Soccer

German Premier League started this weekend and Bremen had a home game on Saturday. I wanted to see the match, preferably in the standing room where you can find the biggest fans/idiots and thus the best atmosphere. Unfortunately tickets for that area were sold out but usually there’s some for sale in front of the stadium.

Bremen changed its ticketing system this year and holders of a season ticket no longer get a bunch of paper tickets but a chip card instead. That makes it much harder to sell tickets for single games and I could see the impact on the black market. Only few tickets were available and those few had an asking price of EUR 30 (regular price: EUR 13).

No way I’m paying that money so I went for a seat instead. Those tickets weren’t sold out but I got a better deal outside the stadium. One of the dealers (all of them happen to have a migration background) had trouble getting rid of a ticket and I utilised my Asia-grown bargain experience for a nice discount.

Getting thoroughly searched by security felt a bit strange after a year in Australia. Soccer just is a different thing than rugby and you can see and hear it in the stadium as well. It’s half the size but twice the atmosphere.

Bremen managed to score a 2:0 victory – not beautiful but sufficient. The public order squad was relaxed after the game and so was the crowd. It’ll be a different thing when Hamburg comes to visit in September but by then I’ll be back in SEA.

Climbing

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.

Hanging Rock

We’re still in Katoomba. The weather has been a bit unstable during the last days but yesterday it was good enough to go for a little walk. We wanted to see the hanging rock. Even though that place made it to the cover of the Lonely Planet Australia (backpacker travel guide) it’s on none of the maps the local tourist information hands out.

Main reasons for that are that the place is rather hard to reach and basically as dangerous as it looks on the picture. No fences, just cliffs. The staff at the hostel provided us with directions and after a short drive on the highway we reached the fire trail that leads to the lookout.

We had to park the car soon as big puddles of muddy water on the gravel road demanded 4WD and high ground clearance. The following one hour walk led us through light forest and to the tip of the cliff.

To give you an idea of how high the cliff is, look at Hiro in this picture.

We walked along the edge down to the Hanging Rock. It’s not actually hanging of course but a crack in the rock gives that impression.

The crack is roughly 50cm wide so it is rather easy (yet still a bit dangerous) to step on the hanging part of the rock. We spent about an hour at the place before we headed back to the car.

The nights in Katoomba (1017m above sea level) are still fresh and sleeping in a tent with 11° C outside is not the most pleasant experience.