Sunday, May 29, 2011

Blue Mountains, NSW

It has been a while since we have updated this blog so it’s time we started to provide updates again. We spent the past 2 months in Sydney and we were lucky enough to find jobs. I worked for a large manufacturing company that makes printers and Andrew was able to find various work in construction. We had also purchased a camper van which has a large bed and a small kitchen. Apparently the guys who had it before us slept 4 people in there! Besides working we did some sightseeing and a lot of partying. I can honestly say the social life my aunt and uncle lead is a lot more busy and fun than any other person I know, no matter the age.

One of the trips we did while in Sydney was to go see the Blue Mountains as well as the Featherdale Zoo. The zoo is something similar to our African Lion Safari where you can walk around and all the Kangaroos and emus are walking all around you. Other animals, such as the crocodile, are kept in separate cages. We spent a couple of hours walking around, and I even had an opportunity to take a picture with a Koala bear. They are super cute and cuddly but they spend most of their time sleeping, with up to 20 hours a day. After the zoo we headed to the Blue Mountains.
The Blue Mountains are approximately 1.5hrs North West of Sydney and they are gorgeous. They are not only beautiful but also quite large. Not necessarily tall, but vast. The main tree that grows there is the eucalyptus tree and the reason the mountains are called Blue is because the eucalyptus oil which rises from them gives the area a blue look. One weekend we went to the mountains to see the 3 sisters. They are basically 3 rock pillars or formations which overlook the rest of the mountains. That day we climbed some very steep steps to go down to see the 3 sisters, but my aunt and uncle said they had been there before and did not want to walk down with us. We didn’t think it was a big deal. There were only about 50 stairs or so and although it was steep walking down, it wasn’t too bad. We took some pictures and started climbing back up. What was an easy walk down, turned out to be a harder walk back up. The stairs were steep and by the time we got back up we were huffing and puffing. My aunt and uncle were at the top to greet us with big grins on their faces. They had done that walk before and knew how hard the climb back up was. They were quite proud of themselves for not having gone with us and they thought it was funny how tired we were. That evening we went to a small Italian restaurant for pizza and we were ready for bed as soon as we arrived back home.

The next weekend the 4 of us made plans to go back to the Blue Mountains and this time to do a hike. My uncle is not a huge fan of hiking (or bushwalking as it’s called here) so we borrowed a book from the library with all the different trails in the mountains and we were going to pick an easier one. Since I was working I didn’t have much time to look at the book but Andrew was home some days so he picked out an easy 4 hour trail. Not a problem, the following Saturday we packed a lunch and headed off to the mountains.

The hike started at the 3 sisters and this time we were not only walking down the stairs to the 3 sisters, but all the way to the bottom of the valley. That’s approx 900 steeps stairs down! Half way down my thighs had turned to jello and I could barely walk. I didn’t think it was possible but I was looking forward to walking up hill just so I could use some other muscles! My uncle was literally sweating by the time we got down to the bottom. And he’s a pretty fit guy who usually plays soccer so he’s used to exercise. We started walking down at the bottom of the valley. We saw a lot of beautiful trees and vegetation but the wildlife did not want to show itself to us. It was still a nice hike and halfway we stopped to have lunch. Of course, since we had walked down all those steps, we now had to get back up somehow. I knew it wasn’t going to be easy and I was thinking there must be a path that goes up to the top but I was not expecting another set of 900 steps! It started off gradually but the steps got more and more steep. It took at least an hour to get back to the top and were not only sweating but also barely breathing. We sat down at a bench with a beautiful lookout over the mountains. The sun was shining and the trees looked spectacular. After we managed to catch our breath, we all said…that’s wasn’t that bad. But we were also happy we were at the top. We left the lookout point only to realize there were more stairs to climb! and that we were at least another 40 minutes from the car. It was such a blow to realize we hadn’t yet “made it”. I think my aunt suffered the most as she was convinced we had reached the top and were near the car, so she was completely devastated when she learned we were not there yet. Her spirit was broken. I need to also add she is also a fit lady as she exercises 3 times a week and does a lot of walking. But I don’t think any of us were expecting the amount of stairs we would be required to climb. Andrew had brought the book with the different trails in it so I took it from him and checked the trail we were doing and it turned out it was not classified as easy at all but as hard! We all wanted to hit him but refrained. I secretly believe this hike was Andrew’s small revenge for the weekend before where my aunt and uncle sent us down all those stairs to see the 3 sisters while they stayed at the top. For a week after the hike, my uncle and I could not walk down any set of stairs properly but had to walk down sideways, as our muscles would hurt every time we tried. Andrew claimed nothing hurt him and that he was fine.