Well it is getting down to the nitty gritty now.
We have started to pack (well, at least Michael has brought the suitcases upstairs!) and earlier in the week we posted a 17kg box of travel books, souvenirs and associated paraphernalia to Germany ahead of us. For those who might need to know - if you leave it so late that you need to post it airmail, it only costs an extra $5 to post it Express with a delivery time to Germany of 3 days!
Yesterday, we went to the doctors and engaged in that favourite pastime of mine - having a needle! After much discussion re our plans, proposed routing, checking the net etc, it was decided that we really only need to have a tetanus booster (phew). As we are no longer in our teens and want to take the riskiest options, we figured that this added to a good dose of common sense would prevail!
We also finally booked our tickets to New York - so it is now official - we will spend New Years Eve with Michael in Times Square - hopefully where we can see the ball drop!! With the Australian dollar plunging against the greenback, we were not sure that we would commit to this - but figured it might be our one and only chance to do this, so off we go travelling from Stuttgart on the 30th December to New York through Atlanta and returning to Stuttgart on 5th January.
We hosted our first couchsurfers this week with Inge and Fabi (from Cologne, Germany) arriving last Sunday and staying until after lunch on Tuesday. They had consulted the Lonely Planet guide to Eastern Australia that recommended a visit to Wharf Street. So we dropped them down there where they spent almost 2 hours at the Maryborough Military & Colonial Museum (talking with Noel we think!) then went over to the Bond Store Port of Maryborough Museum before they took a walk through the Mary River Parklands (where Inge marvelled at the Strelitzia reginae [Bird of Paradise] flowers) and then went through Queens Park into the CBD.
We are expecting John from England here this Sunday coming - and are hoping that he will arrive in time to join the local campanologists who are bell-ringing at 5pm so they don't drown out the Christmas concert in front of the City Hall.
VERY exciting now with only 11 days until we leave for Long Island from where we fly direct to Sydney and then off . . . .