Saturday, January 12, 2008

Many mountain moments

I love the Blue Mountains of New South Wales, Australia. I won't say that I love them more than the mountains of North Carolina, but I did feel extremely at home there. I was taken in by the smells, the light, the large number of artists who live there; even while knowing how many venomous spiders and snakes Jesse was hunting down.

As is true whenever we go away, I want to move here. This time, it's because the people are so unbelievably friendly and positive (maybe that gets old? I don't know), and the birds and trees and flowers are so colorful and strange, and I can speak the language but am still in a somewhat different culture (that last one is about my fear of learning Spanish at this late date if we do indeed follow Nicolas' dream of farming in Central or South America). I know that at some point in the rest of this life, I want to live in a wooden/stone green (environmentally green) cabin/cottage on a mountain with all the smells that entails. While I'm ordering up my dream cabin, I'll also ask for a creek that I can hear from my bedroom window.

We got back from the Blue Mountains this afternoon to much more heat, but lots of good reuniting with Zoe, Kenneth (sick with a sinus infection and not even whingeing about it) and Naomi . To get here, we drove (Nicolas was awesome at adapting to the other side of the road, not they I ever had any worries ;), took a fast ferry, and then one more slower ferry. How cool is it to use ferries as your public transportation?

My favorite part of the Blue Mountains experience were the beautiful hikes we took. One was called "Darwin's Walk" (Charles Darwin himself discovered it) and another one took us deep down into a rain forest. On this walk, the kids found some kind of iron-ore rocks - like those used by Aboriginals to do their art, to this day, with which they painted their faces.

On Darwin's Walk, the draw was a magnificent waterfall, the flowers and the birds.

On both walks, the ongoing, Jesse-created "Fight to the Finish" game was continued, now including sticks for bows and wands. Jesse supplied a running commentary about his game the entire time, with occassional shifts of attention to lizards, birds or some plan of his for the future. At one point, when we were all walking up the final hill of a walk in Katoomba, he listed all of the occupations he would consider having in the future - including things like historian and psychologist - which I'd never known he knew, and finished by announcing the career he won't pursue - he will never be a dentist.

We were really happy with the isolated, simple, solar-powered cabin that we rented. It was filled with information about living more greenly, and also filled with lots of good books, games and tea. There were magnificent green and red parrots and huge doves in the woods, right outside. They would come for food every day and they even ate out of the kids' hands.
The only challenge was the night when Nicolas couldn't sleep due to a smell in our bedroom. He couldn't figure out where it was coming from, nor how I wasn't bothered by it (who me? I don't whinge:), so logically assumed the smell must be me. : > / It turned out to be the smell that is put off my some kind of Australian ant when it is smashed. He realized this upon smashing one the next day so I was off the hook.

One more thing that sold me on the Blue Mountains - when we did go out to eat, they had loads of gluten free meals, everywhere we looked. I was able to eat pizza at the pizzeria!! They must have a wheat-intolerant government official, or rich resident.

Having a second summer is grand.

We never did see a Koala, in all of those blue Eucalaptys trees. There are only 100,000 Koalas left in all of Australia, which is really not a lot. We did get to see many Australian animals at a zoo on the way back to Sydney, but that will fill up another post...I've already shared too many photos as it is. It is very late here. G'day to you, up over.


Angie said...

You never share too many photos - they are wonderful! Your trip sounds so awesome and the way you write about it is like we are there too.

It really makes me want to visit Australia - my husband has a cousin there - so maybe.

Isn't is wonderful not to have to worry about 'getting back for school'? Being able to take your time and really enjoy your vacation is such a great thing.

Can't wait to hear your next installment.

Kimba said...

The Blue Mountains sound (and Look) absolutely beautiful! I'm also interested in Jessie's game/story.

Hugs from all of us -- we are heading out to the Landtrust for a meetup, I'll tell everyone to check out your blog!

Danielle said...

Oh, thank god! I was running out of reading material. ;)

That place sounds absolutely amazing, and while I could deal with being likened to stinky ants, I'm not sure I could cope with the venomous creepy crawlies. I think that would send me over the edge.

Kaat said...

Wow that is so beautiful! Glad to see you're posting during the trip. Catching up with the story after returning home is simply a pain...

Madeline said...

Hey all! I am so appreciative of not going back for their schools. It is the Aussie kids summer break right now and they start their next school year in a few weeks. Strange, eh?

Kimba, I look forward to seeing you all at the Land Trust in Feb!

Danielle, it turns out that there are very few actual deaths from the many dangerous spiders, snakes and sharks in these parts. I am just not afraid of those things. But the rip tide?! eek. And we are off to an island with my brother and family for a week tomorrow. Probably no internet - I'm so behind in reading all of you!