Sunday, April 05, 2009

Giro di vite

Finally, the moment has come. I have officially decided what to do for at least the next few years of my life. As you know, my long absence from blogging was related to job hunting. At last, last Wednesday, I had to make up my mind, and decide among the many really good offers that I received. It was a hard choice, but in the end, the verdict is.. professor in Montreal! I still have trouble visualizing myself as a professor, but hopefully I will be good at it. I will start there in September, so I have a few more months to enjoy the beautiful Bay Area, with its wonderful weather and scenarios.

Anyway, I want this post to be a small photographic summary of some of the wonderful places I visited during this interview period. In particular, I want to share some pictures from Australia, which I visited in February.

First Australian stop: Adelaide

Adelaide is a one million people city, somewhat spread out, with wonderful weather, beautiful hilly surroundings where most of the best Australian wine is produced, and great beaches just a few miles away.
Here you can see some of the nice hills of McLaren Vale..
And one of the wineries: this was a very small family-run winery, producing wonderful wine.
Here are the impressively long beaches near Adelaide, easily reachable by public transportation.
However, maybe what touched me the most in Adelaide were the people. Together with some of the professors of the department I was interviewing at, we went for a tour of the wineries, and then we had dinner altogether, cooking kangaroo meat! Yes, Australians do eat kangaroo meat, and I must admit it's delicious. Read the labels on these sausages if you don't believe me..
These are the 'roo' steaks we made: they taste similarly to beef, but they are amazingly tender.
You can see why it was so hard for me to choose where to go. I think I left part of my heart in Adelaide, and maybe at some point of my life I will decide to go back there.

Second Australian stop: Sydney

Sydney is an amazingly beautiful city. Its charm is hard to pin down, maybe due to its many different facets. Matt and I stayed in Glebe, a very lively neighborhood, with lots of small restaurants.
We loved it, it felt like being in a very genuine part of the city, instead of a typical touristic hub. Here is an example of a beautiful house in Glebe's neighborhood.
Glebe is also very close to the fish market, which is the best fish market I ever saw in my life. Here you can see the port that faces it:
And here is just one of the many stands selling wonderful fish of amazing varieties.
The fish is delicious. We tasted some of it at a small place in Glebe, where we had grilled fish prepared on the spot and fried fish burger and chips for as little as five dollars each.

Of course, the touristic spots have a reason for being so popular, too. The Opera house is an amazing building, that looks like something different from every angle.

Is it a sailing boat?
Or a butterfly?
Or a solemn church?
Or two eyes looking at the horizon?
Or a huge bug?
You pick. :)

Very close to the Opera House is the impressive Sydney bridge. Here you can see it in its beauty from the sea. I took a picture of it while going back from Manly, a beach easily reachable by ferry boat.
People climb on the top of the bridge. Pretty impressive!

Another amazing thing of Sydney is its port. The largest boats in the world go through here, and we had the honor of seeing the Queen Victoria here. It's a cruise ship that holds about 3000 people. Its size is impossible to imagine without seeing it.
The first view we had of it was from far away, and it was a surrealistic scenario, which I hope I captured with this panoramic collage:

We were even more impressed when we realized that we were going to see it depart..
And we got to follow it for a little bit, while going to Manly on our ferry.

Speaking of Manly, there wasn't too much of interest there, except for the fact that Matt succumbed to the Evil Temptation: he bought something at McDonald's!
I must admit, it was a pretty good deal: soft serve for AU$0.30.
One of the most beautiful parts of the Manly trip was the ride back to Sydney at sunset. A number of boats were elegantly sailing back, creating this beautiful show for us:

And here is Sydney skyline at dusk:

Another thing that we really liked of Sydney was how bike friendly it was. There were bike lanes on every bridge. This is the Anzac bridge, which we rode on a few times:
We also took a very beautiful bike ride in the Sydney surroundings, but I have no pictures of it, unfortunately.
I do, however, have pictures of a beautiful and long walk that we took along the coast to get the famous Bondi beach. Here you can see the beach in the distance.
But the most beautiful parts of the walk were the cliffs -- here you can see Matt right after jumping on one of them:
And an amazing, immense cemetery facing the ocean.

To finish this post, a few more fun things.

Australia was great for their coffee. Adelaide in particular was so influenced by Italian immigrants that it was impossible to find brewed coffee: only espresso drinks were made. In Sydney, we had some delicious coffee and cappuccino at a place where they were roasting their own coffee:
The cream was exactly like it's supposed to be: a cream, not a foam like they make all the time in the US!!

Australia was also really funny for the large amount of knock-offs that we found: here is 'Norgen-Vaaz'..
and here is 'Gold Rock' ice cream shops!
(for my non-American readers: these names strangely sound like 'Hagen-Daaz' and 'Cold stone', two very famous ice cream makers in the US).

And finally, here are some pictures of us: me, dreaming about Australian skies
And Matt, with his super cool kangaroo hat.

This is it for now. I hope you enjoyed this Australian picture trip, and I will show something of the other interview places soon. :)


Anonymous said...

Congrats on your new career choice. You will be wonderful! :)

Ferdzy said...

OooO! You are going to be a fellow-canuck! That's very exciting! I'm looking forward to it.

And congratulations on the new job!

Claudia said...

You did make me long for Australia - a place I have yet to get to. And made me smile about Montreal - it used to be one of our summer vacation spots when I was growing up in NYC. Congratulations Professor!

chemcookit said...

Maryann, thanks a lot!!! I really appreciate it :)

Ferdzy, thanks! I'm looking forward to exploring Canada too :)

Claudia, thanks! I'm glad you enjoyed the Australia virtual tour. :)

Unknown said...

Congratulations!!! I am really excited for you--I think it is a move you will really enjoy--I've heard it is a great city. You have to stay long enough for me to come visit:).

traveler said...

Congratulations! Good luck. I was born and lived in Montreal for 30 years. Where will you be a professor. I am sure you will enjoy this unique city although the winters are long and severe.

Simo & Dan - Looking for our Home said...

When did you Austrialia? Have you already moved to Montreal?
Let's keep in touch.