards in the Household Division: Grenadier Guards, Coldstream Guards, Scots Guards, Irish Guards and Welsh Guards. These are the regiments which normally provide the Queen’s Guard at Buckingham Palace. Given we had just witnessed the famed Changing of the Guard, it seemed fitting to visit this museum.

Then it was time for our visit to the State Rooms of the Palace. It was still raining, but I remember how professional the staff were, in making sure everyone was in the correct group to go through to the Palace and gardens in a timely manner. These State Rooms are used by The Queen and members of the Royal Family to receive and entertain their guests on State, ceremonial and official occasions. Well, there was so much to take in. The magnificent artworks, china, glassware and furnishings and the sheer size of the 19 State Rooms made for an amazing experience. The Ballroom was set up for a banquet with the finest china and glassware. Every table setting was precisely measured and not a thing out of place. Definitely not something that happens at our house, but it is a Palace afterall. If you can manage to be in London during the Summer, do try to visit. Sorry, there are no personal photos, as photography of any type is not permitted in Buckingham Palace. Here is a link to visiting Buckingham Palace in 2017 which you may find useful. Following our time inside, we went into the gardens. It was still raining so we didn’t spend as much time there as we might have. We had a wonderful ‘Royal’ day!

As for the rest of our stay, Jenny acted as our personal tour guide, and we had day trips to some great locations. We met many of Jenny’s family and friends and had some wonderful times. I will keep those stories for another time.

Since our trip in 2015, we caught up with Jenny in 2016 and 2017 while she was in Australia. In 2017 she was able to stay with us for a few days which was so much fun. Our friendship has endured and we have had some great times together. Hopefully, we will get back to the UK in the not too distant future, to have further adventures. You just don’t know who you will meet along life’s journey. I am glad we met Jenny and consider her to be a good friend. She certainly has added a further dimension to our lives.

Have you met people on your travels who have made a difference to you? Please let me know in the Comments Section. Thanks for reading!








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