25 June 2006

Sydney weekend

The decision to leave Canberra for some days was taken as soon as we realised that due to celebrations of Queen Elisabeth's birthday we would have the monday off from work. Actually, we only got to know about it on the Friday, so with the limited time for planning we decided to have a go at Sydney. On the bus we went, arrived in Sydney at noon, found a place to stay, and went sight-spotting. Here's some pics of the stuff we saw.

Downtown Sydney has come a long way since it was a convict settlement! To the left is Sydney-tower.

Oh Yaeh, here it is! The symbol of Sydney and to some extent even of Australia. The Sydney opera house. How come this one is not in Copenhagen, instead of the giant shoe-box that IS there? It truly is a spectacular and beautiful building, and even with the large expectations we had we were not disappointed. Needles to say, we were not the only ones there!

To get a look inside we hooked up with a tour that took us around parts of the premises. This is the concert hall foyer from where you have a stunning view of the harbour. We were lucky to be allowed inside the concert hall because the rehearsals in the hall had just ended. Unfortunately, no photography was allowed.

Here's another symbol of Sydney, where the fireworks display is put on every New-Year. The Sydney Harbour Bridge.

We were blessed with some absolutely crappy weather during our Sydney weekend. On the second day and notwithstanding the stormy conditions, we set out on a harbour cruise. No worries, we did have space inside, and actually had access to unlimited amounts of hot coffee and tea.

We got of the cruise on the northern side of the harbour in order to pay the zoo a visit. And naturally, when you have the opportunity to take a picture with a koala, you take one! This little furry fella decided to look up in between naps.

Just the two of us and the Opera house.

Finally on day three, we ventured out into the shopping jungle of Sydney. One of the oldest departments stores is the Queen Victoria Mall, and as you see they've gone to great lengths to make it resemble something from good olde England.

06 June 2006

Roos, possums and creep

In Australia there are two kinds of animals. The first are the cute and pathetically helpless animals like koalas and other opposums. The other type are the insanely dangerous animals like red-back spiders, crocs, sharks and box jellyfish. Well, perhaps the Australian wildlife isn't all that black and white, but it sure is the impression one gets:)

Anyway, here are some pictures of what we have seen so far.

Here is one that ought to belong to the dangerous animal group, but actually it's not that harmfull after all. A little spider crept inside our kitchen window, but luckily all the windows have an insect net, so it can't get any further. At least we're helping this little creature to keep warm.

Our first sigthing of wild roos. These one we saw when we were visiting Hans Bachor (the Professor with whom I had arranged to come here) at his house out in the bush. Again, looks are deceiving, because even though they look cute, they can pack a really nasty kick if they figure you're pestering them.

This little bloke goes under the name Brush-Tailed Possum. They are very numerous around here as they don't mind living around people. They are nocturnal and avid tree climbers. The first bunch we met were very curious and one of them came up to check out whether my shoe might present a food source. Since then (and whenever we want to take any photos) they have all been more shy.

It seems like I've had a bit of luck, since on one evening stroll to the National Museum we came across the curious possum again. This one we can get up close to and it will even come and sniff your hands for food.

01 June 2006

Our place

This is where we live.

Nested in between the eucalyptus trees in the far corner of the ANU campus is our appartment. From it we can glimpse the lake and we can look over on the Parliament House on the other shore. Inside, our appartment is fairly spacious, but it has the archetypical problem of all housing in Canberra that it is rather poorly insulated. The only heat source is a reverse airconditioner, which is only barely able to compensate for the heat loss through the walls and the single glased windows. The reason being that although the day temperatures usually reach above 15 C, the night temperatures hover down around the freezing point. Other than that little issue, we have a nice little home here in Canberra.
There are more pictures of the appartments on the webpage of the university accommodation services.