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Tuesday, March 7, 2023

We spent a great day yesterday, 11 hours in all, going to Hunter Valley the gorgeous wine country about two and a half hours outside Sydney. In fact, as I relate the highlights of our day, many of you could easily think, ”Miller is making this shit up, he must be sniffing glue because these kinds of things do not happen. I assure you I am not embellishing.

I start with our driver/guide Sam. We have had many outstanding guides during our many years of travel, but none were as good. If ever you need a guide in Sydney, Australia, contact samcollins@yahoo.com.


Start with the fact that we found him in one minute as we got off the ship. I would say, on average, the process has taken us about 25 minutes and, on more than one occasion a hour.

Sam had a van that could sit 6 more than comfortably, easy even for me to get in and out of and with perfect internet service, far better than on the ship. Our guide could not have been nicer, more knowledgeable or kinder.


Keep in mind the fortuitous circumstances that led to our meeting Sam. We missed our lunch cruise Monday. So, we found another place for lunch just by happenstance and a lady working at the restaurant to a large amount of her time finding us a driver/guide.


On our way out to Hunter Valley we stopped at a magical place called The Saddle for breakfast. The food and service was terrific but the setting on a lake with swans was breathtaking and the interior was like an Oscar winning movie set. The bar stools were different horse saddles one more fancy than the next we have been in few places decorated as nice and this was literally in the middle of nowhere. Saddles is in Mount White New South Wales. Google to get more information.


We thought we would go to two or three wineries but we hit the jackpot at the first one Meerea Park Wines we bought before a 20% discount and being given for free a multi hundred $ bottle of award winning 1999 Semillon from the owner’s personal cellar, 4 bottles of Alexander Munro Chardonnay at $55, 2 bottles of 2016 Alexander Munro Semillon at $60 and 6 bottles of a truly great 2018 Black ShirazT $300 per bottle but worth it. Remember this is Australian Dollars so cost $240 with discount and then converted to U.S dollars $160 per bottle.

The owner Garth was terrific. He was very smart, knowledgeable, patient and low pressure. He handled Barbara as well as anyone I have ever seen. Garth sent us to a great tapas restaurant for lunch, a place as good as anything in Napa Valley. In fact, the whole Hunter Valley has everything Napa has except for the five star hotels.


From lunch, Sam dropped us off at a really nice chocolate-fudge factory that sold all kinds of good things while he went back to the winery to pick up the wine we bought.

Then, instead of going to another winery, we went to a beer brewery. A great one. They were closed but the owner was there working. He gave me four great beers to drink and Barbara two glasses of wine. Now get this, the prices as posted indicated the beer flight was $25 and the wine about $15 a glass. The owner would not take a nickel. Why? I have no idea but he opened up, we spent an hour discussing an tasting his great beers all on tap and we could not get a check.


On our drive back Barbara stopped at a grocery store and we arrived in our cabin a little after 7 p.m. Then, we went to watch the movie “Midway” which I had seen before but not Barbara. I just finished a whole book about this important battle so I watched it from a whole different perspective.


All in all, our stay in Sydney and it’s environs was memorable. ——————————

I have no idea what happened in the world yesterday.

Today is a sea day


See you tomorrow. At least that is my plan.

Go Ukraine.

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