The journey starts with a 20 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay with amazing views of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and of course the Harbour itself.
Since our trip to Germany I have made the decision to expose my family more to art and culture. Whether it be performance art, visual art, music or video art, my aim is for my children to learn more about our creative industry.
Underbelly Arts is a contemporary arts festival on Cockatoo Island and happens only every two years. This year I decided to take my family to this event which is located in the stunning Sydney Harbour.
The journey starts with a 20 minute ferry ride from Circular Quay with amazing views of the Opera House, Harbour Bridge and of course the Harbour itself.
On the island itself you can find lots of different performances, installations, video and dance art. The boys enjoyed exploring different areas leading from one installation to another. I always felt that children understand the sometimes playful nature of performance art very well and are quiet keen observers of what is happening around them. In other cases they don't seem to get it at all, but that's the way it is for all of us.
I can definitely recommend Underbelly Arts for the whole family. We all had a great time on Cockatoo Island and are looking forward to the next one in 2017.
Watch out Mountain folk.... we are coming back!
Well yes....I can't believe it myself that nine months are almost over, which also means that this is the end of 'My journey back home' blog. (sniff)
I was thinking what I should write for this last blog and as always the words are not coming easy to me.
Writing was never one of my strengths and probably never will be, but I tried to include strong images to supported the story as well.
I hope you all enjoyed reading my blog because I certainly liked sharing all my adventures with you.
So, for this last entry I decided to summarise all my experiences in a nut shell including all the highlights and lowlights.
But one thing is for sure....I will miss Germany heaps.
Things I will miss:
-my dear friends and family
-being able to visit Paris for a weekend (or any other great city in Europe)
-the diversity of cultural activities on offer
-the amazing bread
-our lovely neighbours
-riding my bike every day
-going to dance parties once a month
-the health food store across the road
-all those protesters who are fighting for women's rights, immigration rights and much more every week
-dropping off the kids to my parents for a whole weekend
-bushwalking in the Alps
-writing my blog to all you lovelies
Things I will not miss:
-all the grumpy old men out on the streets, who think they have to tell me how to look after my children
-living in the inner city
-the cold winter with a horrible grey sky for weeks on end
-heating with coal
-getting up early to bring the kids to an eight o'clock school start
-picking up the kids from school at 12pm (can't get anything done)
-guys spitting on the street right next to you
-people looking funny into my camera, like in the previous image ;-)
There is another thing I need to tell you about a German Winter:
I never thought that vitamin D deficiency can have such a strong effect on my mood and motivation. I haven't seen the sun for three weeks and I am finding it hard to fulfil my daily activities. No wonder the Germans thought Carnival was a good idea to bring a bit of fun into a rather grey winter, by dressing up in silly clothes, drinking alcohol and party for five days non stop. Even the boys ski instructors where dressed up as a dog, bear or clown. I have to admit, it did brighten up the grey days and even brought a smile on my face.
On another note: We did have an awesome ski trip to the Bavarian Alps with loads of snow, sun and great skiing conditions. The boys had lessons and learned how to get down a hill safely. I on the other hand took a while to get back into skiing after 20 years. On the second day I felt confident to go up to the top to do a black run, which is the hardest steepest run, to only realise that I wasn't ready for that at all. The only problem is, once you start going down there is not way back up.
If it happens that some of you guys will bump into one of us in Katoomba, make sure you wear sunglasses. We are as white as sheets and will reflect any light that hits us. Three months of winter with barley any sun did have quite a strong effect on our appearance. Apologies!
Love you all and can't wait to catch up soon.
It has been a while since my last blog. I was thinking about writing this one for the past month, but always something got in the way. May it be weekends away with friends, having school or preschool commitments, visitors or working on my art projects; life just seems to get busier by the week (so it seems).
But where do I start? I guess I have to go back in time, in case you wonder why there are people wearing T-shirts in the photographs.
First, there was our trip to the French part of Switzerland in early September. Before we left, Alex and I dropped of the boys at my mums so we could have a weekend away without the little ones.
We visited an old friend of Alex’s youth, his wife and two children. His friend and family were living at the time in Lausanne (they moved back to Australia), which is a beautiful city on the shores of lake Geneva. Whilst staying in a beautiful old house, which was in her families’ hands for over 10 decades, we did a trip out into the country and had a picnic in the most amazing spot surrounded by high mountains and a river.
After this wonderful weekend away in Switzerland, it was time for me to visit some old friends in Berlin. I always get butterflies in my stomach when I think about this city. I have stopped counting how many times I have been there but it is always a great pleasure. Before moving to Australia, my plan was to move to Berlin and study art. I always was taken by the city’s art scene and vibrancy, which is still present.
In between all this travel we were out to explore Nürnberg. 15 years ago when I used to live here I didn’t see the city like I see it today. It is a great opportunity to explore it again as an adult.
End of September we visited the Nürnberger Volksfest, which is a bit like the October Fest in Munich, but smaller. The kids had a great time and I realised that not much has changed in the past 20 years, with the same rides on the same spots.
I also need to mention the historical location of this event, which is right next to the impressive Colosseum that Hitler had built in the 1940’s. After the Fair we had to have a closer look at this huge piece of architecture, which was never finished. It is quite a dramatic building with high ceilings, arches and a horseshoe shape. On some walls we even found bullet holes from the war, which gave me Goosebumps. Today the colosseum has two functions; one is storage for some companies and second; an impressive museum serving as a reminder of the tragic times back in WWII.
I hope you enjoyed this brief journey of ours and felt a bit of our excitement and experiences we are getting over here.
Until next time;
Special edition: Climbing a Mountain
I thought I write about my recent experience in a separate blog. Not only because I am very proud of myself of climbing a mountain, but I was absolutely blown away by the amazing landscape.
Weeks ago my dear old friend and I thought we should go on a little adventure to the Austrian Alps and stay overnight in one of the huts. I also need to mention that my friend and I have a history of amazing and slightly intense trips spanning through the past 20 years.
So we found a walk, which led into the ‘Steinerne Meer’ (Stony Sea) up to the Riemann House. What we thought of doing was a two-day bushwalk, similar to the ones you find in the Blue Mountains/ Australia, but it turned out to be far different from that.
The description on the web said that the walk would take about three hours for walkers with easy to mid level experience. Anyway to get to the Riemann Haus, which is sitting at a height of 2200 meters we needed to climb up a steep hill getting more and more intense the closer we came to the top. Our backpacks felt heavier with every hour and on top of that, we had to fight our fear of heights, which pushed us to our absolute limits.
Five hours later and finally at the top, all we thought about was…..’How do we get down there again without loosing our minds.”
I know, I know……quite dramatic but let me tell you this.... being so high felt very strange, almost disconcerting, but I know the next time I am climbing a mountain it will be more relaxing.
The landscape up there is quite surreal too with not one plant in sight; it felt like we landed on the moon. We were very lucky with the weather too, 21 degrees and clear sky, which enabled us to amazing views to snow capped Alps and beyond.
In the end we did the whole walk with lots of sweat and tears and even pushed our boundaries to the maximum. But that is what made this experience worth every minute.
I also have learned a new love for extreme bushwalking and can’t wait until my next adventure.
Entry IV: Gostenhof
A lot has happened in the past few weeks that made our journey exciting and tiring at the same time. But before I begin to tell you everything, I will start with some info about ‘Gostenhof’.
Gostenhof was build around 1311 and was a separate village back then. In World War II Gostenhof was left largely undamaged, which means that most of its buildings are still in its original condition (literally). Gostenhof also has the highest rate of immigrants and people with lower socioeconomic status, which can make it an unsafe place at times. Because of its low rent, artists and young families have now started moving in to the area. As a result of that, Gostenhof is becoming more and more a culturally important part of Nürnberg. (bit like Newtown)
Short personal story:
As some of you know we had a bit of a wobbly start in Gostenhof. In our first week of living here someone lit a fire in the communal hallway, which left us without proper electricity for 4 weeks (and that in Germany).
Last week someone smashed a window in our car and left an absolute mess inside and out. Even the police was suspicious and wanted me to got to the investigation unit so they could take samples of fingerprints, which made me a little bit concerned. But even more strangely, nothing got stolen out of the car.
And now the good news (finally);
I have to say despite our bad luck so far we do enjoy being here. As they say “What doesn’t kill you only makes you stronger.” I think this phrase works for us at the moment;-)
We are very lucky to have our neighbours, because they are awesome! And we live so close to many amazing places that we never get bored of being here.
Our youngest son has started preschool, which he absolutely loves and our two older boys will have their first day at school next week. Even I am getting busy with starting a new piece of street art soon, which is in the hood and legal ….. otherwise the police will get to know me too well;-)
Third entry: Discovering Nürnberg
About 6 weeks ago, we moved to Nürnberg and we already experienced a heat wave, a house fire, a couple of museums, art galleries, the zoo and of course relaxing at the park enjoying the summer.
With no doubt we finally feel home in Germany!
A few facts about Nürnberg: This beautiful city is around 950 years old with a big castle on top of the hill and a long moat circling in the old part of the town. Back in World War II, it became Hitler’s most favourite city, but unfortunately the bombs destroyed a lot of its history and old buildings.
However, what is left is just magnificent and worth seeing.
Nürnberg has a population of about half a million people, which makes it big enough to have plenty of entertainment and small enough to be everywhere in no time (especially on bikes). Here, the people are friendly and helpful and they seem to love the boys, because they get offered lollies in almost every store we go:-)
In the next blog I will show and tell you all about Gostenhof, a suburb of Nürnberg and our home for the coming 6 months.
Second entry: From Ulm to Nürnberg
Ah Germany….great bread, lots of beer, expensive cars and of course soccer. There was certainly an amazing vibe over here with Germany winning the World Cup. People went out onto the streets and celebrated until the sun came up. Go Germany!!!!
Anyway, it has been already over four weeks since we arrived in Germany and the time came to say good-bye to our first destination Ulm, a city in the south and home of my mum and her partner. I have to say that they were very good hosts, considering that suddenly five people crammed into their small flat. To make this all work we went out a lot and had a great time exploring the area and discovering new beautiful walks through farmland.
Before we moved to Nürnberg, on our last day in Ulm we visited LEGOLAND, after our three beautiful children made sure that we don’t miss it. One of the highlights was the Star Wars exhibition with the largest Lego structure, Luke Skywalker’s X-Wing Star fighter, I have ever seen.
First entry: KOREA
I have been living in Australia for the past 12 years and I have been itching to go back home to Germany for at least five years. Finally my husband Alex and I decided that now was a good time to go, with our youngest almost ready to start school. Prior to leaving we had to pack away our entire house except furniture, because a lovely family from Germany is moving in for most of the time.
On our way to Germany we decided to have a stop over in Seoul/ Incheon Korea. We were picked up by a bus to leave the airport to our hotel. This bus trip took us onto a bridge that literally went into the ocean and after about 10 min the bridge did a left turn and suddenly we were back on land. Arriving at the hotel, we noticed something very strange, there were lots of roads but no cars and a couple of parks but no people. So we started calling it Ghost Town!
View from our hotel window on the 10th floor.
There was one thing I really liked about this place; it looked like local farmers have decided to take over the unused green areas to grow their vegetables and no one seems to mind.
aMBUSH Gallery took over Bungalow 8 to host Kid’s Urban Art Workshops, Tattoo Painting and Live Art. Featuring artists, Shida (Gold Coast), Sprinkles Ink and Art (Sydney), DEB (Melbourne/San Francisco), Mulga The Artist (Sydney), Houl (Canberra) and Mandy Schöne-Salter /Visual Artist (Sydney).
The children designed their own paste-up portrait to take home using photography, photoshop and loads of paint.
Recently I took some images of professional indian dancer Niki Shepherd after her performance at the Blue Mountains Cultural Centre. Niki performed the traditional Kuchipudi dance and It takes her hours to put on the amazing costume and make-up. I have seen Niki perform many times in the past years and every time I think she looks so beautiful.
My second solo show 'Degradation & Reflection' traveled from Dubbo Regional Art Gallery to Hobart's Salamanca Arts Centre. The show has been exhibited at the Top Gallery in a beautiful heritage listed Sandstone building.
In Hobart we stayed at the Writer's Cottage in Kelly Street; one of the fist cottages build in Hobart (1840), which is mostly being used as a writer's retreat with amazing views over Salamanca.
But we didn't just stay in Hobart for the whole time! We took the car on a ride to Bruny Island and enjoyed its amazing beaches and wildlife. What a great place to take photos!