7 June 2014

scan056The big family vacation is about to commence. The parents, my uncle and I are squeezing ourselves into a VW Eurovan and are heading north. As far north as we can go on a road. If all goes well, we will find ourselves at the North Cape in Norway.
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2 February 2014

img_9873Not quite clear where to stay for the night (but sure that we were headed towards the Mornington Peninsula, Phillip Island and Wilsons Promontory), we thought it’d be fun to take the ferry across Phillip Bay (haven’t been on a ship for a while after all) rather than driving through Melbourne and around the bay. Having camped in the wild the previous night, it was time for some civilization – we snatched the last powered site on a very Australia-Day-packed camp ground, put our gadgets to charge and then walked to the nearby town of Point Lonsdale for a ‘half-time’ celebration dinner and some yummy Australian cider (seems like they’ve elevated the making of cider to quite an art here in Australia, good for us).
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1 February 2014

img_9758Out of nowhere did the fields give way to steep, rugged cliffs with a charm that would have stunned us even if we didn’t just spent the past three days driving through a very interchangeable scenery.  A geocache site at Childers Cove was perfect for exploring the coastal area with its washed-out limestone rocks (and camping wild in our campervan).  We hiked up a cliff and enjoyed the breathtaking views of the ocean.  Come sunset, we sat there with one of the Hunter Valley wines and good music, watching the sun go down over the cliffs.  What we were about to do next was such a touristy thing to do – contrary to the pretty individualized and off-the-beaten-path trip so far – but it’s something you need to do.  It’s been a second time for me already but I didn’t mind at all:  The Great Ocean Road.
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25 January 2014

img_9094The Australian Outback – a vast expanse of hay fields. To the left. And the right. Cattle country. We’re playing Country Music to match the farming and ranching culture. Communities with funny names and so small that you miss them if you blink while driving through. Not to say it was boring or anything but yeah – we’re headed due south to Victoria and therefore didn’t stop much to see local attractions such as old gold mines. There was ‘The Dish‘ in Parkes though which is a 64-meter radio telescope, already closed for the day though. Oh – we’ve seen emus and a koala in the wild !!! Enjoy some photos of the ‘Golden Highway’ and the ‘Newell Highway’.

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img_8887We’ve spent the entire day in the Hunter Valley around Cessnock. We’ve visited wineries and the local zoo – all making it worth our while. We’ve chatted with locals, tasted wine and fantastic local olive oils, tasted more wines, chatted with more locals, exchanged “Hello Darlings” with yellow-crested cockatoos, petted koalas, fed the lorikeets, and hung out with the curious kangaroos. After all that our clothes needed some washing so we succumbed to the temptation of staying at an offical RV camper van park for the night with proper facilities.
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23 January 2014

img_8547We’ve left Sydney at around noon on Tuesday and – delayed by some rounds of practice around the block to adapt to the ‘driving on the left’ – headed towards the north-west, along the Wollemi and Yengo National Parks, to reach the Hunter Valley wine region.  We’ve arrived quite late and all the wineries were closed already but hey, tomorrow’s another day, right?  In Cessnock, we went shopping for essentials, and then found a dodgy but quiet parking place by a ‘No Through Road’ between Cessnock and Kurri Kurri, a quite built-up area which had made it difficult to find a good place for the night.  But it worked out well, and when Ryan woke up and looked out the window, he spotted a group of kangaroos not far from our camper van.  So yeah – it definitely worked out I would say :-) Continue | Weiter »

22 January 2014

img_8365I’m once more in Australia. Currently, I’m sitting in a camper van in New South Wales, in the Hunter Valley wine region to be precise, and here is how it all came to be: The last of the 24 ships was to be converted to the in-house internet cafe solution (the project that kept me busy for much of the last year), and #24 happened to be the Carnival Spirit that had been assigned to Australia and the South Pacific islands a while ago.

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img_7220It’s been 10 years since I’ve spent Christmas at home in Germany. That’s how long I’ve been working on ships, and even though once or twice my contract length almost permitted be to be on vacation during the holidays, I have extended for the benefit of my colleagues that wished to spend Christmas with their wives and children. This year things were different when my parents told me in the summer they are intending to visit me in the Caribbean for Christmas, and bring my brother, his wife and the baby, too. To plan the details didn’t take long, and soon the cruise and flights were booked. We’ve picked the Valor because it offered the best itinerary, and because we thought Puerto Rico was better than any other place previously visited to spend a week prior to the cruise. It worked out well and we were blessed with some great ports…

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4 January 2014

img_6896Alright, so the family trip is over and we’ve all returned to where we ought to be – the family back in Germany, and my gypsy self is back on the road (currently at the Philadelphia airport, ready for a new adventure but more about that soon). There were two parts to the family XMas vacation: A few days in Puerto Rico, followed by a cruise on the Carnival Valor which took us to some exotic Caribbean islands. I’ll share a few representative photos with you mainly so that you get to see what it’s like where I’ve spend the better part (mostly though for only a few hours) of the past 10 years.
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16 December 2013

So the family is on their way to Puerto Rico for their hard-earned vacation (and in a pretty selfish manner I’m going to be a part of it)….. So they are on their way to Puerto Rico… Theoretically… Practically…. Practically I don’t know. I have lost all contact with them at around 6:30 AM Florida time when they boarded their plane to Philadelphia. And now, at midnight Florida-time, I know their voice mail greetings all too well….. My family is missing !!!

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