Saturday, January 23, 2010


Giraffe, originally uploaded by zuctronic.


Monday, January 11, 2010

Sydney Harbour Bridge

Well jetlag got the best of me and I couldn't sleep on Monday night. Add to that tremendous heartburn caused by what was an incredible kebab at the time of eating... and I decided that it would be best to sleep in on Tuesday and take the afternoon to get some much needed fresh air.

In my two prior trips to Sydney I had wanted to walk across the Sydney Harbour Bridge but never made the time for it. I decided today that I would at least walk to the south side and get a close look. Inside the southeast pylon, there is a small museum and visitors are able to climb the stairs all the way to the top to enjoy a lookout over the harbour and city! I took photos of all the media and later found that it is thoroughly documented on their website at so there was not much need to take photos of all the plaques describing everything.

From the top of the pylon, the view is AMAZING. It was a fairly warm day and I was still adjusting from the late-autumn weather of Chicago, so by the time I reached the top my forehead was dripping with sweat. I imagined how the harbour must have looked when Arthur Phillip first arrived in 1788 and thought about how much has happened since then to build this city and the modern country of Australia. Construction of the bridge helped Australia through the Great Depression of the 1930s as it employed steel workers, engineers, and others to help see the dream realized.

After climbing back down from the top of the pylon, I still had a lot of energy so I walked all the way across the bridge to North Sydney. At Milson's Point on the other side of the bridge, I found a small restaurant that specialized in grilled fish. I ordered the grilled flathead with chips and a salad. The flathead was a lot like our catfish, and I could taste the river it came from. I ate what the flies couldn't (this was the beginning of the Great Australian Fly Torture) and then refilled my water bottle before resuming my walk.

I walked to the edge of the water on the north side of the harbour and got a close-up view of Luna Park. Then I found the Milson's Point train stop and bought a one-way ticket back to Town Hall. After getting back to my room I went up to the roof for a fantastic daytime view of Sydney and the harbour.

Sunday, January 10, 2010

Back in Chicago, New Year Resolution

I'm back in Chicago and have to catch up on blogging my trip to Sydney and then a trip to Europe including Paris, Basel, and the Black Forest of Germany... this time of year in Chicago it is cold and dark. We received almost a foot of snow last week and right now the temperatures are struggling to reach double digits Fahrenheit!

While I was in Europe I decided that my New Year's resolution was to learn French. I have the perfect tutor with it being Isabelle's first language and so I think it's time for me to finally learn it. So wish me luck!! Christèle in Paris said, "I think that in six months Andy will be speaking French." so let's see whether I can do it! I think six months is possibly a little aggressive or else we'll need to be liberal with our definition of "speaking French" ... we shall see.

Now to provide an overview of the activities over the past few months: At the end of October I visited my brother in Madison and had the fantastic fortune of witnessing the bloom of a titan arum flower at the botanic gardens there! We also went to a cozy bar for Halloween where many were wearing costumes, and on November 1st I visited the Wisconsin state capitol building and wandered around State Street for a while.

On November 3rd I flew to Sydney, Australia for work. I stayed until November 30th and for the last week my high school friend Matt came to visit, so I was able to show him some of the things I love about Sydney and I also learned how to drive on the wrong side of the road! After a month away from home it was nice to get back but I also got to see Isabelle for one day before she embarked on her voyage to Europe for the month of December.

On December 22nd, I flew to Switzerland to visit Isabelle and her family in Basel. On the 24th we took the TGV to Paris to be with Isabelle's Aunt and Uncle and her 2 month old cousin. We visited Notre Dame, the Louvre, the Eiffel Tower, and other Paris sights. I especially liked the subway in Paris... they have rubber wheels! I also drove on the German autobahn and we spent New Year's Eve in Basel with Isabelle's mother and step-father.

So I promise there will be many photo highlights and blog posts about these adventures, and whatever I get myself into here in Chicago!