The Blue Mountains are one of the best places in Australia for climbing. There are always some people at the hostel who have some gear and today Jenn and Elliam invited us to come along to a nearby climbing site. It’s been almost a year since the last time I was on the wall and I wasn’t totally sure if I’d wanted to go. But after watching the others for a while I was eager to give it a try myself. Only problem was: No shoes in my size.

Being used to not wearing shoes I just tried it barefoot. It’s generally possible but usually much more difficult than with shoes. It was good fun and my body remembered the moves but after a couple of meters my feet were too sweaty to go on.

Hiro gave it a try as well. It was her first time and she did really well.

Jenn and Elliam were really helpful and made it a nice day. The whole group was in a good mood and whoever was on the wall got cheers and advice from the ground.

It was our last full day in Katoomba (more on that later), can’t believe we spent almost a month here.


Aussies are relaxed, that includes the ambulance. Last night one of the girls in the hostel stumbled down a step and broke her ankle. We called 000 expecting to get quick help. The phone call took a long time and the operator was asking the same questions repeatedly (we had a native speaker on the phone so it certainly wasn’t a language problem). They even asked for directions as if they didn’t have a navigation system.

We were told it would take the ambulance about 30 minutes to get here. About 40 minutes later we were still waiting in front of the house when we saw an ambulance stopping at a backpackers a couple of hundred meters down the street. I ran down there asking if they were looking for a woman with a broken ankle. They were and I told them were they needed to go.

Once they had parked the car they were slowly gathering the gear and strolling down the driveway to the backyard. By that time poor Aude was already lying there for more than an hour in pain. The paramedics examined her and decided they’d need more gear. After some slow back and forth they finally had all they needed and prepared her for transport.

I remember how I called for an ambulance in Germany when a woman broke down in the streets. The call took about one minute and less than 10 minutes later the paramedics where on scene. Given that was in a big city but still, why does 000 has to ask for directions?

Happy New Year Everybody!

2010 is gone and I spent most of it in Australia. It was by far the best year of my adult life and even in troublesome times I never regretted having come to Oz.

December was a month that brought a lot of problems. It ended with more problems and Hiro and me spending New Year’s Eve in different places (all good in the new year though).

Together with a dozen people from the hostel I spent the evening around the BBQ. Everybody contributed something and it became a nice all-you-can-eat feast.

Half an hour before midnight we headed to a nearby pub to see some live music. The band was quite good and we spent some time there. Back at the hostel we attacked the remaining liquor supplies and the sun was up when I went to bed.