And properly this time round

This day we travelled with a train for two hours, visiting Australia’s Blue Mountains (we also have Blue Mountains up here). They bear the name by a totally different reason than ours, because of the bluish Eucalyptus trees abundantly growing around there. Actually it’s rather the valleys than the mountains themselves that are blue.

Better not get ahead of myself here, though, the train journey wasn’t eventful, we did see more from the top floor of the train than I was afraid of, having been on long train trips in various parts of Europe and seen nothing but a wall of trees. The view was often very beautiful, not the surroundings of the train stations though, when you’ve seen one you’ve basically seen them all. Industrial districts look alike everywhere, I suppose.

Got to the little town Leura in the Blue Mountains about 11 am, there greeted by our newfound friend Paul Simpson. He drove with us to a café where we also met up with his girlfriend, Jo Truman. Those people we had met at a concert the previous weekend. He is very interested in all sorts of music, not a pro musician himself though, she’s a pretty known singer of modern music, used to live and work in Europe but missed her homeland and moved back a few years ago. They had offered to take us on a tourist trip in the mountains and we of course couldn’t say no to such a great invitation.

Jo

Paul

After their coffee and my cup of tea in the café we started off. Did have a look into this fun little book- and music shop in Leura, Paul pointed out to me a CD of Zoltán Kodály’s works, not even knowing I love Kodály. Bought it pronto, of course. We also bought a card with one of Jo’s pictures on it, she sells her cards in this shop and more places around the area.

Then the bush.

skógarstígur

Walked a bit into the forest until all of a sudden we saw this gigantic canyon, full of trees, got stories of people getting lost and I truly believe that. Huge distances, tall trees, impossible to orient oneself without help. Apparently you can get a some sort of powerful gps beacon app to send out a signal, if you get lost but not everyone knows about that, rather than back home where a lot of people tend not to be properly prepared for their trips up in the highlands sometimes. Normal gps devices don’t really work well enough under all those tall treecaps.

dalir

Tons of eucalyptustrees and tea trees and of course all sorts of other (for us) unrecocnizeable plants, like Australia’s national flower. See here – with ditty:


(this isn’t Paul’s natural voice, nor twang, though…)

Back to the car, drove a bit further, to a more touristy place, Echo Point. Got a bit of echo, and saw a ton of tourists. Cool, though. One more place did we see, hardly any people around, but a tourist centre with the history of the mountains, fun reading a bit about the place. It was really surprising to me that the water in creeks and rivers is so polluted that it’s definitely not advisable to drink it unless boiling it and put in disinfectants. Great is the might of mankind!

This is a big place for bush fires, Jo and Paul explained to us that the eucalyptus trees actually spray oil upwards sometimes so that when there’s fire, there’s something to feed it really quickly, even the air itself, above the trees, ignites. Thus the fire travels incredibly quickly when it starts. Some of the plants even NEED fire to be able to reproduce, amazing really.

Had hoped to see some kangaroos on the trip, but no, apparently they’re pretty shy and don’t like people so you have to be lucky to spot one. They say it’s different in other places though, like in Canberra and up on the plains but we wouldn’t be going there in our short time there. Looked like we wouldn’t get to see a single ‘roo the whole trip. Not good. (the only thing our middle daughter had asked was that if we saw one, we’d take a photo on the phone and send to her).

Lunch in a country pub, the best burger in the whole trip and the ice cream was amazing. Jón sneaked in and paid for the lunch for all of us, got protests when he got back out again but of course this was the least we could do!

Afterwards we went to Paul’s house for some music, he’s got probably the best audio system I’ve ever heard in a private house, SuperAudio stuff (hmm actually I think our surround cinema amp can play SuperAudio but I don’t have the player to go with it though). Paul told us about speakers from the same company our living room amp, (british Musical Fidelity) cost about ₤12.000 or about 2 1/2 million Icelandic crowns. If I had that sort of money to spend, I think I’d buy a newer car than my 15 year old one…

Paul and Jo then took us to the train station again, where we took leave of them but promised to keep in touch. I’ll be sending a few CDs with Icelandic music, just made the package as a matter of fact and will be taking it to the post office later on today.

Back in Sydney, takeout from a Malaysian place, up to our freezing hotel room. (well not that bad this night though). Wrote in the travel log, took a short look on the internet and then to sleep.

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2 Responses to “And properly this time round”


  1. 1 Jon June 13, 2010 at 2:59 am

    Yes, this is much better!

  2. 2 hildigunnur June 16, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    yeah, translating engines still have a bit to learn…


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