Tag Archives: Blue Lagoon

Laos & Cambodia

Sabaidee (Lao) and sua s’dei (Khmer)!

Back on the route, my flight (actually 4 flights) to Laos took around 40 hours, much longer than Lao Airlinesexpected. Spontaneously had to buy a visa in Vietnam because one of the flights was from Saigon to Hanoi and I didn’t count it as staying in Vietnam. But it was good at the end, only USD 25, much less than if I had bought it in Germany. In Hanoi, the flight to the Lao town of Luang Prabang was cancelled due to lack of interest; we would have been only 2 passengers. So I was put into a hotel for the rest of the day, together with an Australian traveller. We had to take a tiny “Lao Airlines” machine instead of “Vietnam Airlines”, very adventures with colourful interior, in the evening.

LUANG PRABANG
Luckily arrived save in Luang Prabang in the North of Laos and was able to gather a first impression of the town which is imbedded within two rivers, one of them being the Mekong. I spontaneously fell in love with the village and didn’t want to go to bed although I hadn’t slept properly for 3 nights. Lampions, candles everywhere, people playing the guitar, many rastas and bearded travellers, it hasMekong riverside something of a hippy town and is just very laid-back. It is unbelievably peaceful, people are very nice and discrete, not as annoying as in Vietnam (comparing now retrospectively). I felt very save here, and having had a look-around, I think I will be doing many things completely on my own here. Good and genuine tours do rarely exist, so it will be more of adventure, but with less risk. Might go to the mountain tribes by boat the next days for trekking. I had my first confrontation with a strange animal; it looked like a centipede, but huge and long like an eel with thousand feet. Had Beer Lao near the river before going to bed. Next day, for lunch, first impression of Lao food: had a Lao salad, which is western-style green salad and spinach with tomatoes and eggs, but with a sweet mint dressing. And Lao wine, which is pink rice wine which tastes like Redbull. TNight markethe country is not developed at all, the only ATM in whole Laos seems to be in the capital of Vientiane. Thank God I bought USD, with the dollar being so cheap. Will see how far it will take me. (-:

If there is any, this is set to be THE monk town, although these orange dressed people were about everywhere during this travel. Lots of temples. Tried grilled fish on a stick from the street market for the first time, and it was delicious. Think it was Mekong fish. That evening, they celebrated the end of the rainy season. Huge ceremony with lots of orange monks! The night market is great to buy presents; you won’t find them this cheap or at all again anywhere in Laos, so buy here!

NONG KHIAW
A jungle villSlowboat to Nong Khiawage with basically nothing to do. I took a slow boat from Luang Prabang to get there. Don’t book in advance with any agent, just go there in the morning and hop on it. Like most means of transport in Laos, it goes only once a day in the morning. On our way, we stopped, charging some Lao people with pigs, boxes and their grandma. They got off in different jungle villages on our way along the river to Nong Khiaw. We stopped in some of these villages to go to the loo and were able to have a quick look at how they live in the rainforest. First experience with typical Lao toilets: French style, no flush, just a water basin Nong Khiawwith a dipper, no toilet paper, they usually use their hand and water, that’s why you often find mini-showers in the toilets. So the old rule I’ve been relying on applies here even more: Never go without your own toilet paper roll! My room was equipped with a simple mattress in a bamboo bungalow. Lao beds are very hard. In this village, electricity only until 10 p.m., nature is shouting, cocks are very active all night long. Way back to Luang Prabang on an overloaded pick-up-truck. Concerning me, only my bum hurt on these trucks, but many suffered from hurting backs.

VANG VIENG
Scenic landscape surrounded by mountains. All the backpackers half sit, half lie in one direction watching “Friends” in ALL the pubs and restaurants. A special menu in the restaurants is Vang Vieng countrysideavailable: joint 2 USD, weed cocktail, opium tea, happy pizza (with marihuana), happy chocolate brownie, magic mushrooms. You can find happy pizza in most places in Laos and Cambodia. Fun thing to do in Vang Vieng is tubing, it’s so much fun. Lots of things like kayaking to do in Vang Vieng. In the afternoon, I hired a bicycle and drove to the Blue Lagoon for a fantastic swim after a high speed 8 km drive before sunset. Met two Italian girls from the North of Italy and spent the rest of the day with them driving back, having an appero Beerlao on a bamboo house in the river and after a Lao massage in my guesthouse a nice dinner without happy pizza. The guesthouse was great: old Lao style house with good food, massages of all kind, chill out area, hammocks everywhere, open-air shower.

VIENTIANE
Went there partly by pick-up truck, Lao people jumping on and off all the time, and 17 km by kayak. Very nice trip. The jungle we kayaked through was toilet-paper-covered due to lower water level than in the rainy season. We had a delicious lunch, grilled sticks, on rocks besides the river and the chance to jump from a 10 meter high rock, which I did. Traffic in Vientiane is not worth mentioning although it’s the capital, compared to other Asian towns. Went around the town by bicycle but nevertheless missed a horn. There are traffic lights, compared to Hanoi or Saigon, but that’s probably the only thing more developed in Laos than anywhere else in Asia. First you don’t like Vientiane, then Lao charm and nice French bakeries might make you change your mind. Arriving late, I had a good choice of shit-holes to stay, so I took the cheapest one. Went out with the Austrian couple I had met on the kayak tour which resulted in a little hangover the next day. After organizing myself booking a flight with many-coloured “Lao Airlines” and a sleeping bus with real beds in a dorm-like bus with space for at least 25 people, I had a wonderful French breakfast, randomly meeting the Dutch guy from the kayak tour and later again the Austrian couple several times – Vientiane is more of a village than a capital. After sightseeing by bicycle I went to a wooden house in the middle of some jungle in the outskirts of Vientiane for the best Lao herbs sauna and massage ever. Relaxed enough for the night in the sleeping bus heading to Pakse in the South of Laos.

4000 ISLANDS IN THE MEKONG – DON DET ISLAND
Arriving in the morning, managed to put all the backpackers on one pick-up-truck to bring us to On the roadthe other bus stop to take busses in the South of Pakse. Hopped on another pick-up-truck to Ban Nakasang (no official tickets, you have to negotiate) with four other people that wanted to go to the same island in the middle of the Mekong. On our way, I had a stick with crispy grilled grasshoppers. From Ban Nakasang, very small wooden Lao boat (not even a slow boat) to Don Det Island. Again jungle experience with basically nothing but nice food (but all the time no “fiss” although it was in the middle of so much water), a cock in the middle of change of voice and many impressive waterfalls. Shared a wooden bungalow over the Mekong , hammock included, with an Austrian girl, next to two German guys, and we spent two nights in this village community including pigs, chicken, cows, frogs, mostly chilling. Papaya salad is not orange, but more like a spicy coal salad, very delicious!

BOLAVEN PLATEAU
Back to Pakse went for a circuit in the Bolaven Plateau to see more waterfalls and nice jungle nature with more chilly temperatures and sometimes smells like Sardinia or Greece. Spend one Tat Lonight in Tat Lo and one night at Tat Fane waterfall. Often, you basically stand somewhere besides a road, which is actually no road, stopping a pick-up-truck and hopping on it in the middle of 25 Lao people or more who where already hanging around and sitting on top of the truck. In Sekong, there were no rooms available any more due to groups looking for old mines. I hired a motorbike to discover the area. Was impressed by a 75 years old man going through Laos for 2 months by bicycle. Wasn’t really looking forward to go to Cambodia now because I liked Lao people so much and expected Cambodian people to be more like the Vietnamese, whom I now find more aggressive, comparing them to the two neighbouring countries.

PHNOM PENH
Flew into Cambodia to the capital of Phnom Penh and was very positively surprised by people Phnom Penhbeing almost as nice, warm and welcoming as Lao people. First guesthouse was full, the secondone was non-existing, but a very nice British lady jumped out of the house and gave us some advices – and then even a ride in her car to a very nice guesthouse to stay. I had met a Dutch couple in the plane with whom I made my way to that guesthouse and spent the rest of the evening with them talking. Was surprised about this other person in the bathroom suddenly, realizing that this was the first time I saw myself in a mirror for more than a week.

SIHANOUKVILLE – beach side
Went there by bus and managed to make my way to a guesthouse in the very last corner of the beach with no direct road connection – had to walk over the beach being a backpack-sandwich the last meters. Before, I hBamboo Islandad to convince the motorbike-driver that this is the perfect place for me to be, although he tried to do everything to bring me to other places, telling me that that place was dirty, no beach etc. It was finally the best place to stay, and made myself the pleasure to sleep in a very nice bamboo bungalow on the beach – and had “sea breezes” all the time (a cocktail available in only this guesthouse, very recommendable). Chill, relax, wonderful spicy grilled squid and barracuda…spent the rest of the day and the next day with a German guy. We went to Bamboo Island with completely deserted beach – you have to walk through the jungle to the other side of the island. Only in the rainy season, there are Cobras in the jungle. (-;

PHOM PENH
Back in Phnom Penh, hired a motorbike with driver to bring me to the killing fields, which are the Apsara Dance Theatremass tombs of the Red Khmer, and S-21, the old Red Khmer prison. The Dutch couple was still in the same guesthouse and about to leave Phnom Penh the same day as me. In the evening I went to the theatre to see Apsara dance, which is not only this typical temple dance of Angkor, but also dances showing the every day live of rice farmers, ethic minority people in the North etc. Really enjoyed. Before and later on enjoyed the party in town because of Independence Day.

SIEM REAP/ANGKOR
Took the speedboat via the Tonle Sap River and Lake from Phnom Penh to Siem Reap, arriving along floating villages and mangroves and then a tuk-tuk to bring me to the Prince Mekong Villa, a very nice guesthouse with very individual advices on bicycle and tuk-tuk tours, free laundry, free breakfast, free bicycle, very social family-style atmosphere and one of the service guys called “Sri”, which meanAngkor Thoms “girl”. In the guesthouse, there is also the “possibility to grill yourself”, as indicated on the menu. Spontaneously shared the room with a Belgium girl and also spent the 2 days in Angkor seeing all the temples with her by tuk-tuk and bicycle. Big family meeting close to going back home: also the Dutch guy from the kayak tour in Laos stayed in the guesthouse, and the second evening, the Austrian girl was sitting on the big table, with whom I had shared the room in the 4000 islands in Laos. And the professional Spanish clown we had met when having diner on the 4000 islands on a big round table ordering everything for everyone to try.
We liked very much the far away jungle temple Banteay Srei. The bicycle tour was fantastic, we woke up at 4 a.m. to see the sunrise in the sunset temple Phnom Bakheng – with not a single other person there except for us. Also recommendable is a trip on top ofTa Prohm the town wall around Angkor Thom which nobody knows – that’s why it is a path away from the touristy track as well. As well as the Ta Nei, a temple in the middle of the jungle. You get all these advices from the Swiss owner of the backpacker. Such a day can be really long, even with nice and long pauses. And my bum!!!!! These were no mountain bikes, just bikes!
Angkor Wat is reeeaaaaly impressive, wow. Due to hurting feet and bums, a tuk-tuk-driver was able to convince us to put our bikes on the tuk-tuk, bring them home and go all the way to the Roluos Group. You might hesitate if you wanna see another temple after a day full of temples, but the Roluos Group is really different again, we liked it a lot.

BATTAMBANG
Spectacular boSlowboat from Siem Reap to Battambangat trip by slow boat to Battambang through deep mangroves, leaving just enough space for the boat. Around Battambang very nice picturesque and peaceful landscape. In the afternoon, went to some other temple, Wat Banan, and took the bamboo train from one village to the next. The bamboo train is basically a raft with 4 wheels on not very smoothly linked tracks. That’s why it’s a very loud bang-bang train.

SIEM REAP
Back by boat, went to the very far away jungle temple of Beng Melea by motorbike, which I didn’t like particularly, but most people do. In the evening, night flight back home to Germany.

I liked Laos and Cambodia a lot, and comparing it to Vietnam, I find the people much friendlier, more welcoming, peaceful and honest – following the principles of Buddhism (I would have left my wallet on the table for half an hour being sure it would still be there when coming back), better backpacking, more mixed up with locals, better food (great food!!!). Before the trip I wasn’t really happy I was going on holidays, because there was actually nothing really to look forward to. In Vietnam you know that there are “things” to see.
Apart from Angkor, there are not real “things” to see and look forward to in Laos and Cambodia, it’s the experience of the country, the people, the very relaxed and laid-back atmosphere. The journey is the reward. Resume: I don’t feel like going back to Vietnam because I “have seen” it, but would love to go back to Laos and Cambodia because of the people and the atmosphere. Also these were my most communicative backpacking holidays so far. I often travelled with someone for a couple of days or spontaneously shared a room. I hardly remember any evening alone, usually sitting together with others talking or undertaking something. I must say that I feel that travelling has become really easy, even though Laos was the real backpacker experience with the worst roads and means of transportation you can imagine. So you travelled really mixed up with the locals what was lots of fun. You just tried to move on to some other place as they did, so no separation of tourist and local transportation.

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For a picturesque slideshow of Laos, click the image

Laos Fall 2007

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For a slideshow of Cambodia, click this image

Cambodia Fall 2007

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Australia / Fiji / Singapore

…including: 10 reasons why you should go to Australia at winter start and although there is world cup in Germany. Have fun!

G’Day mates and Bula (Fijian for Hi)!

BRISBANE
My first backpacker after 20 hours of net flight (including time shift) imm019_20awas horrible. I arrived in the night, welcomed by a rather used lady with her teeth besides her bed. In the bed, I was rather sitting than lying, and the people were very young, always pissed and stoned. But I had some good party anyway and discovered why Brisbane is set to be the best party town in Australia. Would it deserve its reputation? The town itself was nice: nice skyline, but too modern for my taste, nothing historical. But you shouldn’t really expect that in Australia. This is at least what I thought at the time…you will see, just keep on reading…

FIJI
I went to Fiji for a week, and that was some kind of what you would probably call a dream holiday. The flight with Virgin Blue was the best ever, so funny. The staff head presented himself as “Bob who used to be a builder” and presented the life stories of all the crew members afterwards. “If you’ve got questions about duty free shopping, food and beverages onboard or love live, don’t hesitate to contact one of our crew members”. When showing how to use the breathing mask, “stop laughing, put the mask on you nose..”, Fiji - island in Yasawa Groupreally so funny…
First, I went to some lonely islands in the Yasawa group at the end of the world in the middle of the Pacific Ocean, 4.5 hours away from the main island by catamaran. On the way, you already felt like stranded in Paradise as it was island hopping from one lonely island to the next. Ten minutes after arriving, everyone wondered what we’ll be doing in paradise, some had booked 2×6 days…there is really nothing to do in paradise. Electricity only from 6-10 p.m., no phone, no internet, drinking rain water, eating only what was available on the island, like potatoes and pumpkins. And we all came from travelling so didn’t really need to relax so much. I wasn’t able to snorkel or so because of a temporary eye disease. So hanging around in the hammock doing nothing. I wasn’t even able to write postcards because: no postcards in paradise (-:…I understand now why Adam and Eve finally created the whole world population! There was really nothing else to do in paradise! Just there was no Adam! /-:
Went to the church, which was open air under coconut palms, lasted 2 hours, and was like a Fijian gospel party. I really enjoyed it; it was much more fun, celebrating, not as serious and dramatic as in Europe, it really made you feel happy… And went to the “Blue Lagoon” where the so named film with Brooke Shields has been filmed. But that’s just another beach, they are all like that. On my way back to the main island I decided to party a bit on the party island “Beachcomber Island” for a night, next to “Treasury Island” and “Bounty Island”. One of these very tiny islands you can walk around in 10 minutes. Very nice people, good wine, good conversations. Then I spent a night in the mountains of the main island, that was almost the best, had a mud volcano bath, felt soooo relaxed afterwards… Another day in Nadi for shopping and back home, I mean to Sydney…

SYDNEY
I stayed at one of these East Coast beaches, Coogee, the little brother of famous Bondi beach, really nice there, great backpacker accommodation in a girls dorm, lovely. Again, like in Brisbane, only walked the whole time – no public transport – to discover the town. Favourite places are Thharbour-bridge1e Rocks and Kings Cross. Went to see modern dance in the famous opera house you all know, to the markets on Sunday. Made a cliff walk from Bondi via Bronte to Coogee, lovely, too, soooo many joggers there, my world! On Sunday, I went to the Blue Mountains, and as I am a forest girl (-: and have lived throughout my whole life in a huuuuuge forest, I just felt at home and happy in this amazing nature, the air was so clear, and the Blue Mountains just wow! That was the best I have seen since I have arrived in Australia. On Monday, went to the Sydney Aquarium and out to the ocean to watch humpback whales! Fascinating!

MELBOURNE
Next direction Melbourne by train through the outback or rather still bush, and I loved it: all these little Victorian style stations, just so pretty, and landscapes with just nothing anywhere. Made a trip along the Great Ocean Road. Didn’t expect a lot and thought: it’s just a street along the sea/beach. But it isn’t. After every curve, nature changed. Again, nature fascinated me in Australia, as it did already in the Blue Mountains when I was hiking/trekking/bush-walking, however you want to call it. Not only is it so diverse, it makes completely strange voices…in the Blue Mountains it seemed as if the whole valley was shouting…besides, I saw wild Koalas hanging in the trees and wild red parrots. Good music oBush walking in the Blue Mountainsn the road made the feeling perfect. On my last day, I went to the hospital early and the doc told me that my eye had finally healed! What a relief, 1 day before going to the outback tour!!!! I was so happy. Went to St. Kilda near Melbourne and celebrated this with a breakfast on the beach with sea view, including a glass of champagne after my self-chosen no-party-and-no-alc-treatment for the last couple of weeks. St. Kilda is lovely: plenty of Spanish, Italian fancy foods stores and cafes under palms along Acland Street, a nice market on the beach esplanade. Took my Bill Bryson book and was reading the rest of the afternoon on the beach (I hadn’t been allowed to read since eye disease had started), finishing in a wine bar for sunset.

ADELAIDE
Adelaide was just a quickie, unfortunately, because I liked it a lot. For the first time for ages, I had booked a proper hotel from some Qantas credits I had left. But I felt so alone in the room and hotel, no people around, even not another bed…I mean, it doesn’t have to be bed no. 52 in a 84 mixed beds dorm like the one in Beachcomber Island in Fiji, but I’m so used to having others around me all the time now…well I made it, decided to treat myself with a beauty session to make sure I was appetizing enough for the wild animals waiting for me when camping in the outback on my way up to Alice Springs. Adelaide is much more spacious than the other towns I’ve been to, it takes more time to walk around the blocks, but it is lovely, green and has got a proper European style pedestrian zone!

OUTBACK
The next day, tour guide Matthew picked me up very early with my trekking and hiking rucksacks (with the one on my back and the other one in front of my belly, I must have looked like a sandwich on two feet) and the best week of my Aussie time was about to begin. We were only a small group, 4 Irish Sheila’s, 1 English Sheila, 1 Italian archaeologist, another German bloke and me. Mat introduced us to the Australian animal world. The brown snake is actually the second deadly snake in the world and the most common in Australia. Thx for the little detail. One Aborigine once said: if Adam had been an Aborigine, he wouldn’t have eaten the apple, but the snake….
The first day we were heading for the Flinders Ranges, a green, grasYourambulla Cavessy and hilly landscape. We saw all kinds of wild kangaroos, emus, cockatoos covering a whole tree (I mean, not the kangaroos and emus on the trees of course), again unbelievably noisy, some birds sound as if they had digestion problems. We left the main road quite soon after Adelaide for unsealed roads passing by cute little country villages. The first night was a luxury night, as we would find out later, in a container-like bungalow which gave us some kind of big brother feeling.

The next day, we were leaving for the real outback experience, the dirt ahead of us. After stopping at different places, ghost towns etc. along the old Ghan railway collected some of the old track wood for our William Creek in the middle of nowherefire in the evening. William Creek was supposed to be the dirtiest place of our outback tour and South Australia’s smallest town. We camped in swags (Australian thing: a bigger sleeping bag made out of a material like canvas cover with an integrated mattress) and sleeping bags, at roughly 0 degrees Celsius, in the red stony plains under the sky. At least, watching my trekking rucksack now, nobody will ever doubt that I have travelled, I will probably never ever get the dust out of it again. One other important thing I learnt was that you should always take a shower if there is one available.

Next day: direction Coober Pedy, the opal capital of the world. The town is dirty, dusty and rough, in the middle of the desert. That’s why much of Mad Max II, Ground Zero and Stark had been filmed there. People there buy bombing licences to be able to make their own bombs to digger for opals. Once they have bombed the holes, they live in these dugouts, underground. Coober Pedy is aboriginal and means “white man’s hole in the ground”. It can happen that you bomb and end up in someone else’s living room. In front of the underground church there was a sign: ”no mess, father gone bush”. We learnt about opal mining, had time for ourselves, chilled out and watched the locals, the first Aborigines I saw since I was in AustEternal streetralia. They were often drunk in the streets, but very friendly and polite. The evening should be the best party ever, we danced like crazy (the ones that have seen me dancing know what I mean, like crazy, including doing cartwheels and stuff) and had such a good time with the locals in the only club of the town. Just once I was a bit irritated, when an Aboriginal girl gave me a slap on my bum…well…maybe she misunderstood my mono-eyed permanent flirt-attack (due to eye disease) (-;…After camping we would probably have slept like babies, underground in proper beds, but the party lasted until early.

Nobody got taken by the mining fever, we all went to Uluru/Ayer’s Rock the next day which we explored walking around, having breakfast there at sunrise and a glass of wine or beer at sunset for appero. I hadn’t expected much, thought I have seen it so many times before on photos. But I was wrong. It was really fascinating to learn a lot about the Aboriginal culture around Uluru, with the paintings and caves. Although it Garden of Edenis flat and red like rust everywhere, it’s different wherever you go. Even better was Kata Tjuta/the Olgas, where we had a proper morning bush-walk around the rocks and in the beautiful valley with many strange flowers that only occur at that time of the year. By the way: we had gone back to camping, and my sleeping bag felt cosier and cosier as it was bloody freezing. Just 3 of the girls slept in the bus the last 3 nights, but they had some kind of a paper sleeping bag. During the day it was 25 degrees Celsius though, and I was quite happy that I wasn’t there in the Australian summer with 57 degrees. The last thing we did was a 4 hours rock-hiking in Kings Canyon/Watarrka. We skirted the canyon’s rim overlooking sheers and passing through a maze of giant eroded domes, finally entered in the so-called “Garden of Eden” with tranquil pools. Fantastic! And finished the tour in Alice Springs that day…

Highlights of the tour:
• Have you ever seen a moon set on a horizon with nothing around? You will on these outback tours. Plus you will see a night sky in the middle of nowhere you have never seen before, an incredibly clear milky way, satellites, Southern Cross etc. And the best sunsets ever!
• Wild kangaroos, emus, dingos (wild dogs), strange birds
• Long straight streets like the Stuart Highway with eternal horizons without any bush, but great road music!
• Discovering honeypot ants nests while searching fire wood
• Cooking together and fun evenings around the fire having kangaroo BBQ
• A very personal guide (no, not what you mean) that showed us his favourite places off the main roads
• Ochre fields, huge mining holes, ghost towns, ghost railway stations, old telegraph station, lovely pubs in the middle of nowhere, salt lakes like Lake Eyre in the desert
• The best group ever with Sheila’s that loved dancing as much as I do
• No news at all, just local news (my new hobby is reading local newspapers, like in Uluru: lost tourist 2 freezing nights in Kings Canyon, new use of dingo urine etc.), but the bush news worked pretty well for world cup news
• Australia is able to provide you with your personal records, like period with highest quantity of best showers of your life…

ALICE SPRINGS
Nice town in the very centre of Australia with a nice pedestrian zone, you can see the town in 2 hours. Had a last dinner together, and our guide told us that we’ve been among the top 3 groups and the first one to exchange e-mails. And I must say, it was brilliant, really the best group ever. We had another great party night…

PERTH
Flew to Perth the next day, gained 1.5 hours, getting closer to CET. Chilled out that afternoon, as I was just Perth skylinetoo tired from our last party evening; it was again till the morning hours. And I urgently needed to wash my stuff. In the next days made 3 tours.
First one to MARGARET RIVER region which is set to be one of the best wine regions of Australia. Popped into one of these groups where everyone is happy with his/her sandwich box and when you tell them to sit down, they just do it. Do you know what I mean? Of course I was special (-: ,brought my own food and was quite amused sitting in the back of the bus watching the show: “on your left hand side” – all the heads turned to the left, “on your right hand side” – all the heads turned to the right – you didn’t even need a tennis ball for that. Apart from that, it wasn’t worth it. I would either do it individually by car next time and see some more wineries or not any more at all as it didn’t impress me that much. I mean, the wine is excellent, but the German wine route is so much more impressive and picturesque. Writing this, I feel like one of these German tourists that doesn’t like anything that tastes different to Vienna Schnitzel or Bratwurst – you know those people with socks and their Birkenstock (well, I must admit that this wWave Rockas also my breathtaking, sexy morning and evening outback fashion, okay, okay, okay). But I must take this chance to promote my beautiful region of Palatinate (Pfalz) a little bit in here because it is highly underestimated. I was told the Aussies liked the region around Kaiserslautern a lot during the 2006 world cup in Germany, and I understand perfectly!
Okay, next trip went to WAVE ROCK, a rock formation that looks like aPinnacles wave: that was fantastic, it’s really worth it, stop in the beautiful town of York on your way, it’s fantastic. On the way, again bush, a touch of outback, fantastic. The Aborigines here look more like Indians and are much more open-minded and share their culture with us, opposite to the centre Aborigines.
Last but not least the PINNACLE DESERT, a moon like landscape: excellent tour, a must on your travels through Australia, it’s again fascinating, and much fun was the 4WD drive and sand boarding that day! And who told me about Australian winter? 30 degrees!!!!!

PERTH/FREMANTLE
The last two days chilling out in Perth and the suburb of Fremantle. Perth is lovely, good shopping; nice pedestrian zone with arcades. A highlight is the lookout from King’s Park over the skyline of Perth. Decided to give up being a backpacker for the last days and treated myself with a massage and a lobster dinner in Northbridge, then chilled out in the Jacuzzi in the backpacker. Actually, there ARE really good backpackers, only the first one in Brisbane turned out to have been really crap. On my last day in Australia , Iwent to picturesque Fremantle, had seafood lunch in the harbour looking out to the harbour and walked around in the Fremantle markets.

SINGAPORE
Gosh!!!!! What can I say? Overwhelming, confusion, too many people, too many shopping malls, I didn’t Singapore skylinefeel like shopping any more – just tooooo much!!! Finally, it got better, and the town is really cool, and people very friendly. At least they seem interested when they are talking to you, I don’t know if they really are…went to Chinatown, Little India, Arab street, bought an MP3 Player, got a top changed shorter, which I had bought in Fiji and on my last evening, had a delicious meal, Singapore Chili crab on the riverside with view to the lights of the town. Excellent.

THE SPECIES AUSSIE – a few thoughts
Their reputation is to be easy-going, the Aussie wants himself to be regarded as optimistic (”no worries” all the time). My and other’s experience is that the Aussie is even that optimistic that he will explain the way to you even though he doesn’t know it. The Aussie never says “I don’t know”. Somehow American…
Actually, the Aussies in the outback were the ones that really deserve their reputation to be easy-going and obliging.

Typical Australian conversation
-G’Day, mate, how r ya?
-Not too bad, mate, not too bad…

Just one thing to finish:
10 REASONS WHY YOU SHOULD GO TO AUSTRLIA AT THIS TIME OF THE YEAR (WINTER START) AND ALTHOUGH THERE IS WORLDCUP IN GERMANY:

1) Max. 5 flies instead of 10000000…covering you
2) 25 instead of 57 degrees Celsius in the desert or even 65 degrees on top of the Wave Rock
3) no problems finding an accommodation, just pop in
4) Australian winters are not German winters, no minus degrees, you shouldn’t go to Tasmania though
5) More personal tours because of fewer people (up to 3 seats per person in a small bus)
6) Cheap flights, esp. out of Germany at times of world cup
7) Cheaper accommodation, cheaper tours etc.
8) Best time to see whales
9) Not so many tourists around
10) But the locals start travelling, so you can meet them!

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For a slideshow of the trip, click the image

Australia 2006 (this one is Silke @ Wave Rock)

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One more thing…:

Although the national anthem of Australia goes like this, the “inofficial national anthem” clearly is:

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