Cassiopeia, Wolzenalp, Switzerland


Posted Feb 26, 2007, 3:06 pm
My name is Cassiopeia, the turtle, but many people call me Cassi. My mum thought about a name and she remembered Cassiopeia from Momo, which she really loved.

I'm so curious about everything, that is happening on the world. Where will I go first????

Here is my travel plan:

yumi (Japan)
Becka_kate (Australia)
Stef (Australia)
crizle (Australia)
aliah (Malaysia)
icitaiwan (Taiwan)
Min (Singapore)
ChristinaB (Austria)
BunTraveler (USA)
MrsC (South Africa)
Lizette (South Africa)
Oksana (Russia)
Nico & Siggi (Germany)
Pandamao (Germany)
AbbyB (Canada)
hanachan (Japan)
MorgenSter (Brasil)
Leslie (Chile)
anoxova (Spain)
smaug (Canada)

February: zwieback


January: Pablo

Posted Mar 3, 2007, 10:24 pm
Oh, it was a long time until I knew, where I will travel first, but now I know, that it will be JAPAN!!!!  :D
I played a last game table soccer and tried a look out of the window. I'm so happy to leave this rainy home.
(No, Sabrina, I'm not happy to leave you, but the rain, so don't be sad) I hope, when some guests will visit my family, they will have better weather B), maybe sunshine???? I heard, that my hometown can be beautiful then. Here are photos of my last play and the tree behind our house.

Posted Mar 17, 2007, 9:17 am
Hi there, so long ago that there was something new about myself. Today is the special day: I will travel to Japan. I saw the garden for the last time. I wanted to see the spring flowers in the sun before I travel. It was so nice to be outside after that long time of rainy weather and before being in a box for about 8 days. I heard the weather forecast, that winter will come back to Germany, so I'm happy, I'm on my way now.
I looking forward to coming out of that small box again.

Posted Mar 23, 2007, 7:24 pm
I just arrived in Japan today!
I finally came out from the box and got fresh air.

Yumi told me that she will take me somewhere tomorrow.
I can't wait!!

Posted Mar 23, 2007, 8:54 pm
It was a sunny day today.
Yumi took me a couple of places in Kanazawa where is the
biggest city of Ishikawa.

First, I went to Nagamachi where Samurais used to live there.
The houses they lived are conserved or rebuit. The walls are
made with mad, so it is fragile. I visited a few small museums
in Nagamachi. The museums show how the old people lived.
The pictures were taken at the entrance, kitchen and living
room(dining room)

Posted Mar 25, 2007, 8:08 pm
Before I tell about other places where I visited on Friday, I
want you to know that we had a big earthquake here this
I was really scared and shocked!!
Fortunately, we had no damage and everything is ok.
Yumi told me that the earthquake resistered an intensity of 4
on the Japanese scale here, but one of nealy 7 in the
northern part of Ishikawa, one woman was killed and over
160 people were injured and some people has lost their
Yumi also told me that an earthquake comes in Japan very
often but she hasn't had a such big one before.

Posted Mar 27, 2007, 7:58 pm
Don't worry!! Yumi, her family and I are doing well, but
there were still a few small earthquakes. We're nervous....

Anyway, I heard the good news from fam-united that I
became Voyager of the week!! I'm very happy.

But the photo is not tea ceremony...Sorry but yumi's
explanation wasn't enough.

This is a dining room of Japanese old style. We now have
meals at one big table, but the old people used to have their
own table for meals. At present, the traditional Japanese-style
restaurant called Ryoutei is used this style-one table per one

I hope you understand what I said.
If you have any questions, please feel free to ask yumi.

Posted Mar 28, 2007, 9:17 pm
On Friday, I went to Oyama jingya after the museums.
Jingya means 'shrine' in Japanese.

Yumi told me that this shrine is dedicated to the first load of
Kaga, Toshiie Maeda and inlaid grass in the uppermost
section of the three-tired gate gives it an exotic appearance.

Posted Mar 28, 2007, 9:51 pm
You can see the main building of Oyama jingya.

We have to wash our hands at first, because it is a sacred
place here.

You can see Ema whch are a boar (the animal of the year)
drawn on wood, the upper part of which has a roof and
presented to temples and shrines when making vows or
when one's prayers has been answered.

Posted Mar 28, 2007, 10:00 pm
I found a statue of Toshiie Maeda who was one of historical
significant people here

I also found a beautiful garden. I was relaxed here and wanted to swim in the pond.

Posted Apr 1, 2007, 11:17 am
I AM HERE NOW!! (The map from Postcrossing)

Kanazawa is the biggest city of Ishikawa prefecture.
I am staying in the town next to Kanazawa.


Posted Apr 1, 2007, 11:20 am
I went to Karaoke with yumi and her friends.

I think that it is one of Japanese culture!!

Posted Apr 6, 2007, 7:27 pm
Yumi took me some other places in Kanazawa today.

At first, I was taken a few photo in front of Kanazawa station.
The red wooden gate that represents a hand drum is the symbol of the station.
The fountain looks unique and intersting.
The Japanese means 'Welcome to Kanazawa'

Posted Apr 7, 2007, 3:13 pm
Then, we visited Ozaki shrine.
It was very old but very beautiful.

Posted Apr 8, 2007, 8:01 pm
Then, I found an old house and could come in.
I could see a beautuful cherry tree from the house.

Then, I found a beautiful sidewalk. There were some statues
along the sidewalk. It looked like a museum! I was taken a
photo with the statue of Saisei Murou who was born in
Kanazawa and was a famous poet and a writer.

Posted Apr 9, 2007, 10:12 am
I was on my way to Kenrokuen where is a very famous Japanese garden in Kanazawa.

Posted Apr 9, 2007, 10:48 am
I arrived at Kenrokuen!!
It is a very famous Japanese garden in Japan.

First, I saw a lantern named Kotojitoro.
Toro means lantern in Japanese.
This lantern has gotten its name from the fact that is shaped like the bridges that support the strings of a koto (Japanese harp)

Next, I saw a bridge named Gankoubashi. It is also called Kikkoubashi. Kikkou means turtle's shell(my back!)  Do you think the bridge is similar to my back?

Then, I saw a fountain. According to the leaflet for Kenrokuen, it is the oldest one in Japan and operates by natural water pressure resulting from a difference in elevation that creates the approximately 3-5 meter fountain.

Posted Apr 12, 2007, 6:29 pm
My purpose of the visit at Kenrokuen was watching cherry blossoms!!
It was a little early to come. The cherry blossoms aren't in full bloom yet. They bloom and fall within about  a week.
Many Japanese people love cherry blossoms.
I found that some people drink alcohol and eat something
near cherry blossoms.
I enjoyed watching beautiful trees and flowers.

Posted Apr 16, 2007, 6:19 pm
It was a very beautiful day today.

I went walking around yumi, my current host's house and
found some kinds of flowers.

Posted Apr 21, 2007, 6:29 am
Today I visited Gokayama where is preserved some old houses.
It must be my last trip in Japan.
Both Gokayama and Shirakawago are registered as UNESCO world heritage sites
It seemed as if the time went back.


Posted Apr 21, 2007, 6:59 am
I visited the House of Iwase in Gokayama that is the biggest of the houses preserved.
It had bulit over 8 years about 300 years ago.
The house isn't used any nails and is used ropes instead.

Posted Apr 21, 2007, 7:09 am
I found a big carp streamer (Koinobori in Japanese)
We display it from April to 5th May which is a special day
for children, especially boys.
We play for them to live their lives strongly like carps because carps have the strength to swim even up waterfalls.

Posted Apr 24, 2007, 4:57 pm
I will leave yumi's house for Australia tomorrow.

So the last day in Japan is today.

The last night,Yumi wrote my name in Japanese.


Posted Apr 24, 2007, 5:09 pm
I said good-bye to Yumi and friends who I made in Japan today.

I left her house in the evening and will arrive at the next host in Australia in about one week. I can't wait!!

Posted May 1, 2007, 1:29 pm
Just a short note to let you know that I've arrived safely in Sydney Australia and that I have started to settle in.

Posted May 1, 2007, 1:58 pm
I'm getting acquainted with my host and the ToyVoyagers who are currently living here and they were very interested in finding out about my home town and my travels in Japan!

Posted May 4, 2007, 11:20 am
I went to visit Bec's school today. It is a very interesting place to go. The kids at the school speak lots of different languages . In Bec's class the kids speak Arabic, Armenian, Bangla, Burmese, French, Hindi, Maori, Urdu and English! Some of them speak 3 languages! (But no one speaks German!) I helped some of the kids with their maths work. They're pretty clever. They've only been at school for 12 weeks and already the work they had today with counting to 10 was too easy for most of them.

Also - all the photos on today's logs were taken by some of the kindergarten kids (without Bec helping them!)

Kalli and I had a bit of a talk about what the kids were doing.

Later, we helped Bec decide who had packed up quickly and quietly ready to go to lunch. All the kids had done a great job so it was hard to decide who should have a tick put on their behaviour chart.

Tomorrow is Saturday and we might go to the local park if the weather stays nice. Bec says she's saw a turtle swimming in the creek there the last time she went with her friend's kids! Maybe I'll be lucky and see one too? I hope so.


Posted May 5, 2007, 1:09 pm
Today the weather was so nice Bec, her sister Stef & Kalli decided that instead of taking me to the local park they'd  take me for a drive to the coast. (Bec'll take me to the park one afternoon after work!) The weather has been very warm this week. It's autumn here in Australia (did you know that the seasons are opposite to where I live in Germany??) but for the last week the temperatures have been more like summer than nearly winter.

Anyway, we got in the car and started driving.

Bec was experimenting with the GPS navigator she was just given, so we went on a very interesting drive to get to the beach. Bec showed me where she used to live before she moved back home to save money so she can see the world!

We also went across Tom Ugly's Bridge.

I enjoyed taking in the view from the bridge looking up the George's River towards the Captain Cook bridge at Taren Point. There were a lot of boats out on the river.

I thought that "Tom Ugly's Bridge" was a funny name for a bridge until Bec explained that there are two stories about how the bridge got its name. One is  that an early resident was named Tom Huxley and the local Aborigines, unable to pronounce the "x", called him Tom Ugly. Another is that it is because the local Aboriginal word for "one" was "wogul", and apparently, locals referred to a white settler in the area who had only one arm and leg as Tom Wogully - his name in turn becoming Tom Ugly. The southern point that the bridge stands on is called Tom Ugly's point, and that is how the bridge got its name!

We crossed over on the new bridge thatt was built because there was too much traffic for one bridge, and to our right (on the driver's side of the car, so we couldn't get a photo) was the original bridge. The old bridge was built in 1929 and was the longest road bridge in all of Australia when it was built! Bec's mum grew up just around the corner from the bridge and before it was built, her father (Bec's grandfather) had to cross the river each day on a punt (a car ferry).

Finally we got to the beach. Unfortunately you can't see it in the last photo, but there was a beautiful sail boat crossing right in front of this road which runs almost right down to Cronulla beach.

Posted May 5, 2007, 1:48 pm
When we got to Kurnell we had to stop and pay for a ticket to pay for taking the car into the National Park.

This is a very special place in Australian history as it was the landing place of Captain James Cook in 1770. He was
supposed to make astronomical observations, but Captain Cook also had secret orders from the British Admiralty to find the southern continent. Apparently European explorers had been looking for "Terra Australis Incognito" which means the  "Unknown Southern Land" for over 200 years.
(We found lots of information about Kurnell and Captain Cook here.)

We were a little confused when we got there as to how to find Captain Cook's landing place, which was what we really wanted to see. Luckily Stef (Bec's sister) had thought to pick up one of their dad's guide books so we were able to work out where we were and which way to go.

The first thing we found was the Solander monument. Can you see us?

The monument is in honour of a Swedish botanist who travelled with Captain Cook on the Endevour as an assistant to Sir Joseph Banks (who the area where Bec lives in is named after - Bankstown!!) Just off shore from here is a concrete pile marking where the ship was anchored (but you can't see it in the photo!)

Right near this monument  is another one - this one is for a man named Forby Sutherland. The council area that Kurnell is in is called Sutherland Shire and is thought to be named after him. It's funny, how if he hadn't been the first European to die in Australia he probably would never have had his name in the history books because he was just a seaman on the ship! He died of tuberculosis.

(If you'd like to see a map of where we went, you could go here.)

Posted May 5, 2007, 2:03 pm
We kept walking and found more plaques to read.

We saw Cook’s Stream where Cook’s crew collected water for their ship. I wouldn’t want to drink water from there now, as it is probably very polluted, but we could hear a lot of frogs croaking.

We also saw a number of ships in Botany Bay as there is a major shipping terminal here, as well as an oil refinery and other industrial terminals. Sydney Airport is also just alongside the bay.

Eventually, we came to Sir Joseph Banks' monument. He was the head botanist on the ship and collected many plant specimens here. So many (over 800 never before seen specimens in fact!), that he thought it was such a great place for plants and he had Captain Cook change the name for the bay from Stingray Bay after the number of stingrays they’d caught there, to Botany Bay. When Banks rose to a position of power in England, he used his influence to send a settling fleet (of convicts and soldiers) to Botany Bay, ready to create a power base for Britain in the South Sea.


Posted May 5, 2007, 2:06 pm
Finally we made it to Captain Cook's landing place. A huge obelisk was built here in 1870 to mark 100 years since he landed here.

But this is not Captain Cook's actual landing place! It is really out across some rock pools and surrounded by water.

It is assumed that Cook landed at low tide, as when it is high tide this point is surrounded by water and Cook would have carried ashore by his men and there is no mention of this in any history books! Anyway, we bravely set out to cross to the landing point and saw tiny crabs scurrying deeper into their rock pools to hide. We had to step carefully as to not get our feet wet or fall off! But, here we are!!

Can you see all the rock pools we had to cross to get out to the point!!!

According to the plaque, Cook's nephew, Isaac Smith, who was a mid-shipman is thought to have been the first Englishman to step ashore on April 29, 1770.

Posted May 5, 2007, 2:48 pm
We walked back to car and drove further into the National Park. We passed a sign for Yena Picnic Area so thought we'd have a look. Bec was glad that we were driving in her 4WD and not her old little hatch as it might not have made it across the bumps!
When we got to the bottom there was a fantastic view of the sea. (photo 1)

We drove a little further up to Cape Solander (you remember - the botanist with the monument?) where if you are lucky you can see whales on their way to Antarctica. A sign said that they pass between May and November, but it must still be too early for them as sadly, we didn't see any. The view was still beautiful to look at! (photo 2)

The Cape marks the entrance to Botany Bay.

This was as far as we could drive. We would have liked to have seen the Cape Bailey Lighthouse, but it was a 1 hour walk away and it was already 4 o'clock - too late to start and be back by dark, so we decided to head home.


Posted May 5, 2007, 2:52 pm
On the way home we made a slight detour so I could visit Cronulla Beach. We decided to stop at Wanda Beach.

Wanda is an Aboriginal word for beach or sand hills, but the sand hills aren't very big any more because of all the sand dredging they've done in the area.

When we got to the beach, I heard a loud screeching noise. I looked up and there were all these crazy sulfur crested cockatoos hanging from the electricity cables. They were hanging upside down and flapping their wings and pecking each other. Amazing!

It was a bit cold on the sand, so Stef let me borrow her handbag to sit on!

We decided to sit and watch the waves come in for a little while, which was very relaxing, especially with the sun just beginning to set.

All too soon it was time to start heading home before the traffic got too heavy, but we had a very enjoyable afternoon.

Posted May 5, 2007, 2:56 pm
So, now I am back at Bec's home, having a rest and getting ready for a new adventure tomorrow!

Posted May 6, 2007, 1:31 pm
Today we headed down the coast to visit Wollongong, the third largest city in New South Wales.

Our first stop was at the lookout at Sublime Point.

It was such a beautifully sunny day we could see all the way down to Wollongong and a long way out to the horizon. Don't worry - Bec's mum had a firm hold on my flipper the whole time that I was taking in the view!

And this was the view looking back north - up where we had come.

Posted May 6, 2007, 1:56 pm
Our next stop was the Nan Tien Temple in Wollongong. "Nan Tien" in Chinese, literally means "Paradise of the South". This is the biggest Buddhist temple in the southern hemisphere. It also has the largest terracotta tile roof of any building in the southern hemisphere.

Can you see me on the steps to the Great Mercy Shrine?

No? Here I am!

This is the smaller shrine and has thousands of tiny statues of Buddha on the walls.

There were also lots and lots of statues of different Buddhas in the beautiful native gardens around the complex. We especially liked looking at this collection of statues. We thought they looked like little children.

Kalli had her photo taken with a different one to me.

I also enjoyed looking at all the intricate carvings on the stairwells. Look at all of the dragons!

We didn't go into the Great Hero Hall, which is the larger of the two shrines, but here I am on the path leading up to it:

This shrine is at the back and houses the Five Dhyani Buddhas.

It was getting very hot and we were all getting hungry, so we left the temple to go into Wollongong to buy some lunch.

Posted May 7, 2007, 8:04 am
We left the temple and drove into Wollongong. It took a long time to find a parking spot because Wollongong is a very popular place to visit on the weekend, especially when the weather is nice.
We found a spot up near the lighthouse and walked down to the harbour to get fish and chips for lunch. I saw lots of pelicans waiting for the fishing boats to come in.

We walked back up to the lighthouse to eat our lunch and watch the yachts sailing on the ocean.

Behind us were some large cannons. I wondered what they were  for. It turns out that in 1879, the government was worried that Australia would be attacked by the Russian fleet, so they put these cannons in Wollongong harbour to protect the harbour from attack. The cannons were never used (there was never an attack!) and now they are sealed up.

This point is also famous for its lighthouse. If you look really carefully at the photos from Sublime Point you might be able to see it!

Posted May 7, 2007, 10:15 am
When it was time to leave Wollongong we home up the old highway which is the much more scenic route than the expressway. The old highway follows the coast and goes through many of the old coal mining towns (the whole region's main industry at one time was coal mining).

As we wound our way closer back to the top of the mountains we could see many funny looking creatures hanging around the cliff face - they were hang gliders!!! Of course, we had to stop and have a look. The point was very crowded with spectators. The view was great, don't you think?

This point is called Bald Hill and is important in the history of flight because in 1894 a man called Lawrence Hargreaves was the first man in the world to fly with the help of four box kites on the beach below here. Now, it is very popular for people to go paragliding and hang gliding up here. They even give lessons!

This is a map of where I went today (we went through all these towns!):


Posted May 15, 2007, 8:34 am
I've been invited to visit Bec's sister's house and work next week.

Bec emailed my family who said it's ok, so that will be very exciting!

More exciting is that we are all flying to Queensland this weekend.

Posted May 15, 2007, 8:38 am
The kinder kids went to visit the art gallery today, so Bec let Kalli and I come along. We didn't get to see a lot (because the kinder kids were very busy and excited about being out of school on their first excursion!) but we got to see the scenery out of the bus:

and the statue out the front:

Posted May 15, 2007, 8:40 am
Time to get packed to get on the plane to Brisbane.

Posted May 15, 2007, 8:47 am
Here we are at the motel. We had an excellent flight into Brisbane airport and then just had to wait in a queue for the luggage and to get the hire car.

We came across this strange little bird at Sydney airport. He thinks he might like to be a ToyVoyager too.


Posted May 15, 2007, 8:57 am
It was a very cold and dreary morning. Nothing like I'd been led to expect from Queensland weather, but still we went for a drive to check out some of the local sights.

Our first stop was the beach at Redcliffe.

A marker at the beach said that Redcliffe was named after the colour of the sand / cliffs seen by the first explorers. You can understand why!

I had to have my flipper held really tight to make sure that I didn't get blown away!!

It was so windy that a man who was surfing with a kite kept getting lifted very high into the air!

There was a stage near the beach and I thought I'd pose in one of the windows with the ocean behind me. It was a bit tricky because the wind kept lifting me up too!


Posted May 15, 2007, 9:21 am
Then it was time to head back to the Motel so that the 'humans' could get ready to go to the wedding they'd flown up here for. We hoped that by dressing up we'd be allowed to go too, but Bec said it would be rude to go if you hadn't received an invite, so we'd have to stay behind. :(

So, we had a little party of our own. Made even better when they bought us home the Bonbonniere to share.

Posted May 15, 2007, 9:33 am
We got to the airport bright and early and returned the hire car before getting in the very long line to check in - there were a lot of people travelling out of Brisbane airport to all different places in Australia. When we finally got through the line we went upstairs to have breakfast before sitting and waiting for our plane. We passed the time reading and watching the people and planes going past.

We were disappointed to not get any window seats for the flight back (we had to sit in the middle of the plane), so, no photos!


Posted May 15, 2007, 9:40 am
On her way back home from the airport, Bec took me to her sister's house so I could stay for a couple of days.

We knocked on the door and were greeted by a madly barking thing and Stef (who has promised to keep me up high and safe while I'm at her house so the barking thing can't get me!!!)

I was invited in and wondered what I my next adventure will be?

Posted May 16, 2007, 11:13 am
I hitched a ride today in Stef's tote bag with the mail to see where she goes during the day.

I found out that Stef goes to work which is very close to the city

You can see the Sydney Harbour Bridge in the distance and the ANZAC Bridge, which leads to places like Glebe, Prymont and Darling Harbour.

Seeing that I was with Stef, I decided that I would help out with some of the duties that she does as the Administration Officer. Though I found it a bit of a challenge to type and answer the phone with flippers.

Posted May 16, 2007, 11:37 am
Had so much fun yesterday decided to go back to work with Stef. For Lunch Stef took me to Leichhardt.

Leichhardt is known as "Little Italy" due to the large population of Italians that immigrated after World War 2. However, it is name after Ludwig Leichhardt, a famous German Botanist and Outback Explorer.

While there we stop at Pioneer Memorial Park, which in 1941 converted from the Balmain Cemetery.

Also while we were we stop at the War Memorial Monument, which was Erected by the citizens in grateful remembrance of the Men of Leichhardt who gave their lives during the 1914 -1919.

Posted May 17, 2007, 8:40 am
Kalli and I got a little bored today and went exploring around the house.

This is what we found:

Books everywhere!

In Bec's room!

In the hallway!

Books on just about every topic you can imagine. Even the books Bec and Stef had when they were little!

Back in Bec's room we had a talk to George, who is older than Bec and has always lived in this room. Poor George has had a number of wounds over the years and is now quite happy to sit and watch the world pass him by.

Also in Bec's room we investigated the most hated object - the alarm clock! I couldn't work out what the problem with it was. It looks harmless enough (when its not screeching madly!)

Posted May 17, 2007, 8:51 am
We then ventured outside to see what was happening.

We found this really nice seat on the front porch that is the perfect place to sit and watch the traffic and people going past.

This is what we found in the garden (and I can understand why there were so many gardening books on the shelves!!!)

A Grevillia (a native plant) - the newspaper delivery person likes to hide the paper under this bush!

A Bird of Paradise:

And, this is Bec's great-grandfather's Orchid plant, which is going to flower soon!

We also looked in Froddo's pond and chatted to the fisherman there.

Finally, we found this really good hole in the gate where you can look out on the world (and the park across the road)   


Posted May 17, 2007, 9:01 am
Back into the house again to see what else I could find.

Aha - baby photos!

and more toys!

The little bear is a Care Flight helicopter pilot who rescues people who need to get to hospital quickly and his friend is Casey the Cat.


Posted May 17, 2007, 9:05 am
After all that exploring I was starting to get peckish, so Kalli offered to make afternoon tea.

We looked in the pantry and found Vegemite, which I'd heard a lot about, but wasn't sure about eating.

Kalli promised me that it tasted great with lots of butter on SAO Biscuits and that the trick to enjoying it was to only spread it on thinly, but even so I'm not really sure I like it?


Posted May 19, 2007, 4:14 am
I went out today with Bec's mum, aunty and uncle and we drove over the Harbour Bridge!  The weather was pretty crummy so the view wasn't too great. You can see the bridge in the distance as we headed towards it. (Bec's mum is still learning how to use the camera!)

The little bear has travelled down from Port Macquarie on the New South Wales north coast.

Here we are about to go through the toll gates:

The brown towers you can sort of see if you look carefully through the gates are the pylons on the bridge.

Posted May 23, 2007, 12:25 pm
I went out again with Bec's mum, aunty and uncle. This time they were going shopping in Big W, a department store about 15mins away from where I'm staying. To get there you have to cross the Georges River. There is work being done to widen the road by putting in another bridge, so I didn't get much of a view of the river on the way over, but the cranes are HUGE and interesting to look at.

They are widening the bridge, because, at the moment it is only 3 lanes wide and in peak hour there are huge traffic jams.

Coming home the view was much better, except that as it was getting dark the photos aren't as clear.

I wanted to show you the signs that give fire warnings, but it got a little blurred. This signs have different colours and tell you what the level of fire danger is and whether or not you are allowed to have open fires or barbeques. Because Australia is currently in a drought usually the sign is pointing to high fire danger or extreme because the ground and trees are so dry because there hasn't been much rain.

Posted May 23, 2007, 12:28 pm
Well, with only a week to go until June the cold weather has finally decided to arrive here. Last week the temperatures were around 24-26 degrees celcius. This week we've been lucky to get above 20. We've been having to put the heater on to keep warm when Bec gets home from work.

Posted May 24, 2007, 12:52 pm
Today is Mother's Day! (in Australia)

(Sorry for the delay - missed uploading the photo!)


Posted May 25, 2007, 12:22 pm
Today we finally did something Bec has been promising for a while - we went turtle hunting! A park near to Bec's house has a creek, where, she said, one day she spotted a turtle swimming. Seeing as it is one of my missions to meet a turtle she thought it might be a good idea to go and see if we could find it. So, as soon as she got home from work Kalli and I were ready and waiting to go walking.

When we got to the park it was very, very quiet. There were no children there! As we got closer we could see why - the council are building new play equipment and it was all fenced off. It looks like it will be a fun place to go and play at when it is finished! (And there are no more tunnel slides where adults will hit their heads trying to help children not be scared to come down!!)

The swings were still in the open so Kalli and I had a bit of a play.

After a little while of swinging we walked over to the bridge in the hope of spotting the turtle.

Sadly, while we saw lots of ducks and pea hens the turtle (and the eel that normally lurks there) was no where in sight!

We walked up to the corner shop to buy some groceries and on the way back we walked past a giant ghost gum (called a ghost gum because as it gets older its bark turns white). This is also the tree Bec crashed her dad's car into on her second driving lesson!

You can see me a bit better in this photo:

When we got back to the park again a man was there with his daughter feeding the ducks. We hoped that this might make the turtle come out (because that's how Bec & her little cousins saw it last time) but again, no luck! There were just loads more ducks all fighting each other for the bread. They were picking it up so fast that the bread didn't really have a chance to even get wet!!

Posted May 25, 2007, 12:28 pm
Anyway, as sad as I was not to get to see a turtle in the creek I'm sure to see one tomorrow because .........

Zoo tomorrow
Zoo tomorrow
We're all going to the zoo tomorrow
And we can stay all day!!!"

(Bec's been teaching me the kinder kids' songs!!)

I'm sure to see a turtle there! (and some other sights of Sydney on the way that I've been hoping to see before I have to move on)

Posted May 26, 2007, 11:53 am
This morning we went to the station and caught a train into Circular Quay so we could go to the ZOO!

Posted May 26, 2007, 12:24 pm
Once we reached Circular Quay it was time to get on the ferry. The view from the wharf was pretty amazing.

The ferry we caught to the zoo was called the "Friendship", which we thought was pretty appropriate!

I really enjoyed taking in the view on our trip. We saw:

The city skyline

The Harbour Bridge

The Opera House

Fort Denison - which was once an island used in the early days as a place of punishment and confinement for the convict population. During the mid 19th century a fort was built on the island to protect Sydney Harbour from a Russian invasion.


Posted May 26, 2007, 12:32 pm

When we got to the zoo we had to wait in a very long queue before we could get to the ticket booth - the ferry only goes to the zoo, so pretty much everyone who was on the ferry was in the line! (Except for the people who had decided to catch the bus up to the top - the zoo is built on the side of a hill)

Eventually we got our tickets and got on the Sky Safari which carries you up to the top of the zoo and is the best way to travel (beats the bus any day!). From it, you can see parts of the zoo from the sky.

Our first stop was the koalas (so Kalli could catch up with her relatives and make progress on one of her missions).

Then we headed to the Reptiles and Amphibians enclosure.

On the way we passed some birds which are just as colourful as me! I also had a look at the macaws, who are very colourful too!

Posted May 26, 2007, 12:54 pm

When we got to the reptiles and amphibians I got to complete one of my missions!!

I met real turtles!!

I met a:
Northern Snake Necked Turtle. It's neck is like a snorkel so they can put their head above water to breathe while keeping their bodies hidden below the water.

Broad Shelled River Turtle which is Australia's largest long neck turtle. (but it's not really easy to see in the photo!)

Mata Mata from South America (It looks more like a rock than a turtle!) It sucks up food from like a vacuum cleaner!

and a River Cooter from North America.

I also met some Star Back Tortoises from India. They use their backs as camouflage!

And, I found out how to tell if the creature you are looking at is a turtle or a tortoise.....
I'm definitely a turtle  -  plus, did you know that tortoises rarely migrate (so they probably wouldn't make a good ToyVoyager!).

On the way out we spotted some more long neck turtles (can you see them??) and made a donation to help with turtle conservation.

Posted May 26, 2007, 1:16 pm
Now that we'd both seen the animals we really really wanted to see, it was time to check out the other animals.

We saw (among many):
Zebras and giraffes (check out the multi-million dollar views these animals have!!)

The Seal Show with Andi the Californian Sea Lion (who was born in Stuttgart Zoo!)

The new Asian Elephants (they only arrived at Taronga late last year)

And the Galapagos Tortoises

Posted May 26, 2007, 1:24 pm
And, of course, we saw lots of Australian animals.......

I saw a mob of red kangaroos dozing in the sun.

A gray kangaroo (we think!)

A sleepy koala

An echidna


and an emu (with a kangaroo - did you know that the Australian Coat of Arms has an Emu and a Kangaroo on it, because they are the only animals that can't go backwards!)

We also saw a platypus - very cute (but it was in the nocturnal house, so no photos) and the wombat, who was snoozing in his den in the nocturnal house too.

Posted May 26, 2007, 1:26 pm
While we were in the gift shop, we spotted these key rings. Do they look like someone we know??

Posted May 26, 2007, 1:37 pm
Our feet were getting tired and sore (well, not mine and Kalli's - we were enjoying the ride) so it was time to come home.

We sat on the other side of the ferry so I could see more of the sights on the harbour:

Imagine living here! This is Kirribilli. Australia's Prime Minister lives right near here.

And back to the Harbour Bridge again!

That's the ferry we went to the zoo on!


Posted May 26, 2007, 1:41 pm
Then, it was back to the train station where we took in the view and watched the buskers on the Quay below while we waited for our train home.

(The Sydney Opera House is hidden behind these buildings)

Posted Jun 1, 2007, 11:56 am
Well folks, here I am in sunny Queensland and feeling rather hot, even though they say it is winter now.
I have met the other toys and today we had a party to farewell Alfie langer who is going to Austria, and a birthday party for Hippity, a travelling toy.

Posted Jun 10, 2007, 3:38 am
I have had the most amazing time here in Queensland.
I arrived when another travelling toy, Hippity from Sweden was having a birthday party and Alfie L was just waiting to be a registered Toy Voyager.
Hippity's sister Hope has been with me too.
Here are some photo's.

Posted Jun 10, 2007, 5:44 am
I had a fun trip to Brisbane and rode on the train and ferry.
We went to the Brisbane Museum where I met some turtles, and went to Southbank where I wanted to swim, but the water was too cold for a turtle like me.
I also went to Ipswich native animal reserve and the Nerima Japanese gardens.
I saw a turtle there too but it saw me and hid.

Posted Jun 10, 2007, 6:02 am
It is time for me to say farewell to Australia and Crizle.
I am off to Aliah in Malaysia for more exciting adventures.

Posted Jun 20, 2007, 1:52 am
Hi everyone,
I arrived safely in Malaysia yesterday. First time been to Malaysia make me excited ^v^ Can't wait to see what awaiting for me here.

Posted Jun 23, 2007, 6:20 am
I'm going to Kuala Lumpur today with the others. Yay!! But first thing first, we need to help watch Aliah's uncle place called  Hostel Cosmopolitan  for a few hours as he's going out to do some errands.

Posted Jun 23, 2007, 6:21 am
Okay I'm ready to see the rest of Kuala Lumpur (KL). First stop, Malaysia Tourism Centre. Great place to get some information on KL. I got some phamplets and map of KL.

Posted Jun 23, 2007, 6:23 am
I'm visiting the Petronas Twin Towers.

Posted Jun 23, 2007, 6:28 am
Independence Square was the site where the Malaysian flag was hoisted on 31st August 1957 when independence was gained from the British Empire. Across the street I also can see the Sultan Abdul Samad Building which used to house the government offices back then.

Posted Jun 23, 2007, 6:29 am
Central Market used to be a wet market, now turned into an arts, cultural, & handicrafts centre.

Posted Jun 24, 2007, 12:09 pm
Today we visited The Rice Museum in Kedah. As Kedah has long history of rice planting this museum is very popular. When we arrived there are many eager visitors already there. The paddy fields nearby are beautiful too!

Posted Jul 2, 2007, 8:06 am
Today Aliah and I sent off Blaze to France. Later, we went and visit one of the temple in Aliah's hometown, Kangar.

Posted Jul 3, 2007, 4:55 pm
Here is Kuala Perlis and I'm enjoying the evening breeze...

Posted Jul 12, 2007, 2:10 am
Here is Masjid Sultan Salahuddin Abdul Aziz Shah and also known as the Blue Mosque. It is the landmark of Shah Alam, the Selangor state capital where Aliah study. I was told that the minarets is the tallest in the world  :rolleyes:

Posted Jul 16, 2007, 9:08 am
Visit Melaka means Visit Malaysia. So, here I am at Melaka the Malaysia's historic city. A Famosa, Stadthuys and Christ Church are the most prominent reminders of the European's presence in Melaka.

Posted Jul 16, 2007, 9:26 am
I'm at Banda Hilir where various museums, Proclamation of Independence Memorial and Melaka's Sultanate Palace are located but too bad it's closed  :(

Posted Jul 16, 2007, 9:58 am
There are many trishaw in the city. I cannnot see a bullock cart around so I just take picture with a replica  :stare:

Posted Jul 16, 2007, 10:02 am
I'm thinking about getting some souvenirs so I'm heading to Jonker Street. Many antiques can be found here too.

Posted Jul 16, 2007, 10:08 am
Hang Kasturi's Mausoleum also located at Jonker Street. I was told Hang Kasturi is one of the Melaka legendary knights. The most famoust one is Hang Tuah and Hang Jebat. Now, Jonker Street is known as Hang Jebat Road but local people still called it Jonker Street.

Posted Jul 16, 2007, 10:14 am
I saw some worship places on the way back such as Kampong Kling Mosque and some temples.

Posted Jul 16, 2007, 10:23 am
I'm at Muar and I'm visiting the Sultan Ibrahim Mosque and sightseeing at Muar river.

Posted Jul 16, 2007, 10:34 am
One last time touring Melaka before I'm leaving Melaka. I'm planning to go to Mini Malaysia and Mini Asean where it house traditional houses of the Malaysia and Asean region but I'm too late. It's closed by the time I get there and the guard won't let me go in  :( Frustrated, I just posed in front of the entrance. I also saw some interesting replicas on the way to station so we stop for pictures.

Posted Jul 16, 2007, 10:44 am
Dayabumi Complex houses the Kuala Lumpur Main Post Office so I will be departing to Taiwan from here. Selamat tinggal Malaysia. Goodbye  :rolleyes:

Posted Jul 27, 2007, 9:58 am
"Ni hao" from Taiwan. I've arrived today in Nankan, a city in Taiwan. Taiwan is also known as Republic of China and Formosa.

It's really hot here and it was so hot and humid in my "travelbox". I really had to take a dive in the bathtub first. The cool water in the bathtub felt great, but pictures from that (privacy, you know  ;))

Posted Jul 27, 2007, 10:03 am
I'm staying in Nankan with my host Andrea. She has an (almost) 3 years old daughter, Amber, who loves turtles.
Amber already has a little turtle and of course I had to say hello to the little one.

Amber didn't want to say good night to me when she went to bed, so I joined her. Lucky me, because her bed was very comfortable.

Posted Jul 27, 2007, 10:09 am
I joined my host, Andrea, today to her work. Andrea teaches kindergarten students in the morning in Dayuan, a city close to Nankan.

This is one of the schools she's working for, "Da Jung Hua"

Another school picture and me in a (still empty) classroom

These are the students in "Mickey" class, one of the many classes at this school. Andrea teaches them 1 hour a day. Aren't they adorable? They all wanted to hold me, but Chen was the winner:

Andrea had to work from 9.30 until 11.30, and after that we drove back home. I had a great view from my "seat". Here are some pictures, made in Nankan while we were driving

Soon more about my adventures in Taiwan. We might go to the swimming pool tonight...

Posted Jul 29, 2007, 12:01 pm
I was so excited this morning, because Andrea told me that we would go to to Taipei, the capital city of Taiwan. Andrea lives in a city close to Taipei. It's only a 30-min drive to downtown Taipei.

We parked the car under Andrea's parents-in-law's house and walked to the MRT.

This is a picture of Zhongxiao East Road, one of the mainroads in Taipei. We took the MRT from there

This is me with the MRT and me with an MRT map. We took the train from Zhongxiao Fuhsing and got off at Ximen to take another MRT. We were on our way to the CKS Memorial Hall

It was fun to take the MRT. Andrea's digital camera stopped working, so she made these pictures with her mobile phone. The quality isn't that good all the time...

We got off at CKS Memorial Hall, a landmark in Taipei. It was built to honour the first president of Taiwan, Chiang-Kai Shek.
This is a picture of me and the whole complex

This is me at the main entrance

This is the National Theater. They are remodelling it at the moment

Andrea and Amber love this place and visit it often. They usually visit it to feed the fish at one of the ponds

This picture isn't very clear, but it's me with a fellow turtle. You can see its head above the surface

This is the real memorial hall. There is a bronze statue of Chiang-Kai Shek on top if the memorial hall, but it isn't open for public at the moment, because they are remodelling this hall, too.

The weather in Taipei wasn't very good this morning and we had to run after these pictures, because it started to thunderstorm and rain. Luckily it didn't last too long.


Posted Jul 29, 2007, 12:05 pm
We took another MRT after we had lunch and the destination was Longshan Temple

Longshan Temple is one of the oldest temples in Taipei and it's Andrea's favorite. It's really beautiful and the atmosphere is very special. A lot of people are visiting this temple as you can see on these pictures

There's a waterfall, too


Posted Jul 29, 2007, 12:23 pm
Our next destination was the "Taipei City Hall" MRT station, because there's 1 building you can miss when you visit Taiwan....the "Taipei 101". The "101" was the tallest skyscraper in the world with its 508 meter. They are building a skyscraper in Dubai at the moment and that skyscraper reached the hight of 512 m. last week... :(.

Evidence... I've been there

There are a lot of shopping malls in this area, and "New York, New York" is one of them

Some more "101" pictures

This is a view inside the 101 mall, made from the 5th floor.

We didn't go to the top, because the admission fee is expensive, and it was a cloudy day...too bad. We did make this picture though.

There are 6-7 shopping malls in this area, all connected with each other. We made this picture while we crossed a road. Those yellow cars are all taxis

You can find shops of every famous designer here. Here I'm in front of the "Chanel", "Jill Sanders", "Boss", and "Gucci" shop.

Posted Jul 29, 2007, 12:26 pm
On the way back home we passed the "Grand Hotel". It's located along the highway, so the picture quality isn't great, because Andrea was driving and making a picture at the same time. The "Grand" is also a landmark.

I had a great day and a perfect seat, on top of Amber's babystroller, all day long  :p

Posted Aug 3, 2007, 5:00 pm
We went out today and had lunch in a restaurant nearby Andrea's  house

We crossed the street to go to the "Tai Mall", the local shopping mall.

Andrea is living in one of the apartments on the background. There is only a square seperating her from the shopping mall.....very dangerous for her wallet ;)

Another fountain.....great. I felt so hot, and needed to cool down  :p


Posted Aug 17, 2007, 3:33 pm
Andrea and Amber visited a friend in Chungli today. Chungli is a city, south of Nankan, and a 20 min drive away.
It was a rainy day AGAIN :(.

Close to Chungli on the highway - Chungli downtown

Andrea's friend's house

Andrea went to the latest Harry Potter movie with her frien, Jane, and Amberstayed with Jane's parents. And me....I had to stay in the car  :mad:. Andrea told me that I'm too young to watch Harry Potter  :mad:

We also had something to eat, "swan la tang" (sweet and sour soup), yummy. It tastes really good with "kwoo tjeh" (fried dumplings). I loved it. Mommy, do you want to try it? Andrea can mail you a package of instant "swan la tang" if you would like that :).

Posted Aug 17, 2007, 3:36 pm
HELP, HELP..... there is a typhoon coming!!!!!!!!!!!

I kept on singing "typhoon, typhoon, go away", on the rythm of "rain, rain, go away", and guess what it changed its direction and headed to the Phillipines instead..yahoooo!!

Posted Aug 17, 2007, 3:44 pm
I really have bad luck, because I'll experience the biggest typhoon in the last couple of years. Super typhoon Sepat is heading for Taiwan and will cross it within 24 hours.
Unfortunately my "typhoon, typhoon, go away" song didn't work this time.
Did you know that typhoons and hurricanes are the same. The only difference is that hurricanes can be found above the Atlantic Ocean, and typhones above the Pacific Ocean.

I'm scared mommy, but Andrea told me that she will take good care of me. That's why she didn't mail me to my next host in Singapore yet. She didn't want me to feel scared, wet, or been blown away by the powerful storm.

The sunsets are always beautiful before the arrival of a typhoon

Posted Aug 17, 2007, 3:49 pm
Andrea took me for a walk through the community where she's living. The name of the community is "Aqua Ballet". There are a lot of fountains and waterfalls in the community

This is me and Andrea in front of her house on the second floor

The swimmingpool and SPA

Some funny statues

And me, playing "hide-and-seek"


Posted Aug 27, 2007, 2:34 pm
Wow, I was so lucky, because Andrea decided that it was time for a short trip abroad. Her husband, David, had to fly to Amsterdam in the Netherlands for his work and he had to stay in Bangkok for a day. She decided to join him and today we left by plane to "Siam", or "Thailand". I was so excited and so was Amber  ;).

Here we were waiting for our flight

And here I am in Bangkok. Andrea took this picture from the window of her hotelroom. We stayed at a beautiful hotel, the Imperial Queenspark Hotel. David always stays there, because it's the crew hotel for the airline he's working for and it's a great hotel.

Posted Aug 27, 2007, 2:37 pm
We went to the zoo today. it was a bit scary to get there, because Thai people are driving on the left side of the road. I kept on screaming "be careful", but nobody seemed to hear me  :mad:

We walked around in the park behind the hotel later that afternoon

On our way back to our room we saw these beautiful creations in the hotel lobby

Posted Aug 27, 2007, 2:41 pm
We walked around a bit today and made some pictures. Andrea has been here so many times already, so we didn't really visited the "famous" scenery places

This is Victoria monument:

Me in a Tuk-tuk:

Another view of Bangkok from the swimmingpool area

Of course we went to a massage salon for a foot massage, but sorry...the pictures were too bad to be published. Andrea's camera is still broken, and the mobil phone doesn't always give nice pictures, especially indoors :(.

We went out for dinner at a traditional Thai restaurantt. This is my host family

And we were eating here:

Posted Aug 27, 2007, 2:47 pm
We had to go back to Taiwan today. Here is another picture of me and Amber in the hotel lobby. We were waiting for the crew bus to arrive. Amber really loves me :D...

We took the flight from Bangkok, via Hongkong, to Taipei. Yes....I've also been in Hongkong for 1.5 hours :).

Hongkong airport

The flight from Hongkong to Taipei was completely full and Andrea and Amber had to be seated in business bad ;)!

We left the hotel in Bangkok at 12.30 and we were back in Taiwan at 22.00 that evening.

Posted Aug 27, 2007, 3:06 pm
We went to the flowermarket in Taipei today

I also saw a lot of "lucky" souvenirs. Andrea bought one for me and she told me that this souvenir will make me rich and happy......YEAHHH!!!

Which one to choose

I've chosen this one

Posted Aug 27, 2007, 3:53 pm
It's time to say good-bye to Cassiopeia. I'll mail her tomorrow and she'll go to her next host in Singapore (or swimmingpool as Amber says :)).

Take care Cassiopeia and enjoy your journey!

Posted Sep 14, 2007, 9:12 pm
Today I finally arrived in Singapore.
Here's a pic of me with my parcel box from Taiwan.

Posted Sep 14, 2007, 9:39 pm
Today my host Min brought me to her office in West Coast. Woke up early in the morning and travelled on the mrt and bus. The whole journey took around 45mins. Excited to be out.

Min's only working half a day today as she is attending the convocation of one of her best friends - Ning. We rushed off around 12pm to go to the florist to get a bouquet of roses. Reached SIM university in Clementi at about 1pm.

My 1st time being in a university in Singapore. Lots of people wearing their graduation gowns, taking pictures with families and friends. Min forgot to bring her camera so didn't have any pictures taken.. :( unable to show you all what I've seen.

After 1 hour of taking pictures, having some quick bites, we left SIM and headed to Orchard. Min and another of her friend - Feng did some window shopping while Ning headed for an interview.

Had my 1st view of Orchard. One of the shopping places in Singapore. Min say that as it's a weekday, it's not so crowded. During the weekends, Orchard is usually packed with people.

We met up with Ning and headed to Wild Rocket  for dinner. Pris and her husband made a "surprise appearance" (min didn't tell ning that they will be there).

Time passes pretty fast and it's time to head home.

Sleepy sleepy after a long day.


Posted Nov 1, 2007, 9:32 am
Something really strange and confusing happened to me lately. I spent a nice time in Singapore but suddenly I really didn't understand what was going on anymore. I was packed into a dark envelope without any explainations. First I thought it was just to have a nap there, but now, the envelope was moving and I almost got sea-sick in there. It was bouncing and I really was afraid in there. Where was I going to? What should I do there? Whom should I stay with? So many questions were in my little turtle-mind.

Suddenly everything got a bit calmer. I opened my eyes and saw some light. I tried to crawl out of my envelope - and looked into 5 friendly faces! Oh, how happy was I to meet some humans again! And they also seemed to be glad to meet me, too! There was Mum, Dad and 3 little boys and they told me that I would stay with them for a few weeks now. How great! I also met some other toyvoyagers here so I gonna have a funny time. My new mates told me that I am in Austria now in a city called Vienna. It is somewhat like a capital city so I'm curious to discover it! Decker the little British lion, Frankie the Giraffe from Holland and Jade, a very funny creature also from the Netherlands said that they would join me.

Posted Nov 3, 2007, 5:58 am
I've only been to Austria for a couple of days but I already saw sooo much of Vienna.

On Wednesday there was All Saint's holiday and since we didn't go to the cemetary our host decided to have a walk through the city center instead.

We started at Hofburg, the castle where the Habsburg family used to live as long as they were on power. Can you also see the carriages with the horses? In former times people really used them for transportation I was told - nowadays they are only there as a tourist attraction. Oh, what beautiful gates Hofburg has, don't you think so? I especially like "Michaelertor" with the golden cupola, but "Heldentor" is nice, too. I tried to translate what there was written in Latin... But, you know... I never was so good in Latin....

Posted Nov 3, 2007, 6:07 am
Then we continued our walk to the very center of Vienna where we saw St. Stephen's Cathedral. I was amazed to see a very modern building just next to it and my host told me that there were many discussions about it before it was built. But I must admit it is beautiful and it's nice to see the dome like in a mirror there.

When we walked down Kärntner Straße, the most popular (and expensive) shopping street in Vienna, we met this funny guy making various creatures from balloons. Have a look! I would have liked one, but my host said, I'm quite colourful myself, too, so it wouldn't be necessary to buy one...

We passed by the opera house and reached another church then, Karlskirche. It is very special with the 2 little "towers" next to it telling a story from the bible on the relief. Just next to the church there was a beautiful subway station in "Jugendstil" (which was very popular in Vienna, there are many buildings in this style). Beautiful, hm? Another building in "Jugendstil" we found when we just walked a little longer: Secession. It's a museum I was told and in the cellar there you can find a large fresco of Gustav Klimt.

Posted Nov 3, 2007, 6:15 am
Our next stop was the "Museumsquartier", a laaarge building full of various museums inside, mainly for modern arts. Have a look what we found in front of the museum! What a funny sculpture, isn't it?

Just accross the street there were 2 other museums: the museum of historical arts and the historical nature museum. They are located face to face and look exactly like twins.

We walked along the "Ringstrasse" the street that surrounds the city center (it was built where the city wall was in former times) and passed by the Austrian Parliament and the Old Imperial theatre until we reached the City Hall. You know what I found there??? People who were already building up the Christmas market! I was very confused but my host told me that it will take only 2 weeks until it opens and she promised me to take me there if I'm still in Vienna at this time. Yippie!!!

Posted Nov 3, 2007, 6:20 am
Since we walked sooo much we had deserved a little rest then. So our host took us to Volksgarten where we enjoyed all the colourful autumn leaves and had great fun playing hide-and-seek!

While we were sitting there our host told us that next year in June the European Soccer Championship will take place in Vienna. The people are already quite excited about that and we found a watch counting the days, hours, minutes and seconds until the first game starts.

Posted Nov 3, 2007, 6:25 am
Did you know that Vienna is very popular for its Cafés? We passed by many of them but they were so crowded since it was a holiday and since we had the baby with us our host didn't want to go inside. But we did some window-shopping there and I was amazed what people can build out from sugar, chocolate and marzipan! Even this sculpture of emperor Franz Joseph was made of sugar!!


Posted Dec 31, 2007, 2:12 pm
Finally I can show you some pictures from me visiting the Christmas market (Christkindlmarkt) in front of the City Hall. It was very big and impressive and I had a great time there! What an adventure to ride with this oooold merry-go-round! And how delicious to taste these beautiful gingerbread-hearts!

Posted Jan 2, 2008, 8:57 am
Have a look how busy we were to bake Christmas biscuits! What a wonderful smell everywhere in the flat - and they tasted really delicious!

Posted Jan 2, 2008, 9:53 am
One day we visited "Naschmarkt", the biggest market in Vienna. It was very impressive to see all the different fruits, spices etc they offered there. We bought alot and had a big fruit salad that evening...

Posted Jan 2, 2008, 9:13 pm
Have you ever heart about Hundertwasser-Haus? It's the most colourful house in Vienna created by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. There is nothing special inside just normal flats, but it is soooo beautiful!

Posted Jan 4, 2008, 9:55 am
We also visited the big amusement park in Vienna - Prater. What a pitty that it is closed during winter, only the Big Wheel moved, but we had a nice walk alround though...

Posted Jan 4, 2008, 10:13 am
All the family wa ill for a while and we couldn't go out much. So we got a bit bored... But then somebody had the idea of making this pyramide out of yoghurt cups... Great, isn't it?

Posted Jan 29, 2008, 9:11 am
Today we did a trip to Slovakia and visited Bratislava. How exciting to go abroad not being packed into an envelope but seeing how to pass the boarder ;)

It was a freezy day but we had great fun walking through the city center, visiting the Christmas Market, the opera and then walking up the big hill to the castle. We sat in a restaurant and had a (not very typical) lunch for quite some time so when we came out it was already quite dark. So my host says sorry for the bad quality of the pictures... But in reality Bratislava was a very interesting and beautiful place!

Posted Jan 29, 2008, 10:58 pm
I celebrated Christmas in Vienna this year!! With all the traditions they have here, with a little chaos (since I'm staying in a family with 3 little kids) and with alot of joy!

The kids were very excited about Christmas and could hardly wait for the big day to come. So they had an advent calendar with 24 little mooses and every morning I helped them to find the "Moose of the day" - how funny ;)

We also did alot of preparations and decorations, one day my host even decided to bake a crib from Gingerbread! Hmmmm how delicious - but it came out soo beautiful that nobody wanted to eat it...

Posted Jan 29, 2008, 11:03 pm
We had a wonderful Christmas tree - such a big one that it didn't even fit on the photo, ha, ha! There were many decorations on it and some chocolates (well, I helped to organize everything so I was allowed to pick the first chocolate, yummy!)

Christmas Eve itself was very funny! After everything was prepared the "Christkind" came (kids in Austria don't believe in Santa I was told but in the Christkind), we sang some songs (well, I guess the family won't get famous as a choir...) and then we all were allowed to open the presents. They were really lucky to have me with them this year because I helped alot with that!!!

Posted Jan 29, 2008, 11:08 pm
After Christmas we left Vienna to go on a winter holiday. First we stayed at my host's parents in Upper Austria which was very nice because there was some snow and I enjoyed to play outdoors alot! Strange thing, this snow... but I got used to it and finally I really liked it!

The family went skiing several times and I joined them to the mountains. Well "mountains"... these were no real mountains (at least not what I expected from Austrian mountains...) rather hills but I was told that we would go to the real mountains pretty soon ;)

Posted Jan 29, 2008, 11:14 pm
Well, and that was exactly what we did a few days later. We went to Zell am See, a small town beautifully located within the Alps very close to Austria's highest mountain "Großglockner". And there I found some real mountains!!!

I was allowed to go skiing with my hosts again! We went up to "Schmittenhöhe" (more than 2000 m) by cablecar, which was a completely new experience for me. The view from up there was really amazing towards all the other mountains (some of them are more than 3.500 m high!!)

On the last photo you can see me with some of the other Toyvoyagers I got to know here: Decker, Eddie Bear, Jade, Frankie, Kanga and Smooch.

Posted Jan 29, 2008, 11:20 pm
Since my host loves Salzburg and since it was only about 100 km from Zell am See we once went there to do some sightseeing and enjoy a lóng walk through the city center. So I got to see the old fortress on the hill, had a walk through "Getreidegasse", the most famous street in Salzburg where I also saw the house where Mozart was born. Then we went to listen to the bells in a tower called "Glockenspiel", had a look at the big dome and we also visited Mirabell castle. I was told that it is very beautiful to walk through its park in summer when they have tons of flowers growing there!

Posted Jan 29, 2008, 11:22 pm
Well, after we came back to Vienna it was time for me to say Good-bye. It was a sad moment to leave everybody I got to know here in Austria but I also want to continue my journey and I'm excited to reach my new destination: Australia! Hope it will be a bit warmer there than in Austria!


Posted Feb 17, 2008, 6:24 am
Here I am, back in Sydney again to do some world exploring and maybe achieve a second mission in the near future. I was lucky to get here in time to meet up with a member of my German family, Kari which definitely helps a little with any feelings of homesickness. Then again, this house is a little like home already seeing as I've already visited here before!

Kalli & I are reading up on US and Canadian travel guides and planning our next adventures and can't wait to get to Oregon and meet up with BunTraveler.

Posted Mar 6, 2008, 12:18 pm
Our last night in Sydney.
Bags are all packed, family phone calls made, money exchanged (OUCH!) and here we sit sweltering in some last minute summer humidity, following weeks of cold, wet and miserable weather.
Tomorrow night we'll be in San Francisco.
How exciting!

Posted Mar 16, 2008, 4:16 am
San Francisco is a very leg tiring place to visit. Luckily I spent a lot of time in my tour guide's bagpack. Only problem was, my tour guide was quite often so wrapped up in taking in the sights herself, she kept forgetting to take photos of Kalli and myself.
These are what we do have:
On our first day we went to Coit Tower. Coit Tower is the tallest point above the city and sits on Telegraph Hill, which is San Francisco's tallest hills (and there are a lot of hills in San Francisco! Some of the streets are so steep there are stairs for the pedestrians instead of pavement) Inside Coit Tower are lots of beautiful murals that were painted in the 1930's showing life in San Francisco and rural California. I had my photo taken in front of one of the San Francisco city scenes.

We rode the cable cars another day, but tragically no pictures - I really have to talk to my tour guide about this situation!

Monday we went to Alcatraz. That was a really interesting place to visit. It was interesting to learn about all the attempted escapes. There's never been proof of a successful escape from the island - although some bodies were never recovered from the bay, so maybe they did make it? Did you know that when Alcatraz was an operational prison, the guards and their families lived on the island? No - neither did I, until we met a historian called Jolene Babyak, who grew up on the island because her father was the associate warden there! It was very windy on the ferry out to the island, and even windier on the way back. That large round structure is the water tank. There is no fresh water on the island, so water had to be imported from the mainland, which was one the reasons why the prison was shut down in the 1960's.

We visited China Town, which was very crowded and did a little bargain shopping there. My photo shows the Chinatown gate. (apologies for the car - I was getting very tired at this point on that day! Bec)

One of our final destinations during our time in San Francisco was to see the famous Golden Gate Bridge. It is very, very big and very, very, very busy and very, very, very windy out there! It was very lucky that while we were the there the skies were clear and there was no fog. (But it would have been just as spectacular if it had been a little foggy too!)

So, that was my time in San Francisco. It is a lovely city to visit (with the exception of the hills!)

Next stop - Oregon.


Posted Mar 20, 2008, 8:19 am

The Classic ToyVoyager is ...


This category is for ToyVoyagers who have been around for a long time, have travelled far from their mentors and built up what we consider to be 'classic' travelogs.  We asked you to look at the overall quality of the travelog: the photos, the updates and the journey itself. 

There were loads to choose from - we have narrowed it down to twelve and then you picked Cassiopeia as your winner!

Congratulations to winning this category, Cassiopeia.

Greetings from your family in Germany


Posted Mar 27, 2008, 2:52 am
Linda (BunTraveler) picked us up from Hostel in Portland early this morning and drove us down to Eugene. It was fun to meet up with the other ToyVoyagers who are staying here too - Dilbertand Cliff. It's a regular TV party around here sometimes!
In the afternoon we went on a sightseeing trip of the town, and got to see the places we've read about here in real life.
We saw the Johnson McMurphy House and went up Skinner's Butte to see the town from above. Then we saw Skinner's Cabin. We couldn't believe that such a tiny building could house a whole family! It was interesting to read all the historical information and consider how brave the early settlers must have been to come here.


Posted Mar 27, 2008, 2:54 am

Today we went to visit the Oregon Coast. It was cold and overcast, but luckily it only rained when we were in the car so we were able to get in lots of good sightseeing and photo-ops as well. The trees are interesting here. Because the weather is so damp, they grow moss all over them.

One of our first stops was in a town called Florence. It has a great historic bridge, that crosses over the Siuslaw River.

The gulls here are HUGE! They're easily 2 or 3 times the size of any gull I've ever seen before!

Then we went right to the coast where it was really cold and windy! We jumped out of the car for the pictures, got rained on a little,  and jumped right back in again. Brrr!


Posted Mar 27, 2008, 2:55 am
We went to visit a park to meet some ducks and Canadian geese. There were also lots of pigeons and sea gulls there. The seagulls in Oregon are huge - easily 2 or 3 times as big as the seagulls in Australia.

Even though we had no food to feed them, the birds came up nice and close to meet us. Poor Dilbert even got his ear bitten!
After we'd had our fun with the ducks we walked over a bridge and found ourselves over the Willamette River. It looked like a mini Golden Gate Bridge to me!

Despite the rain and cold we saw lots of people out jogging and power-walking. We were just eager to get warm in the car!


Posted Mar 27, 2008, 2:57 am
Today we got to have the pleasure of seeing some more of the countryside.

Our host's host took us to the King Estate Winery which was a little drive away from where we were staying.
The winery estate was very picturesque. I loved looking at all the view from the carpark on the top of the hill.

The winery building itself was also pretty.

And we had fun playing a little game with the compass on the ground. Can you tell why we picked to sit where we did?

On the way home we stopped in at Cottage Grove to view the beautiful wall murals on the side walls of some of the businesses.

And, guess what! We participated in a ToyVoyager rescue mission with Bun Traveler! You can see the toys we rescued in Gracy's Place!

Posted Mar 27, 2008, 3:04 am
Today we visited Granville Island which is has a big market place and lots of touristy type stores and art galleries. We also visited the Granville Island Brewery and tasted some of the beers.

To get to Granville Island we had to cross False Creek by ferry. The ferries were tiny little boats, they probably hold at most, 12-15 people. They are that tiny that when they dock, they are held still by the driver and not tied onto anything!

Part of Granville Island is the sea village, where there are just houseboats!

We had a great day!


Posted Mar 27, 2008, 3:08 am
We went for a very long, seven hour walk through Stanley Park today. Stanley Park is the largest park in Vancouver and has a sea wall walk that runs around it along the harbour foreshore and bush walking trails that criss-cross it.
On our walk we saw some beaches, the swimming pool, a First Nations statue and totem poles, the girl in the wet suit and visited the Lion's Gate Bridge. We also saw some squirrels, and using peanuts, were able to entice one to come right up to us!

This was the pool, which considering it's still practically winter was empty. I thought the slide looked like a lot of fun.

Here I am looking over Vancouver Harbour (English Bay) with North Vancouver in the background. As you can see it was not really the greatest day for a walk in the park, but one thing we learnt quickly about Vancouver is that if you wait for the rain to stop you'll never get to see anything so you just have to deal with it!

This is the Girl in the Wetsuit statue that was meant to be a replica of the Little Mermaid in Copenhagen, but they couldn't get the rights so they made her wear a wetsuit and goggles instead!

This is the Lion's Gate Bridge. We all thought it looked a lot like the Golden Gate Bridge in San Francisco (just in green!). It takes you from downtown Vancouver to North Vancouver and Grouse Mountain and of course is very busy in peak hour.

And, this is why its called the Lion's Gate - there are these huge lions guarding the northern entrance!

Later on our walk we came across this pond called Beaver Lake. We were hoping to spot a beaver but had no luck. Maybe it was too cold for them?

One of our last sightseeing stops at the end of a very long day was to examine the totem poles. The original totems dated back to the late 19th century, but to ensure their preservation they were taken away and put into museums. New poles erected in their place represent several of British Columbia's First Nations groups, with each pole illustrating a family lineage or story. We thought they were pretty cool!

Posted Mar 27, 2008, 3:12 am
Today we went to the Capilano Suspension Bridge with one of Bec's oldest friends who is now living in Vancouver.
The Capilano Suspension Bridge is the longest suspension bridge in the world! and is apparently Vancouver's oldest tourist attraction. It was a fun bridge to walk across as it bounces and sways as you cross it.

There are some First Nations totem poles and one you can pose in, so of course Kalli and I did!

Posted Mar 27, 2008, 3:15 am
Today we visited Gastown, the oldest part of Vancouver and saw the famous steam clock.
It is the world's only steam powered clock. It creates clouds of steam and chimes a tune to mark the hour. The clock is unique as it was designed in 1875 but was actually created in 1977.

Posted Mar 27, 2008, 3:17 am
At the Vancouver Aquarium (cool webcam of the whales, including the new calf on their website) we met lots of fish, some very cute sea otters and 4 huge Beluga Whales! You would not believe how white their skin is! In the underground viewing section they even seemed to glow!

Here are the Beluga Whales at feeding and health checking time.

See, they do glow!

We all thought the sea otters were very cute. We spent a lot of time watching them.

And of course, we had to see the seals.

Posted Mar 27, 2008, 3:25 am
We saw lots and lots and lots of snow in Whistler!
Even played in it outside our beautiful rustic hostel by Alta Lake.

To get to the hostel we had to walk down some bush stairs and cross the railway tracks. It was right on the edge of the lake, and when it was not snowing and visibility was good we had a great view of the mountains.

Did you know that Whistler and Vancouver will be hosting the Winter Olympic Games in 2010? Kalli and I had a play in the Olympic display at Whistler Village. I don't know that I'd want to travel in a bob sled on the sliding track, especially when they're predicting that the new track will be the fastest ever!

We even travelled to the peak of the mountain in a gondola. The snow was right up above the window sill of the cafe where we enjoyed some warming hot chocolate. Yikes!


Posted Apr 12, 2008, 12:23 am
Sadly, Cassiopeia parted ways with Kalli and I today ready to resume her solo travels.
Thanks for travelling with us Cassi and thank you Fam-United for trusting me to take your TV half way around the world with me!

Posted Jun 20, 2008, 10:18 pm
Well, I have made it at long last!

Fi was very surprised to see me when she opened the envelope. She had been helping Threadbear open all the parcels that had arrived with the teddy bears that he has been collecting, and was expecting more bears in my envelope!

The first thing I saw was my friend from home Pinky Bear, we caught up on some news from back home (old news because neither of us have been there for a while) But it was great to speak in German for a change.

I met some other TVs too, a bear called Fiona and a poor sighted Mole called Moley. We need to get that guy some glasses fast or he is not going to see any of the places that we do!

It's a bit chilly here. I thought Africa was warm. Fi told me that tomorrow is officialy mid-winter! Maybe I should find a blanket to keep me warm tonight.

I'll let you know more once I have done something, it is late now so we are all off to bed.

Posted Jun 25, 2008, 12:39 am
Well, I have been here a few days and I haven't really done anything...

Fi says we will soon be going out and about so I should take my charm off and keep it safe because Africa is not the cleanest place. I was a little scared it would get lost but she put it in a special envelope and then in a safe place.

Threadbear came upstairs and asked if we would like to help him with his bear project as he was getting a little behind. We were all so excited at having a chance to do something that we said yes, and down we went.

Here we all are.Me, Pinky Bear, Fiona, Moley, Threadbear, Buttons and Eloise.

Fi put on her i-pod so we could listen to music while we worked.

Everyone else got a job to do, they were putting bows on the bears. I was so sad when I realised I could not help at all because I have no paws. I felt really bad. Then Eloise made a suggestion to Fi and Fi asked me if I would mind reading a story to the others while they worked.

I was so happy! I felt useful because reading is something that I love. She gave me a book of traditional South African tales and switched off the music. I started to read... everyone became quiet to listen, even the little bears who had been very noisy all evening...

I read the first story, which I shall share with you, and they all wanted more. So I read on until the book was finished and all the little bears were sound asleep...

All stories start with "Kwesuka sukela...." once upon a time...

Where Stories Come From (A Traditional Zulu Story)

Once, a very long time ago, so long ago that it must have been close to the time when the First Man and the First Woman walked upon the earth, there lived a woman named Manzandaba (mah-nzah-ndah'-bah) and her husband Zenzele (zay-nzay'-lay).

They lived in a traditional home in a small traditional village. They had many children, and for the most part, they were very happy. They would spend the day working, weaving baskets, tanning hides, hunting and tilling the earth near their home. On occasion they would go down to the great ocean and play under the sun in the sand, laughing at the funny crabs they would see scuttling along there and rejoicing at the way in which the birds would dip and dive in the sea breezes. Zenzele had the heart of an artist and loved to carve. He would fashion beautiful birds out of old tree stumps. With his axe he could make the most wonderful impala and kudu bucks from stone. Their homestead was filled with decorative works by Zenzele the carver.

But in the evenings when the family would sit around the fire before going to sleep they would not be so happy. It was too dark for weaving or carving, and yet too early to go to sleep. "Mama," the children would cry, "Sifuna izindaba!" (see-foo'-nah ezee-ndah'-bah) "We want stories! Tell us some stories, Mama!" Manzandaba would think and think, trying to find a story she could tell her children, but it was of no use. She and Zenzele had no stories to tell. They sought the counsel of their neighbours, but none of them knew any stories. They listened to the wind. Could the wind be trying to tell them a story? No, they heard nothing. There were no stories, no dreams, no magical tales.

One day Zenzele told his wife that she must go in search of stories. He promised to look after the home, to care for the children, to mend and wash and sweep and clean, if only she would bring back stories for the people. Manzandaba agreed. She kissed her husband and children good-bye and set off in search of stories.

The woman decided to ask every creature she passed if they had stories to share. The first animal she met was Nogwaja (noh-gwah'jah) the hare. He was such a trickster! But she thought she'd better ask him all the same. "Nogwaja, do you have any stories? My people are hungry for tales!" "Stories?" shrieked Nogwaja. "Why, I have hundreds, thousands, no--millions of them!"

"Oh, please, Nogwaja," begged Manzandaba, "give some to me that we might be happy!"

"Ummm...." Nogwaja said. "Uhhhh...well, I have no time for stories now. Can't you see that I am terribly busy? Stories in the daytime, indeed!" And Nogwaja hopped quickly away. Silly Nogwaja! He was lying! He didn't have any stories!

With a sigh Manzandaba continued on her way. The next one she came upon was mother baboon with her babies. "Oh, Fene! (fay'-nay) " she called. "I see you are a mother also! My children are crying for stories. Do you have any stories that I could bring back to them?"

"Stories?" laughed the baboon. "Do I look like I have time to tell stories? Hawu! With so much work to do to keep my children fed and safe and warm, do you think I have time for stories? I am glad that I do not have human children who cry for such silly things!"

Manzandaba continued on her way. She then saw an owl in a wild fig tree. "Oh, Khova (koh'-vah)," she called, "please will you help me? I am looking for stories. Do you have any stories you could give me to take back to my home?"

Well, the owl was most perturbed at having been woken from her sleep. "Who is making noise in my ears?" she hooted. "What is this disruption? What do you want? Stories! You dare wake me for stories? How rude!" And with that the owl flew off to another tree and perched much higher, where she believed she would be left in peace. Soon she was sound asleep again. And Manzandaba went sadly on her way.

Next she came upon an elephant. "Oh, kind Ndlovu (ndloh'-voo)," she asked, "do you know where I might find some stories? My people are hungry for some tales, and we do not have any!"

Now the elephant was a kind animal. He saw the look in the woman's eye and felt immediately sorry for her. "Dear woman," he said, "I do not know of any stories. But I do know the eagle. He is the king of the birds and flies much higher than all the rest. Don't you think that he might know where you could find stories?"

"Ngiyabonga, Ndlovu!" she said. "Thank you very much!"

So Manzandaba began to search for Nkwazi (nkwah'-zee) the great fish eagle. She found him near the mouth of the Tugela River. Excitedly she ran toward him. She called out to him as he was swooping down from the sky, talons outstretched to grab a fish from the river. "Nkwazi! Nkwazi!" she called. She so startled the eagle that he dropped the fish that had been his. He circled around and landed on the shore near the woman.

"Hawu!" he barked at her. "What is so important that you cause me to lose my supper?"

"Oh, great and wise Nkwazi," began Manzandaba. (Now fish eagle is very vain. He liked hearing this woman refer to him and great and wise. He puffed out his feathers as she spoke.) "Nkwazi, my people are hungry for stories. I have been searching a long time now for tales to bring back to them. Do you know where I might find such tales?" She gave him a great look of desperation.

"Well," he said, "even though I am quite wise, I do not know everything. I only know of the things that are here on the face of the earth. But there is one who knows even the secrets of the deep, dark ocean. Perhaps he could help you. I will try and call him for you. Stay here and wait for me!" So Manzandaba waited several days for her friend the fish eagle to return. Finally he came back to her. "Sawubona, nkosikazi!" he called. "I have returned, and I am successful! My friend, ufudu lwasolwandle, the big sea turtle, has agreed to take you to a place where you can find stories!" And with that the great sea turtle lifted himself out of the ocean.

"Woza, nkosikazi," said the sea turtle in his deep voice. "Climb onto my back and hold onto my shell. I will carry you to the Land of the Spirit People." So the woman took hold of his shell and down they went into the depths of the sea. The woman was quite amazed. She had never seen such beautiful things before in her life. Finally they came to the bottom of the ocean where the Spirit People dwell. The sea turtle took her straight to the thrones of the King and Queen. They were so regal! Manzandaba was a bit afraid at first to look at them. She bowed down before them.

"What do you wish of us, woman from the dry lands?" they asked.

So Manzandaba told them of her desire to bring stories to her people.

"Do you have stories that I could take to them?" she asked rather shyly.

"Yes," they said, "we have many stories. But what will you give us in exchange for those stories, Manzandaba?"

"What do you desire?" Manzandaba asked.

"What we would really like," they said, "is a picture of your home and your people. We can never go to the dry lands, but it would be so nice to see that place. can you bring us a picture, Manzandaba?"

"Oh, yes!" she answered. "I can do that! Thank you, thank you!"

So Manzandaba climbed back onto the turtle's shell, and he took her back to the shore. She thanked him profusely and asked him to return with the next round moon to collect her and the picture.

The woman told her family all of the things she had seen and experienced on her journey. When she finally got to the end of the tale her husband cried out with delight. "I can do that! I can carve a beautiful picture in wood for the Spirit People in exchange for their stories!" And he set to work straight away.

Manzandaba was so proud of her husband and the deftness of his fingers. She watched him as the picture he carved came to life. There were the members of their family, their home and their village. Soon others in the community heard about Manzandaba's journey and the promised stories and came also to watch Zenzele's creation take shape. When the next round moon showed her face Zenzele was ready. He carefully tied the picture to Manzandaba's back. She climbed on the turtle's back and away they went to the Spirit Kingdom. When they saw the picture the King and Queen of the Spirit people were so happy! They praised Zenzele's talent and gave Manzandaba a special necklace made of the finest shells for her husband in thanks. And then they turned to Manzandaba herself. "For you and your people," they said, "we give the gift of stories." And they handed her the largest and most beautiful shell she had ever seen. "Whenever you want a story," they said, "just hold this shell to your ear and you will have your tale!" Manzandaba thanked them for their extreme kindness and headed back to her own world.

When she arrived at the shore, there to meet her was her own family and all the people of her village. They sat around a huge fire and called out, "Tell us a story, Manzandaba! Tell us a story!"

So she sat down, put the shell to her ear, and began, "Kwesuka sukela...."

And that is how stories came to be!


Posted Jun 29, 2008, 12:45 am
Fi hasn't been feeling to good lately, so we haven't really been anywhere...

Today, MrsF was visiting when her husband phoned and asked her to go to his shop in Krugersdorp (now known as Mogale City), because he was holding a lucky draw to win a fridge and he needed a photo taken of the winner. Fi asked if we could tag along and get to see a bit of the town... so in we all hopped! Nearly all of these photos were taken on the move, so apologies for visible car parts, but Johannesburg is not the place to stop and take leisurely photos on the side of the road...

First off, we had to pass Zandspruit Informal Settlement - a so called 'squatter camp' where the poorest people build shacks in an illegal area (someone else's property, usually). Because it is illegal there are no amenities such as, sewerage, running water or electricity...

These are taxis, the bane of drivers the country over. Most of them are a law unto themselves. Because there is not an adequate public transport system, and Johannesburg is so vast, the masses use these taxis for transport. There are often 'taxi wars', where the various taxi operators fight over routes. They are also involved in accidents because of the reckless manner in which they are driven.

Here we are on the Krugersdorp highway, as it is has a more boring name, the N14... the speed limit on highways/ national roads is usually 120kph /74.5mph.

At EVERY main intersection, you will either find someone begging, handing out pamphlets or trying to sell you something... Springbok rugby cap anyone?

This man was happy to see us! He wanted us to add a mechanical puppy to our little gang. We politely declined...

Krugersdorp, Fi can't get used to the new name, is a mining town, in the distance you can see a mine dump. Mine dumps are found all over Johannesburg, where ever gold is mined. Gold, manganese, iron, asbestos and lime are mined in this area; as well as uranium, a by product of the gold refining process.

Krugersdorp was formed just over 100 years ago, in 1887, on a farm called Paardekraal, when gold was discovered in the area. Just before this, the Boers (mostly Dutch farmers) were trying to distance themselves from the British and create their own republic. In 1880, 6000 men gathered here to fight for their independence... there was a concentration camp built by the British to house the Boer women and children, there is a memorial but we did not see it today.

We did find this though..."Oom Paul" (Uncle Paul)...

The first president of the Zuid-Afrikaansche Republiek, Paul Kruger.

His is the face on and the name behind the Kruger Rand’s (gold coins). The Kruger National Park is also named after him.

This is another famous South African, JG Srijdom, the prime Minister who had Nelson Mandela thrown in prison. A was very pro -Afrikaans, anti - British, and a strong supporter and enforcer of Apartheid.

The memorial stone... translation to follow.

Most of Krugersdorp is run down these days, there are newer smarter areas, but we just drove through the older parts. One thing that strikes you immediately is the sheer number of churches...

That was just a FEW of them!

We also found a few other interesting buildings..

This is the side of the Town Hall, sorry, we missed the front of it which is a lot prettier!

These are some typical houses...

And for some reason, this man and his 'boom box' amused us no end...

Fi says she has been watching this old bus stop deteriorate for years... it is always a poignant reminder of the glory days of the town. She says she always feels like she has stepped back in time when she drives through Krugersdorp, because it has not really moved on from the middle of the last century.

We had a quick stop at the lake, sorry ducks, we have no bread for you...

The paddle boats look like fun, maybe another day though.

Time to head back home. This is the view coming back, Krugersdorp is quite high up. It is hard to translate the amazing sense of vastness of the country in a photo...

We took a shortcut home through Muldersdrift. Here is the sign for Krugersdorp, hiding under a bridge, they will find it one day and change it to Mogale City!

And now we approach Roodepoort...

And a few more shots of Zandspruit...

A typical sight... nothing like an overloaded truck spewing diesel fumes to make you feel like you are in Africa!

This is out turnoff, and that is Johannesburg city centre in the distance...

Posted Jul 1, 2008, 8:59 pm
Fi was feeling rather sorry for us sitting at home doing nothing, so she decided to take us out for a special treat... can you tell what we are doing?

How about now?

She took us up in this hot air balloon called the 'Jozi Eye' (Jozi is a nickname for Johannesburg). Most people call it the ABSA balloon. ABSA is the largest bank in South Africa, it stands for Amalgamated Banks of South Africa... four large banks, that joined together.

It is a tethered balloon, it only goes up and down; though when the wind blows like it did this morning, it also sways sideways!

It is situated in the grounds of the Monte Casino, which is designed like a Tuscan Village. (For some reason the Tuscan theme is very popular in the wealthy Northern Suburbs)

This is the view of the Palazzo hotel as we started going up...

...and up...

...and up...

Looking down you can see the Monte Casino Bird Garden’s, they hold shows in the arena.

This is the view all around... it was a bit of a hazy day because it was quite cold. In summer it is much clearer...

I was a little nervous because the net would stop a person falling out but a Toy such as myself could easily fall out and 120 meters is quite  a drop!

Here you can see the side garden of the hotel. Fi has had breakfast in there - she says it is very luxurious...

This was our 'pilot'. He held on to me when the balloon swayed a little and I got scared...

Time to come down now... This is the view from inside the balloon.

Feels a bit like target practise!

This is the mechanism that keeps it all in place and controls the movement of the balloon.

Almost at the bottom now, you can see the Tuscan style clock tower and that is the parkade across the way.

Well that was fun! Here is the clock tower again...

These massive doors don't actually serve any purpose, they are just decorative!

We sat in the sun for a bit to warm up, it was rather chilly up in the balloon.

You can see the parkade behind us. The closest you can get to seeing really 'old' buildings in Johannesburg! (Johannesburg is just over a hundred years old, so no old architecture like European cities)

And here is the forecourt, one of the many entrances to the Casino.

On a warmer day it might be nice to go for a swim in the fountain!

Posted Jul 6, 2008, 10:28 pm
Fi went out this morning and left all of us behind, which we thought was pretty rude. We sat and had breakfast with the children and her husband; then we mostly watched DVDs. All of a sudden at 1pm she came rushing back...and seemed quite upset that everyone was still in their pyjamas! She made everyone hurry up and get dressed...she kept saying we were going to be late....late for what? I sure hoped we were going with!

Next thing we were all buckled up in the car and off down the road. Past Zandsptuit again, past Muldersdrift... along the Krugersdorp highway... the same man selling mechanical dogs at the traffic lights...hmmm, we have already seen all of this...

But then, instead of going up the hill to Krugersdorp we turned right, and kept on driving. Through the Cradle of Humankind (Declared a World Heritage Site in 1999, this 500km2 area on the western edge of Johannesburg is the scene of numerous internationally celebrated archaeological discoveries. Among these is the famous "Mrs Ples", a four-million-old, ape-like human skeleton discovered by Dr Robert Broom in 1947. This area has yielded the most conclusive evidence anywhere in the world as to our human origins. 

In addition to its archaeological interest, the area also boasts a wealth of small nature reserves, battlefields, archaeological sites and country restaurants
.) And this was pretty much what it looked like:

One "kopjie" (little hill) after another...

After what seemed like hours of driving (it wasn't really, just 45 minutes - we had just never been to the place before and the map we had was REALLY not to scale) we started seeing  a different part of the Witwatersberg (white waters mountains - Johannesburg is built on the Witwatersrand - the White Water's Ridge)

And then, a break in the mountains...

THEN, looking up to the top of a kopjie, we found what we were looking for!

If an eagle were to fly over the Witwatersberg with the mighty Magaliesberg to the West, it would see an old English blockhouse defending the break in the mountains which de la Rey and his men named ‘Hekpoort’.

Barton’s Folly is an English Blockhouse built during the Boer War (1899 – 1902) referred to by the locals as the ‘English War of Aggression’. Barton’s instruction was to build a fort to separate the Boer Commandos in the Brits area from the Witwatersrand. There is some confusion relating to the name: firstly it is argued that the fort did not succeed in its aim – a folly; but more likely because it differed from the typical two storied blockhouses of the time and was therefore something ‘foolish in design’ or something other than what it appeared to be.

Barton was a career soldier who served in the Gold Coast, the Zulu War of 1876, Egypt and China. Having been wounded at the Tugela River, he was transferred to Krugersdorp and had to face the military genius of de Wet and de la Rey.

Far from the cool meadows of England, he built the fort and one can easily imagine him standing on top of the hill staring at the distant Magaliesburg and thinking of home.

This is his monument – BARTON’S FOLLY.

We were so busy looking at the fort that we missed the turnoff! According to the map there was a second entrance so we had a look for it, in hindsight we should have done a u-turn and gone back...

We ended up driving along a dirt road that was rather overgrown and at one point we had to pass a low lying thorn tree that scratched the whole side of the car...ouch!!!!!

Finally though, we arrived at the restaurant. We said happy birthday to the birthday "girl" (31!), gave her her gifts and climbed down to the river where the children were fishing for crabs (luckily the crabs were too fast for them!)

I wanted to go for a little swim but the water was freezing. It wasn't very full either as it doesn't rain in winter here.

Fiona and Moley weren't feeling brave enough to get any closer, when all of a sudden a strong gust of wind blew poor Moley right into the water! He is very, very light, which Fi says is wonderful for posting but not wonderful for posing!

Fi rescued him and took him back up to the bathroom for a wash.

We sat and waited while he was dried off... it smelled so nice in there! There was a scented candle burning...

On the way out of the bathroom we spotted this pretty tea set...Fi has a thing for old tea sets, even though she doesn't drink tea.

We had a little sit down on a chair by the fire place, Moley wanted it lit because he was feeling a bit cold! It only got lit just before we left.

Just above the fire place was a photo of the fort (or blockhouse). I wanted to go up and see it myself but there was fat chance of Fi climbing up the hill with us.

We past the cakes on the way out to get some sun... looks yummy!

Fi popped us on this pillar so we could warm up in the sun. The fort is at the top of the hill behind us but you can't really see it from this angle....

Whoops! Another gust of wind sent Moley overboard again!

We each had a ride on a pony but Moley wasn't taking any chances!

We found some balancing poles and persuaded him to have a try .
He would not get on at first, till I told him it really wasn't high.

The birthday girl's husband was teasing Fi about taking photo's of toys. Next thing she said him, 'just hold this one up nice and high so I can get a photo of the mountain in the background!' Without thinking, he did, and then she said 'well now you are part of it all!"  Ha ha ha..she is so naughty!!!

Then it was time for tea so we all trooped inside and had sandwiches and cake. Scrumptious! The restaurant has a thatch roof, this is what it looked like from inside.

One of the dad's said he would take the children up the hill to see the fort. I desperately wanted to see it, so did Fi's children... so her husband took them (Natalie went on his shoulders...all the way up and all the way down!!!!) And much to everyone's shock...Fi took us up! Remember she was dressed for a party and not mountaineering... and this is what the first bit of the climb looked like!!!

But up we went...over the rocks with nothing to hold onto: Fi, her dodgy knees, three ToyVoyagers in her hand and a camera...

The door was firmly locked, so we could not get in.

The view from up here was spectacular...

You can just see the roof of the restaurant from up here.

We peeked through this window and we could see why the door was locked, no floor, with a very deep bottom and the place was full of rubble... not safe at all. Luckily Moley never fell in this time because no one was going in after him, that's for sure.

And for those people who read this and know Fi (and her penchant for flat surfaces), and don't actually believe she climbed all the way up...

We, and Fi's knees, were quite glad to get back and have a drink and a sit down.

Well, it was getting late, the sun was starting to set and it was time to head home.

As we got in the car, little Nats said 'well that was such a nice party" and we all agreed with her. Then the camera battery went flat, so that was that!

Posted Jul 11, 2008, 3:26 pm
I have to tell you about the most amazing day I have ever had.

Fi packed us all into her bag (we have got used to sharing space with a camera and a purse), and told us we had a really long journey ahead of us. First, we needed to stop and buy some water and snacks (and just as well because the trip took way longer than expected).

Next we met up with Fi's friend Lara and her Mom, Stephanie. We all climbed into Lara's car and off we went, heading for Pretoria, to meet a lady called Julie.

The trip started off uneventfully, with us just looking out the window and seeing the usual houses and businesses. Then we went through a place called Kyalami (there is a famous racetrack by the same name here) and Fi pointed out a castle to us! You may think, what's the big deal? Well, South Africa is a relatively new country (well as far as architecture goes) so there are no real castles. This one was a home, then a hotel.... and now the scientologists have bought it...

Then we went through Midrand, which is about halfway between Johannesburg and Pretoria... and over to one side, we spotted THIS!!! That looks like a Russian church!

Fi says she needs to find her way there one day... ah there is a map on that website...

Just a few kilometres away from our off ramp, we hit a traffic jam...and we sat...and we sat....and we sat... for an hour! Thank goodness we had water and snacks. We had berry and nut bars (delicious!), dried mango (heavenly) and droëworse (dried, spiced sausage - a local treat - odd for foreigners but the best thing since sliced rusks to a South African!)

Eventually we got moving again and there was no visible cause for the hold up, ten more minutes and we reached our off ramp only to have to stop and pay at the toll gate...

This was the Zambezi Drive Toll Gate. The Zambezi is a South African river.

We had reached the far end of central Pretoria... we met Julie at a petrol station and she said it was still another hour's drive to our destination! We soon left town behind, and headed into the countryside...


Posted Jul 11, 2008, 9:12 pm
Well we were headed for a rural town called Makapanstad… Makapanstad lies 50 km to the North West of Pretoria, in the south eastern corner of a portion of the former homeland of Bophuthatswana to the east of the Crocodile River. Although farming is practiced in Makapanstad, it does not conform to the stereotype of a rural area where agricultural practices are used as a main source of livelihood. Vegetation predominates on the landscape and settlement is sparse. Most adults are unemployed and many seasonally migrate to the urban areas in search of work. Incomes are low and 67% of the population earns less than R300 per month.

Okay, R300 buys you a nice meal for two in a restaurant… the people who live in this town are POOR; they were forced to settle here during the apartheid years when they were not allowed in ‘white areas’. The towns they lived in were called ‘locations’.  Most of them are from the SeTswana or Northern Sotho tribes.

After leaving Pretoria, you can see the landscape starting to change…it gets drier and more sparse but also very African! This is the bushveld; you will see what I mean as we continue our journey.

You drive through many similar towns, this one is called:

In stark contrast to the high walls with electric fences in Johannesburg, are these little fences made from sticks and wire, mostly to demarcate land ownership, but also to keep animals from wandering in. These are typical houses with outside toilets, called a ‘long drop’!

It is not all doom and gloom, there are nice houses too.

This lot were clearly aiming for a Jo’burg style wall without the aid of cement!

This little boy was sorting rocks out for a wall too. He was still at it when we went past him to go home.

There were quite a few innovative little businesses along the route too, like this ‘car wash’. He had a very lush garden from all the water.

There were of course people hanging about, but that is to be expected. If you have no job you can still chat with friends and keep up to date on the news.

This photo brings a tear to my eye. The house is made of scrap sheet metal but the owners are so house proud, that they have painted it. Do you see how neat the garden is? These are people making the most of it. Amazing and very humbling….

You would think that these suburbs would have been renamed by now, no? We all know the penchant for name change around here…

We passed through Tswaing but we had no time to have a look at the Tswaing Crater, it sounds interesting enough to come back and look at one day.

Now, remember I mentioned the animals that wander about?



And… a man taking his bull for a walk…as you do…

This is how babies are carried -  throughout Africa.

I think this is a prayer meeting.

This is a school…no grass at all, but immaculately clean.

A municipal clinic…

And an end to the petrol crises! Fi said she wonders how long she would last on a donkey cart in Jo’burg! Two minutes, probably….

Every little penny counts, and everyone is trying to make one…


Oh no! Sixteen more kilometres….

Posted Jul 11, 2008, 11:10 pm
See what I mean about looking African? Don’t know about you, but I think it is beautiful…

It is so dry out here, a careless cigarette butt sets everything alight, even back in Johannesburg there are two or three veld fires at any given time during winter. Sometimes there is controlled burning, to clear the area of overgrowth,
Finally, Julie turned off…where did the road go?

Look! How cute is this thatch roof with the buck design?

After much bumping about on the dirt road, waiving to children and avoiding chickens, we arrived at our destination!

Now before I tell you the story of what goes on in this house and why it was so important for us to visit, I’d like you to read this:

This is our heartfelt story. It has a sad beginning but because of it the lives of others will be changed forever. Martha Letsoalo started the heartfelt project with Julie Masureik after her son Emanuel died in prison wrongly accused and sadly abused at the age of 25. His files to this day have never been found.
After stealing what little money Martha had and promising to get Emanuel out of prison, the corrupt lawyer left her broken hearted and disheartened by the legal system in the country. With no husband to depend on, no job opportunities and three grandchildren to feed - Martha did what came naturally to her – she found a way to survive. The heartfelt project is her story. It’s about who she is. It’s about her children. It’s about the lives of the women and families in her community. It’s about the sadness that happens on a daily basis in a little place called Makapanstad. And the big difference one small heart can make to the happiness of others. Together, Martha and Julie started creating and designing the heartfelt products using traditional handcraft skills, felt and beads. Today they are sold within South Africa and the UK.
There are now ten women employed by the heartfelt project. Each day they come to work full of pride and hope. Creating each heartfelt design out of love and strongly believing that they can make a difference - not only to their own lives but to the lives of the community in which they live.
Each heart sold by the heartfelt project helps to feed and clothe the ladies and their families. It also gives back to the community by donating a small portion to a local charity to help fight TB, HIV/AIDS and look after children and old aged men and woman within Makapanstad. Its aim is to heal the hearts of people who don't have the opportunities we have on a daily basis. And to fill not only the ladies hearts but many others with hope. 
Ke a go leboga

One day, Fi was playing on the internet, as she does, and somehow, somewhere, she found the link to a website about The Heartfelt Project. Before she had even finished looking at the website, she had e-mailed Julie and asked if she could help by sending bits and pieces that she had lying around her house (trust me on this one – LOTS of crafty stuff around here!)
Juliee e-mailed back almost immediately and said ‘yes please!’ and so a box (full of felt scraps, buttons, beads, floss and other bits and pieces) was despatched to Makapanstad.

Then, one Saturday morning, Fi and a group of friends were sitting at their monthly scrapbook class and one of the ‘girls’ was leaving and going back to the USA. She had a few items that she could not take with her and left them to be distributed amongst the rest. Fi picked up a packet of embroidery floss and said ‘this can go to the Heartfelt ladies… Then Lara asked who they were. The story touched her heart and made her do this….

So, to cut a long story short (I am writing rather a lot, sorry!), today was the day we were delivering the ‘collection’ and getting to meet these absolutely awesome ladies and to see up close their beautiful work.
We were literally welcomed with open arms. And I am talking about US the ToyVoyagers!

Here are the ladies, hard at work…

And here we are in the middle of it all! Fiona, Moley, Threadbear and I, interrupting the calm.

I am camouflaged!

Just how cute is this felt hippo?

Anything that is made here, gets the trademark heart logo on it…

The women have a natural working rhythm that even we could not disturb, they just went on with the important task at hand… Fi could learn a lesson or two from this…

Nothing goes to waste; all these teeny scraps are taken home and turned into cushions.

We were very graciously served a cup of tea!

Julie phoned Martha, the lady we had come to see, as she was at the Post Office. She was so worried about missing us! We promised to stay put and Julie drove off to fetch her.

We had a little nosey around while we waited…but first we had a little rest…

Fi was going to pose Threadbear in the mirror, but decided against it!

This is the front entrance… and us of course…

Water is precious, as much as possible is collected… like rain water from the roof..

Very pretty red flowers and some unusual trees…

Then, you know Fi, she wandered out the gate. You can’t take her anywhere!

She went to see what the donkey cart was up to, well nothing! It’s a donkey cart! The men, however, were delivering fire wood.

This poor man had been fixing that bench the whole time we were there and he had just stopped for a tea break when she bothered him for his photo! Honestly! But he said it was fine….

The house has a lovely little veranda, Fi’s house doesn’t and it really needs one.

Evidence of chickens… they were all hiding though.

This room is going to be converted into a workshop so the ladies can move out of the small room they are in and poor Martha can have her dining room back! Pinky Bear, there is a message for you!

Then a bundle of energy arrived! Wow, Martha is a live wire! She hugged and kissed everybody , yes even us!


She gave me a good looking over and said that they were going to make African tortoises next! I am going to be famous! Kind of....

Look at all the lovely things they make!

Martha was very taken with Threadbear! And after chatting to her for a bit he suddenly said, “Fi, when I have reached my goal of 500 bears for the Teddy Bear Clinic, I am going to start a collection for Martha and the rest of the Heartfelt ladies…” Martha kissed him some more and then took him off for a walk and a chat! We thought we may have to pry him away from her!

Well, too soon, it was time to say goodbye as it was a long trip back and Fi had to fetch her poor abandoned children (okay, one was with a friend and the other was having fun at the school aftercare, but she FELT like she had abandoned them)

This is Nthabiseng, the youngest member of the group, the lovely Julie and the amazing Martha.


Posted Jul 16, 2008, 9:43 pm
Well, we started our long trip back on the dirt road again. We waived at more children, avoided the chickens again and saw lots of thorn trees... they like the dry weather...

This road looks pretty endless.

At least there are lots of distractions along the way to keep you alert... like this...

And this... African ingenuity at it's best!

How to recycle an old pick up truck, or as they are called here, a BAKKIE... especially with the current price of petrol.

How to avoid the overhead costs of having a shop...

Most Africans are Christians, they were converted by the early settlers. There is a huge group called the Zion Christian Church or ZCC. They wear handmade 'uniforms' of either blue, white or green and they hold their services outside, usually in a ring, under a tree (the earlier group that we took a photo of may have been Zionists.) This is a local church (not ZCC).

Leaving the NorthWest Province (which has been renamed Limpopo - of course)  and back in Gauteng Province!

Oh dear.... something is on fire...

...and it's not the veld, that black smoke is usually from diesel...

Well, we couldn't see what was on fire so we turned our attention to this odd advert for 'chicken paint'... as we got closer, we could see the 'and',  they were selling chicken AND paint... as you do...

This is the Bon Accord Dam, so we very near Pretoria.

This is the Onderstepoort Veterinary Institute, part of the University of Pretoria. Their main focus is on infectious diseases. Glad Fi had no time to stop and visit... I might have caught something tropical!

Ah... here is Pretoria at last or Tshwane, as it has been renamed... Pretoria is the administrative capital of South Africa (they have not one, not two, but THREE capitals... and eleven official languages - they like to keep every one happy!)

We drove through the boring bit as it was the quickest way home. Maybe Fi will come back another day with other TV's to see the interesting parts.

Up ahead is a cement factory...

A closer view of the PPC (Pretoria - Portland Cement) factory which has been here since 1892 and now has branches all over the place. (Even all the way up in Botswana!)

Remember me telling you about the 'street vendors' at every intersection? Well Fi always wondered who bought the rubbish they sell... the answer is: truck drivers! This one bought a monkey for twenty bucks.

First a fire and now a flood!

Caused by a burst water pipe, I see.

A museum! Oh, no time to stop...but it looks so interesting!

The central post office sorting department... boring...

And...YIKES!!! C Max! Let's hit the accelerator and get out of here! (C max - is a maximum security prison and someone ONCE escaped from it)

Phew, safely out of Pretoria/Tshwane.... there is Sandton in the distance, unless they changed the name while we were gone...
Time to pick up Fi's car and fetch the children. Wonder where we will be off to next?


Posted Jul 18, 2008, 4:26 pm
Today we celebrated Nelson Mandela's birthday...

Fi just told me that I am off to the beautiful Cape Province to visit Lizette... now that sounds exciting...except for the whole getting in a box and being posted bit...

Posted Jul 19, 2008, 9:27 pm
I have a brief respite from being posted, Fi could not get to the post office yesterday, so I get to spend the weekend in Johannesburg.

This morning we had to get up early though, because the children had a school function to attend. The school has an annual fund raiser called 'The Big Walk'. All the children and their parents meet up at the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Gardens and do a sponsored walk from one end to the other.
(One of the great escapes of Johannesburg, the Walter Sisulu National Botanical Garden in Roodepoort, is almost 300 hectares of landscaped and natural veld that is a haven for birds and a popular picnic spot for Gautengers.

Despite development that is threatening encroachment on this beautiful garden, set against the backdrop of the magnificent Witpoortjie waterfall, this is still the home of a breeding pair of Verreaux’s Eagles that nest in the cliffs alongside the waterfall and no visit is complete until they have been sited. Enthusiasts arrive armed with telephoto lenses and tripod stands in an effort to capture these beautiful birds, and will sit for hours until they appear. Over 600 plant species and 220 bird species, as well as a number of reptile and small mammals such as antelope and jackal, occur naturally in the Nature Reserve and there are several wonderful walks through the garden and a trail up alongside the waterfall for the not so faint hearted.

One can arrange guided tours along the Roodekrans Ridge and through the Nature Reserve part of the garden, and the dam and wetland area with its bird hide alone is worth the visit, particularly at sundown just before the gates close. There is a lot of shaded lawn on which Jo’burgers while away balmy days with a bring-along picnic. The gardens have adopted a ‘carry-in carry-out’ litter policy that means you take home any rubbish with you, and an outcomes-based schools’ environmental education programme that caters for school groups in the garden.

There is a wonderful nursery, a gift and book shop and a restaurant; and over Christmas and on selected weekends, the grounds play host to sundowner concerts. But the star of the show is the garden itself with a succulent rockery, a cycad garden, the water garden with water-loving plants and a series of ponds that flow past the restaurant and its walks and trails.)

This year it was a little different. The children got a list of twenty questions and had to find the answers in the gardens... they get sponsored per correct answer.

So off we set... and Fi apologises for the lack of photos of us, but the children get sent off according to the grades they are in and we had five grades rushing up behind us! No time to stop and pose for photos...

Shane reads a plaque to find an answer...

Because it is winter at the moment, there are not too many flowering plants but the succulents were putting on a beautiful display of colour...

There are many different types, most of them are from the aloe family...

Were you paying attention?  Did you see us in that last photo?

Just checking!

How odd are these plants? The roundish ones are one plant...

Question 4. Which plants out lived the dinosaurs?

Answer.... these ones! Called cycads...

I have no idea what these are but they are pretty cool...
like the French poodles of trees!

A regular strelitzia....

... and some unusual yellow ones...

Question 5. Which plant is known as the water bottle of the desert?

Answer: this weird looking plant from the deserts of Namibia. It is related to the grape! It loses it's leaves and 'grapes’ (which are poisonous) in winter in order to survive, and it stores huge quantities of water so it can withstand drought...

This is too hard to read (and I have told you all about it already) but you can see it looks better with leaves!

Now, talking of weird.... don't these two trees look like they come straight out of a Dr Seuss story?

These pretty little flowers are called "plough breakers". They have very large, tough stems, that grow underground. When land was cultivated for farming, the stems would break the blades of ploughs!

Yay! We reached the waterfall... the halfway mark!

Pretty little clivias, still showing a bit of damage from the locust swarm a while back when Fi came here with Pinky Bear.

We started going uphill, thank goodness Fi had us in a bag, my little legs would never have made it! This is the view from up there...

A little higher up... and it looks very dry here, this is winter in the Highveld... very dry and ready to burn at any moment...

Oh look! A sign telling us why it needs to burn!

What a relief... going downhill now... and we reached a dam...

We sat in the hide for a bit to 'look for birds', of course with 500 children around, the birds were also in hiding. And really Fi was just sitting to have a rest!

Question 18: name the plants on the side of the river with white spotted leaves...

Answer: Arum lilies! So pretty...

Question 19: name the river...

Answer: Crocodile! Funny, there are no crocodiles in is very low as there is no winter rainfall in Jo'burg.

Hello! What on earth are these odd things?

This was the last thing we looked at before we left.

Did you know: 8 out of 10 people in South Africa use traditional medicine or go to a traditional healer with their health problems?

Wow, that's a lot of people!

It also says:

Grassland plants can reach a great age, as old as trees!

I have never actually ever thought about that before, but now that I have read that it makes perfect sense!

Posted Jul 24, 2008, 11:39 am
Ughhh! Another early morning... Fi packed us all into a bag with a picnic lunch, and popped us in the car. We drove for what seemed like ages. Eventually she stopped here to get a security pass...

I don't get it. What are we doing at the University? She is looking for the Planetarium... oh, there it is...

This is the prettier, original bit of the university. The rest of it is mostly ugly concrete buildings... it would be nicer if we could sit on one of the rocks that was in the sun you know, it is chilly down here in the shade!

Fi said we are not going to the planetarium at all. There is a big bus here and lots of...elderly people? What on earth....?

We are going on a tour of Johannesburg with the Geological Society. That should be interesting!

We have a seat right at the back and we are off!


Posted Jul 24, 2008, 10:02 pm
So, we are on the bus and the bus is travelling through the city centre. We are all excited because this is somewhere Fi has wanted to bring us all but it is not safe enough for her to do on her own. Much better to be sitting on a bus with a camera and taking photos out the window...

You need to bear in mind that Johannesburg only came into existence in the 1880s when gold was discovered. So it is a relatively new city.

Fi grew up in these parts and it was a real trip down memory lane. Some parts were just shocking for her to see how much they had degenerated in the years since she has been down here. Come, I'll show you.

We were heading for The Munroe drive, but we had to get out of Braamfontein first and travel through the notorious Hillbrow.

This is Park Station, is appears to have been tidied up a little since Fi last saw it. It is the main railway station.

This building has a distinct 1930s feel to it, though I think the man is playing a more modern tune!

Jo' burg central is pretty much a slum these days. What happened is that during the 1980s the world decided to impose sanctions on South Africa to force her to end Apartheid. Most foreign businesses withdrew from the country and left the buildings in the CBD vacant. By the time they had all come back, the CBD was pretty derelict and most large local businesses had moved to the more upmarket area of Sandton. The foreign companies decided (wisely) to move to Sandton too as the CBD was run down and unsafe. Although downtown Jo'burg is technically still known as the Central Business District, it is a misnomer. In truth, Sandton City is now the CBD. Some of the buildings in town have stood vacant for the last 20 years.

There has been an effort to revive the city centre in recent years. CCTV has been implemented to cut down the crime level and there has been an attempt to tidy it up in time for the FIFA 2010 Football World Cup.

But, like I said, it is still pretty much a slum...

This old synagogue, that is no longer in use, was a copy of a Catholic church called the 'Sante Fe' in Istanbul... There is a massive Catholic church and it seemed to be well attended as we drove past but we were on the wrong side of the bus to get a photo.

Then we went through Hillbrow and Fi was having too many flashbacks of her youth to take too many photos! The lady she was sitting next to had also lived in Hillbrow and they were both pointing out where all the places had been that they remembered!

The Professor mentioned that during the world wars, Brazil had remained neutral and had not had the same economic crises as the rest of the world, so it had developed architecturally. Hillbrow was designed loosely on the Bazillion style and was at one time known as 'Little Brazil'.

During it's heyday in the 1950s, Hillbrow was second only to Manhattan, as the finest built up city in the world. BUT, already in the 1950's an architect had predicted that the manner in which it had been built would result in it becoming a slum. The streets were too narrow and the buildings too tall and crowded, blocking the views that made high-rise living so attractive in the first place. Sadly, he was proved correct.

This is Highpoint, now more of a low point... Fi remembers shopping here, German delicatessens, Viennese tea rooms, and trendy boutiques. Hillbrow was very cosmopolitan at that stage, English, Scottish, Polish, German, French, Hungarian, Czech, you name them, they were here. It is still cosmopolitan but now its Nigerian, Angolan, Somalian, Congolese...

This is the side Fi used to live. It looks quite clean here, but up close, it is a different story...

This is the Fire Station, quite a cute little building.

Not long till we head up the Munroe Drive…


Posted Jul 24, 2008, 11:34 pm
The bus came to a stop after a steep climb up the Munroe Drive, which starts in Lower Houghton and ends up in Upper Houghton.

From what I could understand, 374 million years ago, a bit before my time, two land masses called 'Cratans' crashed into each other in the area where present day Hawaii is. The one cratan ended up subducted under the other (it got caught underneath and then sloped up as a result - hope you can see this picture in your head!) Over time, with moving about and expanding and whatnot, they ended up right here! This area is called the Witwatersrand (white waters ridge) basin. There is some controversy as to how the name 'Witwatersrand' came to be, the most popular theory is that from far off the ridge shimmered and looked like water.

It was formed 360 million years ago. And it is massive. Now, way back in those days there was no atmosphere and this basin was a sea. Electrical storms (something that hasn't changed!) caused massive erosion over time, and caused the sea to fill with sediment to a depth of 8kms (almost 5 miles) - that is higher than Mount Everest! And that was the end of the sea. Pity, because it now takes 6 hours of driving to get to the sea....

Anyway, back to the ridge we were standing on... an interesting fact: when it rains, any water that runs off over the edge here, into Lower Houghton...eventually ends up in the Indian Ocean. Any water that runs off down the other side (which I'll show you soon) ends up in the Atlantic Ocean! Fascinating, Fi can't believe she had never heard that before. She needs to go on more of these tours, I think!

Another thing: GOLD! Gold forms in rock strata. The strata that Johannesburg gold formed in, is at a terribly steep angle as it formed in the 'cratan' that ended up tilted up at the funny angle under the other one. There was such a nice piece of exposed rock on the way down the other side that showed you how steep this strata is but Fi wasn't quick enough to take a photo, sorry.

This steep angle makes mining for gold very difficult and that is also the reason the mines here are so very, very deep.

Right, back on the bus....


Posted Jul 25, 2008, 10:05 am
We had to pass through Yeoville to reach our next destination. We were going to stop at two of the most famous schools in the area, but one of them, St John's College was hosting a huge church meeting where the Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu was speaking and the other, King Edward VII School, was blocked off by all the traffic to the first. So much for that idea then! If you get a chance, read the history of KES, it is very interesting.

So, back to Yeoville. Yeoville used to be THE trendiest area, alive with arts and culture. It was at one stage also a predominantly Jewish area. And now sadly, it is just another slum. A lot of the buildings are bricked up, burned down or even condemned as unfit for human habitation.

This is Rocky Street. It used to be the place to shop during the day, and the place to go clubbing at night.

The rest of the photos are just too depressing so we'll skip them and head on over to the other side of Yeoville.

This is the road between Yeoville and Hillbrow. That really tall round building is called Ponte. It has gone through many phases. First as luxury apartments, then it became a bit more squalid, Fi remembers visiting once and the centre of the building (which is hollow) was filled with rubbish. There have been many grand plans with this building. At on stage they were thinking of turning it into a prison, complete with a police station and courts! Yes, Jo'burg has more crime than the current legal system can cope with and the jails are severely over crowded. Now it is going through another attempt at revival....someone has high hopes.

Now these apartments are still nicely maintained. They used to be THE place to live, only doctors and such used to live here because the view is quite simply spectacular....

This unfinished and abandoned building right next to it is where we stood to see the view on the other side of the Houghton ridge.

You can see all of Hillbrow to your right...

Sweeping across you can see Ponte again and all of downtown Jo'burg...

Ellis Park Stadium (probably has another name by now) where the 2010 world cup will be played...

A bit more of the vista...

Next we are heading over to this hill on the other side, where you can just make out a tower type structure on the top.

The view at night must be quite fantastic with all the lights, but sorry, it is not an option.

In stark contrast to that beautiful building, is this one right next door...

But then, a few blocks away from that...

Yep, "South Africa, Land of Contrast" indeed.

This underpass on the Joe Slovo Drive (formerly Harrow Road) has always been known for its dark and dreary appearance. But thanks to being the main road to Ellis Park, it has had quite a nice face lift! All the horrid concrete pillars, formerly covered in advertising posters and graffiti are now covered in sparkly mosaics! What a welcome change.

Now, you may have read before about the taxis in Jo'burg. They are mini buses that the masses use for transport. They have no true designated routes or ways of identifying where they are headed. So, with typical African ingenuity, they made a plan. The commuter makes a hand signal to indicate where he or she wants to travel to. If the taxi is heading that way he stops (usually abruptly after swerving in front of your car...ho hum...)

Now, very cleverly, the taxi rank in front of Ellis Park has the hand signals displayed so you know which queue to join! (A word of warning to anyone who decides to visit South NOT under any circumstance, take a ride in one of these taxis…call Fi, she'll give you a lift!)

Just next to Ellis Park is China City. As with every major city, there was China Town in downtown Jo'burg. But as the area became more and more dangerous, business suffered. So the Chinese traders all moved here, under one roof, with safe parking for shoppers. This is just the one gate...the whole place is quite huge.

A little further on and we are in a suburb called Kensington. No where near as glamorous as its London namesake...

In the 1970s Mozambique had a civil uprising and a vast amount of Portuguese people fled to South Africa or Zimbabwe. They bought houses here and re decorated them to better suit their style. The sloping poles on the veranda are a give away... it is a decidedly old fashioned Mozambican feature.

There is still a massive Portuguese community in South Africa, but as with large amounts of the rest of the former immigrant population, a lot of them have returned home following the 'decline' of South Africa.

Okay, the bus is stopping, time to stretch our legs...


Posted Jul 25, 2008, 10:44 am
The bus stopped in front of this pretty little garden that was on the side of the road.

We walked up a steep path of what was clearly once some ones house and garden. At the top we sat patiently and listened to The Professor telling us all about the history of the different suburbs and what terrible things were done to people all in the name of greed. Forced evictions, terrible living conditions, it went on but is actually too horrible to re- tell...

This is the spectacular view of the whole of Johannesburg City. Pity about all the people in the way...

Well, we sat here and waited quietly for the lecture to end so we could get a nice picture without the Archaeological Society members in. Then somebody said, "let’s rather walk THAT way back down through the garden". So they all came back our way and when we were spotted we caused quite a stir! Fi had to explain just what we (and she!) were up to...well that caused a ripple of excitement but they eventually moved on and we got our photo...then a mad dash for the bus! And remember we were right at the back of the bus, so we had to walk past everyone and be admired...luckily none of us are shy...

This is a very typical house from the early days of Johannesburg...I am talking about the style here, NOT the colour! Tin roof, square shape, pillars and 'broekie lace' trim ('Broekies' are girls’ panties or under pants, it is one of Fi's favourite Afrikaans words) I must also assure you that the house was quite level, it was the camera that was at a funny angle...

This is another prestigious school: Jeppe Boys the oldest school in Jo'burg and if you have the time, it is well worth it to read the history of the school through the ages.


Posted Jul 25, 2008, 11:30 am
You can't accuse South Africans of not having a sense of humour...

Our next stop was up another koppjie (little hill) to visit the Scottish Horse Memorial. We all huffed and puffed our way up the steep steps to reach the top....

Sadly the memorial has been vandalised. Because poverty is so rife in this country, many people turn to illegal means to make some money just to survive. The latest trend is stealing any metal (in this case the brass plaques, but door numbers, man hole covers etc) that are then sold to unscrupulous metal merchants for smelting.

There are two interesting things to see from up here.

Firstly, if you look straight ahead in this photo, you can see a large mine dump (our man made mountains that are by products of gold mining). Just in front of it and to the right of it you can see all the colourful containers... well, that is City Deep, our dry inland port and the second largest port in South Africa. The largest port being Durban Harbour.

The second interesting thing if you look at this photo, is that you will notice that the high-rise buildings of down town Jo'burg stop quite abruptly, and the rest of the buildings are quite flat...

The reason for that is under mining. The mines are all in this area and they go extremely deep underground (for several kilometres). Any buildings over a certain height would just collapse because the ground underneath them is basically tunnels. One of the men on the tour with us, said he worked for a building firm and they were trying to build something over there and they got three support pillars down but the fourth could never be built because when they drilled through the rock there was no bottom! As you can imagine there are a lot of earth tremors in Johannesburg from all this underground activity... every now and then there are minor quakes to, but more to the west.

Right, I am starting to get hungry now, surely it is time to stop for lunch? It is? Yay! We hop back on the bus and it is a short trip to Rhodes Park for a picnic lunch...

Rhode's Park is quite nice. Fi hadn't been there for years. There is a lake in the middle, swings and things for the children, a bowling green, a soccer field, a restaurant...

Fi set us all up nicely for  a photo in front of the lake and then had to explain to two people all about ToyVoyagers. And then she was listening to the Prof talking again. It was only when she got home and downloaded all the photos that she noticed she had packed us back in her bag without taking the picture! Silly woman...


Posted Jul 25, 2008, 1:55 pm
Hmmm my tummy is nice and full, and I feel like going to sleep now, not travelling around on the bus. Surely I can have a quick nap, there can't be anything more interesting to see...

We are going back in the direction we came from. The Prof is telling us we are going to see some place called Jeppestown...yawn... Fi told me that , when he was still alive, her father worked in Jeppestown. She says it is really not such a nice area...

The Prof tells us that Johannesburg was expanding so rapidly, that they knew they would have to create more residential areas. They could not go to the South because that is where the mines were, no one ever considered going to the North as they never thought it would ever get that big, so the toss up was: should they build to the East or the West? The company that was to do the expansion was called Jeppe & Ford Estate Company. They could not decide which would be better so they chose to do both Jeppe decided to build up the east side and named it Jeppestown after himself, and Ford built up the western side and named it...Fordsburg... vain bunch, weren't they?

Well Jeppestown took off with a bang and became quite a residential area. Ford built his side slightly different, he made it both a residential and a business area, and it boomed too.

Today though, Jeppestown is a run down industrial area. We passed the original men’s hostel. Oh. My. Goodness...

I can't believe people can live in such squalor.

Here is one of the original buildings that still stands today.

Fordsburg has a bit of a sad history, which you can read about now, because the sun was at the wrong angle to take photos of by the time we got there...

Basically the government decided (under the Group Areas Act IE. apartheid) that all the Indians needed to move out of the area where they had built up their businesses and move to an area set aside for them called Lenasia, 32 Kms (20 miles) away. There was of course great resistance. The government closed down the schools in Fordsburg, forcing the Indian community to move or to travel to Lenasia every day for the children to be schooled.

Eventually the government built a huge shopping centre called the Oriental Plaza for the Indian businessmen to rent out and continue with their trading, in an effort to undermine them.  However, the Indians turned the Oriental Plaza into a huge success and the area is now quite a busy trading site again. In recent years Fordsburg has been affected by the same decline as the rest of Johannesburg.

Next to Fordsburg is a town called Vrededorp, which was an area set aside for the Malay people. It was built to the same plans as a black township called Orlando in Soweto. It comes as quite a shock to see it. It also has a very sad history , which you can read here. Sorry, Fi just could not take photos because it is one of those towns where each and every single family sit on the outside 'stoep' (veranda) on a Sunday afternoon, for want of anything better to do. Taking photos felt like an invasion of privacy. Especially in such a desperately poor community; and even more so as they were watching our great big bus with open mouthed astonishment. Clearly not to many tours go through there then! Interestingly it was a very mixed community but mostly white and coloured (Malay).

Well after that little trip I was wide awake again! Then the Prof said we were off to a market. Oh, I do like to shop!


Posted Jul 25, 2008, 2:57 pm
So, I guess there will be no shopping then. We were told to leave our bags on the bus and we were in Fi's well we will wait till she gets back to tell us about it then.

I can smell something delicious....what is it? Pork chop?

Fi says to tell you that that woman's face is not that colour naturally, she has red ochre on it.

Okay, I am quite excited to see these photos of the market...

The Mai Mai market is the oldest market in Johannesburg. It is traditionally a Zulu market. In the 'old days' white people needed a special permit to gain access. Though truth be told, chances are these days none of them even know of its existence. Fi had never even heard of it after thirty odd years of living in Jo'burg.

Here is a little replica Zulu hut.

It is in a rather unsavoury part of town, but it has been taken over by some local council agency that is determined to rejuvenate and revive it to a pristine state. People actually live in the market, but plans are underway to relocate these families as it is quite unsuitable for children to be living in these conditions.

These two don't seem bothered at all! They are having loads of fun in an old crate.

Oh! It's not quite your usual market then... it is a 'muti' market. Muti is traditional medicine. When we read the other day at the Botanical gardens that 8 out of 10 people use traditional medicine, I bet you had pretty little visions of berries and flowers. Welcome to the reality.

I'll show you a closer look. WARNING: this is not for the faint hearted.

Those were ostrich legs, a crocodile and who knows what else...

These are various skins and carcasses...

These are roots and plants. Muti is not only used for headaches and tummy aches...but for all sorts of things you might consider  'witchcraft'.

Although this looks all nice and tidy and rather like an old fashioned sweetie shop, be warned, those jars contain things that will make you want to vomit! Read this for a bit more info on some of the contents. The shop they talk about in this article is this very one.

The whole place had been dug up to repair the sewerage pipes so it was a bit treacherous to walk through.

Two Zulu children.

Traditional bead work. As well as being a muti market, this is also a traditional crafts market.

Most of these hides are illegal, they are from endangered animals. That thing with its head still attached is a baboon. EEEUUUWWWW!

Oh well, it is Sunday after all...

These may be goat tails, they are used in traditional dress.

These sandals are a traditional design usually made from buck skin. The heart shaped cut out bit has buck hide in it but that little tick is a slightly modern twist... not so sure these are genuine Nikes!

The Prof told us that they have been making these wedding kists (or trunks) since the market first started...

But they are making more of these, and doing a booming trade because of the high AIDS death toll...

Right, time to leave, chicken for supper anyone?


Posted Jul 25, 2008, 5:14 pm
You know, I am REALLY glad we went to that market AFTER lunch...

It is time to head back to the university through the CBD.

Look, great big buildings and a tiny little corner cafe!

Apparently, Jo'burg was designed on a tight grid system with lots of 'corner' spots for a...ahem... good reason. This was not the first gold rush that South Africa had experienced (although it was certainly the biggest and most enduring).

The authorities had seen what had happened in Standerton when the 'gold diggers' had arrived and had the forsight to plan ahead with Jo'burg before they disclosed the news of the gold. They knew for instance that the type of man who was going to rush over and forsake everything for dreams of riches was not your ordinary upstanding model citizen. He wanted three things: somewhere to sleep, somewhere to drink, and the company of (how shall we put this?), ladies of the night. Those corner properties were for the ladies and their large revenues collected in rent and the same with the beer halls.

This old building has a sign on it that says it is for re-developement. Next door is Dr Zunga & he gets his prescriptions filled at the Mai Mai market...

The trouble with tighly built tall buildings, the sun never gets in...

Here is a rather modern building in amoungst the old ones.

Sadly, there are lots of for sale signs. It will however be nice if the buildings are bought and refurbished to their previous glory.

Like these ones...

This is the rather nicely kept (on the outside at least) Magistrates Courts.

We got off the bus in Main Street, where the Mining Houses have their headquarters. They have done such a nice job of cleaning up the street. They have had the buildings sandblasted to remove a hundred years of grime, re paved the road, planted gardens, diplayed interesting objects and put up information boards. Well done! Now if only they can tackle the rest of town like this...

This is a mine head on display...

Here we are in front of one of the buildings.

This is the detail above the door of the same building.

This relief goes round the entire wall of the building, showcasing all of South Africa's animals.

Aren't we brave? Staring danger right in the...actually, could we move?

Fi says she remembers this statue so well from her childhood, but it was in a different place then...

Oh, this explains it! The Oppenheimers are the South African equivelant of the Rockerfellas. They are a very wealthy mining family.
The poor bucks were vandalised by those naughty people who steal metal that I mentioned earlier...

Here is a front view.

This building is slightly less ornate than the other.

You know, during the week it looks exactly like this, but with taxis!

This is Main street almost a hundred years ago...

And this was used for crushing the rock to extract gold. It was also vandalised for the metal and the original beams were used for firewood! Honestly, some people have no sense of history.

Here is the description.

...and a close up.

This is a rather attractive building.

This is an unattractive building that they have disguised with artwork...

Here is an interesting board about the stage coach.

Can you read it now?

Here is something else Fi only vaguely knew about, the Mapungubwe Rhino. This is obviously a reproduction. The original one is only 15cm (6Inches) long!

Here is the write up on it.

We are being called back to the bus...

We pass the ANC building which celebrates Nelson Mandela's 90th Birthday.

..and the 'Trust Me Tavern', which we don't!

Our next port of call is Fordsburg and Vrededorp which I have already mentioned.

On the way, we pass through Newtown, which is also a 'cleaned up' area. This is Museum Africa, which Fi says she has to visit one day.

Here we are back where we started! Educated and exhausted, and it is a long drive back home!


Posted Jul 25, 2008, 5:24 pm
Well, I stayed an extra few days so I could go on that fantastic tour of Johannesburg, but now it is time to say goodbye and head on over to Lizette in the fairest Cape. Hopefully it won't be too long before I get there!

Fi gave me back my charm, she was right you know, it would have been damaged with all the adventures I had!

See you soon...

Posted Aug 26, 2008, 10:16 am
We are in New York and very tired from our "Red Eye" Flight from Vancouver, but still had time to go and check out some of the sights, like the Statue of Liberty. We didn't get tickets to go and visit her today but could see her from a distance from Battery Park.

When we come back to New York in a fortnight's time we are going to go out to the island and explore before I have to go back to Oregon!
So, watch this space!

Posted Aug 26, 2008, 10:34 am
You'll never believe what I did today!
I got to complete another mission!
Two days ago we left New York and started heading north and I could barely contain my excitement. It was nothing compared to today when I could hardly bear to sit still in my seat. Every time we saw water I wondered if this was it.
But no, it wasn't  :(

But it did mean we were getting closer!

Finally we were at the Niagara State Park on the US side of the Falls. On the US side it is a nature reserve with walking tracks and two small buildings catering to tourists like us. It was so beautiful and peaceful. Not so the Canadian side. Can you see all the restaurants, hotels and tourist attractions on the other side?

These are the American Falls which are a little smaller than the big one everyone knows. It was so cold! We were very disappointed that we were there too early in the season to ride on the Maid of the Mist boat or go down in an elevator to the Cave of the Winds behind the Bridal Veil Falls.

Once the humans in our group had passed through the border and had their passports stamped we were able to see the "big" Horseshoe Falls on the Canadian side. They were stunning! We were a little confused when we saw a couple throwing their shoes over the side. Does anyone out there know why they might have done this? If anything, it was colder on this side of the falls / border than on the other, mainly because it was so windy and we were getting soaked from the spray from the falls. Ouch!


Posted Aug 30, 2008, 11:38 am
Today we visited Toronto but had a hard time doing any site seeing because of the weather. A little bit of rain is not a problem, the problem was that it was so overcast we couldn't see very much at all!
See what I mean?

We'd been told that Lake Ontario was beautiful and that there were great views to be had. Sadly, this was all we could see.

As for the CN Tower.....
It may be the world's tallest tower and have great views on a sunny day but sadly we couldn't see out of it at all!

Posted Aug 30, 2008, 11:59 am
We exchanged wet and miserable Toronto for a sunny but freezing (-2'c!) Montreal yesterday and today set out to do some sightseeing.

One of our first stops was to see Marie-Reine-du-Monde, a Roman Catholic cathedral was designed as a 1/3-size replica of St. Peter's in Rome. It was very beautiful.

We also went to see the Notre-Dame Basilica, which surprisingly is not a replica of the one in Paris. It was all very confusing!
You have to excuse the crazy camera angle but it was the only way to fit everything in!

There was a lot of other things we wanted to see, like the view of the city from the top of Mont Royal, but the cold and icy paths had us defeated so we spent a lot of time in Montreal's underground city which links many major buildings and multi-level shopping malls in the area and is mainly a large shopping mall in it's own right.

Posted Aug 31, 2008, 9:24 am
We had a very nice one night stop in a little town in Vermont called Stowe where we got to sample some of the local produce (cheeses, cider and crackers) and found out that this is also the home of the Von Trapp Resort (the family from The Sound of Music!)
Stowe is a very pretty town, especially with the snow, with the exception of the icy footpaths!
We went snow shoeing for a twilight walk,

and got up very early the next morning so we could check out the area around the tiny inn we stayed in. This church was just across the road.

And the creek with this pretty bridge was right behind it.

Like I said, a very pretty little town!

Posted Aug 31, 2008, 10:04 am
Today was a very busy day as there were heaps and heaps of things we wanted to see in Boston and only one day to do it all in! Boston is a very interesting place to visit as many of the events of the American Revolution took place there and luckily for tourists many of the sites are found along the Freedom Trail, which is marked by a red line or bricks embedded in the ground.
One of our first stops was at Trinity Church which is one of the oldest churches in the USA and was once voted as the most important building in America for it's architectural style.

Hopping off the historical trail for a moment we stopped to meet the famous Tortoise and the Hare from Aesop's fable, who were sculptured as a tribute to the runners who compete in the Boston Marathon each year.

Back on the Freedom Trail we visited nearly all the sites in Boston related to the American Revolution, including the Old State House, where the Declaration of Independence was read to the public from the balcony for the first time in Massachusetts on July 18, 1776.

Our next destination on completing the majority of the Freedom Trail, was Harvard University, the oldest university in the US. It's amazing how big the campus is - it's a lot bigger than it looks in all the movies!

The final outing of the day was watch the Boston Bruins play the Buffalo Sabres in an ice-hockey match at TD Banknorth Garden. It was a heap of fun, even if we didn't get to see any big fights between the players. The match was one of the last games before the playoffs (which the Bruins had made it to the night before) and it was also Fan Appreciation Night, so the crowd was pretty excitable. Great atmosphere! Sadly, the Bruins lost (0-3) but still we had a great time!

So, that was Boston and we were very tired by the time we got back to our hostel.

Posted Sep 3, 2008, 8:03 am
Today we had a very exciting day. We had to get up very early and catch the subway all the way down to the very tip of Manhattan to get in a long line to buy our tickets to go and visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island. It was a very cold wait but very worth the time taken.
We were all very excited as the ferry got closer and closer and closer to the statue and she just got bigger and bigger and bigger.

It is amazing how big the statue really is! Her Height from top of base to torch is 46 metres, her hand is 5 metres long and her index finger is almost two and a half metres long! In the museum under the monument they had a full scale replica of her foot.  Look - Kalli and I hardly reached three quarters up the height of her toe!

This is the original 1886 lantern of the Statue of Liberty. They had to replace it when this one started to leak.

Posted Oct 1, 2008, 7:30 am
I have arrived!!!!  In the middle of nowhere......

Posted Oct 24, 2008, 8:18 am
A quick Hello! to Cape town and Table mountain, and I am on my way again.........Tot weer siens!

Posted Nov 26, 2008, 1:08 pm
Hi everyone, I'm back in my hometown again. Petra told me, that I will start to go to India at once. I'm really excited now. She told me something about Sydney, but I'm not sure. Will I go there again? Of course I hope to get to know something about India too.

I have to hurry now, because the mailman is waiting.

Posted Dec 11, 2008, 10:28 am
We all needed some time out after our very hectic day yesterday so we took a wander through Central Park. It is amazing - once you're in there you can almost forget that you are right in the middle of one of the world's busiest cities! It was the perfect way to recharge the batteries (and fun to see some of the famous sites from different movies and tv shows too!)

Bethesda Fountain

This is the dairy. It was built so that children from the tenements could get free milk. Nowadays its the information centre.

The ice-skating rink - from the movie Serendipity. Closed now as its beginning to melt.

A duck pond.

The famous Delacorte musical animal clock near the Children's Zoo.

The pond where Stuart Little goes sailing...

We met Hans Christian Anderson & the Ugly Duckling

before finding....
wait for it.....

But, sadly, we didn't see any turtles!  :(

Posted Dec 11, 2008, 10:33 am
This afternoon we took in the sights at the Museum of Natural History in New York. It was very cool. Bec didn't get any photos of us inside the museum though (for some reason, 9months on I can't recall why!) All we can say is that it was very cool, and they have a great website if you want to see more!

Posted Dec 13, 2008, 12:52 pm
My last day in New York, but some time to do some more exploring.
We started the day bright and early at the Empire State Building. Sadly it was a very hazy day, which made it very hard to see anything clearly from the viewing platform (starting to get discouraged by these towers after our experiences in Toronto!)
For a city that is so well known for its skyscrapers, its amazing how most of the biggest ones are in the one area.

Our next stop was a ferry trip on the Hudson River, where we got to see the amazing Brooklyn Bridge.

Posted Jan 17, 2009, 11:42 am
In the afternoon we started to play some games:


and another game (Petra just forgot the name and so did I)

We had a lot of fun learning to play these new games.

Then we got hungry and asked Petra, when we will have something to eat. So they started to set the table for raclette

They had many different sorts of cheese. I never knew, that it is possible, that so many sorts exist and Petra told me, that there still are many many more of sorts.

My plate with potato, dried tomatoes, garlic and pepperoni.

Then at midnight we walked outside on the balcony to watch the fireworks. It was dangerous to walk outside, because the ground was so slippery.
(Sorry, but the photos didn't come out that great.)


Posted Jan 18, 2009, 11:11 am
Here is a photo of one of Petra's decorated windows.

Posted Jan 18, 2009, 12:52 pm
For the first time in my life, I danced and played in the snow until Petra came outside and saw us playing without warm clothes. Wow, you can't imagine, how angry she was with us. But then we explained to her, that we aren't that sensitive and that we will catch no cold outside. Ok, she thought, that maybe we are right and she said, that maybe toys can't catch a cold like children do.

Posted Jan 18, 2009, 12:53 pm
It's getting colder and colder outside. You can't believe, how cold it can be even in Germany. It seems, that even Petra's family forgot about this.

Posted Jan 18, 2009, 7:17 pm
Today we went to church to be part of the Starsinger-service, where the starsingers were sent out to walk from house to house. Sorry, this time Petra didn't take a photo with us, but maybe you will see some with us tomorrow. The kids are dressed as the three kings, star carrier and bag carriers.

Posted Jan 31, 2009, 6:51 pm
Wow, it is really really cold here right now. Do you see the snow on the window?

I asked Petra to open it so I had been able to take a look at the roofs.

It's so wonderful to see the snow on the streets and roofs, don't you think so too?

We are on tour with the starsingers today. Ralf and Petra took care for two groups to bring some warm tea and bread rolls. You maybe can imagine, how happy the kids were, when we came to bring them tea.

At first we stopped at a farm outside of Bruchsal.

Fabian wrote the sign: 20+C+M+B+09

We also brought them to some other places.

Here we are with some of the sweets, that we helped the starsingers to collect. These are Ralf's and Petra's sweets - some are with alcohol.

The three children brought three bags of sweets. You can believe, that there are still some left next year same time :p

Posted Jan 31, 2009, 8:44 pm
My family decided to drive to Dobel, because they wanted to go sledding. Of course we were more than delighted about this idea. We prepared tea and bread for lunch at first. Then everyone except us jumped into warm clothes - Petra said, that we are toyvoyagers and much too small for her clothes. Maybe she should think about an extra wardrobe filled with clothes for toyvoyagers. I can tell you, that it was really really cold and windy outside.

Posted Jan 31, 2009, 9:30 pm
On our way home we stopped at Frauenalb to see the cloister ruin. The cloister was founded in 1180/85 by Eberhard III. von Eberstein and his mother Uta as a convent for young aristrocratic women.
After a turbulent history, the cloister was closed 1803, then used as a military hospital until 1819 and finally sold at an auction to private investors which used it as factory floors. During that time there were four fires, after the last fire 1853 the buildings were not built-up again.
Source: wikipedia (German)

Posted Feb 1, 2009, 6:06 pm
Today we drove to Forst, where Petra's daughter sings in a choir. We had a lot of fun climbing around in her car. She thought, she could read a book or work something for school, but she hasn't thougth, that we are with her, lol.

Posted Feb 1, 2009, 6:08 pm
Today another toyvoyager arrived at my home: Galo from Brasil.

I think, I should tell you, who is who in this photo:

1rst: Fifi Flowertot, Mumble, Khetiwe, Surprise Bear
2nd: Hurley, Mousy Mouse, HitchaRideMarky, Galo
3rd: me and Meleleuca

Posted Feb 14, 2009, 9:57 am
Today was time to say goodbye to Meleleuca, Fifi Flowertot and Hurley. Of course we all were a bit sad, because we will miss our friends.

Posted Feb 14, 2009, 10:43 am
Petra's one son loves to draw. He made this super sized postcard for Petra's 40th birthday. I'm sure, you remember some of these buildings: St. Peter, Belvedere, St. Damian and Hugo - the church, which belongs to the palace and the Damian's Gate.

Posted Feb 14, 2009, 12:23 pm
Today we woke up and didn't believe, what we saw: during the last night we got some snow. Everything looks so beautiful, that Petra decided to take photos with us instead cleaning the bath.

Posted Feb 14, 2009, 12:29 pm
Petra thought, that she could try to drive to the parking place next to the chapel on top of the Michaelsberg, but the road was too icy under the snow. So we only took some photos on the way.

The houses belong to Obergrombach, a suburb of Bruchsal.

Posted Feb 14, 2009, 12:40 pm
There was still some time left before Petra had to go to school, so she decided to take us with her for some photos in Bruchsal.

At first we took a view over the roofs of Bruchsal:

The churchs: the tower of the old palace, the church Our Holy Mother (Unsere Liebe Frau, Stadtkirche) and Lutherkirche (from left to right).

A view to the baroque church St. Peter and the house St. Maria, both really close to the house, where we live.

Here you see the building of the houses for older people on the left side.

Then we crossed the road and walked into the park to see the Belvedere.

It was still some time left, so we drove to the baroque palace. First we saw the back side of the palace and the statues. There are four statues for the four elements water, fire, earth and wind and four statues for the four seasons spring, summer, autumn, winter.

This is church St. Damian and Hugo, which belongs to the palace. Inside it isn't baroque anymore, because it was destroyed during the second world war and when it was rebuilt, it was too expensive to make it inside like it was before.

Here you see a view to the Damianstor, jailhouse tower (red tower next to the Damianstor) and the county court.

Now we have to hurry a bit, but there is still time left to take a photo of the entrance of the palace.

Posted Feb 14, 2009, 6:26 pm
Happy Valentine's Day!

Posted Feb 14, 2009, 8:03 pm
I visited our budgies today. There names are: Clowny, Fleckchen, Wolke and Linus. They are feeling fine, but were in fear, when they saw me. They don't know, that I'm a really nice and friendly turtle.

Posted Feb 14, 2009, 8:05 pm
Hey friends, let's have some fun in the snow. Come on, I show you our backyard. There is a swing, do you know?

Posted Feb 20, 2009, 6:29 pm
Helau and Ahoi!!!

I'm watching the carnival procession from the balcony at Petra's parents in laws' home.

Brusl Ahoi!!!

Bruchsal's fanfare group in orange and blue colors. You see Bruchsal's emblem.
Many witches take part in the procession. I will show you some larger photos later.
Many groups play a special music, which is called Guggenmusik. They wear very colourful costumes. Let's dance. Lalala Samba De Janeiro
This is Bruchsal's carnival society in their boat. Brusl Ahoi!!!
This group has clothes like the coat of a cow. We aren't shure about what this has to do with carnival. Nevertheless: Brusl Ahoi.
Karlsdorf's carnival society visits Bruchsal. Next Sunday we will go to see them in Karlsdorf. Brusl Ahoi!!!
Another fanfare group.
Some blue monsters. Huuuh!
Ooh, I'm scared! Is that a boy or a girl? It looks so so angry.
This is the group, which the scary boy or girl belongs to.

This bus looks like holiday. I see, summer will come soon.
Oh yes, another music group. Again Guggenmusik - I love it. Let's dance rock'n'roll.
They wear some colourful costumes.
Samba again, yes!
Here's a witch again. She belongs to this group.
Wow, don't look at their faces or you will be scared.
Oooh, you will be even more scared, if you see this group closer.
Again a fanfare group - I prefer Guggenmusik, yeah.
Oh, this poor horse. Has to walk in the middle of this really really loud procession.
I love this colourful group. I think, maybe I should take part at such a procession too one day.
Yeah, let's dance Samba!
Some witches again - I'm happy to be in the second floor, so they can't catch me.

I'm not sure, if they mixed something up. Maybe this group thought, that it is May and this is the summer day procession. Hmmm.

Petra just told me, that there are men and women under the masks - I thought, this are only women, but I was wrong, sorry. Those masks are known since 18th century.

Wow, a castle is coming around the corner.

Now see, what's coming around the corner this time: a locomotive

So you see the colourful side of this large truck? It's plastered with crown corks (caps)

This group is really loud. They ride wooden motorcycles. Ok, not everything is made of wood.

This is one of Petra's favorite Guggenmusik groups, called Transpiratio.

Oh, Mum, please hold me or I will fall down the balcony. I must join such a group one day. Can you please, please sew me a costume then?

We are going to see Africa now. How exciting!

What are they doing with those Christmas trees?


Posted Mar 8, 2009, 9:46 pm
It started to snow again, but only big wet snowflakes and Petra told us, that they will melt away at once. I had been so happy to see some snow again, but it was too less to play in it.

Posted Mar 12, 2009, 9:35 pm
L e t ' s    h a v e    a    c a r n i v a l   
p a r t y

You surely know, that I'm at home right now and that some guests stay here too: Mousy Mouse, Galo, Fox Force, Surprise Bear, Khetiwe and Mumble. As it is carnival time, I asked Sabrina and Petra, if they could help me to organize a carnival party. So they helped me to decorate the room and prepare something to drink. I thought, that it would be great to play some games and to dance.

The first guests, who arrived by car, were Galo and Mousy Mouse.

Fox Force welcomed them at the door, while I had to dress up myself:)

Surprise Bear arrived too. He wore a crazy frog face.

Finally I arrived too with my hat on my back, because I had to run - you know, how fast turtles are able to run, if the have to?

Of course I put my hat on as soon as I arrived there.

Galo saw the sofa and ran there to sit down. He knows, where is the best place :)

Mousy Mouse, the beauty!

Fox Force is wearing high heels, very high heels :)

Emmh, you know, this is Surprise Bear - the frog faced.

Ok, I had a special seat. They found something round for me, because I just sit perfectly on something like that. I have some kind of problems, if it comes to sitting in a chair or something like that - I'm a turtle, you know. I'm a witch - I hope you like my selfmade hat.

Emmh, why are we sitting so far away from each other?????

Did you see, that there are still some empty chairs? We miss Khetiwe and Mumble. Where are they? Did they forget, that they have to go to a party today?

Oh, Galo starts to dance. Maybe we should dance too???

There is falling something down from the ceiling, but it seems, that Petra's photo only works, when the things are too high or too low. Hehehe, you should learn to take photos like this.

Do you see that little something on the top?

Hmm, Sabrina and Petra! We want to dance or play now, don't wait too long to take this photo.

Hehehe, Galo. You're looking nice.

Let's dance Samba - what else should we dance, if it is carnival.

Uuuups, Mousy Mouse! Be careful! Fox Force, please help her to stand up again.

Finally, while Galo and I danced too, Khetiwe and Mumble arrived. Better late than never.

At once they started to dance with Surprise Bear.

Lalala  lala laaaa lala, lalala lala laaa lala, Samba


Posted Mar 15, 2009, 7:06 pm
Later we played some games. We played spin the bottle and really had a lot of fun.

At first it was Mumble, who had to spin the bottle.

Galo had to spin the bottle at next.

It's Mousy Mouse.

Cassiopeia had to do a hind feet stand.

We all were very thirsty, so Sabrina mixed us an alcohol free cocktail.

Petra showed us the time and told us to get ready for bed as soon as possible.


Posted Mar 29, 2009, 6:45 pm
Today Mousy Mouse, FoxForce and I decided to take a bath. Of course the other toyvoyager guests wanted to jump into the bath tub too, but Petra told them to leave us alone.

We had a lot of fun and then we took a nap on the heater in the livingroom.

Posted Mar 29, 2009, 8:29 pm
Sabrina and Petra decided to make soap today. So they invited us to take part and help. I can tell you, the soap smells heavenly and it is really bubbly.

I helped to cut the basic soap into pieces.

Then we had to melt it in the microwave.

I tried to help with the Asian letters.

Then Sabrina added some red colour and vanilla perfume.

Now we added blue colour.

Posted Apr 5, 2009, 3:51 pm
Here I'm in Russia at last with my new host Oksana.
Today she has brought me from the post office:

My new friends- two teddy bears:

I met here a tortoise:

And one more tortoise made from some green stone. It looks very beautiful:


Posted Apr 5, 2009, 4:23 pm
Today Oksana has taken me to the Zoo.  We made there many photos. I liked the Zoo very much! I want to go there again!

When I saw these sculptures of dinosaurs, I was frightened, because they looked so alive! :)

Look what lovely starling-boxes!

The weather was fine- it was warm and sunny, but still there was much snow. It looked so-o dirty :(

The Zoo is situated in the real pine forest:

Look what a beautiful tiger!

And here it is an otter:

But I liked two white bears most of all! They were so-o funy!

And there were a lovely family of white tigers with 3 babies:

Kangaroos in Siberia looked fantastic! :)

I found first spring flowers!!!

Sea aquarium will corals looked great too!
I wish I could swim there 8)

What a fantastic bird! It's red! It's red ibis.

Posted Apr 5, 2009, 4:48 pm
Today Oksana and me have had a very interesting meeting with Oksana's friends who create handmade toys, mostly teddybears. Look how lovely they are!


Posted Apr 5, 2009, 8:56 pm
Today we helped to make some "Schichtsalat" for Petra's sister's birthday. Usually you should prepare it the evening before.

1 leek, finely sliced
1 small tin of sweetcorn, drained
1 small tin of pineapple chunks, drained
150g cooked ham, diced
1 small glass of celery salad, drained (hmm, very German, you could replace it with gherkins)
2 apples, cored and diced
200g Gouda, cubed
3 hard boiled eggs, diced or sliced
1 glass of Miracle Whip (can you get this in the UK? It is mayonaisse, I can check the quantity tomorrow for you)
Place the ingredients in a bowl in the order of the above list. Do not stir. Place in fridge overnight.
Stir just before serving.
You can replace the pineapple with mandarine oranges if you prefer.
This makes a bowl for about 8-10 portions.

Posted Apr 6, 2009, 7:40 am
Right before we started to prepare the dough for our Donauwellenkuchen Tito arrived in Bruchsal. The first place, that he saw, was the kitchen.

At first he had to tell a lot about Mexico and everyone told him about their lifes as a toyvoyager, but Petra said, that we would have more time to tell stories, but now we would have to get ready with our work.

So he climbed on my back to have a place with a good view over everything.

At first we added white and then brown dough into the baking dish.

Then we added morello cherries.

While the cake was in the oven, Petra showed us the snowdrops in her backyard.

Because it just didn't rain, she thought, it would be a good idea to go to the church, which is only a few meters from our home. We all were happy to see something else than the house.

We saw the call box next to the church and I thought about calling one of my other toyvoyager friends, but Petra told me, that it will be too expensive to do it.

This is the church St. Peter. It is a baroque church and I think, it is really nice. Maybe we can take a photo, when it is sunny, too.
The Church of St. Peter is an original building of the 18th century and was not destroyed during World War II. The church was designed by the world famous baroque architect builder Balthasar Neumann.
The cementery behind it is a beautiful place for peaceful, contemplative walkds and its numerous memorials also rovide an insight into the history of Bruchsal and its people.

We found a stone about the Baden Revolution. It is a reminder of the citizens of Bruchsal, who were victims of the Baden Revolution. It was erected on the initiative of the Social Democratic Party of Germany and dedicated on 1st November 1900. Here, next to the church you can see the grave of Johann Baptist Bekk, He was Minister of the Interior in Baden during the years of the Revolution and found his final resting place in Bruchsal. (

The roofs belong to an old part of Bruchsal. Most old parts were destroyed during World War II. In the far you see a big grey building. It is a private grammar school founded by patres of the Pallotti order.

When you stand in front of the entrance of the church and just turn around, you have this nice view.

After we came home again, we had to get ready with the cake. First we had to make a butter cream and then we had to make a chocolate icing. This time Petra was really unhappy, that the icing didn't look nice.

Posted Apr 9, 2009, 5:13 pm
Last wekend we had a lovely weather- it was sunny and warm. But now winter has returned to Novosibirsk! We have snowfalls here. Look!

Posted Apr 12, 2009, 1:01 pm
Today Oksana has taken me to the master-class of mehendi- we were taught to draw mehendi with henna on hands. It was very interesting!

Posted Apr 12, 2009, 1:51 pm
Yesterday we visited the local museum. There was a new exhibition from Samarkand, Uzbekistan with beautiful dishes and clothes:

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 8:54 pm
Today we drove to the Michaelsberg in Untergrombach. Untergrombach is one of Bruchsal's suburbs with about 6000 inhabitants.
3500 to 2600 BC there were frist human signs on the Michaelsberg, which gave this culture the name "Michaelsberger Kulturkreis"
1502 AD Joss Fritz from Untergrombach planned the "Bundschuhaufstand" during the time of Peasant's Wars.

The chapel is on top of the Michaelsberg.

In the far (right side) you see some houses, which belong to Bruchsal.

Bruchsal and also Untergrombach are located at the edge to the Kraichgau. Here you see the Rhine Valley. If the weather is sunny, you can see the Palatinate Forest in the far.

I learned something about "Magerrasen" (neglected grassland), which is typical for the Michaelsberg.

Here you see so-called "Steinriegel" (field clearance cairn), made by people working on their fields a long long time ago. They threw the big stones from their fields to the border of the neighbour's field, so that in the middle all stones were accumulated. Many animals and flowers love this gaunt places and that's why a few weeks ago, people cleaned the Steinriegel from all the earth, that came between the stone during the many many years and from all the other plants, that love to grow in earth.

Another view to Untergrombach.

The nature reserve sign

Posted Apr 17, 2009, 10:04 pm
Back at my host's home again, it was time for Mousy Mouse and me to say goodbye to everyone. I had a great time and met many other toyvoyagers. Now I'm really excited to meet someone new.

Posted Apr 20, 2009, 3:36 pm
A week ago we were walking in the centre of Novosibirsk and saw these beautiful wooden houses that were built in the begining of the XXth century:

Posted Apr 20, 2009, 3:46 pm
Last Sunday we were invited to Oksana's friend. We cooked Asian food there- it's called "beshbarmak". It was very tasty!

Posted Apr 20, 2009, 3:55 pm
Yesterday- April,19 we celebrated Orthodox Easter here in Russia.
At first we were cooking Easter eggs and kulich and then we went to the church:

Posted May 8, 2009, 9:57 am
Today we cook pancakes with Oksana. It was rather funny- I like cooking very much! :)

Posted May 8, 2009, 10:06 am
Today we've been walking in the Pervomaysky garden. It's a lovely place!
In front of it you can see the Concert hall of Novosibirsk.

And this building is Novosibirsk mayoralty:

The first leaves:

I'm on the tree ;)))

The Stone heart.

What a lovely tree!


Posted May 8, 2009, 10:14 am
Today we've visited  a very interesting art exhibition of Oksana's friend Lubava Butakova. I liked her paintings very much!

Posted May 8, 2009, 10:23 am
Today we've had a painting class and I helped Oksana to paint this picture :)

The pictures are not finished yet. We will continue next Friday ;)


Posted May 20, 2009, 5:25 am
On April, 30 Oksana took me for a walk about Novosibirsk.
She showed me the centre of the city. Here are some photos:

I like this monument with sables very much! I think it symbolises the friendship between Siberian cities.

And this is the monument with 2 storks- the symbol of a family.

This small white church is the Chapel of St. Nicholas.
It was buil in the beginning of XXth century, then ruined in the Soviet time and restored many years after- in 1990-es.

We looked for some interesting events here:

One of Novosibirsk's theatres- the Globus theatre. It's made in the shape of a ship. The ball near it is a cafe.

Oh, I love this sculpture of a policeman and traffic lights very much! It's so-o funy!

One more old wooden house:

This is the Cathedral of Alexander Nevsky. It was built in the begining of XXth century:

The monument of Vladimir Lenin on the main square of Novosibirsk- Lenin's square:

Behind the monument of Lenin you can see the Novosibirsk House of Opera and Ballet:

And here I'm in the garden near the House of opera and ballet:


Posted May 25, 2009, 4:51 pm
Spring has come in Novosibirsk :) Today was a lovely sunny day! We went for a walk and took some photos with flowers:

Posted Jul 13, 2009, 2:32 pm
Today Oksana has  taken me into her new office.
I could see the place where she works. That's her desk:

Here I'm looking out of the window. It's sunny. I like such weather very much :)

Here I help Oksana to answer the telephone and receive faxes for her:

I helped her to put all these magazines in order:

Then I found some flowers:

I cooked coffee:

Oksana showed me the office:

Posted Jul 13, 2009, 2:37 pm
And during the lunch we went for a walk. The weather was so-o lovely-warm and sunny and we  could enjoy lots of flowers :)

Posted Jul 13, 2009, 2:42 pm
Today is my last day in Novosibirsk, Russia. I'm going to travel to Germany. I feel a bit sad, because I'll miss Oksana,
but still I'm very excited about about my future trip! Wish me good luck! :)

Here I'm near the post office:
Nico & Siggi

Posted Jul 24, 2009, 4:19 pm
Juchuh! Endlich bin ich da… schon komisch, vom groooßen Russland in die beschauliche vordere Osteifel zu kommen. Naja, die Barockkirche im Ort ist ja wirklich ganz nett und sehenswert.
Nach dem Klingeln hab ich gleich mal unter dem Tor durch in den Hof geschaut. Ah, da spielen alle diejenigen, die ich aus dem Reiseberichten von Dijon bereits kenne: Dijon, Bona, Mümmel, Edgar und Bino.
Ich wurde natürlich herzlich begrüßt. Nico war noch gar nicht zu Hause. Aber Edgar ist ja ein putziges farbenfrohes Kerlchen! Er hat mich auch gleich vollgequasselt, weil das Entlein, mit dem wir demnächst losfahren, auch im Hof stand.
Dijon, Mümmel, Edgar und ich werden am Wochenende mit Nico ins Erzgebirge und anschließend aufs 2CV-Welttreffen in Most/CZ  ( reisen. Der Rest der Truppe bleibt bei Siggi – der muss ja arbeiten. ;o)

While ringing at the door in Saffig, I can see the others playing in the court when looking under the door.
First I say hello to Dijon, while knowing him of his travelogues.
Edgar is a very colourful an funny duck – he shows me first the 2Cv which takes us the next week-end to the Erz Mountains and next week to the international meeting of 2CV in Most/CZ. (

Sonner au porte a Saffig, je peut voir les autres jouer dans la cour. Je peut les voir sous la porte.
En premier je dit bonjour au Dijon– je le connais de ses aventures dans ses reportages de voyage, bien sur!
Mais j’aime aussi les couleurs de Edgar qui me montre la 2cv, avec elle on va le week-end prochaine au “Erzgebirge”( l'une des montagnes hercyniennes) et la semaine prochaine sur la rencontre international de 2CV a Most/CZ (
Nico & Siggi

Posted Aug 19, 2009, 4:19 pm
Also, ich kann Euch sagen, Leute: Entenfahrer sind schon sehr speziell. Ich habe auf meinen Reisen so Einiges erlebt, aber dass man nun von mir verlangt, ich soll in einem Fahrzeug übernachten… So was ist mir aber noch nicht passiert! Letztendlich war's mir aber dann doch egal, nachdem wir in einem 2CV über 600 km mit offenem Verdeck in brütender Hitze zurückgelegt hatten. Gut, dass ich wenigstens nicht alleine bin. Dijon hat zwar bei Weitem nicht meine langjährige Toyvoyagers-Erfahrung, aber er ist bereits fast von Anfang an bei irgendwelchen Entenfahrern und hat einige Treffen miterlebt. Ich werde mich einfach mal an ihn halten.
Hier im Erzgebirge ist's aber wirklich schön – für eine Schildkröte. Viel Natur… ich mag‘s! Morgen will Nico mit uns auch eine kleine Wanderung um den Ahornberg machen. Supi!!
Oh, my dear! I will tell you: 2CV-Drivers are very special! I‘am hosting all over the World, but this time, my entertainers wants to sleep in a car!!! Unbelievable!! But after travelling more than 600 km with a 2CV by  opened canopy top, I sleep everywere… I‘m happy to travel with Dijon, who gain experience with various 2CV-drivers as toyvoyager. He will help me.
I like th Erz Mountains – it‘s very friendly for turtles. Pure nature… beautiful! Tomorrow, Nico wants to make a little promenade with us along the „Ahornberg“. Yepp!
Mes amis, je peut vous dire: les Deuchistes sont tres speciale! J‘ai bourlingué sur tut le monde, mais c‘est la premiere fois ou je dois dormir dans une voiture! Incroiable! Mais apres plus de 600 km dans une 2CVavec carpote ouverte, je me couche partout! Heureusement, je ne suis pas seul! Dijon n‘a pas voyagé deja assez longue comme moi, mais il est du debut chez des deuchistes et connais leurs concentrations. Je peut m‘en tenir à lui.
Ici dans le  “Erzgebirge”( l'une des montagnes hercyniennes) il est tres beau – et tres agreable pour des tortues. Autant de nature… tres tres jolie!Demain on va faire une promenade avec Nico autour du « Ahornberg » - je sais, j’adore cette region!
Nico & Siggi

Posted Aug 21, 2009, 7:16 am
Erst bekam ich einen Riesenschreck: Nico und Birgit wollten mit uns (Dijon und mir) glatt wandern gehen! Was denken die eigentlich, wie lange ich brauchen soll, um den Ahornberg zu umrunden?!? Nun ja, erst zu spät hab ich gemerkt, dass Nico extra wegen uns den großen Rucksack mitgenommen hat – so wurden wir richtig toll durch die Landschaft getragen. Ab und an durften wir dann auch mal raus ins frische Gras. Besonders schön fand ich den Basaltbruch mit den vielen Schmetterlingen (Nico war leider zu blöd, wenigstens einen davon ordentlich zu fotografieren) , nachher das hohe Gras an dem Bachlauf und fast zum Schluß den Aussichtspunkt auf die Tschechischen Wälder und Hügel… *seufz*
Only I got a giant fright: Nico and Birgit wanted to go walking with us (Dijon and me)! What do those actually think, to orbit how long I am to need, around the maple mountain?!? Now, only too late have I noticed that Nico carried the large backpack forward specially because of us - in such a way we were carried correctly by the landscape. Now and then we were allowed also times to go in the fresh grass. I found the basalt break with the many butterflies (Nico unfortunately was to dumb to photograph at least one of it properly) particularly beautiful, afterwards the high grass at the brook run and nearly in the end the lookout point on the Czech forests and hills…
J'obtenais seulement un effroi de géant : Nico et Brigitte voulaient marcher également avec nous (Dijon et moi) une balade! Que penser en réalité ceux, comment je suffis avoir besoin dois, pour contourner la montagne d'érable ? ! ? Maintenant moi remarquer, seulement en retard que Nico a emmené à cause de nous le grand sac a dos supplémentaires - alors nous sommes devenus porté correctement super par le paysage. De temps en temps, nous pouvions aller aussi quelques fois dehors à l'herbe fraîche. Je trouvais des truc tres belles: ensuite la coupure de basalte avec beaucoup de papillons (Nico était malheureusement trop bête les photographier), la haute herbe à la course de ruisseau et presque à la conclusion le point de perspective sur les forêts et collines tchèques… 
Nico & Siggi

Posted Aug 21, 2009, 7:28 am
Nach der Wanderung sind wir dann einkaufen gefahren. Und da wir nun mal schon in der „Stadt“ waren, haben wir uns mal umgeschaut – was macht man eigentlich mit diesen komischen Holzwichten?
After the hike we go shopping. And when we now  already in „the city “, we look a little bit more – what does they made actually with these amusing wooden gnome?
Après la balade, nous avons fait des courses. Et puisque nous sommes maintenant déjà en „ville « , nous la visitons - ce qu'on fait en réalité avec ces pygmée de bois bizarres ?

Posted Oct 6, 2009, 10:07 pm
I climbed out of my parcel in Munich - wow, and right in time for the Oktoberfest, the world's greates beer festival! Hope I can take a look there.

Posted Nov 2, 2009, 10:28 pm
Together with me in the parcel a small gift traveled along. I happily unwrapped it and ----- it's a beautiful scarf! Right in time for the coming cold season. Thank you so much!

Posted Nov 3, 2009, 8:38 pm
For the week-end we went to the Allgäu. We walked around the Hopfensee (hopfen lake). It was nice autumn weather and the landscape was very beautiful. We saw meadows full with nice flowers.

Posted Nov 3, 2009, 8:54 pm
The evening we spent in Füssen. Füssen has a very nice old city center.

Posted Nov 3, 2009, 9:10 pm
Today we did a hiking tour along the Alpsee and the castles of King Ludwig of Bavaria. We were standing on a bridge and had a great sight of Schloss Neuschwanstein.

Posted Nov 4, 2009, 8:33 pm
At the end of our hiking tour we passed by another castle - Hohenschwangau.

Posted Nov 4, 2009, 9:00 pm
Today we went to see the famous Oktoberfest. When we got out of the sub-way everywhere it was full with people. Large crowds were walking on the Theresienwiese, enjoying the attractions. We did not go into a tent - it was just too crowded to even enter the door to a tent.

Posted Nov 6, 2009, 10:54 pm
Let's go to the "Dult" - that's what we did today.

On the website I read about the history:
The Auer Dult is characteristic of Munich, the Bavarian capital. The history of the popular fair with its folkloric flair can be traced back to the Middle Ages. Nowadays the event is organized by the Munich Tourist Office.

Three times a year, the locals flock to the Mariahilfplatz, in the part of town called the "Au", which means "meadow" or "pasture": here they can walk around at leisure, shop for bargains, have a bite to eat and enjoy a good time. During the "Dult", the fairground, which spreads over 20,000 square meters, becomes an island in the heart of the city, alive with conversation and congeniality. Children young and old enjoy going on the bumper cars, the boat-like swings, the merry-go-round or the ferris wheel.

And if you like Punch and Judy, you must go see their Bavarian cousin, the famous " Kasperl von der AU". The Auer Dult is Europe's largest market for tableware and all kinds of pots and pans. New-fangled household products are proudly praised as "kitchen marvels". The junk dealers' wares conceal many a treasure, sometimes art and sometimes kitsch. Whether glass or porcelain, wax or wicker, cloth or leather, whether it's candy or an old-fashioned herbal remedy you're looking for: your heart's desire awaits you at the Dult. This is open-air shopping with a smile. And if you have children, be sure to go on "Kindertag", when you are able to get more for less.

Posted Nov 6, 2009, 10:59 pm
Every morning we go for a  walk along the Isar river. It is nice and peaceful and also green - I would not have thought of having all of this green right in the city center.

Posted Nov 13, 2009, 10:13 pm
I did some sight-seeing today. I saw the Marienplatz which is right in the city center and a tourist attraction.
Nico & Siggi

Posted Nov 18, 2009, 5:07 pm
Heute fahren wir en(t)lich auf das diesjährige 2CV-Welttreffen in Most!! Es regnet zwar ein wenig, aber das macht mir ja nichts aus!
Während ich das Zelt aufbaue, lümmelt sich dieser faule Dackel Dijon lässig auf den Entendach und genießt das Gewimmel. So ein Quatsch, dass er als Hund andere Aufgaben haben soll – seit wann gilt Zeltaufbauen für Schildkröten als besonders geeignete Sportart??? Und die blöde Ausrede, ich sei schließlich das erste Mal auf einem solchen Treffen hinkt auch etwas…
Nun gut, wahrscheinlich hat er‘s eh nicht drauf und Nico freut sich total, dass ich nicht nur besonders hübsch, sondern auch sehr brauchbar bin. Wir sind halt Frauen! *seufz*
Es ist ganz schön was los hier – aber den Schildkröten-Aufkleber, wie Nico ihn mir beschrieben hat, habe ich noch nicht gesehen. Nun denn, wir sind ja noch ne Weile hier. Angeblich sollen ja alle britischen 2CV‘s als Turtle bezeichnet werden…
Ach ja, a propos Britisch: Ich gedenke, Steve /+/ Helly hier zu treffen – vielleicht nehmen sie mich ja mit in ihre Heimat. Das wäre toll…habe schon soooo viel von ihnen gehört!
Today we can go finally to the 2CV-World-Meeting in Most!! It‘s raining a little bit, but I realy like it.
While building the tent, this lazy bastard Dijon lolls himself on the top of our 2CV. It‘s footle, that dogs are not able to work sth. like this – is building tents a sport for cazy turtles?? And the best: He means, that I had to do it, while beeing the first time in such a meeting…
Well, I think, he is to clunky for these things – ans Nico is happy, that I‘am nice AND practical. We are women… *sigh*
I‘m looking all the time for an british car with an turtle-2CV-sticker.
BTW: I hope to meet Steve /+/ Helly here – perhaps I can travel with them. I’ve heared a lot of good things from them…
Aujourdhuit nous allons finalement chez la mondiale de 2CV a Most ! ! Il pleut un peut, mais pour moi, c’est bien.
Pendant construire le tente, notre saucisson-en-pattes couvri tres paresseux sur la carpote de notre deux-deuche et prends son pied. C’est n’importe quoi, qu’un chien as d’autres a faire – mais depuis quand est-ce que les tortue construit une tente comme organiser ses loisirs ? Une excuse bête, qu’il faut le faire, quand on est la premiere fois sur une concentration des deuches comme ici…
Eh bien, je pense, qu’il ne sait pas le faire et Nico est heureux, que je ne suis pas seulement tres jolie. En plus je suis tres utilisable. Nous sommes des femmes… ! *soupir*
Il y a beaucoup de monde et des Deuches ici – mais il manque l’autocollant d’un tortue qui vient etre une 2CV… J’ai entendu qu’ils disent tortue pour une Deuche anglaise…
A propos Anglais : J’espere trouver  Steve /+/ Helly – peut etre je peux vayager avec les deux dans leur paye. J’aimerais bien. J’ai entendu beaucoup de bien des deux…

Posted Nov 21, 2009, 11:26 pm
We did some more sight-seeing today and visited the Hofbräuhaus (a really huge beerhouse) and the Orlando house.

Posted Dec 10, 2009, 10:02 pm
the weather is exceptionally mild and sunny for November. So we enjoy our walks and stop in the city's rose garden along the Isar river and sit in the sun.

Posted Dec 10, 2009, 10:11 pm
We even found some rose flowers/blooms still growing. Amazing for this time - it's November!

Posted Dec 11, 2009, 11:03 am
I went for a walk in Sendlinger Street and visited the Asam Church. It was built by a rich merchant as a private church. Inside the church and a balcony is a door to his former house so he could enter the church from is private rooms. It is really nice, especially if you like lots of gold and ornaments.

Posted Dec 11, 2009, 11:15 am
since the weekend the Christmas markets have started. I enjoyed strolling through the little alleys and watch all the glittering and stuff at Marienplatz.

Posted Dec 20, 2009, 9:55 pm
For the weekend I traveled to Sulzbach-Rosenberg, a little town in the North-East of Bavaria. There is a nice old city center and a small park where I went for a walk.

Posted Dec 28, 2009, 8:49 pm
Hi mom,

wish you a Merry Christmas!

I have a great time here, the Glühwein (mulled wine) tastes great  :p

Posted Jan 20, 2010, 10:21 pm
During the past days the weather went cold and it snowed. Munich is covered in snow. Therefore I did not go for a long walk but rather did some window shopping in Maximilianstraße. Well, I would have liked to do real shopping but Maximilianstraße is the street where all the posh and expensive designers have their shops (Dior, Armani and such)  ... so, it was only window shopping.
I also saw the opera at one end of the Maximilianstraße.

Posted Jan 21, 2010, 8:41 pm
I also walked around the king's residence. Do you see the little lions? They stand at the side of the gates and all their noses are shining. It is said that it will bring luck if you rub their noses. So that's why they are shiny. Of course I could not resist and rubbed as much as possible  :D

Posted Jan 21, 2010, 9:07 pm
After the short tour yesterday evening I took a stroll in day light to see all the beautiful Christmas things on the market.

Posted Jan 22, 2010, 9:06 pm
Opposite the residence is the Theatiner church, it is very nice inside.
And there is also the Feldherrnhalle (hall of military leaders/commanders).

Posted Jan 24, 2010, 10:03 pm
I went for a walk in Englischer Garten (English Garden). On the way I passed the Hofgarten (garden next to the king's residence). Today it is open for everyone, there is a coffee shop there (nice to drink coffee in the sun in summer time), some shops, people go for walks or play boccia.

Posted Jan 25, 2010, 2:51 pm
It was time to move on and I have been invited to Canada.

Posted Feb 5, 2010, 12:54 am
Hello!  I have made it to Abby's!  Unfortunately I had to spend two days at the post office until someone was able to pick me up, but everything is fine now.

Posted Feb 8, 2010, 11:27 pm
The license plates in BC carry the slogan, 'Beautiful British Columbia'.  I decided to take a look at some of the local scenery to see if this was true.

I do believe that it is true.  This is a very beautiful place.
Nico & Siggi

Posted Feb 16, 2010, 7:10 am
Today we look around in the aerea. Impossible how many 2CVs are coming here. The most people sleep in tents, some in their car… did you see the HY with his trailer? These are Finns and in the trailer is a complet sauna. Nico doesn’t want to take a sauna and we go eating and the marketplace of spare parts. Dijon and I were mostly in the backpack. From time to time we can go out for some minutes and look for things.
Aujourdhuit nous baladons sur place. Incroyable comment des Deuchistes sont venu ici! La plupart des gens dorment dans tentes ou dans leur voiture.. Voyez-vous le HY avec son remorque ? Ce sont des finlandaises et ils ont une sauna portatif dans leur remorque. Bien sur! Et ils l’utilise chaque jour avec des copains. Nico n’aime pas prendre un sauna et on va chercher quelques choses a manger et des pieces sur la bourse d’echange.
Joh, heute machen wir einen grooossen Rundgang über den Treffenplatz. Unglaublich, wieviele 2CVs hier hin gekommen sind. Es wird zumeist gezeltet, andere wiederum schlafen in ihren Fahrzeugen… seht Ihr den HY mit seinem farblich passenden Anhänger? Das sind die Finnen, die eine komplette Sauna im Anhänger haben. Die wird auch wirklich täglich genutzt. Nico hat da kein Interesse dran, somit gehen wir vernünftigerweise weiter zu den Essenständen und dem Teilemarkt. Dijon und ich sind immer im Rucksack dabei. Nur ab und zu darf ich raus und mir all diese Dinge mal richtig anschauen.
Nico & Siggi

Posted Feb 16, 2010, 7:13 am
good-bye of Most - and Dijon…
Au revoir Most… au revoir Dijon…
Abschied von Most – und von Dijon…
Nico & Siggi

Posted Feb 16, 2010, 7:23 am
Yesterday I celebrate the good-bye of Dijon. Tomorrow he went with Clemens to Berlin.
I go with Nico to Saffig again – it’s very hot.
I’m a little bit afraid, because Nico is riding her 2Cv very fast. But we have many accumulation on the highways, so were very late in Saffig.
Siggi and the others are making a big welcome-poster and other nice things… (who had made this gimmick with the egg???).
They were very  aghast, that Djon is in Berlin… Bona was shocked and she refuses to speak with us and dont wants to eat für days.. poor thing.
Nachdem ich gestern mit Dijon Abschied gefeiert habe (er geht heute nach Berlin), wird heute schon gepackt. Wir fahren bei einer Affenhitze nach Hause. Nico muss natürlich alles verstauen, was sie auf dem Teilemarkt gekauft hat….*hämischgrins* Richie ist schon etwas angenervt und fragt, ob Sie beim Fahren genau so lahm wär… ;o) Sie ist es definitiv nicht! Mir wird jetzt schon wieder Angst und Bang.
Auf der Autobahn haben wir tierischen Stau und sehen viele viele Enten, kommen aber erst nach Einbruch der Dunkelheit in Saffig an. Siggi und die andren Daheimgebliebenen haben uns ein Willkommensplakat aufgehängt und ein „Empfangskomitee“ (wer war eigentlich auf die Idee mit dem Ei gekommen??) Das Entsetzen war groß, als wir erzählen, dass Dijon bereits nach Berlin ist… Bona war total geschockt und hat tagelang nicht mit uns gesprochen und nichts gegessen… die Arme.
Nico & Siggi

Posted Feb 16, 2010, 7:26 am
Today I placed myself a special task: I want the mirrors to the 2CV' s von Nico and Siggi restore. We bought the repair kits in Most/CZ at the world meeting
- additionally also still for the driver's side concave mirrors.
Nico probably already tried it and failed: There then even the mirror was broken!!
Siggi likes to help me, if I failed too.
He opened the Internet site, in which the whole is not only descriptive for me, but there is also a film of the preparation.
There it looks very simply, however the reality is a completely different one. I catch then simply times on and cut the
old bordering out and clean the mirror carefully. Afterwards I looked at and see myself at least thousand times the film, how to do it.
- and: It folds. It is tricky, but now finally the three Youngster-2CV have up to the evening on both sides beautiful overhauled completely
outside mirrors! Yeah, I am very good! It looks really correctly well! 1    Its extraordinary!
Aujourd'hui, je me suis placé une tâche particulière : Je veux restaurer les rétroviseurs au 2CV de Nico et Siggi. Nous avons acheté les
pieces de rechange a Most/CZ à la réunion mondiale de 2Cv - en plus aussi encore pour les côté du conducteur des miroirs concaves.
Nico a déjà essayé une fois le faire, mais elle fini en queue de poisson -  Alors même le miroir était cassé ! !
Puisque, le Siggi va etre heureux, si je prépare déjà... si non, il va le faire.
Il m'a aussi ouvert la site de l'Internet, dans lequel l'entier n'est pas seulement décrit, il y a aussi un le film de preparation au Internet.
Si on le regarde, c'est tres simple - mais le faire soi-meme, c'est austre chose...
Je coupe alors simplement les vieilles bordures et nettoie soigneusement tout.
Ensuite je me suis considéré le film milles fois et commence le faire: Il réussit. C'etait épineux.
Finalement je fait tout les retroviseurs sur les trois Youngster-2CV -  jusqu'au soir sur les deux côtés il y a des beaux rétroviseurs extérieurs généraux ! Eh, je suis bon !
Il regarde correctement vraiment bien !
Heute habe ich mir eine besondere Aufgabe gestellt: Ich will die Spiegel an den 2CV's von Nico und Siggi
restaurieren. Die Reparatur-Kits haben wir in Most/CZ auf dem Welttreffen gekauft - zusätzlich auch noch für
die Fahrerseite konkave Spiegel. Dann übersieht man so schnell keinen mehr.
Nico hat das hier wohl schon vor einiger Zeit mal versucht und ist teilweise schon beim Rausschneiden der alten
Spiegeleinfassung gescheitert: Da war dann sogar der Spiegel futsch!!
Nun denn, Siggi hat gemeint, es wär toll, wenn ich die alten Speigel schon mal vorbereite und falls ich nicht klar komme,
macht er die neue Einfassung und das Glas rein.
Er hat mir auch die Internetseite aufgemacht, in der das Ganze nicht nur beschrieben ist, sondern als Filmchen angeguckt werden kann.
Da schauts natürlich gaaanz einfach aus - aber die Wirklichkeit ist eine ganz andere.
Ich fang dann einfach mal an und schneide die alten Fassungen raus und reinige den Spiegel sorgfältig. Danach habe ich mir mindestens
tausend mal das Filmchen mit dem Einsetzen von Spiegel nebst Einfassung angeschaut - und siehe da: Es klappt.
Es ist zwar knifflig, aber letztendlich haben die drei Youngster-Enten bis zum Abend auf beiden Seiten tolle generalüberholte Aussenspiegel!
Mannomann, bin ich guuuut! Es schaut richtig gut aus!
Nico & Siggi

Posted Feb 16, 2010, 7:28 am
Today we take Water from a natural resource...straight from the horse's mouth
Nous prenons de l'eau chez une source naturelle
Heute fahren wir „Wasser holen“ – damit meint man ja normalerweise, dass man leere Flaschen in Kisten in ein Geschäft mitnimmt und dort gegen volle tauscht.
Hier meinen die aber was anderes: Das mit den leeren Flaschen in Kisten bleibt, aber diese werden mit (in diesem Falle) eisen – und kohlensäurehaltigem Wasser
an einer natürlichen Quelle gefüllt.  Natürlich habe ich gleich mit angepackt und beim Füllen der Flaschen geholfen. Das Wasser scheckt tatsächlich sehr gut.

Nico & Siggi

Posted Feb 16, 2010, 7:29 am
Oh, I like oat flakes with cocoa...
O, j'adore flocon d'avoine avec cacao...
Hmmm… lecker – heute darf ich Haferflocken mit Kakao essen…
Nico & Siggi

Posted Feb 16, 2010, 7:31 am
You know: I like cooking. Nico brings recipes from the Czech Cuisine - today we create a czech potato soup.
You want the recipe? Invite me, I've all my recipes with me in a little book....
Tu sais: J'aime faire la cuisine. Nico amene des recettes du Tchèquie - aujourdhuit nous preparons une soupe de pommes de terre.
Tu aime avoir mes recipes? Invite-moi, J'ai tous mes recettes dans mon petite livre...
Um meine Küchenerfahrung in allen Ländern aufzufrischen, darf ich mit Nico eine tschech. Suppe kochen.
Ihr wollt das Rezept? Tja, dann ladet mich doch mal zu Euch nach Hause ein. Ich habe alle meine Rezepte in meinem kleinen Büchlein… Mahlzeit!
Nico & Siggi

Posted Feb 16, 2010, 7:35 am
Yepp! Edgar and I can go with the old 2CV (of course, the car is older than Siggi!) to a Oldtimer meeting in Bingen. Thats funny!
We're driving along the Rhrine and the meeting is happening alongside the boardwalk. On our way to Bingen, we see many castles and the Loreley!!
On our homebound we take a ferry to visit the other side of the Rhine. It's so lovely here!!
Yeah! Edgar et moi peuvent venir chez une rencontre d'amoureux de vieux tacots avec une Deuche de 1956. Manifique!
Notre route est le long du Rhin et nous pouvons decouvrir beaucoup des Chateau - et la Loreley!! Pour le retour, nous choisisons l'autre cote du Rhin et on prends le bac.
Juchuh! Edgar und ich dürfen mit der alten Ente (die ist sogar schon viiiel älter als Siggi!) auf ein Oldtimertreffen nach Bingen mitfahren. Das wird ein Spass.
Wir fahren gemütlich am Rhein entlang bis dorthin und auch das Treffen findet direkt an der Uferpromenade statt.
Auf dem Weg können wir ganz viele Burgen und Schlösser sehen - und sogar die Loreley!!
Auf dem Heimweg nehmen wir dei andere Rheinseite und fahren mit der Fähre über den Rhein!!
Nico & Siggi

Posted Feb 16, 2010, 7:36 am
Siggi starts a new additionally apprenticeship, so we tink a little “cornet of school” (large cornet of cardboard filled with sweets and little presents given to children in Germany on their first day at school). Normally parents made some, wenn their children have their first day in school – when tey are 6 years old.. But Nico think, it will be also funny for an ingenieur of 42 years…
Siggi commence une additionel education, et on veut bricoler une petite pochette-surprise pour lui. Normalement c’est traditionel en Allemagne bricoler des pochettes, quand les petites enfants ont leur premier jour en ecole – a l’age de 6 ans. Mais Nico crois, qu’on peut le faire aussi pour un ingenieur de 42 ans…
Siggi fängt nun eine neue zusätzliche Ausbildung an, und wir basteln ihm eine schöne kleine Schultüte. Normalerweise bekommen die Erstklässer solche Tüten an ihrem ersten Schultag – mit 6 Jahren. Aber Nico meint, dass es auch für einen 42jährigen Ingenieur eine nette Idee ist…

Posted Feb 17, 2010, 11:01 pm
We went downtown to check out Chinese New Year.  Unfortunately we missed the parade because it started more than two hours earlier than it usually does, due to the Olympics, but there were a few other events happening.

I also had a short tour of Chinatown.  This is called the Millenium Gate, or the Gate of Thousands' Happiness.

There are two of these lions, one on each side of the gate.  They are protectors of the gate and each should have a concrete ball in its mouth to symbolize prosperity, but they have disappeared.

This is the Jack Chow building, the narrowest building in the world.  It was built by a man known to Vancouverites as Sam Kee.  At one point he owned more land in the area, but the city demolished his building to widen the road, leaving him with a strip of land just under five feet in width.  Rather than sell what remained of his property for practically nothing, Sam had another building built, one that fit into the strip of land.  For years the building belonged to a silk merchant, but now it's leased by an insurance company.

We went to the Dr Sun Yat Sen Garden, where there were some young people performing.

I quickly had a look inside the garden.  It is very pretty.

Posted Feb 17, 2010, 11:04 pm
We decided to check out more of Vancouver.  On the left is the war memorial at Victory Square, where they hold the Vancouver Remembrance Day ceremonies every year.  In the center (the building with what looks like a spaceship on top) is Harbour Centre, one of the satellite campuses of Abby's school, Simon Fraser University.  The top is a revolving restaurant. Abby says she can't remember what the red building on the right is called, but she knows some things about it.  Every window in the building is exactly the same size, and so apparently the mens' washroom on the top floor gives you an amazing view of the city.  Also, some people say it is haunted.  Before it was finished the architect who designed the building commited suicide, and they say that he haunts the central staircase.

We found a demonstration happening and decided to join in.  It has nothing to do with the Olympics, but happens every year on February 14, and is a march to commemorate all of the street workers on the downtown east side who have gone missing and been murdered.  Most of them had an Aboriginal background.

A woman gave Erin and Abby armbands to wear.

During the walk we passed the downtown east side community garden.  It was started a few years ago, and each plot is maintained by someone who is homeless.  This weekend they have turned it into a public art space.

This is the original Vancouver Public Library.  It's really pretty, but nobody visits because Main and Hastings is where many homeless live.

After the march we made our way back west, stopping at the new Woodwards building.  Originally the Woodwards department store was on this location, but it went bankrupt in the early 1990s.  They tore most of it down, though keeping part of the facade on one side, and built this.  Part of it is another Simon Fraser University campus; most of the Fine Arts programs will move here, part of it is a grocery store, and most of it is affordable housing for students and low-income households.  It just opened a couple weeks ago, and the smaller, independent media, who couldn't get space in the Convention Centre will be based here.

Inside there was a display about architecture.

Everyone was very hungry by now, so we stopped at Old House for some Turkish food.

I meant to show you what I ate, but I was so hungry that I finished it before I remembered to take a picture.

Posted Feb 17, 2010, 11:06 pm
After lunch I braved the crowds and walked towards some of the more popular places in the city.  This is the Bay building where the windows were smashed yesterday, if you saw that on TV.  They had them fixed by the end of the day.  You can buy both Canadian and international Olympic gear here, so it is very popular and there was a huge lineup to get inside.

On Granville St there were many displays and pieces of art.

My favourite was the lantern trees.

I wanted to see Deutsches Haus, but by the time we got there they were not letting anybody go inside.

Instead, we went to Northern House, where they were showcasing Yukon Territory, Northwest Territories and Nunavut Territory.

This is some of the traditional clothing of the Inuit.

They had a make-your-own-inukshuk station!

This is some Inuit artwork.

On the stage, people were playing a northern game.

Posted Feb 17, 2010, 11:09 pm
It was getting late and we were meeting up with one of Erin's roommates, so we made our way to her work, stopping at the BC Hydro PowerSmart tents.

Inside their pavillion there were some giant Native statues.

We met up with Erin's roommate at the CBC, which stands for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation.  Miriam works for CBC Radio Canada, which is the French-language half of the CBC, both television and radio.

There were people handing out flags in front of the CBC, and Bally and I got one to share.

We made our way to Granville Island, where we were going to a concert at the Place de la Francophonie.

Abby didn't get any pictures of this, but Miriam took us all backstage to meet the band, Misteur Valaire!

Posted Feb 17, 2010, 11:13 pm
After barely any sleep, we were downtown again to see some more sights.  The first thing I saw after getting off of the SkyTrain was some Russians singing on the sidewalk.

We decided to visited the Russian pavillion, which is located inside what is usually Science World.

You can get a good view of the Olympic village from here.  It is on the left.

Inside, there were huge, lit-up photos of Sochi, where the next winter Olympics will be.

Here is a model of what Sochi will look like in 2014.

Upstairs they had a lounge where you could sit and watch the Olympics on a large screen.  On the right there was a bar, but it wasn't open.

On the main floor there is a small stage where there is usually science demonstrations for children.  Today there were Russian clowns entertaining the kids.

After visiting the Russian pavillion, I decided that they definitely have the coolest venue.

Next, we walked toward some of the other Canadian houses.  Here you can see BC Place, on the left, which is where the opening ceremonies were held, GM Place in the centre, where all of the hockey is being played, and the Square tent on the right is Maison du Quebec.

We visited Ontario House.

Inside, I enjoyed an organic lager, from the Mill St Brewery in Toronto.

Posted Feb 17, 2010, 11:15 pm
We went to LiveCity Yaletown for another concert.  The actual stage is behind the Coca Cola pavillion.

In between bands they showed Olympic coverage on giant screens on either side of the stage.  Here I am watching mens' speed skating.

A band from Nova Scotia played a set, but I cannot remember what they were called.

They interrupted the band's set to play the Olympic Victory ceremony where Alexandre Bilodeau received the first gold medal Canada has ever won on home soil.

I was hungry by this point, so Bally and I enjoyed some shrimp dumplings.

Finally the band came on that we came to see, Malajube, from Montreal.  It had started raining by then, so I stayed dry in Abby's bag and watched from there.

Posted Feb 25, 2010, 8:21 am
Abby gave me a tour of her school, Simon Fraser University.  It opened in 1965 and was designed by the late Arthur Erickson.  It is at the top of Burnaby Mountain and on clear days has some amazing views.

This is one of the gyms.  SFU has three or four of them, along with two pools and a fitness centre.

The building on the right houses the pools, and beyond that is Terry Fox Field,  named after Terry Fox because that is where he taught himself how to run after losing his leg to cancer.

This is the Maggie Benston building, whish is an administrative building that holds the Simon Fraser Student Society, registrar and bookstore.

This is the Convocation Mall, an open, but covered space where graduation ceremonies and other student gatherings are held.  To the left is the seven storey library, and to the right is Maggie Benston and the theatre.

This is the Academic Quadrangle, named that because it is a giant square.  What you can see are the fifth and six floors, which are mostly classrooms and offices.  The rest of the building is underground and has lecture halls and places to eat and study.

On the roof now.  This another lovely view.

After my tour, I sampled the hot chocolate at Renaissance Coffee.  Delicious!

Posted Feb 25, 2010, 8:22 am
The Olympics are not over yet, and I have gone back downtown.  I decided to check out Robson Square, which is very popular during the Olympics.

The most prominant feature of Robson Square is the Vancouver Art Gallery, which used to be Vancouver's courthouse.  I didn't go inside because they were closed by the time I got there, but I plan to come back in a few days because they have an exhibit of Leonardo Da Vinci's anatomy sketches and it is free during the Olympics.  I'll try to sneak a picture.

This skating rink (called the GE Plaza for the Olympics) has ice on it and is open to the public for the first time in years.  It looked like they were setting up for something, but we did not stick around to watch.

This is the front of the Vancouver Art Gallery.  Those giant fabric panels are an art piece in place as part of the Cultural Olympiad and will be there until May.

This is the Olympic Countdown Clock.  On this side is is counting the time since the opening ceremonies, and on the other side it is counting down to the start of the Paralympics.

We decided to get away from the crowds after this and went for a walk along the seawall.

Posted Feb 27, 2010, 2:20 am
I passed the Convention Centre on my way to see the Olympic flame.  This is the main media centre of the Olmpics.

Here is the flame!

I also caught a glimpse of the Norwegian mens' curling team.  Unfortunately Abby did not have the chance to get a picture of me with them (or herself, she's sad to say), as they were on their way to practice before their gold medal game against Canada tomorrow.

Posted Feb 27, 2010, 2:22 am
Nasse has arrived, bringing with him a very pretty postcard.

Posted Mar 24, 2010, 9:57 pm
Today I passed by the Königsplatz (King's square) where several of Munich's museums are located. As it was snowing I did not stay too long.

Posted Mar 26, 2010, 6:22 am
Life has not been very exciting here in the Abby household.  Seriously, all we do is study.

Memorizing bones...

Reading about sediments and stratigraphy...

And learning about the finer aspects of Canada's immigration policies.

I have, however, been helping to make delicious baked goods to eat while studying.  Usually everyone gets a little carried away before someone realizes that nobody has been taking any pictures, but I do have photographic evidence of one baking adventure.

In this case, we were baking flourless chocolate cupcakes for a few of Abby's friends (plus a few on the side for the family and ToyVoyagers to eat, of course).  A couple of Abby's friends cannot have gluten, so we made sure that we cleaned everything thoroughly first.

Then, I melted chocolate and butter together.

As they were melting, I mixed together cocoa powder, sugar and eggs.

The butter and chocolate mixture is looking good...

Time to add it to the mix.

These are all ready to go into the oven.

Et voila!  Yum!

Posted Apr 4, 2010, 2:03 am
Nasse and I helped Abby and Erin make pudding eggs, an Easter tradition.  We made pistachio and lemon.

Mix together instant pudding, boiling water and butter.

Then, add powdered sugar until you can form it into balls.

I helped Erin finish up the lemon.

Then you roll the mixture into little balls and refrigerate on a cookie sheet.

when they are chilled, melt some chocolate to dip the pudding eggs in.  We dipped the pistachio ones in milk chocolate.

Then do the same for the others.  We dipped the lemon ones in white chocolate.  Make sure to  refrigerate them again!

The finished product!


Posted Apr 5, 2010, 2:24 am

Well, the Easter Bunny was here, and I am on a mission to find chocolate eggs!

Here is one on the branch of a pear tree!

This one is cleverly hidden in the strawberry pot.

Hey Bear, do you know where I can find a chocolate egg?

Maybe the bees know.

I found another one amongst the rhubarb!

Nasse found some as well!  Look at all of them!

Hope your Easter was as good as mine!

Posted Apr 20, 2010, 1:59 am
It's time to move into my next host.  I shared some homemade monster cookies with Nasse before I climbed into my envelope.

Posted May 1, 2010, 3:17 am
Hello Japan!
My second visit in Japan! My first Japanese host Yumi is in Ishikawa.
I wonder if she knows I am in Japan again.
Hey, look! My envelope is full of flowers!!
This must be a bouquet from Abby. Thanks a lot, Abby!  :)

Posted May 3, 2010, 6:47 pm
We drove for three hours and be in Hiwasa, which is very famous for turtles.
Look! This is the Pacific Ocean!!
Sea turtles come to this beach during the breeding season every year.
Umigame Hakubutsukan Caretta (Hiwasa Chelonian Museum Caretta) is a sea turtle museum.
Baby turtles are hatched at the museum and released into the sea.

Posted May 8, 2010, 4:07 pm
Quiz :rolleyes:
What is the most popular food for lunch in Takamatsu?
The answer is in this restaurant.

The answer is ...
Udon noodles!! :D
It is very hot today, so my choice is a cold soup Udon. I like this!
Oh, tenpura of a half boiled egg is also tasty!


Posted May 9, 2010, 2:55 am
The most sections of the expressway in Shikoku run through the mountain area.
We go uphill... and downhill...
curving to the right...
and into the tunnel... then curving to the left...
Driving in Japan is just like a roller-coaster ride!!

Posted May 17, 2010, 5:05 pm
Here Zentsuji-city is the birthplace of the high priest Kobo Daishi also known as "Kukai",
one of the most revered figures of Japanese Buddhism.
He built Zentsuji Temple in 807.  :o
The temple first, the city was named after the temple.
Zentsuji is known as the 75 th of 88 temples in the Shikoku Pilgrimage.

Posted May 23, 2010, 5:41 am
There is a base of JSDF (Japan Self-Defense Forces) in Zentsuji.

This monument is scribed phrase from originally Japanese Imperial Naval Academy "Five Reflections".
Today they are translated into English and shown in the Annapolis, U.S. Naval Academy.

 1. Shiseini motoru nakarishika?
    (Hast thou not gone against sincerity?)
 2. Genkouni hazuru nakarishika?
    (Hast thou not felt ashamed of thy words and deeds?)
 3. Kiryokuni kakuru nakarishika?
    (Hast thou not lacked vigor?)
 4. Doryokuni urami nakarishika?
    (Hast thou exerted all possible efforts?)
 5. Bushoni wataru nakarishika?
    (Hast thou not become slothful?)

When it comes, I remember "Five Reflections" and think back on my behavior.
Have I been sincere? Have I been fair in my words and behavior? Have I been enthusiastic? Have I been energetic? Have I been industrious?

Another one is a memorial service monument for the military horses dead in the battle field.
Beside the base, old-model tanks are exhibited. 


Posted May 23, 2010, 6:47 am
It's a beautiful day.
So I walk along the small path through Mt. Yashima
Traditional farmhouses are reconstructed here in their original forms. This is an open air museum located in the southern foothills of the mountain.

Posted Jun 1, 2010, 6:25 pm
Good smell... from this paper bag!
:rolleyes: :rolleyes: :rolleyes:

Japanese sweets!!!
Taiyaki --- "baked sea bream" is a fish-shaped cake.
Wow, red bean paste in it.  :D Sweet!!!

more about: Taiyaki


Posted Jun 15, 2010, 6:57 pm
Zenigata Sunae is a giant sand sculpture of an old coin, curved about 2m deep in the white sand on the beach.
Its size is East-West 122m and North-South 90m.

It was made in 1633 by farmers and fishermen, when Lord Ikoma IV visited this area.
Maybe people wanted to please him.
Today this coin is the symbol of the city of Kanonji.
Twice a year it is carefully remodeled by volunteers.

We can see its whole view from hilltop.

Then I visited an old shrine on the hill.
As I looked back on a long stone stairway, I saw Kanonji-city there.

Posted Jul 4, 2010, 7:22 pm
---World Cup 2010 South Afrika---
:D :D :D :D :D :D

Posted Jul 10, 2010, 8:10 am
Hello, Genki? (Wie geht's?)

We drove to west, running away from rainy Takamatsu.
(We have many rainy days, it's Japan's rainy season called Tsuyu)
Look! It's fine here in Utazu. (neighbor town of Takamatsu)
This is Seto-nai-kai, which name means Inland Sea.
Can you see
the Seto Ohashi Bridge over the sea?

The real summer arrives soon!


Posted Jul 24, 2010, 5:43 am
A short stop at Matsuyama-city.
hanachan had a business meeting in Matsuyama, Ehime prefecture. We had not much time for walking around.  :(
This historical house is a bathhouse. In this area is very famous for hot spring.
If we had enough time, we could enjoy sightseeing by
Rikisha   B)

Dogo Onsen (Dogo hot spring)

Posted Jul 29, 2010, 12:04 am
The port of Takamatsu is called "Sunport".
Today one big guest is anchoring.  :o

We can see Mt. Yashima's flat peak over there.
I will go there before leaving Japan.

Posted Jul 29, 2010, 11:13 am
Takamatsu_Jo is also known as Tamamo_Jo (Castle Tamamo).
It was built along the waterfront in 1590 by the Matsudaira Clan, relatives of the Tokugawa Shogun.
As the Edo period (Samurai's era) ended, the main tower of the castle was destroyed. However, moats and walls are still there as they used to be.  :)

Posted Jul 29, 2010, 3:55 pm
the whole city view from Mt. Yashima's summit

Posted Aug 1, 2010, 2:23 am
Yashima-ji, The 86th of the Shikoku 88 Temples Pilgrimage

Posted Aug 1, 2010, 2:58 am
hanachan sewed a drawstring purse for me.
It's nice to carry my notebook.
Today I'm leaving for the next place.
The new adventure is waiting for me.
Thank you, Japan! I will always remember the days I was here.

My love and best wishes to you all!

Posted Sep 5, 2010, 12:51 am
I can't believe I have made it finally to Brazil! It was a loooong trip from Japan, but I'm glad I got to do it. I'm enjoying every moment, and I believe so is my host !

She took me and my new TV friends to the beach ! It was sunny and I couldn't wait to see the sea!

Sushi!!! What? Didn't i just leave japan??? Oh! Brazilians LOVE sushi as well!

Saying goodbye to Ollie!!!

Soon more pictures to come :)))) I cant upload my picture with the turtle!!! We went to aquarium... She was sooo big....

Posted Oct 12, 2010, 3:27 am
So here is a new update, a bit late because MorgenSter just started to work at a new company and it has also been raining sooo much lately!

We went to a city called Marilia, in the country side of the state of Säo Paulo, 6 hours by car from Santos, where I'm staying. Marilia is quite a nice city, very bright and nice! We went there because she had to present her major thesis to get her bachelor degree. So we had tour of her University grounds!

Every group when they graduate they plant a tree at the University garden!

And we had a nice capuccino!

The way back, at the parking lot!

Soon more to come :)))

Posted Nov 1, 2010, 12:37 pm

I believe these would be my last posts from Brazil.It is almost certain that I´m leaving for another country nearby, and I can´t wait to keep on travelling!

MorgenSter took us to see where she works. Her new job, which she is very excited about.She is now working for Market Share Export, a coffee export company who is growing rapidly into the bussiness.

Her desk

Here is where they keep the coffee samples for future shippings.

And the tasting room! huuuum...Here they sit, taste the coffee and stpit it on that silver bucket!

Let´s toast some coffee to the right point! I can´t do it yet!

And now the neighbourhood where she works. Nice, old and historical place!

The old Coffee Auction House!Here is where in the 18th and 19th century, they sold coffee to the world, making the country´s economy grow.

Where her father works, Stockler does the same as Market, exports coffee to the world. Stockler is the brazilian part of the Neumann Group, in Germany.

The super nice old train :D Wanna go for a ride?

The train... maquinist? How do we call it ?

The city Hall

The post office!!!

yes, mummy , this is just for letters!!! I can´t go in here!!!

More soon :D

Posted Dec 10, 2010, 11:55 am
hello! As I´m on my way to Chile now, MorgenSter decided to use this break to upload my last photos of Brazil!
It was really cool. We went to Rio de Janeiro, but unfortunatelly she was on work duties and we couldn´t see anything besides the nice hotel we stayed in!

She also took me to vote with her! Yes, i was here during their elections period and it was all so different from home!

At a local bar with her family. No it doesn´t have alcohol in it!!!

The school where she was registered to vote. It is a very cute public school for young children.

The school she studied all her life!(different place from the above, this is where her boyfriend voted)

The mall entrance ready for Christmas

The view from her Grandma´s apartment

Inside São Paulo´s airport: Congonhas

Inside the room in Rio de Janeiro

Me and a picture of the Sugar Loaf... we couldn´t go there as we didn´t have time for anything :( But I did see it in person when driving by

The view from the room at night

Soon a bit more untill I have arrived in Chile :DDDD


Posted Mar 4, 2011, 12:16 pm
So weird, that I have done this upload so many times, but it wouldn´t show!!! But.. here are some very late Christmas photos!!!
In Brazil, Christmas are very big and the whole family get reunited for a bir dinner party, with music, dancing, drinking and crazyness!Turkey, ham are two fo the most common dishes and the presents are arranged by the tree.

The presents in the family I was staying with are very simple, but cute too. And every one goes crazy while giving them, you can´t understand anything. Everyone picks up one present and starts screaming a name, and all that at the same time! So my hosts gave presents and got some at the same time!!! I laughed a lot but couldn´t take pictures! There were around 23 people in the party, all family!

I´m on my way to Chile since january and MorgenSter is very worried that noone has heard of me yet. But i´m sure I´ll get there soon! I´m just enjoying my travelling!!!

Posted Mar 8, 2011, 4:08 pm
I finally arrived in Chile!! It was a long jurney but I'm here at last!  :cyclops: As soon as I got into the house, Pepita was there! She's a tortoise as well! Isn't that great? She gave me a warm welcome and now we are ready to have fun together  :cyclops:


Posted Mar 13, 2011, 7:36 pm
We are tecnically still in summer, but since one week ago aprox. the weather has been awful! It finally stopped raining today, so were able to go to the supermarket walking and take a few pictures.

I found a monkey puzzle, in spanish ''araucaria'', which is the national tree.

Posted Mar 15, 2011, 4:25 pm
It didn't rain yesterday in the afternoon, so we went to walk Leslie's dog Licy to the countryside near her house.
I saw a mapuche house. Mapuches are the aborigins from this area, some of them still live like this (3rd picture).

Pepita and I also found blackberries :cyclops: We picked some and later we were taught how to make blackberry jam, and we did :D


Posted Mar 20, 2011, 1:24 am
Today was a lovely day! The weather was very nice, so Leslie took us to the downtown. We visited one of the main squares of the city, called ''Plaza de Armas''.
There were some orange leaves on the ground, which means autumn is near...
We were taking pictures very near a palm, when suddenly something very heavy fell from it and almost hit us!! :o That's the thing that looks like boat.

Posted Mar 22, 2011, 2:24 pm
Pepita and I asked Leslie to show us more about mapuche culture, sho she took us to the best place for that: The regional craft market  :rolleyes:
There were lots of weird musical instruments and I even got to hear real mapuche people playing them!!  :cyclops:


Posted Mar 26, 2011, 1:11 am
We went to the main catherdal of Temuco and then to eat some yummy ice cream at the food court of a mall in the city centre. In those photos you can see what most of the streets in the downtown are like.

Posted Mar 28, 2011, 4:55 pm
Yesterday was a very nice day, so we got up and went straight to Ñielol Hill, since we wanted to do some hiking we walked all the way to the top :)
We couldn't use the trail because there was a lot of mud on it, but still, we saw some interesting things on the road, like copihues!  :rolleyes: the national flower of Chile, very rare to get to see by the way!

This is the copihue!!  :cyclops:

We reached the first viwepoint! :rolleyes:

We kept walking up, until we reached the chemamülls' (mapuche totems) place, but Leslie and us were surprised because there were 2  of them lying on the ground!!  :o Then we realized they had been replaced with new ones, because they were a little rotten...

The ones at the back are the old ones, they have been there for many many years and seem to be still fine, and the ones at the front are the new ones, they are there since just some months ago replacing the fallen ones... They are 4 meters tall.

This is the ''Patagüa'', the tree under which, the peace treaty between spanish and mapuches was signed in 1881, after 300 years of war.

And finally we reached the highest viewpoint!

There were more copihues here, but these were kept behind a fence for protection.

This is the ''chilco'' flower

Posted Mar 31, 2011, 3:52 pm
We went on a little city tour, well, just around some streets to say the truth  :thinking:
I saw the prision, but it was very depressing, so we better went looking for some nicer places :rolleyes:

Posted Apr 2, 2011, 8:13 pm
Another ToyVoyager was born! His name is Ranil and I think he was inspired by Pepita and I to become a ToyVoyager :)
He started with his photo session and we wanted to figure in it too, as you can see here  :p And he gave us the idea of a picture with the chilean flag, nice isn¡'t it?  :rolleyes:
Oh, something else, today Leslie got a poscard from her ToyVoyager Kirin who is in Germany with Olgamaus, it's so nice!! :cyclops:

The last picture shows me eating my lunch: ''humitas''
It's mashed corn wrapped in the corn's leaves, we added some cheese to it and it was yummy!! :p :p

Posted Apr 10, 2011, 5:35 pm
We visited Valdivia, this city is famous for its rain, but we were so lucky the weather was wonderful!! So we hired a private tour through the river that crosses the city :rolleyes: I also saw a submarine, a little steamship, a black necked swan and sea lions :)

Posted Apr 18, 2011, 6:01 pm
The whole past week there was a storm but it's finally gone today! So we got up early and took some photos of the view from the windows and some in the backyard  :)

Posted Apr 25, 2011, 5:06 am
Happy Easter!!
Today we visited the catholic Schoenstatt Sanctuary. It is a very beautiful and quiet place surrounded by a small forest, it was really nice!

We found mistletoe!  :o
And well... there was nothing we could really do about it, except...  :p

People come to this place to ask favors to Virgin Mary, and when they're granted, they nail wooden boards on the trees around, thanking her.

Posted Apr 28, 2011, 3:53 pm
We took a short walk around the centre and it was impressed to see that there was no one on the streets, but then I rememberes it was a holiday...
Autumn is here and the trees are losing their leaves, but the good thing is that this year La Niña Phenomenon is in Chile, so the weather is way nicer than any other normal year :)

And the last thing I saw was this poster of the movie ''03:34 Earthquake in Chile'' which is about the earthquake 8.8 on the Richter scale, in February 2010.
Leslie was in a city very near the epicenter when it happened, and she told me it was QUITE STRONG AND SCARY.  :o  I hope it won't happen again, at least when I'm here!  :stare:

Posted May 9, 2011, 7:13 pm
We decided to get away from the crowd of the city for a few days and come to relax to Queule! This is a fishing village where Leslie has a summer house, so we can stay as long as we want! Isn't that wonderful! :cyclops:  :cyclops: We had been trying to come since about a month ago, but the weather wouldn't allow it... But finally we are here!  :cyclops:

The view from the deck is very beautiful!  :rolleyes:

A little later we started walking to "Agua de las niñas" beach. To get there you have to cross the hill or take a boat, but we wanted to walk and see the views from the path.

Mushrooms!  :stare: there are lots of them in this time of the year!

We also found copihues  :o they are very hard to find wild, because they only grow in deep forests and ravines, in fact, this one was hanging on the edge of a ravine, so it was quite hard to take this photo  :thinking:

After 30 minutes of walking up and down the hills I was very tired, so I asked Leslie if she could lift me up and she agreed, so this is how I ended up the walk, quite comfortable  :p

From up the hill we could see this other beach called "Ronca".

And finally we got to "Agua de las niñas" beach, its name means something like "water of girls" beacuse the sea has very little depth there, so there's no danger for little kids to swim.

After the long walk we enjoyed a nice beer  :p

Later, back home, I saw a huge quartz rock in the garden and some flowers. It was a very nice day!  :)

Posted May 12, 2011, 8:16 pm
The weather hasn't been as nice as we thought it would be, and not as warm, either.  :thinking:
As I told you, Queule is a fishing village, so the waterfront is filled with old wooden docks and fishing boats.

Just in case, it's always good to know what to do in case of a tsunami!  :stare:

We went to buy some mussels ("choros" in spanish)

I'm glad to see how fresh they are. The seller went to pick them up from the water!! This is so different to all I'm used to!  :rolleyes:

Then, back home, the garden and its colorful flowers are always nice to see  :)
I learned that these red flowers are from a plant called "chilco"

Posted May 17, 2011, 5:44 am
Today we went to Ronca beach. Ronca means snore in spanish and the beach is called that way because of the loud sound of its big waves. It's forbidden to swim there because you would definitely die.  :thinking:
The view from the hill when we were getting there was amazing!  :)

This seaweed is called "cochayuyo", it's eatable but stinks, so I didn't feel like trying it.  :thinking:

Posted May 21, 2011, 5:42 am
Today was my last day in Queule, since I'm going back to Germany now!
The weather was nice so we took a walk next to the river.
This rock is called Lion Rock because it actually looks like one!!  :stare:

This is a view of Queule, it's a very small and quiet town, I liked it a lot!!  :)

Posted May 28, 2011, 6:28 am
I visited a shop of antiques and mapuche stuff

After that we went to see what was left in another steet after a parade that took place there earlier. Sadly I missed it...
These coats of arms are made of flowers!  :stare:


Posted Jun 6, 2011, 9:07 pm
This is the last picture of the three of us together.
I'm already on my way home!
I liked Chile a lot!!

Posted Jul 7, 2011, 2:12 pm
After a wonderful time in South America I'm back at home again. I arrived just a bit late for the trip to Denmark, but to tell the truth, I'm really happy to have a rest after the long time in my envelope. Thank you to my lovely hosts, who showed me so many wonderful places.

Posted Aug 6, 2011, 11:20 am
Petra's camera had been at the shop to get rid of the amount of sand in it. So we had no chance to take photos in the meantime.

Today it was warm and now there are heavy clouds at the sky. We wait for more rain.

Posted Aug 19, 2011, 7:36 pm
Today we took a photo of nearly all tvs, which stay here right now. There are several tvs of our host: Aaron, Robinson, Schnuffi, Scotty, Simba Leon and me. Then there are the regular guests: BarryO, Bubo, Henry, Sanji, Tuffy, NiliHH, Jack, Chuckle, WillyW. All the others are tvs, which stayed with hosts, who had some problems and no chance to send them on to their owners or the next host. It is the biggest amount of toyvoyagers I ever had around me:)

Posted Aug 20, 2011, 7:02 pm
Today the weather is nice - finally. So we had a chance to go out and take a look at the sightseeing places of Bruchsal. Bruchsal was first named in 976, but there are places even older than that. Bruchsal is famous for its beautiful baroque palace, for asparagus and for traffic jams on the autobahn.

Here you see the Damian Gate, which is the entrance to the palace area. You can see art exhibitions there every now and then.

We crossed the street and walked to the fountain in front of the county court. Such a pity, that my host forgot to take a photo of the county court, but you can see it on another photo.

Here you can read a about the fountain:

We crossed the street again and walked into the palace front garden. At first we took a photo of a sign:

The big part of the building is the main building of the palace. On the left side you see the catholic church St. Damian and Hugo, where my hosts go to Sunday service.

Here you can see from left to right: the building with the chamber music hall, the tower of Damian Gate, the little piece of the tower of the jailhouse, then the tree. At next there are two more buildings, which belong to the palace area, between both is the street, which we crossed before. Then the higher building on the right side is the county court. And you can see the little gate, through which we walked into the front garden.

We walked into the church to take a look at old photos. You can see, that the palace was destroyed during World War II. They rebuilt the area, but the church inside is modern nowadays.

In the second last photo you can see a little gate, which leads from the front part to the back part of the palace. We walked through it and took a photo of the backside of the church and the church tower.

There are some fountains on the backside of the palace. Each year there are open air concerts and it's a place for nice wedding photos. Around Christmas there is a second Christmas market at that place, too.

Four guards with halberts are at the line between the fountain part and the palace garden.

We walked to the little pond, where usually you can find many ducks.

At two crossings of the main way you can find a statue at each corner. This crossing shows the four elements water, fire, earth, air. Here you see the fire statue. You maybe remember, that I've shown you the water statue a while ago.

This crossing shows the four seasons winter, spring, summer, autumn. This statue is summer.

There are several ways lined with chestnut trees.

We left the palace area and drove to the backside of the hospital. There is a parking place and we stopped to take two photos: one shows the old hospital building with its nice little tower and the other shows the jailhouse.

Then we drove to the Belvedere, which was built as a hunting lodge for Prince Bishop Franz Christoph von Hutten.

Next to the Belvedere and Stadtgarten there is a place, where you have a great view over Bruchsal.

You can see the two towers of the baroque church St. Peter, which is close to my family's house. In the street right in front of me you can see some of the oldest houses of Bruchsal. 80 % of Bruchsal was destroyed during the war, so mostly you only see houses built from 1945 to today.

The buildings in front of me and the white one on the left side belong to the older people's house. Then there is the private catholic grammer school called St. Paulusheim - the big grey building in the far left side.

This nice house also is next to the Belvedere. Nowadays it belongs to a hotel.

Posted Aug 24, 2011, 6:25 pm
Today we drove to Münzesheim to visit the Japanese Garden, which belongs to the therapy centre against alcohol and other dependencies. All buildings and works of art are made by patients of the therapy center based on antique models. The garden is about 5.000 m² large, it is open for patients and visitors. You will see a roof made of blue bottles, put into the concrete with there bottom to the outside - it's an interesting room, fascinating. Wall and floor are covered with blue tiles.
So now just enjoy the photos.

I hope, you like the group photos:)

Two more group photos in the blue room.

More group photos in the pavillon.

I like to walk around and not being carried:)

Just right above my nose I saw some turtles swimming in the water. Oh, would I have loved to join them.

But Petra told me, that it is time to go home again. So she took me in her hand for a last photo of this beautiful park.

Posted Aug 26, 2011, 9:18 am
Finally we found time to go to another short trip. We drove to Bad Nauheim in the morning. Maybe you don't know anything about Bad Nauheim and what makes it interesting for us. It is a really nice city with about 30000 inhabitants and is located about 35 km north from Frankfurt a.M.

Elvis Presley lived in Bad Nauheim during his time with the United States Army in Friedberg.

In the old town center of Bad Nauheim is the barn at the gate to the castle: The gate, the 'Burgpforte', was used by Elvis Presley as the motif of a record cover for his 1959 #1 hitrecord 'A Big Hunk o' Love'. Here is a photo of him at the gate. The photo is part of the exhibition ( the link is in German, sorry) about Elvis' time in Bad Nauheim and a bit about Elvis in general.

Elvis sang "Muss i denn zum Städele hinaus". Here is a sheet with the text and he wrote in phonetic spelling under the lines, how he had to sing it.

Elvis liked karate. Here is one of his suits.

Of course there was much more to see and read, but Petra said, that she can't take a photo of each photo or item with me. After seeing the exhibition we went to an Irish Pub for lunch.

Terrassenstraße - a street - was near to the Irish Pub, so we decided to walk there and go to see Hotel Grunewald. Elvis lived there after he arrived in Germany in October 1958. One week after him also his father, grandmother and two friends and bodyguards came too. At first they stayed at another hotel, but then they rent a whole floor. Room 10 - Elvis room - still looks the same, but it is closed for public.

Right in front of the hotel is the Elvis-Presley-Place and the stele.

Near to the "Burgpforte" - where nobody took a single photo with us toyvoyagers, but only the humans:( - ok, near to the "Burgpforte" we saw these lovely half timbered houses.

On our way to the "Gesundheitsgarten" - health garden - we saw another nice half timbered house.

In the garden we had a rest near a "Gradierbau" - refine building (not sure, how to call it in English). I like this beach chair.

While walking in the garden, we saw this church.

On our way back to the car we walked through Goethestraße. In the house Goethestraße 14 Elvis lived for one year during his stay in Germany.

It was a strange feeling to walk in the footsteps of Elvis and really interesting for everyone - even those, who don't like Elvis too much. Of course this last part of the sentence doesn't count for my female host.

On our way we had a glimpse at the skyscrapers of so called Mainhatten - Frankfurt a. M. I would like to go there and have a closer view. Maybe I will ask my family, if they find time during the summer break.

Posted Sep 7, 2011, 6:12 pm
A thunderstorm is coming.

Posted Sep 12, 2011, 9:43 pm
Hello mum and everyone!!

I arrived today in this very humid and sunny city!!!I was so happy to jump out of my envelope!

A friendly turtles (Ramona and Assun) gave me a warm welcome :)They know a little German so the first thing they told me was "willkommen Cassiopeiaaaa! Wie geht es dir??" and after they gave me a big hugh!

In the afternoon, I went with @Anxova to a shopping centre! Woow,you know it is therapeutic to go shopping, even if I don't buy anything.And after a long journey like mine,there's nothing better :P

Before going to my host's house, we went to a park near her house! mmmm...It was fantastic to see flowers and plants! So relaxing!

Well, my first day in Barcelona was relaxed and cool!

See you soon!

Take care mum!

Posted Nov 19, 2011, 4:38 am
Hi Mum,

I am in Canada :D! Today my travelling quarters were dropped in the middle of what felt like very suspicious activity :rolleyes:.

And when my envelope eventually opened I found a forest of eyes, TV eyes :rolleyes:, looking at me and welcoming me in Canada :). I met Sofia from Finland, Jujube and Cherry Lola from the US, Quentin Ducky from the UK, Orpheus, one of smau’s TVs who is home for a short holiday and finally sammino a stay-at-home TV who introduced himself as my host here...kind of a little crowd. Anyway, I was looking forward to get some rest, but it seems that my reputation of well travelled TV preceded me B), so my new friends cornered me and I had to spend the whole night telling stories of my travelling adventures ;).

Posted Nov 21, 2011, 4:12 am
Hi Mum,

It seems quite busy with new arrivals here this week :rolleyes:. I just arrived myself and today smaug came back with a parcel holding a new guest inside :).

It was Sweetsy, a nice gingerbread man from Germany too :D! And he brought over some great gifts for us: a lovely “self-themed” :rolleyes: card and some delicious German Christmas sweets :D...which, of course, fuelled a long night of chatting ;).

Posted Nov 22, 2011, 3:35 am
Hi Mum,

Temperatures were in the freaking minus twenties over the week end :stare:, but sammino explained that it was a great chance for us to get acclimatised to the proper Canadian winter weather and he convinced smaug to take us for a short walk in the foothills :rolleyes:. At least the sun was shining :).

The trail was covered in snow, but just a couple of cm.

We stopped at this sign to check where we were: luckily we were not lost :rolleyes:.

Eventually we reached the highest spot of our walk, where we had a great view of the mountains around us :).

At this point we stopped to recover and sammino made appear a cup of boiling tea :) along with a well deserved bar of chocolate :D....the best part of the day ;).

Posted Nov 24, 2011, 3:40 am
Hi Mum,

Today we said goodbye to Sofia and Orpheus who are ready to travel to their next hosts :). They are both going to Germany...but using separate envelopes :rolleyes:.

Posted Nov 29, 2011, 4:38 am
Hi Mum,

Today we went for a short hike in the foothills :). As it often happens, we spent the first part of the day between the trees, but soon the view improved :).

This ridge was very exposed to both sun and wind, so all the snow had disappeared :stare:...

...but our way forward looked snowy enough :rolleyes:.

Luckily TVs are lighter than humans ;) and don’t sink so much into the snow, so, since the trail was well marked, we left smaug toiling up his way behind us and marched ahead following sammino :D.

Eventually we reached the summit ridge where the view was great. We could see the prairies and even Calgary far in the east :o...

...and mountains everywhere else :D.

Posted Dec 24, 2011, 11:54 pm
Hi Mum,

After a long time being very quiet (smaug was quite busy and, despite our best efforts to get his attention, we felt a bit invisible over the last few weeks :(), today we had the first glimpse of hope of being active again :). sammino left us for the day and came back with two guests....two deeply asleep guests :stare:.

As they woke up they introduced themselves as Landroval :), a native Canadian eagle coming back for the holidays and Sigfrido, sammino’s delegate and representative in France :rolleyes:.

They offered to us some lovely (and very appropriate) sweets that they collected while travelling here :D. But they also told us that they have even more interesting goodies hidden somewhere in their baggage, can’t wait to see that ;).

Posted Dec 26, 2011, 3:46 am
Hi Mum,

Merry Christmas :D!

This morning we found a lot of presents on the floor...

... but, since they didn’t seem to be for us :rolleyes:, we focused our attention on some of the sweets that Landroval and Sigfrido brought from France and Italy :).

Later we decided to burn some calories ;) and went for a walk along the river.

That red bridge over there is a new pedestrian passage over the river which was supposed to be open almost 18 months ago :stare:...and that hopefully will be open sometimes next year :rolleyes:.

Back home we expected to have a turkey meal :), but sammino said that he had organize and unconventional Christmas lunch based on his favourite local product...massively thick steaks :D!

After that, to be even more unconventional, we topped the meal with a lovely chocolate cake ;).

Well, eventually we were so full that we fell asleep...dreaming of more food, of course :rolleyes:.

Posted Jan 1, 2012, 4:11 am
Hi Mum,

Today we went for a short trip near Calgary in the Elbow Valley. First we walked a bit along the Elbow River :).

Moving on we reached the Elbow Falls and had a look at the falls from the upstream side...which looked a bit scary :stare:.

While the canyon immediately downstream was quite nice :)....but freaking cold, so we just went back hiding in the car :rolleyes:.

Posted Jan 3, 2012, 2:10 am
Hi Mum,

Today we explored a bit around Calgary :). First we roamed around the streets looking at the skyline.

Then we entered a mall and stopped a bit to rest.

Those flags are for the Junior Hockey World Championship which is going on right now in Calgary.

Later we explored a bit the mall...

...and just before heading home we found this lovely curtain of lights :) probably looks better without the daylight coming in from the glass roof :rolleyes:.

Posted Jan 3, 2012, 3:39 am
Hi Mum,

Today we gathered all together to say goodbye to Landroval and Sigfrido who are travelling back to Europe and will arrived just in time to celebrate New Year’s eve :)...assuming they won’t be too jet-lagged :rolleyes:.

Posted Jan 9, 2012, 3:42 am
Hi Mum,

Today we went for a short hike near Calgary. Most of the route was between trees with the occasional viewpoint :).

Once we reached the summit the views were great :D and, funny enough, the place is so windswept that there was hardly any snow around :stare:.

On the way down we noticed that someone had built a igloo :D. The outside didn’t looked exactly state of the art in igloo construction :rolleyes:...

...but is seemed solid enough, so we went inside to take some shelter from the wind and have some rest. And it was actually very warm and comfortable :), too bad eventually we had to leave and go home ;).

Posted Jan 23, 2012, 3:25 am
Hi Mum,

Today I said goodbye to all my friends here in Calgary as tomorrow I’ll start travelling to Germany :D.

sammino gave me a big hug and wished me safe trip :).

And luckily I’ll have company going to the post office as Quentin Ducky is leaving too :).

Posted Jan 23, 2012, 6:20 pm
Hi mum,
today I arrived here in Leverkusen from Canada.

The postman delivered two parcels.
What a surprise. Mr.Zwie-Mueller and Börnie opened the big one first:
It was me.
In the little box there was Kikuchan from Japan. She brought a present that looked like something to eat. Börnie lmmediately grabbed it but didn't dare to open, so we don't know what is inside.
I had a little magnet and a postcard from Canada that our host put to the fridge at once.
We then had a little party with more Japanese food and German Spitzkuchen served on an original Murakami plate. It was much fun. But no salad...

A few minutes later another postman brought a letter.
That were the tickets of our holiday trip.
Börnie, Kikuchan, Miss Zwie-Tea, Blue Zwie-Brat and me are going to Turkey soon!

Posted Jan 31, 2012, 8:33 pm
Hi mum,
it is very bad weather here in Leverkusen and cold too.
So we didn't go for nothing the last days.
But in the TV-Hotel**** there is a real beach. I don't stay in my room anymore but only on the sunny sands.

Today an old toy of our host returned: Mr.Zwie-Fox.
Kikuchan , Börnie and I made a heartly welcome, had funny talks and Lebkuchen.

Posted Feb 6, 2012, 1:36 am
Hi mum,
today we made our sundayly trip to the cologne fleamarkets.
In the night it had been minus 12°C and there were not so many stands so we finished early and returned to the warm apartment.
First kikuchan Börnie and I had a meeting with two japanese Kokeshi under the tulips and then we met the Degas dancer.
Börnie had much fun on his own with the dancing clowns.

At last a little experiment with a kaleidoskop.
Sorry it is to big, I will try again another time.

Posted Feb 8, 2012, 2:02 am
Hi mum,
Today we made a long trip through the snowy Netherlands and Belgium.
At first kikuchan, Börnie and I went to Maasmechelen outlet center. There are over 100shops that sell reduced goods direct from the producer.
Our host made a bargain buy at Fossil, only 25% of the normal prize for a bracelet. We also looked for shoes and clothes but did not find the right things.
Then we had a stop at the gas station to fuel Autogas which is very cheap in Belgium.
(More pics at Mr.Zwie-Mueller from the 14th of November 2011.)
The next stop was Aachen. Another factory sale at Lindt and Lambertz. They sell excelent chocolate and cookies. You can see that on the pictures.
The third stop was just over the border in the Netherlans. Only to buy Coffee and Cheese, not to forget Peanutbutter!
Sorry, no pics from the supermarkets and the snowy landscape.
If you look keenly you might see those frozen waters on some photographs.
After our trip home we were really ready to sleep.

For some more pics of the other TVs look at their updates.

Posted Feb 8, 2012, 11:49 pm
Hi mum,
today we had a farewell party for Mr.Zwie-Mueller.
There were kikuchan, Börnie, the Tweenie Blue Zwie-Brat and the just returned Mr.Zwie-Fox.

Yesterday we brought many sweets from our trip through Belgium, the Netherlands and Aachen,
especially pralines from Lindt and Lebkuchen from Lambertz plus a big bag with Haribo Saftbären (juicy jelly baers).
That was a tasteful celebration and we had so much fun....
You will like him.

Now he is already on  his way in a little parcel box to you.

Posted Mar 19, 2012, 5:31 am
Hi mum,
at last now the travel report to Turkey.
Here we , Kikuchan, Blue Zwie-Brat, Börnie and I,
are packing the suitcase and make a comfort test.

Posted Mar 19, 2012, 6:04 am
Hi mum,
now were on the Airport.
We entered a little private-jet, but then we were led to the real planes.
I liked the small one better.

Posted Mar 19, 2012, 6:52 am
Hi mum,
now we are in Asia
Exactly Lara Beach, Antalya, Turkey.
More exact 5* All Inclusive Miracle Resort Lara-Kundu.
On you can see our room from above.
It was all inclusive a flat screen tv and a bed exclusive for TV's.
Even inclusive little cats and an all exclusive blue sky above the pool.
Snow topped mountains on the beach all inclusive of course.

More soon.

Posted Mar 20, 2012, 10:46 am
hi mum,
it's 14th of february, Valentines day.
fist a look at the view from the balcony to the hotels driveway.
On the right  begin the shops with well-priced cloth, shoes, watches and juwelry. Those malls are called Bazaar.

every afternoon was all inclusive live piano music and coffee hour.
also inclusive are the little kitten. (altogether we saw five at the hotel residence)
Later there was a Valentine Dinner with tasty valentine cakes.
The cakes were always yummy, but that day they looked pretty too.

more to come soon.

Posted Mar 23, 2012, 10:26 am
Hi mum,
today we visited Antalya.

It is uncertain when the site of the current city was first inhabited. Attalos II, king of Pergamon, was believed to have founded the city around 150 BC, naming it Attalia and selecting it as a naval base for his powerful fleet. However, excavations in 2008 in the Doğu Garajı district of Antalya have uncovered remains dating to the 3rd century BC, suggesting that the city was founded earlier than previously supposed. Antalya became part of the Roman Republic in 133 BC when King Attalos III of Pergamon willed his kingdom to Rome at his death. The city grew and prospered during the Ancient Roman period.

Christianity started to spread in the region after 2nd century. Antalya was visited by Paul of Tarsus, as recorded in the Acts of the Apostles: "From Perga, Paul and Barnabas went down to Attalia and sailed from there to Antioch after preaching in Pisidia and Pamphylia" (Acts 14:25-26).

Antalya was a major city in the Byzantine Empire. It was the capital of the Byzantine Theme of Carabisiani (Θέμα Kαραβησιάνων, Thema Karavēsianōn), which occupied the southern coasts of Anatolia and the Aegean Islands. At the time of the accession of John II Comnenus (1118) it was an isolated outpost surrounded by Turkish beyliks, accessible only by sea.

The city, along with the surrounding region, was conquered by the Seljuk Turks in the early 13th century. Antalya was the capital of the Turkish beylik of Teke (1321–1423) until its conquest by the Ottomans. The Arabic traveler Ibn Battuta who came to the city in between 1335-1340 noted:
From Alanya I went to Antaliya [Adalia], a most beautiful city. It covers an immense area, and though of vast bulk is one of the most attractive towns to be seen anywhere, besides being exceedingly populous and well laid out. Each section of the inhabitants lives in a separate quarter. The Christian merchants live in a quarter of the town known as the Mina [the Port], and are surrounded by a wall, the gates of which are shut upon them from without at night and during the Friday service. The Greeks, who were its former inhabitants, live by themselves in another quarter, the Jews in another, and the king and his court and Mamluks in another, each of these quarters being walled off likewise. The rest of the Muslims live in the main city. Round the whole town and all the quarters mentioned there is another great wall. The town contains orchards and produces fine fruits, including an admirable kind of apricot, called by them Qamar ad-Din, which has a sweet almond in its kernel. This fruit is dried and exported to Egypt, where it is regarded as a great luxury.

We entered the old town at the Hadrians Gate and went then to the harbour. There were beautiful orange trees right in the city. On the other side of the bay there was a waterfall just in the city (look under the arrow) . It is not always seen, only if there was rain the days before and it was !
We had pretty looks over the sea and the boats, but Börnie tried to enter a small fisherboat.... you can see what happened!

more update soon

Posted Mar 27, 2012, 9:34 am
Hi mum,
here more pics from Antalya city.
A really nice old town with huge citywall and beautiful garden cafes between orange and lemon trees.
Later we had a tasty fresh squeezed pomegranate juice above the old town.
Back at the hotel a short look at cooks dressed for the turkish evening.
Salad bar, kebab roast and yummy ice "showcooking"!

Posted Apr 1, 2012, 8:47 am
Collected for the mail yesterday.  Unfortunately the TV is too big for us to take on the Titanic Memorial Cruise – sorry about that.  Once back from cruise at the end of April this nice TV will visit places around Dubai and the rest of the United Arab Emirates.

Posted Apr 1, 2012, 1:08 pm
hi mum,
today we went to the sunny beach.
We all enjoyed the warm sand and the blue sea.
We found some shells and stone, one of them looked like a heart
and Börnie presented it to his friend kikuchan.
Later he wanted to take a tour with a boat, especially the big red speedboat.
With the little Japanese of course.

more updates later.

Posted Apr 1, 2012, 2:22 pm
Hi mum,
only two days more here in the sunny West of Western Asia.
A few pics of the hotel and the oriental flea market / bazaar.
There was juwelry, soap, clothes, spices, nuts and so much more to see.

more soon

Posted Apr 1, 2012, 3:02 pm
Hi world,
this is the afternoon of the 18th, and the hotel provided a beautiful birthday cake to our hosts girlfriend, very yummy for all of us.
Later we had our last evening meal, the big buffet at the dining room.
We will miss all of the tasty food.

more travel update to come

Posted Apr 5, 2012, 3:02 pm
Hi mum,
here now are the last pictures from our turkey holidays.
First pictures from the Hotel lobby, where strange potted birds are located. Börnie had to inspect one of them more detailed.
Later then we,Blue Zwie-Brat and especially kikuchan, visited the Turkish Shop at the airport before returning to Germany.

Posted Jul 1, 2012, 8:52 am
The photo's show Cassiopeia's travels around the United Arab Emirates.  The places visited have been mentioned in the names of the files as uploaded.

Posted Jul 21, 2012, 8:20 pm
I'm at home again and maybe will stay here until mid of August and then travel to Sweden. I will keep my fingers crossed.
Thank you to my hosts, with whom I had been during the last months.

Greetings, Cassiopeia

Posted Sep 5, 2012, 1:15 pm
During the last weeks, my host sat in front of the computer and wrote many messages to send out IDs and answer questions. Did you hear of Galileo Big Pictures? Then you know, why she had to do some work here:)

Today she had to bake six quiche lorraine, all of them the size of three usually round cakes, and we had been happy to help her. Her husband celebrates a late 50th birthday party.

One sort of quiche was with cheese, ham and eggs, the other sort was with cheese, salmon, onion and eggs.

At first we had to read the recipe.

Then I weighed 600gr flour.

Fiona added 300gr butter.

I helped TV-TV to get some salt on a spoon. We needed one and a half teaspoon.

SunnyHH had a lot of fun climbing on Mr.Zwie-Muellers head while he tried to get water on a spoon. He had to add 15 tablespoons of water to the dough.

Then she had to stir the dough. My host said, that she hadn't been really a help doing it. Who knows why?

Scotty made the dough on aluminium foil, because it had to rest in the fridge for two hours.

Later Kari had to open 9 eggs for the stuffing.

You see SunnyHH had some fun again, while someone mixed the eggs. In the measuring cup we have 3/4 l cream and 3 grains of salt.

Someone also added 375gr cheese and 600gr cutted ham.

I can tell you, it tasted really good. And for the salmon quiche we just replaced ham with salmon - some said, it was even better.

Posted Sep 7, 2012, 6:07 pm
After a while we were so tired of working in the kitchen. We knew, that it was the opening night of the Olympic Games in London, so we sat in front of our hosts' tv and were really fascinated while watching it. Just take a look at a few impressions of this night.

Posted Sep 7, 2012, 6:12 pm
Today we had to warm up the Quiche again before the guests arrived. Doesn't it look yummy?

Posted Oct 5, 2012, 8:34 pm
Today we drove to Angelbachtal. Angelbachtal is a municipality in Kraichgau, between Sinsheim and Bruchsal. The name Angelbachtal comes from the valley of the Waldangelbach, which flows through Kraichgau, and from the municipality of the same name. There live about 5000 people.

Today we were here to go to the medieval market and meet Zandy, yosemite and takata there - and of course all the toyvoyagers, that travel with them.

I learnt how to spin wool.

A knight had to wear really heavy clothes. I think, it was a rather difficult time back in the Middle Age, but for me it was just fun, even when they asked, why a turtle needed a shield.

We had a lot of fun sitting on a bench all together in front of the merry-go-round.

Then we tried some ribbons. Do you think, it fits?

We were really curious to learn more about the way, a monk makes a chain shirt. It takes 200 hours to finish one of them.

At last we watched the knights tournament. I was so excited.

Posted Oct 7, 2012, 6:15 pm
We only knew since one week, that we will go on a holiday in Sweden and now it's the day to say goodbye to Bruchsal and sit in the car for hours.

Here we were passing Hamburg harbour

and driving in the Elbe tunnel.

We've seen the Kiel Canal, but it was difficult to take a photo with it.

Posted Oct 7, 2012, 7:26 pm
Over night we stayed at a hostel. It was small, but we slept well. We had a lot of bags with us, so we hardly found a place to sit down.

We were rather thirsty and happy, that we had some Coke to drink. We had to share it with the humans, though.

We went on a small sightseeing tour:

St. Nikolai-Church with the market place is the biggest church of Flensburg. It is a gothis hall church. They started to built this church in 1390 so it is rather old.

The Holy Ghost Church is the main church building of the Danish church. It is also a gothic hall church, built in 1386.

I've seen the birth house of Hugo Eckener, who was the manager of the Luftschiffbau Zeppelin during the inter-war years, and was commander of the famous Graf Zeppelin for most of its record-setting flights, including the first airship flight around the world, making him the most successful airship commander in history. He was also responsible for the construction of the most successful type of airships of all time. An anti-Nazi who was invited to campaign as a moderate in the German presidential elections, he was blacklisted by that regime and eventually sidelined. (wikipedia)

These sailing ships are for tourist tours.

Posted Oct 20, 2012, 4:47 pm
Finally we are on the road again. The night was a bit uncomfortable for us, because we had to sleep in the bag. Now we are happy to see the bridges, which lead over the Great Belt and the Öresund. It was so foggy, that we rather could see the water.

We had to pay for driving over the bridges.

Posted Oct 20, 2012, 9:21 pm
Our house is in Bjoerkoeby, Djuvanaes and the lake is called Lillnoemmen. The weather is fine, so we decided to go out and see the lake and some horses, which belong to the farm, where we stay.

We've seen many anthills there.

This is our private little pier, where is also our private little boat. I hope to go out with the boat soon.

While the others took photos, I decided to do my own thing and went for a little walk to the pier.

Smaland seems to be a land of heather. I love it.

While sitting here we watched some acrobatic flying, which they did for a wedding, that took place on the other side of the lake.

We chatted a while, but then we felt really cold and decided to go back to the house.

Posted Oct 20, 2012, 10:01 pm
You surely know Michel aus Lönneberga, who originally was called Emil of Lönneberga. Astrid Lindgren began to write about him in 1963. Today we wanted to follow the way of Astrid Lindgren.

Hässleby kyrka was built between 1857 and 1859. First there was a wooden church before the was an ancient stone church. This could have been the church, which Michel's (Emil)'s sister had seen from the top of the flagpole. In the book she said, that she could see the church of Mariannelund.

Posted Oct 20, 2012, 10:29 pm
Then we drove to Katthult, where Emil/Michel lived. Katthults real name is Gibberyd and have been in the same familys possession since the 19th century. It was a normal swedish farm until 1970, when a production team went up and asked for a premission to record a film a the sight.

Here I'm in the shed, where Michel/Emil carved his wooden figures.

I would have liked to buy these books, but my host told me, that they are written in Swedish and that I don't understand Swedish.

Did you know, that Emil was called Michel in Germany, because there was a book of Erich Kästner called Emil and the Detectives and they didn't want to mix up with the names?

Posted Oct 21, 2012, 1:41 pm
update for August 19th

The Rumskullaeken (named after the town Rumskulla) or Kvilleken (named after the hamlet Norra Kvill) is a common oak [Quercus robur] close to the National Park Norra Kvill in Småland in Sweden. It is between 900 and over 1000 years old.

With an extent of 13 to 14.75 meters in breast hight the Kvilleken is known as the oldest and biggest tree of Sweden and one of the oldest and biggest, if not the oldest and biggest oak of Europe.

The trunk is half dead. These parts are fixed with ropes to the rest of the trunk. The area around the tree is fenced.

The Kvilleken was first mentioned in year 1772 by Magnus Gabriel Craelius in his book Försök till ett landskaps beskrivning.

(wikipedia, translated by me)

Posted Oct 21, 2012, 2:23 pm
Vimmerby is a city and the seat of Vimmerby Municipality, Kalmar County, Sweden with 7,934 inhabitants in 2010. Vimmerby had its charter as early as the fourteenth century. The main street, Storgatan, still has the shape in which it was built in the medieval time. There are also many old wooden houses in the city.

Vimmerby is currently a tourist attraction due to historical links with Swedish author Astrid Lindgren (1907–2002). When Astrid Lindgren wrote her books about the country boy Emil in Lönneberga she used much information from her own upbringing in the rural areas of Vimmerby.

Astrid Anna Emilia Ericsson was born here, at the farm at Näs in Vimmerby more than 100 years ago. Her father was tenant farmer at the rectory.

This is where Astrid climbed in the "lemonade tree", played with her siblings, jumped in the hay and listened to stories in Kristin´s kitchen.

Her childhood home is still intact. The house is open for guided tours all year round.

Posted Oct 21, 2012, 4:12 pm
On our way to shopping in Vetlanda we stopped at a resting place called Föreda. There was a small small island connected to the land over a bridge and we walked there to see it. The rest of the day we relaxed and didn't take photos of it.

Posted Oct 21, 2012, 6:00 pm
Today we drove to Växjö, which has a population of about 64,200, out of a municipal total of 83,000 inhabitants.

In contrast to what was believed a century ago, there is no evidence of a special pre-Christian significance of the site. The pagan cultic center of Värend may have been located at Hov, a village nearby.

Växjö got its city charter in 1342.

Växjö Cathedral (Swedish: Växjö domkyrka) in the centre of Växjö, Sweden, is the seat of the bishop of the Diocese of Växjö in the Church of Sweden. Saint Sigfrid allegedly lived and died in Växjö, and was buried in the cathedral at his death.

At an outside wall of the cathedral we found this runestone.

Then we drove to the Glasriket, what means Kingdom of Crystal, museum. Their history can be traced back to the 18th century at least. The glassworks have become part of the culture of Sweden. The sad thing for us was, that we had to wait in the car, while our hosts or family and the small tvs were allowed to go inside.

Posted Nov 13, 2012, 10:23 am
This day stood under the sign of railway and trains.

At first we visited the Nässjö railway museum(Nässjö Järnvägsmuseum), which has the focus on regional and national history of rail traffic.

Nässjö was for a long time only a rural village with agriculture as the dominant occupation. The turning point was the construction of the Swedish railway system. The southern main line railway, finished in 1864, passed through Nässjö. Later, other railways were inaugurated, whereby Nässjö, due to its geographical location in the country, became an important junction.

Nässjö is the only city in Sweden, where still six differnet railroad lines meet.

Posted Nov 13, 2012, 2:43 pm
The Match Musem in Jönköping is the worlds only. It is located in the beautiful building that once was the first match factory in Jönköping.

In the museum, living match history is told. Encounter the people and machines that built up the match industy and developed it into a global operation.

Johan Edvard Lundström was born in 1815 in the town of Jönköping, Sweden. Johan Edvard is most of all recognized to have improved the safety match and made it possible to commercially exploit it.

I will show you parts of the old way to produce match sticks. It was really hard work, which had harmful effects for health.

Here we were in front of the museum. It had been raining again.

We crossed this place and found a radio museum. We thougth, it would be a good idea to go inside and it was really interesting to see all the old radios, grammophones and more.

Posted Nov 14, 2012, 7:45 am
On our way home we visited the graveyard of Huskvarna.  The Huskvarna church was built in 1907/08. The church is built of wood in national romantic style, built in style of a stave church. The difference to old stave churches is, that they used the wood horizontal and not vertical.

Posted Nov 14, 2012, 8:11 am
Aneby is a locality and the seat of Aneby Municipality in Jönköping County, Sweden with 3,367 inhabitants in 2010. In the north of Aneby we saw the Stalpet waterfall, which is about 20 meters high.

Posted Nov 14, 2012, 8:31 am
Today we visited a small church in Nässjö. It is close to the camping site Lövhult and we had been lucky to get the key and be allowed to go inside the chapel.

Posted Nov 14, 2012, 9:43 am
Later we walked around the lake called Runnerydsjön in Nässjö. We met a lot of geese there.

Posted Nov 14, 2012, 3:14 pm
Today we decided to walk around the lake LillNömmen, which is the lake in front of our house. We had to walk about four hours and came back home very tired. The weather was mixed, but mostly dry. We only had the chance to take two photos, but I hope, you will enjoy them.

Posted Nov 14, 2012, 10:11 pm
Ljungby is a city with 15,205 inhabitants in 2010. Much of the town centre was destroyed in a fire in 1953. The (at the time) modern style of the rebuilding characterized by e.g. Hotel Terazza remains controversial locally.

In 1986, Metallica bassist Cliff Burton died in a bus accident close to Ljungby. There is a memorial stone by the Gyllene Rasten parking.

We walked over a bridge, which leads over the river Lagan. Read, what we've read on two signs:

We visited the Museum of Legends and had a lot of fun. It is very interesting and you shouldn't miss to go there, if you ever come to Ljunby.
By the way: Some places are just too dangerous for someone like me, you will see.

Posted Nov 15, 2012, 9:36 am
We just had been at home for a few minutes, when it started raining cats and dogs. Brrrrr!

Posted Nov 15, 2012, 3:56 pm
Today we enoyed a great day in Kalmar.

Kalmar is a city in Småland in the south-east of Sweden, situated by the Baltic Sea. It had 36,392 inhabitants in 2010.

From the thirteenth to the seventeenth centuries, Kalmar was one of Sweden's most important cities. Between 1602 and 1913 it was the episcopal see of Kalmar Diocese, with a bishop, and the Kalmar Cathedral from 1702 is still a fine example of classicistic architecture. It became a fortified city, with the still mighty Kalmar Castle as the center. After the Treaty of Roskilde in 1658, Kalmar's importance diminished, until the industry sector was initiated in the 19th century.

Geographically Kalmar is the main route to the island of Öland thanks to the Öland Bridge.

Later we visited Krustenstiernska Garden and had a picknick there. The first thing, that you see of the garden, is a high wooden wall and closed doors. But at 11am the doors were opened and everyone is allowed to come in. There are many tables and chairs and you just can sit down and eat things, that you brought with you.

After this rest we had a little sightseeing tour in Kalmar. We've seen the lighthouse and the cathedral inside and outside.

Interesting for us to see was, that in Sweden it is common to have a special corner for children, where they can sit and play. Two plushy guys invited us to sit on their table and told us a lot about their life in the cathedral.

Then we walked back to the parking place and had this wonderful view to the castle.

Posted Nov 16, 2012, 6:31 pm
The weather is fine, so we decided to drive to Öland to visit the old castle in Borgholm and the new palace Solliden.

At first we stopped at this place, but still aren't really knowing, what it is, because we don't understand Swedish.

Then we arrived at Borgholm castle. We were there for nearly three hours and walked back and forth and took many photos.

Because Solliden was still closed, we drove to the city then and enjoyed walking through the streets.

Solliden Palace is the summer residence of the Swedish Royal Family. Queen Viktoria let it build from 1903 to 1906.  King Carl XVI. Gustaf inherited it as a four year old. The palace itself is closed, but during summer you can visit the palace garden, if the royal family isn't there.

This is the playhouse, in which once a gardener lived with his whole family.

This is the Italian Garden.

We enjoyed sitting on this bench and imagined Crown Princess Viktoria comes to meet us.

Then we drove to the coast on the east side. We've seen the big cross and the remains of a chapel.

These are the remains of St. Brita's Chapel, the largest chapel in Öland. Although associated with St. Bridget (Brigitta) the chapel was the Celtic St. Brigida to begin with. The chapel was 27 metres long and 12 metres wide and it was probably built on account of the growning numbers of visitors attracted by the market here at Sikavarp.

It was getting so cold and windy, that we hurried back into the car. Of course one sign we weren't allowed to miss while being in Sweden. See this one:

Posted Nov 16, 2012, 9:29 pm
Gränna is a small town with about 2,553 inhabitants in 2010. It was  founded in 1652 by Count Per Brahe. The town is situated at the foot of Gränna mountain and is characterized by its steep streets and old wooden houses.

Gränna is known for its red and white polkagris (literally "polka pig" in Swedish) stick candy, also known as peppermint rock.

The balloonist Salomon August Andrée, who died in an attempt to reach the North Pole by balloon, was born in Gränna. The Grenna Museum hosts an exhibition of the expedition together with a comprehensive collection of related objects and photos.

A model of the castle of Visingsö

Gränna is located at the edge of the lake Vättern, which we have to cross to come to the island called Visingsö.

Posted Nov 17, 2012, 11:12 am
Visingsö is an island in the southern half of the lake Vättern in Sweden.

Visingsö lies 30 km north of the city Jönköping and 6 km west of Gränna from which two car ferries connects the island. The island is 14 km long and 3 km wide, with a total area of 24 km².

According to legend, a giant named Vist created Visingsö by throwing a lump of soil into the lake so that his wife could use it to step over the lake.

I took photos of the signs next to the castle, so it is easier to imagine, how it looked like and to get to know something about the history of the castle. I'm sorry, but I'm not included in these three photos.
The second link is only in German, sorry.

On a little walk we found this tower of a stave church next to a graveyard. Because we only had a little time on the island, we had to hurry to get back on the ferry then.

Posted Nov 17, 2012, 1:02 pm
Today is the second last day in Sweden. So we all decided to do things, that we wanted to do. Everyone had one wish. One wish was to go on Lilla Nömmen with the boad. We had a lot of fun paddling on our "home"lake.

Posted Nov 17, 2012, 1:45 pm
In the early afternoon we left our Swedish house and started to drive home. We had decided to stay in Frederikssund in Denmark overnight.

On our way to Frederikssund we had to drive through Copenhagen or København (Danish pronunciation: [kʰøb̥m̩ˈhɑʊ̯ˀn], which is the capital of Denmark and its most populous city, with an urban population of 1,213,822 (as of 1 January 2012) and a metropolitan population of 1,947,944 (as of 1 October 2012). We had a short stop at the railway station. Wow, this is a big city, really crowded and we all were happy, when we had been out of the city again. Nevertheless it seemed, that there are some nice places, which would be worth to see one day.

Posted Nov 20, 2012, 11:24 pm
Hello Mommy,

the postman put my envelope on a cold ground! :mad: When I crawled out of it I couldn't see anything. It was totally foggy! Then I met a monster! He introduced himself as Oops, a private bodyguard. He jumped  on my back and after a while we met some other ToyVoyagers!

I told them my name and they gave me a warm welcome.

Then I showed them my card and told the others the story how Oops helped me to find them.


Posted Nov 21, 2012, 7:52 am
We stayed over night at a motel in Frederikssund/Jaegerspris. It was a nice place. In the morning we had breakfast outside in front of our room.

Posted Nov 21, 2012, 1:08 pm
Today we visited the park around Jaegerspris castle, called Jaegerspris slot.

Jægerspris is a town and a former municipality (Danish, kommune) in Region Hovedstaden. It lies in the northern part of the island of Zealand (Sjælland) in eastern Denmark. A significant portion of the north end of Jægerspris is covered by forest. There are also stretches of sand and dunes along the municipality's western side.

The town of Jægerspris has a population of 4,065 (1 January 2011) and lies 6 km. northwest of Frederikssund. The town was established ca. 1870 around Jægerspris Castle, which is surrounded by kilometres of hiking and biking trails in the Jægerspris forest.

Posted Nov 21, 2012, 9:44 pm
Hello Mom,

we did a short stop-over in a small village which is surrounded by lots of water!
I just wanted to show you how foggy the world is. It would look more beautiful if the sun would shine.


Posted Nov 23, 2012, 9:15 pm
We are back in Germany and stayed one night at a hotel called Stadtschänke. The hotel is in Walsrode and there are several nice places around Walsrode as there are the Rischmannshof Heath Museum, the Walsrode Bird Park and Lüneburg Heath. Nevertheless we only were in the hotel, had dinner and fell in our bed as you can see. We slept all night and then drove home to Bruchsal again.

Oh, don't wonder about the little dirt on the pillow. It is no dirt, it is a piece of chocolate. One piece of chocolate for all of us. I'm sure, you can imagine, how it feels if you only receive chocolate as big as a flea, because we had to share it with our host, too. :(

Posted Nov 28, 2012, 3:32 pm
When we were at home again, we needed some time to relax, because it was a long travel. But today we had to go to Karlsruhe.

Karlsruhe is the third largest city of Baden-Württemberg, near the Franco-German border.

Karlsruhe was founded in 1715 as Karlsruhe Palace, when Germany was a series of principalities and city-states. The town surrounding the Palace became the seat of two of the highest courts in Germany, the Federal Constitutional Court of Germany (Bundesverfassungsgericht) whose decisions have the force of a law in many cases, and the Federal Court of Justice of Germany (Bundesgerichtshof), the highest court of appeals in matters of civil law and criminal law. It therefore considers itself the home of justice in Germany, a role taken over from Leipzig after 1945.

Washington's city planner, had been given the plans of Karlsruhe (among numerous other European cities) as an inspiration.

At first we visited the Bothnical Garden.

The Karlsruhe Palace (Schloss) is an interesting piece of architecture; the adjacent Schlossgarten includes the Botanical Garden with a palm, cactus and orchid house, and walking paths through the woods to the north.

Posted Nov 28, 2012, 4:32 pm
The Turmberg (German: "Tower Hill") is a hill (elevation: 256 m) located in Durlach, a suburb of Karlsruhe in Germany. It is home to a castle ruin.

The Turmberg can be reached by the Turmbergbahn, a funicular railway. The original railway used water to weight the rail cars, but now it is run on electric.


This is written on the sign:
This tower is the remain of the ancient castle, which was built by Count von Hohenberg during the 1100s, extended during the 1200s and destroyed by Konrad von Lichtenberg, bishop of Strasbourg in 1279 A.D.
This tower was built between 1230 A.D. and 1250 A.D.

If the weather is nice you have a view to the Black Forest

to Karlsruhe and theRhine Valley, the Palatinate Mountains and Alsace

to the Kraichgau (Bruchsal is located at the edge of Rhine Valley to Kraichgau)


Posted Nov 29, 2012, 6:26 pm
Hello Mommy,

one day with nice weather and we decided to cruise around by car. It's a good way to see all the small neighborhoods.


Posted Dec 2, 2012, 7:11 pm
I'm on a trip with my host's pupils and her. We are on a farm in Schotten called Oberwaider Hof with many horses and I learnt a lot about them and about other animals as there are pigs, rabbits, ducks and geese and a mother cow herd.

Posted Dec 3, 2012, 6:07 pm
Hello Mommy,

today we went to the park to see the first snow.
While we were sitting on a bench we noticed someone starring at us.

We had a closer look. Yep, someone was watching us!

We went down to that guy. He told us his name is Alberto. He arrived from Finland and when he did a short stopover in the snow he froze on the ground!

As we are nice guys we decided to take him home. He was allowed to sit on my back.


Posted Dec 4, 2012, 7:33 pm
Hello Mommy,

today I learnt how to successfully do a TimTam Slam.
TimTam is a brand of chocolate biscuit currently manufactured in Australia. A TimTam is composed of two layers of chocolate malted biscuit, separated by a light chocolate cream filling, and coated in a thin layer of textured chocolate. The TimTam Slam is the practice of drinking a beverage through a TimTam.

You need a TimTam and some coffee or hot chocolate.

First you have to bite off one corner...

Then you have to bite off the opposite corner...

Now use the TimTam as a straw. In case of the hot drink the inside chocolate starts to melt. Stuff the entire TimTam in your mouth once you feel the hot beverage touch your tongue through the TimTam. You have to be fast in putting it in your mouth or else it may break off into your drink! :)
My host had to help me holding the TimTam-straw.

Mommy, this is so delicious! You have to try this at home!


Posted Dec 5, 2012, 7:42 pm
Ho Ho Ho...

Today I wanted to know what German Christmas markets are...

Look what I found. This doesn't look like Christmas. That's strange!

But then I found something really Christmas look like! The air was smelling so sweet and delicious! Christmas music everywhere and tons of lights!

Berlin :D


Posted Dec 10, 2012, 7:39 pm
Hello Mommy,

this is the famous tv tower "Fernsehturm". It was constructed between 1965 and 1969 and with its height of 368 meters, it is the tallest structure in Germany. There is a visitor platform and a revolving restaurant in the middle of the sphere. The tower is part of the World Federation of Great Towers (WFGT).
You can see that the weather today is not perfect for visiting it.

I wanted to walk through the snow to visit some sights, but my host decided to take a bus in case of the weather.
Look, we saw another big wheel!

This is a huuuge Nivea store at Unter den Linden street. You can get everything there!

Still Unter den Linden street...

Then I saw the German Bundestag which is located in the Reichstag Building. The centrepiece of the building is the generously glazed chamber that is crowned by the dome. A funnel with panes of mirror glass reflects the daylight from above into the chamber.

Here you can see the Haus der Kulturen der Welt ("House of the Cultures of the World" ). It is Germany's national centre for contemporary non-European art. It presents art exhibitions, theater and dance performances, concerts, author readings, films and academic conferences on non-European Visual Art and culture. This building is a gift from the United States, designed in 1957. John F. Kennedy spoke here during his June 1963 visit to West Berlin. To Berliners it is also known as the Schwangere Auster ("pregnant oyster" ).

The water is the river Spree. It is the main river of Berlin and it is approximately 400 kilometres (250 mi) in length.

This little castle is Schloss Bellevue, the residence of the German President. He has a beautiful Christmas tree ins his garden.

I'm in the city center and around me is nothing except trees! This must be the famous Tiergarten.

The Elephant Gate is one of two entrances to the Berlin Zoological Garden. Opened in 1844 it covers 34 hectares (84 acres) and is located in the Tiergarten. With more than 1,500 different species and around 17,500 animals the zoo presents the most comprehensive collection of species in the world. I'm sure there are turtles, too!

Your Cassiopeia

Posted Dec 19, 2012, 8:43 pm
Hey Mommy,

Alex got a lovely Christmas card from his brother Mr. Casanova. Isn't it cute?

Alex also got some Christmas cookies from his sister Peaches!

This little kitty shared his cookies with us. These were delicious!!! :)


Posted Dec 24, 2012, 7:23 pm
Hello Mommy,

we found some time to bake some cookies.
First we had to read what we need...

We needed some good butter first.

We hope that 4g too much are not too bad. ;)

Then we added one egg. Yes, just one!

We also added the flour.

From all the ingredients we made a dough. It looks good.

We made little balls and pushed a little hole in it.

We had to fill the holes with marmelade! Then we put it into the oven.

While the cookies were in the oven we used some more dough to make some other cookies. We rolled out the dough.

Because we couldn't find a cookie cutter we used a glass to cut the dough.

We put these cookies into the oven, too. When these were ready we put some marmelade on one cookie and added another one. These are delicious!

And this is the result of the first cookies we made. The best cookies in town!


Posted Dec 25, 2012, 10:45 pm
Hey Mom,

it's getting dark really early the day. Anyway, I hope you like my pictures.

The Humboldt University of Berlin is one of Berlin's oldest universities, founded in 1810 as the University of Berlin.

This is the Central Station. It is the main railway station in Berlin. 1,800 trains call at the station per day and the daily number of passengers is estimated to be at 350,000! 
From here you can do non-stop travels to Amsterdam (the Netherlands), Novosibirsk (Russia) or Astana (Kazakhstan).
Can you see the Christmas tree inside the station?

This is the street where I'm living at the moment. It's in the center of Berlin.


Posted Dec 25, 2012, 11:05 pm
Just some lovely Christmas greetings from the Christmas market in Leipzig!
Sorry, we didn't have time for sightseeing.


Posted Dec 28, 2012, 7:47 pm
Hello Mom,

I'm wishing you a merry Christmas!

Normaly everybody gets the presents on 24th December in Germany, except us! :(
We had to wait until the next day.

But then we dressed ourselves with some lovely hats and waited under the little Christmas tree.

Then each one of us was allowed to pick the very own present from the tree! :D

Look, we all got lovely scarfs from Santa! :cyclops:


Posted Jan 2, 2013, 3:09 pm
HAPPY 2013 !!!

Fireworks everywhere!

Posted Jan 8, 2013, 11:33 am
Hello Mommy!

We wanted to do a walk in the nature, but no chance! It's raining and raining and raining! :thinking:
So we decided to do a little trip by car to Berlin and back. We started in the morning and arrived back home when it was dark already.


Posted Jan 14, 2013, 5:05 pm
Today is a sad day. We received the news, that a good toyvoyager friend died of cancer. We went to the church St. Peter and prayed for her and her family. So here aren't many words, but only photos.

Street Petersgasse with old houses

Street Engelsgasse

Then we walked over the graveyard, which is next to the church.

Here are graves of men, who died during World War I.

This is the Jewish part of the graveyard.

Then we walked back home again. Here we see the backside of the house called Santa Maria.

The graveyard is rather steep, so difficult to walk for older people.

The institute Santa Maria was opened in 1908. At first it was a church-social institution. Since 1981 it became a private school for social pedagogy.

Posted Jan 14, 2013, 6:06 pm
My host's son started to study in Ulm and so he needs a room, where he can sleep. Because it was so difficult to find a place, my host decided to drive to Ulm and stay there for two nights to help him. She had the car, so it was easier to drive from house to house.

We had a nice, but most of the time foggy view to the Ulm Minster - cathedral.

Ulm is a city in the federal German state of Baden-Württemberg, situated on the River Danube. Ulm was founded around 850, is rich in history and traditions as a former Free Imperial City (German: freie Reichsstadt). Today, it is an economic centre due to its varied industries, and it is the seat of a university (University of Ulm, founded in 1967).

Posted Jan 14, 2013, 6:09 pm
In the afternoon we had time for a sightseeing tour. This is a Lutheran church called Pauluskirche. At first we thought, that it is a gate. The church was built between 1908 and 1910, so it is younger than we thought it is.

Inside the church it is rather dark, so it was really difficult to take nice photos - they are just terribly dark.

Posted Jan 16, 2013, 8:42 am
Then we visited the catholic church Saint George. I really liked the colours and paintings.

We walked through Herrenkellergasse. At the corner to Rabengasse we found these nice old houses and had a nice view to the steeple of the Minster.

Internationally, Ulm is primarily known for having the church with the tallest steeple in the world (161.53 m (529.95 ft) high and 768 steps)., the Gothic minster (Ulm Minster, German: Ulmer Münster) built 1377-1891.

The Rathaus (Town Hall) was built in 1370, featuring some brilliantly-coloured murals dating from the mid-16th century. On the gable is an astronomical clock dating from 1520. Restored after serious damage in 1944.

The old Fischerviertel (fishermen's quarter) on the River Blau, with half-timbered houses, cobblestone streets, and picturesque footbridges is fascinating. An interesting sight here is the Schiefes Haus(crooked house), a 16th-century house today used as a hotel.

According to legend, construction of the spire of the Ulm Munster was halted while only halfway completed when a wagon carrying a large wooden beam - loaded sideways - arrived at the narrow city gate. After contemplating how best to proceed, the mayor of Ulm gave the order to tear down part of the city wall, but before the order was carried our, a sparrow-like bird was observed maneuvering a long twig into its nest - lengthwise! Following the lead of the sparrow, the beam was turned, the wagon passed through the narrow gate, work was resumed, the cathedral was completed, and the legend of the Ulmer Spätze was born.

At last we walked down to the river Danube and enjoyed the sunset.

Posted Jan 16, 2013, 10:34 pm
Hello Mommy,

I'm on my way to my new host.

The others cuddled me. I hope to see them again some day.

Then I left! I'm a turtle with style so I'm not traveling by "Deutsche Post" anymore. Mommy, you know last time the postman left me in a dark area. These guys are shaking the envelopes so much that I'm almost getting sick. Now I'm traveling by car! And as I'm old enough, I drove it myself!

I hope this is the right direction! :o

Look, on the left you can see the Berlin bear. I'm leaving the city!

The weather doesn't look so good!

As I remember the map of Germany I should turn right, direction Hannover, pass that city and go on direction Bochum.

The countryside changed a lot!

Next time I'm taking that red car. It looks so much faster than mine!


Posted Jan 28, 2013, 7:04 pm
This is the last view out of our room, short before we drove home again. This morning we have a nice view to the Ulm Minster.

Posted Feb 7, 2013, 8:16 pm
Hello Mum.

I finally arrived at Bochum. It was a long trip but I am a good driver so I arrived save here. Now I only have to ring the doorbell and then I can finally meet my new host and the TVs who were staying with her.

Oh no, so many stairs.

Yeah I finally made it. I climbed up to the top.

When I stood in front of the door it was opened and Snowball the TV from my new host mum opened the door for me.

She showed me the way to the living room where the other TVs were waiting. There were Cookie Monster, Purple Tentacle, TezTez, Gwen Jolie and Peppi Pooh.

They hugged me to welcome me here. It was a very nice and warm welcome.

After that we made a group picture together and I made a photo together with Snowball for her memory album.

The others told me that there is still one TV missing for our trip to Las Vegas. I am very happy when I think about our trip.

Posted Feb 7, 2013, 9:13 pm
Hello Mum.

Today we planned to outside to play in the snow. Host mum drove with us to Dortmund where we could play on a playground. But the best was the tobogganing. We had a lot of fun together. I love to play in the snow.

Posted Feb 25, 2013, 9:56 pm
Hello Mum.

Today was a happy and also a little sad day. When Host mum came home she brought a small packet with her.
We sat around the packet and were wondering what could be inside.

Then suddenly the packet opened and we could see the head of Hoppsi. He jumped out of the packet and we could see that he had his own bag.

To welcome Hoppsi here with us in Bochum we hugged him.

Hoppsi is the last TV we were waiting for, for our trip to Las Vegas. To celebrate this we made a group picture together.

Then it was time to say goodbye to Cookie Monster. Today he will start his trip around the world. I wish him the best, but it is sad to say goodbye to a friend.
Before he left we all hugged him and wished him a safe and short trip.

Bye bye Cookie Monster I hope we will meet again one day.

Posted Mar 13, 2013, 8:45 pm
Hello Mum.

Tomorrow we will finally fly to Las Vegas. Today we were helping our host parents to pack the bags for our trip. Everything fits into the bags, but luckily we don’t fly inside the bags.

When everything was ready we sat around the netbook and looked at some pictures Snowball had made in Las Vegas during their trip in summer last year.

Then it was time to go to bed. Tomorrow we had to stay up very early in the morning.

Good night mum

Posted Mar 14, 2013, 10:03 pm
Good morning Mum.

Today we were finally flying to Las Vegas. Very early in the morning we flew from Düsseldorf to London. This was a short fly from just an hour, but in London we had to change the terminal. We took a bus from terminal 1 to terminal 5.

When we arrived at terminal 5 we had two hours to wait till our next flight to New York started. We used the time to look around the terminal.

Our flight to New York took nine hours. During the flight I watched out of the window and looked at the landscape under us.

When we arrived at New York we saw this cool apple at the airport.

We haven’t got much time at the New York airport, because we had to check out and in completely to get to our next plane. It was a little bit stressful but we made it in time.
The flight to Las Vegas took another six hours.

Yeah mum, we finally arrived at Las Vegas, after our 21 hour trip. I am very happy that we are here but I am too tired to enjoy it. But I think after a lot of sleep I could enjoy it.

Good night mum

Posted Mar 17, 2013, 1:53 pm
Good morning mum.

I sent you Greetings from the sunny Las Vegas. Behind me you can see the “New York New York” hotel. I think it looks really cool.

Today we were visiting the MOB attraction. It is an exhibition about the mafia in Las Vegas, inside the Tropicana hotel. We learned a lot of interesting things about the old mafia and saw cool stuff that belongs to that time. But the best thing was that we met some “real” mafia gangsters who gave us missions that we had to fulfill.

Posted Mar 17, 2013, 8:35 pm
Hey Mum.

After our breakfast we were going to the Bellagio hotel to have a look at the botanical garden, which is specially decorated for the Chinese New Year, which is celebrated everywhere here in Vegas.
At the entrance of the garden we were welcomed by a giant snake which is 9 feet tall and is constructed of 5,000 handmade silk scales. In the Chinese Zodiac 2013 is the Year of the Snake. Individuals born in the Year of the Snake are known to be keen, cunning, intelligent and wise. If you happen to be a Snake, you could look forward to a year of good fortune.

I like this Chinese Money Tree. It is a symbol to bring good fortune to the Chinese while still living and in the after-life used to guide spirits to heaven and provide wealth while there. The meaning handed down from ancient Chinese legend is that a person shall grow wealthy through hard work and relying on ones own sweat and blood.

This Chinese Calligraphy is called “Fu” which carries the meaning of Blessing, Happiness and Good Fortune.

In the garden we saw a lot of other cool flowers and decorations.

Later we were going to the former Imperial Palace hotel, because they have a giant car exhibition.

Look at all these wonderful cars

Hey mum look who we found, the blues brothers ;)

The car in the middle belonged to president JFK

Oh mum look, this is a car which belonged to Elvis Presley.

I decided to take this car, when I drive to my next host. This is one of the original cars from the movie “gone in 60 seconds”

Posted Mar 29, 2013, 9:11 pm
Hi Mum.

After our breakfast we visited the m & m world. Have you ever seen so many m & m’s in so many different colors?

Here I am standing in front of the famous Bellagio hotel.

In the evening it looks much more impressive, especially when the show with the water fountains began.

After the show we drove to downtown to visit the famous Fremont Street. The lightshows were really amazing.

This was an amazing evening.

Posted Mar 31, 2013, 11:11 pm
Hello Mum.

Today we visited Siegfried & Roy’s Secret Garden and Dolphin Habitat inside the Mirage hotel. The dolphins were really cool and we could watch how they were fed.

From the dolphin habitat we entered the secret garden. I have never seen white tigers and lions before, that was really special. But it was a little bit sad that they have such small compounds.

This Waterfall is really wonderful.

Then we went to the Venetian across the street to visit Madame Tussauds. There we meet a lot of famous people.
Here I sit beside Hugh Hefner

It was cool to relax a bit together with Will Smith

Mum I can play keyboard.

Madonna is really cool

Mum I think I want to see the show of the blue man group

A dream came true. I am sitting on Elvis Presley’s hand.

Wow I am standing on the moon, can you believe this?

Today was really cool, I hope tomorrow will be so cool too.

Posted Apr 1, 2013, 12:09 pm
Good morning mum.

Today we were looking around the Cesar’s Palace. This hotel is really gigantic and we saw a lot of cool things here.

After that we went back to the Luxor hotel to visit the Body’s exhibition. It feels a little bit strange to see all this body parts of dead people.

To relax a bit after that we walked around the strip at night. It is really beautiful to look at all these lights.

Later we went to the Aria hotel to watch the Cirque du Solei show Zarkana

Posted Apr 1, 2013, 2:19 pm
Hello Mum.

Today is our last day here in Las Vegas. Before we left in the evening we visited the Shark Reef Aquarium inside the Mandalay Bay Hotel. Here we saw impressive sharks and a lot of other fishes. We also had the chance to touch rays. It was like touching jelly.

Then it was time to say goodbye to the Luxor hotel and to Las Vegas.

It was a great time here and I hope I will come back here again.

Posted Apr 1, 2013, 8:36 pm
Hello Mum.

Today is host mums birthday. But before we could celebrate it, a new TV arrived. We sat around the envelope and were really excited to see who will be inside.

When we opened it a little rat came out called Miss Lucy. She is joining the long time RR like, Gwen, Bzzzzz and Knöpfchen.

We hugged her to welcome her here in Bochum.

Then she showed us what she had brought with her. The card is really beautiful.

After that we decided to make a cake for Shilo as a birthday surprise.
We were all working together and at the end we made a really yummy looking cake.

Posted Apr 2, 2013, 9:09 pm
Hello Mum.

Today another TV arrived here at Bochum. Angel was very excited to see who will be inside because it was the first time that he saw the envelope with a TV inside.

When it opened a little sheep came out called Tsukumo. She is joining the Big German RR just like Angel.

We all hugged her to welcome her here in Bochum.

After that she showed us what she had brought with her.

Because we were so many TVs here at the moment and some of us will travel on the next days we had the idea to take a group picture together.

The weather was better than the last days so we planned to take a walk outside. We visited a small park near our home.

Posted Apr 2, 2013, 10:10 pm
Happy Easter Mum.

Today the weather was so nice that we went outside to search some spring flowers and with some luck the Easter bunny ;)
Look I really found some flowers and some Easter eggs.

While we were walking around we saw a small playground. We took the chance and played a bit.

When we got back home, we noticed that the Easter bunny was here and that he was hiding some Easter eggs into the living room. We were really good in searching and at the end we had found a lot of eggs.

Happy Easter to everybody!

Posted May 28, 2013, 8:50 am
Hello mummy,

sorry for the delay of the updates, but Zandy had o work really hart since we came back from our trip to Poland and in her free time she hat no head to sit in front of the PC.

Here is a picture of us (Germanya, Paula Hip and I) while we are talking about our trip. It was before we had to go to bed. But of course it was late before we could sleep, we were really excited. - Is it normal, that this emotion never ends? :)

Posted May 28, 2013, 8:57 am
Oh what a short night! But ok, we had the chance to go to bed earlier. It wasn't easy to pack all the things in the car, because we were 4 people a dog and wer three TVs. Uff, really not easy, but at the end we got it and our trip began. :D

The most time we sleep, it was to dark or Zandy had to drive, so there aren't more pictures during our drive.

But I will tell you something: I think once I will visit a town with a really great name .... It's "Lederhose".
You can belive me, we would take a icture of the shild, but it wasn't possible. :( :D

Posted Nov 13, 2013, 10:57 am
My 3rd visit in Japan!
I have arrived in Japan late at night.
Everyone go out when I visit during the day because they went to Tokyo.
I am little tired, they gave me warm welcome and ten million hugs and chocolate .
Japanese chocolate was not sweet than chocolate in Germany.
They showed me a guidebook of Tokyo.
It was interesting to me.
See you soon!
your little Cassiopeia

Posted Nov 14, 2013, 7:46 am
It is Stoker's birthday, 582 years old. He looks young for his age.
We decided to make a birthday cake for him.
Usually, He sleeps late into sunset, We must not  make a noise while his asleep.
Mix for flour, make a source of strawberries, add decorat chocolate.
It was not easier than I thought, we did our best. I love it.
He was very pleased with our birthday cake.
I think we did a very good job.

Posted Nov 20, 2013, 9:09 am
We went to the Kannonzaki park.
Here is a very nice park, but it is a very ghost spot where ghosts meet up in the midnight.
Ghost is called "Yuurei" or "Obake" in Japanese.
In this tunnel, ghost footsteps, strange white shadow, has been witnessed in particular.
I was afraid to walk through the tunnel. When ghost smiling when I looked up at the ceiling of the tunnel, What should I do?

Then, we went Kannonzaki lighthouse.
There is a oldest lighthouse in Japan. November 1 is the lighthouse anniversary to commemorate the start of construction date of this lighthouse.
Collapsed in the earthquake of twice, the current lighthouse is the third generation.

I found a cute yellow flower.
This flower is Isogiku(Chrysanthemum pacificum).

We went home and playing in a little seaside .

I heard a strange story from my host .
One day, 10 children went to play in this park .
But when someone count, 1, 2, 3... there are 11 children.
It is each other face that everyone knows .
At that time, photo was taken, you look at later ...It was 10 children.
But it was 11 children certainly in that place!
Would it Who was hell. Kyaaaaaaaaa! yiiiiiiiiipe!

It is said that you are hearing a scary story with ghost behind you.

Posted Nov 30, 2013, 12:45 pm
We came to Yokohama, get on 30 minutes by train.
Standing 296m, the "Yokohama Landmark Tower" is a marvelous cityscape featuring offices, a hotel, and a shopping mall in the central tower, as well as a variety of facilities.

Most people in Japan, not only Christians, They will enjoy Christmas Eve by exchanging presents with family and sweethearts and by eating dinner together.
By the end of November, large trees decorate shopping districts and the advertising for Christmas sales in department stores and shopping street arcades, We found a Christmas tree.

Then we passed Yokohama Sakuragi post office.
Post office is closed because it is saturday.

And we came to Yokohama Stadium.
Game of professional baseball in Japan will take place in April to October.
Unfortunately, I could not watch a Japanese professional baseball game.
There seems to be a Little League baseball game today. Boys wearing baseball uniforms had to fun.

We had little walking, arrived soon Yokohama park.
There are green and yellow and beautiful red leaf
Looking at all the beautiful autumn foliage here is such a treat.

Posted Dec 1, 2013, 1:32 am
We came to Yokohama Chinatown.
Beautiful red lanterns for Chinese New Year was being decorated, and Christmas decorated.
The main attraction of the Yokohama Chinatown, however, is the cuisine offered at its many restaurants and food stands.
Has a history of 150 years, there is 500 Chinese restaurant  in the narrow and colorful streets of Chinatown.
And delicious Chinese cuisine smell from here and there.
It smells wonderful! It makes my mouth water.
We visited "Kanteibyo" .
"Kanteibyo" is a gaudily colored temple in the center of Chinatown. Constructed in 1873 by Chinese residents, it is dedicated to the Chinese god of good business and prosperity.
Various events and festivals are held in Yokohama Chinatown, such as Chinese New Year around the beginning of February or ending of January.

Posted Dec 1, 2013, 2:18 am
I was a walk in the Yamashita Koen-dori avenue.
I think yellow ginkgo leaf is very beautiful .
Then we went to Yamashita Park.

Yamashita Park is a public park that stretches about 750 meters along Yokohama's waterfront.
The park is about a hundred meters wide, and consists mostly of open green space.
It was constructed after the Great Kanto Earthquake of 1923.
Strolling through Yamashita Park, it is hard to miss the massive ocean liner in the water beside the promenade.
The ship is called the Hikawa Maru, and was first put into service in 1930 along the Yokohama-Vancouver and Seattle line.
The ship had first-class cabins that attracted the likes of the imperial family and Charlie Chaplin for the transpacific journey.
In 1960, after 30 years at sea, the ship was retired.
It now serves as a museum, with informative displays and interiors in the style of the 1930s.
You can see the black-tailed gull aligned on the chain.

I was able to see the Christmas tree beautifully decorated in Landmark Tower.
Christmas coming soon! I'm getting excited! Mom!
See you!

Posted Dec 1, 2013, 10:12 am
Today is Labor Thanksgiving Day, national holiday in Japan.
But my host is little sick in bed.
We went to buy Christmas stamps and Christmas postcard and paper tape to go to the shop for her.

Posted Dec 14, 2013, 12:53 am
Hi mom,
My host has been feeling under the weather the past few weeks. She got better now.
She loves to read the travelog of many toys. So, She learned for the first time "St. Nicholas Day" and the "Advent calendar".
Especially, It impressed the Advent calendar, she said "That's interesting!", it bought us the Advent calendar from Czech Republic at imported goods shop.
Many people not knows the St. Nicholas Day and Advent calendar in Japan.
See you soon!

Posted Dec 14, 2013, 11:31 pm
It is sunny day.
We came to "Kaminari Jinja" in Yokosuka.
"Kaminari Jinja" means "Thunder shrine".
Here was built in 1581. There are god of Thunder in this shrine.
In Japan, people often regard the spirits or natural forces as gods.
We went up stairs, And we prayed safe trip and protect us from lightning and thunder in the future.
Ginkgo tree is 400 years old in shrine, it is beautiful seen beginning of December from the end of November.
We were coming a little late.

Posted Dec 15, 2013, 7:22 am
We came to Takatori(It means hunting hawk)-yama(mountain).
It is a small mountain height 139m, you can easily hiking.
Geology of this mountain is tuff of the third generation layer. It is easy to process and soft, making it ideal for stone for wall and foundation of the house.
Here many quarry stone 100 years ago, It was not have quarry now.
Many holes's to rock, it is the trace of Harken struck for climbing practice.
Also, We were able to see "Magaibutsu".
This Magaibutsu is Maitreya, height 8m, width 4.5m.
It was carved out about 50 years ago.
We enjoyed the hike.

Posted Dec 15, 2013, 7:39 am
We were a little tired after hiking.
My host bought for us some sweet donuts, shaped Christmas tree  and Snoopy and woodstock.
Shaped Christmas tree is chocolate and strawberry chocolate, Snoopy is white chocolate taste, woodstock is lemon chocolate taste.
When I actually ate it, I found it tasty.

Posted Dec 18, 2013, 6:51 am
I went to "Yokohama Bayside Marina", located 30 minutes from my host's home by car.
This marina opened 1996, Japan's largest marina with capacity of 1,500 boats.
Currently mooring about 1,200 boats.
Situated midway between Tokyo Bay and the open ocean, it is a prime spot for fishing and cruising, also a visitor's pier for many people to enjoy every weekend.


Posted Dec 22, 2013, 1:00 am
We went to the Yokosuka city museum (Admission free) today!
Although that was a small museum, it was enough to see the life of Japanese people's ancient times.
I saw the skeleton model of naumanni,Then, we relaxed sitting together on the veranda of the house of the old fisherman.
There was a "Irori"(fireplace) in the living room, square place floor, to cause charcoal and firewood on the ashes, also we have warm here, and can cook.
Then I saw a textile machine for weaving yarn into a textile, Farming equipment, fishing equipment, and burial mounds.
I was able to see beetles and jewel beetle, a beautiful butterfly at the exhibition floor of the organism.
If you were not good at insect you should not better see it.
shellfish and giant crab was very interesting.

Posted Dec 22, 2013, 1:01 am
Today is "Toji"(winter solstice) in Japan.
It is the time when the day time is the shortest and the night time is the longest.
In Japan we have a custom to bath with "Yuzu"(kind of Japanese citrus) and eat pumpkin on Toji.
If you do so, it is said you won't get a cold.
In Japan we soak in the warm water (about 40-42 degrees centigrade) to relax every day.
There are many kinds of bath powder to enjoy the fragrance or effect.
Yuzu is very good smell.

Posted Dec 28, 2013, 1:06 am
We looked Japanese calendar.

December 23 became a national holiday to celebrate the present Emperor's birthday in 1989.

Christmas was originally an annual Christian celebration of the birth of Jesus Christ and is a widely observed holiday around the world, but it is not a national holiday in Japan.

With best wishes for Merry Christmas.

Posted Jan 1, 2014, 1:08 am
Hello mom.
New Year holidays start!!!
Most businesses shut down from December 28 to January 5 in Japan, and families typically gather to spend the days together.
With end of Year coming soon, My host decided to give her room a makeover. So we visited to IKEA that shopping and get idea.
IKEA is a furniture store that is very popular in Japan.

Posted Jan 1, 2014, 1:30 am
I went to the "Shinyokohama Raumen Museum" .
The "Shinyokohama Raumen Museum" is a unique museum about ramen, a very popular Japanese noodle dish which was originally introduced from China.
Shin-Yokohama Raumen Museum was founded on March 6th, 1994 as the world's first food-themed amusement park.
Nine ramen shops are showcased in a street-scape replication from the year 1958, Japan.
It was in this year that the world's first instant ramen was invented.
We ate ramen finally.
Their soup here is a mixture of chicken bone and seafood with a flavor that invokes the essence of the ocean, and the noodles they use are special, medium-fine and wavy.
It was so good!

Posted Jan 5, 2014, 12:08 am
This is kind of dried fruit called "Korogaki", dried fruit of Kaki(Japanese persimmon), it is one of food of winter.

Posted Jan 5, 2014, 12:20 am
This is "Kagami mochi", it is shaped from rice cake of New Year.
"Kagami mochi" literally means "mirror rice cake." It is one of traditional decorations for Japanese New Year, and the name "kagami" came from its resemblance to an old-fashioned copper mirror.
This is ornament of "Kagami mochi". That's interesting.

Posted Jan 5, 2014, 12:36 am
I ate Japanese noodles eaten on the last day of the year called "Toshikoshi-soba"(New Year's Eve Buckwheat Noodles).
Eating buckwheat noodles, and wishing for longevity has remained as one of the good old traditions of the night.
The most commonly held explanation for the origin of Toshikoshi-soba is the wish for a "slim but long and healthy life," like buckwheat noodles.
Then I ate Sushi and cake. I am stuffed.

Posted Jan 5, 2014, 1:28 am
Akemashite Omedetou Gozaimasu(A Happy New Year) !!!

New Year (oshogatsu) is the most important holiday in Japan.
Homes and entrance gates are decorated with ornaments made of pine, bamboo and plum trees.
Many Japanese decorate the front door of shops, company buildings and houses with a pair of "Kadomatsu" during the New Year holidays. "Kado" means a gate and "Matsu" means a pine tree. "Kadomatsu" is a decoration consisting of bamboo and pine branches and symbolizes longevity and prosperity. It is said that this is the appropriate way to welcome gods.
We ate a lot of New Year dishes.
Zoni( or Ozoni) is a kind of soup with rice cakes(mochi).
Ingredients vary according to each area.
Fish paste, black beans, and Chawanmushi.
Chawanmushi is cup-steamed egg custard with chicken,  and vegetables.
And I ate Sukiyaki.
"Sukiyaki" is a Japanese dish in the nabemono (Japanese steam-
boat) style.

You can see  "Hamaya".
Hamaya is an arrow-shaped goodluck charm.  It is said to ward off evil spirits and bring in happiness. 
Hamaya is sold at the shrine during the New Year's holidays.
Horse is drawn to Ema(votive picture) because 2014 is horse year.

May the New Year bring many good things to you !

Posted Jan 5, 2014, 4:31 am
I ate "Wagashi".
Traditional Japanese confectionery called Wagashi, made from azuki bean paste and fruits, have a delicate sweetness that dissolves in the mouth.
Intended to please the eye as much as, they are crafted to reflected the four seasons.
Then we enjoyed"Game of Life". It is popular board game.

Posted Jan 5, 2014, 8:36 am
We went to Jogashima Island park.
I saw "Umanose Doumon", It has been eroded Rock by the sea. It was a strange rock form of 8m height.
Then I went to see the Jogashima lighthouse.

Jogashima is habitat of kurosagi and Japanese cormorant here.
They are black birds, build nests in rock reef wall.
Let's expansion! Do you can see they?

We found a statue and flower of aloe and narcissuses with a walk in the beach.
Narcissus was good sweet smell .

You can see Jogashima Island map.

I wanted to look for treasures in shattered shells.
It was not possible to find unfortunately.

We went to Awasaki lighthouse.
It was unique lighthouse.
There were people who are fishing!


Posted Jan 15, 2014, 2:48 am
Hi, mom.
Unfortunately, I was not able to go out together weekend because my host was very busy.
I'll show you one of Japanese winter food called "nabe (hotpot)".
The year's first nabe "Sundubu" is a popular Japanese hotpot with Korean flavours.
In this case we used pork, shimeji mushrooms, tofu, and negi.
Finally we eat sundubu with cheese and udon noodles.
It is easy to warms the body.

Posted Jan 22, 2014, 7:55 am
We came to The Imperial Palace East Gardens, Otemachi of Tokyo by train.
The Imperial Palace East Gardens are a part of the inner palace area and are open to the public.
They are the former site of Edo Castle's innermost circles of defense, the honmaru (meaning "main circle") and ninomaru (meaning "secondary circle"). None of the main buildings remain today, but the moats, walls, entrance gates and several guard-houses still exist.
Edo Castle was the residence of the Tokugawa shogun who ruled Japan from 1603 to 1867.
A wide lawn and the remaining foundation of the former castle tower can be found on top of the hill, where the castle's innermost buildings once stood.
The castle tower was completed in 1638 as the tallest castle tower in Japan's history.
But only a few years later in 1657, it was destroyed by citywide fires and has not been rebuilt ever since.
Then,In place of the former buildings in the secondary circle of defense (ninomaru) at the foot of the hill, a nice Japanese style garden has been created.
We enjoyed walking through this garden.

Posted Jan 23, 2014, 8:41 am
Then we visited the south observatory of Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government Building is often visited by tourists for its free observation decks which provide good panoramic views of Tokyo and beyond.
The 243 meter tall building has two towers, and each houses an observatory at a height of 202 meters.
It had been the tallest building in Tokyo until it was overtaken by the Midtown Tower in 2007.
We can see Mt. Fuji, Tokyo Skytree, Tokyo Tower from the observatories. 
We found a couple of ladybug.

Posted Jan 23, 2014, 9:13 am
Finally, we came to Tokyo Midtown.
Tokyo Midtown is a city within the city in the center of Tokyo's Roppongi district.
And, We went to the National Art Center Tokyo.
Opened in early 2007, the National Art Center Tokyo is Japan's largest art museum.
The museum maintains no permanent collection, but rather provides a venue for various, temporary exhibitions.

It is about time we have to go back home.
I spent a really good time!
Bye for now.

your little Cassiopeia

Posted Jan 26, 2014, 5:27 am
We decided to take it easy at home this weekend.
My host bought lunch for us at Kentucky Fried Chicken.
We ate "Wafu Katsu Sando"(Japanese style pork cutlet sandwitch) and potato, chiken.
Eating has made us sleepy... I'm going to take a nap.
See you again.

Posted Feb 2, 2014, 4:27 am
Hi there!
We came to Kanazawa-bunko station by Keikyu railway take the train for about 10 minutes.
We are going to go to Shomyoji temple, I saw the map carefully because my host might get lost.

Posted Feb 5, 2014, 1:25 am
We arrived in "Shomyoji".
It is said that the foundation period, here we do not know for sure, but to have been founded in 1258 in the tradition.
We walked through the Red Gate.
Then I came to Deva. There is two Deva king Statue , but we can not to take pictures because covered with net.
Beautiful Japanese garden here in an attempt to reproduce the paradise, There is a pond in front of temple.
We were able to enjoy it was a little cold(+7c) and sunny.
see you!

Posted Feb 5, 2014, 1:44 am
Most people send traditional New Year's postcards called Nengajo.
Nengajo are postcards sent as a greeting for the New Year.
It is similar to Christmas cards in the West, though there is no religious significance for nengajo.
In late January the post office announces the winning numbers in their otoshidama nengajo kuji (New Year's postcard lottery).
The nengajo (New Year's postcards) received in the first few days of the year usually come with a lottery number (shown at bottom left of the postcards above), and that number can bring a variety of prizes, 10,000 yen(100 euro or $100) or all the way down to a set of two commemorative stamps.
We were hoping that fortune would ensure us a good prize, and although we did win one set of stamps, the better prizes alluded us.

Posted Feb 5, 2014, 1:57 am
It is Setsubun!
"Setsubun" is a traditional Japanese event, It is meaning the division between two seasons winter and spring.
People scatter roasted soybeans inside and outside their homes as they shout "Oniwa-soto! Fukuwa-uchi!" (meaning "Devils go out ! Happiness come in !").
It's customary to eat the same number of beans as one's age.

Posted Feb 5, 2014, 2:13 am
Here you'll see a typical dinner of Japan.
Rice and miso soup, grilled swordfish, Hijiki(kind of seaweed) salad, Chikuwa(a tube‐shaped fish paste cake) and cabbage braise.

Posted Feb 8, 2014, 7:26 am
In the morning, there are quiet and white view it was surprised me.
Today is snow in Yokosuka. It is really really rare!!!!!
I will try achieving my one of life missions.
We made "Nyanko sensei"(Japanese famous comic character in "Natsume Yujincho") of snow, and we played to write a picture of snow on the ground.
It did not last so long. It was too cold(+2c).
I come back home to drink hot cocoa.

Posted Feb 19, 2014, 8:14 am
The onset of cold weather brought heavy snow across a wide area of Japan.
The Japan Meteorological Agency issued the first heavy snowfall warning for central Tokyo in 13 years.
We could not go out because we had a record snowfall at weekend.
And my host had a bad cold, few days stay in bed.
We gave her some good medicine for cold.
It is OK now. We will go out this week end.
I am looking forward to go out somewhere.

Posted Feb 23, 2014, 8:59 am
Hello mom !!!
It is sunny and cold(+5c).
We visited the Verny park.
The heavy snow has melted away.
I enjoyed a walk in the park, we found gate, it was builded 100 years ago.

Posted Feb 23, 2014, 9:26 am
We came to Yokosuka Station of JR Yokosuka Line.
I'm going to go to Kamakura.
My host bought me a ticket. Can you see?

Posted Feb 26, 2014, 9:01 am
We came to Engakuji in Kamakura.
Engakuji is one of the leading Zen temples in Eastern Japan and the No. 2 of Kamakura's five great Zen temples.
Engakuji was founded by the ruling regent Hojo Tokimune in 1282.
Temple is built into the slopes of Kita-Kamakura's forested hills. The first main structure encountered upon entering the temple grounds is the Sanmon main gate, which dates from 1783.
There was rebuilt relatively recently in 1964 after the former building was lost in an earthquake.

The temple entrance, which is surrounded by many maple trees, is a particularly popular photo object.
Although it is getting warm little bit here in Kamakura, there is still some snow left on places.
We found white plum flowers and pink plum flowers. I think spring is approaching.

This temple has some national treasure, but can only be seen from a distance during most of the year.
Another national treasure found at Engakuji is the temple's large bell (called Ogane).

See you soon.

Posted Mar 1, 2014, 11:42 pm
We went to Mikasa Park in the afternoon, weather is good too!
This place is located 20 minutes from my host home by bicycle.
There was a monument called "arch of peace", it is height 18m .
Many people admire the sea here, relaxed and lying down on the grass.

Posted Mar 2, 2014, 12:58 am
March 3rd is celebrated as the Dolls Festival(or the Girl's Festival) in Japan.
It's called "Hina- Matsuri"or "Momo no Sekku(Peach festival)".
It's the day to pray for healthy growth and happiness for young girls.
Most families with girls display dolls called "Hina-ningyo".
People began displaying dolls in the Edo period(about 18 century).
The dolls depict the imperial court of old.
They are dressed in beautiful ancient court costumes(the Heian period 794-1185).
People display graceful dolls in ancient court costumes on a tier of 5 or 7 shelves covered with scarlet cloth.
These dolls represent the Emperor and Empress, the court ladies, the ministers and the court musicians.
I think dolls of ancient costumes is very interesting, isn't it ?

Posted Mar 2, 2014, 2:48 am
This weekend is rainy, We can not go out.
We are playing Japanese card game "Hanafuda"(Nintendo version)!
This Japanese playing cards was called "Hanafuda"or also "Hana Karuta".
"Hana" mean "flower" in Japanese.
The origin of "Karuta" is Portuguese "Carta".
Hanafuda is Japanese playing cards, which has 12 different flowers of 12 months.
January has Pine, February has Plum, March has cherry blossom, April has Wisteria, May has Iris, June has Peony.
July has Hagi, August has Susuki, September has chrysanthemum, October has maple, November has willow, December has Tung.
My host's toys teach me some rules of Hanafuda.
I have a wonderful time.

Posted Mar 9, 2014, 8:19 am
It is sunny. I found a pay phone in Japan.
Unfortunately, I can not to call mom.
This pay phone is use for Japanese domestic, can not be international calls.
The pay phone also allows we to call the police.
I will push the "110" at that time.
Push on the "119" when you call an ambulance or fire.
You do not need the money at the time of SOS.

Posted Mar 9, 2014, 8:58 am
We came to the "Minato-no-mieru-oka" park.
The park was opened in 1962.
It is very warm today(+10c).
I found little cute flowers called "north pole"(swamp chrysanthemum)in Japan.

Posted Mar 9, 2014, 9:50 am
We came to a place called "Yamate" in Yokohama.
There are Western architecture, many Japanese tourists visit here.
We visited 6 Western-style buildings .
We decided take some pictures with each my friends Toy Voyagers at each place.
Yamate 234 bankan(Bluff No.234)with Aura,
Diplomat's house with Jiaojiao,
British House Yokohama with Cassiopeia,
Ehrisman Residence with Chrissi,
Yamate 111 bankan(Bluff No.111) with Betty Bear.
I have visited it is the called "British House Yokohama".
Here was built as the British Consul General's residence in 1937.
Beautiful flowers and "Hina-Ningyo"(Hina dolls)was being decorated.

Posted Mar 12, 2014, 2:26 am
We went to Bluff No.18.
Look at the beautiful Italian garden, Here also "Hina-Ningyo"(Hina dolls)was being decorated.
It about time the end of the search of fun, We went red brick warehouse.
Wow, there were many "Doraemon".
Mom,  Do you know "Doraemon" ?
He is a famous character in Japan.
They had come to the events of the movie.

Posted Mar 12, 2014, 3:12 am
Hi, mom.
I went to the Kanou shrine. It is said to have been founded in 1181.
The main shrine was rebuilt in 1842. It is amazing wooden sculpture.
Many people have visited this shrine. Because this shrine name "Kanou" is very lucky sounds, and this shrine's Chinese character name.
It is meaning "dreams come true".
Then We ate sushi for lunch at conveyer-belt sushi restaurant.
Tastes really GREAT!

Posted Mar 14, 2014, 8:37 am
Chrissi set out for USA on full of hope.
We said "Have a good trip, Chrissi. I wish you the best of luck in your new journey." with big hugs.

Posted Mar 14, 2014, 9:06 am
Hello Mom, thank you for finding a nice host to me.
This is my last update of Travelog in Japan.
I have to say goodbye.
Everyone gave me a lot of big hugs.
My host gave me a postcard and Kit Kat (green tea flavor).
I had a great time in Japan.
I am little sad, but I am looking forward to go to Italy!
See you soon.
your little Cassiopeia

Posted May 17, 2014, 10:49 pm
Hi Mum!
I finally could reach the pc to write you!
Well, I arrived to Italy. As soon as the box opened, I expected to see a nice house and smiley faces but… well, I wasn’t in a home, I was in a office. But yes, I found some smiley faces!  :D
My host’s boyfriend picked me up the box and brought it at work. So, I had to spend a few hours in a lawyer’s office. I started looking around, there were a lot of books around there… None of them looked very interesting, to be honest!

But then I found some little items to play with, a cute kitten with some alcholism problem….  :cyclops:

And a pair of sunglasses! Don’t I look soooooo coooooollll????  B)

Posted May 17, 2014, 10:59 pm
Hello Mum!
I finally got to know my new host Francesca, and gave her the snacks from Japan. She was so pleased! I found out she is very interested in Japan, so I told her everything I saw and did while I was there.
She was so happy!  ;)
Then, she asked if I could help with her Japanese homework, and... yes, I could!!!!  :D

Those exercices are so easy after a few weeks in Japan!

Posted Apr 12, 2015, 8:58 am
Hello Family,
yesterday I arrived in Switzerland.

I had an enjoyable trip - most of the time I slept.

When my envelope was opened, many curious faces looked inside.

Slowly I made my way out.

Somehow my new friends seemed to be impatient.
They looked again and again at the clock.

Take it easy my friends.

The goat and the little moose fell asleep. I don't know why.

A crab and a dog trying to pull me out of my jacket.

Hi, hi I was a bit too heavy.

From the front pulled and pressed from above.
Why such haste?

Okay, I did do a little faster then.

What a joy when I was outside.

So I was never welcomed.

Greetings from Switzerland

Posted Apr 20, 2015, 12:32 pm
Hello Family,
Today I introduced myself tomcat Timmy.

He hates to be photographed, but my charm he could not resist.

Greetings to all

Posted Apr 20, 2015, 4:37 pm
Hi family
This morning we went for a walk.

Slowly it becomes green again.

This is the river Thur.

The Thur is 134.6 km long, after the Rhine it is the second longest river in eastern Switzerland.
Thur flows through three cantons (St. Gallen, Thurgau and Zurich) until it ends at Flaach into the Rhine.

Then we went uphill.

A bridge over the railroad

- and further uphill.

Under a small tree, we stopped for a break.

A few years ago here stood a big, old apple tree.
When lightning struck him and split, he had to be cut down.

We walked on and came to a wayside cross.

The view was good

- here you see where I live in the moment.

We were looking forward to the flowers that bloom right now.

We went up and down and up again.

The pathes were getting narrower.

Next break on a root.

Then we had to climb stairs.

That took some time, I'm not the fastest.

We marveled trees with large roots

and sat on a high seat for hunters.

This is the path to the waterfall - we will visit it another time. It was too wet to climb among the rocks.

We found a place where we could see the falls from above.
Looks so small.

We came to another bridge over the railway and the ring road.

This is the old weaving. Today, several companies and the Railway Museum are located there.

We walked on

and came to the station. Not much going on today.

Passing chestnut trees,

we reached the railway bridge over the river Thur.

From there we had a beautiful view of Lichtensteig.

The main street.

The Old Town Hall

The "Gallsche Offizin", earlier schoolhouse, then hand press printing with old letters.

Through winding streets we came to the bank building.

Prior to that, there is a statue called "Lost Shadows"
In 1992, the Bank purchased the artwork "Lost Shadows" and make up in front of their office building. A naked man moves out from under a blanket and looking shocked in the sky.

The sculpture was an instant moral scandal in the town. A removal petition to the council initially had no success. The "people's anger" raged with color stops above all to the sex part of the frightened man. In 2000 a second petition achieved a partial success. The figure has been moved and turned so that her nudity is not visible from the main alley.

Okay, let's move on.

This is the town hall

and this is the Toggenburg Museum.

The town from another side.

The next break on a bench behind the Protestant Church.

As far as you can see, everywhere I went.

And it goes on.
Next stop: the factory that produces happiness. (in the form of chocolate wafers)

Mom, I've heard you can need some luck. I'll send you a little bit.

Last stop was the St.Loreto chapel.

A Loreto chapel is a replica of the revered Italian pilgrimage Loreto Basilica della Santa Casa, which the Santa Casa (Holy House) of the Holy Family in Nazareth houses: According to legend,in the 13th century angels should have converted the building from Nazareth to Loreto.

Three hours later we arrived where we started: at home.

Tired but happy

Posted Apr 20, 2015, 6:02 pm
Hi family
today Yuma made on his trip to Poland.

We wished him a quick and safe trip.

Bye for now

Posted Apr 27, 2015, 3:37 pm
Hello Family
Yesterday we took a walk along our river Thur and looked at the waterfall.
The waterfall itself is not very big and not very spectacular. But the way ...

Looks like jungle.

We followed narrow, very narrow paths (the path is good, but there is a risk of falling beside it).

Short stopp

We squeezed through narrow gorges

and crawled through under huge boulders.

Then follows a long jump (via the effluent water)
and there it was, the little waterfall.

We were amazed that such a small waterfall can wash out such a large pool.

Jasper told us, waterfall and Thur are unpredictable.

Normally, everything looks very romantic.

But two days heavy rain, and every path and every place you see here is several meters under water.

We followed the river,

running through fields of wild garlic,

played with stones

and sat on roots

or in the warm sand.

Several times we were happy to sit in Jaspers pocket.

She had to overcome dangerous places and we were chattering in the bag with our teeth.

But Toyvoyager are adventurers and we spent a exciting afternoon.

Bye for now

Posted May 10, 2015, 1:19 pm
Hi mom
Today there is not much to tell.
Jasper is very busy and I help where I can.
For example, with the laundry.

As a reward I was allowed to bathe in chocolate bars.



Posted May 10, 2015, 1:30 pm
Happy Mother's Day

Love you

Posted May 18, 2015, 3:29 pm
Hi family

Today we said goodbye Scoop.

With our best wishes and hugs in the luggage he set out on the long journey to Australia.

Enjoy the warmth and have a good time dear friend.

Bye for now

Posted May 18, 2015, 3:49 pm
special Event!
Two of Jasper's TV's - Stripes and Sally came home from the United States.

Said hello, exchanged the envelope, said goodbye and were gone again.

But we are also in a hurry.
We have to pack our bags.

Tomorrow early in the morning transfer to the airport.


Just a few short days. But better than nothing.
I report when I get back.

Until then

Posted May 22, 2015, 10:46 am
Hello family
early in the morning we took the train to Zurich airport.
Croissant and cappuccino - to soothe the stomach and nerves.

We were terribly excited.
And then wait for boarding.

Then finally it happened - get in, sit down and take off.

The flight did not take very long.

Another time we took the train.
Our goal was King's Cross in London.

We quickly brought our luggage to the hotel (a 5 minute walk) and then it started.
First, we marveled at the station. Old walls and modern design are united here.

And then we visited the passage to platform 9 3/4.

Harry Potter sends his regards.

to be continued


Posted May 22, 2015, 3:38 pm
Hello from London
we took the subway - called London Tube - and drove into the city.
First stop: Piccadilly Circus.
Ironically, here it rained briefly, but that didn't bother us.
We marveled at the giant billboards, the traffic and the crowds.

Piccadilly Circus is a road junction and public space in London's West End.
In 1811 the Prince Regent, later King George IV wished a boulevard that should begin in St. James's and lead to Regent's Park. He commissioned the best known architects of the time, John Nash, to fulfill this wish. After eight years of construction, the masterpiece in 1819 was completed.
London's citizens was a commemorative street to Earl not enough. They decided to collect donations to erect a monument. Finally, 1893 the Shaftesbury Memorial Fountain was inaugurated, which is known as Eros Fountain today.

However, the winged figure on the tip should not represent Eros, but the Angel of Christian Charity.
The prudish citizens did not like the almost naked figure and jeered and mocked the builder.
Today Piccadilly Circus connects Shaftesbury Avenue, the Haymarket, Coventry Street. (Towards Leicester Square), Regent Street and Lower Regent Street, Piccadilly and a small side street, the Glasshouse Street.
After thoroughly looking around we ran on.

Around the next corner we looked at the fountain "The Horses of Helios"

In Greek mythology, Helios was the sun god.
The task of Helios was to steer the sun chariot across the sky, which was drawn by four stallions. Impressive.

We took Regent Street to Waterloo Place and passed the monument of King Edward VII.

At Waterloo Square, stands the Duke of York Monument.
The Duke of York Column was built between 1831-1834. It rises to a height of about forty meters.

Prince Frederick Augustus, better known as the Duke of York, was the second son of King George III. As commander of the British army, he soon realized that the army was outdated and the Duke introduced significant reforms to modernize and improve the army.
Shortly after his death in 1827, donated all British troops a day's pay for the construction of a monument in honor of the Duke of York.
Continuing on our way we saw The Mall with Admiralty Arch.

This road will visit later.

Our goal was to Horse Guards Parade.

Horse Guards Parade is a large parade ground near Whitehall.
It is the site of the annual ceremonies of Trooping the Colour, which commemorates the monarch's official birthday.
The course is open to the west, there adjoins the St. James's Park. The other three sides are bordered by buildings. The Old Admiralty Building and the citadel of the Admiralty is located on the north side,

on the east side Horseguards, the former headquarters of the British army, now headquarters of the Household Division.

To the south borders the treasury office (HM Treasury) and the rear part of 10 Downing Street, the official residence of the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom.

Part of the wall of HM Treasury.

We crossed the square and came to the courtyard of the Horse Guards.

Coincidentally, just held an inspection.

poor guys. There were some red heads.
But - the Queen's personal Life Guard must be in good shape.

That's Horse Guard seen from the street.

We used a narrow street close to reach St.James Park.

A royal squirrel.

Shaun the Sheep.

Spread all over the city are differently designed sheep figures.

They collect for seriously ill children.

That's it for today - but it goes on.

Big kiss from London

Posted May 23, 2015, 4:57 pm
Hello Family
after a good night's sleep and breakfast, we started the next day.

Today an extensive city tour is on the program.

Hop off at Buckingham Palace.
The first thing we saw was the Queen Victoria Memorial.

The Victoria Memorial is a 26 m high, built in honor of Queen Victoria of Great Britain figures group.
At the top stands the gilded goddess of victory.

1911 revealed and built of 2,300 tonnes of marble.
The palace gate with the royal arms.

And that's Buckingham Palace - the official residence of the British monarch in London.

775 rooms, more than 1,000 windows, 450 employees and approximately 50,000 persons participating annually in events on the palace grounds.
Impressive numbers. (It's said that the Queen didn't like the palace - she calls it her London office)
The Mall (0.93 km) is the avenue of the capital and the first stage of the sovereign on his journey either to the Houses of Parliament or to the Horse Guards parade ground. It extends from Buckingham Palace in the west to Admiralty Arch and Trafalgar Square at its eastern end.

We walked along the Mall and discovered the monuments of "Queen Mum" and her husband, King Geoerge VI.

We reached Trafalgar Square, the largest public square London's.

In the middle of the square stands a monument to Admiral Nelson, built by the citizens of London - in gratitude for the victory of the English over the French and Spanish in the Battle of Trafalgar.
The Nelson's Column with the Admiral at the top is as high as Nelson's flagship HMS Victory from the keel to the mast top (51 meters) and was built in 1842. At the foot of the column there are four lions bronze sculptures.

Also on Trafalgar Square is the National Gallery.

The displayed governmental paintings collection includes around 2300 paintings from the 13th to the 19th century.

That's St. Martin in the Fields.

Hop on to St Paul's Cathedral.

And then directly to the London Eye.

The London Eye, also known as the Millennium Wheel, is at a height of 135 meters currently the tallest Ferris wheel in Europe.

The London Eye has 32 air-conditioned almost entirely of glass shaped gondolas.

It takes nearly 40 minutes for a rotation.
A little pleading and begging and Jasper bought Tikets.

What a great view over the city.

This road is called the Strand.

The name originates from the old English language and means similar to the German shore or riverbank.
Unbelievable but before the construction of the Thames Embankment the road ran right next to the River Thames.

We take a break.

See you later

Posted May 25, 2015, 3:28 pm
Hello everybody
after a few Crisscross rides (this will continue so) we ended up at the Houses of Parliament and Big Ben.

The Palace of Westminster (often called Houses of Parliament) is a monumental, built in the Gothic Revival style building. The palace is located in the City of Westminster on Parliament Square, close to the government buildings at Whitehall. He was declared a World Heritage Site along with the Westminster Abbey and St. Margaret's Church by UNESCO.

The most famous part of the palace is the clock tower with the bell Big Ben. (since 2012 officially named Elizabeth Tower)

That's Parliament Square,

and this the famous Westminster Abbey.
(shooting in the church was not allowed - unfortunately)

That's St.Margaret's Church.

We said hello to Mr. Churchill

and moved on to Hyde Park.

We entered the park by Queen Elizabeth Gate, also known as the Queen Mother's Gate.
It was opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1993 to celebrate the 90th birthday of her mother, Queen Elizabeth The Queen Mother.
The centerpiece of the door shows a red lion and a white unicorn.

Hyde Park is 1.4 square kilometers, along with Kensington Gardens 2.5 and thus larger than the Principality of Monaco.

We strolled along the Serpentine Lake

and came to the Princess Diana Memorial Fountain.

Next stop was the Albert Memorial.

The Albert Memorial consists of a nearly 60 meters high, carried by four pillars, canopy. Under this sits the four-meter-high statue of Albert.

It is reminiscent of the husband of Queen Victoria.
Directly opposite is the Royal Albert Hall of Arts and Sciences - the usable part of the memorial.
In the Albert Hall several types of major events take place: from symphony concerts (for example, the Proms) about pop concerts to boxing matches.

Last place on today's tour was Kensington Palace.
Although this palace looks a bit like a factory, he has experienced a lot.

Queen Victoria was born here. Princessin Diana lived here until her death - just as Princess Margaret, the sister of the Queen.
And now it is the London home of William and Kate.
We went to our London home and then to bed.

It was a long, eventful day.

Posted Jun 4, 2015, 6:38 am
Thursday was our last day in London. Only a short day and still soo much to see.
We had to limit ourselves to the essentials.
Past modern buildings

and ancient pubs

we drove towards Tower.

We crossed the famous Tower Bridge.

The bascule bridge - built in neo-Gothic style - was opened in 1894.
1977 - to celebrate the silver jubilee of Queen Elizabeth II, the metal parts of the Tower Bridge was painted in the British national colors red, white and blue. This color scheme remained until today.

After a walk over the bridge

we headed to the Tower of London.

Her Majesty's Royal Palace and Fortress the Tower of London (the official name) is a fortified complex of buildings along the Thames at the southeast end of the City of London.

The ring castle with two fortification rings served the English and British kings, among others, as a residence, armory, workshop, warehouse, Zoo, garrison museum, mint, prison, archive and execution site.

Originally, the tower was built in the 11th century as a fortress of William the Conqueror against potentially hostile citizens of the city of London.

UNESCO declared the Tower in 1988 a World Heritage Site.

We walked around the Tower, through the Tower. Upstairs and downstairs.

This is "The Shard"

completed, it will be Europe's tallest building.

Behind these walls are the crown jewels.

The crown jewels of the kings and queens blinded us. Gold and jewels - so big and so much, you can not imagine.
Photographing was unfortunately "strictly forbidden".

Jasper tried to explain everything to us, but we could barely keep anything.

Too many impressions.

Ooh - a story stayed with me:
In Tower live six ravens.
The legend says, if the ravens leave the Tower, the kingdom will perish.
Thus the Ravens can not fly away, the wings are clipped, and a "spare Raven" is held.
Haha, so cunning.
This is one of the six.

At the end of our London trip we took a boat trip on the Thames.

Last impressions of a beautiful journey.

That's it from London - next time again from Switzerland.


Posted Jun 4, 2015, 2:25 pm
Hello Family,
barely right at home, we were able to greet the next guest.

NiliHH came with many sweets and a beautiful postcard.

Big group hug - and

Welcome to our gang!

Many kisses

Posted Jun 13, 2015, 11:04 am
Hi family,
today we went out for a walk. After several violent thunderstorms it was not so easy to find appropriate ways. Everything was very wet.
We drove to a small village called Ricken.

The high moorland on the Rickenpass is a recreational area between Toggenburg and Lake Zurich.

It is also a sanctuary for rare species. Even the capercaillie breeds here.
And the black grouse.

So it was that we - which is rather rare for TV's - pretty quiet scurried through the forest.

Oh, a "victim" of the recent storm.

Up here, nature is left to itself.

We found many beautiful flowers in the meadows.

And tons of blueberry bushes.

Always the lookout for the capercaillie - we have of course seen none - we were running through the woods.

Sometimes it was steep,