Places I went lately – New Zealand

Okay, this wasn't lately, but almost a year ago.
So, until shortly, Florian was in New Zealand for a year. Last September, as I booked my flight to Japan, I thought I could take a detour through New Zealand, visit him and get a look at a country I heard wonderful things of.

Altogether, I was there for only just over two weeks. Which was far too little time to get to know the country. But still, I met some amazing people, drove around a lot and saw really nice places - and had a lot of fun.

These are a few pictures I took there. It's really difficult selecting just a few pictures out of so many - and I'm not sure at all if I'm happy about what I'm showing you. But these things I still have to learn.

Here's a quick sketch of the route I've taken there. Sadly I didn't make it to the bottom, with it's majestic mountains, glaciers, extreme sports and so on. Maybe I'll get there sometime. I sure would want to.

Map

Click to enlarge. I added some numbers to show in what order I visited these places. I'm not that good in making plans.

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Arriving in Wellington, New Zealands capitol and where Florian lived for a year (not sure where this is, it was a few minutes or so before landing).

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Sunrise in Wellington.

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Arriving at Rangitoto, an island created by the eruption of a undersea volcano in front of Auckland.

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Lasertag! (also, we played against a bunch of kids, should have that here in Germany too!)

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Hobbiton! The movie-set where parts of The Lord of the Rings and The Hobbit were made.

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Me.

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Some awesome Hobbits I travelled with.

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Wai-o-tapu Thermal Wonderland near Rotorua.

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Oh, yeah. This is Florian.

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Me again, soaked by the rain, some man-induced erupting geyser behind me.

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Yay, road-trip!

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Pies! Also, they had a lot of great cakes, cookies and bread in the super-markets.

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Flying from Wellington to Christchurch.

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Stars. As we were heading from Christchurch to Kaikoura, we suddenly noticed how many stars were up there, stopped, and took a look.

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Kaikoura fishing trip. Got on the boat at 8 a.m., and fished for 3-4 hours. Got a lot of red rock cod (probably, this is what Google tells me).

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And yeah, we got some crayfish as well.

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Somewhere, hiking a bit.

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Stopped the van for the view. Oh right, from Christchurch on, we rented a camper-van (we were three) and travelled with that. And btw., since New Zealand is famous for its sheep, the white dots down there are sheep.

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This was at an old gold-digger town somewhere in the mountains. It had some kind of old-west cowboy flair to it. We even found some (probably) little (really tiny) pieces of gold in the river there!

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Arrived at the west coast of the south island.

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Sadly, I had to part with Florian and Janina here and take the bus back to Christchurch, since my flight to Japan was due next day. They continued driving south and I still haven't seen the pictures they took down there!

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Bus ride to Christchurch through the Arthur's Pass. Beautiful landscapes!

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Oh, right. I was there in September. That was my first (and yet only) time on the southern hemisphere. It was still cold and just getting warmer. Really chilly nights. But I had a great deal of fun and I'd definitely go there again, if I get the chance. Next time with more time and hopefully a plan. But still, going on an adventure without a plan still is the most fun!

Takikomi-Gohan

What the heck. Since I'm not producing any worthy content at the moment, I might just put my food in here.

That said, with my rather tight budget right now, I'm kinda always just making rice with something. So you might've read that I bought some mackerels this morning. For dinner, I made me Takikomi-Gohan (炊き込みご飯).
This is just japanese rice cooked with stuff. Vegetables, mushrooms, meat, fish. There are some established variations in the japanese cuisine, but you could also just be creative.

So I've made it with mackerel, which I first fried with butter and soy-sauce (and a hint of ginger. I love ginger). As you can see, I've also put in some carrots and something green (I like it colorful).
After cooking, just mix everything (yeah, destroy the fish) and voila, done.
Since there was enough flavor in the fish, I didn't put extra seasoning into the rice.

Just a sunday morning

Just saw that nothing happend on this blog for about 2 months. In the last 2 months, I was in New Zealand and Japan and have a lot of pictures I still have to look through. Hopefully, I'll post some of them soon.

Meanwhile, the next semester started and I'm now officially a master student with a completed bachelor of science.
But yeah, this morning, I went with my sister and a friend to Hamburgs fish-market and bought some fruit and fish. While some people in middle or southern Germany are already posting pics of the first snow, it's pretty nice in Hamburg today. It's cold all right, but we have a blue sky and some still warm sunrays.

With the mackerel I bought, I tried to make Kabayaki-Don. Thats basically the fish grilled with a sweet soy sauce put on top of rice (Wikipedia: Kabayaki, Donburi).
For the grilling, I tried to use a sort of frying pan with a grill attached on top of it. It didn't work at all, since it didn't get hot. Probably need a gas-stove (with FIRE) for that, which I unfortunately don't have. Just used a frying pan after that.

Well, and now I probably should do some home-work. Yay.

Out at night

Sometimes, I'm outside at night still having a camera on me and see something nice I then try to photograph without a tripod. Works fine as long as you can put the camera on the ground, but trying to hold the shutter for a minute with your hand didn't work out that well.

The moon I actually took standing with quite a high shutter speed. It looks blurry though, because I had to crop a lot to get it that big. The second picture is Hamburg a few nights ago, where I just laid the camera on the ground to make a long exposure. Third one I made yesterday night at a friends birthday outside the city, where I was reminded of how many stars you can see without all the lights in the city.

It didn't turn out as I hoped, because I had to hold the shutter whilst an exposure time of over a minute.
Hopefully, I'll soon get another chance of taking pictures of stars outside the city.

Oh, I need a new passport photograph

So I needed a new passport and had no nice pictures left. In addition, they had to meet some biometric guidelines.

Normally, I'd go to some shop, where four pictures would be taken, from which I would choose the least ugliest one and get four prints of that for 12€. Scroll down and you can laugh at my last passport photo.

Since I have some camera equipment which cost way too much and I use way to little, I thought, why not try it yourself and get a decent photograph for once.
Well, I took a lot of pictures of myself, chose the only one that looked okay, placed my face in the frame while regarding the requirements for biometric photographs and it was done!
And yeah, got rid of my acne infestation in the process.

With the file on a USB drive, I went to the nearest grocery store and printed the picture with those cheap print-your-holiday-pictures machine. Cost me less than 1€ for 18 pictures.

And since this picture got accepted for my new passport, I finally have a nice picture I can produce in mass and use for identification stuff from now on.
Pretty happy with that.

I looked around for reasons I shouldn't put the following images on the internet and found none, and I don't really see why I shouldn't, but if you have reasonable concerns I should take them off, please tell me so.