Written on 20th August 2006

G’Day mates :-) ,

as I wrote last time, Kukin and I went to try surfing two weeks ago. We were joined by Anna (our friend from Sweden), Richard from Canada and Adam from UK. We were a small group and had got an excellent instructor that explained us everything on a beach first and then sent us to the sea. Waves were big and it was quite difficult to surf in them, but when the instructor told me when to go, I managed to stand up and even surf for a while. After a while I thought I was an expert and tried to catch waves on myself. I rarely succeeded and usually a head of my board got into water and I fall down over it to my face. Unfortunately we have not got any pictures from that because there was nobody around to take them :-( .

In the afternoon we got kajaks for free and went down a river. We found a cool beach close to the sea where a current was so strong that it was imposible to swim against (and I am a good swimmer ;-) ). It was quite difficult to get back on our kajaks. In the evening we went together to a restaurant for a dinner and then headed to an Irish pub. I got a pint of Kilkenny bier (very good by the way) and got even shamrock painted in the pint head. I admired it and asked a bartender if she was not from Ireland. She was not :-( .

On Friday two weeks ago we left the others and went through Brisbane to Surfers Paradise. We were a bit sad because it was first time in 10 days we were on our own but we went on a beach and admired local skyscrapers. We also went to a farmstead for 24 hours where we tried horse riding, shooting from a shootgun (I am an excellent shooter because I hit 7 flying targets out of 10 and an old farmer asked me where I had learnt shooting so well). We also learnt how to whip and throw boomerang. Shortly we have become cowboys and my friend Kukin also got a sore back side :-) . The first morning I got and old horse which wanted just to feed itself but in the afternoon I got a ponny and felt that it was possible to "drive" it :-) .

Back in Surfers Paradise we went to an observation deck of the skyscraper Q1, which is the tallest residential building in the world. It is 322 meters tall and it takes only 43 seconds to get up by a lift (and I did not feel any movement!!). I was cool view from the top all over the city full of skyscrapers and water canals, allegedly Brisbane should be seen (70km far). So cool. Kukin wanted to take photos of the city in the night and waited on the observation deck while I went on the beach and swimming to the sea. I got an idea of signing two of us on the beach and Kukin took a photo of it. It was not gramatically correct but my heel was too sore to write it in a proper way. Our signature was about 7×20 meters and people admired my work after I had finished it. It was a good fun to watch them :-) .

Last Monday we went to SeaWorld and saw plenty of dolphins (and a show with them when people rode dolphins, dolphins were jumping a few meters up from the water and threw people to the air as well), sharks (it was even possible to swim with them for extra money) and other sea creatures. They had got also polar bears; one of them was in water and wanted to climb a glass. After that we went to watch a show of water skiing and a show with seals.

The same day in the night we headed south to Byron Bay and met Anna (our friend from Noosa) again. The next day we went together for a walk around a national park and watched dolphins and whales (nice and relaxing :-) ). We also took a must-have photo on the Australia’s most easterly point which is about 4km from Byron Bay on cliffs. Kukin liked a local lighthouse :-) . I wanted to see a sunrise from this point so I got up at 5:30 the next day, wore up, went out and … realised that it was raining. It was first time in over one month that I experienced rain here in Aussie, so I went to my bed again :-) .

We hired a car from Byron Bay and went to the national park Mt. Warning where you can climb the highest mountain in this area. The top of this mountain is the first place in Australia where you can see the sun rising before anyone else. To climb the top took us over two hours and we managed to get about 700 meters higher. The last part was a vertical climbing using chains. The view was worth of it.

The same day we left Byron Bay and also said goodbay to Anna. During the night we went to the "next" city Port Macquarie, which took us about seven hours. We saw all local historical buildings and beaches here. The next day my friend went on a beach while I headed south on feet to visit Sea Acres National Park about 7km from the city centre. It was a rainforest (a bit dry ;-) ) and I almost stepped on my first snake. It was such a green snake, maybe poisonous, but I survived and all of you may see me again :-P .

Last Friday night we finally arrived to Sydney. We had to skip a lot of stops because our time is running out and it is impossible to skip Sydney. Immediately after we got off a bus I got homesick as we were standing on a place between skyscrapers, where we could see the sky only above our head in a small rectangle and I could not see any tree. It was very unusual for me (a boy from a village). I realised that Dublin and Prague are not so bad cities :-) . We accommodated in a seven!! floor’s luxury hostel and the next day went to explore the city.

We climb the Sydney Tower, which used to be the tallest building of the southern hemisphere and we could experience a wonderful view all over Sydney. At this stage I liked this city :-) . The part of an entrance ticket was something called OzTrek which was something like a movie about Australia with common advices how "to survive". It was a bit pointless for us almost "locals" who have been in Norhern Territory and experienced stucked car in a creek, crocodilles, moskytos etc. After that we went to the famost Harbour Bridge and went also to a Pylon Lookout to get known a bit about building and history of this bridge. The bridge used to be the biggest in the world, built in 1932. After it was built there were 6 lines for cars, 4 for trains, 1 for cyclists and 1 for pedestrians on the bridge. All that was built by people without any safety equipment (like helmets, harnesses etc.). Briefly an excellet work.

Today we started with walking through parks and monuments and also went to a national gallery of NSW and then got to the famous Opera House. We took a guided tour and got inside. The building has been designed by, at that time, an unknown Danish architect, which did not know how to build it though. It took another two years of thinking of how to build this and finally after eight years the outer building was built. However the interior (including the opera hall and the concert hall) was still to be built and it took another four years until the building was completed by another architect.

Sydney is an immense city and it would be necessary to spend here a few weeks to see everything. And we have got just four days :-( . We are flying to New Zealand in 10 days and still want to see Canberra as well as Melbourne.

Kukin worked hard yesterday and managed to upload many photos to the server http://australie.aikidoprosek.cz/ (not working anymore – photos will be moved to my gallery), where you can have a look at them.

Please feel free to forward this to anyone who I forgot to send it to.

Pavel (Inža)

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