Friends twinkling after trip to Australia

July 13, 2011 

Alvesta Robertson admits she was slow to decide to make the trip to Australia. The long flight and the country's winter season caused her hesitation. After making the journey with me and several of our friends, Robertson has no regrets. Instead she's filled with a lifetime of memories and experiences.

Today she shares from her journal on our amazing trip.

She writes:

I am just returning from Australia. It was a trip to be talked about and shared for a long time. As plans unfolded, I knew there would be many sites to see, many meals to eat and endless shopping to do.

  • Melbourne: This was our first destination, and it was cold. After the hustle and bustle of romping through the city on the trolley for a planned tour, a bowl of Butternut Squash Soup (a similar recipe inside) hit the spot. The Queen Victoria Market, a huge flea market, made a shopaholic of me and fellow travelers.

  • Alice Springs: It was here that I had my most unforgettable experience -- seeing, meeting and learning about the Aborigines and their culture. I could see similarities to African/Gullah and American Indian cultures.

  • We had "Dinner in the Bush," and that was closer to our culture -- chicken and steak with potatoes and salad. The Spotted Dog Bread baked on site in the campfire setting was good. At another time, baked kangaroo tail was offered and someone said it tasted like pork. Some of us tasted it and others just took their word for it.

  • Uluru/Ayers Rock: This landmark is sacred to the Aborigines. We could feel the sacredness of the picturesque sandstone. With a celebration of champagne and Anzac cookies, we pinched ourselves to see if we were really where we were supposed to be.

  • Cairns: Here's where you'll find the Great Barrier Reef. The clear waters and visible array of sea life beckoned many to snorkel. For me, just getting my feet wet was enough.

  • Sydney: The city is home to 5 million people, and we were happy to be among their population. It rained during most of our stay here, but that did not stop us from touring the Opera House and returning for a concert and dinner.

  • I am still twinkling and sparkling from the trip. I enjoyed great people, great sights and great food.

    Butternut Squash Soup

    9 cups butternut squash

    6 cups low-sodium chicken broth

    3/4 cup butter, melted

    6 tablespoons flour

    3 cups red onion, finely chopped

    6 Granny Smith apples, peeled, cored, baked and pureed

    1/4 cup honey

    1/2 cup cider vinegar

    1 1/2 cups orange juice

    1 1/2 cups lemon juice

    1 1/2 teaspoons pepper

    1 1/2 teaspoons salt

    2 tablespoons cinnamon

    1 teaspoon mace

    1 teaspoon coriander

    3 tablespoons grated fresh ginger

    Split butternut squash lengthwise, scoop out the seeds, and bake in a 400-degree oven for 30 to 40 minutes, until the meat is soft throughout. Scoop out the insides. Mash well or puree with some of the broth to ensure the squash is not lumpy. If you do not have ill work.

    Make a paste by adding the butter and flour. Place remaining ingredients in a pot, cooking slowly until heated through.

    Port Royal resident Ervena Faulkner is a retired educator who has always had an interest in food and nutrition. Email her at

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