sarahblack: (Bertie Wooster)
It has been decided! Þorri and I are returning to Narrabri next Friday. It will be an interesting cross-country journey involving a bus and two trains. We'll have to leave Byron Bay on Thursday because one of the trains is an overnight train! It will be lovely to see my grandmother and Lindsay again. (As well as my grandmother's wonderful collection of books!)

As I mentioned in my very brief previous post, the stay in Byron Bay has been a dream come true so far. We could have been luckier with the weather, but I'm definitely not complaining. We've has some amazing sunny days.

However, I haven't told you guys a thing about Sydney! This post will be novel length if I try to go into all the details, so I'm just going to post a few pictures along with a few comments.

Sydney )

Last Monday Þorri and I flew to Byron Bay. We've been spending time with Lindsay's daughter's family as we are crashing at their place. But like I said in my last post, we've also been able to take a trip to Currumbin Sanctuary (Australian animal "zoo"), walk to the most Easterly part of Australia, and hang around the beach for a bit.

Pictures! )

Tomorrow we're going to have a day of pampering at a spa and then we're going to the Lounge Cinema to see Looper. I'm really excited! I haven't had a full body massage since I was here in 2006! The Lounge Cinema is a treat as well. You sort of lie around instead of sitting! It's so comfy.

P.S. I totally recommend The Iron Lady. Fantastic film! Meryl Streep is a genius.
sarahblack: (Haaapppeee Audrey)
There really is nothing quite like staying with my grandmother and Lindsay in their house in the Middle Of Nowhere, Australia.

You never know when some interesting animal might decide to pop over for a visit. My grandmother likes to feed the goana lizards that live in the neighbourhood, and they will come up to the porch and practically eat right from out of her hand.

S5005555_


Animal invasions and other things )

In the evenings, before dinner, a glass of bubbly with some strawberries thrown in is not an uncommon sight. (Beers, or even glasses of Gin and Tonic can sometimes be spotted by the keen observer.)

Avid readers will find themselves in paradise. Books full of murder mysteries, politics, history, Australian wildlife, Icelandic geography, famous literature, short stories, poetry, photographs and anything you could possibly want to read about, abound.

Would-be farmers would be happy here. Last week we were invited to go with Lindsay to the University of Sydney Plant Breeding Institute to observe the annual Field Day. This consisted of eating delicious barbecued food and looking at a lot of wheat. We heard Lindsay give a talk on the history of the different wheat species that the University of Sydney has been involved in breeding, and heard about a lot of different research projects that Ph.D. students are working on. Wheat is being made to need less water, resist disease, resist heat, become more nutritious and generally do whatever we want it to do. It's fascinating!

S5005580


On Saturdays a market springs up alongside the river in Narrabri - perfect for bargain-hunters. This weekend Þorri and I went with my grandmother to have a look. There was a man with an ice cream machine! He put scoops of vanilla ice cream inside, along with a scoop of raspberries or strawberries or whatever kind of berry that you wanted, and out of the machine came perfect berry flavoured soft serve ice cream! I want one of those machines.

I bought honey from a nice lady who first tried to get me to taste all the different kinds of honey she had for sale, and Þorri bought a lovely straw hat. (No-one tried to make him taste all the hats first.) My grandmother bought some beautiful flowers.

Life in the country is definitely something special. Plenty of animals and plants to keep you company, books to read, naps to take, bubbly to drink and all kinds of activities to keep you occupied.

For example, tomorrow me and Þorri have been invited to see the cotton crops get planted. I've never seen anything like that. (Iceland is not exactly famous for its agriculture.) Apparently there will be huge machines involved. I just hope my hey fever doesn't give me too much trouble.
sarahblack: (London)
Since my last update I have enjoyed a lovely stay in London, been reunited with Thorri, and flown to the other end of the planet.

I can't believe I'm in Australia already. It's been this far off part of my journey for such a long time. When I saw my grandmother and Lindsay waiting for me and Thorri at the Tamworth airport I was struck with the sheer insanity of it all. I can't really put the feeling into words, but it might have been close to how you feel when you've been spinning around on a desk chair for ages and then suddenly get up.

London )

My last full day in London, Monday, was spent getting ready to meet Þorri at the airport. I must have made it to the arrivals gate almost two hours early because I was so eager to see him again! You can imagine how happy we were when we were finally reunited. ♥

We stayed at an airport hotel that night, making it easy to get the airport the next day. I won't bore you with the details of our journey (6 hours to Abu Dhabi, 10 hours waiting in Abu Dhabi, 13 hours to Sydney, 4 hours waiting in Sydney, 1 hour to Tamworth, 2 hours driving to Narrabri) except to say it was exhausting. Especially since I came down with a sore throat right at the start of the journey. I did manage to catch up on all the recent film releases, though.

After we got to my grandmother's house we've been doing a lot of eating and sleeping. Þorri is loving all the animals that you see around the house (mainly birds and some lizards) and I'm loving my grandmother's collection of murder mysteries. Oh, and last night we started watching Downton Abbey! I've already become quite invested.

Tonight there will be a dinner party. My grandmother has invited some friends that I'm looking forward to seeing again, and there has been talk of pancakes. Yummy Icelandic pancakes!

Hopefully my throat will get better soon, being sick is no fun. Will you send me some healing mojo if you have any to spare?
sarahblack: (Johnny Depp <3)
Right now I am relaxing after a lovely day at the Berlin Zoo. Before I tell you more about that I want to briefly describe my stay in Krakow.

Krakow )

I went to Berlin early the next day, and was met at the station by a lovely German guy by the name of Veit. He drove me to his apartment (which he shares with a flatmate, an equally lovely girl called Anka) in a very interesting car. It was one of the car-sharing cars of Berlin. They have this program where you can rent a car for however long you need it at the drop of a hat. You have a microchip in your driver's license which activates the car, and when you need to find the nearest car-sharing vehicle... There's an app for that! The people behind the program take care of cleaning the cars and filling them with gas. Amazing!

Anyway, Veit's couch is very comfortable, there is wifi (and a laptop I'm allowed to use) and he took me to the rooftop of his apartment building for pizza and beer on my first evening here. In other words - Excellent host!

My first day in Berlin was full of typical tourist activities. I went to see the East Side Gallery, Alexanderplatz, the Berlin cathedral, the Reichstag building, Brandenburger Tor and the Victory Column. (Among other things.)

>


I spent the evening eating delicious sugary popcorn and drinking cherry coke while watching silly stuff with Veit.

Today I went to the Zoo, as I have already mentioned, and it was epic. I think I must have spent two hours just hanging out with the monkeys and the apes. There were so many! And I managed to catch the feeding time for the Orangutangs and the Gorillas! Also, I saw lions, tigers, leopards, wolves, polar bears, zebras, giraffes and elephants! It was just like a zoo ought to be.



I really loved the gorillas. ♥

Tomorrow I am off to Copenhagen, and currently I am off to take a shower!

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Sarah Black

March 2015

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