Vivid Sydney

by Petra Bucheli

Whit Monday 28th May, 2012

Since 4 years there is the festival of lights Vivid Sydney at the end of May. During 18 days there are many light installations in the center around Circular Quay. Starting 6pm there are projections to the Opera House, the Custom House and the Museum of Modern Art. That year they projected humans onto the Opera House. The idea is from a German artist. On the museum there are different colourful pictures and on the Custom House there was an animation movie about a day in a town. Additionally the skyscrapers are lit up with coloured lights. Around all the area there are many art installations playing with light. It was very fascinating to see how this changes the area around the Opera House.

At the artisan market of Paddington

by Petra Bucheli

Saturday 21st April, 2012

It was already late in the morning as I left the flat. Today I wanted to explore the Paddington quarter. It is known for its row houses in Victorian style. I find the filigree balconies very special. I saw many different kinds of houses, some painted with modern colours. It was relaxing wandering through the narrow lanes. After the second world war it degenerated to a slum, but with the time it got again a demanded quarter. Back at Oxford Street which passes all Paddington I looked at the town hall. This building was built at the end of 19th century in European style. I followed Oxford Street as I had read that there should be an arts and craft market. I passed a strange park which was below in a den and had a few niches where you can relax. I walked through and was impressed by the silence as the traffic was very close. Finally I reached the artisan market which is every Saturday on the compound of the protected Paddington Uniting Church and the nearby school. Here about 250 stands sell artisanry and fashion. For me it was very interesting to wander through the market. After I went to the nearby catholic church. Konrad told me already about it as he had visited the mass here several times. I glazed at the wonderful church windows. Every second Sunday a choir is singing during mass. One time I will also visit a mass here. Then I walked to the Entertainment quarter. Here are the football and the cricket stadium of Sydney and the Fox film studios. On the way I was asked if I knew where the Family Show Ground is. I had to say no as I did not know what it is. I continued and realized that there is a small family funpark and a food market. I wander through and took a closer look. It remembered me a bit at the Royal Easter Show then there was as also a petting zoo, a few rides and of course showbags. Konrad was working and I wanted to join him, but I still had one and a half hours time left and thus went to the Centennial Park. Since 1888 is Centennial Park the recreation area for the people in Sydney. Next to the park there are horse stables and the park is the only possibility to ride a horse in the city itself. I walked in the park and realized that it is very big. As I got to the other end I went to Konrad as his shift was about to finish. Together we then walked home.

In the rain to Wollongong

by Konrad Bucheli

Wednesday 18th April, 2012

We have a visitor: Rita, a rural youth friend, stopped in Sydney on the way from New Zealand to Canada. She had worked for about 9 month on two different farms in New Zealand and will soon be working in the endless plain of the prairie. I took a day off to show a bit the wider area of Sydney. Petra just started her English school an did not want to miss already in the first week. We went southwards. After the suburb ring there is the Royal National Park, with the founding year 1879 the oldest in Australia. First we looked from Bungoona Lookout over Hacking River. We were ready for everything as it was very rainy in the last few days. But the rain took a break and let even pass a bit the sun. So we could hike for about one and a half hours on the rocky sand stone cliffs between Wattamolla and Little Marley Beach without really getting wet. The vegetation is best described as bush. Back at the car we drove towards Wollongong and passed a real eucalyptus rainforest. Then we stayed at the coast road and stopped somewhere for lunch break. In Wollongong we first stopped at the light house and watched the surfer which did care about the wet and cool weather. Wollongong is 85 km south of Sydney and the third most important city in New South Wales. Most famous are the steel works and the university. In the city center we also stopped and wrote a postcard to Petra. Then we drove to Mount Keira, but it was in the cloud and thus we missed the view. It got slowly evening and we went back to Sydney over the motorway.

Sydney Royal Easter Show

by Petra Bucheli

Friday 13th April, 2012

From the many options on how to get to the show ground we chose the ferry. Passing the opera house and below Harbour Bridge we went Homebush Bay. From here we made a hike to the Olympia Park. We wondered what was awaiting us then I imagined that this will be an Australian version of the OLMA (Swiss exhibition for agriculture and nutrition). Somehow I was right and somehow not. The Easter Show is quite a bit bigger than the OLMA. First we came to the funpark for the kids. The rides were only for children. But there is also a second funpark for the very big children. A way marked on the ground led us through the halls. We were here at the end of the first exhibition week and thus not all animals were still there. In the first halls we saw mainly pigs, goats, sheep and alpacas. All animals get judged and so there were here and there a champion, or a first, second or third place. Then we went to the horse stables. The most important exhibition animal is the horse. Then we went to the cow stable and I found the breed which my parents have. I was very astonished that they breed Brown Swiss here. We could see many farm animals and I found it very good that in one hall there was a big petting zoo. Like this the children can learn how the animals look like.

Our way led to the dog hall. A few owner treated their darlings with comb and hair dryer. They also styled themselves: a few ladies were wearing a costume. I knew that there are contests, but I realized that they judge here everything. That it will get more bizarre I did not know yet. I do not list everything, but a few examples: cakes were prized, knits and pictures were judged, single flowers ranked and exhibited. That poultry of any kind was shown and of course judged was not remarkable, but the prize for the most beautiful eggs. I think there is nothing which did not find itself in a ranking. In total there were 12'500 contests during the show.

There are also contests in sheep shearing, cutting wood, throwing axes and surely much more. We watched axe throwing. Here an axe had to be thrown to a target. The participants are from Australia and New Zealand.

Very typical for the Easter Show are the showbags. This are plastic bags filled with sweets, toys, fan articles, etc. which can be bought. We saw many which bought such bags.

In the evening we enjoyed a brilliant show in the Commonwealth Bank Arena. These was the main stadium of the Olympic Games. It was interesting that the running tracks were removed as they are not used anymore.

First we saw a round of the rodeo championship. The teams of the federal states New South Wales and Queensland were competed against each other for points. Always 3 participants from each state competed in a discipline. The first one was to ride a wild horse without saddle. The rider must stay for a given time on the horse, else he will get no points. Is the time passed he get points depending on his performance. The second discipline is turning a young bull on the back. Two are are let into the arena at the same time and the first which reaches the bull with the horse, jumps down and pushes it down wins. For the cowgirls was the lady contest. Here they had to ride a course as fast as possible. Number 4 was riding a wild horse with saddle and and the end came the ultimate discipline: bull riding. Here only two cowboys managed to stay over the time on the bull. After the bulls did not always leave the arena. So two cowboys on the horse tried to shoo him and two on foot tried to lure him. If this did not help they let in a few cows to lure him away. I found it very fascinating to see a rodeo live. After there was the RAS Stockmens' Ride. Charged with Australian flags the group rode a synchronous performance to the sound of the police band. It was very nice to look as it was nearly dark and they had small LEDs at the clothes and on the hat. Next came a freestyle motocross show. It was fascinating to watch the motorcycles and even a quad flying through the air. In between the individual shows some Australian bands and singers were performing. The crowning final was a 15 minutes long “pyromusical”, a big fire and fireworks show which was musically framed by a didgeridoo and a drum kit. It felt magically.

Half time

by Petra Bucheli

Thursday 12th April, 2012

Yesterday evening I arrived very late in Sydney and Konrad picked me up. After sleeping in I went to explore the flat. The next 7 weeks we will life in a 4 1/2 room flat in Daling Point. From the big terrace I see down to the water and I spent the morning there reading. In between I had to go to the washing machine as I run out of clean clothes. I is a strange feeling that I will have now a regular daily timetable as I was on the road for 11 weeks and lived out of the backpack. Exactly 11 weeks ago Konrad and I entered the plane. I could experience four different regions of Australia. During that time I met many interesting people and could spend more or less time with them.

I am glad that Konrad did not not hinder my way and let me travel alone. The short time with him I enjoyed even more as normal. After the short travelling time together I passed three weeks alone in Tasmania. Here I saw a lot of nature and hiked in a few National Parks.

With a landscape shock started my time in Western Australia. In Tasmania everything was so green and now everything was so dry and brown. After this experience I was happy that I got visited by Konrad and we could go to the sea.

When he flew back to Sydney I knew that Sandra should arrive soon in Perth. We only knew us from a dinner together, but we had known already then that we should have a good time together. Some of our interests were similar and so at the west coast we learnt to know each other better and better. It is a pity that the time flew so fast.

Back in Perth I met again my brother which travelled for a few weeks Australia after his work stage in New Zealand. Together we spend the last few days in south-western Australia. Even when our interests were not always the same, we had a brilliant time. I am already looking forward to see him again in two weeks in Sydney for a few days.

Starting next Monday I will go to school in Bondi Junction to learn a bit English. Surely there are interesting encounters waiting, but for you, dear reader, it would get boring when I would write always from the school. I will keep you up-to-date and make a blog entry when I had an interesting experience.