08 January 2012

Second half of 2011

Hello everybody,

WOW!!!! 2011 really went by in a flash!!! And now even the good intentions of my New Years resolutions seem to have dwindled and I find myself at the end of January without having posted pictures or updated you with my news for the latter half of the year.

So, better late than never...
Here we go...

For the first time since leaving Germany (2008) my arm was twisted into heading to the snow. Yes, that's right skiing in Australia! In fact, to top it all off I decided that this was my opportunity to learn to snowboard. Result... A weekend trip to Fall's Creek in the Victorian alps. Day 1: A very patient Phil showed me the ropes... falling leaf, toe side, heel side. Never the less I spent most of the afternoon on my ass. Pain in the butt and exhaustion from trying to get back up again finally got the better of me and the allure of a hot jacuzzi at the hotel made it that much easier! Day 2: No risk no fun (or no brain no pain?)... either way I decided the best way to learn was to risk a little more, and surprisingly it worked! It is unbelievable how much more enjoyable it can be if you're not lying in the snow the whole time :) Summary: Snow is still cold and hard! Protagonists: Joanie, Christelle, Loren, Hella, Phil and ME

Shortly after the skiing weekend I was once again on my way to the US of A. This trip included a week in North Carolina followed by a couple of days in Boston. All of the pictures are from Boston since NC was literally a commute between work and the hotel and there really isn't much to take pictures of. Although I only had very limited time to explore, I definitely think Boston is a city I would visit again. Amazing fresh lobster at a really funky restaurant on the water, small pubs in narrow alleys, Cambridge and MIT...

As you may (or may not) know we have formed a small wine club in Melbourne. We are a group of friends that get together once a month to enjoy some local and international wines. This is usually hosted by a member who gets to choose the theme of the evening... on this occasion in November our club did a road trip to Tasmania. More precisely to Bruny Island, which is located south of Hobart. Our hosts Tammy and Landon had organised a wonderful itinerary including stops at the Bruny Island smoke house, oyster shack, dairy/bakery, vineyard before we headed to our chalets in Adventure Bay. Oysters and champagne on the beach for sunset were followed by Sauvignon Blanc, Pinot Noir, smoked salmon and delicious cheeses. Sunday we were treated to an adventure cruise along the rugged south east coast of Bruny Island. Apart from the rock formations and blow holes we were also fortunate to see seals and humpback whales as well as a variety of birds.

Congratulations to you for staying interested this long...

One last adventure and then I am done with 2011! For Christmas my friend Alistair and I went to New Zealand, we flew into Christchurch and spent a couple of days in earthquake central with some of Ali's friends. Our first day consisted of mountain biking at Macleans Island. Unfortunately my skill as a mountain biker let me down a little and I ended up flying over the handle bars and breaking my arm. DAMN!! Initially I thought this would seriously impact our holiday, since we had planned a lot of activities which require mobility... but like they say "no brain, no pain"! Our trip took us over the Lewis Pass to Reefton where we spent a couple of recovery days hiking and fishing. From Reefton through the gorgeous Buller Gorge to Westport and from there down the west coast to Fox Glacier. This was the first test for my arm, a full day hiking on a glacier... and it was brilliant!!! For anybody who has not done a glacier hike before, this should be placed on your bucket list! Next stop Te Anau where we spent Christmas with Frauks and Peter. A ham, turkey and numerous crayfish later we decided to walk off the calories on Gertrude Saddle. The end point of this short and steep hike is an unbelievable view over Milford Sound and the surrounding mountains. If you are in this area...definitely a MUST DO! The fun doesn't stop there... the next day we headed to Doubtful Sound for a overnight kayaking trip. This fiord is more difficult to get to and as a result remains largely untouched. Seeing a small part of it from a kayak was brilliant. I tried to protect my cast from the water by wrapping it in cling wrap and taping a rubber glove to my hand.. unfortunately by the time we got back to Te Anau, the cast was soaked and falling apart and was soon unceremoniously removed by Peter :)The following day we all went to the Te Anau rodeo. This was a first time event for me and turned out to be a brilliant, especially the white knuckle death grips of the kids in the sheep riding competition... only in New Zealand! New Year was spent in Queenstown on the shores of Lake Wakatipu. A short pitstop on the way back to Christchurch at Mount Cook village and Tekapo heralded the end of another amazing New Zealand holiday. I can honestly say I have done similar trips the three times I've been to NZ and I will keep going back :)

That's all folks!

Tomorrow is the start of February... the year is flying by again! I hope it is successful and filled with happiness for you all. Remember, my door is always open if you ever feel like dropping by in Melbourne!


01 June 2011

First half of 2011

Hi guys,

I can hardly believe that we are nearly halfway through 2011. Seems like I only just returned from South Africa. How time flies when you are having fun!

We had to find a new house early in the year. We were definitely sad to leave Barkly Street after being there for almost 1.5 years, but decided to keep our band of merry men (and women) together when searching for a new domicile. After looking at a multitude of potential properties, we were fortunate to find a beautiful house in a suburb north of the city. The best bit, which I am thoroughly enjoying, is our massive garden. I have bought tons of gardening implements, including a lawn mower, and am having fun spending time in the garden over weekends.

During the first half of the year I regularly took part in short course triathlons. These consist of a 500-750m swim, 20km cycle and 5km run. Friends and I play tennis regularly and I am dabbling at indoor soccer (although any skill I may have had has disappeared in the 15 years since I last played). Also, I briefly became interested in basketball as a result of a girl I was seeing, who played basketball professionally.

The next highlight of 2011 started at Easter...

I flew up to Brisbane where I met up with my friends Sarah, Beer and Matt. A very early start on Good Friday meant that we were able to reach our destination of Byfield National Park (near Yeppoon) by mid afternoon. A 4x4 only accessible park, meant that our campsite was one of 12 in the entire park. Result being that very few people were around to disturb the serenity of this very beautiful portion of Queensland. The long weekend was spent swimming, walking in the sand dunes, fishing, and playing cards at our campsite.

After returning to Brisbane, I visited a friend from my student days in Pretoria. Juliet has been living in Australia for the last 10 years and has setled with her husband and 2 dogs in a beautiful house just outside Brisbane. An amazing dinner and great company ended too soon. Hopefully it won't be another 10 years before I see them again.

The next day I jumped on a plane to Bali...

Kuta-Legian was my starting point. The two days I spent in this huge flea market was fascinating but exhausting the same. You can buy everything you can imagine and every few meters one of the vendors will approach you with offers of sunglasses, transport, t-shirts, bags, cars, hotels, etc. The hotel I was in was too far from the beach for my liking, so I started looking for a new location pretty quickly. Getting out of the city and Bali showed its charm.

After these first couple of days, my friend Anna joined me from Germany. Our hotel in Canggu was more of what I had expected from this tropical island. Literally right on the beach where I was able to surf most days, with palm trees around the pool and not much else. There was an excellent restaurant just behind the hotel which became our local for many a lunch and dinner, and behind that a small village and rice paddies.

Even though most of our time was spent relaxing around the pool, lying in the sun, surfing and stuffing our faces with delectable treats, we did do some sight seeing. Since Bali is predominantly Hindu, the island is covered in temples and shrines. Every house is beautifully decorated and well maintained. The people are incredibly friendly and smile a lot. For a couple of days we organised a driver nicknamed "Today" for the gringos who can't pronounce his real name :) who showed us his Bali. I am not going to say any more, and let the fotos do the talking....

Two weeks were not enough!!!

So, as of tomorrow the days start getting longer again... not soon enough! I have decided to start training for the traithlons again, since this year I plan to do at least one olympic distance event. Tennis and indoor soccer also help to keep the beer off my belly :)

What will the rest of the year hold?? Watch this space and find out!

I hope that you are all well and look forward to hearing from you all again.

Lots of love


08 January 2011

2010 Summary

Hello everybody far and wide...

It seems that I start each post with an apology about how I haven't been in contact for ages or how I haven't updated my blog in a while...

Well here it is again, and this time it has been over a year since I last placed any fotos or updates on the internet!!! SORRY!!!!

I hope you can all forgive me and will still be able to enjoy (at least a little bit) the pictures I have uploaded, which I hope will give you a small insight into the last year of my life!

Where to start...

Well I guess the biggest news was that I got a sponsored work at the end of February 2010. This allows me to spend another 4+ years in Australia. To get this visa I changed jobs, however the type of work is still very much in line with what I had been doing in Germany and also for the first 12 months in Melbourne... Diagnostic test development... for those who don't remember :)

In the early part of the year we had a camping excursion to an area called Wilson's Promontory... highlights were the squeaky beach, where the sand is so fine that as you walk it actually makes a noise, seeing live fuzzy, furry wombats and in general the sheer beauty of the area.

At the end of March I visited New Zealand again, damn I love that place! This time around I hiked the Queen Charlotte track in the Marlborough Sounds, then followed a similar path as in December, west from Christchurch and South to Te Anau with my friend Wilhelm. In Te Anau Wilhelm, Frauke and I hiked the Kepler Track which was absolutely amazing..... unfortunately a computer crash post holiday resulted in me losing all of my fotos! I am severely disappointed!!! The memories are great though!!! These pictures all belong to Frauke...

The Melbourne winter was punctuated with me hibernating... or at least my camera, since there seems to be a massive gap over the cold months. A highlight though was a business trip to the USA. A trade show in LA and meetings along the Californian coast all the way to San Francisco. In San Francisco I was able to reconnect with my cousin, Jan, who I haven't seen in the last 20 years and meet his lovely family.

Another business excursion later in the year resulted in a typical Münster surprise. This time Mom, Karli and Maya were the victims. A 24-hour stopover in Johannesburg had to be incorporated on our way to Cape Town, where our clients are based. We used the brief but fantastic stop over to show my colleague John the Pilanesberg National Park, before flying to Cape Town.

My second trip to the mainland USA was a two week stint in San Francisco. I immediately capitalised on my new found cousin and booked myself into their shed in Berkeley! Having a bit more time in SF allowed me to do all the tourist things: Alcatraz, a very wet day at the Napa Valley, Highway 1 and at the Golden Gate Bridge, Giant Redwoods in Ukiah with Axel and Alena.... San Francisco and the surrounding areas are amazing. One day I will be back to explore some more...

Now before I bore you too much, my final and favorite part of the year! Christmas in SOUTH AFRICA! It has been almost 3 years since I last saw many of my friends and spent some quality time with my family. Thank you to everybody who made this holiday so special for me! Camping in the Drakensberg..... Amazing! If you have not been there before put this on top of your list of things to do! And of course I had to go past Soccer City... I hope the engineers/architects got an award because you couldn't get more AFRICAN than that! Well done!!!

So, that pretty much wraps up 2010.... lets hope that 2011 is equally exciting and fun filled, lets hope that Pete gets his act together and updates a bit more regularly (too avoid boring reading) and lets hope that we all remain healthy, get wealthy and hopefully see each other during the course of the year.

My love to you all


18 January 2010

New Zealand -December 2009

WOW! Can you believe it is the second of February today! The first month of the new decade has flown by so fast and I still haven't managed to post these pictures!!! SORRY!!!

So, please excuse the "OLD" text... with good intentions.... because otherwise it may be another few months before you get to see these pictures!!

Here we go...

Happy New Year everybody!!!! I hope that 2010 is a wonderful, successful and exciting year!

My start to 2010 has definitely been exciting!!! The lead up to the new decade was UNBELIEVABLE....more about that later...

We celebrated into the new year with an incredible new years party at our house... seeing friends who I hadn't seen in ages, BBQing in torrential rain, feasting, drinking and later watching the fireworks over Melbourne from our balcony. What more could you ask for!!!

As I said 2010 has gotten off to an exciting start, uncertainty over my future in Australia dominates my preoccupation. Unfortunately the company I am working for still has not had a break through in finding a source of capital. As a result they cannot afford to sponsor my VISA which is obviously a requirement for me to stay in the country. As a result I have started applying for positions with other companies, but am afraid that time is not on my side for this process!

So, possibly after 2 amazing years down under I may be packing my bags again in search of new adventures....

WHAT WILL PETER DO???? Watch this space, he doesn't know himself yet :)

2010 is also the year that I have decided to get back into shape...well actually it started last year already. On Valentines Day I will be competing in my first triathlon...OH BOY! Crazy as it seems I am really looking forward to the event. YES, I have been training; NO I am not trying to break any records! Wish me luck :)

As mentioned earlier, the festive season this year was incredibly special!!

It started on 6 December when my mom and Andrea (my oldest sister) arrived in Melbourne. It's been almost 2 years since I last saw them and naturally this was a massive, happy, joyful reunion! We spent the following days seeing the sights of Melbourne...as well as waiting for my mom's baggage to arrive which got lost in transit...and then spent a day on the Great Ocean Road.

Departure Melbourne --> Sydney for a few days to visit family as well as some short day trips to Cronulla, the city and Manly by ferry (and a delicious lunch overlooking the water) and also to the Royal National Park where we did some bush walking.

.... and then.....


For anybody who has not been to this part of our beautiful planet....BOOK YOUR FLIGHTS NOW!!!!

We were incredibly spoiled by Frauke (driver and organiser) and her partner Peter (car lender and great guy) on our trip around the south island. I could not stop gaping at the spectacular beauty and diversity of the countryside we passed along our way. Not only the sheer beauty but also the rapid transitions between highland "desert" to glaciers surrounded by tropical rain forests. A volcano at Akaroa, enormous crystal clear lakes, rugged coastline with "Pancake Rocks", wine farms, gold mining towns, waterfalls, glow worms, fields and fields of Lupins and the ever present sheep!

Arriving at Te Anau Downs Station, Frauke's new home, we were welcomed in as though we belonged there already! Peter and his son Matt proudly showed us around their beautiful farm... WOW! I am sure they don't have it easy on such a massive farm, but having views like that on a daily basis must be good for the spirit :)

And then we got spoiled:

1) SURPRISE helicopter flight over Lake Te Anau and into the mountains. Having seen the snow from far below it was surreal to suddenly be standing amongst snow and ice! The perspective change over such a short time was incredible, and looking over the vastness of the southern alps and down onto Lake Te Anau... humbling!

2) Milford Sound as the starting point to a deep sea fishing trip! A spot that has to be considered one of the most spectacular places on earth was just the start to a fantastic day! First checking crayfish pods, then rods over the sides so that everybody could catch their dinner....naturally I caught the biggest fish on the day.... a grouper!!

As always the time went by far to quickly.I hope the fotos give you a small impression of how we experienced New Zealand and do the country justice.


I hope you are all well, I would love to hear from each and every one of you in 2010!!


30 November 2009

November 2009_ Great Ocean Road and Grampians

Hello everybody,

Here is a slideshow of the latest trip we did!!! We being Anna, Wilhelm (German friends of mine) and I :)

You have probably all heard of the Great Ocean Road... with its spectacular sandstone cliffs and islands, caves and blowholes. After a few days at the ocean we drove inland to an equally beautiful mountainous area known as the Grampians. Here we spent another few days hiking and enjoying breathtaking views.

Now leading up to Christmas I am looking forward to my mom and sister's arrival in Melbourne, a few days in Victoria will be followed by a short trip to Sydney and then on to New Zealand (South Island) where Frauke has been living for the last while.

Bearing this in mind and the low probability that I will be posting any fotos before the new year I wish you all a happy festive season and a good start to the new decade.

Keep well and take it easy


03 May 2009

Where in the world is Peter???

Hi all,

You have probably all given up any hope of hearing from me again.

Well, I have finally gotten my A into G and uploaded some pictures from the last 9 months!!!

I also promise that I will write something to each album in the next few days, I am just glad that I have found a way to do this all a bit quicker!

So here we are, entering the last quarter of 2009, I can tell you all that I am still having a wonderful time in Australia. I have been in Melbourne since February! After travelling the east coast for nearly a year I decided it was time to settle a bit and get to know some locals... who you don't get to meet travelling!

Melbourne is AMAZING (I am not sure if the fotos do it justice). Rather than having a natural beauty it is jammed with culture, atmosphere, restaurants, cafes, live music, pubs and open air events.

Of course you are all envited to come and visit!!! I have moved from very humble beginnings in "Hotel Footscray" to a beautiful house in the northern suburbs....and we have a spare bedroom!

I hope you enjoy the fotos and that you are all doing as well as I am!

I would love to hear from you all again!

Pete :)

PS. I hope it isn't too much at once!!! ENJOY!!

Sydney --> Melbourne (January 2009)

As I said, these foto's are ancient...

After leaving Brisbane I spent a few days travelling down the coast to Sydney in a luxury campervan which I picked up at the exorbitant rate of A$1/day, plus they threw in A$100 for petrol. If you ever need to get from city to city in Australia look at vehicle relocation as a really good mode of travel!!

After a couple of days in Sydney I bussed towards Melbourne stopping at Ulladulla and Merimbula. The south coast of New South Wales isn't nearly as developed as its northern counterpart, but is equally beautiful. I will definitely make a point of exploring this region again...

Ulladulla is a sleepy town with a nice beach and excellent surf, as a result I spent most of my days here in the water. I did manage to take a walk along a coastal track, which I had all to myself.

Almost at the border between NSW and Victoria, Merimbula is a small oasis! Situated on a lagoon (or two) it is idyllic. A beautiful boardwalk takes you along one side of the estuary, but a brilliant alternative to explore is by kayaking past oyster farms. I met some great people in the hostel (Emma, Sophie and Juan) with whom I did some of the exploring!

Then on the bus again... all the way to Melbourne....

Melbourne and surroundings......

I'm not going to say much about Melbourne, except that you should all come and visit!!! You will love it here!!

I have settled into a position as a biochemist in a small start up company called MycroLab Diagnostic (www.mycrolab.com). We are in the process of developing a minaturised analyser and test card for clinical and industrial point-of-care testing. As with the position I had in Germany, I arrived at a very exciting time (viz. no money, little time, lots of pressure). The work is great and the potential enormous.... please keep your fingers crossed that we get out of the starting blocks successfully!

Sarah and Beer's Wedding (Fraser Island, March 2009)

CONGRATULATIONS!!!!!! Two beautiful people, I couldn't be happier for you!!!

It was great being back in Queensland, and Fraser Island is probably one of the most amazing places EVER!!!
(NOTE: Australian's love stressing points by adding "ever" into a sentence e.g. it was the hottest day in February, after a full moon, before a thunderstorm, at 7 o'clock EVER) :-)

It was great seeing old friends from South Africa again, as well as making some new ones. The wedding was spectacular, the weather prefect and I know I wasn't the only one to shed a tear!

Easter 2009 (Lake Eildon, Little Desert and Grampians National Parks)

Easter's camping holiday with the usual suspects (Paul and Catherine Bajada (Malta) and Denise Desmond (Ireland)). These are good friends who I met in Bundaberg whilst fruit picking. Since Paul and Catherine were leaving shortly after easter we decided to go on one more big trip..... you will have to look up the locations on a map yourselves.

From Melbourne we travelled north east to Lake Eildon which is nestled in the foothills of the Australian Alps. I is amazing to see a water resevoir at only 20% capacity, to be at the waters edge and have a tree line 30 meters above you where the water should normally be. It is spectacular and at the same time makes you aware of just how bad the drought is in Victoria.

After two nights in Eildon we travelled roughly west to the Little Desert National Park. Passing Bendigo on the way we decided to go into the beautiful cathedral, which fitted well since it was Easter Sunday. Little Desert NP gave me my first taste of the Australian flies, which up to this point I had believed were a myth, turns out they are a real pain in the butt!!!

Just a short stay in the desert and then we headed back to Melbourne via the Grampians National Park, almost got bounced on by one of Australia's traffic hazards.... a massive kangaroo! But they views from the top were worth it! You decide....

Winter Holiday 2009 (Cairns --> Airlie Beach)

Met up with Wilhelm Eger (Germany), a friend of mine from Jena, who currently has a post doc position in Brisbane.

We accessed the Great Barrier Reef from Port Douglas for a day of diving. Brilliant!!! Will definitely be diving again!!! Saw my first shark EVER, a moray eel, a sting ray and a multitude of brilliantly coloured fish in all shapes and sizes. Picked up my first sunburn for the holiday too!!! Some things never change :)

North to Cape Tribulation and then south again into the Atherton Tablelands. This high lying plateau is part of the Great Dividing Range which runs along the east coast of Australia. We spent a night at the Granite Gorge as a result of a spur of the moment decision.
... definitely worth a visit if you are in the area. The following day we completed the Millaa-Millaa waterfall circuit, including crater lakes and swamps (highlight: the crater at Mt. Hypipamee National Park). After a very full day we were desperate for campsite....

Paronella Park is where we found a place to pitch our tent, before we knew it we were booked onto the evening tour..... OF WHAT??? Imagine our surprise to be standing in front of a castle!!! YES, Australia has a castle!! A spaniard built the castles in the 1920s and 1930s. Whatever his motivation was, it was quite impressive to see!

We also stumbled across Australia's highest waterfall -268meters- which goes to show that planning a holiday isn't always the best way to go!

WOW, there are so many highlights it is difficult to get them all down! So, I will stop my rambling and let you enjoy the fotos!!

04 January 2009

Christmas 2008 - Brisbane

Hello everybody,
Christmas 2008 was a brilliant! Being in the warmth again for christmas, after 7 years of snow and cold, is definitely the way I prefer it!!
Christmas for me this year was in Brisbane with my friends Johan and Sarah. The day itself was filled with a lot of nothing... a swim with Lilly at the beach, some card games, some hacky sack later we started cooking - a classic south african meal - consisting of vetkoek and mince for the main and koeksisters for dessert. YUM-YUM!!!!
What happened to my forehead? Well, that was a result of a lot of Christmas spirits... a good night out from what my friends tell me, until I started argueing with the pavement. I am pretty sure I won!!! :) All is well!!!!
I hope everybody had a wonderful Christmas! I am looking forward to hearing your stories.
All the best

Sarah loving the Xmas washing!

Xmas tree

Xmas pressie for Lilly

Xmas present for Johan

Xmas pressie for Johan and me :)

Xmas wounds :(

Xmas games...
...hacky sack.....

....dead duck.....

.........shithead (1).......

..........shithead (2)............

...........shithead (3)!

Xmas cocktails!
Xmas dinner
The Chefs...

The Rolling Pin....

The Mess....

The Plaiting...

Raw Koeksisters

Deep fry

Dunking in syrup

Yum-yum!!! Koeksisters and.......

...........Vetkoek !!!