Mittwoch, 25. August 2010

Happy Birthday Daniel!

Once again...out of Auckland! :) Daniel’s birthday’s coming up so off to good old Brissy!

Planning was a bit more complex this time since Daniel did not know I was coming to Brisbane. Luckily, he loves talking about people he met so I caught some of his new friends’ names and wrote to one of them, lovely Sina. Funnily enough, Sina and I did not know each other before but have heaps of mutual friends back home. Best requirements for getting along! :)

Sina convinced Daniel – who was initially planning on doing nothing for his birthday – to go out for dinner downtown. After a never-ending cab-ride I eventually got to the Korean restaurant. Daniel looked like he was in shock when he saw me approaching their table :) But I guess the surprise was a success.

The next day we went downtown again and strolled through the city. Since I’ve been to Brisbane quite recently there was no need for big sightseeing. Lisette, one of Daniel’s friends, had a little get-together that evening for his birthday. Nice and mellow night – and awesome student accommodation! ;)

Lisette's apartment - that's some luxury student accomodation!

We did not do anything much the next day, however, it was my personal highlight during the trip: a visit to Aldi! Yay! Lots of German products and a huge feeling of ‘home’. it!

A.L.D.I !!!

On my last day we went with Sina and Lisette to Stradbroke Island, the 2nd-largest sand-island in the world – I heard. However. We went to a couple of beaches, hiked a short walk, and had lunch at the most touristy place. Beautiful island if you want to get out of the city for a few days! We even saw dolphins and a sharks though.

at Straddie

dolphins (I need to get a better lens)

Lisette and Daniel jumping with Sina

that's not the koala we've seen :)

I am not allowed to list names here :)

16 people on one tree - that's the record!

on the ferry back to Brisbane

Naturally, a megacity as Brisbane has no proper options to get from a suburb to the airport. So I got up VERY early in the morning to catch a cab, which brought me to a distant bus terminal, where I took a bus into the city from where I would get the train going to the airport. The picture below was taken when I had to wait for another train after I've missed the initial one by 5 seconds. It was great morning (apparently for others, it was the end of a great night).

Sonntag, 15. August 2010

The Real Kiwi Experience

Two weeks back in Auckland and once again it was time to leave the city. This time to Napier, where wonderful Monique and her family invited us to stay with them for the weekend.

After a long drive from Auckland to Napier, Simon and I arrived in the late afternoon and were welcomed by the Van Veens and - lasagna! My favorite dish!! What a perfect start into a beautiful weekend.

The next day Monique took us on a little tour around Napier and showed us several hotspots. We went up a hill and had a great view of Napier and Hawke's Bay (apart from some tiny clouds). Naturally, we tasted some of Hawke's Bay's finest delicacies, namely Wine, Cheese, and....Ice Cream!! Actually, we did not taste ice cream but had a full load of it. But my personal highlight was my first 'proper' pie...mmhhhmmm, my mouth is watering when I think back of this bonne bouche. I wish I'd still know the names of all these places so that you get a chance to experience the various treats...I'll ask Monique and let you know :)

Back at the Van Veen's we got a little introduction into farm life. Well, apparently I'm the last city slicker alive, so I got an introduction while Simon was in the thick of it. We fed sheep (or watched how sheep were fed ;) ) and cows and went quad biking. 

That evening we had dinner at the Van Veen's mansion again, even Monz' auntie joined us. It was a lovely evening and everybody had awesome fun beating me at the card game we were playing - I love making people happy :)

My favorite Monique ever :)

The Van Veen mansion

Sunday morning another highlight: German bread at the farmer's market! Harald, the baker, made Simon and I were the happiest people on earth. Proper Schwarzbrot, Brezeln, and Puddingstückchen...ein Traum! Harald's wife also gave us the address of Ingo, the German baker in the Auckland area. Life quality in New Zealand just increased enormously :)

The farmer's market and its happiest customers that day

Later that day we had to leave our great hosts in Napier and headed back to Auckland. We stopped for another night in Taupo and enjoyed the beautiful area and its hotpools and spas. 


 Lake Taupo

Lake Taupo and Mt Ruapehu

 Huka Falls

Surfer Dude is always with us

That weekend was one of the best in New Zealand so far. Many thanks to Monique and her wonderful family for a real Kiwi experience!