December 2, 2007


Magic and fantastic weekend:
Yesterday Sabine saw her cosine Jessica, his cousin Stefan and their mother Susanna after 22 years again. It was magic!

Today was Santa Claus at the Swiss Club in Sydney. It was fantastic! Thank you very much Helene and Stefan for the organization and invitation! At this wonderful event we met Mercedes. She is living with her family South of Sydney. It will be our first stop to Kosciusko. May she is able to organize our first school visit in Menai.

Today we are in the talk show by Ursula Schappi on SBS radio at 20.30 h... and soon on Swiss Radio Ryi.
Thanks to Javier, our neighbour at Five Dock Bay this report is possible.

Thanks to Matthew hundleby and john Lawler from Empire Marinas to give as a lift from our boat.
Posted by dario at 10:16 AM

December 5, 2007

1st leg to Kosciusko

See what Markus Marbach has done for us: TOPtoTOP film.
That is our route now to Kosciusko.

Salina and Andri enjoy the thrailer sponsored by Civic Bikes in Newcastle. Thanks to Robert Moniaci from Drummoyne Auto Care we manged to attach it to our Canyon Bikes.
After the traffic trough Syndey we were very happy that we were able to stay overnight at with Cathrine and Lionel Mochamps's place. We have had heaps of wonderful meat! The last time like that was in Argentina.

Today we got up early to avoid the hot weather and the thunderstorms in the afternoon to travel to the Marbach family in Menai. See S34.01.19.29E151.01.09.87 on Google Earth for our exact location.

Tomorrow we do a TOPtoTOP school visit here in Meani. In Menai we are hosted by the Marbach Family: Mercedes, Markus, Seline and Chantal. This TOPtoTOP base camp has the best internet facility so far. We felt like being back home in Switzerland.

Seline made one of the best assignements about future transportation using renwable energy recources we have seen during our expedition so far. She is 8 years old.

NOTE: TOPtoTOP Weihnachtsaktion in Australien! Address for Xmas presents: Family Mercedes and Markus Marbach, 5 Bray Grove, Menai, NSW 2234, Australia; our mobile: 0061 4 23 45 02 55
Posted by dario at 10:09 AM

December 11, 2007


Note: New Swiss article in German!

Today we visited 90 students from the Bundnoon Public School. They are very creative and smart students. They asked a lot of questions and we recognized that they are very environmentally friendly. This, because they have wonderful parents, teachers and a perfect principal in Robyn Versluis. They all will participate in the TOPtoTOP climate solution contest.
Note: This TOPtoTOP event will be in the Southern Highlands News next Friday and Monday.

Just behind the school is the Morton National Park, where we saw our first wild Kangaroo. In the park is a deep gorge with high cliffs.

In Bundanoon Andrew Pardoe and Glenn Robinson offered us to stay in their very beautiful youth hostel, where we met Ellemiek van Dijken. She is from the Netherlands, travelling 8 months in Australia and joined us today as a volunteer in the school.

From Menai to Bundanoon we needed 4 days. The first day Mercedes Marbach joined us in the Royal National Park, where we continued our trip along the coast.

The Coledale Beach Camping Reserve invited us to stay overnight. Thank you very much Norman!

On the way to Wollongong we met another cyclist, Bred Martin. He raced once in Spain and invited us to camp in his garden. We cooked a Swiss Alpine dish to say thank you.

Early in the morning we had a very steep climb up to the Picton Road and than the temperature rose up to 35 degrees in the shadow!
In Wilton we got half a chicken in the Wilton Cafe & Take-Away. Some hours later we were very happy to jump into the cool pool of the Currie's family and to put up our tent in front of their house.

Sometimes we are lost in this wide and beautiful country, ... and once we were thinking we are cycling to the wrong TOP:

Tomorrow we start at 4 a.m. and hope to be with the Swiss Ambassador in the capitol of Australia, Canberra by Friday or Saturday. Contact us by phone or SMS: 04 23 45 02 55.
Posted by dario at 9:58 AM

December 16, 2007

Warm welcome at Swiss Embassy

New media Release: Download file.

From Bundanoon we went to Windellama. The biggest problem was the millions of flies. It was nearly impossible to cycle along the hilly road with the mouth closed and so we swallowed many flies. Thanks to Roberto we got this fly –protectors which fit over our helmets.
The first part was almost flat with big sheep farms and a lot of Kangaroos. Unfortunately same Kangaroos were not fast enough for the few cars and lying death a side of the road.

We camped in the staff’s room of the public school and gave a presentation to all 31 students the next morning.

The students are always very interested to see how we do it with our two kids and fascinated about our Canyon bikes and our country Switzerland as well.

Sometimes we have had dirt roads and the weather conditions changed from one extreme to the other: Once it was sunny, 35 C hot and the other day a lot of rain, 15 C cold and stormy.
The next day we continued to Tarago and were able to put our tent in a shelter of the public school.

The next day we were quite busy: After Sabine's delicious breakfast Muesli we had the first presentation in Tarago public school, than biking to Bungendore to do another presentation in the Bungendore public school.

Matilda Dabusti a teacher of the Bungendore public school invited us to her home where we met her husband Roberto. Both are originally from Italy and patienat climbers. So we had lots to discuss and hope that we can climb together in Australia once. Robereto does his own wine and built his own wine cellar in his garden… and like this Sabine had at last the opportunity to taste once also Chilean wine.

Finally we made it to the capital of Australia, Canberra. There we had a very warm welcome from the Ambassadors family Muehlethaler, where we are able stay for the next days and Salina starts to become a pianist and Andri a climber (He has already same wounds like a real climber). The Ambassador already organized a radio interview with the station 1CMS, - go to 91.1 FM on next Monday evening to listen the interview.

Regards to the result of the climate conference in Bali we think more and more that TOPtoTOP is on the right way: Motivating students to protect our climate is the best long term investment. If politicians and some countries do not like to make a step forward, we are sure that the next generation will do!
After same school visits and media work in the Canberra area, thanks to the hospitality of the Swiss Ambassador Muehlethaler, we go to move further in same days to the TOP of Australia and hope to make it before Xmas.

Happy Xmas and thanks again for your support.
Dario & Sabine with kids

Here a present of Markus Marbach: See us biking!
Posted by dario at 4:52 AM

December 24, 2007

The storm

After a very good Xmas dinner at the Swiss embassy, we said goodbye to the Ambassador family Muehlethaler.

We picked up a new coupling for Sabine at the RideShop in Canberra, so that she also can bike with the trailer. Tim was so friendly and found a solution for our broken biking-bags.

The last school was Bonython Primary School, where we handed out some gifts from Switzerland to deputy principal Peter Henry.

The Canberra times published an article about us.

We were able to stay in Southern Canberra at Gabi and Werner's house. Gabi and Werner had done an interview with us on CMS radio some days ago. They travelled 2 years all over Australia and are nature fans. They are going to help us organize a public presentation at the Canberra University in March.

As soon as we left Canberra there was a big storm with a lot of wind and rain. There were floods. Cars stopped and told us that they had turned back, because the road was flooded. For Salina and Andri, it was not a problem: They stayed dry in Sharon and Bill's trailer.

We were very happy when we made it to Jacky and Barry Woolacott’s house. - Jacky is a teacher at the Bonython Primary School and invited us to stay. - They have 200 sheep and some wild Kangaroos. But there are also farmers with 20000!

Jacky had a nice Xmas present for Salina and Andri. Bray does everything with solar and wind and is another good example we found along our expedition of how you can do it without polluting the planet.

Along the road we encountered funny road names and letter boxes.

Now we enjoy the hospitality of the Epstein family. They are members of the Rotary club in Cooma. They got the message that we are on the way from a woman we met in Cooma, while we were shopping. They had been waiting for us infront of their house. We were so tired and they have been like angel to us, when they invited us into their house. Gay has a wonderful wool- and craft shop and David is an architect like my father.

Everybody, a merry Xmas! We hope to be on TOP of Kosciusko around the 27th.
Posted by dario at 2:24 AM

December 28, 2007

TOP of Australia

On the 28th at 11 a.m. we were standing on Mount Kosciuszko. With 2229 m the highest mountain in Australia. It was a very emotional moment for Sabine and me and we were so happy that we made another TOP of the 7-Summits without using a motor.

We cycled from our sailboat Pachamama in Sydney in 15 days the 744 km to the very TOP and have given 6 presentations along the way. Before that, we crossed the Pacific sailing. Our last TOP was Aconcagua, the highest mountain in South America.

In the National Park we were able to camp twice at Kosciuszko Mountain Retreat; thank you very much Tony and Sharyn. It is a great place for kids and Kangaroos!

Before the summit we camped at 2030 m, just below the TOP at Seaman's hut. The night was cristal clear and cold; but with the whole family in the same big MAMMUT sleeping bag, - like marmuts , - it was no problem for our kids.

On the summit day there were Mercedes, Seline and Chantal Marbach and Lidwine and Rolf Kunz as well as Peter and Melanie Kallenbach with us and volunteered to do a clean up on the TOP. We hardly find any trash and it was the cleanest mountain so far: - congratulation to this wonderful National Park and to its Rangers.

I promised Salina on a hot day in Vanuatu to touch the snow soon. On the way up Salina already saw the snow in the distance and was happy to do a "Schneeballschlacht" on the summit with Seline and Chantal.

Many thanks to family Epstein and Maud where we was able to spent Xmas. There was a lot of singing and we slept with our tent in front of a Xmas tree.
Thanks to Lidwine and Rolf from Switzerland, we have had a second Xmas:

Back at the base of the mountain in Jindabyne Lidwine and Rolf gave us the Xmas presents from our families and from our main sponsor Victorinox. Another great moment, - thank you so much!

Then we biked back to the campsite of our friend Tim who owns the RIDESHOP in Canberra. The road went steep down and into a gravel road. I had 65 km with the heavy trailer on my speedometer. My bike lost the grip in the sandy turn and I felt. Bike, trailer and Dario were sliding over the gravel and just stopped in front an iron fence. The kids were safe in the trailer; it did not flip. This Trek trailers are really super (thanks again Bill and Sharon for your donation)! I lost only some skin on my hip and my arm and the sole come of my shoe.

After another long day we were happy to see the campsite on the lake and handy man Tim was able to repair my bike and shoe.

Now we are at the YHA in Thredbo and do a presentation in the Thredbo Conference Hall on the 1st of January 2008 at 6 p.m. (Alpine Hotel). Thank you very much Nadia that we are able to stay in your wonderful Youth Hostel! Thank you Ian for organizing the event and for your media work!

After tomorrow we start biking back to Pachamama in Sydney. We are looking forward to meet our friends Bregitte, Peter and Tessa 0n the 14th of January.

Posted by dario at 10:36 PM