Wednesday, 17 June 2015

Vivid 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015

This is post is written three weeks after I visited the Vivid Light Festival (which ended last week). The Vivid Light Festival is a "18 day festival of light, music and ideas". Honestly, I only go to see the pretty lights (rather than the talks) and 2015 was my 4th year of visiting.

Vivid Sydney 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015

Vivid Sydney 2015

Similar to Sculpture by the Sea, I'm not super excited about Vivid but it is something I always end up visiting. I found that this year was quite lacking however the coolest part was 'Internal Galaxy' as pictured above.
Sunday, 14 June 2015

Bundanoon

Bundanoon

Bundanoon

Over the Queen's birthday long weekend, my family and I headed down to Bundanoon in the Southern Highlands. We stayed at my brother in law's ancestral property which was purchased back in 1865!!

Bundanoon

Bundanoon

Bundanoon

Not much was done over the weekend aside from board games and card games but it was super relaxing. I also managed to read a few novels (I was obssessed with Karin Slaugther's Will Trent series which I have now sadly finished). I also went to Glow Worm Glen where there wre glow worms in the glen. It was super cool seeing them glow in the dark and a little creepy.

Bundanoon

Bundanoon

Bundanoon

Bundanoon

Bundanoon

Bundanoon
Monday, 8 June 2015

Austria

I am finally wrapping up my posts about my grad trip. Finally. On the one hand, I hate having posts that talk about things that happened so long ago. On the other, I also dislike having an overload of posts about the same travelling stint. And if I had a third hand, I also can't quite bring myself to simply stop blogging and move onto other things that I want to write about.

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I visited Austria ever so briefly on my 2013 trip however for all extents and purposes, I really didn't see anything. On that trip, I flew from Hamburg, Germany to Innsbruck, Austria to pick up a car to drive to Munich which we then dropped off at Salzburg, Austria since it was around 100 Euros cheaper than flying to Munich and hiring a car there. Yes, really. Like a lot of first time visitors, I went to the two popular cities: Vienna and Salzburg.

Vienna: 2nd January - 4th January 2015
Vienna confused me a little. I didn't really expect the city to be ... well what it was. I can't quite explain, but it was vastly different to what I expected. Perhaps it was because I stayed slightly outside the "main" area and in an area that was predominately commercial/industrial. It was also a little weird in the main square (the square with Stephansdom) with the hordes of tourists and people trying to sell tickets.

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I also visited a flea market at Naschmarkt and it was an experience. The "flea markets" that I am used to in Sydney are just overpriced "vintage" stalls at weekend markets but the one in Vienna really embodied the idea of "one man's rubbish is another man's treasure". There were stalls selling film cameras to kitchen crockery to piles of clothing on the floor and even motherboards just on the concrete.

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Another super touristy restaurant that I visited was Figlmüller for their famous schnitzel. The potato salad was pretty horrible but I'm not really sure if the schnitzel was really that good. But when in Wien.

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Vienna was a city that didn't really grab my attention. A funny situation happened on the final day where I had to catch the train to Salzburg. I didn't pay attention to the station that the train was departing from (rookie error) and only realised when I looked at the timetable at the wrong station. With 20 minutes before the train departure at the other train station which was conveniently on the other side of the city, I was quite stressed. But I did manage to get the train and it's just another funny story for my collection.

Salzburg: 5th January 2015 - 6th January 2015
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Salzburg, the city famous for the Sound of Music and the gazillion of tours that are catered for fans of the movie. Salzburg was a lot smaller than what I expected and the highlight of my 1.5 days spent there was definitely visiting Untersberg which is part of the Berchtesgaden Alps (it is also in both Germany and Austria). As there was a snow, it wasn't possible to walk anywhere (i.e a lookout) without proper snow gear. However it was a really lovely experience since it was so quiet and peaceful.

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Would I revisit?
The cities that I visisted, no. But I would love to go back to smaller towns and also with different/ no company. On a side note, the thing that I loved about Austria was Almdudler. I really liked the still version (although the carbonated one was still quite nice) and will be on the hunt for it in Sydney!
Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Budapest

Buda-pesht! The train ride from Munich to Budapest was eventful. For some reason we didn't have allocated seats (perhaps because the ticket was so cheap?) and 3/4 in out of the 7 hour train ride we got kicked out of our seats. The frustrating moment when the woman (who had our seats) was complaining to other passengers (who clearly understood Hungarian) and then laughed. But it didn't phase me too much and I didn't mind sitting on the door step and watching the train cross the countryside. In fact, there were a lot of people without seats which was interesting.

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Gellért Hill Cave Church

Budapest was sunny for the duration of the week that I was there however it was also super cold. The average temperature was at around -5. Brr!!

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And what is a visit to Budapest without visiting the famous Széchenyi Thermal Bath. Due to timing issues, we ended up going in the morning of NYE. It was an interesting experience, especially the outdoor pools. It was -7°C that morning however the water was at a comfortable 38°C. It was very cool that ice was forming on my strands of hair that were exposed to the cold air. To be frank, it was a little awkward going at that time since it was full of locals (men) and getting in and out of the baths in my bikini was a little ... uncomfortable. NYE/NYD was eventful for personal reasons however what was interesting was the amount of illegal fireworks and other things of that nature. Coming from Australia where it is quite strict, I was a little taken aback to see people just lighting fireworks on the streets. My Dutch friend was saying how that is normal and people even light bins on fire back in his hometown ....

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My favourite things that I ate there were: kürtőskalács (picture above), goulash and lángos (deep fried bread) with sweetened cottage cheese. I just love how Hungarian cuisine is so carb heavy!