So Bethwyn and I thought it would be a good idea to go on holiday for a week this year around our anniversary, once exams were over. We looked at going to Melbourne because it was a different culture, even though it was the same country, but that seemed too expensive. Overseas was briefly considered, but looking at prices in the thousands was a little harsh. We went for a week-long stay in Margaret River, four days in what was a quintessential cottage in the woods, three days in our own apartment. Both places were indescribably wonderful.
First of all the drive down and back was one of the highlights of the trip. It’s often said that it’s the journey, not the destination that counts, and they were pretty damn right! We listened to Hollow Chocolate Bunnies, a six hour audiobook while we were driving, and the time (for me as a driver) flew by pretty quickly. We got from Bethwyn’s house to the cottage in just under three hours flat without stopping for a break (though we were getting quite hungry and were tempted towards McDonalds but decided to push on through). There were drinks and lollipops and 20 Questions and good times all around.
The Harmony Forrest house was just a beautiful place to stay. There were plenty of insects, which I loved, because it reminded me that we keep trying to box nature out, but we share the planet and land with them, and they have just as much right to inhabit it. It boasted a spa which looked out at the forest through massive glass windows (which was so relaxing, and so comfortable, and a great place to have sparkling nashi pear wine and chocolates) and no communication. What reception you could get on your phone varied between companies, but I was basically incommunicado while I was there- they very specifically designed it so that the outside world could wait a bit while you and your partner practiced the ancient and somewhat forgotten art of “conversation”. It was very much a couples holiday, though there were two extra single beds for kids (presumably), which seemed contrary to the message sent by the very attractive spa and two champagne glasses with love-heart chocolates in the fridge. There was a small TV and some National Geographic DVDs and magazine, a few boardgames (which I’m sad to say we forgot about, probably to Bethwyn’s relief) and a very comfortable electric-blanket equipped bed. It was colder than I had packed for, and I was trying to be conservative and take as few articles of clothing as I could, somewhat to my discomfort. Bethwyn on the other hand scored bigtime- we found some clothes in one of the drawers that someone had left behind, and they were exactly in our sizes. For me there was a somewhat uncomfortable and mildly unattractive pair of shorts, which I left, but for Bethwyn, there was a pair of very comfortable denim shorts, some denim three-quarter length pants and an amazingly sexy and comfortable tracksuit, all from Country Road (which I’m led to believe is a good brand). They fit her so perfectly I doubt their previous owner could have done them nearly as much justice, so it wasn’t even considered to put them back in the drawer.
As for sightseeing, we didn’t really do as much as we could have. We didn’t go to the beach, or to the chocolate factory (due to my veganism and Bethwyn’s non-lactose diet, which suits me well), or to anything new and interesting. We did however go to the fairy shop in Cowamarup, Wild Thyme (at last! That tantalising and mysterious little cafe on the corner), Lloyds, two bookstores, the Margaret River Markets, the Lake Cave Tearooms (highly recommended. Most amazingly friendly couple who run it with arguably the most delicious food I’ve ever had) and this great little natural/organic healthfood store. I spent a looooot of money on delicious and healthy dairy-free chocolate while I was down there- something like $50 worth.
Darby Park (I believe?) apartments was surprisingly well-maintained, coming from the cottage we’d been trying to keep orderly for the past four days. It was more like a hotel than anything, with delicious smelling breakfasts at the reception/lounge and a small selection of videos you could watch or Xbox (not 360) games you could rent. The rooms were made up every day, but filthy, sleeping-in, private people that we are we waited until we checked out before getting anything ‘serviced’. There were some cooking adventures (and misadventures), a beautiful flat-screen TV which introduced us to Invader Zim (“Aww, my bees!”) and saw over a dozen hours of Okami (I admit it, I used a walkthrough for two or three of them, but I’ve got about half the Stray Beads now, all of the Zodiac statues and over half the animals at 100% fed) and plenty of Spongebob. The bathroom was nice (I always judge an establishment by its bathroom, which is most commonly the ‘worst’ room in the house) and they had lots of organic products (such as tissues, shampoos, facial washes etc). All in all, quite a nice place to stay for very different reasons.
It was a really great holiday and it was a wonderful opportunity to slow down and enjoy living by whim. I do admit, taking a game as absorbing and focussed as Okami might not have been the greatest idea- I did give it quite a few decent hours, sometimes ignoring Bethwyn or spending time at the PS2 rather than with her. I had intended for just casual, hour or two gaming sessions but I really got back into the world of Nippon, so that’s a lesson for next time. If you’re going to go on holiday to do very little, don’t bring a lot. I’m looking forward to another such holiday in the future, but at a $1400 price tag for accommodation alone, I think we might holiday elsewhere if the money can be scavenged. Despite just being done with, after half a week back in Perth, another holiday couldn’t come soon enough.