anything upto 2008-07-14T23:30:00


Just to clear things up, I had a good reason to travel, namely I had to give a talk during a conference workshop. But more about that later.

After having arrived on the island, I was found to my dismay that I still had to grab a bus tour to my destination, apparently the people here don't like airports in cities as much as the Sydneysiders apparently do. The landscape here is very different from the usual australian landscape (if you know where I have been, please note that all statements are still true). There is very little vegetation due to the very thin soil layer. Since most of the ground is just a few thousand years old, only lichen and moss grow, which slowly create the soil necessary for grass.

Also, I met a nice guy from Chile who also attended the conference. We walked through the city trying to find some kind of centre, but failed utterly. The islands capital has an athmosphere more like Wolfenbüttel than Braunschweig. Ultimately though, we found something (I don't remember what though).


I met with Rob and Ulla in preparation of the conference and to finish up my slides. Later on we walked around the town a bit, and had a very nice view of pretty much all of the town from a church tower.


The next day I started by exploring the town a bit more, and also having a nice walk alone along the coast. In the evening, we were convinced to visit a troll and elf museum and a ghost museum as well. Both museums were actually very nice and interesting, unfortunately half of our party refused to enter the ghost museum after having some encounters with the trolls.


Conference day. My presentation went pretty well, I even received multiple comments afterwards thanking me for the nice talk. Nonetheless during the question session directly after the talk, one guy was apparently very much non agreeing with our opinion that transition systems would not be a good choice to model our kind of systems. Also I am happy to report that most people seemed to understand what we were doing instead of just getting confused.


Ulla left towards Germany, but Rob and I participated in a nice free guide through the cities history, and later that day also in a tour describing the city-local ghost stories. Apparently the people here are very in this kind of thing, as even as late as 1930 or something a thought to be demonic girl was buring deliberately in front of a bishop just in case (and also with a upside-down cross on the grave). During the day we found another very curious thing, namely all the geothermic energy allows the people here the freedom to waste much of it, for example for heating up the sidewalk.


Rob and I booked a tourist-oriented tour towards hot springs and a glacier to see some of the most interesting parts of this very interesting landscape. It's really awesome, all over the place you see hot steam coming out of the ground spontaneously. We even bathed in a hot brook during the tour. Since there wasn't much rainfall, it was even more hot than usually becouse the cold water supply was slighly below average. Later we arrived at a glacier and climbed around it a bit. This was also the first time since I arrived in Australia that I did have other shoes than my sandals, namely the glacier tour people gave me some mountain boots for duration of the glacier climb. The glacier looks a bit blackish compared what one might expect, but that's because of a big vulcanic eruption in the 80th, all the ash of which was stored in the ice for all the years and now surfaces again. In the evening we visited a very fancy restaurant, and later on we tried to find the thermal beach. Unfortunately the beach was not operating during the night. But during the day, spare hot water is just pumped into the sea at that point, and even though the surrounding waters are rather cold, you can apparently swim in there.

Speaking of nights — actually it was pretty bright all the time, I have a few very night midnight photos, and I can assure you that reading books outside is not a problem at all at midnight.


Today was the conference organised tour, very very touristic. Most of the time we pretty much jumped out of the bus, got our photos and jumped back in. Still the views were very nice. First we visited an old vulcano crater. Then we saw geysers in action, and a few more hot springs. Later we visited an astonishingly beautiful waterfall. Since the weather was unusually sunny, there were even rainbows (yes, plural), due to the mist of the falling water. Even though — curious as they are — a few scientists got very near the river, nobody fell in. Finally, we visited a place where two continental plates drift apart (that's also why there is so much vulcanic activity on this isle), and where the first parliament of this country met for long times.


This day I tried to walk out of the town, but unfortunately the suburbs stretch pretty far, so I did not reach real lava fields. Yet I found many nice places, both of beauty and of insights into how the people here live.


I got 1300+ mails while I was away. Today was spent getting up to date. Also New South Wales apparently enacted a law which gives special protection to the "World Youth Day" participants. Also an item I had to read a bit into. Compared to what we have in Germany, it seems pretty harmless though after reading it thoroughly.


"World Youth Day" commences, my daily morning bus was full of people dressed in flags and wearing a badge saying something like "World Youth Day Pilgrim". I talked to one of them, who studies theoretical physics and believes that the world is more than just matter and that humans are special in the sense that they're the only beings having a soul. I foresee a fun week...


Apparently many Sydneysiders are not happy with their freedom of speach being impeded just for the catholic church. I can not really know what a opinion poll would yield, yet I have not found a single one around here who likes it.

Also, I have a few more photos than those uploaded, but since some people still don't have a clue where I was, I removed those which contain city names or similar information.


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