Great Keppel Island and Airlie Beach

I just arrived in Airlie Beach this morning, after spending a totally relaxing three days on the beautiful Great Keppel Island.

If anyone of you ever go to Queensland, I really recommend taking a couple of days and go there! I had a single tent (and when I say “tent” I mean more like a room with canvas walls, housing a big bed, a cupboard, two chairs and a fan), and spent my days on the beautiful beaches and doing hikes around the island. I just loved being totally on my own, in solitude, with the exception of random conversations with the YHA staff and other visitors to the island…

Airlie Beach isn't famous for its beaches – but that's not what I'm here for anyway. Tomorrow I'll go on a daytrip to the Reef, to snorkle and take in the beauty of the underwater world! And you'll never guess what I'll do this afternoon… I'll jump out of a fricking plane! LOL
The guy at the hostel reception talked me into it – after all I've always said I'd like to skydive, and where is the scenery more stunning than over the Whitsunday Islands?

That's my news so far – I've got exactly one week left before I have to head home. Try not to think of that, though. πŸ™‚

*big hugs*

Brisbane, Australia

Arrived in Brisbane/Queensland after a grueling 17 hour trip (bus, plane, and another plane), and got picked up by Willa. It was great to see her again, and the next day we headed off North to the Sunshine Coast, where her mom lives.

The beach at touristy Mooloolah (or something like that anyway… *g*) was lovely, if a bit windy, and Willa's mom lived just one block away from an even more beautiful beach in another town (of which I've forgotten the name – darn those strange Aussie names! LOL).

The next day we drove through the Glasshouse mountains to the (in)famous Australia Zoo, owned by The Crocodile Hunter but good nonetheless… πŸ™‚ I even got to pet some Kangooroos and Koalas!

Now I'm enjoying a day in Brisbane (and have I mentioned how hot it is here already – and it's only just early spring…) before heading up North to Great Keppel Island for a couple of relaxed beach days. I booked myself into a single tent at the YHA there and am planning to spend three days in total lassitude on the island… Not that I've done anything tiring in the last six and a half weeks, but I feel in need of a vacation nonetheless.

After Keppel I'll go up to Airlie Beach, to fulfill my dream of snorkeling the Great Barrier Reef, and then fly back to Brisbane, to pick up my suitcase. I put it into storage, because all it contains is books, videos, souvenirs, and winter clothes, and I don't feel like carrying around dead weight. Also, I want to catch a train here in Brisbane down to Sydney and see a bit of the countryside that way, before spending my last four days in the big city.

The end of my trip seems awfully close, but I'm planning on enjoying every minute I have left (with the possible exception of the long bus rides *g*)…

Sending all of you lots of hugs – hope everyone is doing fine!

Almost there…

I am currently in Sidney, my last stop before Auckland – finally the end is in sight!

This is a free internet terminal, so I can't take it up for too long, and I need to get my boarding pass for Auckland anyway – but let me just tell you one thing: NEVER EVER have an eight hour lay-over over night! Because, as bad as such a long and tedious flight is, the worst was by far the time I was forced to hang around Dubai Airport. I did manage to catch a couple of hours of restless sleep, but I felt like shit when it was finally time to board. And really – is it necessary to take 36 hours for a 25 hours flight (which is what I'll have behind me in about six hours)?

But I did meet a couple of nice people on the plane from Dubai to Sidney – a girl from Germany and an Australia-born teacher from Abu Dabi (Arab Emirates). Sitting next to each other for hours and hours and hours brings people close – and Anja (the German) and I are hoping to meet up when I get to Sidney again in a month. We will see – now I'm off to get my boarding pass and sit around and wait for a couple of hours…

I can't tell you how much I'm looking forward to a good night's sleep – let's hope the jetlag won't be too much of a killer!

Sending all of you hugs from down under!

NZ/Australia update

Thought it was time to let you know what's happening at the moment…

First of all – you can now follow this on my personal domain, chocolate dream, where I've created a much nicer looking mirror of this travel log.

Now to my big trip of this year. My plans to go to New Zealand for the required field trip exercise for my major Cultural Anthropology have been shaping up nicely. Those interested in the study stuff – I've created a study journal, though mainly for my own benefits.

I'll be leaving on August 11, arriving in Auckland on Aug 13. I'll stay in NZ's biggest city for two nights, and then catch a bus southwards, to New Plymouth. My friend Denise, who I've met almost four years ago in California, has been helping me a lot, and I'm lucky enough to be able to stay with her and her family for the month I'll be in New Zealand. This means that I'll be based in New Plymouth, from where I'll do my study about Maori knowledge and hopefully see a bit of the country, too.

I'll stay in NZ until September 10, when I'll head over to Sidney for a month of traveling up the East coast, until I head back to Switzerland on October 7. I hope to be able to meet up with Adam and Willa, who I met in Washington, DC, last fall, but mainly I want to see bit of Australia and catch a bit of sun – after all, it's winter down there…

Hello from Switzerland!

I finally managed to get scanned some of the pictures I took in America – plus a couple from the recent skiing trip with my family.

It's taken me ages, I'm sorry – I've been not really well all semester, but now I slowly get back to normal. I'm also planning my next big trip – this summer to New Zealand and Australia!

Okay, so the New Zealand trip is not just for pleasure – for my university major, Cultural Anthropology, I need to do 'field work', meaning I have to go and study another culture. Since I know an awfully nice Kiwi girl, who has the best connections, and always wanted to go visit her and her family anyway, I decided to learn about the Maori.

After that, since I'm down there anyway, I'll go over to Australia and visit Willa, who I met in DC last fall. We want to go traveling together for a bit – and I do hope that it all works out!

Anyway here are the pics:

Boston's skyline, from Charlestown on the other side of the harbour, where that old ship lies. I love this city – it's one of the most beautiful in the US, in my opinion.

This was my favorite spot – a bench at the Charles River.

This is Jenny, from Ohio. We met at the hostel and went exploring together.

After Boston I went to Cape Cod, where I stayed in Provincetown – town of the rainbow flag… πŸ˜‰

The weather was beautiful, so I spent a lot of time on the beach.

I did a short detour to Canada and visited beautiful Montreal. This is the view from Mont Royal – hard to believe that the day before it was storming, isn't it?

I went to Pittsburgh mainly to visit my two online friends Rhonda and Missy – but I really liked it there. This is the Point, where two rivers with terribly complicated names (the Monongahela and the Allegheny, thanks to Susie !) flow together into the Ohio (I think).

These are me and my friends, in front of a club – we had a really good time together!

The next stop was Washington D.C. – a lot of American history and politics to be seen there…

I did all my sightseeing (here Arlington Cemetery) there together with two Australians (Luke and Adam) and a kangoroo named Diesel. *g*

I'd been looking forward to a visit in the Air and Space museum of the Smithonian Institute – but these handsome coast guards were an unexpected bonus! πŸ˜‰

To New York City I traveled with another Aussie, Willa – and the first thing we did was the Staten Island ferry, which gives you a phenomenal view over Manhattan's skyline and the Statue of Liberty. And all for free! πŸ˜‰

I met a lot of people at the hostel there – and Adam (the one with the kangoroo *g*) and Luke were there, too. It was fun, believe me! LOL

The mandatory visit to the Empire State Building – Cam (Zimbabwe), Adam, me, and Willa, enjoying the sunset.

On the day Sibylle came over from Switzerland Willa and I walked over the Brooklyn Bridge – another opportunity to see the skyline…

Sibylle and I were rained on on Wallstreet…

Of course we also spent time in NYC's green lung, the famous Central Park. Very beautiful – but believe me, after 10 days, I had enough of the city!

We stayed with Sibylle's former host parents in North Carolina for a bit, then we traveled down to Florida, where we discovered beautiful Clearwater Beach.

We saw gorgeous sunsets like this every day – simply breathtaking! Not something one gets used to…

We did a canoe trip in the Everglades. The hostel there kicks ass – it's the best I've ever stayed in, mostly thanks to the staff. We had a great day there and would have loved to stay longer.

Graham sent me this pic: Tim and Miranda from Holland, Graham, me, and Sibylle – and you don't even see that we were eaten alive by moskitos… *g*

Our last stop was Miami Beach, but we also spent a night in Key West, the Southern most point of the US, really close to Cuba. I don't have any pictures scanned from there, because unfortunately the scanner decided to stop working, so the pic from our last sunset in the US is the last…

Two weeks ago I went skiing with my family – we went to Pontresina in GraubΓΌnden, one of the most beautiful parts of the Swiss alps. The skiing was fun and the mountains were gorgeous…

The view from our hotel room – complete with Swiss flag. πŸ˜‰

The view over the Engadin valley from Muotas Muragl (a word from the local language, an ancient tongue related to Latin) – to our feet the posh St. Moritz.

My parents didn't ski but went for walks, and one day my brother Michael and I went with them, into the valley of Rosegg. Breathtaking – but exhausting… *g*

Okay, that's it for the moment – next week Sibylle and I'll go to Sharm El Sheik in Egypt for a week of sun and beach. Can't wait to escape the cold!

Take care, everyone!