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January 22nd, 2010

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Back in Auckland

January 14th, 2010

I am back from travelling over Christmas and New Year in NZ. As first entry I would like to post a map of our route.Route NZ


December 8th, 2009

Below you can find a recipe for a typical NZ Christmas Cake. It is so delicious that I had to put it online.Ingredients:

  • 3 egg whites
  • 1 pinch of salt
  • 9 oz (=250g) caster sugar
  • 1 tsp malt vinegar
  • 1 tsp vanilla essence
  • 250 ml cream
  • 250g berries or kiki fruit


  1. Beat egg whites until stiff, and add the salt and vanilla essence. Add castor sugar very gradually while still beating. The sugar should dissolve completely which can take a while. Use a food processor if available. You can check wether the sugar is fully dissolved by rubbing a litte of the mixture between your thumb and index finger.
  2. Add vinegar and mix shortly
  3. Place the mixture on baking paper and bake at 300°F (= 150°C) for 1 hour, then leave for one further hour with the oven turned off.
  4. Cover the meringue with whipped cream and the fruits

Pavelova                  Pavelova

Express Hair Cut

November 8th, 2009

I went to a barber last Thursday. The Alegrian was working in a room which was basically one big shop-window. It is situated on the main street in Auckland called Queenstreet. A poster with the offer for a 15$ haircut (=12 CHF) lured me in the shop. For this small amount of money I did not get my hair washed of course. The barber sprayed a lot of water in it instead, in order to make them wet. He was principally doing the hole hair cut without scissors. Why should he use them, there is a much faster alternative: electric shears. The result was not as good as an ordinary hair cut, but at least it looked better than before.

Weekend Trip to Coromandel Peninsula

October 19th, 2009

The vanI spent the last weekend in the Coromandel Peninsula together with five other EF - students. We hired a van, a Toyota Estima, and drove about 350 km in it. For some students it took a while to made up their mind . As a result we did not know how many we were going to be until Saturday and could not book a car in advance therefore. On Saturday moring we went to Beach Road on which all car hiring companies are located. It was not easy to find a car for six people, we had to speak to all companies to get two offers. We were only two drivers, so I had the possibilty to drive on the left-hand side. To do so, was less scary than I thought. It certainly helped that I have been here for a month. After we had picked up the rest of our group, we drove for one and a half hour until we reached the peninsula.VanAccomodationWe visited a nice but expensive garden, and finally got to Coromandel Town. The accomodation we found, was on its own worth the journey. The Hostel called Lions Den  was obviously influeced by the hippie movement. The friendly host explained us in a strong kiwi accent, that there were not any locks in the hole hose. The house was decorated with things from nature: a branch was used as a loo paper holder, the holes in the wooden table were filled with mussels and was kitchen tools were hanged up at a small tree trunk. kitchenThe sightseeingThe next day we drove to Whitianga using the famous 309 Road through the rain forest. On the way we visited a “playground for adults” called Waiau Waterworks and the Waiau Falls. After I had eaten my first Fish & Chips in my life, we drove to Cooks Beach, the place where Captain James Cook 1769 landed and declared New Zealand for King Gerog III. After that we drove to the Cathedral Cove nearby and the Hot Water Beach.waterworks cooks beach cathedral covecathedral cove cathedral coveAll in all it was a very intersting and funny trip.

Public Transportation in Auckland

October 8th, 2009

Because I live in North Shore City and not in Auckland itself, I have to commute by bus everyday to school. The bus service is usually very reliable, and the buses leave on time. However, there are several bus companies in town, each with different bus-stops, timetables, buses and prices. It took me two weeks to identify the cheapest bus ticket for my need. The buses of the bus company I use, Birkenhead Ldt., are creamy-coloured and sometimes quite old. To make them stop, you have to pull one of the two cordes, which pass through eyes on each side of the bus. The New Zealanders (The Kiwis) are very friendly and often thank the bus drivers for their work. The bus drivers from some of the bus companies were on strike today. Some of them are paid very badly (15NZD / h) and have to work very long shifts.

Underwater World

September 27th, 2009

 For this Saturday I planned to go to Rangitoto Island. Because many students hadn’t got plans I invited them all to join me.  Twenty-six of us met at the Skytower at 9:45. We went to the ferry station at the harbour, where I tried to buy all the tickets with my maestro card at once, in order to get the 10% group discount. Unfortunately my card wasn’t working, but Marianne gave hers instead. After we collected the money from everyone the company told us that the ferry was cancelled due to the bad weather conditions. They apologized that they had not told us earlier. We decided to postpone the excursion and went to Kelly Tarltons Underwater Wold instead. There we saw penguins, rays, sharks, other fishes, and a reconstruction of the Robert Falcon Scotts hut at the south pole. After we had seen everything, we walked to the Mission Bay.



 ugly eel Mottled Moray eel (Gymnothorax prionodon)

fish Broad squid (Sepioteuthis australis)

giant snail

First Week at School

September 24th, 2009

Six days after I had arrived, school started finally on monday. Surprisingly there are mainly Europeans in my class (a Dane, two Germans, two Austrians, a Belgian,  a Frenchman, a Mexican and an Indonesian). The teacher is a likable person, but the way she teaches could be more interesting. The most demandant thing of this week is a presentation about prairie style (architecture) which I am going to hold on friday.

Waitakere Ranges

September 19th, 2009

I spent my first saturday in NZ in the Waitakere Ranges. We travelled in a fairly old bus to the Arataki Visitor Center. There was some information about the Maori and the forest. After an hour we drove to Piha Beach, where some people were surfing in the cold sea. After a BBQ we walked through the rainforest to a waterfall called Karekare. I had never been to a rainforest before. It is a beautiful experience.

Piha Beach



A New Zealand Pigeon (Hemiphaga novaeseelandiae).

My home

September 17th, 2009

After a long travel without sleep, I finally arrived at my school. My host mum picked me up there and drove me to her place. On the photos you can see her house and my bedroom.
house    bedroom