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Our flight out of Brisbane this morning was scheduled for 8:50 am. That would have required a 5:00 am departure from Toowoomba so we were happy to accept an invitation from Lynne and John to stay last night in their apartment at Nudgee. That left just a 10 minute drive to parking this morning.

We arrived at Nunans’ around 5 pm. We had brought some red wine and Lynne produced cheese with crackers and pizza for dinner. That was topped off with a strawberry ‘flow’ that Lynne made in her Thermomix and served in cones. Conversation ranged widely about family, travel and more until around 10 pm when we retired.

This morning we were up at 6 am. We would have been happy with a piece of toast for breakfast but Lynne insisted on serving us eggs and ham on her home made sourdough. That was delicious. After food and coffee we headed down to the car and the short drive to Andrew’s where we parked the car and took a shuttle to the airport.

Checkin might have been smoother if I had been less honest when I attempted online checkin yesterday. I indicated I was carrying spare batteries. They are allowed but require a staff member to do checkin.
There was a second problem when the baggage drop refused to recognise Majella’s tag. Another staff member sorted that for us, leaving us wondering if self service really does save Qantas anything.

We passed through security without issue, found our gate, and waited. The flight boarded on time but was a few minutes late leaving. It was not long in the air before breakfast was served. We opted for the continental breakfast of apple pieces, muffin, and yoghurt with coffee. After that we settled down to reading, Majella a book she had borrowed from Lynne and me books I had on my iPad. I had a window seat and occasionally saw something of interest. It helped that the flight had WiFi and I could use Google Maps to check where we were and what we might be seeing.

Our flight landed a little ahead of schedule around 12:10 pm. It took a long time to disembark and even longer, 30 minutes, for our baggage to arrive.

Once we had that we went in search of our rental car. Our rental company, Ace, was not in the terminal and closed at 1:00 pm on weekends. It took Lynne some time on the phone to explain our situation and get a van to come and take us to their site. We were there a minute or two before 1:00 pm and the office was still open.

When the paperwork was concluded with John and Majella listed as our drivers we found our car, a Mazda CX 3. We had hoped for something a little larger but with some fiddling we managed to squeeze our bags into the boot and hit the road.

The car has no onboard navigation but I got navigation working on my phone as John drove out and a few minutes later had my phone linked on the USB port and CarPlay displaying directions on the screen. We headed north east toward New Norcia.

The countryside was mostly green rolling hills with some forest but we passed through an area of sand hills, some drier areas, and some wetlands. As we left the city area we began to see more flowers by the roadside, some apparently natural and others in extensive plantings. Majella was pleased to so soon begin seeing what she had been planning to see since 2020.

We stopped at Bindoon, about 50 km short of New Norcia, to eat. We found food at a ‘locator’ store that sold local produce – black barley salads for Majella and me, roast potato and coleslaw for Lynne and John. We had coffee at the bakery next door before driving on.

At New Norcia we found the guesthouse and were shown around the common area and then to our rooms. By then it was almost 4 pm. With vespers at 5:30 and dinner at 6:30 we had time to spare so, after a short rest, we went for a walk by the river. Along the way we enjoyed the old buildings, wildflowers, and birds.

Vespers were chanted, partly in Latin but mostly in English. There were a few monks, a nun, and several other visitors there. The chapel was upstairs and mostly plain but with a highly decorated altar.
Dinner was simple. We ate vegetable soup, sausages in gravy with salad, and fresh local bread. There were bottles of cool red wine from which we poured glasses to go with the meal.

By the time we finished dinner it was approaching 7:30 pm in local time but that was 9:30 pm for Queenslanders. It was time to call an end to our first day.