Wednesday, July 27, 2011

Re-O Day & Mummies

This Monday I had my first 2 classes. My first though of it all was quite positive and I dare say I might even end up loving the courses I've chosen. I've already received some homework to do, a few texts to read and then I need to prepare for a group work. So I've got plenty of stuff to do, but in a way that's great since I'll get straight into the way of studying at Uni of Sydney.

Today was Re-O Day, to celebrate that Uni had started.

On one of the main roads on campus stood several stalls serving international food, selling various things, and most importantly offering various choices of clubs/societies to join.

Ok, so I didn't really plan to join any of the clubs...but once I saw this stall I just squeeled inside! As the period drama geek that I am, I just had to join the Darcy Society.

Having met the Darcy Soc's reps made me sure that I had made a wise choice, they were so kind and can't wait to meet them again. Joining a society will definitely be one of the best choices I've done while being here. It's a great way of meeting like-minded people, but also getting to know Aussies instead of sticking to people who come from your own country (which is usually the easiest thing to do).

Like a lot of people, I decided to have some lunch in the sunshine with a smile on my face . I bought some Japanese fried Veggie balls that were delicious. Unfortunately I was so hungry that I simply forgot to take a photo of it...oops!

Today was one of those days were you wish that every winter's day could be just the same in Sweden...I'm just not suitable for 3 months of snow were I freeze my bum matter how many layers of clothes I wear.

Now don't be alarmed...well actually you could be since that's a real mummy. As I was on my way back to the Quadrangle I decided to step into the Nicholson Museum.

The Nicholson Museum has the largest collection of antiquities in the southern hemisphere (not a great deal of competition). It holds some great artefacts from Ancient Egypt and from the Roman Empire, everything ranging from small items such as a lotus necklace to symbolize rebirth, to larger items such as...

stone heads of Egyptian gods that were larger than mine...

a bust of Hathor, the goddess of love, beauty, motherhood, music and joy. For those of you who don't know, I was deeply into Ancient Egyptian mythology when I was younger and I've been to Egypt this was another highlight of today.

The Roman collections was quite fascinating as well. It just amazes me to see how skilled people were back then and it quite interesting to read all the stories behind each object.

While some items told their own story, like this beautiful pot. The entire collection was remarkable. This museum is quite a hidden gem, and I would advise anyone who goes to Sydney to check it out...after all it's for free!

After having had the most splendid winter's day, I decided to head back home while soaking in the last rays of sunshine and contemplating about what tomorrow will my case a new course at 3 รณ clock.

Monday, July 25, 2011

Manly & North Fort

At first I really had no specific plans of what I was going to do yesterday. However, my homestay host asked me if I wanted to tag along on a day trip to Manly and the surrounding areas. I of course accepted the idea and off we went.

Along with 2 other persons we took the car and began our journey. We drove through the CBD with its incredibly high and shiny skyscrapers. Just imagine cleaning all those windows...

While driving through the more prestige areas of Sydney, we could spot some spectacular views. Off in the distance you can see the Sydney Opera House and Harbour Bridge.

Our first stop would end up being a nice secluded area called Duff Reserve. I'm sitting next to Robert which is my homestay host. The other two are friends with each other and the first one of them also lives with Robert.

It was a bit cloudy yesterday, but that didn't seem to stop people from getting the boat out or sailing. Well, it didn't stop us either...I've seen far worse weather while being here.

I inhaled the fresh ocean air and felt a great ease. Coming out of the city sure brings you to life and getting to see a different aspect of Sydney sure was fun.

In the surrounding area one could still see fragments of what Sydney once would have looked like.

It would have been filled with greenery and colourful flowers.

After having admired the view at Duff Reserve we went over the Harbour Bridge.

We arrived in Manly and went to have a walk by the beach.

The weather was ideal for surfing, great waves that carried them far.

However, I think I'll wait until it gets a bit warmer until I'm brave enough to head into the water.

Imagine how wonderful it must be there during spring and summer.

Just by the beach stood a number of bagpipers playing melodic tunes, while young girls were dancing. Was a Scotland fanatic when I was younger.(never been there though) After having watched them for a while we went back to the car and headed for a new destination.

Our last stop was North Fort and its surrounding area. The entire area had this magical and serene feeling to it.

Australia's national flower, the Golden Wattle, could be spotted everywhere. However, it's still not in full bloom.

All around you could hear frogs croaking. There was plenty of water around, yet I weren't able to spot a single one.

Within North Fort is the Defence of Sydney Monument. It is there to recognize the dedicated service of those many para military and civilian organizations that played an important role in the defence of Sydney during WWII.

A lookout serves as a monument and presents a spectacular view over the cliffs, bay area and Sydney.

In addition, Australia's Memorial Walk was made in honour as a memory of the 3,000 servicemen and women who served actively at home and and abroad from the mid 19th century. This also includes the British Colonial Regiments up to the present time.

Along the way is the North Fort Coastal Fortification. At this specific point they used to load the barrels and fire at the enemy.

I absolutely hate war, but I do enjoy history and find it quite fascinating.

After having contemplated about the devastating after-effects of several wars and how different the landscape must have looked back then, we decided to head back.

Once the weather improves and as it gets a bit warmer, I'm sure I'll come back here once least to have a look at the peaceful and beautiful nature.

Saturday, July 23, 2011

Ni hao ma?

Woke up pretty early today, well actually been doing that during the entire week. Seems like I don't need as much sleep as I do back home. Not complaining, especially since the day just gets longer and I'll fit in more stuff to do.

Since it was nice and sunny outside I decided to do some sightseeing. It has been raining like mad these past few days, so haven't really taken any nice photos. On my way to the bus stop I saw two colourful parrots who were sitting up there singing. It's small things like this that makes me smile.

My first stop would turn out to be Paddy's Market. That place is just HUGE and packed with people and stalls were they sell all sorts of things, ranging from make-up, toys and clothes to crazy and creepy Australian souvenirs. Being quite overwhelmed by the entire place, I forgot to take any pictures there. Don't worry it's definitely not the last time I'll visit the place.

Right next to Paddy's Market lays China Town. It's definitely not the largest China Town I've ever seen, but it sure is special and it's always fun to explore all the different and unique shops.

The Chinese guarding lion is believed to have powerful mythical protective benefits. As a memory of having been to China Town I bought myself a Chinese lucky charm with a dragon, since I'm born in the year of the dragon. The lady selling it to me told me that I'm lucky to be born in such a great year and that I must be very where's my Nobel prize?

Since it was past lunch time and I was starting to get a bit hungry I had a look around at the various restaurants around to see what they had to offer.

They had so many different meals to choose from that I had quite a hard time decided what I wanted to have. But in the end I settled for some fried Veggie Dim Sum that were simply delicious. I'm pretty much crazy for anything dumpling like, so it's not much of a surprise that I liked these.

After a well earned lunch I went around to have a look what they had in all the shops.

Didn't really buy anything else (apart from a lovely replica of an antique hair fork), simply admired all the pretty and interesting things they had to offer. I do have to acknowledge that they did have some really nice clothing shops around there, a bit expensive but if I win the lottery I'll be sure to spend a part of my money there.
Next time I end up visiting China Town I'll be sure to buy some tea in one of the shops there. The tea always seems to be better there than if you buy them in a regular grocery store.

Now I think I'll sit down a bit and relax with some brioche cake which my homestay host bought at a market he went to...looks simply delicious!

Tuesday, July 19, 2011

It's like Hogwarts!

Today was the second time I went to the university. I'm completely struck by its beauty.

Was on my way to the Great Hall to have my Study Abroad & Exchange Student Orientation.

The Great Hall is a mix of a church and Hogwart's dining hall.

After the orientation session we headed outside to The Quadrangle...more Hogwarts wibe.

There were students from all over the world. Once everybody found out that there would be some morning tea served...well lets just say it got a bit crazy.

Got served some cupcakes and other yummies.

Listened while they played a familiar tune through the tower. Why on earth can't I figure out what it's called?

After having picked up my new student card (½ price on bus rides!) I headed down to the Lawn Tennis Courts and The Square.

At The Square they held a barbie (that's what Australians call a BBQ) for meat lovers. I had a look around and decided to head back home to spend the rest of the day relaxing and soaking up all the new things I had seen.
I'm not sure what I'll be up to tomorrow, I'm sure I'll think of something fun and exiting. :)