Saturday, September 18, 2010

Down Under

I was 8 years old when Down Under, a song by a band called Men at Work (a name not really suited for musicians) hit the charts. The minute I saw the video, I knew that this was a very special song. As it turns out, I was right. The song, an ode to the laid back Australian way of life, went top of the charts all over the world and remains one of the most iconic of 80’s pop songs. The video shows a group of Australians on the road, travelling the world and having a beer and a good time in Europe, Asia and, ultimately, back home in Australia.

Even though I was very young at the time, something inside me knew that I had to check this out for myself. It took me over 25 years to realise this project, but I would like to add to my defense that I don’t remember much of the first half of the 90’s, which may have been of influence on this. (This also sparked my quote ‘Aah, the summer of ’92.. I can’t remember it, but I’ll never forget it!’)

I spent most of the next decade after that managing a grungy dive bar in Holland and going to heavy metal festivals across Western Europe, so there was not much time for going to the other side of the world. It wasn’t until I moved to Ireland in January 2007 that I re-ignited my idea to see the world, rather than spending my holidays on a muddy patch of farmland in northern Germany.

Having visited the USA a couple of times, last year I came across the Down Under video once again and I decided that now would be the time to visit the magic land down under. Another deciding factor in this may have been a certain Australian pub in Dublin’s north city centre.

While I normally take a ‘I’ll do it myself’ approach to travelling, I found it somewhat difficult to put an itinerary together on the web for a decent price. So, swallowing my pride, I went to a travel agency in Dublin that specialises in travel to and from Australia. After discussing the options with the rep at work, I decided on an itinerary that would take me from Dublin to Heathrow (rather dim, my trip to the other side of the planet will start with a 1 hour flight after which I will be hanging around England for 2 hours), from Heathrow to Hong Kong and then from Hong Kong to Melbourne. All of this for the very decent fee of EUR 994,- return.

So, tomorrow the moment is finally there. I am expected at Dublin Airport somewhere around 5 AM, and I will arrive in Melbourne at 9PM on Monday night. I have consulted several of my Australian friends here in Dublin and I am sure that I will have a great time doing all the stuff that I have planned and, no doubt, a lot of stuff that I did not plan. My trip starts in Melbourne and ends in Sydney. If anyone has some suggestions of a stop over somewhere half way, please give me a shout. Canberra has been suggested by a couple of people. Though it may be a pleasant city, it hardly seems like Party Central. So if you have any ideas for a good place to go, give me a shout.

Special thanks go to Kylie and Renae for providing me with loads of information on things to do, places to stay and dodgy dive bars to get drunk in. Cheers for that!

I will keep you all updated while I’m there and post pictures of cool things I did.

For now, I’m heading off to the land Down Under.. Where beer does flow and men chunder
Can't you hear, can't you hear the thunder?
You better run, you better take cover

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