Taro, Ishikawa, Japan


Posted Mar 12, 2007, 6:14 pm
A travel tag was arrived at last and I have registered this website now.

My traveling will start soon...I'm very excited and can't wait :)

Here is Taro's old travel list

He has visited:
Fam-united in Gernany
Drakie in England
ChristinaB in Austria
Mood in France
Aliah in Malaysia
BunTraveler in USA
Ondrejliska in Czech Republic
becka_kate in Australia
icitaiwan in Taiwan

I want to THANK all of you!!

~~Taro's new travel list~~
(This list will be changed sometimes)

Blackcat in Germany (Taro will visit her soon)
Szandra in Hungary
kristl in Russia
Artwyrd in UK
inkie1010 in The Netherlands



He is looking for new hosts!!

Posted Mar 28, 2007, 8:58 pm
Finally I've started travelling!!
The first country I visit is Germany.

I can't wait to meeting fam-united and her family.

Posted Apr 5, 2007, 9:44 pm
Hooray! Hurray! I'm out of my envelope. It was a long travel, but finally I'm here. On my first day on Tuesday I had a nice table soccer game with Eddy Bear and Björn Bangsi, two other toyvoyagers. Then we had a nice pillowtalk in the bed of the oldest son. Would like to know, what his friends would say about that, hahaha.
Let me tell you, who is there in the bed. From the left to right you see: Aaron's twin sister, me, Björn Bangsi, Eddy Bear and Cassiopeia's twin sister. All send greetings to Cassiopeia and kisses from her twin.

Posted Apr 5, 2007, 9:47 pm
Today we went to the beautiful baroque palace of Bruchsal and took a lot of pictures there.

Rebuilt from the ruins of the bombing of March 1st 1945 the magnificent baroque residence serves many purposes today. The portrait of Maria Theresa, empress of Austria, looks upon the shining and gleaming Marble Hall from Cardinal Hutten. The crowning glory of the stairwell by Balthasar Neumann leads to the reconstructed halls and modern museums. In the south wing the parish of St. Damian and Hugo has its church with a modern interior.

First and second picture: the tower belongs to the church, both are connected by a dark hallway.
On both pictures I'm in front of the church, on the first picture the church is on the left side and the other building between church and tower is the hallway. The second picture shows the back side of the church.

At the front, on top and at the rear - baroque elements and shapes everywhere. THe palace's garden terrace was laid out in the eighties according  to the original, unused 18th century blueprints.


Posted Apr 5, 2007, 9:51 pm
On the second picture I'm sitting with Björn Bangsi and Eddy Bear with the Damianstor in our back.
The Damian's Gate forms the remarkable northern entrance to the palace area and the town. The splendid palace of Damian Hugo of Schönborn - bishop, sovereign and cardinal of the state of Speyer - with its numerous surrounding baroque buildings, is fenced off by walls and ditches to produce the impression of a baroque quarter of its own.

The other photos are taken in the palace garden on the backside of the palace. On one building I saw a sundial. I met some ducks at the fountain and one came really close to us, but didn't like to get on the photo.

Posted Apr 10, 2007, 5:16 pm
Last Sunday and Monday I celebrated Easter with my host family.
On Sunday we went Easter egg hunting in the beautiful garden of my host mum's parents, but unhappily all pictures seem deleted. But my host told me, that she will try to find a program to maybe find the photos again.
Happily we had lovely weather yesterday, too. So we took photos in the garden and I like them very much. I hope, you love them too. I met a wooden Easter bunny in the livingroom and some Easter lambs out of biscuit on the table in the diningroom.

Posted Apr 15, 2007, 6:57 pm
Today we were in Mannheim. We visited our host's aunt and uncle. And my host showed us the Water-Tower of Mannheim. Her kids and we loved that place with all the tulips and other flowers. Can you smell them?

Mannheim is in the Rhine-Neckar triangle, one of the largest areas of industry in Germany. It's the second largest city in Baden-Württemberg with 325 349 inhabitants. It's 70 km south of Frankfurt a.M. and 140 km northwest of Stuttgart.

The Water-Tower is Mannheim's most famous landmark. It was built in 1886. The construction is made of yellow sandstone, has a height of about 60 metres, holds 2000 cubic metres of water and is built in the Roman monumental style.
The Christmas fair around the Water-Tower is very popular.

Posted Apr 15, 2007, 7:13 pm
I saw a big wall with a man, who had something like a bicycle at his side. It is of Carl Benz. It seems, that they aren't sure how to write it correctly, because I found Carl on that wall, but Karl on wikipedia. I saw that he was born in Karlsruhe, which is only about 20 km from Bruchsal.

Karl Friedrich Benz (December 6, 1844 – April 4, 1929) was a German engine designer and automobile engineer, generally regarded as the inventor of the gasoline-powered automobile. Other German contemporaries, Gottlieb Daimler and Wilhelm Maybach, also worked independently on the same type of invention, but Benz patented his work first and, after that, patented all of the processes that made the internal combustion engine feasible for use in automobiles. In 1886 Karl Benz was granted a patent for his first engine, which he designed in 1878.

Karl Benz (Related to the Benz family today) was born Karl Friedrich Michael Vaillant, in Karlsruhe, Baden (now part of Germany), to locomotive driver Johann George Benz and Josephine Vaillant. When Karl was two years old, his father was killed in a railway accident, and his name was changed to Karl Friedrich Benz in remembrance of his father.


Posted Apr 15, 2007, 7:22 pm
Finally we arrived at the garden, where we wanted to eat cakes and drink some juice and have some chat.
I was so fascinated by all the flowers around me.
We took a lot of photos and I will show some here. You see my friends and me in the forsythia and me in front of the appletree and cherrytree.

Posted Apr 15, 2007, 7:30 pm
On Friday the whole family was on a trip to Schwetzingen to show us the beautiful garden of the palace.

Schwetzingen Castle began as a simple aristocratic fishing retreat (much like Versailles which began as a hunting lodge) and had an eventful architectural history, in several phases of construction, especially during the reigns of the Electors Palatine Karl Philip (1716-1742) and Karl IV Theodor (1742-1799) who, as their answer to Versailles, embellished the castle gardens with some of the finest and most elaborate formal water parterres in Germany gardens.

As it evolved, the high central Baroque block of the Castle was extended to either side (from 1747 onwards) in matching curved ranges of glazed arcades that were punctuated by pavilions which followed the arc of the vast garden circle. They partly enclose the circle bisected by a wide gravel axis flanked by parterres which centers on a spring-fed water-basin inspired by the bassin of Diana at Versailles, but here expressing the more appropriately water-centered Greek myth of the poet Arion and the dolphins.

The Schwetzingen Castle is the most famous landmark of the city. The accompanying garden is also very famous as there are elements of French Baroque styles combined with the English gardening style, with statuary by Peter Anton von Verschaffelt. Also worth seeing are the theatre, the orangery, the bath, the Apollo temple, Mercury temple, the mosque (built 1778 – 1791), the Minerva temple and the fountain of Arion.

I'm sure, that you believe me, that I was so so tired, when I came home again.


Posted Apr 24, 2007, 9:15 pm
Wow, today evening I have been at a museum, where they showed different things of the Stone Age and I heard one man playing percussions and one woman telling Anatolian fairy tales. One man and another woman played guitar and Turkish guitar between the stories. I never heard such sounds, but I liked it. Unhappily we have no photo, only one, that isn't really good, but be sure, I really have been there. We came home at 11pm early, because the museum night ended at 1am. I was so tired.
You can see a photo of the palace of Karlsruhe, but without me.

Posted Apr 24, 2007, 9:17 pm
I met three guinea pigs today, but Sabrina my little host forgot to take a photo with me, although I was in the stable with them. Nevertheless I send you a photo.

Posted Apr 24, 2007, 9:18 pm
In the late afternoon, my two adult host drove with me to some other places in Bruchsal. They showed me a beautiful baroque church inside and outside, the Belvedere - a hunting lodge, the Damianstor. It is all so beautiful, especially with this blue of the sky and the sunshine.

Posted Apr 24, 2007, 9:19 pm
I saw a lot of asparagus fields, but still I haven't eaten some, because they are too expensive at the moment. Then you see a street, which is on the east side of the house, where I'm at the moment. On the left side of the picture you can see the swing in the garden.

Posted Apr 24, 2007, 9:20 pm
I visited a chapel in a suburb of Bruchsal called Untergrombach. The chapel "Michaelskapelle"  is on a hill called Michaelsberg. I had a wonderful view over the Rhine valley and in the back a view in the Kraichgau. I saw many quarry ponds and my host told me, that she swam in one of them, when she was younger. It's the see you can sea on the photo and this sea also belongs to Untergrombach. Next to the sea you see a wood, which is the border between Untergrombach and Bruchsal.

Posted Apr 24, 2007, 9:21 pm
Later in the morning my host showed me some places I never would like to see from inside: the slaughterhouse, the jailhouse and one building - the oldest part- of the hospital . But my host told me, that she would like to show me the slaughterhouse, because she likes going there with her husband and older kids for listening to comedians -  a funny place for that things, that's my opinion. 

Then we visited the park of the palace of Bruchsal and we took a photo of me in front of one statue. I heard, that there is one statue for each season of the year and one statue for each of the four elements water, fire, earth, air. In another part of the park we took photos of me in front of a wisteria. You can't believe, how it tickled in my nose.

Posted Apr 26, 2007, 1:27 pm
Good bye, Taro. We surely will miss you. Have a nice time in England now. We hope to meet you some day again.

Posted May 2, 2007, 10:00 pm
Here i am in Honiton, lovely sunny weather...  getting ready for the weekend to Durdle Door, the Unesco World Heritage Site,  and Lulworth Cove in Dorset lovely weather too.  Then we are going to have to pack to go to Lanzarote and Feurtenvtura for the day see the volcano`s.  Cannot wait week in the sun along with Henry the Adventure Hound,  Siti Smut, and and C.K. yippee.. 

Durdle Door - world famous geological wonder.
Durdle Door in Dorset with its massive rock arch, set right on the Jurassic Coast between Swanage and Weymouth, is absolutely beautiful. There is a sloping beach for bathing or snorkeling from, caves and exciting rock strata.

Just along the coast path from Lulworth Cove with its thatched cottages, fishing boats, lobster pots, wild flowers, quaint little gift shops and tea rooms - the charm of the place is timeless and you will want to return over and again.


The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO is assessing the superb coastline for the award of World Heritage Site status because its geology and physical geography is of international conservation importance.

Don't miss it!

Don't miss seeing fabulous Lulworth Cove either, it's just along the coast path! 

This is where my host lives... in Honiton, not a very good picture but a nice house.  Still yet to meet the bunny

Posted May 7, 2007, 7:53 pm
The World Heritage Committee of UNESCO is assessing the superb coastline for the award of World Heritage Site status because its geology and physical geography is of international conservation importance.

Don't miss it!

Don't miss seeing fabulous Lulworth Cove either, it's just along the coast path! 

Here are the 3 boys with the Monkey...  what a busy weekend and tomorrow going to see a Tag Rugby match which my host arranges with her "other boys" from the Police Station.

Photos:  CK with the gang, Lulworth Cove and CK at Rugby

Posted May 7, 2007, 7:55 pm
Well had lots to do.  We went to Durdle Dor and Lulworth Cover, My host couldnt walk down big cliff because bad knee but husband took us but he was too shy to take pictures because people were watching him!!! MEN!! 

Both were beautiful, White Cliffs, like Dover but this is natural as they have to paint White Cliffs of Dover now.  And wait for this, so exciting we went on a speedboat, it was wicked... so fast it was WONDERFUL.....  saw another side to Durdle Dor, and Lulworth cove... all the boys decided it was so nice to do boyish things.... 

Then went to Lulworth Castle, we all made for the canons and sat on top of them, again a man thing I thought, these were original canons. 

Lulworth Castle

Lulworth Castle is a dramatic early-17th century hunting lodge.
The mock castle was built in 1607 - 10 by Thomas Howard, 3rd Viscount Blindon.  He was a member of the huge Howard clan who were in great favour at the court of  James I and had his principal seat at nearby Blindon Abbey. 

The design of the grand hunting lodge was inspired by chivalric literature so loved by the Jacobean court.  During the Civil War Blindon Abbey was destroyed by fire and Lulworth Castle was badly damaged.  In 1643 the estate was purchased by Humphrey Weld, a wealthy Londoner, and it became the Weld family's principal home.  The interior was remodelled on several occasions during the 18th and 19th centuries removing all traces of the original interiors. 

The Castle was seriously damaged by a fire in 1929 and remained a shell until the end of the 20th century.  The property is still in the hands of the Weld family who run the estate but the Castle itself is cared for by English Heritage.  They have recently restored much of the building.

This is us looking through the windows, what lovely windows we thought.  It was a lovely sunny day too.

We then went into Lulworth itself and again lovely, there was ducks swimming in the ponds and rivers and we thought they looked cute.  They kept ducking .... ducking get it... down in the water we thought they had drowned but my host told us it was ok, they were looking for food.  phew.....  close shave or what.

Latitituds etc not working at present

Posted May 7, 2007, 8:02 pm
7th May 2007 - Osminton Dorset, uk

White Horse, Osmington
The white horse is carved into the side of Osmington Hill to the east of the town, overlooking Weymouth Bay. This horse, at 260 feet long, is the only example of a horse with rider. There are several stories surrounding its cutting; the most common view is that it was cut by a soldier in the early 19th century to commemorate the visits paid to Weymouth by King George III and his brother, the Duke of Gloucester from 1789. However, given the size of the site, covering nearly an acre, it is unlikely to be the work of one man! Another story says that the work was done by a group of engineers, stationed in Weymouth when the fear of a Napoleonic invasion was at its height. This is linked to the mention of the horse in Thomas Hardy's "The Trumpet Major", where it is said to commemorate the Battle of Trafalgar.

See pictures the white horse is of chald as the hills.  Also you can see Horse in distance where toy voyagers are, the horse is in the background on the hills.

Very pretty around here, very relaxing, thatched cottages, countryside very peaceful, so peaceful Taro had to be woken to go home ... very relaxing on a rock... in the sun and boy was it hot, you would be too if you were covered in fur. 


Posted May 7, 2007, 8:31 pm
Well what an exciting weekend, coves, caves, speedboats, ducks on ponds, ice creams, tag rugby.  tomorrow I am going to where my host works at the local Police Station.  If we are good she has told us we might get a ride in a Police car.. yippee lots of boy things thats what we like.

Then I have to pack for Lanzarote... yeseeeeeesss

Well today 22nd May we went to the Police station, quite a manly thing to do you understand.  First we played with the computer, had a great time looking for criminals etc and naughty persons then the electrics went off, I blame siti smut but he says it was my fault, I deny everything and anything!!  Then we sat on the Police car, it had to be on it not in it or you wouldnt see us.  Played with the blue lights a great time for us boys.    Ck got the giggles when the light was flashing but it was ok as no one saw us..... 

updates to follow on the holiday and pictures.

Pictures 1:  Getting ready for Lanzarote!!!  exciting....

Well at the Police Station:   

Posted May 27, 2007, 6:54 pm
Welcome to Lanzarote, boy is it hot, we arrived quite late but great to be out of the bag all 3 of us.  It was about 80-90 degrees, that means hot.  We were at a place called Papagayo, Iberostar Papagayo hotel, very nice too and lots of food, we were all stuffed all week.... hot from first thing.


The Montañas del Fuego (Mountains of Fire), on the west side of Lanzarote, are the central feature of the Timanfaya National Park (area 5,107 hectares/20 sq.mi), which was established in 1974.

The Timanfaya National Park, in northwestern Lanzarote, is a center of volcanic activity. The lower part of the park consists of a large lava field out of which rise a series of cones and craters, like the Caldera Roja, near which is the only spring in this very hot and dry area, the Fuente de los Miraderos. These higher points, covered with volcanic ash, lapilli and "bombs", are a striking sight with their varied hues of black, yellow and red. Visitors can follow the Ruta de los Volcanes (14km/9mi) through the park. The inhospitable volcanic terrain is slow to recover a mantle of vegetation. The most resistant plants are the lichens, of which there are more than a dozen species. They are usually followed by succulents like Aeonium lancerotense Prager and various euphorbias (E. balsamifera Ait., E. obtusifolia Poir.); also common is aulaga maiorera (Zollikoferia spinosa Boiss.), which the local people set on fire for the benefit of tourists. A curious feature to be seen on the coast, where the lava has formed natural bridges, is the growth of rushes (Juncus acutus L.) in regular rows on the porous subsoil which stores up water. The only vertebrates are reptiles, the commonest and most interesting of which is the Atlantic lizard (Lacerta atlantica) or lagarto de haria, a species endemic in the Canaries.
The volcano is still live!!  and hot, if you pick up stones near the top just slightly a bit down they are very hot!! 

You will see the big spout of water, well a hole had been dug several metres down and then water poured on and only 3 seconds laters, this happened that is how alive it is.  We boys were so excited.l  WOW....

And we had a ride on a camel..... the man was laughing at us, we should be laughing at him, he is the one doing the walking with the camel not us!!!  ha ha ha


Posted May 27, 2007, 8:04 pm
Back in Honiton, my host has just had an operation on her knee and its raining.  No wonder there is so much green grass.
Might be going to Padstow next week, this is where CK lives well its called that but that is in Australia.  We will then be looking to go on our travels again. 

Devon is nice, lots of cows, sheeps and piggies, phew... a bit strong smell in the summer but this is Devon in the country...

more pictures next week then off again.  it will be sad to leave my 3 muskateers, been in Police Car, Been on speedboat, camel rides,  up a live volcano,  watching the duckies, helping my host at work, been on holiday, met snowy the bunny.  But then onto adventures new.

Been to the Honiton Church last weekend, to a christening, it was lovely inside, got postcards to prove it.  And Seaton Trams, they still use them in Seaton which is about 8 miles from Honiton.


Well we have a lady arrive, well spoilt our boyish plans, not that I am having anything to do with her of course, but the other boys cannot do enough of her... disgusting running around after her... Lilabun from Bun Traveller in Oregan... well, she is pretty I have to admit...  very much a lady, and guess what we are having a tea party soon, I mean, give me McDonalds anyday....  she is nice and it is her first trip so I guess we have to give in, my host is a girl, her real life bunny is a girl, and Lilabun and soon Cotton Candy which we think is a girl, so I guess we give in gracefull.  but I mean  cream teas....  it will be croquet next.... help

Posted Jun 2, 2007, 6:03 pm
Well here we are today, the sky is great, the sun is out and the birds are singing.  A lovely day.  We boys wanted to go to McDonalds for a burger but oh no Lila Bunz (the posh one) decided otherwise so we decided ... well actually she told us... why are all women bossy!!!  that we were going to have a tea party, afternoon tea in the garden, actually it started off very nice...  chocolate biscuits great I thought with little china cups, tea with milk in... strange but nice  I can cope with that.  Then Lila and Cotton Candy, the girls decided they wanted to mee Snowy, she looks very pretty but what happened she dived in straight for the chocolate biscuit, knocking me over, help!!!  CK passed out falling over Lila bunz and what happened that is the moment the picture was taken and she wasnt in it!!! ha ha ha    :D :rolleyes:  so so funny, she didnt mind being knocked over but she wasnt happy to be kept out of the picture!!!  he he he

Posted Jun 8, 2007, 9:01 pm
Well it was a lovely weekend and we went to Padstow in Cornwall, thats the leggy bit at the end of South West England, well actually the leg of UK.  We firstly went to the market, our host could only hobble so did not stay their much. We then found this Pizie sanctuary, it was great we were nearly as tall as them!!  ha ha ha

Then we boys spotted the sign saying "Padstow", which is where C.K and Cotton Candy come from but in Australia, amazing luck so we stopped so they could have a picture taken.  Then we continued to Padstow, lovely place with a lovely harbour, we were at the sea-side!!! yippeeeeeee.  We then went to the tea rooms, us boys were not that bothered so Lila bunz went on her own so we went exploring.  Then we went home to a roast dinner, yum yum,

Then it was time to be packaged up and sent to my next host!!!  how sad.... hope I meet the others again along the trail. Photo to follow

Photos updated, and taro with a English Traditional meal, with beef, yorkshire puddings (little white pastry items) from up yorkshire you put jam in them but we dont.  Carrots, cabbage, leeks, peas, mashed potatoe, mint sauce I know that usually comes with lamb but again my host liked it and so did I.  Horseradish sauce, and it does not come from a horse, then followed by a trifle, yummy yummy in my tummy thank you.  And followed by a lovely glass of red wine.  very nice too.

Posted Jun 11, 2007, 10:02 am

I just arrived in Vienna and had a warm welcome from Frida who already stayed here for a while, from Pooh, the little bear from Taiwan (he's an inofficial toyvoyager, but a very friendly one) and from CK and Alfie Langer who arrived yesterday. I'm sure I'll have a great time here in Vienna and I'm looking forward to all my adventures here.

Love, Taro

Posted Jun 19, 2007, 10:21 pm
I'm having a great time here in Austria. Already found some really nice friends and I have alot of fun with the other toyvoyagers here. At the beginning there were 5 of us: CK, the cheerful Koala from Australia, another guy from this country, Alfie Langer, then there was Frida the frog from Germany who already continued her journey to the UK and Pooh from Taiwan. And me of course.

On Saturday all of us went to lake Neusiedlersee in an area called Burgenland. It was great to spend the day there because it was sooo hot so it was nice to be so close to the water. In the everning there was a thunderstorm which was very impressing to see so close to the lake.

By the way: Neusiedlersee is also protected by the UNESCO as a WHS - but as you know I have already completed this mission.

Posted Jun 27, 2007, 11:24 pm
Oh, what a busy time I'm spending here in Austria! I already did ALOT of sightseeing - so much that I didn't even find enough time to update my travellog. But now here there are some photos of me taken in Vienna when we made a long walk in the city centre.

You can see me in front of St. Stephen's Cathedral, St. Charles' Church, a beautiful subway station nearby, the opera and the Parliament.

Posted Jun 27, 2007, 11:29 pm
I also saw the Hofburg (which was the former residence of the Habsburg family and hosts the National Library and some museums as well as the president's office nowadays...), Belvedere Castle (so I fullfilled another mission since I visited a cathedral and a castle here - yippie!!!), the City Hall, the Old Imperial Theatre and some other nice places. And guess whom I met here while walking through the streets!? Good old Mozart!!!

Posted Jun 27, 2007, 11:34 pm
My hosts also took me to the Danube tower. Unfortunately we didn't go up because the weather wasn't good enough for a nice view, but me and the other toyvoyagers enjoyed to have a walk through the park around the tower. Have a look at the beautiful roses we saw!!!

When we went towards the subway we also passed by the building of the UNO here in Vienna. Impressing building I must say!!! And then my hosts showed me something I've always wanted to see before: The Big Wheel!! How nice, isn't it? I'm sorry that the pictures are all a bit dark but the weather was a bit rainy and clowdy most of the time...

Posted Jun 27, 2007, 11:38 pm
CK, Alfie Langer, Pooh, Frida and I were really helpful guests for our hosts... One day it was time to pick the cherries from the tree. Oh, what a lot of work - but it was great fun and we all enjoyed the delicious fruits!!

Posted Jul 9, 2007, 11:55 am
My friends and I spent a wonderful day in the park of Schönbrunn Palace lately. It is soooo huge and there is really a lot to discover: Fountains, ruins,... they even have a zoo there! We climbed up a hill to a building called "Gloriette" where we had an impressing view over the city.

Schönbrunn was the former summer residence of the Habsburg family and is nowadays Austria's #1 tourist attraction. And it is one of 8 UNESCO WHS here in Austria. So I really fullfilled this mission now, didn't I???

Posted Jul 9, 2007, 12:08 pm
I spent the previous week at lake Attersee in Upper Austria (between Linz and Salzburg) with the other toyvoyagers. My host's grandparents own a flat there and we had a wonderful time there. It was very hot so we enjoyed to play in the water. One day we even went hiking and we also went by boat an other time. The scenery there is very beautiful with all the mountains (Alps), lakes and forrests - it was a very nice trip!

One day when it was too cold for swimming we went to Gmunden at lake Traunsee. Imagine, they have a castle there located IN the lake on a little island. Impressing, hm? And they have another nice thing there: on the front of the City Hall there are many bells and every hour they play a little melody. Sounds nice, doesn't it?

Posted Jul 11, 2007, 9:01 am
Another exciting day here in Vienna. We visited the house created by Friedensreich Hundertwasser. It is soooo beautiful - I really liked it! I was told that there is nothing special inside - just normal flats. Wouldn't it be nice to live there? All the people who live there have the right to create the wall around their windows as they like, but only as far as they can reach with their arms. So the building changes a bit from time to time.

We also went up a hill from where we had a beautiful view over the city. Really impressing...

Posted Jul 13, 2007, 11:23 am

Taro left Vienna this morning and he's on the way to France now. Hope he'll arrive there safe and sound and we are looking forward to see many new photos of him.

Thanks for the funny time we shared, dear Taro. Have a good journey!

Love, your Austrian host family!

Posted Aug 5, 2007, 10:36 pm
Here I am in France at Mood's ToyVoyager's Hostel ... As you can see, there are many lodgers, and I was welcomed by a special committee !
From left to right : Sebastien (the big blue), Stripey (stylish cat), Fox Force and Bertold who couldn't stop asking me questions about Japan!

After about one hour, I manage to get rid of him (FoxForce explained me that he was a bit boring!!!) she showed me round the house and I noticed a delicious raspberry bush !!!
(Yes, you can imagine how hungry I was after my travel from Vienna!)
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Posted Aug 5, 2007, 10:48 pm
Today, Sebastien suggested to play Mikado (he said he was a champion when he was young ... when he didn't shake I would say!!!)
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On this picture, you can see the winner of the party : Romeo (Mood's cat) whose claws are sharper than mine!!

Then, Dottie Grace asked me an Origami ...
In exchange she will show me how to make a boomerang, but I'm afraid we won't have time to because she has to leave soon!!


Posted Aug 8, 2007, 10:47 pm
Hummm, look what I found this morning when I woke up!! A  delicious french breakfast with hot chocolate, croissants, chocolatines (chocolate-filled pastry), and pains aux raisins (currant bun), orange juice and homemade raspeberry jam
It had to be quite copious, because today, we went to Carcassonne, (about 87 km from Toulouse)
to visit the medieval walled town (look just behind me)
It lies on the right bank of the river Aude and is featured on UNESCO's World Heritage list.
It's nice don't you agree?? It really looks like a cinema background!!

Posted Aug 8, 2007, 11:35 pm
Follow me ... Here I am in front of the Porte Narbonnaise (main entrance of the Cité)
You can see Dame Carcas, who saved the Cité from Charlemagne... According to the legend, she threw a pig to the assailants to make them think they had enough food to face the siege, which wasn't true, but it ran, and the assailants raised the siege... But then, Dame Carcas rang the bell to ask Charlemagne to come back to make peace, and that gave the name Carcas-sonne (ring) ...

So, for the visit, follow the guide!
Let's begin with the Viscount's castle (11th-13th century)
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It was the seat of power in the town, then the seat of the Senelschalsy.

There are many lanes with old houses

and many people too !!!!

Look! I even talked to a medieval knight !!!

Then, the Basilica Church of St. Nazarius and St.. Celsus
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1304/1054007230_85dde16ec2.jpg?v=0 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1119/1053171531_c9c337fde5.jpg?v=0
Have you seen the gargoyles (the carved terminations to spouts which convey water away from the sides of buildings)???
And look at the stained-glass windows (13th-14th-16th-19th century)
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1196/1054007290_e964c1c21f.jpg?v=0 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1262/1053171443_1d0f02ef73.jpg?v=0

and these lovely candles!! (they are all prayers)

and the organ

and again, Dame Carcas


Posted Aug 9, 2007, 12:09 am
Let's see the town walls

The medieval walled town of Carcassonne is unusual for its double ring of walls 3km long, including 52 towers.

On this picture, you can see (on the right) the roofs of the actual town of Carcassonne

and this strange machine is a catapult

Posted Aug 23, 2007, 4:46 pm
Then I rejoined Luffy who was waiting for me at the School Museum http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1069/1054054510_ac2acd22d0.jpg?v=0

It's a small museum based in the old school of the Cité ... look at this classroom : it's a reconstitution of 1914 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1196/1054054556_31716610c5.jpg?v=0
It wasn't good being a bad pupil, look at the one on the left with his dunce's cap !!! http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1119/1054054584_2a2774b4b8.jpg?v=0
and here is writting : You failed ! Start again

Posted Aug 23, 2007, 5:05 pm
Being here, I have decided to try to write in french... But it wasn't easy to get used to write with a quill pen http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1023/1053428639_86165302ab.jpg?v=0 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1391/1053452869_1d3f4e75e3.jpg?v=0

in the latin alphabet !!!


I also tried to answer this "Recreation" :  An escargot, fallen in a 5m hole, is climbing 3m up during the day, but fall 2 m again during the night. How many days will it take to reach the top of the hole?

Do you know the answer ??? There were others sums on the black board, Luffy and I only contented to read them ...


And here is a coloured of the French Revolution of 1789

Posted Aug 23, 2007, 5:25 pm

Wandering in the lanes, I found this typical french beret
only the french loaf is missing!!!

Then I saw this restaurant where you can eat a typical Cassoulet
It's a typical regional rich, slow-cooked bean stew or casserole, containing meat (typically pork sausages, pork, goose, duck and sometimes mutton), pork skin (couennes) and white haricot beans.
(Mood told me it was quite stodgy)
and here is one of the many receipts ; the Castelnaudary one (yet, numerous regional variations exist, the best-known being from Castelnaudary, the self-proclaimed "Capital of Cassoulet"!!)


Posted Aug 23, 2007, 5:55 pm
Today, I have visited Toulouse, the "Pink Town" .. I let you see the reason why it is called this way : look at the colour of the walls
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1247/1065317542_cbf1e6d7bd.jpg?v=0 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1026/1065315466_53150d4b58.jpg?v=0
This is Place du Capitole (the main place where seats the townhall called Le Capitole)
The name Capitole referred not only to the Roman Capitol but also to the capitulum which was the chapter of the governing magistrates in 1190
Its façade is 135 metres long and built in Neoclassical style (dates from 1750). The eight columns represent the original eight capitouls.
Today the Capitole houses the city hall, as well as an opera company and symphony orchestra.
The Salle des Illustres contains 19th century artworks.
By the window, you can see the Donjon or Tour des Archives (XVI century)

And now, Toulouse viewed from the sky (well ... almost!)
You can see in the middle the bell tower of the Donjon  (typical of the style of northern France, built in 1873)
There are many churches as you can see http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1101/1064448071_b6d6625ff2.jpg?v=0 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1391/1064451073_0f924b80b7.jpg?v=0
and this red rose colour


Posted Aug 23, 2007, 6:01 pm
Then I went to the Saint Sernin Basilica
It was built during the Romanesque Period between AD 1080 and 1120. It is located on the site of a previous, 4th century basilica which contained the body of Saint Saturnin or Sernin.
Saint Sernin was the first bishop of Toulouse in AD 250 and martyred by pagan priests, who tied him by his feet to a bull which dragged him about the town until the rope broke !!!!

Posted Aug 23, 2007, 6:20 pm
Then it was time for real recreation, so Luffy and I went to the playgroung where we played hopscotch together ...
Then I have tasted a very good cofee
and it was time to go back home ... I asked Mood if we could go back home using this canal boat instaed of the car, but she said it would take too much time as it was late
Another time maybe ...

Posted Aug 23, 2007, 9:13 pm
Hello friends!

Here I am back from my atlantic escapade in Vieux Boucau (a small seaside resort in the department called Les Landes.
It's near Capbreton or Hossegor, known for their surf competitions)

Here I am in front of the sea

I really enjoyed this place because of the large natural spaces in the ocean dunes 

I haven't seen a real aurora yet, but I stayed on the top of the dune to see the sunset
it was so nice !!!

Then Mood had a surprise for me: a firework to end that very first day on the Atlantic ocean
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1283/1217396936_932037c9e2.jpg?v=0 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1186/1217397420_36baa4e84b.jpg?v=0
The traditional 15th august french firework (for the Assomption day)

Posted Aug 23, 2007, 10:13 pm
The next day, I went to visit the village..  You can see behind me a typical "landaise" house made with wood and bricks in "feuille de fougère" 

Mood told me about local history, and in fact Vieux-Boucau means "old estuary" in the dialect of the region - and Port d'Albret, which is part of the small city, should have been one of the the most important harbours of France, because in the Middle Ages it was on the estuary of the river Adour. But the river was diverted in Bayonne in 1578, and treasures of the city disappeared with the river.

Behind me you is the big salt lagoon. Salt water is filled every day by a system of floodgates when tides go up and go down.

Local attractions are nautic sports of course, but also novillada as you can see on this poster

and Pétanque. It's a form of boules where the goal is to throw metal balls as close as possible to a small wooden ball called a cochonnet (jack).
Here I am playing with Pussy Galore (my new friend coming from England)


Posted Aug 23, 2007, 10:37 pm
And now Yumi, I have to recognize that during my stay with Mood, I pobably have put on weight ... because I have tasted many local food :

1/ Farmhouse loaf and garlic sausage (pain de campagne et saucisson)

2/ French fries (frites)

3/ Duck confit with his french fried potatoes (confit de canard et pommes de terres sautées)
This is a specialty of Gascony, made with duck legs. The classic recipe is to fry or grill the legs in a bit of the fat till they are well-browned and crisp, and use more of the fat to roast some potatoes and garlic as an accompinament. Not really dietetic, but very tasty!!!

4/ Ratatouille (a traditional French Provençal stewed vegetable dish)
The word Ratatouille comes from "touiller," which means to toss food.It was, originally, a poor farmers dish, prepared in the summer with fresh summer vegetables. It contains eggplants, zucchini (courgettes), tomatores, green and red peppers, onion, and garlic. delicious!!!!!

Well, my receipts note book is becoming too short! I hope my travel box will not have shrunk during my french holidays!!!!

Posted Aug 23, 2007, 11:34 pm
Unfortunately, the weather changed and we even had a storm

It became really cold so we couldn't have a bath (there was the red flag which means forbidden swim). So we went away... But before leaving, I wanted to see the beach for my last time here.

Posted Aug 23, 2007, 11:52 pm
So here I am now in the Hautes Pyrénées and it's still cold !!!!!!!!!!!!!! It even snowed in the Pic du Midi where Mood wanted to take me..
We are waiting for a lull, but it seems my journey will end here without seing the Pyrenees mountains ... because, my journey goes on in Malaysia!
Yet Aliah invited me for the Teddy Bear party that should take place on the 9th September, so I began to pack up my bags...

Posted Aug 27, 2007, 6:29 pm
Well, at last, a sunny spell today! We went to visit the surroundings, and began with Lourdes: a tiny village of the Pyrénées who became one of the most visited of France ever since the Virgin Mary appeared to a young shepherdess Bernadette Soubirou in 1858... and then it became a big pilgrimage place for catholics people ... here is a picture of Bernadette's statue
Have you seen the two small sheeps in front of her (in the middle) I thought they were toyvoyagers, but alas, they didn't answer me ....On the left, you can see the castle (XI century)

And a picture of the big esplanade, with the church in the backgrounds (pope Jean-Paul II came here in 2004)

the dome above me:


and the XI century castle:


There are a lot of commercial shops, I don't really like this town ... so Mood took me to see other nicest mountains villages

Posted Aug 27, 2007, 6:59 pm
So here I am in a beautiful small mountain village called Aucun in the Val d'Azun (a small valley based in the National Pyrenean Parc)
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1045/1249920655_8c0bbe2eef.jpg?v=0 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1270/1249918289_b9a4e98b83.jpg?v=0

Have you seen behind me : the typical barns
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1323/1250775256_241a21f9e6.jpg?v=0 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1160/1250776136_ba2dc6b1d2.jpg?v=0

Then we went to Arrens, another village. Here I am in front of the church

and in front of the Maison du Parc National with my new friend the brown bear
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1014/1250777690_a0413ae7c7.jpg?v=0 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1116/1249922313_9ced0ad175.jpg?v=0
Yet, brown bears always lived in the Pyrénées, but they almost disappeared because of human activities.. only 6 bears remains ... That's why the french government decided to try to reintroduce slovenian bears in the Pyrénées ... But, it became a set of problems because of the shepherds who are afraid for their flocks ... Living together is quite difficult (see the graffiti on this board : Non aux ours!)

There was an exhibition about Pyrenean fauna :
such as isards, vautours, gypaètes ... (have you seen this big one above my head???)
and about pastoralism

Posted Aug 27, 2007, 7:08 pm
Then we went to the Lac d'Estaing
http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1439/1249957725_3410c262f9.jpg?v=0 http://farm2.static.flickr.com/1325/1249957703_b9bbfafdf4.jpg?v=0

in the national parc where fauna is protected (look at this bear footsteps) (unfortunatelly, we haven't met any)

as well as flora (like this thistle)

or this Edelweiss

I didn't pick it up to you Yumi because it's strictly forbidden but, here is the picture!!

Posted Sep 9, 2007, 3:58 am
We're at National Monument which was built to pay tribute to valiant Malaysian soldiers who gave their lives defending the country during Communist Insurgensy in the 1950s. It is one of the largest freestanding sculptures in the world.

Posted Sep 9, 2007, 5:07 am
We're at one of the sculptures at the ASEAN Sculpture Garden.

Posted Sep 9, 2007, 5:43 am
We're at Tun Abdul Razak Memorial, Malaysia's second Prime Minister. The memorial used to be his residence & now it exhibits documents, mementos, souvenirs & his personal belongings.

Posted Sep 9, 2007, 6:34 am
We're at Rumah Penghulu Abu Seman, a fine example of a traditional Malay house. We love the beautiful carvings of the house as well as its beautiful grounds.

Posted Oct 7, 2007, 4:11 am
I'm at the Teddy Bear party with many other bears from ToyVoyagers and around the neighbourhood.  It's great to meet with new friends.

Posted Nov 16, 2007, 11:14 pm
Hi, I've just arrived to Prague. I met another toyvoyager here. He is a rhino and his name is Filibert.

Posted Nov 27, 2007, 12:20 am
Today I found some candies in the kitchen. Their name was "Happy Bear's", so they were actually mine, weren't they?



Posted Dec 2, 2007, 1:37 pm
Yesterday I finally visited the city center, although Ondrejliska kept saying that the weather was not optimal for taking pictures.

This is me and Filibert in front of the National Theatre, built in 19th century. (As you can see, the building is now under reconstruction.)

While we were viewing the Theatre, a historical tram passed around us. It was amazing!


From the bank of Vltava river, you can see Prague Castle with St. Vitus Cathedral. The Charles Bridge was built in 1357.


Posted Dec 22, 2007, 9:30 am

Here I am in sunny(??) Australia, ready to celebrate Christmas in the sun(??)http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2209/2128651170_1f5b4b207f.jpg?v=1198315638


Those birds on the electric cables are pink and gray galahs, having a shower in the afternoon rain.

Hopefully the weather will be better by Tuesday!


Posted Dec 24, 2007, 6:48 am
Bec's family had an early Christmas lunch this weekend with her cousins who were visiting from up the coast.
No hot food - ham, cold pork, salad and rolls.

Posted Dec 24, 2007, 7:00 am
Today we went into the city to check out all the Christmas decorations in town. We left home late in the afternoon, around 5pm so that we would have some sunlight to view the city sights and not have too long to wait for it to be 8:30pm and the sun to go down so we could see the lights.
We were lucky and got the intercity train that travels the country route. They're much more comfortable than the suburban trains and went directly from our station into town with no stops.

Last year, Clover Moore, the Lord Mayor of Sydney was criticised for not putting up a lot of decorations, so this year they have tried a lot harder.

Our first stop was at St Mary's Cathedral to view the life size Nativity scene.

Next we went into Hyde Park to view the gardens, which, like many of the gardens around the city have been planted to represent the colours of Christmas.

While we were in Hyde Park we took the time to be regular sightseers and looked at the Archibald Fountain (it was very windy, so we got a little wet!)

and we also found one of the many Christmas trees that have been put up around the city.

Next we went to David Jones (a large department store) to view their windows. Every year they decorate them with motorised marionette puppets depicting Christmas themes. Bec and her family used to come in to see them every year when she was little. This year the theme was The Nutcracker. (There are more photos on Tippi's page)



Could I be a part of their choir do you think?

Next we made our way to the Christmas tree in Martin Place.
This is the largest of all the Christmas trees decorating the city - it is 20-metres tall. We looked at the tree for a while and then moved on with plans to come back to see it light up later.

It appears that stars are a major part of the city's Christmas theme this year. And, that's a sulphur crested cockatoo on the banner. All the banners had Australian images on them.


Posted Dec 24, 2007, 7:07 am
While stopping at Circular Quay  to get some dinner (fresh, beautiful fish & chips - Bec was going to take picnic photos but was attacked by seagulls wanting chips, one even hovered over her left shoulder scaring her greatly, so she was a bit distracted) we checked out the traditional tourist sights:


Next we ventured around to The Rocks, a historical district in the city. Something very strange was going on. My travelling companions kept disappearing into shops and wouldn't tell me what they were looking for. Wonder what they were doing?
Never mind, I enjoyed looking at the street decorations and the Christmas tree.


Posted Dec 24, 2007, 7:20 am
Eventually, after a bit of a rest and some hot chocolate at Starbucks while we waited for the sky to get dark, we made our way back to Martin Place to see the tree all lit up. We waited anxiously for the clock to strike 8:30 and the lights to come on.

Well, it got to 8:30 and nothing happened. We waited and waited and waited.
The decorations on the light posts lit up
making the plaza look really pretty
but nothing happened with the tree.

We got very impatient about waiting. Finally we decided to walk up the plaza to Macquarie St and look at the Christmas Projections on the building and if the lights on the tree did finally come on we would be able to see them on the way back to the train station. The Christmas Projections are very pretty. What happens is that five landmark buildings along Macquarie Street are lit in a magical display of colour and light. The projection designs explore Summer in Sydney through a variety of themes.
This is the New South Wales state parliament house. (Again, there are other photos on Tippi's page)

And this is the old Mint building

Luckily, by the time we walked back to Martin Place the tree was all lit up!


I could have stayed here for a long time just watching the tree change colours, but my companions had to get home. Oh well,



Posted Dec 24, 2007, 8:05 am
I have spent Christmas Eve helping to make sure everything is ready for Christmas Day. I've helped to organise the Christmas cards and make sure they're all hung up,

and hung Santa's key on the door knob. Bec's house has no chimney, so Santa needs the key to get in to leave the presents for good travelling bears, rabbits and koalas!

Bec's family haven't done much about decorating the outside of the house this year, as that was always her dad's job, but Tippi and I think we've made the front door look very pretty.

and the flowers on the native plants in the gardens have greatly appreciated the wet weather - even if us ToyVoyagers haven't!

Bec's youngest cousin helped me make this to wear for Christmas:
but I don't think Christmas angel is quite my style, so I'll have a surprise outfit for you tomorrow!

Posted Dec 24, 2007, 10:11 am
While being an ever so helpful bear (Santa's always watching you know!)
I was helping to hang up the family's Christmas stockings and I realised something very important seeing as it's Christmas Eve and I just heard on the news Santa's left the North Pole -

So, never fear......
Being the ever so resourceful bear I've learnt how to be on my travels I made a check of Bec's mum's crafty supplies for materials, scissors and glue (I can't sew) and Bec's teaching resources for templates and.......

I have made some!

One for Tippi, one for Kalli and one for me.

I just hope I'm on the "nice" list!

Posted Dec 24, 2007, 1:26 pm
Tonight we went out looking at Christmas lights. Lots of people in Australia decorate the outside of their homes and the good thing about it being Summer at Christmas time is that it is great for walking around the streets to view them all without getting cold! (Sorry, the quality of the photos isn't that good!)


As you can see from the car's thermometer it was still rather warm out, even at 10:30 at night.

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 12:44 pm

After finishing our travelogs on Christmas Eve all us ToyVoyagers raced to get to sleep so Santa would come to visit us.
(Do you like the 'sheet' - It was made in Pakistan and one of Bec's families at school gave the scarf to her as an end of year gift!)
To help us fall asleep we listened to some Australian Christmas carols
Six White Boomers (includes images of Australian Christmases)
12 Days of Christmas
An Aussie Jingle Bells

I woke up this morning to find that Santa had come and there was a present in my stocking. Yippee!

A balloon and a party blower! (I'm a Christmas elf today, by the way!)

I just had to have my balloon blown up for me, but I don't think it was quite the best idea I'd had all morning!

Then we were allowed to open the presents under the ToyVoyager Christmas tree. I tried really hard not to rip up the paper.

Ah, so this is why my companions kept disappearing on me when we were in the city the other night! It's a bandanna with a traditional Aboriginal design on it! I think I'll send it home to Yumi for safe keeping!

Soon it was time for lunch. Bec's family don't have a hot Christmas lunch. It's generally not a good idea when usually the weather is in the mid to high 30's! (Not that it got that hot this year!) Sometimes they have a seafood lunch, but this year they decided to have cold ham, pork and chicken with salad. I helped set out the creamy salads and cold meats onto the table.


Oops! Halfway through lunch we realised we'd forgotten the Christmas crackers. You have to find a friend to help you pull and pull until they pop!
First I helped Tippi pop hers,
and then Kalli helped me with mine.
Inside was a party hat (too big for a TV's head!), a small plastic toy (I got a thimble!) and a bad joke.
This was my joke:
Why do dragons sleep during the day?
So they can fight knights!

Desert was (again) cold Christmas pudding with custard. Normally Bec's mum makes the pudding, but she's hurt her back, so this year they had to have a store bought one, but it was still yummy!

After lunch, everyone else opened their presents. Traditionally in Bec's family they had to wait until mid-afternoon to open the presents because that's when her dad used to get home from work. In my role of Christmas elf I tried to help give out the presents.......
which wasn't so easy!

Then it was time for everyone to have their afternoon naps, before starting the eating thing all over again!

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 12:55 pm
There are three major sporting events that take place in Australia on Boxing Day:
1) The Sydney to Hobart Yacht race starts in Sydney Harbour.
This is one of the world's major yacht races and the record time for completing it in is 1 day, 19 hours. The average time is around 2 days. It is always a dramatic start as not only are there lots of yachts in the harbour lots of other people go out on small boats to wave them off. http://farm3.static.flickr.com/2108/2140879982_08731b8eb2.jpg?v=0
Plus the shoreline is very crowded from very early in the morning. We decided to stay home and watch it on the TV instead!

2) The Boxing Day Cricket Test is held in Melbourne every year.
It runs for 5 days and this year Australia is playing against India. It is a very trying game to watch for long periods. The team that goes into bat first (Team A) bats and gets as many runs as possible until they are all out or until the team captain 'declares' (decides to stop batting). Then they swap positions with the first batting team becoming the bowling/fielding team who try to stop Team B from matching or beating their score. When Team B is either all out or have 'declared', Team A goes back into bat for a 2nd innings until they're all out / declared before Team B gets their final innings. The team with the most runs at the end (once both teams have played two innings) is the winner. Confusing hey?
It can have very exciting moments, with dramatic outs or if a batsman scores a Century (100 runs - doesn't happen very often!) but for the most part it can be very boring. My hosts would rather watch the One-day matches, which are much shorter.

3) The final sport (and for this I don't have pictures....) is the post Christmas sales at the stores in the city and people go crazy racing to get the biggest bargain they can on items that they probably won't use during the year.

Posted Dec 27, 2007, 2:07 pm
Boxing Day is also Bec's future brother-in-law's birthday, so we went to their place for dinner.
But, before we could go, I realised there was an important job to be done:

I had fun playing fetch with their dog Angel.
Crazy dog. At first she had trouble finding the ball, but eventually she got it!



When the dog eventually got tired of playing fetch I came inside and inspected the tree. It's a fibre optic one which lights up.
I knew I'd have to wait a while for it to get dark enough to turn it on, so I found a way to make the time go.......
Meet all my new friends!

Let's see.... What else did we do?
Oh, we decorated Gingerbread Men. Something we'd planned on doing on Christmas Day, but with afternoon naps and all never got around to doing.
First you draw the design with the icing tube. You have to be very careful so you don't get great big globs,

then you add the sprinkles to decorate them.
It's trickier than it sounds!

Then, you sit back and admire your work of art while you wait for the icing to set so you can eat them!

I didn't feel right about eating my gingerbread man, so I had a chocolate coated shortbread biscuit instead. Mmmmmm.
With all this eating and snacking, I'm going to have to find some way to exercise!

Eventually it got dark and we could turn on the tree. How pretty! Each branch changes colour as the coloured disc in the base spins around.
(I am in this photo - if you look carefully at the bottom left hand corner!)

Can you see me now?

Posted Jan 2, 2008, 3:52 am
Summer has finally arrived in Sydney - hot and humid!
Bec talked us into coming out in the yard with her while she did some gardening for her mum. I thought that maybe it would be nice to sit in the shade on the edge of the garden bed and watch the world go by (Bec lives on the corner of two fairly busy roads, so there's always lots to see)

but before I knew it I'd been handed a small spade and asked to help out.

Look at how dry the soil is here. You wouldn't believe that it had rained for most days in December would you?

Pretty soon we were all hot and thirsty so it was time to come inside and cool down in the air-con.

Posted Jan 8, 2008, 7:02 am
Mmm, some final shots of things I've been doing on my summer holiday in Australia.....

I've been exploring the gardens. There are lots of plants that are flowering thanks to all the rain we've been having here.



These flowers remind me of the fire works on New Year's Eve.

Here is one of the rain water tanks in the back yard. Once upon a time (say about 5 years ago) it was very rare to find a rain water tank in a suburban backyard, but as a response to the drought most councils will now help subsidise their purchase and installation to help stop the dam levels from dropping even lower.

I also made the time and drop in on Froddo's fisherman friend and tell him that Froddo is safe and well in Oregon.

As well as exploring the gardens, I've found plenty of time to relax on the hammock on the deck and catch up on some reading and music.
Matthew Reilly is an Australian author who writes thriller/adventure stories (in this case, think Indiana Jones type adventure.)


Posted Jan 10, 2008, 9:39 am
Taro packed up today and left on his way to visit with icitaiwan in Taiwan.

Posted Jan 16, 2008, 4:08 pm
I have finally arrived in Taiwan today after another long journey. My new host, Andrea, carefully opened the envelope and I slowly got out of my tiny travel envelope.


I need some time to get used to the bright light, because it was pretty dark inside my envelope all the time.


I found a mobile phone and tried to dial my mommy's number, but Andrea wasn't so happy about that. I should have asked her permission first....OOPS  :(. She promised me to update my travellog right away.


I discovered some lovely narcis flowers on the table next to me. They still have to grow a bit before they will bloom, but I'll show you another picture with me and the flowers when they are blooming. Those flowers makes my host think about here home country, the Netherlands.


I was streching my legs a bit when I saw this big, grey, hairy monster coming towards me.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/obywang/3f44a890.jpg http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/obywang/ae60878c.jpg

I tried to hide myself, but he kept on searching me.


At last I found out that this "monster" isn't that scary. It's just a cat, although he's a bit bigger than most of the other cats.
We are trying to get along now :).

I'm going to take a rest now. Stay tuned for adventures of me in Taiwan :D.

Posted Jan 19, 2008, 1:48 pm
I had to get up early today, because I had to go to school.

I arrived at the Think kindergarten at 9 o'clock in the morning.


I joined "squirrel" class and they were so excited to meet me. The students in this class seemed to think that I was a famous movie star, singer, or at least a very famous teddy bear  B).


The day started with an English class. I impressed everybody with my excellent knowledge of the ABC  :p.


We had a snack and after that we went outside to go playing in the garten. This kindergarten is very big. It has a huge garden around the campus and there are also a lot of animals, such as horses, peacocks, dogs, rabbits, chicken, birds and a monkey.

We went to the playground first and I had so much fun.

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/obywang/473ad5c6.jpg http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/obywang/9509655a.jpg http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/obywang/2346433e.jpg http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/obywang/28364de5.jpg

Look at me...I can ride a dinosaur  B)

Climbing trees is also nice to do

The students from squirrel class showed me around. Doesn't this place look great?

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Can you find me?

The vegetable garden

The campus

I felt very tired and I wanted to take a nap, but Andrea told me that I had to wake up, because she wanted to go home


We drove back home and passed a little village. I had such a great view from my VIP seat  ;)


I had a great morning and needed the rest of the day to recover from all the impressions

Posted Jan 19, 2008, 2:02 pm
I have spent the day in Jhongli today. Andrea had to work and she brought her daughter to her friend in Jhongli. I begged, and begged, and was allowed to go to Jhongli, too.

The weather was very good, and a lot of people decided to go somewhere, because it was Saturday. We had to drive to the south, because Jhongli is 20 km south of Nankan and ended up in a traffic jam  :(. Of course I was sitting in on my VIP seat again.


We are getting closer

The exit to Jhongli....finally!

Downtown Jhongli

Andrea left and guess where we have been to.... a strawberry farm! It's a farm where you can pick strawberries yourself. I picked quite a few and couldn't resist to try them.....yummy!!!

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Guess what we are going to eat tomorrow on our sandwich..... :D


Posted Jan 24, 2008, 10:27 am
I was so disappointed today. Andrea promised me that I could go on a trip to Vancouver today, but the trip has been cancelled. I had already packed my bags and I put on my special Canadian tag and now I can unpack everything again.

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Andrea'a husband is a flight attendant and he told me that he should show me around in a Boeing 747 and a bit in Vancouver, too, but his collegue called him today that his trip had been cancelled. He had to choose another flight instead and now WE are leaving tomorrow to Tokyo and Hawaii..........WOW!!!!!! It will only be a 4-days trip, so it will be tiring, but come on.....I'm going to Waikiki beach  B). I'll start packing my bags again, because I can leave my snow boots here and can bring my swimming pants instead :).

And guess what... next week I'll still go to Vancouver, too :).

This day didn't end that bad after all ;)

Posted Jan 24, 2008, 10:29 am
There is some progress. There is already one flower blooming :)


Posted Feb 2, 2008, 2:00 am
Guess where I am....in Japan. I thought for a moment that I was going home, but David told me that I could stay with him in his hotel and that we would continue our trip to Hawaii one day later.

First I had to check in at the hotel:

After that we went to our room. It was only -2 degrees outside, so I watched some TV:

I walked around in the lobby for a while and saw this lady in traditional clothes. I ask her to make a picture with he and that was OK:

This painting was on one of the walls in the hotel. Isn't it lovely?

Posted Feb 2, 2008, 2:29 am

After a long flight we arrived in Honolulu, Hawaii. I can't believe it that I am actually visiting this place. Life isn't that bad when you are a Toy Voyager :).
I won't be here for a long time, because tomorrow early morning we'll  go back.

We arrived in the early morning and the man on this picture is the co-pilot of the flight. He brought me here safely:

We had to take a crewbus to go to the Holiday Inn hotel. On the way I saw a rainbow. Can you find it? There was also a rainbow on the bus ;).
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We took a long nap and after that David showed me around in the Ala Moana Shopping Mall. It's a famous shopping mall in the Waikiki area.
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David loves Banana Republic and of course he had to enter this shop. I waited patiently until he finished his shopping

We were very hungry and went to the foodcourt. There were so many people there and it was hard to choose what I wanted to eat

After that we went to Waikiki beach, but it was already to dark to make pictures.  I can say that I have seen it though, I've been to the famous Waikiki Beach!!

Posted Feb 3, 2008, 2:07 pm
We had to leave this afternoon and went to Tokyo Narita Airport.

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Time to board the airplane. I was the first one who could board, way ahaead of all the other passengers  :D.


I watched a couple of good movies, enjoyed the mails, and the inflight service. Everybody was so nice to me. Unfortunately I didn't make any pictures on board, because David only brought his cellphone and it had to be switched off during the flight.


Posted Feb 3, 2008, 2:21 pm
I came back in Taiwan today. The weather here is terrible. It's raining a lot and it's very cold, because of coldfronts from China. They expect it to be like this for at least another week.... :(

I'll take a good rest and will prepare myself for another trip. I'll fly again with David and this time it will be to Vancouver. I have heard that it's even colder there. Luckily they do have central heating in Canada, something they don't have in Taiwan...brrrrrrrr.

Posted Feb 13, 2008, 5:46 am
All the flowers are blooming now and they smell so nice :).



Posted Feb 13, 2008, 5:54 am
You know what...sometimes I think that I am staying at a railway station instead if an apartment.

Andrea's daughter, Amber, loves Thomas the train. She wants to watch the Thomas DVD's every day and she also has tracks, a station, and several "Thomas" trains.

Sometimes she holds me while she's playing, so nowadays I know all the trains by name. Test me, I know them all by name... Thomas, Percy, James, Donald and the latest train she got, Harvey.



Posted Feb 13, 2008, 5:56 am
I was very hungry, so we went to a noodle shop. Doesn't this look delicious? I can tell you that it tasted even better :).



Posted Feb 13, 2008, 6:08 am
I packed my bags again for another trip with David and the destination was Vancouver.

This is me at Taoyuan International Airport in Taiwan
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I didn't want to sit on my chair and asked if I could help during the flight. I begged and begged and with success :).

Here you can see me in the galley (kitchen), preparing coffe and tea:

I also helped to heat the meals in the ovens:

And I chose a good movie for the in-flight entertainment:

After that I was pretty tired and I chose a comfortable seat in business class. Come on....I deserved to travel in style and refused to sit in economy class ;).

http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/obywang/6e35dc4a.jpg http://i156.photobucket.com/albums/t18/obywang/72de8eb2.jpg

We arrived safely in Canada, but it was so cold there. David decided to stay inside the hotel to take a good rest and forgot to make more pictures :(.

But....I have traveled to another country again, although I stayed there for only 24 hours :)

Posted Feb 13, 2008, 6:14 am
I arrived back in Taiwan at 5 o'clock in the morning after a long and tiring flight. I felt exhausted and fell asleep as soon as my head touched my pillow....


Posted Feb 13, 2008, 6:33 am
I've heard that the most important festival in Taiwan will start today, Chinese New Year. It's celebrated according to the Chinese lunar calender and therefore it starts on a different day every year.
The Chinese New Year will be tomorrow, on Februari 2008 and the festival will be celebrated for 14 days. Most of the people won't have to work for 3-7 days.

The most important day isn't actually the new year itself,  but New Year Eve. People get together with their family for a family dinner. A lot of people have to drive for hours to the other side of the island to get together with their family and the roads are usually packed with cars and buses.

We went to David's parents for dinner and the whole family was there. Here you can see me with all the food:


People usually give red envelopes with lucky money to the (younger) children, eat tangerines, and have fun


You can usually see a lot of different candy and peanuts in houses and shops. I've tried some. This one looked like a present :).


I was still hungry and jumped in the candy bowl....
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Unfortunately the weather was too bad to go outside. It was still cold and rainy, so we couldn't play with fireworks and firecrackers.

People like to get together with friends after midnight to drink, talk, and to gamble. They usually play Mahjong, or another dice game. It's a tradition to stay awake all night, because that should bring luck to your family.

I went back home after midnight with Andrea and Amber, because she has to sleep and I was very tired, too  B)

Posted Feb 19, 2008, 4:12 am
I was very hungry tonight and we made pancakes. I didn't know how I make them, but Andrea teached me how and they tasted so good  :D

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Posted Feb 19, 2008, 4:17 am
We went to Taipei today, but the weather wasn't good at all. It was raining all day long and very cold.

I saw the "Taipei 101" when we passed it by car, but it's not so clear on the picture. The "Taipei 101" was the tallest skyscraper in the world with its 508 m. , but nowadays there is a taller skyscraper in Dubai. It's still the tallest COMPLETED skyscraper for the time being  ;)

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Posted Feb 19, 2008, 4:25 am
We drove the car to Yang-Min Shan today. It's a National Park in nothern Taiwan, and connected with Taipei City.

It was still raining all day long, but we did see some nice things...


Do you know the Disney movie "Cars"? These cars were made in the same style from flowers

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We also visited a park

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It's still a bit early in the season, but can you see the pink cherry blossoms in this pictures? There are still tiny, but they will blossom soon


We felt hungry again after visiting this NP and went to a restaurant in Taipei named "Blue Museum".

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Posted Feb 19, 2008, 4:29 am
I played together with Amber today with her dough. I had no idea that you can make all kind of things with dough. I made an ice cream, but it didn't taste good at all  :o.


What do you think of my new sunglasses?


Posted Feb 19, 2008, 4:39 am
We drove to Taoyuan Airport today to pick up David.


Can you see the airplane in the distance? That's his airplane that was about to land...what a coincidence!


Posted Feb 19, 2008, 4:52 am
The weather is finally getting better...yeah  :D!!!!

We went to Taipei today and visited some places.


First of all we passed an old city gate


The tall building on the background is the Taipei Main Station, the railway station. It's the second largest  building in Taipei.


After that we went to the "CKS Memorial Hall". Nowadays it's named "Taiwan Democracy Memorial Hall". They have changed the name recently, because of political reasons....too bad!

This is the main gate:

Here you can see the memorial hall itself.  It's a huge hall with a statue of Chiang Kai Shek inside. He was the first president in Taiwan.


I tried to make a phone call to my mommy in Japan, but I didn't bring enough coins with me  :(


This is the National Theater. It's located along the square in front of the CKS Memorial Hall. The National Concert Hall is located on the opposite side of the square.


Posted Feb 19, 2008, 5:05 am
We will celebrate Lantern Festival on the 15th day of the Chinese Lunar Calender. That will be on Feb. 22nd according to the western calender. 
Lanterns will be shown everywhere and many are big and colorful.

We passed the "Taipei 101" tonight as saw this beautiful lantern, sponsored by the Malaysian Tourist Board



We'll visit this area again next Saturday, so be prepared to see many more beautiful lanterns. Most of them will show mice or rats, because it's the year of the rat :).

Posted Feb 26, 2008, 5:49 am
Look what I've found in the mailbox today, a belated Valentine's Day gift from my mommy Yumi.
How sweet of her to think about me on this special day.

Thank you so much dear mommy, I love you  :D.



Posted Feb 26, 2008, 5:53 am
It's time to say good-bye to my hosts in Taiwan. I've had a great time here, but it's time to move on. I'm going back home for a while, because I miss my mommy, and after that I'll continue my adventures.


Posted Feb 26, 2008, 5:59 am
I went to Taipei today to visit the Lantern Festival.
It was a (another) rainy day, unfortunately  :(.

This year's Lantern Festival took place in the area around the Taipei 101.

Here I am with Nutmeg, another ToyVoyager. We explored the Lantern Festival together.

http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i186/icitaiwan/002-1.jpg http://i72.photobucket.com/albums/i186/icitaiwan/005.jpg

It's the "year of the rat" and here I am together with Nutmeg in front of 2 giant rats



Posted Feb 26, 2008, 6:04 am
Here I am in front of the Taipei 101. It's the tallest completed skyscraper in the world with its 508 m. Nowadays they are building a taller skyscraper in Dubai, but that one isn't completed yet.


We went inside the "101", but we didn't go to the top, because it was rainy, so the view was pretty bad. We went to the entrance to the "observatory deck" and saw these two images

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Posted Feb 26, 2008, 6:10 am
We had to wait until the sky became dark to enjoy the colorful lanterns, but all of a sudden the rain was pouring down. We made a couple of pictures and left the area soon after that.

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Posted Feb 26, 2008, 11:17 am
We went to Taipei again today. First we drove around to see something of the area around the  city, because Andrea is looking for a new car



Posted Feb 26, 2008, 11:24 am
After that we parked the car and we went to the Sun Yat-Sen Memorial Hall.

Sun Yat-Sen was the first president of Taiwan and they have built a memorial Hall to honor him.

This hall is located close to the Taipei 101 and it was one of the locations for the Lantern Festival.

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They have wrapped the memorial hall itself for the Lantern Festival. It isn't very clear on this picture though...


Here is the main lantern. There is always 1 big lantern and this year they have chosen a "modern" one

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Posted Feb 26, 2008, 11:29 am
We also went inside the memorial hall. I saw a huge statue of Sun Yat-Sen himself


Two guards were protecting the statue. They looked so serious and nobody was able to make them laugh.
They have a "changing of the guards" ceremony several time a day, but we've missed that part.


I also saw a painting of Sun Yat-Sen


And another statue of him where I could sit on his lap  B)


Posted Feb 26, 2008, 11:32 am
And last, but not least, I saw this lantern were mice were eating sushi.........yummy  :D.

It made me realize that I do miss my homecountry and its delicious food. Maybe I can go home for a while to enjoy the Japanese culture and food again. After all I'm already traveling for a long, long time.

Posted Jul 3, 2008, 2:44 am
I came back my home safely last week and received my travel note book today.

Yumi and I enjoyed reading the notebook.
I will stay at her house for a while...