Straight from the Journal: Austria and Czech Republic

Dearest Journal,

Vienna was wonderful. We arrived at about 5pm on June 12th and headed out shortly afterwards for our night tour. I was dropped off about 1km away from Maria Theresa Platz where I was to meet Andy at 7pm. Andy is my brother’s Viennese friend who stayed with us for a few weeks last July. We spent hours walking and talking, and about 0.5 seconds woofing down vegan chocolate gelato.

The following day, some Contiki friends and I headed off to see Hundertwasserhaus: one of many outlandish buildings designed by Austrian artist and architect, Friedensreich Hundertwasser. Its bold colours and peculiar shapes add character to an otherwise monotonous street.  At the souvenir shop, I purchased a special notebook embellished with pictures of Hundertwasser’s works and quotes of his that resonate with me. It’s the first souvenier I’ve bought so far.


About an hour later we wound up at Wiener Rathaus (city hall) where the 2017 Life Ball was held three days prior. Life Ball is the biggest charity event in Europe, supporting people with HIV and AIDS. This year’s guest stars included Naomi Campbell, 2014 Eurovision winner Conchita Wurst, Susan Holmes and Amanda Lepore. It isn’t usually open to the public outside special events, but we were lucky enough to be granted entry during clean-up from the ball. We were welcomed with grand staircases and opulent chandeliers. Outside, a large LGBT flag was fixed to the hall, dancing in the wind as though my camera was its audience. I feel very privileged to have walked on the same ground as some of the world’s most inspirational and influential people. We spent the night at Prater Fun Park and Andy came along. There were rides aplenty, no lines and good food. I LOVED it! One of the rides was a giant pendulum that performed 360-degree swings for a generous 3 minutes; I was citing my own eulogy in-between squeals.


Vienna City Hall


Vienna City Hall

On June 14th we made our way to Cesky Krumlov, Czech Republic, before coming to Prague. It ties with Dubrovnik as my favourite town so far – another fairy tale land. I was speechless. We were only there for two hours but I made the most of it and snapped some good pics.

Cesky Krumlov


Cesky Krumlov

Prague was very hot today. We had a city bike tour that involved dodging cars and praying for the best. Australia is relatively new to the whole ‘sharing roads’ thing, so I’d rate it as one of my top 5 near-death experiences. It’s up there with the time I fell out of a 3m high cubby house and prepared for the afterlife: ‘You’ve lived a good life,’ I consoled my seven-year-old self. We paid visit to the Torture Museum which was a stomach churning experience. I can’t fathom what it would be like to live in those times. The John Lennon Peace Wall was a much-needed mood changer. It’s a major tourist attraction where people go to write messages of love, encouragement and peace. Whilst the wall gets repainted over regularly to create a blank canvas for new tourists, it’s nice to know that each layer is personalised by people from all over the world, including me. I wrote, ‘Smile awhile. When you smile, another smiles, and soon there will be miles and miles of smiles. Life is so worthwhile when you smile’ on behalf of Dad who shared the quote with me.



Tomorrow we’re off to Dachau and Munich. Two more days ‘til I’m 21. Wow.

Night Journal, you precious thing.

P.S Everyone’s been admiring you.



Come At Me, Wrinkles

I was sixteen when I spotted my first grey hair. My boyfriend and I laughed it off humorously, knowing very well it was probably blonde and I was being melodramatic. To be honest, I wasn’t fazed by ageing at that stage. I couldn’t wait for the days of pimple parties and itty bitty titties to seize. I wanted a driver’s licence, full-time job, place of my own, and money; as if it would all be handed to me on a silver platter. When you’re young, you view age as opportunity and knowledge, awaiting the world to greet you with open arms and pat you on the back for graduating adolescence.

At nineteen, adulthood came pounding on my door. ‘Can I pull off the fake managerial experience I’ve claimed to have on my resume?’ ‘Why do I have to pay tax?’ I’d been to university twice and deferred twice: unsure of my career aspirations. The world was finally at my fingertips and I had nothing to show for it. I was lost, unmotivated, unhappy, and concerned that my potential would never be more than just that. Instead of dancing through life in a protective bubble, I was now dodging bullets from my own gun. Welcome to the real world.

And then, just as I was wallowing in self-pity, the ‘sigh’ came knocking without invitation. You know, the infamous sigh of relief that happens after you sit down from overexertion that isn’t warranted, letting you know that your limbs are past their best before date. That’s it. I’d reached my peak and it was all downhill from there. The days of picking up the dropped juice lid were long gone, as it became a question of whether the lid was worth my suffering. Wrinkles were on the cards soon, and I wasn’t sure if sticky tape would suffice. The only thing I had going for me was libido.

And yet, the closer I came to diminishing libido, the more I realised that signs of ageing are our medals of privilege. The looser your skin and thinner your hair, the more stories to tell at family barbeques or nursing home speed dates (that should definitely be a thing). So far, my medals represent becoming an aunty to my two favourite little humans, backpacking around Europe for four months, having an education and loving home, and witnessing same sex marriage legalisation in Australia. Okay, you caught me. That last one ain’t true yet but it’s years overdue.

There are actually many perks of being an adult. On the odd occasion that my parents drive me somewhere, I’m a queen being chauffeured out the palace gates as she waves to peasants in the left lane. Cake for dinner? Try stopping me. I can flaunt that top that’s a bit too booby or wear slippers to the shops because I’m a grownup now and grownups care less about what people think. Whilst part of me face-palms at the idea of turning to granny panties and Millers button-ups for comfort one day, I can’t wait to uncover the wicked tales that lie in the future of Angela Jan. I’ve learnt that with age comes wisdom and with wisdom comes gratitude.

Stick around awhile, grab a cuppa and your fluffy cat who probably hates me, and let’s grow old together. Oh, and when you spot my next grey sucker, tell me it’s blonde. See you soon, friend. ♣