Australia and its marvels – Part III
Off to Brisbane and the Gold Coast
Brisbane is the closest large airport to the Gold Coast. This area was very special to us as we were staying with friends whom we have not seen in many years. Andy & Lajla live in area called Beechmont. They live at the top of a mountain. The area reminds me a lot of the Smokies in western North Carolina. Before even getting to the area though, Andy took us to his daughter’s house to have dinner in Brisbane. I had never met her. Remember me, the one with food allergies? And yet she was still happy to have me and cook for me. It was very humbling. I hope I am painting a picture for you here…Aussie’s are unbelievably warm, hospitable and gracious. The food was delicious. Emily (Andy’s daughter) was doing an AIP type diet as well (an elimination diet). I felt right at home. I was with my people!
We left Emily’s and headed for Beechmont. When we got out of the car you could smell smoke and the wind was quite strong. It turns out they were experiencing forest fires equivalent to those in California. We were not even there for half an hour when a forced evacuation was issued. What to do? We got back in the car and headed to one of their friend’s house. This friend was not even in town. However, they graciously opened their home to us, and we had a safe place to spend the night. The next day it was safe to return to Andy and Lajla’s.
Andy made it his personal mission to show us why he fell in love with the area so many years ago. He is originally an American who left the US during the 80s. Australia was having an open border policy at the time and it was very enticing to stay. The first stop on his tour was a pottery factory – Durand Water Filters. It was fun to get a tour behind the scenes, especially because my home state, North Carolina, is also known for its pottery. I am in awe of such talent!
Next stop on the tour was a visit to his friend Pricasso’s studio. Pricasso is an artist who has been on Australia’s Got Talent. He has been on various talent shows around the world. What makes him famous is that he paints with his private parts. He is quite talented and has an interesting story. You know you want to google him! I will save you the trouble. Here is a link to his webpage.
Day Two with Andy
On our second day together, Mr.Allergic Traveler and Andy went golfing while I was on the hunt for a food allergy bakery. I had done my research beforehand, I had found a bakery called Seeds of Life that is gluten free, sugar free, yeast free, dairy free, egg free, etc. I had reached out to the owners, Heidi and Pete to let them know I was coming from so far away. Bella greeted me and showed me around the shop. They have all their ingredients listed front and center, which I love! The bakery offers samples and recommendations as well. Bella was wonderful. She made suggestions and guided me to safe products. What a privilege to see the inner workings of such an establishment. Again, I was behind the scenes. Here’s is the best news for you, THEY SHIP! Yes, that is correct, they ship from Australia to the US. So, if you miss raisin bread or soft sandwich bread, you need to check them out. Seriously!
The following day we went to Currumbin Wildlife Sanctuary. This animal sanctuary has Australia’s animals well represented. One of the best things is how open the area is. You will see birds, lizards and kangaroos all roaming around freely. You can even feed some of the animals or hold them. My favorite animal by far is the Cassowaries. These are giant birds. They are very dangerous. The best way to describe them is they are approximately the size of an Emu, but they have a blue head and a horn on it like a rhinoceros. It’s wild! Only in Australia will you find such creatures.
So what about the food?
You may have noticed that I did not mention a lot about the food. This is going to seem hard to believe, but it truly was an afterthought. My list of food allergies is long (eggs, nuts, mushrooms, shellfish, celery, garlic, pork, soy, sesame, etc.) and yet I had absolutely no problems. We ate at the finest restaurants and we also had pub food. I would get snacks from convenience stores or eat at the Zoo’s cafeteria. Even the airport food was splendid! Everyone in the restaurant industry is very well trained. They all asked the right questions and made suggestions when needed. I came home enamored with the people, the food and the culture. Should I ever go missing, it’s probably best to look for me down under!
Have you been? What was your favorite thing to eat?
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Author: Tarah Jakubiak
After working for 20 years in the corporate world, Tarah Jakubiak founded Allergic Traveler. Jakubiak, president of Allergic Traveler has traveled the world since the age of two. She has been to 25 countries and 34 states. Jakubiak has been to all inclusives, gone on cruises, gone camping; backpacking through Europe, gone to the big cities, and little hidden gems. She has multiple food allergies but it does not stop her from seeing the world. Jakubiak is allergic to eggs, nuts, mushroom, soy, garlic, corn, sesame, potatoes, celery, shellfish, chicken, pork, peanuts, and many fruits. She is originally from Montreal, Quebec and now lives in Greensboro, NC with her husband.