December 24, 2008

Bambi meets Santa

Xmas bambi
Ursprünglich hochgeladen von genii_79
I finally took a picture of the nicely decorated balcony accross the street. Not too tacky and overdone, but rather nice and xmasy.
Definitely prepared for Santa and his gang.

Happy Holidays!

December 11, 2008

Next year's Christmas tree

Finally a neat card for the holidays out of all those tacky ones. Glued inside is a tiny paper- like-tree to plant and watch it grow. Let's see.

December 08, 2008

let´s bastel ....

fluffy feather alice band
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Three weeks ago at the Urban Outfitters in NYC I saw a really awesome alice band topped with peacock feathers. How elegant was that?! But in my opinion $24 was a bit too much for it. Well, why not make one of those myself. Couldn´t be that hard, could it? That said, I ran around the handicrafts stores in Hamburg... but they just didn´t have in stock what I had on my mind. I picked up some black fluffy feathers, a lot of glue and some glitter in the end.

November 28, 2008

mrs brightside

Hamburg in November is grey, foggy, rainy, dark days until March. So why not color up a bit to make it through the day. Nevertheless, this is one of the most colorfull outfits I wear... maybe have ever worn in a long time. I am more the dark color kind of girl! ;-) But I love my red coat!

And the neatest thing is, that the "belt" with the butterflies is actually a kidney warming thingy, but a real cute one. My colleague lent it to me since I need to be extra cautious due to my recent  illness. At least I can stay healthy in style! The butterflies actually inspired me for this red-purple outfit today. mmhhh.. what will I wear tomorrow?!

coat: H&M Trend
hat: H&M Divided
scarf: American Apparel
shirt: H&M Trend
skirt: Urban Outfitters
belt: handmade
boots: Vagabund

November 20, 2008


Photos by: Ralph Ueltzhoeffer

This is THE man... let me tell you, and I don´t want to hear all this silly stuff. You have to admit it... HE just is hot. Sometimes he dresses a bit too girly, but he can pull it off. Seriously. And the british accents just tops it all! Seriously.

Actually, I just read about the recent exhibitions at the Museum of Contemporary Art Sydney and saw a so called Textportrait of Ralp Ueltzhoeffer shwoing Barack Obama. So I went to the photgrapher´s site and fell upon the above portraits. Now you tell me, would you have prefered Obama now would you? Guess not!

November 16, 2008

the movie

This is a movie I desperately want to go see. Unfortunately the release date for DE is still not decided. Well, then I have to put up with the book first. I love those kind of stories. -)

November 10, 2008

Sunny day

Hanging out in central park taking in some sun before heading to the airport! It's been a great few days here!

November 01, 2008

vote guys!

It´s really good, but has its lengths. Borat is the BEST! :-)
So, for all you guys in the US... go and vote!

October 08, 2008

Smiley to go

Smiley to go
Ursprünglich hochgeladen von genii_79
what a nice way to start a Tuesday morning.

now and then

A lot of people have been asking me lately, how I could dye my hair red? Well, I just did.... almost 6 yrs. ago.

It started out with a bet between my friends and me. Once again, I started it, saying I would like to dye my hair bright red, which they thought I´d never really would do. I did. It was actually pretty cool. The amazing thing was, that having a crazy hair color like this, I met a whole bunch of different, fun people. Also "crazy" ones! ;-) And let me tell you, people DO judge you by the cover. Back then I was still a college student.... a Business Major... but not so pretty serious as everyone else. A lot of professors reacted pretty strange, they just thought I cannot be serious, what will everyone think? OMG!! Others were pretty cool about it, it just doesn´t matter how you look like to be taken seriously, at least not because of your hair color. During that period of time I still wokrd part-time in the Kids dept. at H&M. Mothers didn´t quite approve, but H&M stans for fashion and personality, so they were just looking a bit strange. The kids were like "Oh i love your hair" or some whispering to their mothers "mom, she has red hair!" Typically kids! Nevertheless, I also got the job in the HR recruting dept. at H&M and I applied with my "old" hair style... long brown hair. They were quite surprised to see me change so much, they thought oh there applies the nice girl next door, but then there came the crazy one - still nice though! :-)

The most absurd incident I had during that time was while traveling to the USA. I actually got searched at Heathrow Airport in London before boarding the plane to San Francisco. And nobody can tell me that was just a random search!! I even had to change my picture in the passport because they wouldn´t let me enter the US otherwise. Seriously. At US customs, the officer saved my passport ofr last and said to me sarcastically "well well, you better look the exact same in your passport picture....."! Preparation is everything! ;-)

Why did I stop dying my hair that way? Besides having to belach it almost white before being able to put the red color on it, the color washed out quite fast and orange was not my cup of tea! But after a girl in Las Vegas was asking her friend, if she also thought I looked like Kelly Osbourne... I was like, ok that is it... I do not want to even look or pretend to look like her! After that I dyed my hair black with red streaks in it, after that I tried out purple and turquoise... now it´s been dark chocolate for years... pretty boring... but I think I am too old for that craziness.... seriously.

my point of view - Lyttelton, NZ

This is what they made out of my vacation shot in Christchurch, New Zealand.

That´s the widget of the site, just gives an impression.

September 29, 2008

Reeperbahn Festival 2008, Hamburg

Every autumn we have this really great music festival taking place in Hamburg. Three nights new and interesting acts play on the club stages of the Kiez. Some of them are internationally know, others are still on the rise and a bit outstide of the mainstream. This year the line up was really great. I wanted to see, Nada Surf in the first place, but as it always is.. int he end I 
haven´t seen them perform at all, which is not a pain at all, since I discovered some really good "newbies" instead. We started out at Übel&Gefährlich to see the Swedish Band I´m from Barcelona. Really great band. Good music, great athmosphere. Then we went to see Maria Taylor from the US, never heard of her before, exept I have heard her last "song beneath a song" a couple of times while I was in New Zealand this spring. What a coincidence. 
Then from the folkmusician to Constantines from Toronto... they rocked. But a bit too much beer before the show... I´d say! ;-) 

My personal favorite was the last act we went to see Lykke Li from Sweden. Fabulous! 

September 27, 2008

dare to read it aloud....

If I knew where poems come from, I´d go there.
                                                                                   - Michael Longley

There are the book persons and the TV persons. I am definitely a book person - always have. As a kid, I  secretly stayed up late at night to read. Whereever I go, I carry my book du jour with me - along with my ipod. Taking the tube every morning is really great for that. But 9 minutes are a bit to short though. Before going to sleep, I always read a bit... sometimes it´s just a few lines - othertimes I have to force myself to put it away. 

Finding the right book though, has always been and probably always will be a real challenge for me. I am not really complicated, but why do the bookstores seem to be full of romance-girly-nonesense books. Seriously, who reads this stuff? Well, I know some of my friends that actually do. But only while staying at the beach or for long flights or train rides! mmmhhh... right! ;-) I can´t  get past the first few pages without feeling either bored to death or thinking "this has to be kidding me?"! 

Once, I actually almost got into an argument when one person I hardly knew, tried to convince me that for leasure reading I should try Marian Kaynes. Right, but I don´t like that ridiculous stuff. She just wouldn´t let go until I was almost like I HATE IT, let it go! Why do they have to ply their taste on everyone?! 

Anyways, what I was trying to say, was that the book search is quite an endless adventure to me. I think I got to the bookstore like ten times before I actually find a book that I really fancy reading. I love bookstores and libraries - everything about them. Shelves full of great stuff. The thicker the book - the better!  Nothing beats a cup of tea and a great book on a rainy sunday afternoon. Years ago, while the Harry Potter hype was really hitting worldwide, I never thought I would ever be interested in this kind of stories. Fantasy - not my cup of tea. So, when I was living in Spain eight years ago, I had to pimp my Spanish and what can be more easier to read and learn than a childrens´ book?! So there there were Harry Potter. Why not try it and see what the fuss is all about. Honestly, I LOVED it ... and the second ...  and the third book as well. Lucky me, I was late in catching the Harry-Potter-ride, so the first four books were already published. And every year in autumn, I was anxiously waiting for the english version to be published. But not with a withc hat or anything the likes - just for the record! :-)

So, having finished my last great book by Jane Austen - yes, every other book has to be a classic - I was on the search again. I prefer to read the original version of the book, so I mostly browse the english section, which is not that huge over here. I have seen Inkheart a lot of times before, it has been a real success over here. The story sounded pretty fascinating to me, but somehow I never bought it. Maybe because it´s another childrens´ book made for adults. And it´s another fantasy story - which I am not really into. Like the famous The Lord of the Rings trilogy never captured me at all... well, I haven´t gotten past the first chapter. I have seen only bits and pieces of the movies, although I have been to the real Middleearth last March and loved that At least the scenery would catch me! ;-)

But Inkheart is different ... once again...  it´s about a story within a story, where the imaginary becomes real. So, two weeks ago, I finally bought it and haven´t stopped since. It´s a really great plot. Now I am into the second book of it - yes, another trilogy! 

I might be into fantasy stories after all! Will the trilogy of  The Lord of the Rings be the next? .... one day ... maybe.

September 21, 2008

who would have thought ...


... that one of the hundreds of photos taken in New Zealand actually would make it out in the open? I love my pictures and a lot of them are really awesome. Just watching them takes me back to one of the most beautiful place on earth.

Nevertheless, was I really surprised when I got contacted by schmap through flickr if I would give my permission for one of my photos being published in an online city guide of Christchurch. After checking out the website, I agreed. They won´t pay me or anyting and it won´t run under my real name, but that´s ok. So, everyone planning a trip to Christchurch, NZ and checking out the website can view picture. Hoepfully they love it as much as I did. Enjoy.

September 14, 2008

the next Jamie Oliver

Who would have guessed that I will acutally come to cook on a daily basis and somehow like it? I have never been one of those who enjoy cooking. Well, I am not the one to talk to about what to add there and how to prepare this and that. Easy stuff and fast please, that was my credo. Lucky me that I basically lived on salad and pasta! :-) Thank God for working innercity, so there is always some fresh take out salads and Chinese food to catch. 

Back in New Zealand when we decided to prepare some real German food for the Kiwis, I was lost half the way. How am I supposed to know how to cook "Rouladen" in the first place? Anke then saved me, since she knew how to and lead the way. It wasn´t that bad in the end. But I am no fan of those long time wasting cooking ceremonies with a thousand ingredients. 

Now after totally changing my nutrition - in gerneral no-carb diet. I basically have to cook fresh almost every day. First, I was really not so sure how I am going to fit that into my schedule. I go to the gym almost everyday and not returning home until 10pm, there is not a chance to go to the grocery store anymore... they are all closed by then. Somehow I managed though to get some frozen fish in advance and it really is no big deal. The food is delicious and the cooking or prepare takes only minutes. Now I am the next princess of the kitchen!

Seriously, now I am taking my lunch to work every day! My colleagues are still in awe and now 
I have volunteered to bake something for tomorrows birthday celebreations of one of my colleagues. Me, the one who burnt those brownies a few years ago. They indeed looked more like burnt earth than something to eat! :-/ Let´s see how that goes. 

The desert looks great though - strawberry oat cake. 

So, the strawberry oats cake was ... DELICIOUS...It´s really easy and ready in a few minutes excluding the baking! After writing my last entry a few days ago, I received an email from a good friend who currently also is living the "David Kirsch Diet" -plan. Since we live on each end of Germany, we used to update each other on our lives... that´s how it used to be until... now... we are now not only talking about who dates whom and what´s going on at work, we are indeed giving tipps on recipies... ahhh HELLLOOO? It´s that bad already? Are we getting boring?

No way.

It´s not like it´s a battle now who looses more weight or who is longer at the gym... that´s not it. Luckily. It´s rather what kind of food we like best and what so ever... boring... really. What will be next? I fear knitting. Oh no, but it´s like all I do right now... work, gym and cooking.... poor me... it´s my own choice though. The last years have been too much partying and drinking, so detox is the word of the months! And seriously it works. But enough of it already. Oh and by the way, no one will see me knitting... I have like no talent for this - seriously. My best friend started knitting when she was in Ireland... really busy over there I dare say... those socks are awesome... but rather wearing them ... not actually making them.

outfit du jour

I guess, this will be one of my new favorite outfits for this fall. I really love the skirt, also it needs a bit getting used to since it´s high waist and not sitting really low. One litte treasure found at H&M´s sample sale last week. :-)

September 11, 2008

dream catcher

I have no clue what is going on with me, but since three weeks, I have the strangest dreams ever. They seem so real and the most scary thing to me is, they are mostly about work. mmhhh. What does that tell me? Sometimes, after you wake up - or mostly are thrown out of the bubble by your alarm - it´s weird how you can still remember the whole thing, like a movie or like a real memory. And on other days, it´s just blurry, but you know that something "real" was going on.

I recently dreamed about having to do fake ads at night, with the most ridiculous outcome, I flew to NYC with colleagues and got lost in Manhatten. But tonight was the absolute strangest thing in a long time. I actually was on the run - and seriously on the run - from someone, but I cannot remember what or who it was. It was more out of a Lara Craft comuter game, like swimming through rivers (which resembled more the river in Christchurch, NZ if you ask me), hitch hiking, hiding in places and so on. The weird thing is, that when I got woken up from my alalrm at 7 am, I didn´t know where I was in the first place. Secondly I felt like I really ran the whole night, my whole body was aching. Like if I had been to the gym too much, which I wasn´t since two days for a change. Then I remembered the whole dream again and I coudn´t help but laugh out loud. Am I going mad or what? ;-)

As strong as I believe in spiritual things, like tarot, birth horoscope and stuff... I never ever looked up the meaning of dreams... maybe a bit to freaky!?! It´s said that dreams are a way of getting over with sth. that happened to you in your real life. But maybe it´s also a glimpse of sth. you have never been aware of that hides deep down in you! mmmhhhh. What also strikes me as pretty strange is, that e.g. one of my friends never dreams of herself in her dreams, she always sees the "action" through her eyes. I can see myself moving like a third person - sometimes. Also, one of my married friends never ever dreamt of her husband. Never. She was a bit scared at first, because being her other half, he obviously plays a huge role in her life, so one might thinkg he also sneaks into her dream world. Well, he hasn´t yet. We figured, that maybe because he is just the "stone" of her life, always reliable and always there, she had nothing to fear, so there´s nothing to dream about, because it´s just perfect in real life. Ah, we should do more counseling! ;-)

Anyways, this morning my colleague was telling me that she dreamt of sth. out of "Independence day", the movie. It suddendly got dark and a big ufo covered the horizont! Wow, that´s something, I´d say.

Well, we all have been really adventurous last night.... let´s wait and see what we´ll have to talk about tomorrow at work. Where can you get those dream catcher´s again? :-)
Still under construction... 


August 21, 2008

donuts meets cheesburger

I haven´t actually found the time to blog in the past few weeks. But scrolling through Google-Reader tonight, I stumbled upon this totally ... well, weird picture posted in Bryanboy´s blog. First, I was like, what the ... is that? Then I read the copytext saying it´s supposed to be Krispykreme donut-cheeseburgers ... ähm, who in the world is actually eating this. First of all, Krispykreme are donuts. *fullstop* And nothing else. To me at least. To Google´s NYC kantine obviously not. Are they actually serving this "thing"? Seriously? Who would want to eat this? May one have it also without the glace? ... bbbäähhh!!

Eating likes and dislikes vary from country to country, but I cannot imagine anyone actually ordering and enjoying this one!! Some of my friends think my eating habits are sometimes strange, which are pretty normal in my opinion. ;-) Ok, I like fried tomatoes, beans on toast and potato chips in my sandwich ... but that´s still harmless! People here are enjoying sweet popcorn that is my definite no go, who puts sugar over popcorn?!

Nevertheless, as weird as Americans might sometimes combine their food - I must say, but this donut-bacon-burger-thingy is out of my imagination. And as the blogger already writes "Can somebody explain this to me???!!!"

July 30, 2008

these will be the days

"Your visa has been granted. .... We hope you enjoy your stay in Australia. Welcome!"

These have been the long awaited words! Yesterday I finally sat down and clicked through the almost endless Australian website for my holiday maker visa online application. As already mentioned earlier, this seems like the black hole2.0 and seriously IT IS. Even after I finally found out that apparently all I would need for my application is my passport, I went online and searched for the application form. They don´t make it easy for you, these mates down under! Seriously! So, after entering all important details of my life, health, character and so on, I paid the AUS$ 195 and exited. Fingers crossed that I will be under the 110.000 applicants who are granted a visa, I waited for an answer from down under! Three days max. they say on one of their microsites!

Nothing yet! Knowing me and my luck, I already imagined myself waiting on it for those three days! But after checking my mail... the second time today, I have to admit.... there it was... in the junk folder! But at least my account let it through! :-)

After dancing around my flat and screaming at my friends via skype ... I realised that this was REALLY it, I am one step closer to temporalily moving and working in Australia. This is what I have wanted for years now. I AM THRILLED! And as if they´d had known it, our HR Dept. already sent me the first draft of my sabbatical contract today. :-)

Now they just have to decided on the exact month I will be able to start my sabbatical and then I am ready to book my flights. Where will I start? Melbourne or Sydney? Somewhere totally new or somewhere I already know my way around? mmmhhhhh... let´s wait and see!

July 24, 2008

"Japan is still whaling"- Campaign

This impressive billboard struck me while waiting for the tube this morning! Great motiv! Good cause! 

July 21, 2008

which mate invented online applications?

Today would have been the day to get my stuff ready to apply for my holiday maker visa for Australia... thought I and was pretty optimistic about. It´s a lot easier and faster processed through online application! That was BEFORE I checked out the official site of the Australian Government.

Could a website be any more complicated than this one?! Seriously... it opens up indefinitely. Is that the virtual Australian black hole?! It made me even more confused than I have been before. And there I was thinking I kinda knew it all. :-( Initially, I just wanted to quickly check what I would need on hand for my visa application, not that I have to run around my flat searching for documents whilst applying. Did I find a helpfull checklist? Not really.

Entering the site you first you have to know which visa is suitable for you... oh pardon me, for which visa YOU are eligible for. Check working holiday. This visa is for people aged 18 to 30 years of age, who are interested in a working holiday of up to 12 months in Australia. Check box. Subclass 417 or Subclass 462? Mmmhh, check linked list... ah! Fortunately Germany is involved in the Australian Working Holiday Programm, therefore I am eligible for a visa in the first instance. Yeahh! That´s good in a way that I have a chance to be amongst the 300.000 international visa applicants that are granted each year for selected countries.

But where is the link to the documents that have to be turned in? mmmhhh. Let´s see... there is some info on "what to read before applying".. but then a new list opens up to a new linked list. All applicants are required to meet health criteria, therefore health examinations must be completed. But which ones? Do I need to attach a certified statment form my doctor? No hint found.

Also, everyone who wishes to enter Australia must be assessed against the character requirements. The only info I found is that I must provided police certificates for each country I lived in longer than 12 months in the last 10 years. That would be easy, but what else? The black hole is expanding...

One thing I honestly found out is, that I must declare that I "will respect Australian values and obey the laws of Australia. For this visa, the values statement is included in the general declaration section of the application form. When you sign the application form it means you will also be signing the values statement. You will not be required to have read the Life in Australia book, but may do so if you wish." Good to know!! ;-)

Oh, I found out that I would have to be financially secure, to have sufficient funds to support myself for the initial stage of the my holiday. Generally, AUD$5,000 may be regarded sufficient... ah ok... but I also may be asked to provide evidence as in a certified copy of my bank statment or an air ticket out of Australia. Aha .. may or may not it is then! ;-)

After 45 minutesI have to say that I quit.... at least I found some new interesting things concerning the holiday maker visa that I wasn´t aware of before. If I am granted a visa I am allowed to:
  • enter Australia within 12 months of grant
  • stay up to 12 months
  • leave and re-enter Australia any number of times while the visa is valid
  • work in Australia for up to 6 months with each employer

That something to begin with, I´d say.

But I am positive to struggle succeessfully through the application form. So, let´s search the web firts to find some helpful hints what, where and how to apply.

There is more to come, the adventure to Oz just begun. :-)

July 13, 2008

take the plunge down under

YEEEEAAHHHHH!!! It´s finally approved ....I am ready to apply to the holiday maker visa for Australia 2009. I am officially taking next year off!! WOW! Starting as early as January 2009. I am soo THRILLED .... after going back and forth...or rather not moving not one inch at all for over weeks, desperately waiting for an answer or just a simple nod from someone ... finally the approval went through. Hurray! So, now I am ready to seriously start planning step by step. I am sooo excited, but also scared to death. I am not really taking the plunge and move down under, am I? How crazy is that? :-)

I´m already luving it!

Goodbye Germany - Good day Australia!

soul meets body

Yesterdays concert of Death Cab for Cutie in the Hamburg was awesome. They really rocked! We had a great time. I have never listened to their new album, but luckily they played mostly "old" and popular stuff. It was really great. The venue was sold out but we had a really good spot on the balcony and really close as well. They played at the venue where years before The Beatles performed for the first time as well.

I am real big fan of those small venues where you are actually pretty close to the band. Big venues like football stadiums are not really my thing. Although two years ago going to the concert of Robbie Williams really was a treat. He performed at the horse racing traacks during the summer and besides the iieek-smell of horses and the likes, this venue is made for 78.000 people. And there am I - panicking in huge crowds - hurray! My friend who went with me had the brilliant idea to be there really early to get good spots, so we waited outside eight hours (!!!) before the concert started, along with the hardcore fans! Fortunately the waether was brilliant that day and it was like sunbathing in a parking lot!!! And lucky us - we got hold of the highly popular green-wristbands which gave access to the area right in front of the stage! Yyaahh! So, eight hours later when the concert finally started we were there right in front and... 78.000 crazy people behind us! This made the whole concert even more enjoyable. Got great pictures as well! Other friends who have been there as well, but were seated on the sides or way back, just got a glimpse of a tiny man rocking the stage or enjoyed the video boards. :-)

July 03, 2008

on hold

It´s been 3 weeks now since I semi-officially announced that I want to take a leave of absence next year .... but nothing really important happened. It just stopped there. How frustuating is that. The mills of our comapny grind slowly, that´s for sure, but why does it have to take extra long. It´s said that they can´t get a hold of the manager responsible for the final approval. How long am I still to wait for? I need a definite approval or rejection to move on!

It´s not that I wouldn´t have anything to prepare for. I might have to begin putting together my sabbatical-contract, which of course my employer doesn´t have in their drawers. So am I alone to decide how I want this to be solved? uurrgghh, life is not easy. ;-)

People are asking me what I will do with all this time on my hands. Where will I go? Australia - that is for sure. But for how long? Where to start? This is what could keep me busy all day long. Seriously. What beats planning your dream trip? I haven´t figured out where I am gonna start at all. Will I return to New Zealand first and visit all the place we didn´t get the change to a three months ago, like Cape Reigna, Coromandel? Or do I fly to Sydney, a place I know a little, and go from there? What about Asia? Thailand sounds good as well, but do I want to backpack alone there as well? Maybe. I could do that in the end. I know for sure, that I want to spend the New Year´s Eve 2009 in Sydney.... no matter what. Well, that´s a tiny plan to start with, isn´t it? ;-)

Another thing that is occupies me right now is, that my last day is scheduled to be end of February. As you all know, time just flies by, so I started giving notice to my close friends, who unforuntately live not around the corner, to check their calendars for a girls weekend in Hamburg during the coming fall. The thought of that is really scary though.

Let´s wait and see what happens next.

July 01, 2008

the game is over

So we truly lost the game against Spain yesterday. What a shame! And we were all so enthusiastic about it. Obviously Spain was really too good for the DE team. Unbeatable since 22 games - so no surprises. After the game there wasn´t much happiness around, sad faces almost everywhere. We were wondering where in Hamburg do all the Spanish people live... no honking horns, no fireworks.... was almost too quite, except the occasional hurray. We found out later, that there are just about 3000 Spanish living in Hamburg and they sure did party after the game... maybe just took them a while to get there! :-)

So, the question now is... what are we going to do with our free nights now? No game to watch. No going out for viewing the game. No more drinking and no more ... Ole Ole Ole... well, not until the Wolrd Cup in two years from now.

Oh, some Spanish definitely must be living in my neighborhood... who else did the fireworks at midnight... hhmm, I wonder... :-)

June 23, 2008


... the longest day of the year! Being up in the north of Germany obviously closer to the Scandinavia, where it never gets dark during summertime, it stays light outside for a pretty long time. Longer than I am used to having grown up in the South!

I just came back home from the Schanze having watched the first half of the footballgame Spain vs. Italy, and I got inspired by the beautiful sky. It´s 10:30 pm right now and it´s just after sunset. The sky was pink and bright blue... really beautiful. Just on the edge of turning dark blue. Unfortunately I didn´t have my mobile with me to capture the scenery, so I took a picture from the balvony of my flat. Not a bright shot, but it gets the message across I guess. It doesn´t feel like nighttime at all, it´s more like early evening. I love this time of the day, just on the edge of night. You can still sit outside - if it´s warm enough - and have a few drinks with friends or take a walk through the neighbourhood. Also, when you come home at like 4 am from a great party and you can hear the birds already warming up in the trees. Nature awakes and you are soo sleepy from a night out dancing and having fun! From dusk to dawn. At that time of the day, you feel like everything is possible. You are capable of anything. :-)

Today was really hot and humid, so when in the afternoon the thunderstrom with heavy rain broke loose it was like a relief. It wasn´t though the air smelled of rain. I love that. There is nothing like the smell of summer rain. It´s almost on the same level as freshly mowed grass, always sets free childhood memories. Excpet that this time you weren´t the one mowing the grass! :-)

Oh, now Spain and Italy are in overtime..... need to get back to the game. I am not THAT multitasking, I must say.

June 09, 2008

embracing change

Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things you didn´t do than
by the ones you did. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbour. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. -Mark Twain

This is probably one of my favorite quotes right now, because it says soo much about what I am wondering about right now ... it´s amazing. Maybe it can even be sort of a guideline. I remember overhearing someone, who saw the quote stuck to my notebook, saying that one should never loose sight of this - because it is soo true. Indeed it is. Life constantly changes every second, and why not take the change to do something you really want right now than wait days, months, maybe years even. It might never happen. LikeI don´t really understand why someone´s always saving up most of one´s vacation days for later in the year, when now would be the perfect timing, even when you still have so many days available for later on. Why? Maybe something better comes up, why should I waste my free days right now? Just because!

So, I kept thinking about me going Down Under to work and travel for months now. Couldn´t quite decide wheter or not to take the plunge. Leaving behind my family and friends, is not the biggest problem, since having lived away in a few countries a few times over the years, I already learned that the true friends stick and the others won´t bother. What bothered me the most was, the gap that would be there when I would come back. Going there forever was not to be questioned, since that has never been the issue as of right now, in the first place. Nevertheless what I wondered about the most was what would I do about my "job situation" afterwards. Am I really that courageous to just quit and see what happens? Seriously? Not really. I really like my job and having starting in this company to get to where I am right now, I am not going to just give that up just like that. Because once gone, getting back in wouldn´t be as simple as that!

During my time in New Zealand two months ago, I met a lot of people who exactly just did that. Having left everything behind and started a new life for a period of time. They were saying that what keeps me from "throwing away the bowlines" and just do it, is the typical way of security thinking. What have you got to loose? True, but it´s not as easy as that. Coming back home, I was constantly wondering. Was I not courageous enough to just finally do it? Who and .. respectively what still keeps me here?! This seriously can not be IT. But maybe I am not that adventureous after all. What I´m definitely sure of is that I certainly will regret it years later, if I haven´t tried it and stayed. You are always wiser in the end, they say. Not this time, I say.

Having done some research I think I finally found the perfect solution to my urge to really travel the world - sabbatical leave it is. Being able to get a leave of absence for a up to a year and return back to your job might be the perfect solution. Hopefully my managers and I find the perfect solution for my planse. They just don´t really know it ... yet.

In the end I might finally be able to really do it and try something really different for sometime for real. :-) As scary as that may seem, I can´t wait.

May 31, 2008

online deprivation

Last weekend the "sound" system of my macbook broke down again, so I finally had to turn it in for repairs - thank god for the warranty! :-) I figured, I´d trun it in on Monday, since I won´t be home anyways and have it back on Tuesday. Well, in my dreams! I couln´t believe it, when the "apple guy" told me, that it´ll take minimum 12 days to get it fixed! Expect it to take longer!! Where are they sending it to? China? Ouagadougou? And there I was thinking, they could repair it in their "back office" overnight! What a great Monday morning! I suppose, I ran around like something really bad happened all day long. During the day I realized what I really "lost" with my laptop gone. They said, it´s just your laptop gone! Like I haven´t realized that, yet. I started to wonder, why do I get soo upset, after all it´s a little white machine that is missing. When my TV receiver broke down ... I never shed a tear! But what do they know? I am apparently one of the few that does stuff online. I am like the odd one out! ;-) To them it´s still more like a mystery! At least we have mail and online access - also a very limited one - at work! Welcome to the web 2.0. But this is written on a different page.

Am I really that depened on my online activities? After all I do almost everything online. Researching, listening to music, social networking, blogging, skyping with friends and most important emailing. It´s that one of my communication channels completely broke away. At work we are not allowed to mail or use the internet privately, so keeping up with my friends is happening when I get home. So, excpet for texting, there is not much getting in touch with anybody besides my colleagues.

But am I really that dependend on email or IM? I hope not. I think, I am more unhappy with my laptop missing, becuase it´s like my whole life is IN it. All my photos, music and things ... everything is stored there and online. That´s the worst of it. Strange thing, that last Sunday itunes asked for a complete library back up... I already heard the system destroy itself, after hitting the "later"-button.

So, after one week "offline" and without my mac, I went straight to the apple store and asked for a lease laptop. I was obviously to "shocked" to have asked for that straigt away. Lucky me, caught the last one available there. And it got the new Tiger X installed.... LOVE it. It´s scary, but I think I can rather live without radio or TV than my mac. Scary but true. Except for vacation time, well, at least when I am relaxing on some beach and not traveling through some end of the world place, like New Zealand. But wouldn´t all just have missed my blogging from there?!

That made my weekend! :-)

May 25, 2008

alster abend - beautiful hamburg

This is why I really love living here in Hamburg. The water! Me being a mountain girl, having grown up in Southern Germany, I am soo used to hils and mountains, that living so close to the sea, a city with a huge harbour, ships and a big lake in the city center, is really great and totally different.

Friday evening we went to the Alster for an after work BBQ. It was really fun, unfortunately it wasn´t that warm and we didn´t bring any torches. But we have been pretty organised this time, everyone brought something to eat, blankets and we even had speakers for our ipods. Talk about spontaneous actions - we really learned from two weeks ago. ;-) We had so much food we could have fed the whole picnic area. But the others were also pretty packed with food.

This is the coolest thing about Hamburg, you can have a BBQ like almost everywhere. It´s not really clear if it´s legal, but everyone does it and nobody says anything. So you see like smoke rising from every green area around the Alster, along the Elbe and of course in the the Stadtpark. Somtimes it gets quite annoying, while trying to jog by... you feel like you just ran through BBQ-grill afterwards.

April 30, 2008

New Zealand at a glance

The sign "Caution! Fresh paint" is somehow missing.... picture postcards come to life.

April 29, 2008

culture schock at home

So, I have spent like all weekend sitting in the the sund and uploading my NZ photos on my laptop - all 800 of them. Labeling, editing, resizing, sorting, organizing, reorganizing and finally putting them all together in one short presentation. Looking back at the photos is really great, it seems soo far away already, but there really are some brilliant shots.

What a brilliant country that is.

April 24, 2008

the spirit of australia

ur Kiwi experience is over... what a blast it had been. I haven´t really realized what actually happened the last months. It just flew by at the speed of sound. Looking at the pictures it seem pretty surreal.

Now I am back in Hamburg and it´s soo akward. nothing has changed. That´s like the hardest part of returning home after being away for a while... their life just seems to have stopped while yours didn´t.

So after having traveled to the end of the world for a slight chance of maybe finding out what to do with my life... I think I might have come to a solution, which will cause me some sleepless night. Nevertheless I guess that´s what I will do in the next year. Since I have always wanted to stay in Sydney for a longer period of time, the only "easy" way is to get a working holiday visa. But this is just possible until the age of 30... which would give me almost two years time! :-) That´s at least a start, something to look forward to. Now the info hunting has begun.

The spirit of Australia has capurted me at first sight! Sydney 2009 here I come!

April 20, 2008

cheers mates!

It hasn' t really stopped raining the whole day of yesterday... what a drag! We went
to Sydney Wildlife to see some Koalas, Kangaroos and all those "cute" spiders and
reptiles there are in Oz! The most venomos spider in the world lives in Sydney...
hhhmmm, revise my decision....!?! The Koalas were really cute! Cuddling up to sleep
all day long! The afternoon we spent shopping, you could shop till you drop here...
seriously... unfortunately the season are revised here, so we can' t really do anything
with all those awesome autumn stuff back home.... damn! :-( The summer stuff that is
on sale .. is as usual only available in the big sizes! Oh well!

At night we met up with some Aussies and joined them at their after work drinks...
that was fun. Met a lot of people. We went to some other bar with some other people
we just met there at the pub. They were saying the bar we are going to is really
trashy and not that hot... so I was thinking some place like in the Schanze or Kiez...
but surprise the place was really cool! Not at all soo trashy. There we met other guys
from Sydney... it is sooo easy to met people here. All of them were doing after work
and the best thing is, all drinks until 11pm - it was like 9 pm back then - is on the
company... yep, they were all wasted! ;-) So, we chatted with this group of people,
and they looked like Advertising guys, but turned out to be lawyers... ok. We got
teased because we went to Kiwiland... why in the world NZ!! Well, it was quite fun, all
drinks were free for us as well, so we joined the office party there. Australian beer
isn' t all that bad, eh! ;-)

Today we spent a bit hung over at Bondi Beach.
The sun decided to shine for us on our last day down
under, so we headed to the beach! Did some coastal
walking and chilling in the sun! Nice day! Compared to
Australia now, NZ really has this end of the world feeling to
it. Auckland is compared to Sydney a village! :-)

So, tomorrow we will unfortunately fly back home... looong
way to go again. We are really sad to leave... it hss been a
rally awesome trip, time flew by like crazy. We haven' t
really gotten the chance to really realize where we have
been and what we have seen in NZ. Sooo much to see
and do in soo less time. I will be back though soon!

After 4000 km on the road and 20 days at the end of the world, our trip comes to an
end... it' s a wrap!
Thanks for keeping up with us and I will see some of you in a few days! :-)

April 18, 2008

Sydney @ its best

Oh , we love Sydney!!

This morning it poured down rain like crazy! we were pretty pissed, not a repetition of
Auckland, please not! Anyways you can also do a lot of stuff in Syndey while its bad
weather so we hit the streets and walked all the way up to the CBD to get some
brekky on the way. After we went to the Queen Victoria Building to check out my
favorite store, Witchery, it finally cleared, thank god! We went down to The Rocks
and did the Phylon look out climb, to see the city by daylight this time. Awesome
view. It still feels really unreal to actually stand in front of the harbor bridge and the
Opera House now.

The rest of the afternoon we spent at the Botanic Gardens. There we discovered that
one shouldn' t be surprised or even scared if the eels that are in that little pond there
eat the ducks!! aaahh, yeah... glad we didn' t know that when we were in the
Waitomo Caves wading through waist deep water with eels in it. Maybe just the Oz-
eels eat meat!! ;-)

After we almost got lost in a huge underground mall, somehow all of the innercity
malls are connected, we went down to Darling Harbour to have some "after work"

Now we are gonna hit some bars here in Newtown! :-)

April 16, 2008

good day Australia!

Good day from Australia!! :-)

Catching up on some free internet access while waiting for the rain to stop. yeah,
right, Sydney and rain ... again... it was really sunny in Auckland this morning. Great!
We were up at like 4>30 am since we had to catch the flight at 8:50am, return the car
and since it was an international flight, be there three hours in advance! Hurray!

Arriving in Sydney was somehow like coming home... :-) We caught a shuttle - since
it was the cheapest way to get into the city - and the Indian driver dropped us of in
Newtown saying that the hostel we are staying in is across the street... well, it turned
out it wasn' t and we had to walk 4km to reach this freaking place! Aaarghh!
The hostel is really great - thanks Maria for the recommendation - we are not staying
in the main building but next door, so it' s more like a shared house, typical Sydney
style! The room is pretty neat as well.

Now I am gonna show Anke around the city. Am leaving asap since in this TV room,
where the PCs are, there are like 20 backpackers lying around watching TV... you
just want to scream at them! Don' t they have anything to do at all!!!??!!!

Oh it has been wonderful, as always! We walked all the way down to the Opera
House so we could still see it at twilight. It was awesome. So surreal though. There
we also watched a spontaneous performance of some artists which was really good.
Sitting there on the steps of the Sydney Opera House.... way awesome!! :-)

April 15, 2008

farewell to the seas

It couldn' t be stopped ... the last day in NZ has arrived. What a
shame... and Kiwiland is crying because of it! Rainy day toady
as well! :-( But that doesn' t make it easier on us. Can' t we just
stay a little bit longer...

It has been a fantastic time here on the other side of the world. I
can honestly recommend anybody to come and visit this
beautiful country! It' s really worth it.

I can definitely say, that I will be back... more sooner than later.
Now we are heading of to spend some days in Sydney, Australia....

There is more to come! Hopefully, I will find the time to write, because I have a lot on
my agenda the next few days, let' s see what will become of it!

Jamie vs. Gordon

Yesterday was not that good, weatherwise. It poured down rain, all
day long. So no Sky Jump for me! Seriously I wanted to do it! We
walked around the city all day! But it' s not taht of an interesting
place to do a lot... the beaches and islands around Auckland would
be awesome, if the sun would shine! Our last days in NZ are spent
with typical Kiwi weather. :-(

Oh well, last night we cooked a German meal for the Kiwis. Oh, you
all stop laughing...! Everyone is still alive and no, I won' t cook when
I am back! Sorry! ;-)

We thought it's just gonna be just us staying at the house, but Elaine invited her son
and his wife over as well, plus the Japanese student was still spending the night, so it
was 7 people in total. Oh oh! We decided on making Rolladen with potato mash....
yummy... never made that one and not for 7 people!! After we stormed through the
NZ supermarket in the search of all the ingredients, thanks to the Dr Oetker' s english
version of a German cookbook that was at the house already - we rushed to the
house to find everyone already sitting at the table waiting for us. So, this time we
were the next Jamie Olivers cooking show! :-) Nothing burnt down... and seriously it
really tasted good. They even wanted seconds. :-) For desert we made vanilla ice
cream with hot boysenberries... yummy! The chocolate cake we had for the
Japanese girl' s birthday was rather interesting! We also sang a happy birthday to

Tonite we' ll get some real Kiwi food.

April 14, 2008

It never rains in Kiwiland

Finally we have made our way into Auckland... it was
really pretty easy to find the place where we are
staying at right now. We just drove on in... without a
map anything... thank god for my photographic
memory! :-)

For the weekend we had gone up to the Bay of Islands... beautiful beautiful... when
it's sunny outside. We thought about hanging out on the beaches and do some
snorkeling with the dolphins up there Well, no
chance! Since we left Auckland on Saturday morning
it poured down rain, the sun wouldn' t even come out
at all! How frustrating! We were sitting there in Paihia
and of course, there was nothing happening ...
nothing, zero, nada! At night, the whole place was
just empty! Oh well, so we sat there in this nice bar
while it poured down rain with gusty winds!
The night was also pretty interesting, since our room joined the kitchen and those
three English girls were chatting at the top of their lungs.... really world changing
stuff, I might say.
Yeah!! So, of course, no dolphin swimming today, since the sea was so rough, they
wouldn' t let you into the water. And just dolphin viewing.... well, no thanks, I have
seen enough dolphins already. But never swam with them! :-( Fortunately this has
been the first two days with typical NZ weather!

Today in the morning we drove up to the memorial of the
Rainbow Warrior, the Greenpeace ship which was shot at in
the harbor of Auckland. What a o\picturesque bay it was...
would have been even better if it was not that stormy outside
and a bit of light would have been a treat. There is not much
to do up there, when it's raining, everything happens on the
sea! So, we drove back to Auckland.

Right now we are in a big internet cafe which looking around might as well be in the
middle of Tokyo ... only Asian people around... pretty interesting...

We have finally crossed the 4000 km margin with our car!

Two days to go!! How sad is that!

April 11, 2008

black water rafting

Toady was our adventure day!

We went down to the Waitomo glow worm caves and had a blast. We did this combo
which lets you do all the cool things in one go! We were a group of five and the
guide, Daz a typical Kiwi guy, and three guys from the UK. Fun group. First we had to
change into a wetsuit, awful pants, harnets and gum boots! That was a shocking
outfit! I just ignored the fact that I was working for the fashion industry, god looked we
stupid!! :-) After some "dry training" on ropes how to use the rope and safety
instructions we went to the cave entrance. It went straight down ... like 30m and we
had to abseil it ... by ourselves! Standing on the edge of the ramp, I was like ...
alright, I am leaving. But it' s easier than it looks like. You slide down in a breeze.
From then we did some exploring of the caves, black water rafting and rock climbing.
It was amazing. The glow worms are awesome. The glow brightly. I didn' t know that
they were dying out, they only exist in Southern Oz and NZ these days... so even
more enjoyable to see them. It looked like a night sky full of little stars! After watching
the glow worms we climbed some rocks... steep ones and climbed through tiny holes.
It was really fun.

In the end we had to climb up the 30m we came down. It was really steep. But we all
made it. Daz shot some really cool pictures of all of us during the tour, but ... cannot
upload them right now... later on! Unfortunately my digital camera decided to quit on
me and broke down. There is nothing to repair anymore, which makes me really
mad, why now?! I hate it!

Right now, we are on our way to Auckland. We stopped at Raglan, this amazing
surfer beach and laid down on the beach for some hours before continuing on the
two hour drive to Auckland, one of our final destinations.

April 10, 2008

thermal wonderland

The Spa was sooo great. It was set right on the Lake of Rotorua and you could sit in
one of the pools and look over the lake... awesome! And since it gets quite chilly at
night, even better. It was pretty quiet in there as well, so no crowds. The pools were
all outdoors and ranged from 37 up to 42 degrees. So you could like jump from one
to the other. After a while you also get accostumed to the sulfur smell, which smells
like rotten eggs. And it does smell like that in the whole area. Sometimes it' s still
gross though!

We had a really nice backpackers and we had our own little house, more like a
shared house, with three guys from the Netherlands and a couple from Switzerland.
We had a lot of fun at breakfast, all sitting at the table and chatting. We could have
stayed there like one more day! But time is running out and we had to drive to the
Wai-O-Tao Thermal Wonderland, which is a Park full of volcanic activity and amazing
thermal pools. It' s amazing, the colors range from yellow - sulfur- to orange and the
smell.... uuuhhh, was disgusting at times, when the hot smoke hits you surprisingly
while walking past the pool. There the Lady Know Geyser is still active and erupts
every day at 10:15am - with a little help from a package of soap. It wouldn' t erupt on
time if they wouldn' t help a little. That' s also the reason how they discovered that the
geyser is still active, way back. around that thermal area an outdoor prison was
located once and the prisoners did their laundry like right next to the geyser when
they one day found their laundry like 15 m next to where they washed it! The geyser
erupts with a steaming water fountain up to 20 m... it was really impressive. Although
we thought it would go off with a loud bang, but it was quite smooth!

At noon, I thought it was about time to have another tattoo. :-) And since the Maoris
were the ones who "invented" it - they all have amazing tattoos here! So, as we
walked by this neat tattoo place I just walked in to see if they have space... and they
did. Three more stars!!! I love ' em!

In the afternoon we went to a Maori village, the only one that is still lived in Rotorua.
A Maori Guy showed us around and this was really interesting. They live in an active
thermal area and they are cleverly using the hot water streams for cooking and
bathing. Quite impressive. Also, the ground is soo hot they never get cold feet!

After the village we sped of to Waitomo, to do the cave tour the next day!

indulge in Maori culture

After spending half day in Taupo, we are now in Rotorua. The Maori must see town
in NZ. They have a lot of villages and of course Thermal pools here. We are staying
at this awesome backpackers here. Really cosy and we chatted to this Kiwi for like
an hour what to do and what to see! Really nice mate. Tonight we are about to leave
for the Polynesian Spa here in town, which is a big area with hot springs and thermal
pools, really nice thing to do when its getting colder outside in the evenings now!
Looking forward to this!

Tomorrow we' ll go and see the Geysers and more volcanic areas and amazing
sights. But time is running out now...

craters of the moon

Today we had a really great day... amazing nature things! We were exploring around
Taupo. This town lies on the beautiful Lake Taupo and is surrounded by volcanos.
Some of them are still active. The whole area is still moving, boiling and shaking.
They actually had an earthquake on Friday, April 4th, a small one, but it was one.
They are still waiting for the big shake though.

We started our tour at the Craters of the Moon, which is a volcanic active area and
well, looks like the craters of the moon. You wouldn' t expect there to be soo much
activity, because as always in NZ nature hits you by surprise. To enter this area you
had to pay 5 NZ$, which is really cheap, most of the times you don' t have to pay
entry to the national parks... just donations! Nice them kiwis! :-) So, we were entering
this park and you can go around on wooden bars along the craters. All you can see
at first is smoke coming up from holes in the ground, looks more like someone lit a
small fire. Coming closer you can see the little craters and smell the sulfur. You can
feel the earth is boiling underneath, it' s really hot. That's why you cannot walk on
sole ground, because you feet would get burned badly. There was one amazing
crater which was called the mud crater. It was really big and you could up and see
into it, it was all mud on the ground and it was like bubbling and boiling. Looked more
like boiling water in a big bowl, except it was brown mud. Spooky. Smoke
everywhere! They also make swoooshing sounds! It felt like walking through Jurassic
Park there. Pretty impressive!

Then we went on to the Huka Falls, they are provided the area around Taupo with
electricity, so we thought, they must be pretty huge waterfalls there. Nope, weren't!
They were not soo big, but pretty impressive. The water is crystal clear and turquoise
... as all the water around here is. You just want to jump in and take a few swims
there! Too cold though!

After that we went to the Bungy Jump. Watched a few jumpers. Scenic bridge there,
but wouldn' t get me jumping. We were thinking of doing the sky dive over Taupo...
we even went to the local airport to check it out. But ... aahh, yeah we chickened out!
:-( Not really my thing. It was really busy and they squeezed like 10 people plus
tandem partners in the small, tiny, scary looking plane! ahh noo! Maybe if there
would have been somebody to talk us really into it, we' d go for it but since none of
us really really wanted to do it... the idea of it sounded great though.

April 09, 2008

a trip to Mordor

What a day it has been!

Yesterday we were discovering the night life of Wellington... well, there was actually
none, since it was Monday night and everyone probably still hung over from the WE,
so not a lot of people around. The street where all the pubs and bars are on
reminded me a bit of the Reeperbahn in Hamburg, although, no red light and a lot
cleaner and nicer! We found a pretty good Irish Pub though, they are like everywhere
down there. And had some real food .... yeah! No more sandwiches or instant soups
for a change! Then we discovered a bar which had Daiquiries for half price... yep,
they were really good - strong as well, so they did their job! :-)

This morning we ran around Wellington and did some sightseeing. There wasn' t
much either. Oh the cable car ... we rode this for two minutes then the ride ended....
ok, pretty short track! We walked down to the city via the Botanic Gardens, which
were pretty neat, and checked out the Government Buildings. But either than that,
Wellington is a pretty unspectacular city! So off we were towards the North.

Right now we are in Taupo on Lake Taupo. We took the Volcanic Explorer Highway
which goes straight through the National Parks of the volcanos... First it was really
nice, could also have been driving somewhere in the US, looked a bit like the
Carolinas, going to the country side, then there were huge sings, with road conditions
and "Drive with Care" warnings and the road turned into Desert Road... yep, that was
the perfect name for it, because there was nothing there! Reminded me somewhat of
Death Valley, but more scarce. The clouds were really low and it looked a bit spooky.
They used the backdrop for Mordor in L o t Rings... that' s how we felt... going to
Mordor! Straight!

Finally we arrived in Taupo this evening. The hostel is ok, but there are weird people
hanging out. We cooked at the hostel tonight - another first here - and the kitchen
was overflowing with 'kids" ... pretty annoying... Thank god we still have a bottle of
wine in the fridge... that' ll do it! :-)

Tomorrow we' ll probably go white water rafting in the morning... and then we' ll see!

April 08, 2008

New Zealand continued

We'v e made it..... to the North Island.

The ferry ride was actually not that bad. It was clearing when we left Picton this
afternoon. How exciting to go on the ferry with the car. It was huge, which movie
theater and everything on it. The trip was quite stormy though. Well, ipod on shuffle
mode and no worries! I stayed on the sun deck all the time, sitting down on the floor it
wasn' t that windy and the sun was quite strong! Standing up, you' d got blown away!
Luckily we didn' t get seasick! Yeah!

From Picton the ferry takes you along the Malborough Sounds. Really picturesque!
Reminds of the Fiorlands. We had sun, so it looked amazing with the dark turquoise
ocean and the lush green rainforest! Brilliant!

Wellington is called the windy city! Well, truth is, it' s even worse than Hamburg. And
it drizzled this evening, so not much to see. Someone also switches out the sunlight
at like seven and it gets dark from one second to the other! So, we' ll be off to do
some sightseeing tomorrow and then off up North towards the volcanos, Thermal
pools, Geysers, Maori villages, beaches, dolphin encounter, white or black water
rafting and more. Currently we are thinking about doing the big jump over Lake
Taupo. Skydiving is on the agenda... m a y b e!! :-)

New Zealand part 2 is about to begin ...

farewell to South Island

Here we are in Picton, our last stop on the South Island. Tomorrow we'll catch the ferry to Wellington and off we are to the North Island. The ferry ride is supposed to be amazing, the ferry takes you out through a bit of Malborough Sounds and out via the Cook Strait into Wellington. I am honestly a bit scared of the ferry ride, because everyone I talked to was seasick, it gets crazy out there. But according to the friendly guy at the check in desk, we are on the newest and fastest boat, and tomorrow should be a fine day. Well, lets wait and see, if I need to pop in some pills and walk around like a zombie for the rest of tomorrow. 

Tonight we are in Picton at this neat little backpackers. We already stayed at the "sister" hostel in Nelson and it was really cool there. They have this thing, that they serve chocolate pudding with ice cream every night at 8pm. That is a really really nice treat. We first thought, ahh ok, nice, but then at 8pm the guy from the office yells through the hostel ... "chocolate pudding for everyone please" and everybody jumps up and starts for the kitchen. Seriously that is not a pudding they serve here... it' s even better, it' s more like fudge with vanilla ice cream!... and it's delicious... ! So, yeah today we already had the fudge... thank god we are leaving tomorrow, we wouldn' t be recognised if we' d continued eating it. ;-)

Oh, another thing: we think that NZ is the new Mallorca for the Germans... it is crazy, everywhere you go there are 90% Germans around and not the young backpackers, no way, older ones (60 and up as well) and they are everywhere. It' s like when Kiwis ask you where you come from and you say it, they go like, ah of course! It' s pretty annoying we think, that Germans are everywhere. We have to watch our mouths really carefully, when we see strange people passing...they might understand us! ;-) A lot of the German backpackers we met, they stay here for a year or longer, work and travel... well, more travel than work... most of them quit there job and most of them were "fired" by their bosses, so now we know, how on earth everyone seems to be able to afford a leisure life like this for more than a few months... !!  aha! One girl was telling us that she was fired by her boss and now she is able to do this, and we were like "oh so we are paying for your journey to NZ or what... very interesting!" well, she was not amused! ;-) 

But there are also a lot of other people from around the world hangin out at the backpackers, in Nelson we had a pretty good time with people from the US, CA, UK and SE.... but compared to their stories and what they already have seen, our 4 week trip seems like nothing. It' s definitely not enough time... but one thing is for sure... I will be back!

April 07, 2008

stop and stare

Woo hoo! We finally made it, we went kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park. And seriously... we were sooo good! Yep! Unfortunately our group, consisting of 6 people plus guide, was not one of the fastest, due to two Asian girls who had no clue what they were doing at all and zig zag kayaking around the bay like crazy. We would have rocked this thing, we went soo fast, but untrained or unfit as those girls were, we all had to wait up and stop one bay earlier because they almost fell out of their kayak they were so tired. Anyways we had a great time. The weather wasn' t that great, but it didn' t rain luckily. Was a bit cloudy, but perfectly fine for a tour on the water. We were paddeling for almost three hours on turquoise waters, the Tasman Sea, and rainforest coastlines, yellow sandy beaches. Picture Perfect! We had a break at the beach with our lunch and we also got hot chocolate... Yummy... with milk foam! our guide was running into the little store while we were on our way to the beach to start the tour and she bought milk, I was joking, saying ha ha ha, maybe we get a latte later. Well, indeed we did, but we all prefered hot chocolate! 

And from the little beach, we walked back to our car, instead of taking the water taxi. It took us two and a half hours, which was quite ok, since we never lost the view of the beautiful coastline. We are still wandering if the Asian girls ever made it to the car park, they left after us, but it took them with their poor fitness level, probably forever. But in the end it got a bit tiring, we were lacking of caffeine... that's another thing in NZ, the coffee, well, the latte (here they call it trim latte not skinny latte) is superb...everywhere! Just a little side note! :-) It was a great day!

April 06, 2008

seals up close and personal

Today has been really awesome... again...we wanted to kayak today in the Abel Tasman Ntl. Park, but as we got up in the morning it poured down rain. So, we decided to go to the most northern point of the South Island... the Farewell Spit. After driving up and down the most curvy road I have been on ... let me tell you, motion sickness sucks!! We drove into the clouds, they were hanging pretty low toady and then it was the most beautiful day, blue skies and sunny. So we went to this little town which is the last town on the South Island, it actually had the feeling to it... nobody there! The guy at the hostel told us this morning, that there was the most beautiful beach up there, he has seen, so we went there. The beach is called Waraiki Beach! 

After driving on unsealed road for half an hour, we came to this car park and had to continue on foot to the beach. We had to climb over a little fence and tramped on a trail across a sheep farmland. The didn' t bother at all, kept on munching grass. Then another fence climb and we walked across land where bulls were standing could also have been in the Alps, it looked like it. Lush green fields and rainforest... then up a steep hill and puuufff there it was ... the most brilliant beach I have ever been on. Big impact! The sand dunes were high, there were rocks in the ocean and the beach was.... well, endless sand!! Stunning! After regaining our breath again we strolled over to the rocks, where a seal colony was supposed to be. 

We checked out the rocks and yeah, there were some there. Cute!

Then out of the blue, well, out of the ocean came a seal.... like 5 meters next to us, crossed the little beach to this little pond thingy and jumped in there. We were like ... aaahhhh what is that? Then as we walked up to the little pond... there were five seals in there.... we were THRILLED... that was sooo cool. We stood there and they started their show... seriously they started to play. Jumping in the water, splashing, goofing around like crazy... that was like in Sea World, except it was NATURE and we were 1m next to it.... AWESOME!!! That made our day... :-) we almost floated back to the car! Everyone who crossed our path we were telling them to go to the little pond... :-) 

After this excitement we drove back to that little cafe overlooking the Farewell Spit, the Craddle Kitchen. Neat little hut... real stunning view out on the ocean. Great day...

Oh, and as we came back to the hostel, the door to our room which was right next to the reception was wide open. Obviously there had been a fire alarm caused in our room and the whole hostel had to evacuate.... and we haven' t been there!! Damn! Why that happened? They didn' t know... lets hope for a quiet night!!

Do I need to worry that the Cashier at the local drug store was asking for my ID when I bought the bottle of wine this evening?!! Everyone who looks younger than 25 yrs of age need to show ID!!! Aahhh..... that hasn' t happened to me since ... what, I was 16!!! Well, except the US...!! Weird... Should I be flattered then? :-)

Tomorrow we are then of to Kayak in Abel Tasman ... finally... we are quite excited...

April 05, 2008

noah´s arch

After having spent the day at the glaciers hiking we went on towards the west coast... driving hours all alone on the highway... ahhh no, let' s call it street. We arrived in this small town, Greymouth. We finally found a place to stay for the night which was really cool. It was a hostel in a pretty old building, that survived the flooding years back and therefore is calle Noah' s Arch. Each room has a different theme... we stayed in the Pigs room, which was in pink and decorated with little pigs. 

Today we mostly spent driving... hey, we already drove 2000km in NZ... we are doing pretty good! 
We went from Greymouth up the coast.. the road was curving along the Tasman Sea, like 2m next to the roads was the turquoise ocean... looked amazing! We stopped south of Westport to see the seal colony there. Fur seals lying on the rocks chillin'! 

Then we... well, I drove all the way to Nelson. Three hours! Which was not that exciting because the road winded along the mountains inlands. Here in Nelson we stay at a pretty cool little, cosy Backpackers. It's really nice. We sit there with a lot of people from different countries chatting. We are also close to the end of our white wine... so ... yeah, I get back to that now. 

Tomorrow we hope that the weather gets better.... it' s quite stormy here. We' d plan to do Kayaking in the Abel Tasman National Park. Then get the ferrie to Wellington on Sunday. 

Let me introduce you to Franz Josef and Fox

... the most amazing natural phenomenas I have seen so far... we were driving like for two hours through the thickest rainforest... lush green palm trees and breeches... the air si quite humid ad it' s hot outside... then you turn the corner and puuufff there is one glacier in front of you! In the rainforest... that' s like out of this world! It' s unqiue in the whole world that glaciers are right next to rain forests. 

The Maori Legend says that the glacier Franz Josef is the tears of a Maori girl who lost her love in some war.... tears that have gone to ice... isn' t that sweet. 

We unfortunately missed the glacier tours, where you can actually walk on the glacier, so we went back to the thermal face just to look at it. Awesome. Fox Glacier is right next to the Franz Josef glacier, which was named after some Austrian Guy, was it the Kaiser maybe! The Franz, as we called him, was even more impressive, because you walk back there through the rainforest and through the almost dried out river bed back almost to the thermal face. So we did some hiking back there and starred at the glacier for some time. Beautifull. Unfortunately we missed the tours
we' d loved to go back up there. The helicopter rides were too expensive as well. But we' ve been there. 

Still slow internet access.... aaaawwwww I am soo counting on Wellington...

April 03, 2008

glaciers meet rainforests

Leaving Lake Wanaka to the Westcoast over Haast Pass, we were expecting it to be another "highway to hell" like our unspecatular journey to Milford!! Fortunately not! :-)

It was amazing always.... scenic route and it was just us and the road. We actually saw sheeps running around without fence and they were standing right next to the road. Sooo cute!!  
Haast Pass winds right through a lush rainforest - its fresh smell is incredible - and right through to the Tasman Sea. As backdrop are the snow covered mountains... awesome! After three hours driving we are actual in the middle of nowhere... Haast is a little town... no, five houses and two lodges and one supermarket.... pretty much happening here! It's more or less a base for the people going to the glaciers. 

That's what we are going to do tomorrow. If the weather is clear we'll go for a half day hike on the Franz Josef glacier... with ice axes and stuff... that sounds real fun. 

Oh, still no photos to upload since the PCs are sooo slow, it would take ages.... shortly, when we reach civilisation... that's be in about 500 km up the coast... there might be a real internet cafe again.... maybe, but with the kiwis... you never know!  ;-)

April 02, 2008

let´s conquer the west coast

After spending the night in uneventful Queenstown ... we went on to a small town right next to it, called Arrowtown. It was sooo pretty, it had one Main Street and looked like out of a Western movie, with little stores instead of the salons. Really pretty. 

Then we went on .... driving all alone on the winding roads to Lake Wanaka. Also, really beautiful and laid back town.

There we hiked up Mt Iron in what felt like 30 degrees C. Why is the route up the mountain allways in the sun and the way back hidden in the shadow? Up that Mountain we had the most breathtaking 360 degree view over Lake Wanaka and the whole area.... amazing. The widness of the country is amazing.... there doesn' t seem to be a border at all!


After spending the morning in Milford Sound, we drove all the way back to Queenstown to spend the night and continue towards the west coast. 
The weather is still amazing... sunshine and blue skies.... yeah! It got really chilly that night. The hostel we stayed in was really neat... we had our own little hut... sweet.
Queenstown is a typical resort town, skiing in winter and hiking in summertime. Since it is midseason here, not a lot of people are saying there, so not much happening. Queenstown is however the center of party all night and adrenaline kicks... you can choose between bungy - it actually the place where bungy was invented - helibungy, jet boating, river surfing, skydiving, sky swing, shotover bungy and what else you can possible imagine. We watched some bungy jumps, they all chose to get dipped into the water .... brrr, it was freezing. Actually we wanted to do white water rafting, but we thought it too cold, we are gonna do that up north.. And NO we didn' t chicken out!! ;-)

April 01, 2008

would you recognise a hobbit, if you met one?

Please excuse any spelling mistakes this HYPERLINK "mailto:f@" \l "$%" f@#$%^ PC is from the 90ies and so slow I don't see what I am writing.... I should have taken my macbook!!!

Oh my god, what a trip it had been. 

We started of pretty smooth here in Te Anau back to Milford Sound. Trip takes about two hours on a scenic quite spectacular winding road. Well, we always stop at really breathtaking scenery and after ohhhing about it go on! That' s our thing, so let it go!! ;-) Anke drove like for the first hour and then we changed. It already began to get dark, well, actually here it' s like ppuuuffff somebody switched the light out. So, I was driving and the road was ok, when it started to rain and wind and fog. Then it rained really hard and the windshield whiper isn' t working at all ... of course!!! The roads starts picking up and got really steep. Oh, how mysterious this is... spooky, we like it! :-) Then after 15 minutes it wasn' t that funny anymore, because we still had an hour to go and it didn' t get any better. One couldn't see a thing, all fog or clouds or what that was. Of course, we were the only car on that freaking road... it got quite quiet inside our car, let me tell you! I followed the middle line, just to be safe, didn't want to run us down the shoulder or anything. To make things worse, Anke happily discovered that there wasn] t any mobile receiption anymore... so, there we are all alone on this freaktrip and no we would not even get in touch with anyone ..... luckily the one and only hostel up there had our bed bookings. It sounds not that bad, but one should have been there... it was really spooky. Then after a steep turn the road went into a tunnel... not a "normal" tunnel of course, hey we are in Kiwi-land, nothing is normal.

So this tunnel, was out of the 1950s, I guess (the road to the Sound was built in the 90ies so don' t you all wonder)... pitch black .. no we don' t need lights at all, we have our own, right? *ha ha ha* It went to a one lane road and it wouldn' t end.... it was creepy.... ! After the tunnel the road didn' t get any better, the trees started hanging in the road. Basically, we were quite freaked out, when we' d finally would arrive in this lost world of this lonely planet... it resembled a scene of Jurassic Park meets Lord of the Rings! If we'd seen a hobbit standing there on the side of the road... hitch hiking, wouldn' t have surprised us at all.... seriously.... 
Well, after 2 hours of highway .. well, track to hell.... we arrived at the hostel and it poured down like crazy. 

At 11 pm the lights were switched of at the hostel ... well, the generator was cut off, only security lights... what a cosy place it was. For real, it was really a neat place, with big sofas and a lot of backpackers.... 

During the night the storm picked up and got worse, so in the morning, it felt like during the middle of a hurricane... we were like, ok, now we are stranded in the middle of nowhere because we can' t go on the boat onto the Milford Sound... !

We caught the boat at 10am and it was quite stormy and still raining, but with raincoats and a good humor, it worked. Actually it was magnificant... the Fiordland is awesome, it looked really ... again, like out of a movie set, the mountain tops were hidden by the clouds and the water was bottle green. Really mysterious.... The sun came out in the end again and it changed the whole scenery... quite astonishing.... we didn' t get to see dolphins, but sea lions.... ok, we can live with that, we'll be swimming with the dolphins anyways, later on!! whoo hooo!

That was it from the Milford Sound, now we are heading back to Queenstown and then off to the Franz Josef Glacier to the Westcoast of NZ....

March 31, 2008

the next jamie olivers

Us staying at the sheep station ... yep, indeed. :-) 

We met this guy from LA there .. Sam aka Borat ... he was staying there already for 1 1\2 yrs.. working and entertaining the backpackers, we guess. We were sitting on the porch with Sam and a couple from Beligum (our age, quit their jobs and travel around NZ for a year ... awesome) having some drinks and chatting. In the kitchen these two German guys aka mama' s babies were preparing their dinner ... like for 1 hour they neatly chopped vegetables, chopped cheese into tiny bits and pieces, cooked pasta and the likes and made themselves a big pot of pasta caserole! We had the times of our lives watching them acting like Jamie Oliver on speed, that was like a dinner show live. Sam then also filmed them with his camera and we watched the director' s cut on fast forward later! They didn' t really realize what was going on... thank god for the double glass windows!! Anyway, it was hillarous. 

Today we woke up to this splendid view of the station and the surrounding farm land.... it's like out of a movie set...

We also have the suspicion that to attract tourists to this end of the world, the Kiwis actually set this all up… they placed those amazing mountains, rivers and plain fields and turquoise lakes there .. it looks like out of  a movie set... Lord of the Rings comes alive... it really does! 

Right now we are at Te Anau, on the border of the Fiordlands of NZ... a tiny town ... a real variety to the hours driving though the most beautiful scenery through the mountains with nobody there except us and the sheeps .. no houses no stations to be seen... also, no radio... we are fluent in the song lyrics on our brought CDs yet! 

We are about to leave for the two hours drive to Milford Sound... where we are staying the night in the only backpacker there and leave for a trip to the Milford Sound tomorrow morning. Hopefully we' ll see the penguins, whales and dolphins. we are actually hoping for rain, since there won' t be sand flies then. 

More to come ... we now got to fill up our car... there isn' t a petrol station on the way to Milford .. which takes one way 2 hours! Also, there is just 1 bar .. probably closed after 5pm! 

More to come from the Mildford Sound adventures....

nautre on extasy

We finally  moved on south bound. Unfortunately there is no
quick internet access at all, so we cannot post into the blog as freqeutently as we' d like. Over all we can say we LOVE this country... we had our 4 hour drive to Lake Tekapo yesterday and we couldn' t stop oooohhing and aaawing about this magnifisant nature.... it's brilliant, awesome, fantastic... I think, we both fell for New Zealand... evertiime one turns a corner drving the passes it' s like you are thrown into a different world.... it's sooooo brilliant. We took like millions of pictures which I cannot upload right now, but I will asap... it' s breathtaking..
Lake Teakapo with its turquoise water and the snow covered mt Cook in the back .... WOW.... we had soo much luck since the sun was shining constantly.. and it' s quite hot..
What we also learned here, every mailbox is attached too tons of sheep... seriously, it' s sheep country. They look really cute with there round faces staring at the passing cars... and to top it all  last night we stayed at a sheep station! Don' t you all wonder? Yep, us staying on a sheep
station backpacker. It was really cosy more like a family stay.

We had a blast last night.

March 29, 2008

blinded by the light

We have made it!!! WOO HOOO! We finally landed in Christchurch, NZ after 24 hrs of boring  and very turbulent flights. But honestly it wasn` t too bad, we had two seat each on all our flights, that was really comfz (well as comfy as you can get on a plane!!). After Singpore we lost all awareness of time, day or even which part of the world we are on right now. We just sat there on the smokers terrace with 37 C degrees outside! Yeah! We probably looked and walked around like drunk zombies, the ground was still moving! Arriving in Sydney, after flying directly over the Opera House and Harbour Bridge,
was like out of a movie scene - felt pretty unreal. After we saw some really hot surfer guys, it was like "Hello and welcome to Australia!" - we really like that! :-)  Oh, and guess what? While waiting like right next to the runway for our final and quick flight to NZ I saw the A380 rolling .. gliding to the gate ... wow, that was quite impressive it's like huge. 

Anyways, New Zealand greeted us well, with blue skies, 24 C and sunshine. hurray! Our shuttle driver from the airport was a race driver - he really was - and drove, well, raced us through the whole town to our hostel on the New Brighton beach. The country looks really amazing from the plane, green fields and champagne colored mountains that enter right into the ocean. 

Yesterday we already got a first glimpse of what it' s going to be like the next 4 weeks... we took a stroll on the beach, which is just around the corner of our hostel. It' s  already breathtaking... and we haven't started to see the really good stuff yet. I attach the pics we took yesterday at sun down, to give ya' ll some impressions. 

The people here are amazing ... they are soo nice.. and it/ s not that fake friendliness, it' s real. We already met some fisherman who actually caught a huge sting ray out of the ocean. We were like ... ja  ja, whatever, but then we actually saw it out of the water... wow, it was huge ... well, so much for us going swimming in there! the surfers obviously don/ t mind they were there the whole evening ...  :-) 

So, that is it for now ...we are off for drinks. ... after work ... well, welcome holidays drink.. :-) since we walked like all of Christchurch toady we really earned it, right? Christchurch is really pretty, a lot of green and a very small town and very british looking. But great outdoor bars and pubs .. :-) 

You all enjoy your day at work, while we are starting off our Friday night in NZ.

March 25, 2008

the wait is almost over

WOW, the wait is almost over and it´s finally here ... just 1 more night and we´re heading off to the end to the world, literally. Supposedly, a real amazing and breath taking one. Better be! It´ll take us like 24 hrs flight time via Singapur, Sydney to Christchurch, NZ - just to get there. So, while everyone else is working and catching a good nights sleep, I´m still not there yet. Bags are almost packed, nevertheless I am still amazed I managed to stuff just 16 kg in it ... hello? I thought I´d need to take my whole closet... * you wish* ... tough decision, do I know now, what I am gonna wear the next four weeks? Hardly. ;-) Well, there´s not a lot to talk about right now. People are constantly ringing me up, it ´s just one month, it´s not that I won´t come back ... well, chances are good that I finally landed and actually might not, but we´d see to that way later! If the surfer turns out to be a sheep after all - just kidding - I think NOT!