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Back in Sydney

Together with Katha and Jo-Jo (two girls we met in the Jackeroo course) we took the train back to Sydney and spent our last days in Australia with blogging (and viewing 2000 Leconfield pictures before, damn I can`t see them any more!! ;-) ), shopping, watching The Social Network in the cinema and visiting the Sydney Wildlife World where you can see all the typical Australian animals like kangaroos, koalas or an alligator. In the evenings we borrowed DVDs and enjoyed them with a few bottles of VB – “The best cold beer” in Australia – together with Klara (another girl we met on the ranch) who came back from Tamworth and joined us the last day…

It was very sad when we had to say goodbye to the girls, but I`m quite sure it won`t be the last time we met…he-he… ;-)

- Bernd -

Isabell holding a walking stick in the Sydney Wildlife World (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell holding a walking stick in the Sydney Wildlife World (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A big alligator (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A big alligator (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Kangaroos relaxing in the sun (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Kangaroos relaxing in the sun (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Eating koala (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Eating koala (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
VB drinker from left to right: Katha, Bernd, Isa, Klara and Jo-Jo (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
VB drinker from left to right: Katha, Bernd, Isa, Klara and Jo-Jo (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
   


Jackaroo & Jillaroo School @ Leconfield

About 12 days ago we left Sydney and headed towards Tamworth, a small town that is known for it’s  big countrymusic festival. But for some people Tamworth is known as something totally different: A gateway to the Jackeroo and Jillaroo School in Leconfield. (For those of you who have no idea what I’m talking about: Jackaroos and Jillaroos are the Aussie counterpart of the American Cowboy and Cowgirl.) So for the last 12 days we lived on a farm without mobile and internet reception, with more animals than human beings and a whole lot of white toast. :-P

On the first days we were introduced to the basics you need to live and work on a farm which are horseback riding, handmilking a cow, cracking a whip and opening beer bottles in many different ways ;-) If you pass all those basics the daily routine was the following:

Normally the day starts with breakfast at 7.30 am – except when it was your turn of handmilking Bella and Trinity. Then your day starts at least one hour earlier with two mooing cows, sore muscles in your arms and some cow poop :-?

After breakfast you catch your horse, clean it, put saddle and bridal on and head towards a paddock to do cattle mustering, which is basically the attempt to get every cow, calf and bull to walk the direction you want them to – sounds easy but isn’t! If you have all the cattle in the yard it’s time for lunch break which was between 11.30 am and 1.30 pm. In case there isn’t a mustering there are always jobs like stick picking, wheet picking or fencing. When lunchtime was over the cattle work began – the seperated calves get ear tags, brandings and if they’re really lucky, which means beeing a male calf, they get castrated as well! Click below to watch the video clip Timo has recorded but, please, be warned that you’ll might see more than you want to!

Depending on how many calves there are the job is usually done by 4 or 5 pm – then it’s time to ride home. At 7 pm the farm was nearly deserted as everybody gathered in the kitchen for dinnertime. After that you usually open a bottle of beer (or more) and play some cards – but no longer than midnight because in about 6 hours Bella and Trinity are calling again! ;-)

Inbetween the daily jobs there was always time for jokes, songs and a whole
lot of laughter -  especially when Hilton aka. “Chuck Norris” got “… very, very upset!”

Thanks again, Susi & Hilton, and, of course, Brian, who make Leconfield what it is!

And to all our new friends from Germany, Austria, Denmark, England, Netherlands, Norway, Canada and, of course, Australia: Thank you guys for 12 incredible days, for all the songs that have been sung, for all the “Snap!” we played and for all the s*** we did! We’re wishing all of you a great time in Down Under, lots of experiences and even more fun!

- Isabell & Bernd -

We can look so stupid, can`t we? ;o) (© 2010 TB)
We can look so stupid, can`t we? ;o) (© 2010 TB)
Isabell (right side) with her horse (left side) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell (right side) with her horse (left side) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A mustering (© 2010 TB)
A mustering (© 2010 TB)
After ear-tagging and castration: The branding! (© 2010 MW)
After ear-tagging and castration: The branding! (© 2010 MW)
Mmmmmh, bull balls! (© 2010 TB)
Mmmmmh, bull balls! (© 2010 TB)
Our favorite game: Snap (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Our favorite game: Snap (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Mikael, Timo and Celia (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Mikael, Timo and Celia (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell together with Katha & Jo-Jo (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell together with Katha & Jo-Jo (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Johanna on her horse (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Johanna on her horse (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Katha ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Katha ;) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Bregje with her horse at the river (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Bregje with her horse at the river (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Cow wrestling – guess who won ;o) (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Cow wrestling – guess who won ;o) (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Hilton aka. Chuck Norris (© 2010 MW)
Hilton aka. Chuck Norris (© 2010 MW)
Marina shearing a sheep (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Marina shearing a sheep (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Isabell (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Anders, Celia, Timo, Klara and Marina (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Anders, Celia, Timo, Klara and Marina (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Anders putting his hand down to Celias butt (just kidding!!) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Anders putting his hand down to Celias butt (just kidding!!) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Damn cool Jackeroo resting at the river (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Damn cool Jackeroo resting at the river (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Our group (© 2010 TB)
Our group (© 2010 TB)


Bye for now!

New Zealand is done, what comes next? Of course, Australia! Sydney. What a surprise! ;-)
Two days ago we arrived in the land of Vegemite and Kangaroos and we`ve liked it from the first minute. People are very friendly (except of the grumpy staff in our Hostel), you can still buy chocolate Donuts like in USA and the Darling Harbour of Sydney is just amazing. A few of the city´s best attractions are there as well e. g. the Sydney Aquarium with a big exhibit – the SHARK HQ – where you can see a 7 meters model of the Great White and you get a lot of background information. They also had living sand tiger sharks and several reef sharks – we spent a lot of time watching them, this time separated by a glass pane (…)

One evening we went to the world`s biggest IMAX 3D theatre and watched the Legend of the Guardians. We`ve seen the premier in Hollywood, do you remember? And yes, the movie was as good as expected. Not funny, but with very impressive pictures!

Tommorow we`re gonna leave Sydney and take a train to the North to … hm … who knows? This being said: It`s the reason we were not able to extend our stay in New Zealand (because we had booked in advance) and it will be somewhere in the Outback. I think we will not have Internet access but we`ll be back for blogging in about 10 days with (I hope) a lot of pictures and (of course!) with some exciting storys!

Take care!

- Isabell & Bernd -

P.S. Just for the case we won`t come back: Thanks again for reading, commenting and following us on this website ;-)

Sydney`s Darling Harbour (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Sydney`s Darling Harbour (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Did I mention that she has to touch EVERYTHING? ;o) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Did I mention that she has to touch EVERYTHING? ;o) (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
No joke, this is a WATER DRAGON (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
No joke, this is a WATER DRAGON (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A scary-looking but harmless sand tiger shark (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A scary-looking but harmless sand tiger shark (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
A solid shark cage (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
A solid shark cage (© 2010 Isabell Gernert)
Giant grouper – they can grow up to 9 feet large! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Giant grouper – they can grow up to 9 feet large! (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Shark portrait (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)
Shark portrait (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)


The paperwork…

ESTAYeee-ha, our entry into the United States of America is confirmed! Isabell and I have filled out the ESTA form on the offical website today. I thought it would take a few hours to get the confirmation but after submitting the form we received it immediately. I think not being friends of Osama and the fact that we neither supported the Nazis in WW II helped us a lot ;-)

Other countries on our list are making it easier to enter, offering visa-on-arrival / tourist cards which are a few bucks (Indonesia; 25 USD for 30 days) or free of charge (Mexico). Sometimes we`ll just need an entry permit (Fiji, New Zealand and Thailand).

So there is only one more destination – Australia. No problem, right? As if!

If you think the United States have the most bureaucratic entry regulations then you have not yet been on the website of Australias Department of Immigration and Citizenship – they even have a wizard “Finding you the right Australian Visa”. The result is a list that still contains three different visas. Hmmm…do I need the “Tourist (subclass 676) visa” or the “eVisitor (subclass 651) visa”? Probably the first one – but enough for today, I`ll find out tomorrow :roll:

- Bernd -

EDIT: Btw, eVisitor was the right one!

A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step…

… or in our case: with a single click!

After the decision was made thoughts were going crazy: HOW are we travelling? WHERE do we want to go?  WHEN are we going? HOW LONG are we going to travell? WHAT about the costs? …

So, one thing at the time:

HOW to travel: Okay, let’s face it – anything else than plane didn’t come to our mind. But instead of booking every single flight there is a great way to get around the world: Round-the-world tickets ! ;-) There are several united airlines like Star Alliance, OneWorld Alliance and SkyTeam that provide different around-the-world programs: Whereas SkyTeam only offers booking via telephone, OneWorld does have difficulties with crossing the Pacific. Star Alliance seemed to have it all:  Great deals, easy booking, friendly support – need I say more?!

WHERE to go: The world, of course! Ahw well, some countries have been on our list for a long time: Australia, USA (continent), USA (Hawaii), Thailand and the Fiji Islands – we have to visit these countries! And then one thing led to another: hey, if we’re on the Fiji Islands we could also go to New Zealand. And before we go to the States we could make a stop in Mexico. And why not go to Bali right before Thailand?! Can we do this within 29.000 miles – YES, we can!

So this is the actual route:  Frankfurt/Germany – Mexico City/Mexico – Los Angeles/USA – San Francisco/USA – Honolulu/USA -  Nadi/Fiji – Auckland/New Zealand – Sydney/Australia – Denpasar/Bali - Bangkok/Thailand – Frankfurt/Germany

WHEN to go: Due to a little trip with friends end of August we set the date of departure on September 10, 2010.

Travel planning with Poker chips (© 2010 Bernd Neeser)

HOW LONG are we travelling: According to the novel of Jules Verne our trip will take 80 days. (There is no bet going on, we know that it’s possible!). As easy as it was to set the 80 days the harder it was to choose how many days to spend in each country: First put a minimum of days on each destination, then spread the remaining ones and finally flipping one or two. (Hint: Poker chips are perfect for that!)

WHAT about the costs: Well, nothing’s for free. There are two aspects: The ticket and the trip itself.  As I said before, the ticket price depends on the miles, the stops and the countries you travel to – 29.000 miles are cheaper than 35.000 miles, the entrance fee for one country is more expensive than for another country…. I think we’ll have an extra post for this topic!

Okay, these were the first steps we took on our journey around the world… but be sure, there’ll be A LOT more! ;-)

- Isabell -