Sunday, November 25, 2007

The Oldest City in the World, Bremen

Let's see the oldest city, in the world, Bremen, Germany (source: Wikipedia). It is a port city and I went there to follow up on a marine insurance claim. The best way to see the city is by bicycles. There are guided cycling tours too. I walked. I met cyclists cycling to work and back from work. Most of them speak good English. The overhead bridges are bicycle friendly with a flat surface at the side for the cyclists to push their bikes without dragging over the steps. You can find some information on the cycling tour here.

According to Wikipedia , Bremen is the tenth populous city in Germany. It is situated along River Weser about 60km (or 57mi) south from the mouth of Weser from the North Sea. It is the longest river to reach the sea.

River Weser has cruises and you can see some beautiful views along it. There is a list of attraction including different kinds of cruises here . I crossed a bridge from the hotel to the insurance company and took the picture below.

Below is another picture along the river view from the Stephani-Bridge in the direction of the Cathedral
Picture Source

The hotel management recommended me to visit Rathaus Dom Buergerschaft which means Bremen town hall, St. Peter's Cathedral and parliament if I remember correctly.

Picture Source

I like this old but pretty windmill at the Bremen Rose Garden which has a very nice landscape surrounding it. You can see it from the main road.

Although there are many old buildings, they are well maintained to preserve its historical heritage.

Sunday, November 18, 2007

Treble Cone Ski Resort, New Zealand.

After Mt. Cook,, my siblings and I proceeded to Treble Cone, Wanaka Ski Resort. It has a skiable terrain of 550 hectares (1359 acres) with the summit height of 2100m (6888 ft). The terrain is divided into 3 different grades; 15% beginner, 45% intermediate and 40% advanced.

It had a total lift capacity of 6200 people per hour with 4 different types of lifts;
1) 1 Six seater high speed detachable chairlift
2) 1 double chair lift
3) 2 T-bars
4) 1 Platter

First of all, we went for a ski tour. Here we are at the top end of the six seater high speed detachable chairlift line. You can see a man behind us who just got off from a chair lift and he was all ready to ski.

Now we are at the advanced ski terrain and made way for those experts who came by so swiftly though we knew they would know how to avoid hurting us.

Then we toured the facility. Below is a bird's eye view of the ski equipment rental building, restaurant, etc. which we took while we were on the chair lift.

It was our first ski adventure and we had to enroll at the Ski and Snowboard School. Here we are waiting for our instructor.

We learned to balance ourselves, glide, turn, and stop. Then we pulled one of the T-bars and rode to a higher elevation for beginners.

My sister who was in front of me called for help as she wasn't sure whether she knew how to get off the T-bar safely. Our instructor took this picture of me at the same time. We must have driven him up the wall.

Now is the fun time. I was like a Humpty Dumpty who had too many great falls. I knew the the DOs and DON'Ts but knowing is different from doing. See how I progressed. This was how I started by maintaining a slight inverted V and learned to stop as well.

As I progressed, my feet are now parallel to each other.

I'm about to make a V, ready to crash and fall like the man on the right!

My sister did a good job balancing as she bent her knees and use her hips skillfully. My brother has always been above average in sports so we could not compare. I was the worst ski student. My instructor fell along with me at one time. Look how I was about to knock him down.

It was already 4:30pm and I was on my way to remove the glasses and return them along with all other ski equipment.

We wasted one rainny day and ran out of time. So we did not make it further south to Milford Sound. If you are planning to visit New Zealand, try not to miss Milford Sound.

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Monday, November 12, 2007

Sydney Harbor Bridge

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Let's climb the famous Sydney Harbor Bridge. It was built in 1932 and was not opened for climbing for about 7 decades. I am glad to be able to climb it. Here I am, with my waist strapped to the railing standing on the catwalk at the summit of the bridge. I am the last lady on the front row. I was so excited and happy that I made it! Can you see the Opera House behind us?

The above picture was taken by the Bridge Climb tour operator. All our personal belongings including our clothes, watch, jewelry and camera had to be stored in our personal locker during the climb.

For those who have children, bear in mind that all climbers must be above 12 years old. Those between 12-16 years old have to be accompanied by an adult.

Upon registration and payment for the climb, you will attend a briefing and simulation. Each of you will be strapped around the waist with a metal gadget that will lock and glide onto the railing throughout the climb. You have to watch it as you turn.

The above diagram is an illustration of 3 main points. Number 4 is the start of the climb from the eastern arch. Number 5 is the summit of the bridge where your group picture will be taken. After you have reached the summit, you will cross the bridge and return from the western arch at number 6.

You will see cars, road and water below you. If you have a phobia for heights, try to concentrate on the climb and don't look down.

At the end of the climb, you will receive a climb certificate and purchase the photos of your choice.

I enjoy the adventure. I hope that you will enjoy it too.

Thursday, November 8, 2007

Sheepdog At Work in New Zealand!

My siblings and I were very excited to get to our next destination at Mt.Cook, New Zealand. We had driven a long way from Auckland, Rotorua, Wellington and then crossed a ferry to Picton (the car cost alot to cross between islands on the ferry. If you have time, pick up another car on the other island). Below is a map which will give you a better picture of places. Picton is the ferry terminal on the south island of NZ.
Map Source

After Christchurch, we proceeded to Mt. Cook. My brother was driving and suddenly he stopped and woke us up from our nap when he exclaimed, "Oh, sheep jam!"

The sheep occupied the whole road and then came a black sheepdog to herd hundreds of sheep to the side of the road. There was no human shepherd. As we waited for the dog to clear the sheep off the road, we started to take pictures. We were amazed by what we saw. Seeing is believing.

Later we drove passed a building that sold fruits. We pulled our rented car by the side of a barn and was greeted by a friendly dog which wagged its tail. As we walked to the stall where all the fruits, money and weighing scales were, the dog barked and disappeared almost instantly and got its owner out. We asked questions and learned that the sheepdog is a rare breed that herds the sheep by its "voice." We forgot to ask whether her dog at the fruit stall was also a sheepdog.

In New Zealand dogs are widely trainned to herd the sheep and cattle in huge farms. It's not surprising because there are about 75 million sheep and only 4 million people. Dogs can learn to do human tasks. They run faster than humans. There is no need to pay for its salary or health insurance. Just take good care of it and feed it well and you get a good job done without having to deal with labor or union issues. How smart and efficient!

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Wednesday, November 7, 2007

London Bridge

When I went to London sometime in summer, it rainned throughout the day for the whole week. So I bought a T-shirt which showed "rainning in London." I waited for a long time to get in, and took some indoor pictures of the great wax figures at the Madam Tussard`s Wax Museum but I'm not proud to show them.

This is the picture of the real London Bridge. Sorry that I could not do anything about the rain and gloomy weather.

The London Bridge has a long history. It has been rebuilt a few times. The present bridge we see today was constructed from 1967 to 1972, and opened by Queen Elizabeth II in 1973. It is 928 feet (283 m) long and cost £4 million. For more details and history ob the bridge, click here. The tower part of the bridge called Tower Bridge, opens up in the center to allow ships to pass through. You can see the pictures of how it opens and shuts here.

Some countries built replicas of the Tower Bridge for tourist attraction. The sunny weather and blue sky provide a sharp shot. The one below is in Shenzhen, China just across the channel from Hong Kong. There is another one in Taiwan.

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Sunday, November 4, 2007

Boat House

Well, the cable cars from my previous post is located in Ocean Park in Hongkong. The park is enormous. You find several long excalators too.

Moving away from the modern city, you will find some secluded homes on boats. The boats are their homes!

If you visit a Chinese restaurant in the US, chances are you may find a picture of the floating Jumbo Restaurant hanging on the wall. The food at Jumbo is so good but you must be willing to pay for the price. Take a ride further behind the restaurant and you will find the boat houses.

What a contrast between the restaurant in the fore front and the floating houses behind it.

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