on my way Backpacking, roadtripping and travelling the world


Beautiful Brisbane!

What an atmosphere! The night started with a gig of an act of the same name. But I never heard more Beastie Boys tunes on a hip-hop gig without them actually performing. Rest in peace MCA!

After the amazing “Atmosphere” gig in West End I jumped on my bicycle and rode to Eagle Street in order to watch the FA cup final. But on my way there I had a beautiful journey, which made me realise how beautiful Brisbane is.

Having already had a long evening in the “Hi-Fi” in West End I really enjoyed the calm ride along the river. It was such a contrast to the couple of hours partying. The Bridges across the river were nicely illuminated – as always – and with passing the Wheel and Southbank there was no hint of the buzz, which takes place there every day. Across the river Brisbane’s Skyline showed up, with the Casino in the front lit in several colours. Just a couple of blocks beside it I could see my University campus – QUT Gardens Point.

After crossing Goodwill Bridge I reached the City Botanic Gardens – an oasis in the middle of Brisbane. Passing the mangroves and palm trees I could see how gentle lights made the rock face of Kangaroo Point appear in the dark. Further downstream yellow lights marked the outline of the Story Bridge. And there, in the middle of the path: a possum, sitting there and watching at me without really seeing me. Eventually it reacted and ran away. At this moment the big city of Brisbane felt so far away…

But slowly the sounds of Brisbane’s nightlife faded into the moment of silence. Driving along the Riverside Bikeway I approached the busy restaurants, clubs and bars on Eagle Street, and finally jumped back into the vibrant nightlife. Stepping into Pig & Whistle felt like being in a football stadium: You Never Walk Alone!

What an evening with such a contrast of atmospheres. Good night, Brisbane!


Sunshine Coast and Whale Watching in Hervey Bay

In my latest study break it took me a while to buy a van, as especially then only a few vans were for sale. I bought a normal van so I then spent a couple of days fitting out the van to make sure nothing is missing for my road trip up the coast together with Elana who came from New Zealand to visit me for a week.

Our first stop was Rainbow Beach, where we spent the night on a nice campground on the beach. After visiting the big sand dune the next day we continued to Hervey Bay. The nice double rainbow in the afternoon made us hope to have a awesome day the next day out with the whales - and it was awesome!

In a small group of just 6 including crew, we spent all day in the bay cruising around with the big catamaran sometime even catching some wind so we could turn of the motor. It took a while until we saw the first whales, but then they would not stop jumping and diving up. We even saw a Southern Right whale with a young calf (check out my youtube channel for a video). These kind of whales normally only show up in Hervey bay every 5-6 years, and our Skipper said he had never seen a Southern Right that close to his boat, especially with her calf.
One of the Humpback Whales was that close that it seemed it will touch the boat as it dived under our boat just below the bow.

The following days we spend some time on the Sunshine coast stopping in Noosa, Mooloolaba and the Glasshouse Mountains. Instead of visiting the Australian Zoo we decided to go on a small hike around Mount Tibrogargan.

Now that I have a van I will try to do some more weekend trips in the next time, especially as summer just started to hit Brisbane. This weekend we'll spend a day at the beach with 28 degrees to be expected. Good bye "winter"!


Germany, Italy, Poland, Friends and Family

Ten days - much too short. Can't believe that my visit in Europe is already over. After two days in the plane I will be back at uni and study again.

After my arrival in Germany early in the morning I had a nice Sunday brunch with my parents. Technologies like Skype, Email or mobile phones are great inventions that allow us nowadays to keep in touch without any problems. But all this still cannot replace a real hug.
After this relaxed brunch I had to unpack my bag and to pack some stuff for the wedding week in Italy - suite, shirt, tie, nice shoes and boarder shorts and a towel. That's all I really needed in the week on the vineyard in San Vito. After a nice all day drive through the swiss Alps we arrived at 30 degrees celsius and were welcome by a BBQ - almost as in Australia :-)
In the following days more an more friend arrived and we spent a beautiful week waiting for the best part to come: the wedding ceremony and party on Friday. Not only on Friday, as well the one or other day before we partied till sunrise, so the Saturday was a great opportunity to recharge for the drive back on Sunday.

On Monday then I spent all day in Stuttgart to meet with the ones I didn't meet in Tuscany. It felt good to be back especially with 34 degrees celsius :-D Sitting in the "Schlosspark", eating ice-cream at "Eugensplatz" and finally having some dinner at "Hans-Im-Glück-Brunnen"; just for a visit of top of Stuttgart, the "Fernsehturm", there was no time left.
The last three days I spent in Warsaw visiting my Grandma. Luckily it wasn't as hot as in Stuttgart, so the big city was quite bearable. We talked as much as time permitted and I tried to help wherever I could. Sometime it's good to have a good handyman in your family - even if he is in Australia ;-)

Now I'm already in the train back to Frankfurt and will have a 10 hours stopover in Bangkok before I arrive in Brisbane. Looking forward to some good Thai food from on the stress food stalls and a hopefully relaxing thai-massage - on Marina's advice I will have a first try ;-) (PS: and it was good!)

See you in Brisbane


Back in Europe!

Back again in Europe, back home in Germany, even though it's only for a short time. But it nice to see all the familiar things, even the cars drive on the wrong side of the road ;)
After a stopover in Bangkok I arrive this morning in Frankfurt and am sitting in the train right now to Stuttgart. Feels good to be 'home' - but aren't I flying back 'home' in two weeks time already again? It weird to be a 'tourist' in his home country for the first time.

After my final exam two days ago, I was so relieved that the teaching period and the semester was over. Even I had only two instead of typically three subjects, there was quite a lot happening in the last weeks. Concerning my studies I decided to switch my study course and study for one semester longer extending my MBA with a Major. It took some discussions with QUT to make up my mind and to finally make this decision. But now I am happy this issue is resolved and I can enjoy my stay here in Europe.
I was meant to go on along weekend diving trip last weekend, but again Agnes Water/Town of 1770 did not allow me to. Too bad weather and too high waves again made the boat ride too dangerous so I went on a day trip to Stradbroke Island instead. It was cold and rainy but who cares if you're under water? After two real cool dives with some more sharks and a manta I saw one of the best sunsets for a while. On our way back on the ferry this was one of the few sunsets over water I could see until now in Australia. Living on the East coast is tough ;)

I hope I will get over my jet-lag pretty fast, as tomorrow I already leave Germany again and drive to Italy, Tuscany in order to chill with most of my friends on a vineyard and then to celebrate the wedding of Betty and Marco. So looking forward to it! Even though I have way enough warm weather in Australia, it's not as good as lying under the Italian sun with most of my closest friends!

Congratulations Betty and Marco to your marriage last Friday already!
Looking forward to a fantastic wedding week in Empoli!


Easter Break – Sunshine and Fraser Coast

Obviously I either don't have much time during my teaching periods to write new posts in my blog, or the 'business as usual' isn't that interesting to be mentioned.
But actually quite some stuff happened in the last 2 months, since I last wrote something. Some weeks ago I had my first 'visitors' from 'Germany' here in Brisbane. The temporary 'Aussies' Marina and Hannes came for a couple of days to Brisbane before they left towards home making a stop-over in South-East Asia. They left me with 'Milhouse' their van, which accompanied them on their Australia trip for almost 6 months. As they couldn't sell it in time, I have to care of it now.
Some weeks later my flatmate Axel moved out and left to New Zealand in order to travel, work and learn a bit more English. In the meantime he's back in Australia and travel from Melbourne via Sydney to be back in Brissie in one or two weeks before he leave back home to Spain. Now Julia from Germany moved in, so we have as many Germans living in the house as we have Australians - we Germans are everywhere :-)
At the end of my teaching period Vinc from back home came to visit me as well. He first visited Fred and Franzi in Melbourne and came to Brisbane after spending another week in Sydney. After showing him around in Brisbane the next day we then picked up Fred and Franzi from the airport and drove with Milhouse up north the coast all the way to Agnes Water/Town of 1770, passing Rainbow Beach on our way. Town of 1770 is the place James Cook first landed in Australia in May 1770. We had planned to do a snorkeling trip to the southern tip of the Great Barrier Reef, but because of the rough sea it was considered to be too dangerous, so it was cancelled. Instead we spend all day at the beach, enjoying the fine sand, the big waves and the hot sun.
As we only had one week (It was the Easter break) we had to head back south where we again stopped in Rainbow Beach to start out 3-day Fraser Island tour the next day.
In a group of 20 people in three Landcruiser jeeps, we had a great time driving the big jeeps on the sandy and muddy 'roads' and beaches - great fun. A little bit like driving in the snow - damn I miss winter and snowboarding…
The weather was quite changing all the time, but we had a decent amount of hours with sunshine, even though it was quite cloudy and rainy from time to time. On the morning of day three it rained so hard, that our campsite turned into a huge lake.
As already mentioned, we stayed the two nights in small tents and had a big kitchen shelter, where we had a BBQ on both evenings. Til late our cool Kiwi guide Harps played the guitar and for some of us it was pretty hard to wake up the next morning and especially sit in the car for the bumpy ride. Even though no one had drive a jeep before in deep sand, we didn’t got stuck one time, so after three days full of sandy adventures, including dingoes, (dead) snakes and nice walks to several lakes including swimming in them, we returned to Rainbow Beach.
The next day we had to go back to Brisbane and while Vinc and I together with all my housemates visited the Caxton Street Food and Wine Festival (a nice description of a huge public piss-up :-P ) in the evening, Fred and Franzi flew back to Melbourne. Vinc followed them the next day to the airport in order to fly back home to Germany.
And me, I had to start studying again. After this one week off, which felt like several weeks, it was a bit hard to get used to uni again, but in the meantime I’m again almost half way through my teaching period. You can’t really afford to put much effort into the studies, as the 6 week teaching periods make it quite tough. And in addition I had to realise that enrolling on all the units isn’t as easy as it looks like, especially because some units are offered on the same time-slot, which places some constraints on my study plan. But with careful planning and one or two more intense teaching periods I will be to take a teaching period of at the end of the year, in order to travel around maybe in Australia and New Zealand.
But right now I am looking forward to the end of this teaching period, as I will be flying back home mid of June and beside visiting my parents and maybe my grand ma I am excited to take part in my friends wedding in Tuscany. As the winter is slowly coming to Brisbane, and you need a jumper and socks in the evenings, this will be a nice opportunity to enjoy some more summer.


Finally some days off from uni

Time passes so fast, that I even didn't realise my first two months of uni are already over. The last days were quite tough, as because of the week off due to the floods, the exams and papers were quite concentrated in the last week of February. So I ended up working during the nights for several days, and my flatmate Sarah even compared me with a possum — sleeping during the day, active all night. Hopefully it was worth it so waiting for my results.

After these stressful days (or nights) I was really looking forward to my first break between the 6-week teaching periods. Together with my flatmate Axel we rented out a camper van and went on a 4-day road trip towards the South and the Gold Coast.
Our first destination was Byron Bay, where we spend two days. The weather wasn't as good as desired, but on the first day in Byron after some time the sun finally came out. We drove to the lighthouse and walked the peninsula hike passing the most easterly point of Australia.
From the tip of the peninsula we had a nice view overlooking the bay and the Julian Rocks 3 km offshore. That's the place I visited in the next morning on a boat — geared up with scuba gear and reedy to dive. The currents there were the strongest for four years, so our guide took us on a drift dive, which was pretty exciting. The good thing was, that the currents attracted a big manta ray measuring up to 4 metres wingspan. It was just awesome to watch this huge ray gliding gently through the water. Besides this I saw a couple of Leopard Sharks lying on the sand, two huge turtles and some school of fish. Altogether this was by far the best dive I had until now. I had some beautiful dives in the Philippines, but didn't see some big stuff.
After the dive we headed inland to see some of the National Parks in the rainforest. Again I was amazed how green and hilly Australia is, just some kilometres off the coastline. In Nightcap National Park we visited the Minyon Falls that drop 100 metres down a steep cliff. After a night in rainy Nimbin we drove back towards Brisbane, passing the hilly hinterland. The rainy weather didn't allow us to climb Mount Warning, but in Springbrook National Park we took a look at the Natural Bridge. This bridge made out of stone was shaped by water over thousands of years. Under the bridge there is a cave where bats and glow worms can be found. It was too bright for the glow worms but we could hear and see some of the bats flying around in the cave. On our way back to the car we encountered a small lizard that was sitting on top of a rock and didn't mind being photographed.
The 'Best of all Lookouts' didn't keep his promise because the clouds were really low in the meantime and there was no lookout at all, so we decided to head back to Brisbane.
After having returned the van on Sunday morning I joined Eva on the Batty Boat Cruise up the Brisbane River. We left on the afternoon and had a pleasant boat ride to Indooroopilly Island where we watched the flying foxes as they started to awake just shortly after sunset. After a while the whole sky was almost black as hundreds of bats started flying around in order to find food. On our way back we passed the beautifully illuminated skyline of Brisbane - a perfect ending for a couple of days off.


Australia Day – back to normality?!

It's been a while since I wrote my last post, but there's not much new or interesting to tell.
The nature is back on it's 'normal' track - except the cyclones hitting the northern coast of Queensland around Cairns - and Brisbane has come back to a 'normal' business. Some cleaning is still going on, but most the 'armies of volunteers' worked only on the first two weekends - nevertheless, they did an awesome job!
After the one week off university I am in the middle of my teaching period right now. As we have to make up some classes because of the flood related closure of the uni, I will have 7 days uni out of 9 in a row - including a saturday lesson. On monday there will be the first mid-term exam, so lot's to learn and read.
Last week though, on Wednesday 26 January, there was the public holiday: Australia Day. The Queenslanders needed this day so much, as it was the first opportunity to forget about the bad things that happened in the last weeks and really to relax. Some of the celebrations had to be moved or reorganized, but nevertheless they didn't let anything to let them down.
I joined one of our new housemates Sunae going to her old flat she had lived until now. but first of all we attended a typical event on the way to there: a pig race. No matter if it's pigs or even cockroaches, the Australians make them run in a race. You can bet on the winner and win some money, but the main thing is having a lot of fun - and yes, it's really funny when these small pigs start running through the course and try to get to the food.
After we watched one of these races we spent the rest of the day either in the pool or at the BBQ grill. There are 4 houses which share this communal pool, but it was the flood, that brought them all together. As the electricity was cut off and no one had to got to work, all the people from the houses gathered around the pool and got to know each other for the first time. So just one week later, Australia Day was a great opportunity to organize a party. So we all had a lot's of fun hanging around while listening to the famous JJJ's hit List for 2010.



Finally I managed it to update my blog to the latest wordpress version.
In the same time I was looking for a new design/theme. Maybe there will be some more changes - don't know yet.

Defekte Umlaute
Leider sind bei der Umstellung die Umlaute in den deutschen Texten kaputtgegangen.
Ich werde versuchen dies in den nächsten Tagen zu reparieren.

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Flooded Brisbane – Flut in Brisbane

First of all: I am perfectly fine!
But I had to move out of my room. Not necessarily because it was threaded to be flooded, but they cut off electricity on Tuesday 11th January as the water level had just reached our backyard. The neighbour's backyard was already flooded, and they were moving around in kayaks while we moved all the furniture from the ground floor up to the first floor, where I am living with my flatmates. As they predicted the water to rise for another 2 meters the ground floor was supposed to be flooded.
Today, 13th January, the worst is behind us. The flood reached it's peak last night, and the water is receding right now but it didn't reach our house except the biggest parts of the backyard. So we were quite lucky compared to our neighbours just around the corner.
But as it comes to our neighbours: Just as it became clear, that the flood will be coming up towards our block suddenly people showed up who were eager to help anyone who could need help. I was so amazed, that people who were about to have their houses flooded even had energy and time left to help their neighbours. That's the 'Queensland Sprit' everyone refers to in these days.
For example the place I stayed for two nights is the house where Eva is doing her Au-Pair. After I called her, her host mother said we're welcome to stay here. The bus driver took us there even for free, after he saw us boarding the bus with our bags, and after we arrived there was already a friend staying there with her two kids as they were threaded by the flood as well.
So after all everything went fine, but it could have been much worse. Everyday we see the pictures of the flood and I guess it will take months or even years to recover completely from this flood. Next week the campus should reopen and I should be able to study again. But this week it was closed because of parts being flooded as well. So almost everyone in Brisbane is affected and will be in the next weeks and months.

Mir geht's gut! Danke für die vielen Mails und Nachfragen, die mich von daheim erreicht haben.
Ich kann mir vorstellen, dass die Fernsehbilder recht schockierend sind, und auch ich bin überrascht, wie schnell die Flutthematik, die hier in Queensland ja schon seit Wochen existiert, mich direkt getroffen hat. Am Dienstag, 11. Januar, wurde auch uns im Haus klar (ich war ja erst vor ein paar Tagen dorthin gezogen), dass das Wasser recht nah ans Haus kommen würde nachdem der Garten vom Nachbar bereits unter Wasser stand. Wir haben dann vorsichtshalber die Möbel aus dem noch unbewohnten Erdgeschoss in den ersten Stock geschafft. Laut den Vorhersagen sollte der Wasserpegel noch um weitere zwei Meter steigen, so dass der untere Stock damit wohl sicherlich überflutet gewesen wäre. Glücklicherweise traten die Vorhersagen so nicht ein, und wir konnten heute, 13. Januar, feststellen, dass die Flut über Nacht lediglich den kompletten Garten unter Wasser gesetzt hatte und des Haus an sich verschont geblieben ist. Der Pegel ist inzwischen wieder am sinken, so dass das schlimmste überstanden ist.
Ich bin in der Zwischenzeit bei Eva bzw. ihrer Gasmutter untergekommen, wohin ausser mir und einem meiner Mitbewohner auch noch eine weitere Freundin der Familie mit zwei Kindern vor den Fluten geflohen ist. Die Hilfsbereitschaft der 'Queenslander' hat mich die Tage aber ohnehin überrascht, vor allem als wildfremde Leute, die soeben ihr eigenes Haus leergeräumt hatten, bei uns auftauchten und halfen, Möbel ins obere Geschoss zu bringen.
Meine Uni ist von dem Hochwasser auch betroffen, allerdings wird mein Gebäude, in dem ich alle Vorlesungen habe, wohl trocken geblieben sein. Das werde ich aber erst nächste Woche erfahren, sobald der Campus wieder freigegeben ist. Dieser, sowie der angrenzende Botanische Garten wurden von der Polizei gesperrt, als auch die ersten Teile der Innenstadt von den Wassermassen bedroht waren.
Ich kann mir vorstellen, dass es Monate wenn nicht gar länger dauern wird, alle Hochwasserschäden zu beseitigen und alles wieder herzustellen. Vor allem in direkter Flussnähe, wo die fliessenden Wassermassen eine ungeahnte Gewalt und Kraft entwickelt habe, wird nach dem Absinken des Pegels wohl der ein oder andere Schaden zu Tage treten. Man weiss zumindest jetzt schon von einem am Fluss gelegenen Restaurant und einer grossen Fussgängerpromenade die jeweils von den Wassermassen mitgerissen wurden.


Happy New Year!

Happy New Year to everyone! Hope you enjoyed your New Years Eve and had a good start in 2011!

Shortly after my last entry I left Brisbane in order to travel around Canberra and south of Sydney. As there were so many options to finding a room around Brisbane the main problem was, that no one has rooms for rent more then a couple of days in advance. So there was no way, to find a room for the second week in January. That's why I decided to fly to Canberra and meet Hannes and Marina who in the meantime travelled throughout south-east Asia and have been in Australia now for 3 months.

Arriving in Canberra late in the evening showed me, that there's not much happening in Canberra besides the governmental issues. I had to take a taxi in town because the public buses don't operate that late, and it wasn't even midnight.

So after a night in the Youth Hostel I decided not to spend too much time in Canberra and took the next bus to Cooma where I finally met Marina and Hannes. They were still fixing their car, but the next day the engine was put together and we left just Cooma to stay overnight just outside town on the lookout point. The car seemed to work well, but on the next morning, after 5 minutes of driving there was a noise which didn't sound good. So we stopped and checked the engine again. A small part inside the engine was loose and caused the noise, so we had to go back to the workshop and open the engine again. It took us 4 more days to finally fix the as we had to wait for parts to arrive and it was a weekend. At least I now know how to open an engine and do some fixes. On the weekend, while waiting for the parts, we drove with another car towards the snowy mountains and stayed in a nice flat. But our plan of hiking had to be cancelled because of bad weather. It had snowfall above 1400m, so I wasn't able to climb the highest mountain in Australia, Mt Koscziuszko. Maybe another time.

So we drove of towards the coast and looked for a nice place to stay for Christmas around Eden. Even though it was high season we found a nice flat we could stay in around Christmas, so we had a real Christmas Eve feast: For the first time of my life I helped preparing a turkey with stuffing, Marina made some 'Kartoffelsalat' (Swabian potato salad) and we even made some 'Sp�tzle' (Swabian kind of noodles). The Meal was delicious and we had turkey for 3 days, as it was way too much for the three of us to finish the turkey in one day.

During the whole time the weather was changing constantly and there was no reliable forecast, so we couldn't do much outdoors. But from time to time we at least tried to do some fishing or to have some smaller hikes. The best one was up to the 'Pigeon House', an awesome lookout mountain just some kilometres inland from the coast. The most adventurous part was driving on the direst road up to the parking. After all the rain in the last days Hannes had a hard time controlling the van, but thanks to his driving skills we didn't have any major problems. The hike itself was a bit steep, the last part was even going up on metal ladders, but the view from top was definitely worth it! It's amazing how hilly this country is if you just go inlands for a few kilometres. Until then I always thought Australia is pretty flat.

For New Years Eve we arrived in Sydney and were lucky to find a quiet side road to park the car overnight as prices for accommodation around New Year's are shooting up high. In order to have a nice view on the Harbour Bridge and the fireworks we took off early and found a good spot in the park on the Observatory Hill in 'The Rocks' just next to the bridge. There we spent the whole day picnicking and playing cards. I had short walk around the harbour at least to see the Opera House from the distance. In the evening then there was a smaller firework for the kids, which already impressed me. But the big firework still to follow on midnight was even bigger. From several ships around the harbour the launched parallel fireworks and had some extra special effects on the Harbour Bridge itself. It was really a great way to spend New Years Eve.

On the next day I left Sydney in order to fly back to Brisbane. On the same day I started to look for a room in a shared flat/house and after 2 days I already had seen 5 rooms and had made up my decision: Staying in the same suburb Paddington I moved a bit closer towards the city centre just next to Suncorp Stadium, the home of the Brisbane Roars soccer team. And as there was scheduled match yesterday I watched the game with Julian, the son of my former boss, and his friends. It was a 1-1 draw, but Robbie Fowler, former Liverpool player and legend, kicker a corner just in front of my seat. What a pity I forgot to take my camera with me.

I addition to the match and my moving yesterday I was at the orientation session in my university. They gave me all the information about y studies and a overlook what will be waiting for me in the next year. Next week I will have my first class, and I'm pretty excited about it!