Tuesday, December 27, 2005

The hills are alive... in Salzburg!

On my trip through to Vienna, I dropped into Salzburg for a couple of hours. I have visited Salzburg once before, in the middle of summer, so it was great to see it covered in snow. There is no subtlety to the seasons in this part of the world.

The view over Salzburg old town from the Hohensalzburg fortress

During my time in this pretty little city, I took the walk to the Hohensalzburg fortress, as can be seen on the top of the hill in the photo below, wandered the Christmas markets, visited the Salzburg Dom, and wandered through the frozen Mirabel gardens (of Sound of Music fame...)

The tourism bureau of Salzburg seems to push two angles prominantly - the home of the Sound of Music, and the home of Mozart. The Mozart angle is particularly amusing, as he spent much of his life in Vienna, and was not really made "at home" in Salzburg. Still the city seems to love him now, right down to the shop windows full of Mozart kugeln (Mozart balls - a chocolate made with marzipan) to Mozartplatz, with a statue of the man himself in the centre, and decked out with an ice-rink for the winter. Whatever the reason, Salzburg is a great city, a beautiful setting, and charming gardens and shops.

The Mirabell gardens, at the moment completely frozen over with a heavy layer of snow. Probably not the best time to run around singing "The hills are alive..."

The Salzburger Dom roof, and the view from the pathway up to the fortress

Here I am climbing the hill to the Hohensalzburg fortress, and two others doing the same

The view along the Salzach river

Christkindlmarkt - Christmas Markets in Bavaria and Austria

I spent the week before Christmas between the three towns München (Munich) in Germany; and Salzburg and Wien (Vienna) in Austria. In this part of the world each town sets up many Christmas markets, or the Christkindlmarkt. I visited many of these during the week as can be seen in the photos below. In short, at these markets, you can buy all sorts of things, including cute Christmas decorations, embroidered linen, toys, hot nuts, other assorted foodstuffs including potato pancakes, lebkuchen (a German gingerbread type biscuit), chocolate covered fruits, winter clothing (I bought a funky beanie in Vienna) and other assorted items.

Most importantly are the hot drinks. There are a variety of different kinds, but the standard is Glühwein, a mulled hot red wine with cloves, cinnamon and other spices. Variants include Engelstrunken (Angel's Drink) and Feuerzanganbowle (for the more adventurous... My sister has done some research into it... See her page for the details!)

A Christmas tree sparkling at the Odeonsplatz markt in München, glittering streetlights for Christmas on am Graben in Wien, and Marienplatz in München lit up with its Christmas tree

The Rathaus markt - Frohe Weihnachten from Wien!

Frohe Weihnachten from Wien! and a glühwein with my brother Greg at the Chinese Tower markt in München, Feuerzangenbowle being made at the Rindermakt in München, and a sample of the wares in Salzburger Christkindl

Flying over Europe

This was a difficult flight to pack for... I flew out of Sydney on a hot summers day, and landed in both Vienna and München, both barely above zero. The flight did not go smoothly (please excuse the pun here... As we left Sydney about 2 hours late, and did not make up enough time, we landed in Vienna after my connecting flight to München had left, so I had to change my connection once I got to Vienna... Unfortunately my bags did not have the same luxury. The good people at Lufthansa conveniently put my bag full of my warm clothes on the new flight, but must have realised the lack of urgency with all of my work clothes, and sent them on to München the next day for me after I'd waited an hour in the lost baggage office at München Flughafen... The silver lining of this process was that the lady from Lufthansa got to carry my 20kg bag up 4 flights of stairs, rather than Greg or myself...
The real beauty of the late arrival was that I got to see Europe once the sun had come up over the snowy fields. It was great to be able to see sights such as the Danube (Donau) River flowing through Vienna, snow covered mountains, reminding me that there was indeed a reason that I carted my fur coat all the way from Australia...

View over Vienna (left) and the foothills to the Alps (right)

Snowy fields on our descent into München Flughafen

Monday, December 26, 2005

Christmas Party

Just before I left for Europe, was our work Christmas party. It was a fun affair, held out at Bicentennial Park.

Here I am with Alison (left) and Ei (Right)

With Dan and Prad

And last but not least, Adrian.

Saturday, November 26, 2005

London Bound

So, as most of you probably know, I'm off to London shortly for work. The plan is, that I will spend two weeks with Greg and Andrea for a German Christmas, then spend four months working in London (based in Canary Wharf). After that I'm taking an adventure throughout Europe and US/Canada along the way home. There's still a ton left to organise, but I'm looking forward to catching with lots of people along the way, and seeing some sights.
I'd love to hear from any of you travelling through the same areas, and I'm already looking forward to catching up with many of you in London!
Stay posted to the site, I'll keep you updated on my European adventures (and New York and Canada in June next year!)

Wednesday, November 09, 2005

Conquering the Cradle

Cradle Mountain reflected over Dove Lake

So last weekend my friend Lim and I ventured south to visit Tasmania... We flew into Launceston, where we spent the night and following morning, then took a leisurely drive up to Cradle Mountain, via Deloraine and the Mole Creek Caves. We stopped off and took a tour through Marakoopa Cave, and then proceeded to the Cradle Mountain/Lake St Clair National Park where we were staying for the rest of the weekend. We had a great cabin, brand new. We were the second to stay there!

On Saturday, we had a mission. We were going to conquer the mountain! It was a long and exhausting day, but after a fair bit of walking (and also much scrambling over the rocks at the top of mountain, which makes up the last hour of the ascent) we made it to the summit of 1,545m. It was a beautiful day, and we could see for miles. Then came the way down and the long walk back to Dove Lake carpark. We almost fell asleep the minute we got back. The next day, it was time to come home... We took the coastal route via Penguin and Devonport, then Deloraine and the Tamar Valley back to Launceston. All in all, a great weekend.

Left to right, Top row: Here I am at the summit of Cradle Mountain, the view from the summit, Lim at a mountain spring we found. Great water! Second row: Twisted lakes, near Hanson's Peak, The scramble to the summit, the boathouse on Dove Lake

Launceston to Mole Creek

Formations at Marakoopa Cave, Mole Creek and our lovely B&B at Launceston - the Ashton Gate.

The trip back to Launceston

Above: Here I am at Penguin, and the Mersey Bluffs area at Devonport

Above: The view from the air - sunset over the Tamar River and the top of Tasmania

Sunday, October 16, 2005

Annual Ball at the Overseas Passenger Terminal

Last night was the annual ball for work. This is a great chance to enjoy a night out with collegues, get dressed up, and enjoy a night of dinner and dancing, and even lose some "money" on the casino set up for the night. As can be seen above, a great night was had by all, at the great location of the Overseas Passenger Terminal at Circular Quay.

Photos - Left to right, top to bottom: Alison, Prad and I; the "dance-off" between Adrian and Steve; Stevie in a thoughtful moment; Sonia and Abhi; Steve Hill; Chris and Kate; Getting the hair ready for the evening; Julie, Jenni and I; Myself with Okan.

Sunday, October 09, 2005

Alison and Cameron's Wedding

Last night, I had the pleasure of watching two good friend, Alison and Cameron get married. Here are the photos of the night. It was a great occasion and I look forward to seeing Al and Cam continue in their married life together. Congratulations guys!

(Main image: Alison and Cam at the cutting the cake, other images, Clockwise from top left: Alison at the hen's night wearing a different veil; Alison and Cam; and Andrea and myself at the reception)

Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Perth, Western Australia

Indian Ocean at Cottesloe Beach, Perth Skyline, Swan Bells, Here I am in the parklands along the Swan, Highrise of St Georges Terrace, and Cottesloe Beach.

Over the weekend, I took a short sojourn to Perth, in the faraway land of Western Australia. Perth has the dubious honour of being one of the most isolated cities in the world, and having flown there from Sydney, almost 5 hours flight away, I would agree... There was very little to see on the flight. Flying over the lights of Canberra would have been the highlight!

However Saturday morning I woke in Perth and found it a thoroughly pleasant city. The main CBD of Perth is on the banks of the Swan River, however a little further afield is the gorgeous beach of Cottesloe on the Indian Ocean. I wandered around town, did some shopping, and took a cruise down the Swan, as well as wandering along the parklands lining the river. I also made the trek out to Cottesloe, at this time of year a rough, and predominantly surf beach.

Home of the Dockers

A 20 minute train ride (or an hour's ferry ride) down the Swan River from Perth takes you to Fremantle, the main docks of Perth. Fremantle is a really pleasant spot to pass the time away. I spent an afternoon in the glorious sunshine to explore the historic old buildings, the cappuccino strip and the Fremantle markets, followed by sunset at the docks. Fremantle comes alive at the weekends, full of people at cafes, in the shops, and wandering around the markets.

Clockwise - Sunset at Fremantle Docks, Marina on the Indian Ocean, Historic buildings on Mouat Street, having a Latte on the Cappuccino strip, Fremantle Docks and Hotel Fremantle.