January - March 2020
  • Day52

    The End

    March 19 in Germany ⋅ ⛅ 14 °C

    This is the last textual entry to my blog of my wonderful journey to New Zealand and Australia. Since the late morning I have been back in Koblenz. The flight from Abu Dhabi to Frankfurt was good. I watched two movies (Le Mans 1966 and Frozen 2) and slept a little bit. In Frankfurt there were no special checks because of the virus; just non-EU citizens were separated from EU-citizens at the border control. I had to wait very long (90 minutes or so) for my luggage, but the most important thing is that I've made it to Germany! The trains from Frankfurt to Mainz as well as from Mainz to Koblenz were pretty empty. Back home in my flat, I was pretty tired and slept the better part of the afternoon.

    My amazing journey is over. It has been seven weeks of great adventures and amazing places. I am glad and thankful for all the experiences I could make. The memories will last for a long time. The end was not as expected, but in this global crisis it was the right decision to return home a few days earlier. Let's hope and do everything for that we gonna win the fight against this awful virus!

    P. S.: Probably, I am going to share a few more photos, that I did not have access to on my mobile phone during my journey, in some more footprints within the next days or weeks. So have a look from time to time if you are interested😊
    Read more

  • Explore, what other travelers do in:
  • Day52

    Abu Dhabi

    March 19 in the United Arab Emirates ⋅ ⛅ 24 °C

    I am in Abu Dhabi now and the flight to Frankfurt will be going. I am very relieved! The flight to Abu Dhabi was rather unspectacular. Average food, I could not sleep very well, but I did not feel very much like watching movies either; anyway I watched the film Frozen. I used quite a bit of the flight time to catch up with my blog entries of the last days🙃 I will be home soon😊Read more

  • Day51

    Coming home - hopefully!

    March 18 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 25 °C

    So, it has come... My last day in Down Under! A wonderful journey is about to end - not the end I had wished for, but now I am just hoping to reach Germany as soon as possible. When I woke up (I had slept way better than expected!), it was a fact: Germany had closed the borders - no surprise at all, but still a bad feeling when you get the assuredness. Anyway, I was relatively convinced that I would make my way to Abu Dhabi and, since there would probably also a lot of Europeans be booked on the flight to Frankfurt, hopefully also to Germany. Anyway, after waking up, taking a shower and packing, I directly went by train to the airport - way to early, but a better feeling to be already there. A very good sign was that the flight to Abu Dhabi was shown as being leaving on time at 5:00 pm. I used the spare time to write the postcards that I originally had planned to write the next days when I would have been back in New Zealand. I am really sad, that I could not go to Wellington again - the city that caught me most during my entire travel. Anyway, I am sure I will go there again one day😊. I was relieved, when I got both boarding passes at the checkin, to Abu Dhabi as well as to Frankfurt. Still no guarantee, but the next very positive sign that I gonna make it back home. The plane to Abu Dhabi took off almost on time. I am on the plane😁Read more

  • Day50

    Not at all the best day of my journey

    March 17 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 20 °C

    Puh, the second last day of my travel did not all turn out as I had expected it before. Actually, the plan was to go either to Bondi beach or, as the tour guide of the city tour had recommended, to Manly which combines a nice ferry trip, beaches, cliffs and a brewery. Well, no surprise, I had decided for Manly, but in the end I should never go there. The day had started quite well. I had slept relatively well and long - in my single room in the hostel😉. Then, I made my way to "The Rocks" again because I wanted to go to a small souvenir shop that I had discovered the night before. By the time I had been there - and had bought some gifts😂 - it was already 12:30 pm or so; a good time to checkout the Australian hotel that serves an emu and kangaroo pizza and a bavarian "Helles" (a recommendation of the guide of last night's tour). Well, this lunch was the turning point of the day. Unfortunately, I was checking the German news because I had wifi at the Australian hotel. So, I got to know about the planned closure of all EU borders and, to be honest, I started a little panicing. Even though it was really really good, I could not enjoy the pizza anymore. I googled the way to the German consulate in Sydney and walked there after lunch instead of taking the ferry to Manly. I hoped that I could get more information from them. The consulate is located in a high tower, but I could not even pass the security on the ground floor because they told me that the consulate is only open in the mornings. According to their webpage you can phone the consulate between 2:30 and 4:30 pm. Well, I tried it at 2:35 pm, but there was only an automatic voice telling me that they were not open. I decided to go back to the hostel to do more research about the situation on the internet as well as to call the consulate again. By 4:30 pm, I had called them several times, but never reached anything else than the automatic voice. Well, I needed a few hours to kind of convince myself that the chances to get to Abu Dhabi tomorrow and then also to Frankfurt were not so bad. Anyway, I also had doubts the rest of the day. At about 6:00 pm I decided, that my last full day of my journey could not end like this. I went to the beautiful Hyde Park and made my way from there to the Sydney Opera House. So far, I had only seen it from the other side of the harbour. It is pretty impressive to stand just in front of it. And, it is also a great place to just have a rest with the cool architecture and the location at the waterfront. The location and somehow also a little bit the architecture reminds me of the Oslo opera house. I concluded the day with a last guiness (St. Patrick's Day😉) and some nachos at the "Three Wise Monkeys" pub - probably the last pub, bar or restaurant visit for a long time😒 - but, hey, hopefully we all stay healthy!Read more

  • Day49

    The Rocks - the place of the convicts

    March 16 in Australia ⋅ 🌙 19 °C

    Ha, the city tour was not the only tour I did. Just a bit more than half an hour later I joined the "The Rocks" tour of the same provider. "The Rocks" is the area next to the harbour (opposite of the opera house) where the British convicts used to be brought to. So, it used to be kind of a rough place. The tour was only half about sightseeing and half about stories, e.g. about governor Bligh who was victim to mutiny several times in his life - the first time as commander of the Bounty -, a convict who later became a rich butcher or the youngest ever sent to Sydney convict, a fourteen year old girl who later became known as the "mother of Sydney"; when she died in the age of 82 she had more than 350 living descendants. Very interesting also was an "archeological" site from the 19th century which shows the remainings of the butchery of the before mentioned butcher. Today, one of the youth hostels of Sydney is well-integrated into the historic site. Right for sunset, we had climbed up "Observatory Hill" - amazing views, even with a rainbow at the Harbour Bridge👋🏻. During the tour we also passed by three pubs, each of them claiming being the oldest pub of Sydney🤔 The tour ended just under the Harbour Bridge with a nice view on the opera house again. It was dusk by then, some big bats were flying above us - what a great atmosphere for the mystic "The Rocks" tour. After the tour, I stayed a little longer in the Rocks area and then made my way back through the city to the hostel. However, I stopped for dinner at a Nepalese restaurant😊Read more

  • Day49

    Beautiful downtown and harbour - Sydney

    March 16 in Australia ⋅ ☁️ 20 °C

    Well, from now, Corona was present everywhere. Of course, I had followed the German news already the last days and was also updated by some of you guys😉, but now it also got really present here in Australia. On the bus to Sydney, some people wore face masks. The guy sitting next to me was equipped with a helmet - well that one probably not against the virus🤔 -, but also a mask, and big bottles of desinfection spray as well as hand sanitiser. And, he was spraying quite a few times during the bus ride. Furthermore, I had found out on the bus, that New Zealand would foreigners only allow into the country anymore if they went for fourteen days into self-isolation. Well, my flight to Wellington was planned in two days, the return flight to Germany from Auckland only five days later. Do the math - that cannot work. Since, the measures taken in Europe also became stricter and stricter - as you all know - I decided, I had to book an earlier flight home from Sydney. So, after having arrived in Sydney at 10:00 am, I spent the first three hours or so in the hostel to search and book a new flight from Sydney to Frankfurt via Abu Dhabi, and to cancel my flight and hostel bookings for New Zealand. However, afterwards I wanted to start exploring Sydney even though the weather was rainy. At 2:30 pm, I went on a free walking tour with the same tour operator as in Melbourne. Already on the way to the meeting point as well as during the tour, I felt that Sydney somehow caught me more than Melbourne. The tour was excellent, the guide told us many interesting facts about Sydney and showed us beautiful places. Even the rain, that was pouring down almost the entire first half of the tour could not affect my mood of enjoying the tour. In my opinion, Sydney has kind of well managed to fit together the old historic buildings with the modern skyscrapers that certainly dominate the downtown area. I also was impressed by the beautiful Hyde Park (in a hefty rain shower😄). One of my favourite places was a little laneway that was decorated with many hanging bird cages (no worries, there are no real birds inside, but artificial bird noises though). According to our guide this was meant as a short-term arts project, but, since the people of Sydney liked it so much, it is now permanently there. In the second half of the tour, we covered the area close to the harbour. Well, I guess, all of us have seen Sydney harbour, the bridge and the opera house on TV and/or on pictures, but is still different to be there! I was fascinated and we were also lucky with the weather because the sun had shown up now. This tour had definitely turned a day that had started badly, into a nice day😁Read more

  • Day48

    Melbourne from a wheel - Melbourne Star

    March 15 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 18 °C

    Well, after having bought a t-shirt and some postcards in a regular souvenir shop, I jumped on a tram to the docklands. I wanted to explore this part of the city a little bit and I wanted to see Melbourne from above. For this I had chosen the Melbourne Star. One round takes about 30 minutes and I was kind of lucky with the weather. The view was pretty good. The ride on the Melbourne Star was a brilliant finish of my stay in Melbourne, a pretty nice city whose vibe, however, I afterall - I do not exactly know why - did not completely catch. After Melbourne Star, I took the tram back, headed to the hostel, got my big backpack, and made my way to the Southern Cross Station. At 10:00 pm, I left Melbourne on the Greyhound overnight service (12 hours) to Sydney.Read more

  • Day48

    Italian quarter,prison,robotic ice-cream

    March 15 in Australia ⋅ ☀️ 19 °C

    I had to be out of the room by 10:00 am. Well, I made it just in time😄 Another day in Melbourne was waiting for me. I caught a tram (do you remember, it's free👍🏻) to the Carlton Gardens, which I wanted to visit again with more time because we were a little rushing through them on the city tour. The Royal Exhibition Building in the middle of them is pretty impressive. From the Carlton Gardens it is not far to Lygon Street in the quarter of Carlton which is the main street for Italian food in Melbourne. There are many Italian restaurants just next to each other. Melbourne has the largest Italian community outside Italy. I had some yummy pasta with prawns for lunch there. Then I made my way back towards the city centre and visited Melbourne Gaol, the the former prison of Melbourne, operating until the 1920s, which today is a museum. Very interesting stories about 19th century and early 20th century criminals are presented. Many of the prisoners in the Gaol were sentenced to death, like Ned Kelley, apparently the most famous Australian criminal. He and his gang commited some bank robberies, but are nowadays also partly seen as heroes. For some people Ned Kelley has an image as kind of an Australian Robin Hood. In the visit of the Gaol is also included a little tour through the Watchhouse, another prison next to the Gaol for prisoners waiting for their trial in the court next door which had been operating until the 1980s or 1990s. Part of the tour was also that all the men and all the women were separtedly arrested in one of the cells. It was a nice entertainment😀 Afterwards, I went once more to Federation Square, a very stylish modern square which only has existed since the early 2000s. Around the square are located some art museums and restaurants. And, there is also one of my highlights of the day: a robotic icecream bar. That was pretty cool and I had to have an icecream there😂 My next stop should have been a nice souvenir shop we had passed by on the city tour the other day, but unfortunately it was already closed for the day.Read more

  • Day47

    Hidden Bars Tour

    March 14 in Australia ⋅ ⛅ 16 °C

    After a pretty good and long sleep, I headed out into the city again. At the Queen Victoria Markets I treated myself with a good breakfast and then walked a bit around this huge market area. Afterwards, I took the tram 35 to take a little tour around Melbourne downtown. In Melbourne all trams are free in the city centre, and the particularities of tram 35 are: it goes in a loop around the city, interesting information for tourists is provided, and it is operated with historic trams. I did the whole loop for about an hour and then went to Brunswick Street which the guide from the day before had recommended to visit and to go for a bite or a coffee. I had coffee and cake in a nice little coffee shop.In this coffee shop the corona crisis was "visible" for the first time on my whole travel. They only used takeaway cups and did not accept cash anymore because of the virus. Then I made my way through the area and a beautiful park with a dolphin fountain towards the meeting point of the hidden bars tour I had booked and that was supposed to start at 03:00 pm. We were twelve participants and went on the tour with our guide Sara. Pretty much in the beginning we passed a small street called "Meyers Place"😁Sara even told us about a hidden bar in a takeaway pizza place in that street, but we were not going there. The first bar we went to was in a small alley with some streetart. Apparently, it was famous for its Pisco Sour, so I tried it and had a Pisco Sour for the first time. It was good! Our second bar was in China Town. There I had a Singapore Sling, my favourite cocktail. Our next stop was in a very nice old pub. This time I took a beer. The fourth and last bar was even located on one of the main streets of Melbourne. I am not sure if I had recognized it if I had been on my own. We arrived there a bit after 6:00 pm. Sara did not stay very long (it was the official end of the tour), but I had a nice conversation with Chris from Minnesota. His wife and he had come to Melbourne because of the Formula 1 Grand Prix which had been canceled the day before. After two beers, Chris and his wife, an Australian couple, a Dutch woman and I continued to another bar Sara had recommended. It was themed like "Alice in Wonderland", but it was pretty dark so you could not see all the details, but it was nice anyway. It was not our last stop. In fact, we went to Meyers Place then to checkout the hidden bar in the pizza place. Sara had told us, that you have to ask for the "special menu" to get entry to the hidden bar. Well, that somehow did not work. They did not let us in and we went to the bar next door. Then it was time to eat something. We ended up at "Hungry Jacks" the Australian "Burger King". It must have been about 11:00 pm by then. I joined the others for one more beer at a bar the Australians knew from the day before, but then I said goodbye and made my way home to the hostel. After a very nice day I fell asleep in the hostel at about 01:30 am.Read more

  • Day46

    Walking tour in Melbourne

    March 13 in Australia ⋅ 🌧 18 °C

    The night was short. At 02:00 am my alarm went off because I had ordered a taxi for 02:45 am to go to Brisbane airport. My flight to Melbourne was at 05:10 am. It was very quiet at the airport and the counters did not open before about 03:45 am. Checkin and security check were fast and then I had much time to enjoy a croissant and a coffee. The sunrise after takeoff was beautiful once again. At about 08:00 am I landed in Melbourne. From Melbourne airport I took the Skybus to the city centre and then went to the hostel. Of course, I could not go to the room yet, but I left my luggage there and went on a little stroll around the city. Honestly, I was not really motivated because I was pretty tired and exhausted. I would have loved to spend most the time, until I could checkin, in a nice café, but I just did not manage to find a nice one in between the skyscrapers. From my first impression I did not catch the vibe of Melbourne. For the afternoon I had planned to go on a free city walking tour, but first I returned back to the hostel. It took still a while until I could go to my room and then I had immediately to go to the starting point of the tour again. And, except for the rain that came down every now and then, the tour was really nice😀We were told interesting facts about Melbourne, saw nice Victorian and other buildings as well as beautiful parks and just went on the "right" path through the city. I figured out, that in the morning I very often had just turned left or right too early before I would have reached the nicer areas🙃We also went through Chinatown, which is the oldest in the world, as well as through impressive small laneways full of bars and restaurants. The tour ended after about three hours at a place where we had a beautiful view on the skyline. The concept of the tour operator is, that it is in general free, but that you give in the end what you consider the tour was worth to you. I think, it was a great tour to get insights into Melbourne. Anyway, I was still tired and not very motivated to do much after the tour. I walked around the city, grabbed a bite and returned to the hostel to fall asleep soon...Read more