Week 5: Mildura

Monday morning I woke up still in Colignan, so the clock said 6:30. It was freezing cold that morning, and the first bus was also cold. After two buses in total, we got to the school which was the same as usual. We bought Lunch from the Cafe across the street, but everything else was quite ordinary. We had dinner without Mark, who had stayed in Colignan, and Maaike went back there after dinner. Maddie baked cookies for the three of us, which we ate and went to bed. A very nice and quiet day, which I enjoyed all the little aspects of.

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Today was another school day. I read a book Emma had lent me called “every day”, and it is pretty good. I have already read half of it. Today I was pretty tired, so I pretty much layed on my bed until it was dinnertime. We had a very delicious stew, and me and Emma made chocolate pudding afterwards. I went to bed early.

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Wednesday was yet another school day. I finished the book Emma lent me. For dinner we had pies, which Maaike and I had made. I don’t think I ever mentioned it again, but yes: the moons phases are different in the southern hemisphere! When I last saw the moon, it told me that it was about to be new, but later it was full! So by a little bit of observation, I conclude that the moons phases are opposite down under. Instead of going from D to O to C, it goes from C to O to D – which makes sense to me…

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Today I did not go to school. I woke up a bit before 8 and had my breakfast. A bit later, I did yoga with Maaike and Maddie which was fun (especially when I fell over during a very daring headstand). I did hindbærsnitter once more, and we all had lunch. Afterwards, I made kammerjunkere, which we are going to have tomorrow along with homemade koldskål. Very proud of myself.

Kammerjunkere

Hindbærsnitter

We brought the hindbærsnitter to Venturers, where we had an international night. Everyone brought food from different countries (Denmark, Germany, France, Italy, England, Spain, China, Japan and Turkey) and we ate those in between games. We played a danish game (enlig mor fra Høje Taastrup), and some other games involving languages. It was a very good night, and we all laughed a lot.

International spread

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Emma had no school on Friday, so we went with Maaike to Mildura. We went in a couple of “op shops”, looking for a dress for Emma. We didn’t find one, but we did try on some old-school wedding dresses and had a bit of a laugh. We had a cup of tea and a bagel on a little café, went in a book store, and finally we picked up Maddie from the Arts center. After some afternoon tea, we went to Colignan.

Sunset at Colignan

Rie and her host family came over for dinner, and we sat around the campfire. Ries host mother, Denise, had made something with bread and dip and stuff, and it was really delicious. For dinner we had a lot of different meat cooked on the barbecue, potatoes, couscous and salad. For dessert we had koldskål with kammerjunkere and afterwards we had self-saucing pudding. We went back out to the campfire, and looked at the stars. They pointed out the scorpio, the southern cross, a couple of galaxies that can’t be seen from the northern hemisphere, and some planets. I also saw a shooting star, and was very happy with the ending of that lovely day.

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Before lunch, we went out to see Ries host family’s paddleboat, Impulse. It was build in ’83, but it sank four years ago so now it is being restored.

Afterwards, we went on a little Australian safari. We drove out past the vineyards and citrus trees, to a property belonging to some of the family’s friends. They have a huge area, where they have made the landscape as natural as possible, after having sheep on it for years. We saw a couple more kangaroos, and also a confused emu. Then we went to some sand dunes, a bit into the wild. Maaike showed us all some stones that the indigenous people had been using, so you could see the sharp edges on them. She also said, that if you walked barefoot in the sand dunes, you would be sure to return to Australia. So that is what we did.

Kangaroo

In the afternoon, me and Emma went sailing on the river in a kayak with pedals. We only went for about an hour, but it was a very nice and peaceful trip.

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Sunday the 31st of July was National Tree Planting Day. So after going for a walk with the dog, we planted a tree in the garden. I planted a Gold Dust Wattle. The rest of the day was spent crocheting and making a fire for the camp oven that night.

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International Scarf Day today, so we wore our scarfs to school. The teacher in Enviromental Science is some sort of wildlife saver, so she takes care of little joeys. Because I was there, she went home in the middle of class to get them. She came back with four little ones, and we got to cuddle them. So now I have seen kangaroos in the zoo, in the wild and in a box.

We got lunch at the café again, and it was pretty good. We also got a little raw cake-thing, not really sure what it was but it was very good. We had Dutch pancakes for dinner tonight, some with apple and some with bacon. It is my last night of my entire exchange, and I can’t believe that it is already coming to an end. I am insanely grateful for everything that I have seen and experienced on this trip, and for the people who has made it even more interesting by telling me the stories you wouldn’t normally hear as a tourist.

And now I realize how lucky I have been, to have experienced both the city and the countryside of this fascinating country.

I might do an update on how I am feeling about being home again, but let me know if there is something else I should rather write about. Thanks for reading all of my rambling posts!

Week 2: Sydney & Blue Mountains

We went to the Blue Mountains Monday morning. We made a stop in Katoomba, and had lunch at a cute little place with loads of teapots, as shown below. I had a cauliflower soup, and we all had scones and tea afterwards.

Teapots

Scones and tea

When we had had our lunch, we went to see the three sisters. There were a lot of (other) tourists, but for a reason. It was an amazing view. Below is a picture of the three sisters, followed by a picture of three girls. As you can probably tell, it was pretty windy.

The three sisters

The three girls

From the three sisters, we went to Blackheath, where we had a house for two nights. It had three bedrooms, and a living room with four couches. They were so comfortable, and we spend the night watching a movie and having dinner. We had some leftover chocolate cake for dessert. Yum.

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On Tuesday we drove to the Jenolan Caves. On our way there, we saw a Wallaby but I didn’t manage to get a picture of it because we just drove by it. I am sure Google has some. At the caves we had a sandwich, and waited around until the tour we had booked started. We went into the Lucas Cave, a tour of 1½ hour with 900-something steps. The caves were discovered in 1838, and is made of limestone. Below is a picture from outside the cave, and inside.

Pool of water

Inside the Lucas Cave

On our way back to the car, we saw a wombat! That was so cool!

IMGP1972

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We went out for breakfast the next morning. I got French toast with banana, bacon and maple syrup, as on the picture. It was very delicious.

French toast

We went back to the house, and packed up our stuff. Then we went to Katoomba again, and did some touristy things. We went to the Waradah Aboriginal Centre, a museum with a bit about the Australian history and Aboriginal paintings. It was really interesting, and I loved the colors on the paintings. Afterwards, we went out to have lunch. We went to Paragon, and I had a sandwich. On the way out we bought some chocolates to take home.

Paragon

We drove back to Milperra. The girls’ cousin, Indigo, came over and we played games and watched a movie. When the movie was finished, it was late and I went to bed.

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We all got up kind of late on Thursday, and me and Emma went to Sydney. We had lunch at Peppers Lunch, a really cool place on George Street (go there). You get your food served on hot plates, and then you have to cook and mix it yourself. So cool!

Peppers Lunch

 

When we had had lunch, it was pouring outside. But we had brought an umbrella, so we walked anyway. We went to see Darling Harbor, and after that we went to the Contemporary Art Museum. They had some fun and inspirational stuff, involving lights, body parts, religion and refugees. Modern art should be experienced not explained. We went back home, and Emma went out for a birthday party. We had pizza for dinner, and after a bit of writing and reading, I went to bed.

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Me and Emma got up before 8 today (Friday). We were meeting up with some of the other scouts, to go mountain biking. We went to the Blue Mountains by car, and went a bit by train as well. I borrowed a bike and a helmet. We started out on a quite wide road, with a bit of stones on it and a lot of hills. At the end of that bit we had lunch (muesli-bars, because we didn’t expect it to be that late).

Mountainbiking

Then came a single track through more of a forest, which was pretty cool. It was very bumpy, went over huge stones and water puddles, but it was a lot of fun. It definitely inspired me to do more crazy stuff like that.

Mountainbiking

On our way home, we stopped at a Bakehouse in Glensbrook and had pies. It was very good, and filled me up a bit. Even though I had pie, I still had some more dinner when we came home. Emma, Lily, Indigo and I watched a movie, and I went to bed.

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I went to Sydney again on Saturday, this time with Helen and James. We went to the Blak Market at Barangaroo, a beautiful market made to celebrate the Aboriginals. This week was national Aboriginal week. We walked around there for a bit, and on our way to another market, we bumped into Petra and her host family. We talked for a bit, and then we walked back to the car. We came back home, and picked up Lily and Indigo and went out for Thai food.

Blak market

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Sunday was a relaxing day. We didn’t really do much, went up to the shops a couple of times and walked the dog. In the afternoon we made lamingtons and hindbærsnitter, and watched a movie.

Hindbærsnitter

Lamingtons

Next week is my last week in Sydney. I will be going to Newtown, Kiama and on a hike near the Jenolan Caves.