Sunday, June 25, 2006


So, a quick update about our trip to Italy with Bel's sister.

The trip roughly went like this:
Darmstadt, Germany -> Innsbruck, Austria -> Venice, Italy -> Florence, Italy -> Innsbruck, Austria -> Darmstadt, Germany
and it was all by car...some 2800kms.

Out of all of it, the concensus was that our favorite part was Innsbruck, which was just supposed to be our little stopover on the way to fun.

I dunno, but it seems that the parts of Italy that we went to were too touristy for our liking, but that is probably because they were the major tourist places. But, I must say, that I did a bloody good job in picking the hotels and B&Bs that we were staying in! :)

Some tips about Italy for you:
1. One day in Venice is enough, in my mind.
2. Most restaurants charge a cover charge, and a service charge.
Usually this is mentioned on the menu in an obvious place, but some hide it near the back, where you don't often look until it is too late.
3. The drive like freakin' idiots!
Many times we saw ppl on a 2 lane road "lane splitting" the whole time (straddling the two lanes), or, you would be overtaking someone coming into a corner, and they would decide that they wanted the "racing line" and nearly squeezed you into a barrier. What makes it worse, is that trucks do it too!

So, here are some pics.

Top of the take off ramp at the ski jump in Innsbruck. Picture doesn't doesn't do it justice. Let's just say, I would wear my brown undies if I had to jump.

Bel and Sus at the top of the Cupola of the Duomo in Florence. You gotta climb this if you get the chance.

Venice at night. I think that this is an awesome pic...even if I do say so myself.

Yes, that is McLeods Daughters on the big screen in Florence. I have now seen this show in 3 countries, in 3 different languages, and it's still SHIT!

Some of the towers of San Gimignano. Once there were 72 of these towers in the city, but now only 15 remain. They were built for security, to see the advancing enemy. But, it turned into a bit of a competition between the rich families, who wanted to have the highest tower in the town.

"Cinderella's Castle", aka Neuschwanstein in Bavaria, Germany.

Bel, Sus, and the horses that pulled the carriage we rode back down from Neuschwanstein.


Friday, June 23, 2006


Belinda was off on a work trip, so I drove in to Frankfurt to watch the game last night in an Aussie pub. The place was absolutely packed with Aussies, Germans supporting Australia, Yanks supporting Australia, Hollanders supporting Australia, and one poor chick in a Croatian top.

The pub was a sea of green and gold, and rang with chants of "AUSSIE AUSSIE AUSSIE! OY! OY! OY!" (which I lead...and subsequently lost my voice), singing of Waltzing Matilda, Keh Sahn, and a bunch of other Aussie tracks, and my new favorite "Who let's the Roos out? GUUS! GUUS! GUU-GUUS-GUUS!"

Now, I ain't no big soccer fan, but I didn't think I was going to be able to bear it, watching the first and the second croat goals slam and then trickle home. And then the pressure was even worse when we equalised with 10min to go. I thought I was going to die.

Anyway, mad probs to the Socceroos! Viel Glück! Viel Erfolg! Ich drücke euch ganz ganz die Daumen! :)


Tuesday, June 20, 2006


So I had forgotten that my sister is REALLY afraid of birds... not birds at a distance but birds that can flap and fly at your face, and poo on you.

So it was a brilliant plan of ours to take her to a few european cities - where pigeons live EN MASSE.

We both seriuosly had broken skin where her nails had punctured our arms as we had to cross large squares (I think San Marcos in Venice was the worst) or when a lone pigeon seemed to be flying our way.

The strategy in the end was either to edge around the flocks of birds, or for us to be on either side and propell her through...

Susan's usual strategy to avoid large flocks of birds and to never walk where their is poo on the ground so that you too don't get pooed on.

One day in Florence, after finally finding a very rare public toilet, which we of course had to pay for, she failed to follow the second of ther rules... and man did she pay the price...

I have never seen anyone get quite so thoroughly shat on. The loud shriek told us that something had happend, and apparently she felt that something had hit her with force, and she knew imediately what it was...

She had been hit across one boob, across the back of one sholder, on her foot (she was wearing thongs) and on her forhead.

(I am giggling as I write this)

As I attempted to clean her up with a tissue she shrieked at Brett to help her and get the poo of her foot. He responded with 'I can't' and a dry heave...

Considering her fear of birds and being pood on she actually coped really well

After getting her somewhat cleaned up we made our way back to the toilet where we explained to the man that she had just been pooed on so that we could reenter with out repaying. He was highly ammused and let us in. While we were in thrre a friend of his came to vist him and obviuosly got the story beacuse he kept looking at us and laughing, and as we were leaving he told Susan it was good luck ... :-)

but dispite all the warnings we had nothing stollen in Itally, so perhaps it really was good luck.

Es gibt immer Nach- und Vor- teile...

So, the good news is that we have found a new apartment in Friedrichsdorf, and we should be moving in there at the beginning of August. It means that instead of a 1.5hr train ride each-way for Belinda, there will now only be a 5min walk each-way to work. It is also closer to my work, so I will pay a lot less tax on the company car. We will also have a place to store things like bikes, so we can do some riding in the Taunus region, which is really nice for that kinda stuff.

The bad side of things is that we are leaving the apartment that we currently have, with the landlords who are sooooo nice to us. The lady here bakes us cakes, and really looks after us a hell of a lot. And, as Bel found out today, she thinks of us like a son and daughter, and cried a lot when Bel went down to tell her that we had decided to move.
Fortunately, and unfortunately, she already knew, because our relocation service had called her son to let them know, and he had in turn let her know. I wish we could have told them first in person, but at the same time I am glad that we didn't have to, because I reckon that I would have sooked too. Luckily for me, I was driving back from Essen at the time, and then I snuck in really quietly to avoid meeting them on the that wrong?

There are always pros and cons...


Blood Test

I had a blood test today (nothing wrong, just need soem vaccinations for work travel so doc was working out what antibodies I have) and all was done with the German precision and efficiency you would expect. It was basically painless YAY. I always lay down so that I don't fall down but afterwards she said to me 'You look fine, Sit up' and then after about 1 minute sitting, 'You look fine, you can go now'. I think because he english wasn't perfect it sounded gruffer than was meant, and she was right - I was fine, but usually doctors/nurses let me have a little lay there.

The weird part was though, SHE DIDN'T WEAR GLOVES!!!!

I asked a girl I work with if this was normal and she didn't think it was strange, she said the only time she has ever had a doctor actually wear gloves was in Ghana....

Now I don't even remember the last time I had an injection, let alone a blood test where they didn't wear gloves... And this isn't a country where they shy away from latex gloves - you HAVE TO carry some in you car.




Sorry that we haven't posted in a while, we just spend almost 2 weeks in Italy while my sister is visting so we have been neglectful but we will give you all the goss very soon

Thursday, June 01, 2006

Darmstädter Schloßgrabenfest

Every year there is a 4 day music festival held in Darmstadt, and it is all centered around the Darmstadt Schloß (castle), or to be more precise, around the Schloßgraben (moat).

We went in a checked out a few bands on the Saturday night, and they were kick-arse! I had never heard of either of them before, but that is the reason that you go to these free festivals - to discover and support new acts.

The first act was "The Capones" out of Munich. These guys are a high-energy stage act that do a mixture between Ska, Hip-hop, Reggae, and a few other styles. They were seriously cool.

The Capones doing their shit
Und noch mehr Scheiße

The second group was "Cleave" from Austria. These guys were on Newcomer TV, and were voted by the viewers to play at the Schloßgrabenfest. These guys remind me a little of "Chevelle", and the lead singer has a really powerful but harmonic voice, IMHO. Funny thing is, that he speaks with an Austrian dialect (of German), but when he sings it sounds perfectly American. Kinda weird how singers do that. And, to quote Screws - "I can't understand you. Sing it to me!".

After these guys came the main act for the festival called Juli (July, in English). These are a guitar pop group that are getting heaps of air time here in Germany. I actually like some of their stuff, but I am sure that it is just because all the lyrics are in German. :)
We only listened to a couple of songs before we through in the towel. The crowd was way too big, and way too much pushing and shoving for my likes.

On Sunday I ordered both of the bands' albums over the web. Gotta support the lil' guy.