Melaka 07.08. – 08.08.

>optical communicationsландшафтdem Bus ging es in zwei Stunden nach Melaka, dass fuer seinen historischen Stadtkern aus der Zeit der Eroberung durch die Hollaender, Spanier und Englaender bekannt ist. Schon auf der Fahrt regnete es in Stroemen und in Melaka suchten wir passenderweise erst einmal in einer Kirche Zuflucht. Nachdem wir in Tonys Guesthouse eingecheckt hatten gingen wir in die Stadt und assen leckere Nanya-Spezialitaeten, was genau, kann ich leider nicht sagen, aber der Ursprung ist chinesisch und es war lecker. Spaeter mit einem Paerchen aus Deutschland bei Live-Musik Bier getrunken, die Beiden waren aus Indien gefluechtet, wo die Regenzeit wuetete. Wir waren froh, noch rechtzeitig von der Buchung nach Indien abgesehen zu haben.

Am naechsten Tag wollten wir morgens die Museen und sonstigen Sehenswuerdigkeiten ansehen und dann die 15 Uhr Faehre nach Indonesien (Dumai) nehmen. Um 14 Uhr ging ich Tickets kaufen und erfuhr, dass es die Nachmittagsfaehre nicht mehr gibt. Tja, da hat uns der Lonely Planet ja gruendlich verarscht 😉 Also wieder ein Guesthouse gesucht, unseres war zwar ok, wir wollten aber ein anderes und gingen ins Heritage Hotel, das sogar einen kleinen Pool hatte. Spaeter ueber den Nightmarket in Chinatown gelaufen und zu Abend gegessen, ausserdem die Eroeffnungsfeier der olympischen Spiele geschaut. Am naechsten Morgen ging es dann endlich nach Indonesien.

Kuala Lumpur – Malaysia

Kuala Lumpur 05.08.2008 – 06.08.2008

Frueh morgens ging es an den Flughafen, der Flug dauerte unglaubliche sechs Stunden, ich hatte mit weniger gerechnet. Sind mit dem Bus bis fast direkt vor unser Hotel gefahren, Punjinang Homestay im Golden Triangle, sehr gut gelegen aber ziemlich teuer in Relation zu Groesse und Sauberkeit.

Abends noch zu den Petronas Towers gelaufen, die wunderschoen angestrahlt gen Himmel ragen. Obwohl ich schon mal oben war, freue ich mich schon, morgen noch einmal auf der Skybridge zu stehen.

Nachdem wir unsere Tickets am naechsten Morgen gesichert hatten fuhren wir zu den Batu Caves, eine religioese Staette in einer grossen Hoehle. War ganz nett und die Busfahrt im local bus war auch ein Erlebnis, die locals wundern sich ja immer, wenn sie einen Westerner sehen, der nicht Taxi faehrt.

Zurueck von den Towers wechselten wir dann das Hostel. Da wir Chinatown eh noch anschauen wollten, suchten wir uns dort das Travellers Inn, in der gleichen Strasse wie das Red Dragon, in dem ich damals mit Ulrich war. Die Zimmer waren vergleichbar, fensterlos und recht klein, aber auch fuer wenig Geld zu haben. Chinatown ist unglaublich quirlig, im Vergleich zum letzten Mal hat es noch zugenommen, wie ich finde.

Seoul – South Korea

Seoul 02.08.2008 – 04.08.2008

Mein Masterstudium ist nun offiziell zu Ende und es wird Zeit, Seoul auf eigene Faust zu entdecken, bevor es in wenigen Tagen mit Phyllis nach Kuala Lumpur geht. Claudi, Silke, Eddi und Luis waren auch noch da, ich wohnte mit ihnen im Best Western Vision, das gut gelegen und sehr guenstig war.

Den Nachtmittag verbrachte ich im War Memorial, ein aussergewoehnlich gut gestaltetes Museum rund um den Buergerkrieg und andere historische Kriege. Die knapp 2 Stunden, die ich hatte, waren auf jeden Fall zu kurz.

Am naechsten Tag wieder alleine los, da der Rest noch schlief. zuerst ins National Museum, auch sehr grosszuegig gebaut und gestaltet. Als naechstes zm 63 Building, dem hoechsten Wolkenkratzer der Stadt. Vom Fernsehturm aus gesehen lag er ziemlich am Stadtrand, aber von oben kamen die Aussmasse Seouls erst richtig zur Geltung, Hochhaeuser, soweit das Auge reichte.

Nachmittags besuchte ich die Palastanlagen nahe Insadongs und ging abends mit Silke im Kneipen- und Restaurantviertel essen, das ich vorher zufaellig entdeckt hatte, nachdem ich den falschen U-Bahn-Ausgang genommen hatte (die Stationen sind teilweise mehrere hundert Meter lang und verlaufen auf verschiedenen Ebenen in verschiedenen Richtungen: 20 Ausgaenge sind keine Seltenheit…

Am letzten Tag in Seoul besichtigte ich das Olympiastadion, das leider geschlossen war und das Worldcup-Stadion, das offen war. Mittags kam dann Phyllis endlich vom Flughafen. Wir schlenderten ein wenig durch die Stadt, besichtigten das Korean House und ein angrenzendes traditionelles koreanisches Dorf (Nachbau). Danach trafen wir uns mit den anderen in Insadong zum Essen, Steffen Kruse, Clumsy und Daniel Egger waren auch dabei und wir machten zu zehnt ein lokales Restaurant unsicher.

Abends ging ich mit Phyllis noch zum „romantischtesten Platz“ von Seoul, an den Fernsehturm, wo koreanische Paerchen selbst beschriftete Vorhaengeschloesser am Gelaender befestigen. Zufaellig hatte ich eines zur Hand… 😉

Christchurch

23.02.2007

For breakfast we had fresh self-made bread 🙂 then we drove to Christchurch directly and canceled Arthur’s Pass, the weather was too bad. In Christchurch we went to New Excelsior Hostel, a nice place any centrally located.

Then we thought what to do here, we wanted to see the Antarctic Center, but it was near the airport and the bus was 10$ each. Would it be worth it? Suddenly we remembered that we still had the car – Jesus, stupid us – so we drove to the center.

The place was literally cool, especially the ice box, a huge fridge where a ice blizzard was simulated. We got special clothes and then had to resist -5°C and 25km/h wind. -5°C is not too cold but together with the wind (windchill factor) it feels like -31°C and frostbite comes in 10 to 30 minutes.

There was also a penguin aquarium with cute little penguins. The nurse washed them and put the ones with a certain feet disease in a plastic box with a special liquid. They didn’t like it although it was for their sake.

In the evening we cooked pancakes with mushrooms together with Martin. Hmmm. Afterwards we went to the cinema, Blood Diamond, a brutal but interesting movie.

24.02.2007

We stayed in bed until 9am *wow*, then had croissants for breakfast. After visiting Canterbury museum with a very interesting antarctica exhibition we walked through an art market and found a snack bar which offered original german bratwurst! YIPIE! Delicious! We talked with the owner, his wife is German and produces the sausages herself.

Later we’ve been to Cathedral Square and on top of the bell tower. Afterwards Alena and I went shopping, she bought some shoes and I bought some souvenirs. Then we had a coffee and chocolate cake at Starbucks.

25.02.2007

Today we’ve been to the beach for the very last time (at least for me, Alena is going to Australia for the next month). My mood declined as the end is very near now.

Great Ocean Road small-sized: The Catlins

20.02.2007

We had to drive quite a distance from Te Anau to Invercargil in the South. We booked a cute backpackers in Papatowai, which is just in the middle of the Catlins.

[photopress:P1130009.JPG,thumb,alignright][photopress:P1120943.JPG,thumb,alignright]At Waipapa Point we visited the lighthouse and saw some fur seals at the beach (as close as we wanted but I could convince Alena that it would have been a bad idea to pet them).

At Slope Point we were at the most southern point of the NZ mainland (and that’s about it :-)).

[photopress:P1130043.JPG,thumb,alignleft][photopress:P1130044.JPG,thumb,alignleft]Our next stop was Curio Bay, a fossil forest 180.000.000 years old. It was in pretty good shape, you could still see the tree trunks which looked really wodden.

The backpackers was a bang for the buck, nice landscape, small and familiar and we met Rahel from Germany there and talked a lot.

21.02.2007

[photopress:P1130113.JPG,thumb,alignright][photopress:P1130134.JPG,thumb,alignright][photopress:P1130067.JPG,thumb,alignright]In the morning we visited McLean Falls and Cathedral Caves (can be visited at low tide only!) together with Rahel. The weather felt like being at the North Sea. At the parking we gave somebody a jump start, he mixed up the polarity, idiot!

Later on we stopped at Jack’s Blowhole, a 55 m deep hole where you can see the sea, although it’s more than 200m off the coast. Tunnel Hill was our next stop, an abandoned rail tunnel – quite dark inside and the walk-through was for free.

[photopress:P1130214.JPG,thumb,alignleft][photopress:P1130216.JPG,thumb,alignleft]At Nugget Point we walked to the lighthouse and met the french couple from the bungee jump again. Well, NZ is small…

Then we drove to Dunedin, we got a hostel in an extremly steep road, I felt queasy to park the car there.

22.02.2007

[photopress:P1130341.JPG,thumb,alignright]Our first sightseeing highlight was Tunnel Beach and it took us about an hour to find it. The landscape was quite nice and the beach was accessible through a tunnel…

[photopress:jp_P1130368.JPG,thumb,alignleft][photopress:jp_P1130371.JPG,thumb,alignleft]At 12.30pm we took a guided tour at Cadbury, the biggest chocolate producer of NZ. They had quite tasty chocolate and it was a welcoming chance to buy some souvenirs.

[photopress:jp_P1130384.JPG,thumb,alignright][photopress:jp_P1130388.JPG,thumb,alignright]In the afternoon we drove Baldwin Street up and down. What’s special about that? It’s the world’s steepest street with 19,3° or 31,5%. Wow, strange feeling!

[photopress:jp_P1130392.JPG,thumb,alignleft]Then we drove to Timaru. We found a hostel (Wanderer Backpacker) with a caravan in the backyard, it was small but cool so we booked it for the night (16$ pp only). We met Martin from Germany who was baking bread – and instantly offered him to drive to Christchurch with us (in exchange for bread of course).

Climbing Gertrude: The Saddle

19.02.2007

[photopress:tn_P1120679.JPG,thumb,alignleft]We started the day relaxed as we didn’t have a plan for today. Alena preferred Lake Marian and Key Summit, I wanted to do that too and additionally Gertrude Saddle. As everything wasn’t possible due to a lack of time, I convinced her to try the Saddle, the informations we had were rare but the pictures and the teaser sounded promising: „Spectacular views on Milford Sound if the weather is good“ – and the weather was perfect!

[photopress:tn_P1120678.JPG,thumb,alignright][photopress:tn_P1120677.JPG,thumb,alignright]After we had found the parking area (was kind of hard because the track wasn’t that popular as it wasn’t marked) we started the walk around noon. The first half an hour we had to walk through a bolder valley until we reached the steeps.

[photopress:tn_P1120700.JPG,thumb,alignleft] [photopress:tn_P1120705.JPG,thumb,alignleft] [photopress:tn_P1120714.JPG,thumb,alignleft]We passed waterfalls, had to cross streams of melted glacier water and it got steeper and steeper. Half an hour more and we reached the Black Lake after which we had to cross snow fields. How cool was that, walking on snow in a T-shirt.

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After little more than two hours we had reached the top – and the views were outstanding! Wow. Steeps with waterfalls and snow on the left, Milford Sound and its valley in front, the hilltop on the right and massive mountains with glaciers in the back!

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[photopress:tn_P1120841.JPG,thumb,alignleft][photopress:tn_P1120843.JPG,thumb,alignleft]On the way back I couldn’t resist and took a bath in the ice-cold natural pool and convinced Alena to do so as well. Wow, it was so refreshing :-).

[photopress:tn_P1120899.JPG,thumb,alignright] [photopress:tn_P1120903.JPG,thumb,alignright][photopress:tn_P1120879.JPG,thumb,alignright] We were back at the car at 5 pm and totally exhausted. We drove back to Te Anau where we camped in the private garden of a Top 10 Holiday Park, very nice. We had a fantastic BBQ and finished the evening in the TV room.

Sunshine @ Milford Sound

18.02.2007

[photopress:tn_P1120444.JPG,thumb,alignright]We got up at 7 am and drove two hours to Te Anau, the gate to Milford Sound. From there on it is 120 km more but „the way is already the goal“. We stopped in a huge valley where several coaches were parked. Everybody took pictures of the valley – so we did too. It wasn’t that spectacular, just nice but still strange why everybody stopped here. Another backpacker asked us a minute later „Do you know what’s special here?“. We didn’t, but later during the day we figured out that there are millions of colourful flowers in spring so the organized bus tours have to stop there for not messing up their timetables.

[photopress:tn_P1120457.JPG,thumb,alignleft]Our first real stop was at the Mirror Lakes, again pretty obvious what you can see there… It was really nice, apart from all the other tourists… (damn package tourists).

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Homer Tunnel:

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The Chasm:

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Lake Gunn and forest:

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Some more nice places on the way (I can’t remember the name or there just isn’t a particular name):

[photopress:tn_P1120499.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tn_P1120510.JPG,thumb,pp_image] [photopress:tn_P1120517.JPG,thumb,pp_image]

[photopress:tn_P1120570.JPG,thumb,alignleft]Accomodations in Milford Sound are rare, expensive and fully booked but we got a „forest-campground-spot“ at Milford Sound Lodge which was nice and comfortable.

[photopress:tn_P1120589.JPG,thumb,alignright][photopress:tn_P1120574.JPG,thumb,alignright]In the afternoon our sponteanous sea-kayaking tour started with our guide, Alena and me :-). Cool. We got some fancy cloths and then raced seven kilometers on Milford Sound.

[photopress:tn_P1120606.JPG,thumb,alignleft][photopress:tn_P1120608.JPG,thumb,alignleft]We started close to the Stirling Falls, where we tried to get into the Falls or as close as possible which was quiet difficult as the air twirl was as powerful as a helicopter and we got wet within seconds. After some minutes we were lucky and saw our first dolphin family. I’ve seen many dolphins before while sailing and I must admit it’s a lot easier to follow them in a sailing boat. Our guide constantly shouted „come closer“ and hell, that’s what we tried!

[photopress:tn_P1120620.JPG,thumb,alignright]I couldn’t take too many pictures (and some are crooked) because it was my friend’s camera and the sea pretty rough, at least for first time sea-kayaker like us. Our guide „organized“ a starfish, beautiful and feels strange to touch.

Later we saw the Milford Deep Underwater Observatory and Bowen Falls. Then we had to paddle back to the base, it was already getting dark. On our last three hundred meters we saw Dolphins again, this time very close. Wow. They had babies with them that was why they didn’t come closer and we couldn’t swim with them.

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Sea-kayaking is very straining and my arms were totally limp. During the night I had some of the most painful pangs ever and I had to take a couple of Ibuprofen to be able to sleep.

We had the attitude – they had the altitude…

17.02.2007

[photopress:tn_P1120363.JPG,thumb,alignleft]Like I’ve mentioned before, today was the day of truth and bravery: Our SKYDIVE!!! „Embrace your fear“ was the striking slogan of nzone’s brochure.

[photopress:tn_P1120288.JPG,thumb,alignright][photopress:tn_P1120289.JPG,thumb,alignright]At 10.30 am we got a briefing mainly with advertising for the „DVD/Photo set“ and the maximum altitude. Nevertheless we reconfirmed our jump from 12.000 feet (3.657 m) for 295 NZ$ as the gain of fifteen additional seconds of freefall from 15.000 feet would have cost 100NZ$ more. We also resisted the temptation of booking the DVD set because the price of 250 NZ$ for seeing your cheeks woobling in a 200 km/h airstream is just too much.

[photopress:tn_P1120334.JPG,thumb,alignleft][photopress:tn_P1120338.JPG,thumb,alignleft]Waiting. Time to get nervous. More waiting. Then we had to get ready, get dressed. Then more waiting. We small aircraft landed, we entered it and seconds later we whizzed over the acre, became airborne steeply into the blue sky.

[photopress:tn_P1120359.JPG,thumb,alignright]Ten minutes later we had reached our jump height of 12.000 feet. The automatic door opened and the first tandem couple was out. The plane jumped up (150 kg less) and it was Alena’s turn. My skymaster Peter from Switzerland (puh, Swiss things are trustworthy) and I reached the door seconds later. There is no chance or time to hesitate but a strong thought of „Fuck, I’m going to jump out of this (already scary) airplane NOW, what the hell am I doing?!?!“ As I said, it doesn’t matter because you don’t find the answer early enough – wush – we were out. Falling. Falling with g-force: 9.81 m/s², 35 km/h after one second, 71 km/h after two and 106 km/h after three seconds. Luckily acceleration decreases due to the drag and only seven seconds after your descent you fall with constant 200 km/h. (So if you want to sympathize with me, take your dad’s car, go to a highway at night and stick your head out of the window at top speed. By the way, not recommended for people wearing contacts).

[photopress:tn_P1120301.JPG,thumb,alignright]The strange thing is that after two or three seconds (and after you got the answer of your former question „Because I’m a complete nincompoop“) you don’t feel like falling. You’re hovering, flying, resting. It was overwhelming. The landscape was so beautiful, Lake Wakatipu and NZ Alps.

45 seconds later the parachute opened – too bad and thank God together… We glided down, enthralled by tailspinning.

[photopress:tn_P1120378.JPG,thumb,alignleft]Peter and I landed on our feet as I have some paragliding experience. Wow. Down again. Already. Paradoxically, I didn’t feel much adrenaline, that was way better after the bungee jump in Mexico. Anyway, it was soo cool and so much fun!

[photopress:tn_P1120383.JPG,thumb,alignright][photopress:tn_P1120394.JPG,thumb,alignright]In the afternoon we went into town again and took the cablecar later to the top of a nearby mountain. The sunset was fantastic. 

Rob Roy Track and Queenstown

16.02.2007

We had a couple of possible activities to choose from for today and decided to try the furthermost: the Rob Roy Glacier Track. It was an one hour drive along the beautiful Matukituki Valley into the Mount Aspiring National Park, an ensemble of river valleys, mountains, glaciers and lakes. The road was unsealed, led into the wrong direction and also included some crossing creeks (nice with a SUV, thrilling with our Nissan). But anticipating: it was worth it!

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[photopress:tn_P1120015.JPG,thumb,alignleft]From the parking area we walked along the Rob Roy River into beech forest with tons of mosses and ferns. Tree breaches offered fantastic views of three hanging glaciers. Waterfalls ran down the vertical rockface everywhere. On our way we saw a kea who enjoyed the provoked photographic interest.

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We had lunch on a big stone with spectacular views of the active glaciers and saw more than one ice break off.

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[photopress:tn_P1120234.JPG,thumb,alignleft]Back at the car I put on my swimming trunks and had a „swim“ in the stream. Well, it is melted glacier water and I couldn’t endure it for more than some seconds…

[photopress:tn_P1120254.JPG,thumb,alignright]In the afternoon we drove to Queenstown where – let me sell that much – had booked an activity containing an aircraft :-). We found a spot for our tent at the third camping ground (I hate peak season) and went to the city for a drink later on where we met two Kiwis who participated in a sailing regatta this weekend.

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From Franz Josef to Fox Glacier

15.02.2007

[photopress:tn_P1110795.JPG,thumb,alignright]The night in our tent was kind of warm for a change. After the breakfast we drove to Franz Josef Glacier again where we walked up a small hill with a good view to the glacier.

[photopress:tn_P1110797.JPG,thumb,alignleft]Then we drove to Matteson Lake, famous as a mirror lake. Unfortunately it was cloudy and  windy so the lake was wavy and there wasn’t any reflection at all.

[photopress:tn_P1110807.JPG,thumb,alignright][photopress:tn_P1110841.JPG,thumb,alignright]Our next stop was Fox Glacier near-by. We walked as far as the glacier terminal, had a look around, witnessed an ice block coming down (pretty close to us, oups) and decided that Franz Josef is nicer!

On our way to Wanaka we stopped several times because the landscape was devastating! Wanaka is a small but beautiful town next to Lake Wanaka. The whole area was showplace of many Lord of the Rings scenes.

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We found a motorcamp site, which was a little bit more expensive but provided a sauna and two whirlpools. Yeah. They threw us out of the sauna at 9 pm, but it was still nice.

Blog von Jan-Philipp Hertlin