Friday, June 30, 2006

getting ready to go to fussball

well.. the day has arrived.. we are off to reeperbahn to watch fussball.

i have been coached in all the chants...

lu-lu-lu lukas pol-dol-ski lu-lu-lu
berlin, berlin, wir fahren nach berlin
ohne (insert country) wir fahren nach berlin
dont cry so much argentina (we play them today)

i havent had time to learn the lyrics to the national anthem but hey... its not really my country so i dont really need to sing along.

going to be fun to be part of the action for a german game !!

hopeing to take lots of pics

Wednesday, June 28, 2006

bin ich so deutsch jetzt ?

wow... im kind of surprised... last night i was having so much trouble sleeping... it had been 2 nights already with not much sleep..... so at 2am i took a sleeping tablet. anyway... when andreas came to wake me up on the sofa... i was really still sleeping.. and he asked me in german if i wanted to go sleep on his bed....and aparently.. in my sleep, i got up and spoke german to him as i walked to the bed.

WOW ! for me to be speaking german in my sleep..without having to concentrate or think of the words or sentance structure is amazing. and aparently i used a word that i havent used very often.. so its not like a common sentance i would have said so often i would just say it without thinking..

today i made the mistake of turing on the tv and there was a german soap opera on.. and im understanding most of it and am getting hooked.. ahahhh!! how bad is it when you are addicted to a foreign language soap opera and you understand all. (oh my god the cute guy who is in love with the doctor..and had fainted on the stairs and broke his leg, has just been told he has a brain tumor and may die.. oh the suspense!! but im not realy understanding why the 2 old men are dancing around the loungeroom with this younger woman after she slid her car in the snow, into a tree that crashed through their front door )

friday night we are going into the city to watch the german team play...and we are planning to paint our faces with the german colours.. Ich bin so Deutschland ! hahaha.

i think tonight i go to lubeck to visit bert but have not planned anything until friday and am just taking things as they come.

Tuesday, June 27, 2006

overdue for news

ok.. heres to sum up whats been happening..

my 2nd visit to switzerland was echt cool ! much wine was drunk, good times were had.

was really sad to leave this time. the farewell marius and i had at the train station was like a scene from a movie..
after one of those teary farewell hugs i need to board the train, and stand in the doorway.. Little marius is crying and im unable to go hug him (heartbreaking it was) then the dors close and the train pulls away, and marius is walking along the platform waving me goodbye.... very sad. but i know he will be in sydney by xmas so we again nerv each other to death in no time.

then got to Cologne, and caught up with Paulo. Cologne was totally crazy.. was full of football fans, people everywhere, but strangely calm and peaceful.. no riots or aggession anywhere.. its like one big party.
spent hours chatting to Paulo, and befre we knew it, the sun was coming up.
the following day, did a quick tour of Cologne, seeing things i had not seen the last time i was there. (including the chocolate factory.. YUM!)

was 35 degrees... for those freezing their asses off back home in sydney.

Paulo is the man behind Kite FM, a web radio station, based in Europe.. mainly for Portugal i think, but listened to by thousands world wide. totally cool music. so we made a show, with me as a guest presenter from Kite FM Sydney. SO COOL!!!! so i got my 1 mins of fame coming up.
For those with Itunes, the podcast is called Kite FM and my show is due out in about 2 weeks. i have already heard the Promo... totally cool.. cant believe that me. actually was a bit hard to do all that in english for me. paulo and i had only spoken english.. for over 24 hours...

actually that is the longest ime i had only spoken and heard german in my whole life.. and i was so impressed with myself.. that i understood all.. ok maybe a word or two out of the whoe 24 hours.. i hadnt actually realised i had done all this until i got on the train to leave... its funny how i havent realised just how much german i can actually speak now and am now able to listen to the tv and understand more and more..and speak to strangers in the stree and understand what they are saying.

anyway.. KITE FM is filled with totally cool sounds direct from europe.. fans of lounge, house, beach, and totally cool music should definately give it a go and subscribe to the podcast via itunes, and give it a listen. (and hey, especially within the next 2 weeks so you can catch my show) but i reckon you'll get addicted to the show. i know i will be.

it was a real shame that i couldnt stay longer in cologne as was having a great time there.. thanks to Paulo, and really wanted to spend more time there, but the train pass was gong to expire that ay and really trying to save some money. its going so fast.

was a huge thunderstorm enroute which caused power problems and we were stuck on the tracks for a while. didnt get to hamburg until 1am.. was soooooooooooo tired, since i had had so little sleep the night before. was very strange to be back in hamburg, actually felt liek i had gotten home from a holiday.

anyway..there, we are caught up. lots of little storys hidden away there but have t hae something to tell you all personally.

Sunday, June 18, 2006

picture it......italy......2006

a young man arrvies in milan full of wonder and nervousness at being in a country where he doesnt speak the language. the route the train arrives on doesnt show milans best side, but i digress.

Alex met me at the station, so there were no problems. we found me a hotel 1 block away from Centrale so i couldnt really get lost. (famous last words)

Hotel Bernina !! picked it in honour of brett.

wandering around milan i am stunned at the beauty of the buildings. they are all so old, and so italian (naturally..what did i think they would be?) Alex speaks great english, solanguage isnt a problem. Hey i even went in several times to buy ciggarettes on my own. (mind you how hard is it to say buona sera, una marlborough lights por favor, and grazie)

The food here is wonderful

we caught a tram to alexs house later on, on the first night, and typical of the full moon, all the looneys were out. the first one we came across on the tram was deaf a litle crazy i think. we were not sure he was italian. anyway ended up saying a few things to him in sign language, and he was impressed that a hearing person could sign. besause sign language is different in every country, i think he either said he liked me or he loved me.

and at one stage you woudl think we were in asia, not italy, as alex and i were the only non asians on the tram. then this other strange man started speaking to me on the tram.. i think saying something about how i was speaking sign language to the deaf guy and it seemed he liked it. but we didnt know what language he was speaking. (waroum ich??)

i got to see where alex lives, and then at 10.30 at night we went to the shopping mall. here the shopping mall was open until about 1 or 2 am. makes germany seem 3rd world with the sunday trading thing, and the italians are more religious.

its so hot here but at least im getting a tan. (you can probably see it in the pictures ive uploaded.

the 2nd day in miulan we did a lot of walking. we climbed to the top of a church in the centre of milan and i had no idea how huge milan was, as doesnt seem that way from the ground.

time to sample the italian mcdonalds. hmm.. it was ok.. better than australia, but germany is still in the lead.

that night we traveled to a county town about 2 hours from milan. a freind of alexs has an abandonded house there, where no one lives, but he is creating a garden there. there for 5 of us there for a BBQ. wow, to see italians and their way of life. they are so passionate, and a little crazy (crazy in a fun and good way) i was made to feel very welcome, even if no one would really speak english. i woudl have to say that the italians are the friendliest people i have come across in europe so far.

turns out Andre, a friend of alex, had taken a bit of a shine to me, and was flirting a bit. (mostly via alexs wonderful interpreting skills. english is not spoken a lot here. everyone learns it at school, but nearly everyone is scared to speak it. but surprisingly i did understand a lot fo what was being said. maybe not every word, but the main jist of it. which is strange because i dont speak italian. although it is amazing how many italian words i know.

much wine was drunk, many laughs had, and i felt so happy to have met such a nice group of people. it was truely a great night. although i was extremely tired when i fell into bed, i only managed to get about an hours sleep before waking up again and unable to return to sleep. needless to say i was very tired the next day.

i did manage to get some shut eye on the train to venice though, even if the italian woman next to us didnt seem to want to stop talking, about anything and everything under the sun.

we arrived in Venice. WOW !! oh my god what an amazing place. despite being tired i was alive with excitment. Thanks to Joseph who said this place was a certainly is. what a unique and romantic place this is. we got totally lost going to the hotel, but eventually found it. we are lucky to be minutes from the main bridge. but its costing a fortune. (lucky its only 2 nights.)

we walked around the city for about 5 hours, before my feet were ready to drop off. around every corner is another surpise. i think i took dozens of such a tourist. i seem to have this thing for windows here. am taking heaps of pics of them.

got to fulfil my italian dream of having a real italian pizza and red wine in a piazza.

the 2nd day in venice was very very hot. well it was only 28 degrees but the sun was biting and the air is very still. explored more of the city. amazing how it was all built back then. its easy to forget that tghe canals are not rivers but are actually the ocean, until you come to the edge of the city and see the sea. we returned to the hotel at 2.30 for a bit of a siesta, to let the sun go down a bit.

one thing i did notice in the difference between milan and venice is that i think the guys were sexier in venice. funnily, the cute guys in milan were all police, and in venice they seem to be the guys who drag the delivery carts around.

there isnt much to do in venice, except wander around, which despite the occaisional waft of piss or sewerage, is like walking through a wonderland. in every nook and cranny there is something interesting to see, and we have already clocked up 15 hours in 2 days of walking and you never get bored. the one thing about venice is that with its little lanes and tiny streets and multiple squers and piazzas its hard to know exatly where you are at any given time. if you want to get somewhere specific you have to constantly check the map. but wandering aroudn with out planning too much was more fun.

i didnt come across any internet in italy..and i was getting anxious as hadnt heard from my friend in rome. he had sent me his phone number via email, but as i thought i would have internet in italy i didnt store it on my phone, but had emiled him mine.. since i didnt hear from him i had to make the decision to head back to zurich rather than go to rome and stay in a hotel.

it was fun to surprise marius, who i think was actually speechless. it was lucky that he had the next 2 days off. yesterday we went to a mountain where they have the world longest bobsled on rails. kind of like luge meets go karting. lots of fun.. i was so nervous about doing it but ended up havinga ball.
am in zurich for a few days before going back to germany.

in the mean time, check out the pics.

Thursday, June 08, 2006

yodel ley hee hoo

New Pictures on my online photos

Wow !!! What a day. Talk about seeing so many things in one day and so many climates. We started the day in Lausanne, the Swiss equivalent of what I would consider the French Rivera.. Having never been there of course, I cant really validate that.. But you can picture it. I even had chocolate croissants for breakfast (Pain au chocolat we call it in this house sweetie!) and staying in such magnificent opulence. The drive to Montreaux was so picturesque. (Marius got so sick of this word by the end of the day because around every bend was a totally spectacular vista that was really.. So picturesque!)

We spent a couple of hours wandering around a 13th century castle.. Wow.. I took so many photos there! You could really imagine what it was like back in those days.. although why all the door handles were shaped like penises im not really sure… did they not think this too back in the day ?

Then from Montreax, we drove through glorious valleys, surrounded by high and majestic mountains.. Passing through Heidi like villages with little wooden chalets set on verdant hillsides.

Its pretty lucky that we were in a car, otherwise I would have swallowed that many bugs, with my jaw literally dropping and my mouth gapping every 5 minutes at the wondrous beauty I was faced with and surrounded by. I must say that so far Switzerland has been the most breath taking country I have seen yet.

Then slowly climbing up huge mountain via a zig zag road, as the temperature slowly drops…. The verdant green gives way to glistening white. Oh my god!!! Its snow !! Finally my life dream to see snow is made real… I make Marius stop a dozen or so times.. And run to play in the snow.. Then run back to the car frozen solid, hands prickling from the cold. I wanted to go walking across it but it’s a little too soft and im worried about sinking lord knows how deep. I did manage to eat some snow!! (no it wasn’t yellow) and you know, it is just like eating a snow cone without the flavour!.

At the summit it was 2400 odd metres above sea level and the view was …well I don’t have the words for it.
Then the rapid zig-zag back down the other side and on towards Ascona… the Italian quarter of Switzerland… similar to an Italian riviera where I was speaking 4 languages.. Most of the time, all at once.

We stayed at a very expensive Italian style resort… thank god for marius’ staff rates.
We went to town for dinner but it was about a 30 minute walk.. So we rode bicycles through the park and along the lake to the town! My god what an experience !!!! Im actually riding a bike.. Which I havent done for years. Was a little nervous about driving on the other side of the road.. Especially since its on the wrong side of the road.. Anther first for me … to drive something on this side of the road.
We had dinner on the lake front, Italian.. And then took a ride back to the hotel for a half bottle of wine..

All I can say is Switzerland is sooooooooooo expensive… but where else can you, in one day, go from speaking French, in a French riviera style town, with 20 degree heat, to a few hours later be 2400 metres and surrounded by snow… and then a few hours later be on an Italian style riveria speaking Italian, in 25 degree heat, all in the one country!

Anyway.. We woke early and spent an hour in the hydro therapy pool.. My god, my back felt soooooo good after that! Then a quick ten minute lay on one of the sunbeds lying out on the lawn…. Ok.. Picture it.. Dan in a fluffy white bathrobe.. And white slippers… sunglasses on and ciggarette in hand, in the middle of a resort lawn…. Thank GOD no one I know could see me.. But hey… it was the thing to do.

We are now driving from Ascona back up north. We want to stay at St Moritz but the hotels are closed so depending on how we go for time.. We may go some where else or we may just return to Zurich. Im actually typing this on the laptop as we drive..

Oh just stopped at a nice quiet county bridge to look at a river.. Time to have a pee.. No one for miles.. But then , naturally,, half way through, a car comes from one direction and 2 huge trucks from the other, and since we are on a corner.. The 2 trucks must stop to give way to the little car. Of COURSE the trucks have to top right behind me as im peeing!! Typical ! The one time I pee, on a deserted country road, it turns into peak hour !

We then travelled through a beautiful canyon. Its buried deep in shadow, and you can look up and see the bright sunlight framed by imposing canyon walls. The air is cool and comforting, after the long drive in the bright sun. but its too late in the day to go trekking to the bottom as its already 7.30 pm (it doesn’t get dark here until about 9.30) and we still have 2 hours to drive back to Zurich. We stop for a bite to eat in Heidiland. Yes this is where heidi and peter came from.

We arrived back into Zurich at about 9.15 s we made good time. And rested after a long long day of driving by watching a dvd. Im getting used to watching german dvds with English subtitles. Actually I can understand some of the german dialog but takes too much concentration and I cant sit back and watch the movie.

Tuesday, June 06, 2006

greetings from Switzerland

Well the train journey from Hamburg to Zurich was a long but interesting trek. I had reserved a seat and ended up in this small compartment that seats 6. From Hanover to Frankfurt, there were 3 other people in the carriage. I find it amusing how they must say hello and goodbye when the come and go. I think the man next to me was gay and was trying to strike up a conversation, but I just buried myself in my book.
Then from Frankfurt, we had a new conductor…and he kept coming to talk to me. I suspected something was unusual when he dootzen to me.. This is when he used the informal Du instead of the formal Sie.. And I noticed him consciously change. At first I thought it was just because we were of a similar age and maybe because im a tourist he felt he could.. But now that I think about it.. You use du to indicate that you like someone too. Anyway.. He came back again to have a chat, and asked where I was going.. And who I was meeting there and if it was an internet friend… then he asked where did I chat online.. When I said gay romeo… oh, you gay??? He asks.. Yes, I reply….oh me too he a bear. Very cute. I cant believe he was actually chatting me up…. I would never have expected it.
Anyway it was a nice diversion from the 7.5 hours of boredom.
The countdown had begun, I was 30 mins out of Zurich when I started to feel a little nervous, but was also very excited to finally be meeting up with Marius. I got off the train.. Looking around.. Not sure which way to go.. And suddenly through the crowd I saw little Marius appear, smiling widely and probably feeling as nervously excited as I was.
Wow.. He speaks excellent English and I feel I can talk almost normally.. In fact I hear my aussie accent start to re-emerge. Its actually quite weird to hear your own accent on certain words.. Anyway.. We are speaking a strange mixture of English, German, and French.. And I was right, I cant understand a word of Swiss German. Actually it sounds more dutch than German. Anyway.. I have learned something already of the language.. In that to make something small. Instead of ‘chen” on the end, you add “li’ so its all very cute. Here in the land of Muesli !
We spent a lot of time chatting and finding out what my itinerary is going to be in Switzerland.. Seems Marius is going to show me so much of the country (its only small you know) he was telling me about how he is going to take me to a “ho-ley’ which luckily I understand how a lot of germans speak the words and figured out he meant a “hole” and he then says.. Yes. A hole in the mountain ! Well I kept thinking in my head.. What on earth is a hol ein the mountain.. Anyway we kept talking for a bit and suddenly it dawned n me that he meant a cave.. Not a hole.. Well if you think about it..a cave is a hole in a mountain.. I laughed to myself for ages at how stupid I was.
Zurich is so pretty but fuck me if it isn’t so expensive. Yesterday we went for coffee.. And it cost me AUD11.00 for a long black and a latte !
We walked around the city for most of the day looking at this and that…. Then we went on a boat ride around the lake, and then for another coffee…. Before heading for a wonderful dinner of Fondue..
Finally I had another Swiss fondue. The last time I had that was in a little barn near Geneva. Ok, I was doing so well.. But near the end I dropped my bread, so we had to skull a shot of kirsch. By the time we finished I was a little tipsy from the wine we drank, the kirsch and the alcohol in the fondue. Anyway.. We went to a bar after, and sat outside watching the world go by.. Was funny, the bar was outside the hotel I stay at the last time i was here… back in 1999. We had a beer… which seemed to send Marius on a hyperactive spree of cheekiness and we had a lot of fun getting back home which him bouncing around like a little puppy.
Sunday… I cooked my signature scrambled eggs with spinach and feta, and typically, it was raining. At least yesterday was beautiful weather just to prove that “when angels travel the sun shines / wann engels reisen, der sonne schient” so I ask if we could go to the movies… and finally I got to see Xmen 3 .. In English !! Ok so it had German AND French subtitles.. But I ignored those. But I was a bit puzzled in the middle of the movie when it stopped….turns out they still have intermission here.. Which seems so strange to me for a 2 hour movie. But I got a cigarette break at least. Poor Marius isn’t into such films so he had to sit through 2 hours of boredom… but at least he got a little sleep as he was a bit tired. I thought it was a brilliant movie.. With so many little homages in it.. Even Stan Lee was in it.. But I reckon only the true die hard fans of comics would know him. Was a little disappointed not to see jean with Phoenix fire but hey, it was still a good movie.
On Monday… we drove to Bern for lunch. Bern is such a pretty city.. Actually the whole of Switzerland is so picturesque and every turn presents a new wonder to behold.
We arrived in Lausanne, and arrive at the hotel that Marius has arranged. Well.. it’s a leading hotel of the world.. You can imagine my jaw dropping as we pull up at the unbelievable opulence that now surrounds us. The interior was incredible. And the view from our balcony actually made me cry. It was the most unbelievable surprise, that took my breath away. What has really amazed me, I havent heard or spoken french in over 10 years and im understanding nearly all that is said to me. And im astounded how much I remember when I want to speak it. What’s most hard is trying to speak french I keep slipping into german.. Hashanah.. And when I hear French it takes my brain a second or two to tr to figure out what language to respond in.. im finding it most amusing.
This is really is the adventure of a lifetime and I will cherish every moment for the rest of my days.

More news to come… but there’s new pics of Zurich and Germany in my online photos.
Tschussli muesli !

Friday, June 02, 2006

Tür Tür Tür

Well, the time has come to go on my mini holiday.. and travel down to switzerland and italy for a few weeks.

ill miss the blue goals of Hamburg. they put these up all over the city for weltmeisterschaft (Fifa) and even when Andreas and i went to Oldenburg for 2 days.. on our return, the blue goals welcomed us back, and it felt soooo HAMBURG!

but kind of happy i will be not here for the start of the world cup as its already gettig crazy here and i can only imagine how busy this city is going to get. but i will be back for the final. and we will go out into the city and watch it on the big screens.

well.. my train leaves in 4 hours.. its going to be a very very long 7.5 hours train ride to Zurich. but hey.. we Aussies are used to great distances.. so it wont be so bad im sure. nothing can compare to the 35 hour trip to europe!

i think my german will fail in zurich as the swiss have such a different way of speaking but i am going to do my best.

im actually sad to be leaving hamburg.. what will it be like when i leave for good.. i dont know.. this feels like home now.