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Tuesday, 10 January 2017

Canberra - but wait there is more. Day 2 and 3 in review....

Dressing up at the old Parliament House

Energised by our lovely outdoor lunch at the National Library, we wandered over to the old Parliament House. It is a glorious old building and as we learned completely symmetrical. It has recently been restored and has most of the original features. Glorious custom made furniture (which apparently cost the complete original budget alone). The total building cost was 4 times the original estimate! I adored the art deco lamps and decorations which complemented the entire building. As we wandered around we cheekily joined in a tour and the guide was informative and entertaining. Which seems to be the case for all the guides we encountered. So recommend joining a tour for some more insights and planning more time there. There is a kids discovery section which is more for younger kids but ours both enjoyed it. The highlight for me was their “Punch and Judy" show with the wooden images on sticks of Julia Gillard and Tony Abbot! If only I had filmed that - we could be You Tube stars.

View back to the War Memorial
New Parliament House
New Parliament House

Further up the hill we visited the “new” Parliament House. After visiting both chambers we then rolled down the hill. Two long grass hills flank the building and at present it is still open to the public. But with increased terrorist threats, there are plans to block it off. So we might be one of the last hill rollers before the public is no longer allowed access.

It was them a bus home to avoid an uprising! We certainly reached any step targets that day.

Dinner was a picnic in the park next to the hotel - a perfect way to end the day. Ron joined us later after going for a run around the lake and encountering a kangaroo the same size as him. Apparently a “husch, husch” (the German equivilient of what I would term woossy shooing) was not comprehended. Eventually he manoeuvred his way past the beast and arrived sweaty and with a good bed time story. Unfortunately no photographic evidence.

The Rollers Hill - but not for long

Family Photo
The next morning we met my god-mother at a lake side park and saw a large mob of Kangaroos up close. Very exciting to view them in their natural habitat. Not to waste any time, it was off to competitive game of Put-Put golf. Which kept the spirits up after a day of museums. It was a lovely time and Sam joined us for a second round - as all were having so much fun. There were horrid lime milkshakes and ordinary coffee as well. But then we enjoyed a lovely late lunch at the local yacht club and had delicious fish and chips by the lake. I wore my first glass of white wine but was able to enjoy the second one.

We could not fit in anymore that day and relaxed in the hotel with some TV ready for an early start Friday to drive somewhere between Canberra and Melbourne.

Thursday, 5 January 2017

Canberra Can

The first stop of our road trip is Canberra. That is if you don’t count the quick lunch break and a drive-bye of the Big Merino in Goulburn.

The Big Merino - Aussie's like big things!

On the road - view from the car

We arrived mid afternoon and headed directly for the Australian War Memorial. I had heard and read some things that it was good. But it is more than good. It is an extraordinary set of displays. Many interactive to entice even the most screen dependant. Fabulous Dioramas. In a 2 story purpose built wing that doubles as what must be an impressive events venue there were aeroplanes, bits of submarines and tanks which either hang from the ceiling or are displayed around the floor area. The exhibits have been made with extraordinary attention to detail (My god mother who works there told us about the search for a particular type of rat that was required to complete a interactive display of the trenches in France - as if any veterans visited they would immediately know if it was that type of rat or not).

The kids were fascinated and it gave them a great insight into some aspects of war - which I am sure for them is still quite abstract. There is a specific Childrens' Discovery Room which includes a submarine, helicopter and trenches to explore. The ideal situation would be to focus on a couple of rooms and visit again at another time. We only had just under 2 hours and finished up with the Last Post Ceremony. Each day they select serviceman/woman and talk about his/her life. It is moving ceremony and well worth staying for or planning your visit to include this. The ceremony is held at 5pm as the museum closes. Highly recommended for all ages. The gardens around the memorial are lovely and peaceful we even saw over 6 rabbits hopping around to the delight of Miss 7.

Rabbits in the War Memorial gardens

View to new and old Parliament Houses from the War Memorial

We then checked into the hotel and quick swim to freshen up before a fun dinner at a local noodle bar. Canberra is only full of tourists at this time. The locals have all jumped ship. So its quiet it does not feel like a capital city.

The next morning we tried to start early but due to walking in the wrong direction our 30-40min walk ended up quite a bit longer but very scenic around Lake Burley Griffen. We met the daughter of my god mother and her 2 boys. The morning was action packed as we emmensly enjoyed several hours at Questracon. A science museum specifically for kids (big and small). It very impressive of hugely interactive displays and wonderful staff taking time to show the kids experiments and explain scientific theory is very special.

Questracon - a must for kids (big and small) Who had more fun?
We then enjoyed a lovely outdoor lunch at the National Library across the road - recommended. 

A lunch basket at the National Library!

So after 1.5 days - we must say that Canberra delivers and is a great destination for families.

Friday, 30 December 2016

Visiting Friends

Dear Everybody,
I know I did not write such an interesting blog last time, but I hope this one will be more entertaining.
Yesterday we went to friends that we saw last time we went to Australia. Their house is beautiful and they have two dogs and lots of beautiful fish. The highlight of the day was feeding the wild kookaburra family that that sat on the balcony railing and screeched for food. They also had a pool we are allowed to swim in this time.
Adrian had made some little snacks such as sausage rolls that were AMAZING !!!!! 
Next we went to get changed for the pool in the bathroom… with two lovely spiders.

Amelie was screaming her head of and in the end one of the spiders was dead but the other one…shiver.
The pool was so cool but of course something had to go wrong…it was my swim suit.
I forgot it! 
The food was so good and still after 24 hours I was still not hungry. For the staters we had gnocchi and then we had lovely meat and the dessert. I had two portions. 
The two dogs Molly and Maxi were mistreated, Adrian and Inge took them in. Maxi and I had great time playing.

This is Inge and Adrian with one of Inge´s paintings.

XOXO Marlene  

Sunday, 25 December 2016

The BOLD and BEAUTIFUL - we did the 1,5 km

As an Austrian, living in Germany for the last 7 years was not easy. 

All these jokes about people from the mountains with no access to a sea - even got called Schluchtenscheisser once by the ex- major of Estebrügge (OK - it was after a couple of Kümmel enriched by smoked eels - but still hurt). 

Also having lost our last marine battle ships (plus port) to the Italians sometimes in the last century and now trying to secure the Danube with a couple of 1920s Cannonships did not help to build up a solid marine reputation. 

So it is of great pleasure that I now can prove now to all of the Germans - THAT AUSTRIANS CAN SWIM. 

Every day at 06:00 and 07:00 in the morning a group of people - calling themselves the Bold and Beautiful - gather on the shore of Manly Beach and go for a 1,5 km Ocean Swim to Shelly Beach (and back).
Not an easy task, considering that you have to break the vicious surf of Manly Beach first, circumnavigate The Point with rocks and breaking waves and survive several Blue bottle attacks out in the dark black sea. (see previous Blog Entry) 

Having said that, Jules and I have been practicing since summer this year "with great mental support of my neighbours - Judith and Andreas in Frankfurt" to manage this challenge once we would be here in Australia. On the 24th in the morning we did it the first time followed by a another one with proper outfit this morning. 

After our magnificent swim performance I was even asked to model with the latest Budgy Smuggler Design's on the beach and guys - there is no photoshop involved in the next picture.


Friday, 23 December 2016

Marlenes Mini Blog Entry

Dear everybody 
Yesterday, my family and I had a great day at Shelly Beach with another family from New Zealand. First we had some sandwiches and went for a little swim. We had some amazing milkshakes and made a water choreography that ended up being more funny than graceful. After that fun time we went to a Chinese restaurant were we met some very nice friends from my grandparents and ate some REALLY good food. 
Today I am hoping to have some fun with our neighbours and their dogs AND THEIR AMAZING AWESOME COOL POOL!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    XOXO Marlene   

Thursday, 22 December 2016


"Australia is a dangerous country and has the most poisonous creatures on this planet"

Something we hear all the time from magazines, newspapers, TV shows (even the crocodile hunter did not survive the ozzy wildlife) and of course the Australians themselves.

Having been in Australia now for the 6th time, I started to get a bit bored, as all my experiences of "the country with the most poisonous animals" were limited to a half dead lazy black snake on a road, when driving around in Queensland, and a (full) dead Stingray on the northern beaches this April.

But once you become complacent - mother nature strikes back.

In our case - Jules and I have just survived a "BLUE BOTTLE" ATTACK this morning.

First, a couple of facts about the "BLUE BOTTLE".

Lying on the beach, they look like any other jellyfish - "blue coloured jelly"

..... but when floating in the sea the meters long tentacles with hooks and poison are a "another" strange protection mechanism created by mother (ozzy) nature. When you look at this thing you wonder why on earth does it need a protection mechanism - nobody would touch this ugly thing anyway.

A couple of days ago, we were already told, that blue bottles are out in the surf, which got my kids very excited and Ami was particularly proud of finding 42 dead ones on the beach.

This morning though, Jules and I went for another ocean swim and while we saw a couple of dead ones on the beach, we were not too concerned, as there were no particular warning signs.
LEARNING No. 1: Trust your instincts and not only the lifeguards.

We made a good start into the surf and just past the rocks at South Steyne, when Jules got the first  little sting on her hand. As this was not too painful, we continued and headed towards Shelly Beach.
LEARNING No. 2: If you get warned twice, and you still ignore it, you really run into troubles.

.... because then came the came the really scary bit.

Heard a cry - looked up - saw Jules face covered with one of these blue animals including some tentacles over her body. Looked like in a horror movie!  Tried to rescue her with my basic first aid knowledge - almost strangled her - and was told to "bugger off".

LEARNING No3: Basic "Seepferdchen" knowledge is not enough, to rescue someone troubled in the ocean!

Anyway, managed to scare the blue bottle away and rescued Jules, not without some pretty painful reddish mark on her body and face.

Marks are still visible!

Summary of all the LEARNINGs today: AUSTRALIA is a dangerous place after all.

Your Ron

Sunday, 18 December 2016

Das ist Chippy

Mein Opa hat einen neuen Vogel bekommen. Der Vogel heißt Chippy.

Er ist blau und ist noch sehr klein und verspielt. Meine Schwester und Oma haben übers Wochenende drei Spielsachen gekauft, damit ihm nicht so langweilig ist und er viele Dinge zum Spielen hat.

Chippy liebt alle Dinge, in denen er sich sehen kann. Er glaubt dann, dass im Spiegel ein anderer Vogel ist, mit dem er dann auch spielen kann.

Damit er aus den Käfig herauskommen kann, braucht er einen Holzlöffel. Ihm wurden als Baby die Flügel gekürzt, und deshalb kann er nicht so gut fliegen.

Deine Amelie aus Australien