Archive | April, 2012

Photo of the Week #10- A new friend in Jepara

22 Apr

Where- Jepara, Indonesia

I went up to Jepara for a few days with some guys from the office to visit some wood workshops. When we arrived we were picked up by a friend of someone at our office and this little guy. He hung out with us for the next couple of days and unlike most kids when confronted with 3 tall bules (foreigners) instead of being shy he instantly wanted to play. We chatted in Indonesian, learnt Indonesian songs from him and he was a valuable assistant to see if he could identify the blocks that we were attempting to turn into vehicles and people. I snapped this picture as we were playing in his dad’s workshop. He wouldn’t smile in it because of his terrible teeth. Very cute kid.

Advertisements

Not quite a Glacial Pace- Icebergs in New Zealand

21 Apr

The beauty of nature never ceases to amaze me. From the mountains to the ocean, in its calm and fury, the natural world has always intrigued and inspired me. I must say I am a mountain girl- born and bred inland just a stone throw from mountain ranges.

A few years ago I had the opportunity to go to the South Island of New Zealand for a week and a half. This was exciting not just because it was a new place to explore but because my family originates from NZ and I had always wanted the chance to go and see the country which makes up my heritage. After a week in Christchurch it was decided that we would drive up to Aoraki/Mt Cook,

Aoraki/Mt Cook

one of the largest mountains I had ever seen and surrounded by some amazing glaciers. The drive to Mt Cook itself is spectacular- traveling through dramatic landscapes and past vibrant blue lakes, it’s no wonder they chose this country as the Lord of the Rings set.

Upon arriving in Mt Cook we went hiking to different viewpoints before deciding that the next morning we would go out to Lake Tasman to see the Tasman Glacier itself in zodiacs. It was a spectacular day with clear skies in the fresh alpine air and heading out onto the lake we were met with the sight of huge white icebergs before heading down to the face of the glacier itself. There is an inherent risk in visiting these lakes, chunks of ice can fall off the face without warning, at times several tonnes heavy and cause waves several metres high.

Ice Ice Baby

It’s a situation where you wouldn’t want to be in a small inflatable boat with nothing more than an outboard motor to try and prevent the inevitable swim in the freezing cold lake.

After exploring the face, luckily the only ice we saw fall were tiny little pieces we turned around to head back to the pier, at this point we were probably a kilometre or so up the lake. When we returned we saw the most incredible sight, what was previously just open water with a few small ice bergs now had a massive ice berg in the centre, light blue and crystal clear sparkling in the sun. It turns out that one of these smaller icebergs had flipped while we were gone and had revealed its huge base which having not been exposed to the weather or sunlight was still in a pristine condition. Even our guides were shocked, straight away we went up and explored it, feeling the smooth icy surface and picking up shards of ice which resembled glass panes. When we got back to the pier we discovered it had been destroyed, the water displacement from the ice flipping had created one of these large waves that we had been warned about. A hiker came over and showed up a video he had managed to shoot while the thing had flipped and the resulting wave. Amazing footage and it made us all realise how lucky we were not to be there at the time.

The flipped iceberg!

It’s these experiences that I love when I travel, to be able to witness the power of nature.¬† The Canterbury region is an incredibly beautiful part of the world and despite the tragic earthquakes to hit Christchurch, I highly recommend visiting. Kiwis are some of the friendliest people you will meet and if you are a fan of getting out and exploring nature, it is a country with boundless opportunities to do so.

 

Photo of the Week #9- Another side of Singapore

15 Apr

Where-Singapore

Singapore is easily my favourite place to spend a few days for a break and I’m well and truly overdue for a visit to the Lion City. Spotted this sign when I was there for a weekend a while back and it really shows the crazy mix is culture and history that makes Singapore the awesome place that it is. From Chinese, Malay, Indian to the British colonial years the place has so much to offer and some of the best food that I’ve ever had. Most people I speak to either love or hate the place and I definitely fall into the first category.

Sorry for the lack of posts the last few weeks. Everything is a bit crazy but I should have some great new content very soon. Stay tuned!

Blue is the Colour! A Chelsea fan’s dream tour

5 Apr

There are few things that I love more than waking up in the morning, turning on the TV and seeing my boys from Chelsea FC winning at Stamford Bridge. To see the stands decked out in that rich royal blue with singing and chanting for 90 minutes says a lot for English football and the religion-like status it has over there.

I’ve always been a football fan, ever since I was a little kid kicking the ball around the backyard and have played football¬†for a majority of my life so it’s no surprise that one of the best gifts I’ve ever received was a tour of Stamford Bridge a few years ago on a trip to the UK. Whether you like football or not I recommend if you are ever in England or another one of the big European countries that you do one of these tours- even better is to go see a game but that’s a story for another day!

It’s a football fan’s dream. Showing up to the stadium and seeing the Feraris and BMWs in the car park (which apparently belonged to the Reserve team) you then get a real behind the scenes look at the place. We posed for a number of ridiculous photos in the media room where players are signed (complete with jersey with your name and number on the back) before moving onto the team changerooms which were a perfect display of well thought out sports psychology. The Away team’s changeroom was spartan, completely uninspiring with bare walls and nothing to make the visitors any more comfortable on their trip there.The Chelsea rooms on the other hand were amazing. Huge areas for medical treatment, showers with designer soaps and hair products. What more could you want as a professional footballer who gets paid millions of pounds a year?

In the Chelsea changerooms

Stamford Bridge

The next part though was probably the highlight (although also incredibly corny) where you get to the tunnel onto the pitch and they start blasting the sound of the crowd on matchday and you walk out into this huge stadium. It’s actually massive and being from Australia to imagine that these games sell out almost every week with attendances of 40 000+ is mindblowing when our top flight football league struggling to get to 15 000 a lot of the time and games being played in half empty stadiums. While we were there one of the guys on our tour proposed to his girlfriend on the pitch which seemed rather romantic to a Chelsea fan like myself but probably not every girl’s dream proposal. After that we had a look around the museum and saw the Premier League trophy (this was back when Chelsea were winning everything) a fitting finish to one of the best things I’ve ever experienced.

If you are travelling to Europe and have a spare few hours, do a tour. I have a few other stadiums in the UK and Europe that I would love to visit but haven’t yet had the time or money to head back over. If you can see a game while you’re there even if you don’t particularly like football I definitely recommend going along.

That’s it for me today. Looking forward to Chelsea vs Barca in the Champions League and hope you all have a wonderful Easter.