In early September I went to Brisbane for a weekend to celebrate a birthday with members of my family.
This was my first proper time in Brisbane, and I was fortunate that the weekend I visited coincided with the start of the Brisbane Festival, which meant there was lots of fun stuff to see and do.
The final part of my USA/Canada trip, and the main purpose of the visit, was attending the 2014 AAAI Conference on Artificial Intelligence. This was held in Quebec City, Quebec. During the week I spent there I got to hear some amazing speakers, and spent a few evenings exploring the city.
Quebec was a fascinating city, it really felt like being in Europe, the food, the street art and the churches were like nothing else I have seen in North America.
Below is a selection of photos from the week.
After four days in Florida I flew to Boston for a short two day visit.
After checking into my hotel, I spent the first afternoon exploring the Public Garden, Boston Common and CBD area. Boston is one of the birthplaces of the USA and has some amazingly old churches, buildings, and markets. In particular, there was a great mix between the old and the new.
The third and fourth days I spent in Florida were at Disney World.
On the first day there I went to the Magic Kingdom and Hollywood Studios – until rain brought an early end to the day. On the second day I began at Hollywood Studios and then went to Epcot and back to the Magic Kingdom for the Wishes Fireworks.
The video below shows the first minute of the wishes fireworks. The whole show was amazing. Additionally, the photos that follow are from across the two days – but photos and video don’t do the two days full justice, it was such an amazing and unique place to go to.
On the second day in Florida, I went to the Kennedy Space Center. It was by pure coincidence that this was exactly 45 years to the day since man first walked on the moon.
The bus tour around the launch facilities at KSC is awesome. My inner child had such a great time, including getting a photoshopped photo of me as an astronaut.
In July I travelled to North America.
The first stop was a four day visit to Orlando, Florida where I met up with a friend who used to study in Sydney.
During these four days I went to Gatorland, Florida Mall, Downtown Orlando, Kennedy Space Center and Disney World.
The photos below are from the first day of the trip which was spent exploring around the Orlando area.
While visiting Auckland over the ANZAC day weekend, I went tramping at Karekare with some friends. It was a beautiful walk, on a beautiful day, through the beautiful wild west coast of Auckland.
We started from Watchman Road and walked up Ahu Ahu Track before returning via Comans Track and cutting through to Karekare Beach.
The final part of my Euro trip began on the Eurostar train from Paris to London. After racing through the French countryside we went though the Channel Tunnel and finally emerged in London.
Once I had checked into my hotel for the weekend, I caught up with a former flatmate for the evening. By convenient coincidence there was a Science Uncovered late night at the Natural History Museum which we explored before making a late night cafe visit in Kensington.
After two fantastic weeks in Germany, it was time for the next part of the Europe adventure.
After staying the night in Frankfurt, I caught a train to Paris. Having been all over Germany on IC, EC, and DB Regio trains – all of which leave NZ/AU trains looking very old and slow – the ICE train was another level of speed (and comfort). The trip from Frankfurt to the French border went through small town after small town, in very thick heavy fog. We then went into a deep valley between mountains and came out in France. Once into the French countryside we blasted along the tracks at 300kmh+.
The final portion of my travels in Germany was visiting friends in Munich.
By pure coincidence I arrived in Munich for the start of Oktoberfest. The biggest fair in the world begins with a massive street parade where each brewery brings its beer into the city. This was a rather interesting parade to watch, where marching bands that I would normally expect to see at a Santa Parade played between each brewery’s float.