Tuesday, October 31, 2006


Though home is familiar, even after an absence of six weeks, I became aware of differences upon arriving. I guess I had gotten used to traffic on the left side of the road, because driving home, I thought we were on the wrong side of the road. Fortunately, old habits kicked in very quickly, and I haven't had any problems when driving myself.

Language was another change; I rarely had opportunity to speak German while travelling, so had to get back into it - not a difficulty, just something of which I was conscious. Money is another difference; I've had to look at Euro coins more closely to be quite sure which are which. As I'd changed currencies several times, I never really became certain in handling them.

The change in season was something of which I was aware, but it still took me by surprise to see the leaves coloured and falling after having experienced spring in the southern hemisphere. The biggest change, though, and the one which is still causing me a bit of difficulty, is the time change. Sydney was eight hours ahead of central Europe, and on the day I arrived back here, daylight time had just ended, making that a nine hour difference. I get tired in the late afternoon and manage to make myself stay awake until early evening, when I drop into bed only to awaken sometime around 3:00 - 4:00 in the morning. Oh well, that will take care of itself within the next days...

Sunday, October 29, 2006

Home again / Wieder zu Hause

I arrived back in Germany today and am struggling with a jet lag of 9 hours time difference, as well as waiting for my luggage to catch up with me. More in days to come...

Ich bin heute in Deutschland angekommen und versuche, mit einem Jetlag von 9 Stunden Zeitunterschied klarzukommen; ich warte auch auf mein Gepäck, daß den Anschluß von Frankfurt nicht geschafft hat. Demnächst mehr...

Thursday, October 26, 2006

Alive and well in Sydney

I'm enjoying the sights of the big city and the comfort of a hotel room - I've seen the obligatory sights: Harbour Bridge, Opera House etc., then took a walk on famous Bondi Beach today. Tomorrow I plan to take the ferry to Manly Beach, both to enjoy the view from the harbor and to see a different part of the city. I've already found my favourite part - my hotel is near Darling Harbour, and I've enjoyed walking around it when all the lights are on in the evening and lots of people are sitting in the cafes and restaurants.

This may be my last entry here before I fly home in two days...

Ich geniesse den Komfort eines Hotelzimmers und das Leben in der Grossstadt hier - ich bin schon zu der beruehmten Bruecke und dem Opernhaus gegangen und nahm heute den Bus zum beruehmten Bondi Beach, wo ich spazieren gegangen bin. Die Kueste dort ist wunderbar! Morgen plane ich eine Fahrt auf der Faehre nach Manly, einem Stadtteil, wo es ebenfalls einen Strand gibt, denn es soll etwas waermer und sonniger sein als bisher. Mein Lieblingsstadtteil ist ganz in der Naehe meines Hotels, das Hafengebiet Darling Harbour, das viele Wasserspiele und abends fantastische Beleuchtung hat.

Dies wird vielleicht meine letzte Eintragung hier sein, denn in zwei Tagen fliege ich zurueck nach Deutschland - von dort aus mehr...

Monday, October 23, 2006

Back from the outback

I finished my Australien tours and am finishing off my trip with a few days in Sydney before coming back home. I'm happy and satisfied, and still too tired to do more than just check in to let everyone know I'm fine. More to come...

Ich bin zurueck von meiner Tour ins australische Hinterland; es war ein tolles Erlebnis, aber noch bin ich zu muede um mehr zu schreiben. Ich fliege morgen nach Sydney fuer die letzten Tage meiner Reise and werde mich nochmal von dort melden.

Friday, October 13, 2006

Down Under

Gruesse aus Australien! Ich bin in Adelaide, nicht ganz so bekannt wie die ganz grossen Staedte, dafuer gemuetlicher and mit viel Charme. Hier ist es warm - nach der Kaelte in NZ waren die 34 Grad ein grosser Wechsel; heute ist es etwas kuehler, sehr angenehm. Ich geniesse es, die Stadt zu besichtigen und einzukaufen; heute nachmittag treffe ich Freunde hier, mit denen ich das Wochenende verbringe. Dann geht's ab Montag los mit den Reisen.

Greetings from Australia! I'm in Adelaide, enjoying a lovely city with considerable charm, much more relaxed than Auckland was. It's warm and dry, was even hot (over 30 degrees) when the plane landed yesterday. I'll be visiting friends here over the weekend, then begin with my travels on Monday. For today, I' m enjoying the sights and shopping opportunities - I've stocked up on sunscreen and insect repellent...

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

I'm back in Auckland, staying one night to catch the plane to Australia in the morning. I very much enjoyed the northern coast, and I'll try to concentrate in the buzz of conversation surrounding me in the backpackers' accomodation's internet room to write about it.

The most memorable experience was a boat cruise on the Bay of Islands yesterday morning. It was great to see the little, mostly uninhabited islands up close*, but the most special experience was seeing dolphins swimming next to the ship! There's a good chance of sighting them, but it's not 100% certain, so I was happy when they appeared.

I will be travelling a lot during the first week in Australia, so I'm not sure when I'll be able to get internet access. When I do, I'll write from there.

*Those islands reminded me of Tom Hanks' island in "Castaway".

Morgen frueh geht's weiter nach Australien, also bin ich jetzt zurueck in Auckland. Die Inselbucht im Norden hat mir sehr gut gefallen; das bemerkenswerteste Erlebnis war die Schifffahrt um die Inseln, denn dabei gab's auch Delfine zu sehen! Sie schwammen um das Schiff herum und spielten richtig - toll! Die Inseln erinnerten mich an den Film mit Tom Hanks: "Verschollen".

Da ich in den naechsten Tagen viel unterwegs sein werde, weiss ich nicht, wann ich Internetzugang haben werde. Mein Handy funktioniert hier, also bekommt meine Familie ab und zu SMS von mir. Wer will, kann dort erfahren, was es Neues gibt.

Monday, October 09, 2006

South and North

I spent two days at the southernmost point of my journey, the beautiful Art Deco City of Napier and really enjoyed seeing the wonderful buildings. Pictures will say more than thousands of words, so for description, you'll have to wait till I get back - or google the city name to see some of it. On Sunday, I spent almost 12 hours, with a couple of breaks in between, on the bus to get from there to here, the northernmost part of my visit to NZ. I'm now at the Bay of Islands, seeing the sights here, since it's not warm enough for beach weather. More to come...

Nach zwei Tagen ziemlich im Sueden der Nordinsel Neuseelands, in der wunderschoenen Art Deco Stadt Napier, bin ich am Sonntag bis in den hohen Norden, zur Bay of Islands gefahren - 12 Stunden im Bus! Es ist Fruehling, noch nicht wirklich warm genug fuer Strandwetter, also bin ich unterwegs, um die verschiedenen Sehenswuerdigkeiten anzuschauen und zu fotografieren. Ich geniesse es, soviel Neues und Schoenes zu entdecken! Mehr demnaechst...

Ich habe neulich vergessen, auf Deutsch zu erzaehlen, dass ich die Stelle, wo die Hobbitwohnungen zum Filmen gebaut wurden, besichtigt habe. Auch wenn jetzt nur noch Reste zu sehen sind, war es doch eine faszinierende Erfahrung! Der grosse Party-Baum ist wunderschoen und war schon alleine den Eintrittspreis wert.

Thursday, October 05, 2006

Das Abenteuer geht weiter/The adventure continues

Ich habe zwei wunderbare Tage hier in Rotorua erlebt! Es gibt viel Historisches zu sehen - die geologische Geschichte der Erde ist sichtbar in heissen, blubbernden Matschbecken, kochenden Gewaesser, Geysire und Dampfschwaden, die aus der Erde entweichen. Es gibt auch vieles aus der Geschichte der Maoris zu sehen - Artefakte und Kunstwerke, Tanz- und Gesangsauffuerungen. Da dieser Ort auch in der Vergangenheit als Badeort bekannt war, gibt es ebenfalls einiges darueber. Es hat mir gut gefallen, ich habe vieles gesehen und erlebt und fuehre mein geschriebenes Tagebuch gewissenhaft, so dass ich nachholen kann, was ich aus Zeitgruenden jetzt nicht erzaehlen kann.

I've had a wonderful time here in Rotorua! I've packed a lot of activity into two days; there's a lot of history to be seen here - geological, in the geothermical activity of geysers, bubbling mud ponds, and steaming waters. There's also a lot of Maori history to be experienced in performances of song and dance and in displays of artefacts and art works - often one and the same. I also tried out the hot baths in the Polynesian spa - a relaxing way to spend an evening out under the stars, going back and forth between the chilly air and the hot water.

Most of all, I went to Hobbiton!! I'll have to tell more about the film site in Matamata at a later time - my bus leaves soon for the next leg of the journey, but it was a fascinating experience. I had my picture taken with the party tree, so I'll have something to show, and of course more photos looking out of Bilbo's hobbit hole window and door - just the bare bones, but still a lot of fun! It really did feel like being in another world, as there was no sign of modern civilization to be seen - just a fabulous view and what remains of the film site. Pics may have to wait till I get home - uploading takes so much precious internet time...

Tuesday, October 03, 2006

Hi from New Zealand!/Hallo aus Neuseeland!

Now the real adventure begins! Until now, even the exotic location of Hawai'i was still "only" a family visit, but now I'm completely on my own - crossed the equator for the first time in my life, am in the southern hemisphere for the first time, and looking forward to seeing the southern star constellations for the first time.

I arrived in Auckland this noon after losing a day somewhere near the Fiji Islands - but I don't plan to go back to find it. I'm staying at a backpackers' hostel here for the night, a location that is functional rather than luxurious, but as I'm moving on in the morning, that's fine. Internet access is easy and not too expensive, fortunately.

The city is crowded and busy, but I discovered an interesting alternative this afternoon. OK, I confess - it happened because I was looking for a quilt shop, and the one easiest to reach was across the harbour. I enjoyed the ferry ride over - the view of the city on both sides is fantastic from the water. Devonport on the north side is charming, with a small town feeling to it, and an artsy-craftsy flair. After getting some fabric pieces at the quilt shop I strolled around, looking at the quaint houses and enjoying the atmosphere. That was a pleasant start to my NZ adventure! More from the next stops...

Ich bin heute mittag in Auckland angekommen; jetzt kann das Abenteuer wirklich beginnen! Bisher waren meinen Stationen, selbst das exotische Hawai'i, Familien/Freundesbesuche, aber hier kenne ich und kennt mich niemand. Ich freue mich unbaendig, zum ersten Mal in der suedlichen Haemisphaere zu sein, den Aequator zum ersten Mal ueberquert zu haben, und die Sternbilder zu sehen. Der Tag, der mir irgendwo auf dem Weg ueber den Fidschiinseln verlorenging, wird verloren bleiben - ich gehe nicht zurueck, um ihn zu suchen!

Auf der Suche nach einem Patchworkgeschaeft entdeckte ich einen schoenen Ortsteil ueber der Bucht. Ich fuhr mit der Faehre hin - ein toller Blick auf die Stadt! - und fand entzueckende alte Haeuser im Stadtteil Devonport. Das war ein schoener Kontrast zur lauten, beschaeftigten Grossstadt. Morgen geht's weiter mit dem Bus; ich berichte demnaechst von den naechsten Stationen.