Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Sydney 2012, Part 2: Nature Spirits

A freezing morning, and we found ourselves camping outside a supermarket (Woolsworth, probably), opposite what, if my memory is as good as I like to pretend it is, is Sydney's charming town hall. We were waiting for our tour bus for our day trip to the Blue Mountains- at one point we actually took shelter from the cold by going into Woolsworth- chilly inside, but still comparatively warmer... especially for me, clad only in a pair of jeans and a light summer shirt.

A little mountain town bakery where we stopped for breakfast, payment (for the tour), and a merry go round to the public loo. The weather was still freezing, despite the sunlight. Most probably due to the altitude (though I claim to know next to nothing about thermodynamics). Note their smiles. They probably thought I was mad for going around in a summer shirt. I probably was, really.

First stop of the day, Flat Rock. It's a lookout point over the Blue Mountains. There's nothing much to it really- as the name suggests, it's a flat rock, an outcropping of stone overlooking a valley, the sort you'd get lost in and have a higher chance of winning the lottery than getting back to civilization- that is, if you survive the fall, which you probably won't. We camwhored as best as we could before driving off to the actual point of interest:

The Three Sisters lookout point. You can actually walk over the the rock formations, but we didn't really have the time for that, having wasted it looking through the gift shop. Back to the rocks- according to my perhaps garbled recalling of the legend, a native Australian father tried to protect his daughters from unwanted advances by turning them into stone. Which of course behooves us to ask- if he could do that, why didn't he turn the lecher into stone instead?

Next up. The Katoomba Falls. 'Falls' is redundant, because Katoomba is actually Aborigine for 'waterfall'. At least it's not as bad as the history behind the naming of that silly hopping rodent, the kangaroo (go google it). There wasn't that much water, due to it being winter and the water being shy and all that claptrap. Oh well.

A brief stop in Katoomba town for lunch. I suspect the main street is called Main Street. It certainly plays the part well- the surroundings are purely residential. We chose a crowded Chinese restaurant specializing in roast meat. No big deal, and not very satisfying. I have to admit though, even I was rather tired of having chips in every meal.

Up next- a stop over at Katoomba Park or whatever it's called, involving a funicular railway ride down into a gorge. Oddly enough some people whooped and cheered- as if it was a roller coaster ride. As for the park itself- it's really no more than a forest in a valley, with a nicely laid raised walkway. The absence of hungry mosquitoes made for a rather pleasant walk, though.

Finally, a brief drive around the Olympic village, the site of the 2000 Summer Olympics. Big, sparse if not for the massive stadiums littering the landscape, and rather silent. Nothing to see, and nothing to do.

After a good but uneventful Chinese dinner, and a lousy kangaroo kebab- finally something interesting to end the day (and post) with. We dumped the tired ones at the hostel, and made our way to the ancient Lord Nelson Hotel and Brewery- no idea if it has any relation to the sailor, though.

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