In 2005 I travelled to Europe for the first time, spending 6 weeks in Greece, 2 weeks in Italy, 6 weeks in England and 6 weeks in Spain. Following are some pics from my time on the Peloponnese peninsula where I spent a week with my (then) flatmate Amaya and her two brothers, Lorien and Elia.
Sequoia National Park, with its majestic endangered trees (the last of their kind) was the third National Park in as many weeks to make me cry. In Yosemite and Zion, it was the mountainscapes that generated awe, presented to the park visitor in the most spectacular fashion, via carefully engineered entrance roads that brought you out of tunnels to breathtaking views. I literally had to stop the car on emerging from such tunnels to catch my breath (lest I drive off the cliff face into the valley below). Here, in Sequoia, it was some combination of the sheer size of the trees, along with their tragic history (the knowledge that these ancient giants were once prolific throughout California before the modernist imperative resulted in their mass deforestation – one more example of human greed arising from the myth of progress).
More from the back catalogue… These pics of Zion are from my 2013 trip to the U.S.
The Narrows – one of my favourite day hikes of all time
I moved back to the Blue Mountains in July but broke my wrist hiking within the first month.
My phone was in my pocket at the time of the fall, so unfortunately it took a swim too, and because I hadn’t backed up, I lost all my photos from recent months. I think there’s a lesson there…
I will be getting a new phone soon so will write a longer post with more current photos then. But in the meantime, here are a few old faves from some hikes over the last couple of years.
Blackheath – Grose Valley
Katoomba – Jamison Valley
Ok, I have to go teach Nineteen Eighty Four to some students.
Welcoming recommendations for entry level hikes in the Blue Mountains region until my arm regains its former strength.
The cast is off, so I’ll be hitting the trails again soon!
Currently reading: Something Wicked This Way Comes – Ray Bradbury
I have been back in Tasmania for almost two months now. I am loving this island and all it has to offer. It appears I may have found work, with what looks like a great company. I had my medical today and commence employment on May 1.
As I may have mentioned in my last post, I’m currently house sitting for my cousin Leith while she tours Vietnam with her family. In my care are 1 dog (Pepper), 2 cats (Molly and Henry) and 27 budgerigar (1 of whom is tame & is named Cinnamon). They form a very loving little menagerie and never cease to entertain. Here are a few candid snaps of them in various states of play:Cinnamon helping me study…
I’ve been trying to find different places to take Pepper on her daily walks. The greater Launceston area has some fantastic trails. We took a stroll at Paper Beach, just out of Exeter one afternoon.
We also visited the Tailrace, a track along the Tamar which takes you from Riverside into Launceston, and which links to a whole network of trails along the North Esk, some of which I referred to in my posts from my Tas visit last May/June, which you can find here.I returned to the Tailrace with (aunty) Trish M a couple of days ago, who’d brought along (cousin) Kate’s dog Griff, and we meandered along to Stillwater, where we stopped for a coffee and a bite to eat.
Over the easter weekend, (other aunty) Trish A and I caught a flick together at the Star Theatre, a beautiful old art deco establishment which originally opened in 1937, falling into disrepair after changing hands in the early 70s following a three decade run. Three young gents have purchased the building with the intent to restore it to its former glory (you can read the Examiner article about the project here), and with most of its original fittings and fixtures still in place (if not fully intact), it’s going to be a beautiful example of architecture from the period.
They opened their doors to the public over the easter weekend with a number of screenings in the building as it currently stands, ahead of their planned refurbishment (we saw The Big Lebowski, a Coen Brothers cult classic), and will be officially opening the fully renovated premises as an independent cinema in November. For more information about the theatre, its history and its reappropriation, check out their website, here. It is going to be wonderful having an independent theatre as complement to the existing cinema here in Launceston.
In other adventures, I met my folks for lunch one afternoon at JJs, their favourite Longford bakery/cafe/restaurant. I went for a wander around town after the meal and came across a couple of lovely parks.A couple of quick snaps of downtown Launceston: Sunrise is pretty spectacular from where I’m currently staying…
Current read: The High Mountains of Portugal – Yann Martel.
With peach season over, no work on offer at the uni, and my Dad’s white cell count running amok, I decided to head south to Tassie to spend time with the fam. I couldn’t leave NSW, of course, without visiting the Murphy/Davies clan in the Blue Mountains. While there, Frank, her eldest son Dylan, and I, took a day out in Bondi to visit her sister Katie, and catch up with another friend Cathy, from her uni days. I find Bondi a bit overcrowded for swimming, but the setting’s so beautiful, you can’t help but appreciate it’s iconic status. Let’s face it, when it comes to picturesque, Bondi always delivers:Frank and I also managed to both health-kick, and drink a sizeable quantity of alcohol during my visit. Life is good 👍. Frank and I have been friends for well over a decade, yet have never really had a chance to do much travelling together. Her kids have grown up a little now though, so we left them with Peter and hit the coast for a three day roadtrip to Melbourne, from which point I took my car to Tassie on the ferry, and Frank caught the train back to the Blue Mountains. We decided to take the coast road rather than the Hume Hwy because I’d never driven the Victorian coastline, and the NSW south coast is stunning.
On day one, we drove from Lawson to Batemans Bay, via Rubie’s new digs in Wollongong and a fleeting visit to the farm.Day two saw us stopping at every conceivable south coast town for coffee, cheese, yoghurt, fudge, lunch… all the goodies 👍. After a massive twelve hours, we arrived in Yarram, where the chef at the hotel cooked us up a delicious veggie curry (recommended) and we shared a pretty ordinary bottle of bubbles (not so highly recommended), chased by a better tasting beer from the other hotel down the road. That’s right, we did a pub crawl of Yarram’s two (countem!) pubs, but by 10pm both establishments had called last drinks and closed their doors for the evening, so we had to resort to drinking our BYO Baileys in the hotel lounge. On day three we drove to St Kilda via Port Albert, the windmill farm at Toora and Wilsons Prom. We parted ways at dawn and I am now making the most of the mild conditions that constitute a Tasmanian autumn. Looking out at the serene countryside it’s hard to believe that Cyclone Debbie has just wreaked havoc in so many other parts of the country. These here are crazy times.
Next up – some pics of Tas…
My three months of working on the peach farm and living with Rubie and her family at Narrawallee Beach on the NSW South Coast has come to an end. Working six day weeks made it virtually impossible to find time to blog (and in the end, even to hike), but I thought I’d give you a glimpse of what farm life was like during my summer of peaches.Not a bad place to spend a summer. Doesn’t get much better than this…
I’ve been exploring as much of the local area as I can in my time away from the orchard. There’s so much to see; it’s a truly beautiful part of the world.Rubie and Bronwyn joined me on my latest adventure, hiking from Merry Beach to Pebbly Beach via Pretty Beach in the Murramarang National Park. We left a car at each end and hiked south with the receding tide, covering about 12 kms + swims over a leisurely five hour period.